Monday, October 27, 2014

PICTURES!!

See the green lid on the plastic container of rice. They really love rice, chicken, and cooking whole pigs. These parties are so fun!

All of these pictures are all from a Marshallese first birthday party for a one year old. They really celebrate family and especially a healthy baby that made it through the first year. It's really neat.



2014 October 27th from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week has been a bit rough.  Me and Sister Roberts are pretty good friends now and we enjoy serving together, but we don't have a whole lot of people to teach.  We go out contacting less active members of the church and also go walking around town to meet new people and knock doors, but we have had bad luck with it.  Everytime we go knocking or finding we usually end up talking to only one person in several hours and they are all rude or grumpy.  Earlier in the week we were walking down a street and this old guy turned off his leaf blower and scowled and stared at us.  When I tried to be friendly and ask how he was doing and if he would like to hear a message about Jesus Christ he yelled, "I served in Vietnam.  I don't believe in a God anymore.  I'm the reason you're able to do what you're doing."  As sad war and violence is God never caused any of it, mankind did.  God doesn't make people hurt each other or kill each other, we made the choice to do it ourselves. 

A few days later during our Sunday Gospel Doctrine class one of our members commented on the lesson saying that he had served in the Vietnam War and had seen so many soldiers and civilians converted, changed and baptized.  What a difference in perspectives.  There are two things that the Book of Mormon specifically mentions will be problems in our day of those that do not possess faith in Christ: (1) people will blame God for all their problems and (2) people will look at life on Earth as a bottomless pit of misery and despair and that existence has no meaning instead of looking at it as a blessing from God to learn, grow and experience happiness and families. God doesn't force us to look at it a certain way, we choose for ourselves.  He gave us one of the greatest gifts, agency. 

 

Sister Roberts started reading "Jesus the Christ" by Talmage and that kind of re-inspired me to re-read it again for the second time.  If you want to understand who Jesus Christ is better and on a deeper level read that book!  It expands your view and appreciation for our Savior.  I also started reading "The Infinite Atonement" by Tad Callister.  It does a great job at breaking down every aspect of the Atonement and how it is and what it means.  Helps us wrap our minds around the uncomprehensible a little more than we could before.  I definitely recommend reading it if you can get a copy.  It's over 300 pages, but it's an easy read and not too hard to understand. 

 

Both wards have put together a Christmas Cantata singing group for this year and they have been pushing all the missionaries to be a part of it.  We went to our first practice last night and it was really fun and look forward to the kind of missionary work that it will open up in the near future.  They only meet up once a week for an hour on Sunday night and we've been riding up to the church with a Sister from the ward. 

 

Yesterday the Reynolds' kids carved their pumpkins and lit them up after we ate dinner with them.  It was a lot of fun.  The pumpkin I carved two weeks ago already molded out and got thrown away.  Carved it too early.  This Wednesday both wards are doing a combined Trunk or Treat activity.  We have been inviting people we know to come to it, less actives and investigators.  It will be fun.

 

Our only investigator we really have right now has been out of town all week and we haven't been able to get her to church or meet with her in a while.  Last time we saw her we introduced her to the Book of Mormon and she was so excited to get it and start reading it.  We'll just have to wait and see how that goes. Other than that the work is moving pretty slow and it is a struggle each day to find people to teach and stay busy and motivated.  Hard work always pays off at some point.

 

This past Saturday night all the missionaries were invited to a Marshallese First Birthday party at the church.  These are the most incredibly decorated, crowded, loud, food-provided parties I have ever seen for a baby turning one years old.  The Marshallese love to celebrate this last mark because usually babies have a tendency in the past to pass away before that age.  They are celebrating a healthy baby that has made it through the first rough year.  It's pretty neat.

The funny part about their parties is all the food they provide.  I send a picture of the container bins of rice that they were dragging into the church.  Insane!

They really love rice and they really love chicken and cooking whole pigs.  We have so much fun going to those parties.  Our next one is on the 22 of November.  Just around the corner.

 

Hope everyone is doing well and staying close to the Lord.  Talk to you next week.

 

Love,

Sister Robertson

 

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Oct 20th Pictures

These are special Marshallese goodbye parties for transferring missionaries. This time it was for Sister Randall.

They literally throw money at your feet and include homemade jewelry for the sisters.


We stopped to pick apples and pumpkins with the Penhallows on the drive back from the Iowa City transfer meeting.
This was fun! Take a close look.

2014 October 20th letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week was very busy and very stressful.  Sister Randall was called and transferred to my last area in Burlington Iowa and my new companion is Sister Roberts.  Transfer week is also really crazy and exhausting even if you're not being transferred.  Lots of changes and traveling throw you off and also worrying about who you're going to be stuck with for the next 7 weeks in which are three major holidays; Halloween, Thanks Giving and my birthday.  Sister Roberts was an answer to my prayers and we get along so well already and we are both on the same page and have very similar personalities.  We both are blessed to be in Dubuque together and I'm excited to see the Lord's work progress here over the next several weeks and months.  We both had Sister Woodbury as a companion in the past, so we have that in common.  My companion during Nauvoo Pageant, Sister Boone, finally went back home to Idaho Falls this past weekend.  I've already heard from her since she arrived home.  Time flies by so fast.
 
One of the Elder companionships got turned into a trio this past transfer.  So now we have 7 Elders and only 2 Sisters serving in Dubuque; we are pretty out weighed here.  Currently we haven't been able to get two of our investigators to church no matter what we do Sunday morning; including multiple annoying calls, texts and tapping on bedroom windows and doors (by request of the investigator of course! lol) and even a free cake bribe by Sister Randall before she left.  Nothing works.  We'll just keep working hard to find those who will.  Everyone has their time and their hour God is preparing them for and sometimes right now isn't going to be it no matter how much we want it to be. But we give it all we got so we're not accountable in a bad way later; aka. peace of conscience.  
 
Another one of our investigators was blessed, at the age of 35, to finally find and meet his biological father whom his Mother had hid from him his whole life.  He found out that all his grandfather's siblings lines and relatives are all members of the church in the mid west and I'm excited for him to meet them soon and see if they'll help him get baptized one day.  Still a slow moving story for now.
 
Sister Roberts is an incredible piano player, is half New Zealand and grew up in Spanish Fork, Utah where her family still lives.  She disproves of the Festival of Colors at the Krishna temple in Spanish Fork because it's dirty and crowded and so do I!  It's great to be on the same page!  We have the same personality, opinions and temperament and it has really brought the Spirit back and helped me a lot.  We were both an answer to each others prayers and I am grateful to serve with her.  It's going to be a good 7 weeks and hopefully longer.  I'd love to serve with her during Christmas too.  As a missionary you always hope for the good companion during the Holiday season so it doesn't suck.  I think I repeated myself quite a bit in this letter, but all that means is that I'm excited about what I said and It was apparently good enough to be repeated over again. 
We are "Roberts-Squared" according to President Jensen. He liked the idea of us serving together.He's a complete Goofball and will pair up a lot of missionaries with similar looks or names for fun.
 
 I'm grateful for my mission.  It has helped me to change, grow, be converted to the Restored Gospel, help other people, and receive and recognize hundreds of blessings I wouldn't have had without serving.  I would serve again in a heart beat if I had the money and I was allowed to, but probably not allowed to since I'm the oldest in the mission.  Maybe when I'm old and have tons of money (if I'm lucky enough!) I can serve again.  It's the most important thing you'll ever do besides family in this life.  If you're even thinking about serving a mission, JUST DO IT!  Best decision you can make.
 
love,
Sister Robertson 
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pictures!!!

A cool braided hairdo that Sister Randall gave me last week.

My full size comfy bed in our room at a member's home in Dubuque, Iowa.


Halloween cookies our investigator sells. We helped her set up her stand for it. We teach her while we help her.

The craft show where our investigator sells her cookies. It is in Farley, Iowa just south of Dubuque.

Our District meeting at the last transfer meeting.
Missionaries being goof balls. We took silly pictures. That would be me in the middle.

2014 October 13th letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week we had a bunch of interesting experiences that helped my testimony grow stronger. One less active lady we visit didn't have much faith or understanding of prayer.  We taught her how to pray and she asked if she could pray to find something she had lost.  Of course you can!  She prayed and less than a minute later she found what she had last and she was so happy and excited that God is real and really does answer prayers that she was hugging me and jumping up and down at the same time shouting, "it works! it works! it really does work!"  It was the cutest thing I had ever seen on my mission.  Afterward she wanted to pray for every little thing she needed help with.  So Cute!  Her testimony was strengthened so much that day.

Sunday we had the chance to attend the evening Sacrament meeting for the Marshallese group of members followed by a birthday celebration for Elder Ackley and dinner.  They don't have their own branch yet for the Marshallese so they do a sacrament meeting once a month on fast Sunday as a break the fast.  We got to wear translation headphones to hear it in English too.

We were able to get in contact with a lot of people this past week that we had struggled to in previous weeks and reconnect with them.  We got a few referrals too which we normally struggle to get from members or other people. 

We also helped Rita make several dozen Halloween sugar cookies and frost and decorate them all for her bake sale last week.  She has been struggling to receive an answer about our church but she lets us do service for her and hopefully as we talk with her more she will open up.  We have only been able to get her to church for a relief society activity over a month ago and that's all.

Yesterday we finally got a young family to come to church, but the mother felt like she was being judged for her squiggly baby and her clothes and she left sacrament meeting early to go home.  It was really disappointing and we had explained everything before hand as well and after the fact.  I hope they will try it out again next week.  We have been having a really hard time getting people to come to the church building even for a church tour during the week.  

Today we are waiting for our transfer calls.  This past transfer was only 5 weeks for some reason so it went by really fast.  Everyone says they know Sister Randall is leaving Dubuque, but we'll find out for sure later today.  I'll miss her, we have fun together, but I am also excited to serve with a new companion if that's God's will and get to know somebody new.

Some of my favorite counsel from Conference (insights, not word for word):

Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough.  Everyone needs revelation to receive Salvation.

Be unified with our Prophet and Apostles; don't have any doubts and concern over their counsel

"Acknowledge and face your weaknesses"
Cease withholding our means because we think the poor bring it upon themselves, "aren't' we all beggars?" 

It will always be easier to keep the Savior by our side with the help of a righteous companion. 

physical fitness affects our Spirit and also what we eat too; treat your body as a temple. 

God will not assume the "role of puppet master"...we have to work hard and do our part. 

No struggle is too great, no sacrifice too hard to get to the temple!

Show through how you live your life that this Gospel is true. 

I hope you were all able to watch conference.  Every session, so you don't miss out on the counsel and blessings that your Heavenly Father has in store for you right now in your life. :)

Love
Sister Robertson


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 Oct 6 pictures from Dubuque, Iowa

A quilt shop sign for my mom --I thought you would like it...though it was not a very good quilt shop. It was small and lame.

A Marshallese party at Asian King Buffet last week. They all sing at the restaurant.

Wedding cupcakes we helped set up for an investigator's bakery business.

Brother Wickham painting my fingernails at our dinner appointment between Conference sessions on Sunday. Random hidden talent.

2014 October 6th letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This last week has been really busy and I don't have much time to write.

Conference was very good and if you haven't watched it, go watch it.  No missing sessions allowed.  We also got a surprise trip to Iowa City on Thursday to watch a pre-showing of the new Meet the Mormon's movie that's coming to theaters around the country.  

It was a very good uplifting film.  You should all go see it and take friends if you can, especially less active or non-member friends.  It's not weird or churchy, just about normal, talented people who love Jesus Christ and their inspiring stories.  It's suppose to be coming out to theaters within the next week or two.  You can request it in your hometown theater at meetthemormons.com

Don't forget to take time every day to continuously build your testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel so your testimony doesn't burn out. You're testimony can always grow bigger and brighter even if it doesn't seem possible and never settle for just something that may seem "good" but something that is "best."  And only God knows what that is, so ask Him. 

Hope everyone is enjoying the Fall and staying safe.  I miss all my friends and family a lot and pray for you everyday. 

Love 
Sister Robertson
 P.S.  I found out last week that a family I had been teaching for 6 months in Burlington were finally able to be baptized!  the Mom was a less active member and none of her kids were baptized because of an abusive relationship that lasted a very long time.  It almost made me cry seeing a picture of it.  Wish I could have been there!