Feature Stories

Identical twins called to serve in neighboring missions: “It was better than we could’ve hoped for”

Since they were little, Sawyer and Carter Roberts have always done things together. And now, that will include serving in neighboring missions.
Photograph courtesy of the Roberts family

Long before they were born, Sawyer and Carter Roberts were seemingly meant to be identical twin brothers. When their father, Tim, was serving a mission in California, he heard another missionary talking about his identical twin brother and remembers thinking that he would give anything to have identical twin sons. Years later, shortly before Tim and his sweetheart, Amy, became pregnant for the fourth time, Amy had a dream about two boys the same age. After a spiritual experience at the temple involving the same boys from her dream, Amy knew the twins were meant to finish their family, so it was no surprise that when the ultrasound tech prepared to break the news to Amy, she calmly responded, “There are two in there, aren’t there?”

With no doubt in their minds about the gender of the twins, the couple excitedly started shopping for their future sons, and the rest is history.


Young Sawyer and Carter Roberts
Photograph courtesy of the Roberts family

Carter and Sawyer both agree that having a built-in best friend is a definite perk of being twins. “We share the same thoughts on everything, so we don’t have to lie or pretend for each other. We just get to be friends with no worry,” Sawyer says.

Carter adds, “We never have to worry about being alone because we always have each other to talk to and have been through the same things.”

Tim and Amy say that the brothers’ bond is special, noting that the two are the “glue” of the family. “One thing that’s neat about the twins is that all the siblings feel very close to them both individually and as a pair,” Tim describes.

But being identical twins comes with its own challenge: maintaining individuality. “The hardest part of being a twin is being thought of as the same person most of the time,” Carter explains.

The two share many of the same hobbies and interests, with a similar taste in movies, video games, and clothes. They are so similar, in fact, that the brothers have sometimes switched places at work or given Primary talks for each other without anybody noticing. Even facial recognition technology can’t tell them apart.

Yet this resemblance hasn’t challenged their close relationship. As Carter affirms, “I still love being a twin and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Always Missionaries

Having a best friend as a brother does come in handy at times, for instance, when the Roberts family moved from Lake Butler, Florida, to Amelia Island, Florida. The twins quickly became a big part of the small ward and local area.

Though Carter and Sawyer were only in sixth grade at the time of the move, they had no trouble immediately making new friends and sharing about their church. With their confident personalities and various hobbies, the two became actively involved in their community.

The brothers have both worked at a popular ice cream and fudge shop on the island, training many other youth, and Sawyer has also worked as a lifeguard and at a surf shop. Both twins held lead roles in high school play productions over the years, and they even helped start the first surf club together at their high school.

Photograph courtesy of the Roberts family

“So many teachers who we’ve met at events like their plays tell us what a positive impact [Sawyer and Carter] have been on them and others around them,” Tim shares. “Because they’ve been with each other and shared a room since birth, they’re constantly talking. This skill set has served them very well in using Church language and being bold.”

Carter and Sawyer enjoy talking to others about their faith through their hobbies. “I love surfing, pickleball, and playing the ukulele,” Carter explains. “When we’re in the water or at the courts, I have the chance to talk to so many people. And a lot of the time, people ask me about my plans after school, and that leads into a conversation about my mission and maybe the Church.”

Sawyer’s experience has been similar.I love surfing, and I have met a lot of people out in the water [who] I have become very close with over time. I also play pickleball a lot with random people on the courts, and in both situations, … [the] conversations eventually become a lot more about the gospel. … It’s led to a lot of really cool missionary opportunities.”

Tender Mercy Mission Calls

With three older siblings and a father who served missions, the twins never kept missionary service far from their minds. Tim has taken them and their siblings to visit his own mission several times, and the boys worked hard to set aside money to help pay for their future missions, following the example of their older siblings.

Both twins agree that “only good things can come from going” and that the experiences ahead of them are likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. As Carter describes it, “It’s two years of my life that will be unlike anything I’ll do again.”

Yet for brothers and best friends who have never spent more than a couple nights away from each other, the prospect of being apart for two years also came with some anxiety.

Carter says he and Sawyer decided to read their mission calls together privately before telling their friends and family where they were assigned.

“We’d always talked about doing it that way because we are very close and wanted it to be a special moment with just us before we shared it with others,” he explains.

Sawyer read his letter first and was excited to learn he would be speaking Tagalog in the Philippines Tuguegarao mission. “But I was also a little scared because I didn’t think Carter would be speaking Tagalog like me,” he recalls.

But when Carter opened his call, it soon became apparent that their missions would be more similar than they thought. Carter was assigned to serve in the neighboring Philippines Cauayan mission—also speaking Tagalog.

Perhaps even more remarkably, Sawyer’s mission was being created from part of Carter’s mission area, and their mission homes would only be two hours apart.

“When Carter read his mission call second, we couldn’t really say much,” Sawyer remembers. “We just kind of sat there and cried because it was better than we could have hoped for. It’ll make it a lot less lonely when I’m out knowing that Carter is going through similar challenges that I am.”

And of course, Carter felt the same way:

“After Sawyer read his call aloud, I was already tearing up out of excitement for him and shock. When I read mine, I couldn’t even get through it hardly. But the feeling I felt when I saw the Philippines on my call is indescribable.

“I was so happy and excited to finally know where I was spending the next two years. I’m also excited to be speaking the same language as my brother because we can continue to study and practice it together when we get home.”

Both brothers will start out in the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) before transferring to the Quezon City Philippines MTC. They each look forward to the unique and individual missionary experiences they will have while sharing them in a way with their best friend.

“I’m excited to learn another language and dive into another culture that I have no prior knowledge of,” Carter says. “I’m most nervous about being away from my brother for a long time and taking too long to learn the language. I want to share the gospel, and I know the Lord will guide me when I need to say something. Sawyer being so close eases that anxiety [of being apart].”

Similarly, Sawyer says, “I’m also ready to be somewhere with a lot of work. I live to be kept busy, and it’ll be cool to be in a different culture. I think the language will be difficult to learn, but I know I will get help from the Lord if I put in work to learn it.”

Tim and Amy feel that each of their children’s missions has been perfectly suited for that child’s gifts and needs. When it comes to Sawyer and Carter, Tim shares: “We were prepared to lose them to the Lord’s service and let them go. We were just really sad at the thought of them having to leave each other since they have only spent two nights apart their whole life. … [Now] I feel like they can push each other in the work.”

Amy adds her own testimony of God’s hand in the assignments: “He is very much in the details of our lives, which is so evident in my twin boys’ mission calls. He knew my prayers and worries as well as theirs, and He is the one who has called them to these missions.”

Twin Testimonies

As they prepare to serve the Lord, Sawyer and Carter are excited to continue to share their testimonies with friends at home and soon with new friends in their respective mission fields.

“Since I’ve gotten my call, I have had a lot of people in my ward come up to me and talk about how proud they are because I could have gone in a very different direction,” Sawyer recounts. “When I heard this, I realized that even with the mistakes I’ve made in my life, I still have the ability to change and become a better person. I’ve learned to actually enjoy the gospel as I have gotten older and to not be embarrassed of what I believe in.”

And it is through those experiences and choices to live and share the gospel that Sawyer has seen his own testimony grow over the years as he has learned to recognize how the Spirit speaks to him. “I truly believe that the Lord is willing to do anything for us as long as we keep our covenants with Him and stay in tune with the Spirit,” he says.

Carter’s scripture hero, Nephi, provides the inspiration for his mission and his life: to always do what the Lord asks, no matter the opposition. Just as others have supported him, he’s excited to serve those he meets in the Philippines. “I know the Lord has put people in my path to nudge me in the right direction and keep me on the path I need to be on,” he says. “I love this gospel, and I am so excited to be able to introduce it to others and teach in another country.”

Watch the video below to hear Carter and Sawyer perform a ukulele version of “We’ll Bring the World His Truth.”

0:00 / 0:00
Video Companion
We’ll Bring the World His Truth.mp4

▶You may also like: Twin sisters walked the road to baptism together. The reason they want to serve missions will melt your heart

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content