Tuesday, August 24, 2010

For My Family

Ah it's P-day again and I'm so glad I have some time to email you guys. I wrote (or am in the process of finishing) letters for all of you! I hope you guys enjoy what I wrote!!

Thank you guys so much for the packages! I've loved your letters and the food and the camera! But mostly it's just wonderful to get something from my family. I always feels special when I get mail and it's from you guys. And my companion was very happy to learn that I am a sharing person with all the treats that I got! They'll definitely last me the whole 12 weeks while I'm here, except for the beef jerky of course. I've been rationing it for myself and I occasionally let my companion have some as well. So just to let you guys into my really personal life...the MTC food is killer, as in it's killing my bowels. I can't wait to get to Japan so I can not only teach the gospel, but eat some good, healthy food too!

Speaking of teaching the gospel, I've taught lesson one so many times I think I have it down. I'll knock on wood though because there's always room for improvement and I have to teach it again on Thursday to MTC investigators. Wish me luck!

I want to let you guys know about a strong spiritual experience I had this last sunday at devotional. Ah, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. There was a musical performance, "I Know My Redeemer Lives" and then a president of on of the 70s spoke. He was so awesome and afterwards he said that he would like to forgo the closing hymn and have the musical number to be done again. He was truly inspired. I listened more closely to the words and the music and I was deeply overwhelmed. There was an empty seat next to me which is very unusual because we had great seats. Half way through the song I had this feeling that Christ was sitting next to me and that he had Hhis arm around me. I can remember exactly how it felt; I was so at peace and I felt such a strong love for my Savior. He truly is our eldest brother. Listen to that song for me and let me know what impressions you have.

I love each and every one of you. I miss you all right now, but I know I am so blessed to be able to be out here. Please pray for me that I might be a good missionary and that I might be able to fulfill my purpose and invite people to come unto Christ. Pray that I might be able to teach by the Spirit. Pray for the people of Japan that they might be made ready to hear the gospel of Christ.

Tell Matthew that I love him very much. That experience you told me about him wanting to kiss my picture was moving. Please send me some pictures of you guys so that I can carry you with me.

Miles, I want you to know that I think about you a lot. You're the example now so be good for Matthew. Keep reading your scriptures.

Mom, I love you! I can't wait for you to get my letter so you know more about what I've been up to!

Dad, keep giving me great advice, I'm so glad you are my father. You're the best example any son could ask for. Thanks again for the Kanji book too! I'll have some good Kanji down by the time I leave.

Brittany and Tyler, you guys are awesome. Keep up the faith. Thank you Brittany for the email. I want to let you know that I have not had a single soda (though it's the most popular drink here) since I was in Arizona.

I love all of you. Email you next week!!

Elder Gregory

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Email From Robert - For My Family

Watashi no kazoku desu!

It's my first P-day in the MTC and so I'm able to email you today! I'm so excited to hear from you guys. So much has happened in the last week as I'm sure you probably guessed. I'm rooming with two Senpai (senior companions) and my companion and they are all awesome. My companion is Elder Montes de Oca and he's a funny elder (i would say guy or dude but we aren't allowed to say that in the mtc or in the mission field!). I've made a lot of friends here and my teachers are awesome. Well, most of the teachers are awesome. Anyways, I want to let you guys know some of the things I've been up to. I've been studying Nihongo everyday for 5 hours a day, going over my PMG (Preach my Gospel for future reference) for about the same amount of time. My Japanese is pretty good but I know I'm going to need the full 12 weeks here...it's been humbling. I had to give a prayer in the branch Priesthood meeting (in Japanese!!) and it went really well. I impressed my Zone Leaders (they stood up after my prayer and told me it was the best prayer from a Kouhai -Jr. Companion - they've heard). I had to give another prayer later and I struggled through it for some reason. It was good to be humbled!!

I want to talk a little about some of the spiritual experiences I've had here. Some famous Japanese singer came and spoke to our Branch (he's LDS) and told us this amazing conversion story for himself and then his brother who was asked to be baptized by Elders practicing their japanese in the mtc. I have to admit, the whole story brought me to tears. I'd be slightly embarrassed anywhere else, but in the mtc I know I'm not being judged for feeling and being affected by the Spirit (Seirei if you remember that dad).

My district has 7 people in it, two aussies (Australians), a Brazilian, and my companion is from Japan (though he's actually spanish and doesn't speak very much Japanese. The internationals outweigh us Americans. It's crazy. My district leader is this 20 year old Australian guy and he is awesome. He suggested we all bear our testimonies to each other one of the days and so we did, and the spirit was so strong. If I could offer any advice to future missionaries (Miles) and the rest of my family it would be to search the scriptures and bear your testimony everyday. I know that sounds like a lot but it will bring such great happiness to you.

Mom, I hope you know I miss you very much and think about you often. You are very wonderful and I promise I'll write you every week.

Dad, the advice you gave in your letter meant so much to me. I'll treasure it and follow the counsel you gave me.

Brittany, you are an oshiri kao. That means butt face in bad japanese. But I love you and miss you.

Miles, keep reading your scriptures! Pray to know if it's true. I promise the Lord will bless you. Do well in school and try hard in everything you do. Work hard in swim team too. And do football if you can! I love you bro.

Matthew, I hope you know that I am listening to my Heavenly Father. I love you very much.

I just want to reiterate that I'm doing great here, I'm having a lot of fun, making a lot of memories, and I'm being strengthened through hard work, a tough schedule, and a loving Heavenly Father.

Love, Robert

PS Send me a camera kudasai!! There are things I want to show you guys!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Letter From President and Sister Margetts

On Wednesday, August 11, 2010 we awoke, knowing this was the day we would say good-bye to Robert. I slept fitfully and awoke around 5 a.m., my thoughts flooding with memories of him as a little boy playing legos on the tile floor, going to kindergarten and then the time speeding by to graduation from high school. Just 1 year ago we were saying good-bye when we took him up to BYU for his freshman year. I cried that day, too, but that paled in comparison to what we were about to do today. I wondered if I had done everything right, if I had been a good mom. I fretted a little over whether I had packed everything he needed and then realized, at least temporally he was prepared, but had I prepared him enough spiritually. Had I told him I loved him enough?

That morning when he was dressed in his suit, looking like a missionary ready to go, Bob gave him a blessing and then the two grown men embraced and sobbed on each other's shoulders. I thought how grateful I am to have a husband and a son who love each other and are not afraid to express it. We drove to the MTC in a borrowed car (thank-you John and Maria!) and pulled up to the curb. Hundreds of white-shirt clad young men lined the sidewalk and greeted us. We took a couple of pictures and then hugged each other for as long as we could. Then, one of the host missionaries grabbed Robert's luggage and they turned to walk away. But before they went, Robert turned and looked into my eyes searching to see if his mom was going to be okay and conveying through his green eyes that he was okay and that I needn't worry. He had committed himself fully to the Lord's service. This is what he was prepared to do. I tried to look happy, but I know my eyes betrayed me as they filled up with tears. I choked back a sob and said, "I love you, Robert." It came out squeaky, in a little girl voice. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly and then, he turned and walked away with confidence. I got in the car and the tears flowed. Looking out the back window, I watched him walk to the MTC doors and disappear inside as we drove away. All the missionaries were waving enthusiastically as we made our way out of the parking lot. I searched for my sunglasses so I could hide the tears that freely flowed now, but before I could get them on, one of the young men bent to look at me through the passenger window. He smiled and waved more vigorously and I could hear him through the closed window calling out, "Good-bye, MOM!!!" In that moment, I felt a wave of happiness and I laughed out loud. That young man had probably watched his mom go not many weeks before and he knew how to make me feel better. We turned down the street and passed BYU watching all the students rush to their classes. How does it all happen so fast?

We flew home that evening and looked out the window of the airplane as we flew over the big Y on the mountain and Bob said, he's down there now, going through orientation. We waved to him and quietly mouthed our good-byes.

Thursday was a hard day, but I was thankful to have family around me. Brittany, Tyler, baby Jack and my mom were all here and it was a comfort. Even so, I cried many times. Then I went to the mail box and to my great surprise was a letter from President Margetts of the Japan Fukuoka Mission. As I read, I was so touched at his inspired words which brought immediate comfort to my aching heart. I would like to share with you the contents of that letter here:

Dear Brother and Sister Gregory,
Sister Margetts and I would like to express our appreciation to you for preparing your son for this time to serve. We are so grateful that he has been called to serve with us in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. We look forward to meeting him. We realize that many years of love, sacrifice, and guidance have led him to this important step in his life and we are committed to doing everything we can to help him continue in the path you have put him on.
You have just sent Elder Gregory off to the Missionary Training Center for his formal preparation for this service. Finally letting him go could not have been easy and the feeling of 24 months apart must be very real today. Elder Gregory's stay at the MTC will be short but he will learn so much. This experience will bring associations with carefully selected teachers and leaders and thousands of fellow missionaries. It will provide a spiritual environment that is truly unique. It will also bring challenges that will help him stretch and grow. Your letters of support, love and encouragement will be needed. Don't worry-he is in good hands.
We know that you must be excited and a little concerned as this begins, even if this is not your first missionary. We would like to make you aware of a great resource that we discovered that will give you many helpful ideas for successfully supporting a missionary. It is an article written by a former mission president and his wife entitled, "Helping from Home." It was published in the Ensign on page 48 of the July 2003 issue. If you are not able to find a copy please let us know and we will send one. We recommend the principles shared in this article. Your support will make a big difference in your son'ts focus, success, and happiness.
We are now just a few weeks away from meeting your son in person. We are so exicted. We want to do all we can to make Elder Gregory's mission a time of growth and learning from the very beginning. To make the transition from the MTC to the mission field as smooth and peaceful as possible we would like to know a little more about your son. We would appreciate you sending us some personal info to help us get to know him better. Anything that you think would be important fo us to know to keep him healthy and safe, to know him better, to feel closer to him, to best support him as he serves, to help him grow (e.g. health, special abilities, talents and achievements, likes and dislikes, activities in the Church and school, family information, etc.). This information will be kept confidential. Thank you!
We can only imagine the feelings that you are having as you are separated from your missionary. We want to assure you that w ewill do all we can to help your son while he is here. But better still, you should sleep better at night knowing that "angels are round about him to bear him up" (D&C 84:88). We will have him email you to let you know when he has arrived and to share with you his progress as he fulfills his calling to share the gospel with our Heavenly Father's choice spirits in Japan. Than you for your continued support. We pray that our Heavenly Father's richest blessing wil be with you your missionary and your family.
Faithfully Yours,
President Sherman K. Margetts

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who came to Robert's farewell and open house tonight. Robert really appreciated everyone who came to support him! He leaves Tuesday morning for Salt Lake City, and reports to the MTC on Wednesday at 1:00. Throughout his 24 months of service to the Lord, Elder Gregory would appreciate your cards, letters, and packages (apparently they do not have peanut butter in Japan!). Robert expressed some sadness this evening at the thought that he wouldn't be able to see his family and friends again for another two years. I know that your letters of encouragement will mean a lot to him. Robert spoke in church today about how to avoid contention in the home. In 3 Nephi 11:29-30, we read that "...contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine..." Robert would like to leave you all with this message, that if you can live with peace in your heart and forgive and love those who are contentious toward you, the Lord will bless you.

Thanks again for all of your support!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

June 15, 2010

Dear Elder Robert Ross Gregory,

We welcome you to full-time missionary service to proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to help build His kingdom on earth. We trust that you will savor the honor and privilege of bringing souls to the Master by losing yourself in the work.

As you continue to read and study the scriptures, you will increase your personal knowledge and testimony of the Savior and His gospel. you will be motivated to be obedient and to work hard. You will learn to be led by the Spirit so that you can teach and testify with converting power.

The Savior taught:

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10).

"Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together" (John 4:35-36).


May you find everlasting joy in your service to your Father in Heaven, His Beloved Son, and the people to whom you minister.

Faithfully you Brethren,

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles