Monday, July 28, 2008

Letter to Mom July 28, 2008

I think pieces of enoch must be scattered about cuz i've been thinking the same thing about the high desert ward here in bend. Man once i get transferred, if you and dad feel like vacationing anytime, go to BEND!! Meet my ward. Otherwise we are stopping here on the way home. Cuz you guys gotta come get me. Ya gotta. Oh by the way, Elder little is leaving on tuesday and I get a new companion. I scored another 6 weeks here in Bend!!!

It sounds like life there is going really really well. I'm super stoked for you guys. Your talk sounds like it was freakin sweet. And yes, grandma did talk about her dad while I was there for my "spring break". Amazing talk.

I really liked the tree story. I think I'll be using that later on. Lol, thats kind of a joke between me and Elder Birch (one of the zone leaders who's also going home this week)... we always say "Do ya mind if I coin that as my own?" In kind of a Sean Connery voice lol. We're insane when we're together. I'm sad he's going home. Anywho, that story and its parallel were awesome.
And finally... CDO...? Mom you weirdo. lol. You WOULD. [I told him I have CDO, it's like OCD but the letters are in alphabetical order like they belong.]

Anywho... if this email is a little disappointing, find comfort in this: I talked with Bishop T at church and he's gonna get me into the library at church this week to copy my journal!! He rocks. Plus I wrote a little letter that I sent today, outlining my financial plans and a budget. So... my electronic communication might stink this week but my analog mail is gonna rock. So I'll say it early, buckle up.

I'm happy and healthy and doing all I can. Things are good. We're going out to P's ranch in about an hour to buck 15 TONS of hay with him. Oh joy lol. On preparation day nonetheless... lol. It'll be fun. He's feeding us lunch and dinner. So it'll be worth it. Anywho... Love you tons!! Keep having fun and being social! Rock on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letter to Mom July 21, 2008

People are STILL talking about my talk. I dono if I told you much about my talk, but I talked about how Eleanor's good example helped me want to change my life. EVERYBODY asks about her now. People ask if we're still friends, if she's writing me, if she's waiting for me lol. Its funny. Man... I feel SO at home in my ward its amazing.

I like your outlook on confidence in a missionary, and I totally agree. I used that mindset when I first got here. I felt like a scared little boy, but I did what I could to look like a man. (he look... like a man. lol). And people are surprised when they find out how new I really am. I'm almost out of the "green" phase of my mission. yay! How weird is that? Way weird.

Let me know how the talks go. And I'll get you a copy of everything I've been meaning to copy. I have one last Idea for how to get copies. Its a good one too. I really have been trying desperately to get copies but of the 2 churches i'm usually at, one has a passcode on theirs, and our building has the copy machine in the vault we call the library. So i'm just going to nicely ask Bishop Tsang. If that doesnt work out... I'm going to the stake center. lol

Being on a mission hasn't saved me from any hard work. I've laid a yard of sod already. And this week we helped our ward mission leader's son move some ridiculously huge furniture down an unrealistically small stairwell. Then we bucked 6 tons of hay. ALL IN ONE DAY! lol. Then we worked as escorts at the Red Cross Blood drive a couple days later. Man. Its been a crazy week.
Dads gas adventure sounds like a crazy time. WHY DID HE HAVE HIS BIKE?? Either way, lucky that he did! lol. Thats funny. And even though I ride my bike in dress pants Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and every other Sunday, I still have sympathy for him lol. (We share a car). He's a mad man.

Transfers are at the end of the month. My apartment address should be safe for another transfer period, however just as good practice, assume I'll be transferred and dont use the address till further notice. I'm shooting for 6 months in Bend.

Anywho... its been a really hard week, and a weird couple weeks. I cant go into detail in an email, its too much to say. But suffice it to say, I'm seeing the crazy side of missionary work. It feels like freakin Harry Potter lately. Our whole zone has been experiencing some powerful and oftentimes spooky opposition. Its... weird. No fun. But that just means that miracles are around the corner.

I'm healthy and doing well. I'm broke as freak this month cuz Bend is one of the most expensive places in the universe to live and food costs are on the rise apparently. Yay! But i'm trying to learn to be more conservative with my funds. I think I'll start pinching pennies a little harder and see if a boog comes out of lincolns nose. lol. But yeah, life is good. Thank you so much for your love and support and stories! Love you tons!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pictures Finally!

Pictures from Zach, the captions below were written on the backs. Double click to see full size.

Our district in the MTC with Brother Jake Reis. He's the Hawaiian in the middle.
My MTC district at the mission conference 6-12-08. Nichols, Me, Lunt, Tui'one, Griffith, Rogers, Baucom.
My Zone from the MTC at the temple.
Me doing the classic "Matrix" shot. I hate myself for doing it.
Me & the Fugals at the mish conference. I thought I'd get one where I didn't look like a horrified greenie fresh out of the MTC. Elder Coffey & "his boys." He trained all 3 of us, so we're "brothers." Elder Haight, me, Coffey, Elder Burdess.
Me & Elder Larson the day our district went caving just outside of Bend.
Oregon is gorgeous!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zach's Letter to Mom, July 14, 2008

I'm not proud that you and dad are WI residents. WI is lame... lol. I'm a Minnesotan. Oh man. I've run into a few of them out here too! Like, we had dinner with Brother K's family, he's the son of the first counselor to the Bishop, and his inlaws were here. FROM MINNESOTA!!! It was so awesome to hear the accent again. I even slipped back into it a little bit and Elder Little laughed at me a lot. It was a good time. He even knows about where LP is. Thats a true Minnesotan. He asked "Who's the chief of police there?" I told him Bob Carlson. He said "That tells me one of two things; either you were a wild kid before you left or your dads a cop." lol it made me laugh. Cuz dads not a cop...

Oh man, Elder Little and I spoke in church yesterday! Freak, it was amazing. Mine was very personal. I always procrastinate my talks, so this time i planned way ahead to stay up all saturday night to write it and it paid off big time. It was good. I'll send you a copy.

Our ward mission leader's wife (also the secretary for his calling) Sister B came up to me with tears in her eyes and held my hand and said "I WISH so bad I could hug you." it was kind of a whoa moment for me. I'm starting to feel like I'm touching lives and its blowing me away. This is what I live for, to leave my mark on peoples lives.

I'm enjoying your spiritual thoughts every week. They add good insight that I definitely enjoy. So keep pondering! Oh man, one last note, Elder Little and I went to Relief Society yesterday too! Way fun! lol. My journal explains why. Be patient with me, im sorry its not there yet! SOON!

Anywho... Life is WONDERFUL. The work has slowed down a lot, which makes me sad, but we're working hard to find more people to teach. It'll pick back up shortly. We just gotta have faith.

Anywho... Everything rocks. I hope the unpacking goes smoothly for you guys. Love you TONS!!!

Letter to Jen July 14, 2008

Grandma Liz sent me a bunch of envelopes with labels and stamps on them already. Right on, save a few bucks on postage.

(This is Zach's response to my question about his big post-mission travel plans and the info that our cousin Logan and his wife Kristen are going to Oregon to visit her family soon.)
Part of my big travel plans indeed do include Utah. I'm making a list of people to spend a few days with. Lol. It includes Oregon, California, and Utah. So I'll pretty much be America's guest for a while. If Logan and Kristen stopped in Bend that would make my day. Knowing my luck it'll be the same week that my trainer Elder Coffey stops back through. He's coming to visit me on his way up to Washington (to get the girl of his dreams). Man, I almost wrote "WARshington". Thats how they say it here.

They say such goofy crap in Oregon. We have a joke, we say "I ain't been in my rig in a couple-three weeks cuz I ain't warshed it." Which is Oregonian for, "I haven't driven my truck in several weeks because I havent washed it." We catch ourselves saying "Couple-three" sometimes. Its really stupid. Freakin Oregonian accents. Dont tell Kristen lol.

I've realized why missionaries are WEIRD when they go home. We're just a clever mix of all the other missionaries around us. We pick up weird crap from each other. Like one of the zone leaders and I always sit all proper and cross legged and talk like Sean Connery and say stuff like "Well thats just scrumptious" or "Ah, delicious, let me just write that down in my register" and "Oh, rather... Do you mind if I coin that as my own?" He and I have WAY too much fun together. He's NUTS.

Anywho, you got a longer email than mom did. Oops. lol. I'm just rambling in this one though. You can share with her.

Oh man. One last story, so we did an activity for district meeting on obedience. Our district leader asked one of our zone leaders Elder Dickison "Would you do anything to share the gospel?" and he said yes. So Elder Stout (Dist Leader) told him that in order to share the gospel in this activity he had to stand up in front of us and sing "I'm a little tea pot" with the actions. He had stuff for all of us. And for me, he asked "Would you do anything to share the gospel?" I said yes. He said "Then sign this contract." and Elder Baucom had written up a contract saying, in short "I Elder Roberts hereby admit that Hannah Montana is stupid and ugly and she's the crappiest thing that Disney has ever puked out into the world, which is saying a lot because they gave Britney her start. Blah blah blah" lol. I signed it "Orville Redenbacker" lol. It was aweseome.

Anywho, life is good. I'm still working hard and trying my best to be the best Elder Roberts I can be. Thanks for your love and support Jen. Youre a rockstar of a big sister! LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Letter to Jen July 7, 2008

Okay this is only part of his letter because the other stuff was just answering my questions.

Hey, i got the package, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Oh my gosh it was amazing! You saved me a ton of money on groceries too! YOU ROCK!

And I will make copies of my journal very very soon. Its on the way. We've just had some major complications lately with that stuff. Freak, calm down. Lol.

4th of July was cool. You'll have to google Bend Oregon Pilot Butte so you know more of what I'm talking about. But anywho, they set of a sweet fireworks show from the top of Pilot Butte, so you could see them from anywhere in town. It was awesome! Especially since our apartment complex is really close to the butte. So I made a smoothie (which I've gotten REALLY good at) and we chilled out in front with some neighbors and watched the show. It was fun. I'm sending home a small memory card with some pictures and videos on it. Maybe some of that stuff will make its way to you. I hope so.

anywho... thank you so much for the package. My cabinets are stocked now! You're the best! I've been workin hard and having a blast. I've GOT to get my journal on its way... ugh. Anywho... thanks for your love and letters and all that. LOVE YOU!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Letters June 30, 2008

My parents and I all got letters from Zach this week. Apparently the one to my dad was short and the ones to my mom and me were mostly just responses to our letters. He is still so happy and loving everyday but he's definitely in need of some packages from loved ones! If anyone has a minute to send him some cookies or candy or even a box of cereal, I know he would really appreciate it!

Here is one short story Zach sqeezed in to mom this week:
We got new neighbors next door. We had just gotten home from dinner when they pulled up with a pickup truck and trailer. We tossed on some work clothes and helped them unload. They were caught so off guard it was awesome! So now every time they see us they're way excited and super friendly. I have such a huge sense of belonging here. The ward treats me like a member of their own family, our investigators are awesome, and our neighbors are great. I love this place.

Here is one short story he sent me:
I've been making some cool changes in the ward I'm in. I'm really excited. I finally got a weekly corrolation meeting going with our ward mission leader, I'm pushing to get a full time gospel essentials teacher called, and I also came up with an idea for a cool class we're putting together. It would be a quarterly thing or something like that. About member missionary work. Where The missionaries will spend third hour with an auxilliary group with all the proselyting tools we have, lesson pamphlets, dvd's, pass-along cards, etc and teach them more on how to effectively use each of those tools. Like most people dont even know the lesson pamphlets exist. They're AMAZING!! They're packed with doctrine in simple terms, its what we give to investigators or contacts to help them learn more. So the goal of the class is to educate members on effective and non-scary ways to share the gospel. My idea. Came up with it on the toilet.