Elder Zachary Roque

Elder Zachary Roque
Morristown New Jersey Mission

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dover, New Jersey

I like to familiarize myself with each new area that Zach serves in.  I asked a couple of the ladies I work with about Dover, and they weren't too familiar with it.  So, I did some "googling" and this is what I came up with.  It seems that New Jersey has lots of little "townships".  The population of Dover is about 18,000.  Here a a few photos I found.

December...Transfer time

December 6, 2010
This week was really tough with the holiday and such. Not alot of teaching oppurtunities. Transfers are next week and I really hope to stay with Elder Williams for at least one more month. We are really starting to see miracles together and in the branch with our new Branch President. The weather has turned really cold in the mornings. We run every morning and it's starting in the 20's. Chilly!

Word just came in that I am being transferred to a new area.  I am not sure where yet, buy I am excited to work in another part of the mission.  A new companion and a new challenge.  I have been made a district leader, and look forward to the chance to serve. The First Presidency Christmas devotional was a good way to set the tone for the holidays.  I love to hear those great men speak.  I'll let you know my new address when I get it.

November letters

November 22, 2010
Well today while playing football I colided with one of the other elders I live with and we whacked heads. I am perfectly ok but he needs stitches.  I feel bad, we were on the same team.

We recently got a new Branch President  and he is amazing!!! He moved over from the
spanish ward. He is a wonderful man.  We went from having 25 people at chuch to 52!!!!!! We doubled. We had three investigators there as well. It was A really really good week. We were able to find 5 new people to teach who all seem really interested. and I don't know if you remember we were teaching a girl name Chi-Chi and it really didn't progress. However, we recently started teaching her again and she has a baptismal date for December 12! She has completly changed since we taught her last. She is willing to do anything to get baptized its amazing!

November 15, 2010
We had a member referral from another ward and she turned out to be golden! Her name is Florence and she is from Gahna. We had our new Branch President with us when we taught her, it was a really spiritual lesson.  We are preparing to go to the temple on the first of December.  I was notified of my release date: August 17, 2011.  Can't believe it.

November 8th, 2010

Things Are Great here!!!! Yesterday we Had Stake conference and Elder D. Todd Christofferson was there, he gave an amazing talk.  Elder Williams and I are working really hard and its stressful because we arent seeing a lot of success. We are being obedient and doing all that is asked of us. Its funny, the harder you work the harder it seems the work is,  Today we started practice for our Christmas fireside, all the missionaries are singing. It is going to be an wonderful experience.  

November 1, 2010

Things have been really good here, we are working really hard. Elder williams and I have been seeing alot of success. We found 5 really amazing new investigators this week. The last two nights we had to be in early so we had some fun.  We quoted movies and decorated for Christmas, it was a fun two nights even though we were couped up in the house. We had a really good fast and testimony meeting yesterday. The spirit was really strong. I can't believe it is already November, time is flying buy so fast!! Before you know it it will be Christmas!  It is amazing to feel the change the atonement has in your life as you fully realize how to use it. There is such a powerful presence felt. It is amazing to feel the love of your Savior when you fully realize the true power of the sacrifice He made.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Transferred to Elizabeth

I have recently been transferred to Elizabeth, NJ. The branch is very small; only 20 to 30 people attending each week. It seems that all of my areas have been small branches and wards, but I love it! My new companion is from Las Vegas. His name is Elder Williams and we get along great and are looking forward to working together in Elizabeth. This last week we found 10 new investigators and are so excited for them. I love teaching the gospel and my personal testimony is strengthened each time I share it. It is amazing the love you feel for those you are teaching. The gospel really links us together as we share saving truths.

It was hard to leave my last area, as we were just starting to see an excitement in the branch there. Just before I left my companion and I organized a branch activity. We had a movie night with refreshments. I made empanadas and cheesecake. MMMM delicious. It was fun to see the members of the branch get together and have some fun. And yes the movie was church appropriate.
I recently had to go to the ER as I passed out. It turns out that I a had double inner-ear infections and it affected my balance. Luckily for me when I passed out my companion caught me. Once I received antibiotics for the infection, I felt much better and the dizziness went away. Thanks to my companion I didn't crack my head open on the fall!

I feel so blessed to be serving at this time in my life. I love the people of New Jersey! I have made some really wonderful friends and look forward to making so many more. What a blessing it is to be a part of the work in this part of the Lord's vineyard. May the Lord bless you all and bless this wonderful work.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Photos from Elder Roque

Here are a few of the most recent photos from the mission field.  As a parent, it warms my heart to see Zach so happy.  I know that not every experience will be a positive one, but he seems to be enjoying the time he has as a missionary, and really loving the people that he has been sent to serve.          
What cute kids

Baptism day

Fellow missionaries

J.C. Penny pose

The only car Zach has had on his mission

Random snow picture from last winter

Great Family

Elder's from the Morristown Mission

Zone breakfast

Manhattan Temple

One of my "Futbol" buddies

Monday, August 2, 2010

July was a great month!

This week has been good. We recently had a baptism, his name is Dominique and is 18 years old.  It is the first baptism this branch has seen in 11months.  It's great to be part of the process when someone makes changes in their life that bring them so much joy.  On a more personal note, I have been playing a lot of soccer! I am gettin pretty good. I have played with people from all over the world.

We were able to see fireworks as a zone for the 4th of July, it was really fun. We have been focusing on working really hard,and doing the best we can. We have a couple of investigators that are moving along well. We are having an all mission conference soon with all the new missionaries coming over from the Cherry Hill mission; it should be a lot of fun. It is amazing to see the changes in people as we teach them and help them draw them closer to God.

Things are going amazing!!!! We met a guy named John and he is progressing so fast. HE is amazing! He is getting close to being baptized really soon. probably in August.  We are working really hard and seeing a lot of success. We have about 3 people who could be baptized within a month. Time will tell. But other than that the heat is killer!  Still hot and humid but it is supposed to cool down these next few days. Hopefully!

I have been asked to speak at the funeral of a member of the branch.  I don't know the man but he was a member of the church. His wife is not. I will be using the plan of salvation in my talk. Hopefully her burden will be lifted. Our recent convert Domonique was called as a branch missionary and is preparing to serve a mission in a year. He is also preparing to get his patriarchal blessing!!!!! Our investigator John is still praying about a baptismal date: probably the end of August. He is amazing. He has felt the spirit and is committed living the gospel of Jesus Christ; he is already talking about going to the temple!!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Amazing Temple Trip

We had the opportunity to attend the temple this last week, it was amazing!!!!!!! We were there to see a couple be sealed and were also able to witness baptisms and do confirmations,  as well as go through a session. It was a great experience.

Unlike many of the temples I have visited, the Manhattan temple is right in the middle of the city.  As you can see from the picture, it's busy outside with traffice and noise, but once to step inside it is so quiet and peaceful.  Really quite amazing.  If you weren't paying attention to the building you probably wouldn't know it was a temple if your just walked past.

We have been stressing lately, as our teaching pool in small and we are trying to find new people to teach. Right now we have 3 solid investigators. Domonic who is being baptized the 10th, and Damien who we started teaching yesterday.  He already has a love for the Book of Mormon . We also are teaching a man named Gary.

We are absorbing the Cherry Hill mission on the 1st and we are having a mini transfer the 7th. More missionaries and the possibility of a new area or companion on the mini-transfer.  Who knows what will happen. Everything is going well.  Keep us in your prayers.

Elder Roque

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Blog

I thought I would get a new blog up and running for Zach.  I want for his mission experiences and photos to have their own venue.  So, here we go.  I just want to clarify that Zach is not posting this information, I am. 
I know it shows at the bottom of the posts he did, but I set the blog up with his name for his info.  So just in case anyone thinks he is blogging from New Jersey, he is not.  I am still posting for him, and thoroughly enjoy it. 

It has truly been a blessing to have him serving as a missionary.  It has been hard as parents to have him so far away, but the growth he has experienced, and the miracles he has seen and been a part of has made it all worth while.



Transferred to Bayonne 6/7/10

I am now in Bayonne. I have really seemed to have come into my own and am now teaching more powerfully than I ever have. It is amazing when you prepare and are obedient, how well the spirit works through you. My new companion is Elder Brasga, we served in the MTC together.

I do like Bayonne. It is another walking area; keepin the weight off. The branch we serve is very smal, we average 20 people at church each week. Even though it is small I know with the Lord's help it will grow tremendously.

We are teaching a lot of teenagers and I have been pretty bold in calling them to repentance, but it is exactly what they need. Elder Brasga and I have been working our tails off. Yesterday I taught about 18 teenagers at the park. I taught them the whole restoration and the whole plan of salvation. We are going back tonight to teach them again. We get to go to the temple next month!!!!!!! I love the temple. It is such a blessing in our lives. I love You all And you are always in my prayers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Area

I am now in Bayonne. I have really seemed to have come into my own and am now teaching more powerfully than I ever have. It is amazing when you prepare and are obedient, how well the spirit works through you.  My new companion is Elder Brasga, we served in the MTC together.

I do like Bayonne. It is another walking area; keepin the weight off. The branch we serve is very smal, we average 20 people at church each week. Even though it is small I know with the Lord's help it will grow tremendously.

We are teaching a lot of teenagers and I have been pretty bold in calling them to repentance, but it is exactly what they need. Elder Brasga and I have been working our tails off. Yesterday I taught about 18 teenagers at the park.  I taught them the whole restoration and the whole plan of salvation. We are going back tonight to teach them again.  We get to go to the temple next month!!!!!!! I love the temple.  It is such a blessing in our lives.  I love You all And you are always in my prayers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was wonderful.  Ivan did his homework, and helped the kids with a present for me. I received a Barnes and Noble "NOOK" e-reader.  So cool!  I know that it probably annoys my family when I fall into a book and read non-stop, but I truly LOVE to read. One problem; my aging eyes cause me to make some rather unflattering faces when trying to read the rather tiny print in many books.  This in turn causes loud laughter, and what can unequivocally be termed "evil speaking" directed at my rather funny faces. I suppose I should be thankful that I make them laugh.  At any rate, the nook allows me to increase the size of the font of any book that I download, so, I hoping that loud laughter will be a thing of the past.  (At least at my expense!)

I do have to say though that the icing on the cake was speaking with Zach on the phone. It's amazing to hear the change in his voice.  He is truly enjoying his time in New Jersey,and loves those he has been called to serve.  He has grown both spiritually and temporally.  The mission experience has given him the opportunity to view the world through truly unselfish eyes.  This time has been set aside to serve the Lord and those in the communities he labors in.

I know that these two years, although a sacrifice when it comes to education and other desires; will prepare Zach more effectively than if he had chosen not to serve.  The experiences he is having now cannot be replicated at any other time in his life.  The joy in his voice when he shared recent experiences warmed my heart.

Zach was transferred the Wednesday following Mother's Day to a new city called Bayonne. It looks like it is just across the water from Newark.  He is still in a walking area, and has lost about 20 pounds. I am thinking that he possibly might lose more weight as the summer is upon the Jersey Shore.  Zach says it is hot, hot, hot and very sticky.  So, from extreme cold to extreme humid heat. GOOD TIMES!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Amazing experiences

This past month has been really good. We have had some amazing experiences.  Alexandria Garner recently was baptized, following in her mother and Savior's footsteps.  She told us it was the happiest day of her life.  It is wonderful to see what happiness following Christ can bring into someone's life.

Recently, on our way home, Elder Stettler and I were stopped by a young man in his 20's.  He was speaking to me in Spanish and I really didn't know what he was trying to say to me.  So, I said a prayer with him in English, asking for guidance and help so that I could communicate.  After the prayer, the young man began speaking in Spanish again, and I'll still didn't know what he was saying.  When he finished I began to respond to him.  As I did, I realized that I was speaking Spanish!  I had no idea what I was saying, but it seemed to touch him and brought tears to his eyes.  I finished speaking and he started speaking to me again in Spanish.  Once again, I had no idea what he was saying.  But, at the end I understood one sentence.  "Because of you brother I want to be a better person and stop drinking."  AMAZING!  I couldn't tell you what was spoken, but I know through the Spirit I was able to communicate with him and hopefully help.  I saw a miracle at work through me.  The Lord uses us all to answer prayers of others.  (I guess the 2 years of Spanish I took was worth it...)  I feel so close to the Lord and I have learned so much and continue to learn every day.

This week was AMAZING! we had a chance to have Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the seventy speak to us at zone conference. The spirit was felt so strongly. We talked about having a change of heart and truly becoming diciples of Christ. It is amazing how smoothly the work goes when your emersed in the Spirit. Elder Stettler and I have been truly focusing on being dedicated to the work. No talk about anything other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been a blessing to be obedient; although it is difficult, the price is worth the reward. We have truly been tools in the Lord's hands. Its amazing to see that the things we promise investigators and members are happening. We find power in stating that we ARE disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and the message we share changes lives.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter & Conference

Recently, Mackenzie and I attended a volleyball tournament in California. She stayed in a room with some of her teammates, and one of them saw her scriptures (she has quad; and abridgement of the KJV of the bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants all bound together) and asked what it was. When she answered, the young lady responded that she couldn't believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon at the same time. Mackenzie explained that both testified of Jesus Christ, but were written on different continents. This did not dissuade her friend from her point of view. The conversation got a bit heated and Mackenzie felt VERY uncomfortable. We spoke about it later that evening and I told her that the best way to handle a situation like that was to bear a firm testimony, and let the spirit do the rest. Contention drives the spirit away, but testifying of our Savior will invite him in. In the letter below Zach responds to the situation.


My Easter was good. I was in a chapel almost all day listening to conference. On Saturday I was at the chapel ALL day from 10 to 10. This conference was amazing. I really enjoyed how so many of the talks focused on love and the atonement of Jesus Christ.

We had some investigators attend and they really enjoyed it. I personally was touched by the talk about the young man who was had been ill with a condition for some time and passed away rather unexpectedly, and how both he and his brother were both "called to serve" on opposite sides of the veil. Missionary work is on going in this life and after. It was a very spiritual weekend and by the time it was over I was exhausted. I love the fact that the spirit can be felt so strong even when the speakers are 2000 miles away.

This last week we have been posing a question to investigators and members... "If you could ask Jesus Christ one Question what would you ask?" We had one young woman say "What is my purpose on this earth?" The Golden Question! We are now teaching her the discussions and she is eating them up! Her name is Karina and she is a friend of a less-active member who we have also recently reactivated. It is amazing to see how one question can have such an impact. Elder Stettler and I have decided to take a look on our progress an refocus our efforts. As we do I know we will see a tremendous improvement. As we are obedient, the Lord will send blessings. "There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated; And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience that the blessing is predicated" D&C 130:20-21. I know that Jesus lives that he watches over us. I can see his hand in all we do.

Tell Mackenzie that there are many people who believe that the Book of Mormon is wrong but the Lord himself has said that the book is true and that they are his words. "And he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true" D&C 17:6 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9

I love you all and you are in my prayers.

Elder Roque

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The work continues

Hi all, I mm staying in Newark for at least one more transfer. It has been really amazing to see the branch I serve in has grown so much. When first arrived there were only 40 people coming to church now there are over 90 attending on a regularly, the Lord is really blessing the people here.

Recently, Elder Stettler and I were walking down the street and a black SUV drove up and the back passanger window started to come down. A little scary considering the gang activity. A man poked his head out and called us over. He then told us he was the mayor of Newark and he loved the job were doing for the city. It was cool to receive a compliment from someone in government who isn't a member of our church. It just goes to show that we need to follow the Savior and be a good example to those around us.

Elder stettler and I have really been blessed to find new people to teach. We are working hard and having fun while doing it. I have learned so much about the gospel and especially the atonement of Jesus Christ. I spoke in church yesterday and spoke on the atonement. I felt the spirit so strongly as I testified of the divinity of the Savior and his sacrifices for use, and everyone told me it was exactly what they needed. It was amazing how the words just came out. I feel this experience has helped me grow close to my Savior; it is amazing to feel of his love in my life.

We almost got jumped by someone the other day. He was screaming and yelling and came at us, but one of his friends called out those are men of God, Are you crazy?! We are teaching a wonderful young woman name Ayesha, she has an adorable son named Isaiah. We have been trying to do a lot of less active work and bring people back to church. Many missionaries learn languages on their missions, but the greatest language you could ever learn is the language of the spirit. I know that it is only through the spirit that others will feel the truthfulness of gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The work in progressing

We have 3 baptisms scheduled; the family preparing for baptism is the Garner's.They have committed to live the word of wisdom and could use prayers on their behalf. They are really seeing blessings but still could use your prayers.

This past week has been really stressful. Although we had two baptisms it was straining. We went to fill the font on Saturday night only to find out there was a leak. We decided to do it at another church building on Sunday. However, Sunday morning on our way to church we got a call from the other ward and found out there was a shooting and the only road to the church was blocked off. With some scheduling changes, everything went as planned and we were still able to hold the baptism!

It is still FREEZING!!! this weekend it was in the single digits. All is well are mission is actually expanding. We are taking over part of the other New Jersey mission. We have been really focusing on member missionary work lately. We started a new program, and everyone is really getting excited about spreading the gospel. We GOT T-SHIRTS!!!!!!!!!!! Its Awesome! The work is going really well. We have a baptism on the 14th her name is Emily Simmons, she is the daughter of Jennifer Garner who was baptized on the 31st.

Transfers are on the 16th, I should know Sunday evening if I'll be transferred. I'll keep you updated. In July are mission is expanding; the Cherry Hill mission is being dissolved and we are splitting it with Philadelphia mission. The new addition to the mission will give us all added opportunities to share the gospel and serve the good people of New Jersey.

I understand that Devynne (Mark & Heather's youngest daughter) is going to be baptized this month. That's great! And even better yet, I hear that Sam is going to perform the ordinance. I wish I could be there with everyone, but I am where the Lord wants me to be. My thoughts and prayers will be with everyone on that special day.

Love you all,

Elder Roque

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Great week, but so COLD!

The past few weeks have been amazing. We are teaching a number of people, and this week I had the opportunity to baptize Matthew Rodriguez who is 10 years old. What a great experience for both myself and Matthew. A number of the people we are teaching are making some big changes in their lives, and really could use prayers on their behalf. The Garner family is starting to follow the word of wisdom and and I’m sure it is going to be difficult for them at first, buy with prayers on their behalf, and their desire to tackle them, I know they will do fine.

It is so cold here, and just keeps getting colder. It is projected to be the coldest winter Jersey has had in 10 years. Just my luck! We are in a walking area, which means no bikes or cars; (they would probably get jacked) so we either walk everywhere or take transit. That certainly makes for cold days and nights, but the work keeps us busy and at least our hearts are warm!

We will have a general authority visit us this month, It should be great! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Elder Roque