Greetings From Freaking OHIO!

Hey guys!

I’m in Ohio. Its totally normal. My area is called the Wheeling West area. I cross the Ohio/West Virginia state line every day, so it’s not even exciting any more. I live in Ohio, but the majority of the ward, including the church building, is in West Virginia.

My new address is:

600 Trabar Dr. Apt. 23
St Cairsville, OH 43950

My thoughts on being in Ohio:

1. It’s not quite as green as Pennsylvania, but still greener than Utah. I enjoy the green. So, this is a good thing.

2. The majority of the people in at least this part of Ohio are less accountable (the way missionaries nicely say CRAZY). It has made life really fun/interesting, but also makes it hard to teach people. BUT. I have heard its worse in Butler, so I’m not complaining.

3. Fun Fact: I was in the farthest area east that my mission goes, and I am now in the farthest are west that my mission goes. So I had to drive across the entire mission to get here.

4. Our apartment has air conditioning AND its own washer and dryer. These are both coveted features for mission apartments (at least in the area I was in), and it was a tender mercy from the Lord for me. I actually study with my favorite sweatshirt and a blanket on in the mornings. I’m so glad I didn’t go to Brazil or something, holy cow.

5. Elder Adamson from my MTC district is in my district, and I’m so happy to see a familiar face every week at district meeting!

6. You guys know how random my brain is. I enjoy cloud watching or whatever the crap you call it, and the other day I saw a three legged turtle jumping off a cliff. Lets just say, my new comp prolly thinks I’m nuts.

7. Speaking of my new comp. She is AWESOME. Her name is Sister Draper. She is 21, so the announcement didn’t really affect her. She has only been out 6 weeks longer than me. We have a ton in common, books and music and hobby wise. And, she doesn’t find my quirks annoying, she just thinks I’m hilarious, which is a plus :). Fun fact about Sister Draper: Her brain works SO FAST and her tongue has a hard time keeping up. She tries to talk as fast as her brain goes, so she ends up mixing words and trips over what she is trying to say a lot. Its really funny/fascinating. She knows that she does it, too, so I have to do most of the talking when we tract, because they NEVER understand a blessed word she says when she tries to talk. I’m sending a picture of us.

8. The ward is very different from what I am used to. I thought Berwick was small… Nope. They sit in chairs for sacrament meeting instead of pews. The actual ward should be bigger, as there are 500 members, but only about 80-100 are active. Oh, and there was a snake in the building yesterday too. It’s totally normal. Whatever.

So cool story for the week: I GAVE OUT MY FIRST BOOK OF MORMON THE OTHER DAY!

There are two outlooks that missionaries have: Give a Book of Mormon to everyone, OR follow the Spirit and give to those who might read it. Both are great ways to do it, but I’m of the latter preference. I don’t offer a BoM at doors unless the Spirit prompts me to.

Before I knock on a door, I kind of decide which approach I’m going to take, like whether I’m going to talk about the BoM, or Jesus Christ, or prophets, or eternal families, etc. At this door I had planned on talking about the Atonement. But, when she opened the door, I said a prayer in my heart and then heard myself saying things that I had NOT planned on saying. I told her about the BoM, what it was about, and where we got it. I offered it to her, and she said she didn’t know enough about it to have a desire to read it. I started to panic, but the Spirit helped me APPEAR to be cool as a cucumber as I bore my testimony about how she would come to know that it was the word of God, just like the Bible, if she would just read it, however skeptically, and then pray about it. She took it and said she would read it!! She didn’t want us to schedule a time to come back, but I’m just SO GLAD that the Spirit helped me out so much on that one. Hopefully it was a good seed that I was able to plant.

I’m going to bore you for a minute on member missionary work, and then I’ll close.

I didn’t know this before my mission, but missionaries are actually encouraged to rely on members for people to teach, instead of tracting. Tracting is the LEAST efficient way to find investigators. I gave a talk on this yesterday, which is why it was on my mind. Someone told me that the way to look at it is that the missionaries are full time missionaries part time in the area, and members are part time missionaries full time in the area. Its important for investigators to make friends in the ward, so that when the missionaries leave, they don’t feel abandoned and alone. Investigators don’t really see missionaries as real people, so when we bear testimony of something, it is still powerful, but not as powerful as when a member, or “real person” is there to also bear testimony.

Here is my challenge to you for this week:

1. Pray about someone you can share the gospel with.

2. Have the missionaries over for dinner, and after they share a spiritual thought with you, they will ask you for referrals. Instead of telling them who they should visit, ask them for advice on how YOU can share the gospel with whoever you come up with. They will secretly be stunned/impressed, and I have no idea what advice they will give you, but whatever they say, ponder and do!

3. Something that I as a missionary think is fun is when a member invites a friend over when they sign up to have us over for dinner, and we talk about what we do as missionaries and our families and where we are from, instead of shoving the lessons down their throat. When this happens, we usually do a spiritual thought about either the Restoration or the importance of families. The key is to WARN the missionaries before you do this. Haha. Mom, this might be something you can do with grandma and grandad and Jerrod, because I know they are curious about what the heck I’m doing out here for a year and a half.

It says in the scriptures that if we pray for and recognize missionary opportunities, the Spirit will help us out with what to say and do. I just told you a story about how this happened for me, so I know it can happen for you as well!

And I’m going to ask you guys about it too, so do it!

My Mormon Message for the week is called Voice of the Spirit. It is really cool. And, it will help with your member missionary work!

I love you guys! I pray for you all the time, and I know that Heavenly Father has angels watching over you for me while I’m gone :).

x Sister Roberts x

bloomsberg

New Companion! Sister Draper!

New Companion! Sister Draper!

Ohio

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We Almost Hit a Bear… Its Fine!

Hey guys!

We had a pretty uneventful/hilarious week. Mostly it was hilarious because I’m dumb. But hey, at least it was hilarious.

The first big thing is… I’m being transferred!! I have no idea where I’m going to be sleeping tomorrow night, or who my companion will be. I won’t even get to find out until tomorrow at transfer meeting. But, I am leaving tonight with Sister Andresen to drop her off in her new area, and will be picking Sister Bateman up there to go to Pittsburgh to spend the night with Sister Pau’u and her companion until transfer meeting tomorrow. Its going to be like a reunion for the sisters in my MTC district!! Except Sister Hanseen, which makes me sad :(. Still, I am excited/terrified to be transferred. So don’t write me or send packages until I can tell you my new address next week!!

We had a lot of experiences with wildlife this week…

1. We hit a ground hog. It was pretty gross, and Sister Andresen screamed for like a whole minute. And she made us drive past it again to see. EW.

2. We were lost out in the boonies because the gypsy (my GPS) took us on the wildest route and we ended up out by this bison farm that you could take a tour of (yes, please give me a tour of your Bison farm…) and we saw a WILD BEAVER. So we went on a wild goose chase to try and get a picture of this wild beaver.We may or may not have wasted 20 minutes trying to get a picture of a wild beaver. It’s fine. Did we get the picture? No.

3. Same trip as the wild beaver sighting, there was a dead kitten on the side of the road, and Sister Andresen PULLED OVER TO SHOW ME HOW DISGUSTING IT WAS. Thank you, sister, for opening your door and allowing that lovely odor into the car.

4. It was pouring rain, and we were driving out in the boonies (lets face it, my entire area is the boonies) and A HUGE BLACK BEAR RAN IN FRONT OF US. Luckily, we had enough time to brake and miss it without dying.

5. On the way home from exchanges, a bird suicide bombed in front of our car, so we killed a bird too.

The animals in this state…

Speaking of animals, we also were visiting a member and remember how Sister Andresen hates dogs? This member is one of our FAVORITE members, so she allowed the dog to approach her, and I got the most hilarious pictures of her enduring the dog for Sister Meaders sake.

We also got to help set up and attend another one of our favorite member’s wedding reception, I’ll send you a picture of that too.

One more funny story, and then I’ll get serious.

In personal study one morning, I was reading an article from a random Ensign I had picked up about a woman who had lost her arm and before she became a mother she worried about how she would take care of her kids with only one arm, and how she, with Heavenly Father’s help, had turned her weakness into a blessing. I thought it was really cool, so I was sharing it with Sister A in Companion Study. Here’s the funny part:

Me: So her kids hold on to her nub for comfort while they fall asleep at night. Isn’t that weirdly cute?

Sis A: How long is it?

Me: I don’t know, they have a picture, but I think its staged and its not really her.

Sis A: ……

Sis A: Not her nub, the article…

You guys, normal people would not assume that she was asking how long her nub was. This is a little insight about how my brain works. It’s fine. It’s normal.

Anyway.

We had a really great expirience tracting this week. We were originally planning on street contacting, but we felt like we needed to tract this street we were passing. So we spent about two hours on this one street. OF COURSE, at the last door for the day (we aren’t allowed to tract at night), we found Caroline. She is not going to investigate or anything, but we knocked on the door, and Sister Andresen told me it was my door, so when she answered I explained who we were and told her we wanted to share a message about how much God loves her. This is NOT what I normally say when people answer the door, usually I say we are sharing a message about the Book of Mormon or prophets or the Atonement, but I heard myself saying that, and rolled with it.

She. Starts. BAWLING. Her ex husband had tried to commit suicide, so her son had moved in with him to keep an eye on him, and the ex had beaten the crap out of her son the night before. And she had been sending all of her money to them to help them out so she was freaking out about the fact that her power and phone and water were going to be turned off. She said she was really scared, and she was grateful that we had knocked on her door. Sis A told her how we had felt like we needed to come down this street, and it was so we could let her know that God was aware of her and loved her, and asked her if we could say a prayer with her. So, we said a prayer on her front porch in the middle of the filthiest part of Bloomsburg. Her house is the nicest house I’ve seen though. She obviously makes good money, but sends it all to her son and ex. She held my hand while she talked to us, and we gave her the bishop’s number so that she could call him and use him as a kind of grief counselor. It was a seriously cool expirience.

I’ve been noticing a lot about miracles these past few weeks. It was a miracle we met Schaefer, who came to church yesterday and whoever the sisters are who come here have an appointment with her on Wednesday. All of our plans fell through that day, and it was so that we would be street contacting at the exact time she would be walking down the street. It was a miracle that we met Caroline. It was a miracle that we were able to not hit that bear, and also not go off the road into a huge ravine in the middle of the pouring rain. A few other little ones, but the point is, it has just been amazing.

Anyway, I’ll stop so it doesn’t take you an hour to read this.

The Mormon Message of the week is called A Book of Mormon Story. I really love the power that the bishop has just in his voice and in his testimony as he talks about the Book of Mormon. It was really well done. Plus, his accent is SO COOL.

Try not to laugh too hard at the pictures of me IN A DRYER. That is a long story, but, it is a story for another time. OR the pictures of Sis A enduring the dog.

Also, I would like to express my thanks to Aunt Janai for those colored pens. They have SAVED MY SANITY. When I read my notes/planner/journal I do not want to kill myself. So thank you 🙂

I love you!!

x Sister Roberts x

Action!

Hey everyone! How’s life?

First off, I just want to apologize to everyone about how long its taking to write back when you write me an actual written letter. My companion and I are doing a 40 day fast from things that take away from the Spirit, and I am fasting from writing letters on days that aren’t P-day. So… sorry!! I should have time to write everyone back today though.

This week has been pretty awesome!

We had two lessons this week. The first was with Linda, who WAS our only progressing investigator. We taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation, and she was really receptive to it, and said it made sense so far.

She has dogs, and I’ve noticed that dogs can TOTALLY TELL when you are a dog person, because her dogs would not leave me the heck alone. I got the longest, whitest dog hairs all over my favorite skirt and haven’t been able to wear it because we can only do laundry on P-day. Sad, but I still love dogs :). Sister Andresen hates dogs, so when a member or someone we visit has a dog I have to box her in so the dog can’t get anywhere near her, because if it does and the member isn’t watching, she kicks their dog. It makes me want to die inside.

Our other lesson was with a new investigator that we found this week, so we have a whopping TWO investigators now! Yaya!

His name is Tim, and he is a big black guy that is in a motorized wheelchair we found tracting. He was chilling on his porch smoking. I swear everyone we end up teaching we find while they’re smoking. He is way cool. I invited him to be baptized, and I was so prepared to address a concern about being baptized that he TOTALLY caught me off gaurd when he said “When?” I was like “uh, well, we were thinking, maybe, um….” and Sister Andresen had to save me by saying what we are SUPPOSED to say “We are holding a baptisimal service on July 6th, will you prepare to be baptized on that date?” Oh. My. Heck. I was so embarrassed.

Sister Decker gave us a very interesting pie. We were helping them clean their house so they could move to Utah, and to thank us she gave us a pie, which she said was apple pie, but was acutally like the pie version of a fruitcake. It had a lot of random fruit in it, and should have tasted good in theory but… it didn’t. But. I totally love the Deckers, they are one of my top 3 favorite families here, and I’m going to miss them so much!

Some things I found out are illegal here:

Its illegal to eat corn in the bathtub on a Sunday.

Its illegal to tie a girraffe to a lamppost. (everyone and their dang girraffes!)

And. Its illegal to sing in the shower. What.

Oh, and I cut my hair! Now, instead of looking like a homeless awkward Christian girl, I just look like an awkward Christian girl!

Now, on to the part I’m sure you are all dying to hear about: David A Bednar.

He is going to be the prophet. I know it.

He didn’t really give a talk. We were supposed to read 3 of his talks before we came to prepare. He stood at the pulpit and asked what we learned from them, and we raised our hands and if he called on us a runner would bring us a microphone, and we would say what we learned and he would deepen our knowledge of what we learned and ask a question. It was really the coolest thing ever. And after that he opened up a Q and A kind of thing, and we had the unique opportunity to ASK AN APOSTLE AND 3 MEMBERS OF THE 70 ANY QUESTION WE HAD. Never in my life will I have the opportunity to be in such a small group with an apostle. I was so grateful.

I just want to share with you one of the key things I got from our meeting with him.

The concept of faith and praying with faith was something that APPARENTLY I didn’t understand. It was really cool how he explained it, and I will do my best to explain it just as cool as him.

We are agents, not objects. We have the opportunity to use our agency and to not be acted upon. Part of being an agent and living the gospel is to do everything as an agent and not an object. For example, when we pray, we need to pray with the intent to act on what we are asking for. Lots of people (me, before I figured this out) pray and wait for Heavenly Father to just drop what we have asked for out of the heavens and into our lap. Like we ask to be healthy and then go eat crap like donuts and candy and stuff, and wonder why our prayers aren’t being answered.

That has totally changed my life!! Now, I pray to find those that are prepared for me, and then I GO AND LOOK FOR THEM.

Now, I pray for service opportunities, and GO AND ASK PEOPLE WHAT WE CAN DO FOR THEM.

Now, I pray to not get fat on my mission, and ACTUALLY EXERCISE INSTEAD OF LAYING FACEDOWN ON THE FLOOR IN THE MORNING.

It is so awesome, and I hope you guys can apply that as well.

I’ll end with a funny story, and my Mormon Message.

We were doubled into an area, which means that we were both new to the area, AND we opened the area, so we pretty much had to start from scratch in finding people to teach and figuring things out.

We were working on our area map, putting stickers where the members live, and I saw a house number that I recognized.

Me: “Sister, what is that number that they yell out in Monsters Inc. when they find something from the human world?”

Sis A: “Um, I can’t remember?”

Me: “Is it TWENTY THREE NINETEEN! TWENTY THREE NINETEEN!?”

Sis A: “Yeah! Yeah I think thats it!”

Me: “This member totally lives at 2319 something street.”

Sis A: …

Me: …

Sis A: *busts out laughing*

Me: *busts out laughing*

I have no idea if that is the number from Monsters Inc. but now we totally yell that when we accidentally touch an Elder innapropriately (brush their arm when we walk by, etc.).

Okay, so the Mormon Message for this week is called The Civility Expiriment. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but just know that it is probably the coolest Mormon Message I’ve seen so far. I totally cried in the middle of the library, its fine.

I love you all, and I hope that you miss me as much as I miss you!!!

x Sister Roberts x

We Moved…FINALLY

Hey everyone!!

This week has been much better! I haven’t gotten sick this week, so that is a tender mercy! I can’t believe how much I got sick, just in the first month of my mission!! Last week I found out I had a kidney infection, but this week I’ve been fine. Hopefully I don’t jinx it. Whatever.

Wintertons, I got your email!! I love you guys!! I’m glad you can picture my facial expressions, my goal is to not bore everyone to tears every week :).

We finally got to move out of our 20 year old apartment on Friday and Saturday!!! When I say 20 years, I mean thats how long elders lived in it before we got here… Its definitely older than 20 years. So gross. I wish there had been a hazmat suit I could have worn when we were cleaning it out, it was that gross. Don’t even get me started on the attic. Holy. Cow. Elder Larsen was bringing stuff down, and he says: “And now for the the next segment of our show: What Is It?”. He had this super weird zig zag plastic black thing… covered in spider webs. Lets just say, I suddenly remembered I didn’t clean… something really important elsewhere, like the um window in the bedroom or something. Haha. Out neighbor across the street, who is total hoarder status, came over and just started taking random pieces of wood and making Elder Yates carry our drum set (I’m pretty sure we are NOT allowed to play drums while doing the Lord’s holy work…) down the street to her son or whatever.

But our new apartment is ADORABLE. Its still really old, but in a nice rustic kind of way instead of an ew did we really just spend 5 weeks living here kind of way. There is no air conditioning, and I have zero desire to be clothed while we are in the apartment. But we have like 7 fans, two of which I had to buy. Fun fact: Central air is for rich people. I didn’t know that. I have never been so filthy hot in my whole life. Weird places on my body get sweaty… like my shins. Whose shins sweat???? Our old apartment had a window air conditioner, and luckily, a member of the ward has a super old one that only works on low, but hey, its an air conditioner. We just have to hang in there until Friday!

I might bombard you with pictures, since I haven’t really been able to send any the last couple weeks. Hope thats okay!

We had a really amazing first lesson with Linda, the lady in the picture in front of the tree that I look like a total hobo in. She is a referral from a member, and we want to baptize her SO BAD. She was so amazing in the first lesson. I haven’t felt the Spirit that strongly in a lesson on my mission yet so far. I committed her to be baptized, but she is scared of water, so we are going to have to help her with that. She doesn’t have a date yet though. And we’ve only taught her once!!!

Guys, I cannot express to you how important it is that we as members of the church are always being examples to those around us. The reason Linda is so open to the gospel is because she said she has been watching Sister Decker, the member that referred her, and she really liked the way that she is raising her kids and the way she lives her life.

One more cool story.

We were trying to find a former, and he wasn’t home, so we decided to tract around his house. We saw this guy standing on his front porch, smoking a pipe. Sister Andresen was like, let’s go anihilate this guy with the gospel, and I was like, okay, and so we went and talked to him. He was really nice, and his pipe was really fancy. We gave him a Book of Mormon, invited him to read the introduction, and also to read the whole thing, and asked him if we could come back and teach him a little bit more about what we believe. He was like, Yes, please come back next Tuesday at 2, and we were like, okay, and then we left to go back to our car, because its awkward to tract while someone you just talked to watches you. I turned around, and HE WAS READING THE BOOK OF MORMON WHILE SMOKING HIS FANCY PIPE. I love it. He has no idea that we are going to blow his mind tomorrow at 2.

Something kind of irritating about Pennsylavians: They NEVER commit to a certain time for appointments. Here is a typical conversation with a Pennsylvanian:

Me: So when would be a good time for us to come back?

Pennsylvanian: Oh, I’ll be around, just come on by whenever.

Me: Is there a day that works best for you?

Pennsylvanian: Nah, just come over whenever.

Me: Is Friday okay?

Pennsylvanian: Yeah, Friday is fine, I’ll be around.

Me: What time are you usually home?

Pennsylvanian: Oh just come over whenever, I should be here.

Me: …

Me: How about 4 pm?

Pennsylvanian: Sure.

*Friday at 4*

Me: *knock knock*

Me: …

Me: …

Me: …

Me: *facepalm*

Me: David A. Bednar is coming… It’s fine.

That was fun! So, to end my email, I would like to share my Mormon Message of the week. In honor of David A. Bednar coming to my mission, I would like to invite you guys to watch the Patterns of Light series of Mormon Messages by David A. Bednar. My favorite one is part two, when he talks about your mom telling you to say your prayers, and how that is a form of feeling a promting from the Spirit. I LOVE IT. He makes such a good point in that.

I love you guys so much, and I enjoy reading your emails and letters. Keep em coming! You guys continue to motivate me with your advice and good expiriences. I love hearing about your lives, and I’m grateful that ya’ll are so good at keeping me in the loop.

Be examples! Read David A. Bednar’s talk called Asking in Faith (or something like that). Watch Patterns of Light.

I love you! Keep your chins up! At least your shins don’t sweat! Sorry I suck at writing back!

x Sister Roberts x

P. S. the pictures in this email are of two families that I LOVE here, the Deckers and the Shermans, one is of how normal people would sleep in our new room, and the other is how we really sleep in our new room. I’ll try and also send pictures of our old room, our icky apartment, and miscellaneous other pictures.

The attic mess

The attic mess

Christine

Christine

Classy dinner

Classy dinner

Cleaning out the attic with the elders

Cleaning out the attic with the elders

Companions!

Companions!

AR Fun times

There was a landmine in the attic

There was a landmine in the attic

The crazy elders

The crazy elders

Our old room

Our old room

The painting that Cello Sherman gave me!! :)

The painting that Cello Sherman gave me!! 🙂

Pennsylvania doesn't like tailgaters!

Pennsylvania doesn’t like tailgaters!

Questionable green eggs

Questionable green eggs

Susquehanna River

Susquehanna River

The latest p-day

The latest p-day

The swamp

The swamp

The Deckers and the Shermans

The Deckers and the Shermans

Our new room: How normal people sleep...

Our new room: How normal people sleep…

Our new room: How we sleep

Our new room: How we sleep