Monday, December 30, 2013

A Mile in My Shoes

Freinds and Family!
 
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with warmth and love from above. (Didn't mean for that to rhyme) I had a wonderful Christmas and Christmas Eve. On Christmas eve we got to visit our Filippino family in the ward, The Poquita's and they had a beautiful set up of all these Filippino dishes, which made the typical American ham look kind of odd being on the same table. The food was soo good, things like Stained Glass jello, cassava cake (some sort of potato concoction thrown into a casserole..apparently it's a Filippino dish) Much better than the food was the Spirit we felt. The Poquita's had invited several non-member neighbors over and had planned for us to leave a spiritual message. So we watched the mormon message about the Christmas pageant that turns into the nativity, then shared Isaiah 9:6. I have felt a new peace or adoration this year unlike anything I've felt in the past as I've contemplated the name given to the Savior, "The Prince of Peace."
 
I don't know about you, but this world isn't the most...peaceful place to live. In fact, it's pretty terrible. Pretty gloomy and dark. But this season, I have gained a greater perspective of why we really "adore" a little boy born in Bethlehem around this time every year. It's because He was the one and only answer. The ONLY hope.
 
Christmas morning we woke up at 5 10 in the fruit pickin' morning. I swear even Santa is in bed by that time. The Shahan's wanted us at their house at 6:30 and they live in Timbuktu on the DE/MD border so we had to plan for that. But we had a wonderful morning with them and the Spirit of Christ was their as we shared a message about why we even celebrate this season. The Shahan's got us each grooming kits, socks, a tie, and stocking full of candy and knick knacks. I tried Scrapple for the first time. If you really want to know what scrapple is ask me later. Don't want to make everyone vomit. But it's pretty tasty and there was just tons of food for only 11 people including their kids and another single member. It was fun to see the little kid's faces light up.
 
We ended up going to 5 member's homes Christmas day and they were all just welcoming and wonderful and we felt the Spirit with each of them. It really did feel like "home away from home"
 
Jackie is out of the rehab center and back home with Bill, she didn't make it to church because she wanted to spend time with him. She says she reads her Book of Mormon, but has no clue what she's reading. Ha we went to Cardin's on Tuesday during the day and planned to finish teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ... but somehow he said he had some issues, then we asked what they were and it took us on a long, in-depth, unplanned discussion on the one and only Law of Chastity. Boy was that fun.  He had several questions and concerns that kept the conversation going, but we were able to help him see that sexual purity is a commandment from God, not the Mormons or Joseph Smith. But God. Kind of a bigger deal that way. He has a really good heart and I'm excited to see where he goes with this. It may take more time than I personally would like, but the salvation of a soul is worth all the time in the world. I'm sure I won't be able to say again that I taught a very in-depth lesson on sexual purity on Christmas Eve...
 
We went out to Woodland Beach area...like 20 feet of beach on the Delaware River..wooohoo! We're not allowed to go on beaches anymore because Sisters posted pictures of themselves touching the water...But we went out there to find. And find we did not. A bunch of uninterested people and a lot of miles to get out there. But we have seen miracles of success with the referrals members give us. They don't complain about the "caliber" of people we're finding, and those they do bring to us already have friends in the church. We got two such referrals last week that we're still working on contacting, but hey it's a miracle that we got them. Our other investigators are either kind of flaky at the moment or we're not sure if they're fully accountable...soo, yeah we need to find. But the Lord guides us as we labor in His vineyard, I can sure attest to that. Some days are better than others. We are having fun and trying not to stress (aka me) but ya know, living the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is the best remedy to all stress, all pains and suffering. And when we are converted, we can be like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who "never did fall away" as they did "lay down their weapons of rebellion." (Alma 23:6-8) Never fall away, EVER.
 
Have a safe and prosperous New Year.! 2014!!
 
Love,
 
Elder Jacob Robins
 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jesus Was No Ordinary Man

Merry Christmas!
 
Isn't the Christmas Season just wonderful? I feel so blessed to have felt the Spirt of Christmas, or the Spirit of Christ especially this year. I won't be home for Christmas this year, but I have lost myself in this work and I don't want to come home. I love being on the Lord's errand and doing HIS work 24/7. It feels so much more rewarding and satisfying than the day-to-day grind of everyday life...But I sincerely believe that's why the call for member missionary work is being emphasized, because this all around joyful, full, satisfied feeling isn't just for set apart missionaries. It's available to all who will heed a prophet's call to go "To the Rescue" of our brothers and sisters lost in the darkness and confusion in this world.
 
We spent more time with members this week which was fun and felt productive. For instance, on Thursday we went out to Millington, MD and decided to knock and contact because MD hasn't really been touched by missionaries in this area for several years, so we feel there's a lot of soul harvesting to do. And there is we found a humble, pure Spanish speaking woman named Rosalia who lives in the thriving metropolis of downtown Millington (population 20, nah it's several thousand I'm sure). She invited us in, but in our terrible broken Spanglish, Elder Allred and I mumbled that we could not enter without an adult male present, so we set up an appt with her. Yesterday, Sunday, we visited her with a Spanish Speaking member. The husband, Raul, sat in and spoke spanglish to us. We introduced the Book of Mormon, he expressed a respectful disinterest, but she was captivated. We offered un El Libro de Mormon and she grasped hold of it and treated it like valuable treasure. It was heartwarming tto see a humble heart grasp and be so willing to feast upon the Word of God. In the car on the way home, we discussed how she just had a pure Spirit and desire to learn about God. He showed an interest in us coming over to help her learn english, so this could be a good opportunity to help them both feel the light of the gospel. Our God is a God of miracles.
 
I got several packages and christmas cards, thanks to all the families and friends for sending those out, love to hear how everyone's doing. On Wednesday we showed up at Abe's house (the less-active man who found us in the Acme grocery store) and he came outside his door and we talked for about 20 minutes. He explained how his wife is an "elder" in the Methodist church and as such would not even let us into their home. He felt so bad because he wanted to be hospitable as I'm sure most Filippinos are. But, after sharing a scripture with him, the thought came to my mind that I should invite him to lunch with us. So I did and he jumped on the idea and immediately invited us to a dinner party with him and his wife and another Methodist couple at a fancy Italiano Ristorante called Trevi. So come Saturday, after we had dinner with a member couple, we met Abe at Trevi (not so well planned, dinner right after dinner). He greeted us and introduced us to his friends and wife. They were pleasant and inquisitive. As we were sitting in the booth adjacent to theirs, we overheard them asking questions like "They believe in that John Smith guy right? Are they Jehovah's Witnesses?" And several people were glancing at us and then they'd talk amongst themselves. I was tempted to stand on the water fountain in the middle of the Restaurant and start preaching...but, on a scale of 1 to classy, didn't think that'd be very classy. So I refrained of course.
 
Abe told us to get whatever we wanted, so I got a $17 plate of salmon, etc. and boy was it good. We are well treated by our members. That is not mission wide though. Elder Allred just came from a branch in Philadelphia with 19 active members and 6 missionaries meeting in a store front...so, there's a bit of diversity out here.
 
In terms of investigators: We have to transfer Josh to the Dover Elders because he lives in their area, which stinks because he is just golden. But he will still come to the Smyrna ward. Jackie, had a rough lesson with her on thursday with Bro. Keeley. I didn't know where to go with it, she repeated an event from earlier in the day 3 times in 5 minutes and we just walked away feeling shot. It's sad that her dementia is getting worse, but Bishop advised us to keep going towards baptism because she wants it and feels that it's God's path for her. It will be tough because she will need a ride to church from members every week, but she is a beloved daughter of God and deserves the same love and concern as anyone else. So it's been a struggle with her because although we've gone over the Restoration with her 3-4 times, she hasn't a clue who Joseph Smith is other than "a minister"...
 
Brother Keeley and I had a powerful lesson with Cardin where we talked about the Doctrine of Christ and Cardin was teaching us half the time. He is so prepared and spiritually in tune. He said," It seems like in many churches the philosophy is to 'Come as you are' and many people do. But we're not supposed to come as we are and stay as we are. Church is meant to help us change, I think." Well Cardin, you ready to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting next week? Cause it sure does sound like it. The Spirit was there, Bro Keeley was in tears and it was just great. And yeah I may not see him get baptized, but I helped plant the seed.
 
We had our Christmas Devotional in Dover this week, oh ps. the weather last week was straight up CA, HI weather. It was nuts. The 21st of Dec, aka the first day of winter, got up to 71 degrees and sunshiney. It was mind boggling, but hey I won't complain. Such beautiful weather. Just a litttle rainy today. Anyways, we watched (Yes, missionaries watched a movie!!) the new pioneer film Ephraim's Rescue. The Spirit was strong as we discussed it and testimonies were born. They handed out the hundreds of boxes, and then we were taken out to our new car in the parking lot.
 
Why do we celebrate Christmas? Presents? Shopping? Gifts? Food? Money? Trees? Decorations? But why? Just to be nice? The world just doesn't get it.
 
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and...his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
 
I've done the nativity what, 18 times, but never before has it meant so much to me. Never before have I felt the supreme, gentle love of our Savior Jesus Christ. President Anderson pointed out that "it requires a great discipline to focus on Christ during the holiday that celebrates His birth, because almost everything we see as we celebrate pulls our attention in another direction." But He isn't called the Prince of Peace for nothing. (sorry for being preachy) He is the very source of peace. No not a nice date night or a break from work. But true, lasting, eternal peace.
 
Ponder on that babe in Bethlehem. What does HE mean to you? What we must have been doing watching that moment in heaven, rejoicing in the fact that yes, we would have a chance to make it through. We would have a chance to become something. We would have a chance to come home.
 
I love Jesus Christ and know that He does indeed live. I know He is the only way. I love you all and wish you a very Merry Christ-centered Christmas.
 
Love always,
 
Elder Jacob Robins

Monday, December 16, 2013

If the Savior Stood Beside Me

Dear Family and Friends!

We got our third companion last week on Wednesday instead of Tuesday because of the storm that hit the east coast. President didn't want us all travelling in the storm. It was a pretty rough storm although here in Smyrna we only got like 2 inches of snow...wet, heavy, snow, the kind that gives bruises in snowball form or that would soak you if you were to make snow angels in it. Anyways, Elder Allred is from guess...... Riverton, UT! He is quite the character. Really spices things up in the companionship. He and I get along and the 3 of us have just been having fun. Our first day together we were walking down the street, and I was like "No no, stop, this is too much, there are too many of us!" It just felt like a wall of missionaries walking down the street. Takes Men in Black to a whole new level. I'd be intimidated!! 

We taught our very first lesson together as a trio to Cardin, and it was just kind of weird. We're all decent teachers, but it will take some practice to work with each other. With the help of the Spirit we have improved a lot already. I also went on my first member split where I went alone teaching with a member and it felt bizarre being away from companions for more than 5 minutes. But we had a good lesson with a woman named Dehdo who had met with missionaries 10 years ago and was warm and welcoming. She is from Liberia and her husband is a pastor at another church. We found her by knocking near a less-active, so we've had some miracle finds in the recent past. We just hope that we can do our part to turn these into miracle conversions. The Spirit will testify to their hearts of the truth of our message and they have the choice whether or not to act upon that. 

Speaking of, we met with Zack on Tuesday and he had just woken up so he was a little loopy. But we talked with him about baptism and Alma 7 which talks about the Atonement and where your heart needs to be before baptism. I was being a little impatient with him, but Elder Rabe would always bring the Spirit back into the lesson as he explained the need for repentance and the Atonement in our lives. It's not just Mormons that need the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it's all of God's Children. We simply cannot make it back home without Jesus Christ. Zack told us that he was considering getting baptized in the Catholic church....umm that's great, but did you not understand anything we taught you? The need for the Priesthood authority from God. He essentially wants something for nothing by getting baptized without actually changing his life. He had not showed up to our appt with him last Saturday and he told us Tuesday that he got arrested that night for drugs and DUI. Zack, we love you, but really? I asked him about the Spirit that we had definitely felt with us before in multiple occasions and at church. He denied that he had felt the Spirit or said that he just had felt good. I was speechless. I had grown to really love him and still do. But with him flat out saying he's not ready to repent and make these changes in his life, it was kind of a stab-to-the -heart for the day. Yes we recognize their agency, yes not everyone will see that this is the truth, but when you have that friendship and love for a person like that, it can be just heartbreaking. So that's the story with Zack.

Elder Allred and I went on a scavenger hunt for the less- active named Abe that we had met at Acme. It was a miracle to see the hand of the Lord literally guiding us from one house to the next until the pieces of the puzzle fit together and we found that he had purposely given us a phony address. But we found him! And in his Filippino accent he exclaimed "You found me!" We could tell on the inside he was like,"Darn it, the Mormons found me again!" Professional Stalkers. Check. We will see him again this week.

Jackie didn't come to church or the ward Christmas Party because she has been down in the dumps. She really wants to go home to her husband Bill and get out of the Rehab Center she's in. I don't know how much we could do about that, but trust that all things will work out. We found a man named Harvey and his wife Tinita the other day. We had gotten through most of the Restoration when Tinita walked in and showed an interest. Elder Allred introduced the Priesthood power of Sealing families here on earth and that really hit Tinita. She began tearing up as she told us about her mom and brother recently passing away. We asked her if she would like to learn about how she can see her loved ones again, with tearful eyes she gently nodded as she whispered "Yes. Yes." We gave her and Harvey a copy of the Book of Mormon, the Spirit worked His miracle by touching their hearts and preparing them to accept the invitation to be baptized by that proper Priesthood authority. Both accepted. We left feeling the Power of God move quietly, subtly, but indefinitely through the hearts of the children of men.

Just as Alma and Amulek experienced in the Book of Mormon, "angels are...preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word." (Alma 13:24) Such is the truth. I read a quote that the work of the angels of God and the full-time missionaries is one in the same. Some are seen, the others just go unseen, but we do the same work. How humbling it is to know that THIS is God's work. 

Cardin and his wife Tynequah and 2 kids and his sister made it to the ward party. The ward was so welcoming and wonderful to them and Cardin was just smiling the whole time, the kids had a blast and it was a wonderful event. We had to set up more chairs and tables because more people than was expected showed up, a good problem to have! So yeah he may not get baptized while I am serving here, but I do not doubt that the Lord has so much in store for him and his cute little family.

I love you all and am getting excited to talk to the fam on Christmas! Remember to remember our Heavenly Father always. He will always love you. Always.

Love, 

Elder Robins 
Creative stocking made by our Zone Leader's mom

The Nesbit/Cook Family baptism from last week. Such awesome people

The Tripanionship- Allred, Me, Rabe

Monday, December 9, 2013

Groups of 3 (missionaries), let them be

Dearest Family and Friends,
 
My companion is laughing at the Subject line...Well transfers are tomorrow in Broomall, and we got the calls Friday night, expecting Elder Rabe to be transferred out of the area as well as Sister Bischoff. Nope, they decided to switch it up a little. We will be in a "tripanionship" or trio this coming transfer. I don't know whether to be nervous, ticked or excited. So I''ve kind of been all 3. So has Elder Rabe. And we'll find out tomorrow who the lucky Elder is. I just know that the Lord knows what He's doing and trust that there is a wise purpose behind this change.
 
What an eventful week it has been though. Much of our time wentp to helping the Sister's investigator family, the Cook's, prepare for baptism this past Sunday. It's a mother and her 3 teenage kids. They are seriously soooo prepared. Like the boys are already planning to go to BYU and go on missions. But they are willing to live and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a wonderful family with so much potential. And the reason they started meeting with the Sisters was because they went to a cousin's baptism and were just overwhelmed with the Spirit. So Elder Rabe and I and Elder_______ will work hard to find that family.
 
I am convinced that Josh and his 4 kids may be that family. He recently went through what seems to be a pretty nasty divorce. So when we taught him the Plan of Salvation, he was brought to tears at the thought of lasting peace. It was an incredible lesson and his member kind-of girlfriend (but don't tell the kids!) Jessica was also brought to tears. The Spirit was sweet and strong as we discussed the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And right on queue, as I talked about His suffering and bleeding on the cross, I felt my nose drip, and knew it wasn't a runny nose. Perfect timing! So we ran to the kitchen called the ambulance for my nosebleed and got it all cleaned up. Just kidding on the ambulance. I just thought it was kind of ironic that I started bleeding during that part of the lesson. 
 
Sunday was one of the most spiritually uplifting, fun, busy Sundays I've had on the mission. We sat down for Sacrament meeting with Jackie sitting behind us, so we were happy that she made it. But  we had invited like 8 people, so I was a little bummed, so I decided to pray. Then Josh showed up in his Navy uniform (he's in the Navy reserves) and Carlos( lives near us on Main Street and was set on coming to church) came in a nice sweater and smile on his face. It was just wonderful. Right after the Sacrament was administered, Jackie said" I like the way this church does things" and I felt that although we would be kind of running around all day, I could trust the members and moreso the Spirit to take care of them and teach and touch their hearts. The three of them stayed at the baptism.
 
The daughter, Jewel had asked that I baptize her. So, even though I didn't teach her, I got to perform the baptism for her which was incredible. As I said the prayer and lowered her into the water, I felt the Spirit witness to me and I'm sure to her, that this was the Lord's will for her and that He recognized her decision to be baptized. So although it wasn't "my" baptism, it was a moving experience. Elder Rabe and I played the beautiful arrangement of "It came upon a midnight Clear" with him on the violin. It was the arrangement Danville 1st ward choir did last year and I had fallen in love with it. Many members thanked us for the Spirit that the piece brought into the meeting. And I played the opening and closing hymns for Sacrament (shout out to Sister Reed and Sister Carsten, thanks for your training!)We also accompanied Sister Bradshaw on I Know that My Redeemer Lives. I know this Gospel is true because I have felt His loving embrace. I love you all.  We got snow yesterday, 2 inches. Very wet and heavy. Slipping around with our low traction tires. That was fun. Alma 7
 
Love,
ELder Robins

Monday, November 25, 2013

What's in a Name?

Happy Thanksgiving Family and Friends! Oh and, remember to actually give thanks. A member in church said November on Facebook is great because for 30 days out of the year, people stop complaining about their lives and will actually show some gratitude for the blessings they have been given.
 
So this week, I was tracing my nametag onto a sheet of paper with colored pencil. Then I did something I hadn't really done before, though I've had the nametag for 7 months now. I looked at my last name, and for some reason, I was overcome with this joy and reassurance that I am making my mark as part of a marvelous legacy. What does a name carry or entail? R-O-B-I-N-S. Nothing out of the ordinary(besides the fact that the majority of those with the same last name out there insist on spelling it with 2 "b's" instead of the proper, one. hehe) But I thought about all my ancestors that I don't really know, and those that I do. I thought about the incredible men and women they were and are and the impact they had in this world. We may not be utterly famous, but we are strong and I feel I have much reason to be proud of the name I carry. It is my hope that I will add to the legacy and the impact that my eternal family has so beautifully left.
 
This week was kind of tough in terms of being able to contact and teach investigators and finding new people. It was just slow. And the bitterly cold wind didn't help. One night in particular, we had been to Cardin's house 2x because he loves to annoy us by not answering his phone (I know, I know, I'm not the best at it either..) So we were just trying to contact him. The last time we knocked, for some reason I just couldn't take it anymore. As we walked down the steps and to the car, I kind of screamed and Gahhhhhh!!! and let it out. I think I had just had so much pent up frustration and everyone says there's a breaking point on your mission where you just kind of well, break. And it's at that moment that you really turn yourself over to the Lord. Well I don't know that I was quite there per se, but yeah I was not a happy camper. We got in the car and I was thinking, "Ugh, let's just go get a f'real>" But wanting to be diligent and continue to work hard for another hour before going in, I didn't say anything. Then Elder Rabe said "I'm almost thinking, let's just go get f'real's" (really good milkshakes that come in a plastic cup and you blend at the gas station store where they're sold). Almost in disbelief of the non-"coincidence" I responded "That's exactly what I was thinking." "I'll buy" he said. "Deal."
 
I don't know what it was about that ice cream or just the whole scene, but I felt the love of my Savior in the moment. This work is so demanding and exhausting and there are times when the natural man in me just wants to give up and give in. Just go home early. We're not going to find anyone anyway. It's too cold. yada yada yada. All that stored up negativety. So healthy! Right? Let's be real. Satan's potentially most powerful tool against us is discouragement. he will do all in his limited power to bring us to the "gulf of misery and endless wo" (aka despair and discouragement and sin) hel 5:12. And I'm sure we've all been there, or perhaps we are there. I just want to say There is a way out. Jesus Christ, no ordinary man. but the Savior and Redeemer of the World. I know this to be true because I have felt His power in my life. Turn to Him and the doubts and fears of this world can melt away. No your trials may not disappear, but as I experienced this week, we can be strengthened in times of need.
 
Last Monday, before we went over to have Sister Hengst cut our hair, she texted us saying "Do you want me to cook you up some pancakes and fried pot?" So we were like....ummm, Sister Hengst? Do we need to have a lesson on the Word of Wisdom? Her phone had auto corrected to pot for potatoes. Guess ya had to be there. So we saw Zack once this past week which was kind of tough because that gives the adversary quite a bit of time to move in on people. Which sounds weird, but we have to work so hard to help keep these beloved children of God moving toward their Savior and not the opposite direction. He has to work over time til after the holidays because the Amazon warehouse is in its peak season. Which is great that he's making money, but he gets home on sunday morning at like 3 am and would have to stay up til 10 am to make it to church. So you see the dilemma. Similar problem with other investigators. But the Lord is truly blessing us with miracles. We helped John and Rebecca get ready to move to Seattle earlier this morning and will go to their house for dinner in a bout 10 minutes. Such a good family, I hope and pray that the Lord will prepare their hearts and lives to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ so that they can feel the joy of being an eternal family.
 
We had Zone Conference on Friday and it was beautifully uplifting and there seems to be an incredible Spirit, it's like an army of missionaries going to battle with the sword of the Spirit. The thing that really struck me was when the assistants had everyone in the chapel be completely still. No clicking of pens or rustling or anything. Just being still. Words can't really describe how I felt. Immense peace and joy, and my thoughts went to the Savior, gentle and loving and kind. Always there to comfort us. And what is His motive. I love Mosiah 28:3 Charity is our motive. Thanksgiving won't be a filipino feast afterall because they cancelled, so we will just have top ramen and toast. It'll be fine. no Im kidding. We'll be fed. Love you all and remember to give thanks always. Alma 7:23 Think to thank. Always. We have so much to be grateful for. And I'm grateful for all of you.
 
Love always,
 
Elder Robins

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stand Fast in This Liberty

Hey Family & Friends!
 
Hope you are all doing well. We had a bit of a slower week, at least in terms of investigators. We did a lot of work, like a lot. But last Monday, Bishop Deutsch took Elder Rabe and I out to dinner at....don't get too excited...SMYRNA Diner. It's a normal sized restaurant with pretty normal food. But I was looking at the seafood items and saw flounder which, to my knowledge, I had not tried before so...thought I'd give it a whirl. For what I thought was the fat yellow fish in the Little Mermaid (what is up with all these Disney references lately?..must be craving it.) it was pretty good fish. And Bishop is a truly inspired man, former inactive member, reactivated and has since reactivated and helped many youth and adults here in the ward.
 
So on Tuesday night, we stopped by to see Will, Pam, and Morgan. Will and Pam aren't married but have an adorable 2 month old daughter. Morgan is/was a tenant/friend. And it seems like every other time we go over there we meet a new tenant and person to teach. So we've taught the Restoration now I think 3 times in that house. On Tuesday however, Pam opened the door and said, "Sorry guys, Will is passed out up stairs and Morgan is drunk and crying in the basement. They both started drinking this morning." So obviously, we didn't teach them, but that night Morgan started drunk texting us. I was like, dude, you're texting to Mormon Missionaries, kind of funny that we were the ones he was texting. He was telling us things like "I'm a prophet and I'm from the Nepheliem blood line that comes from Moses' wives. I was born with poliydactlisity (extra digits)." ...Right..."Alright, you have a good night Morgan, try to get some sleep."
 
I find it incredibly sad how easily Satan can use alcohol and drugs and physical enticements to drag people slowly down to hell. And the world will justify it. Oh, just one bottle, I had a bad day, everyone else is doing it, there is no harm in just one smoke. "Oh that I were an angel and ...could...cry repentance unto this people." Alma 20:1. It's heartbreaking how the world thinks that is the only outlet to true happiness. But we admonished him to come unto Christ, really to turn his life over to Christ and actually be changed. For good. I love the people in my life who did exactly that and whose lives are so much more meaningful and happy because of it.
 
We also stopped by John and Rebecca, the couple that is moving to Renton, WA and he had just gotten in from a business trip and she was bathing the kids. But after about 10 minutes of just chit chat, we got into a spiritually edifying conversation. Rebecca asked plenty of intelligent and thoughtful questions about covenants and the temple and "Why Mormons and not other religions?" So we explained the Restoration of Priesthood Authority and I just love talking about the temple. I explained how civil marriages say "Til death do you part" and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in marriage for "time and all eternity." And what a glorious promise that is. The Spirit was there and hopefully testified to their hearts of the truth of what we were discussing. I know this is true not because mommy and daddy dragged me to Sunday School every week, or velcroed me to the pughs (sp?) in Sacrament meeting or teachers bribing us with food. I'd be dumb to waste 2 years of my life if I didn't know without a doubt that the full gospel and Church of Jesus Christ himself have been restored. I know it. I strive to live it. And boy do I love it.
 
I got to go on an Oreo Exchange with two black Elders serving in Dover. They are so awesome, E. Tolbert is from Atlanta, and Elder Hamilton is from Jamaica (yah mon!). We did like 5 hours of service with moving some investigators and helping some members etc. Jackie was in the hospital last week for some diabetic problems and is now recovering in a nursing home, but still her joking and sarcastic self. She can be a little flirty sometimes, so we have to take males with us.
 
Zack and Cardin did not make it to church, but both still want to progress. It just won't be on my time table, which I admit, is really tough. The sooner they get baptized the better, in my mind. That's not always true. The Lord knows what's best, and of course they have their agency. Today the exterminators came and sprayed our apartment with a synthetic fossil dust that actually cuts up the bed bugs and flushes them out. So hopefully members won't act like we have the plague anymore since that's been done.
 
I am out of time, so I'll send pics next week, but we went with Sister Kemer to St. Andrew's school in Middletown, De, where they filmed the Dead Poet Society. I played a dinky little, but cool old pipe organ. I love you all. Mos. 23 is the script ref.
 
Love,
Elder Jake Robins

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Clay in the Potter's Hands

Dear Fam and Friends,
 
Yikes it got cold fast! Today we woke up to a very wet snow flurry and I had to remind myself that winter happens on the east coast, not just Rexburg, ID. Nothing like Rexburg snow though. It melts before it even hits the ground, but still comes down in snow form..if that makes anyyy sense. The leaves are falling and skies are getting gray, but hard work we do each day. Had to finish the rhyme.
 
So we had a great lesson with Zack and Sister Guessford last Tuesday and she is a convert to the church. Wonderful story, hers is. But she was a perfect fellowshipper for him. We talked about the need to stop drinking and other word of wisdom issues. Not to be blunt, but he loves his weed. That will be hard for him to give up. I laughed whenI looked at his shirt as we talked about the W.O.W. An adidas shirt but the symbol was a marijuana leaf and the brand caption was Cannabis. Soo funny. and ironic. We realize that he won't likely quit all that stuff on our time frame, but as long as he has the desire and faith, the Lord will help him. His life is changing so much. And he came to church on Sunday!! We met him in the parking lot and he walked into the chapel sportin' his black cargo pants, baseball cap, and Dale Earnhardt jersey with a scruffy go-tee. But what does dress matter, as long as he is there and feeling the Spirit. Which he did, and he enjoyed it all. He didn't trust us until the 3rd lesson, and now we just have this awesome friendship with him and he told us he'll be devastated if we leave. That's what member friends are for!
 
Christine is a thinker and talks a million and a half miles per hour, but we love her. And when we stopped by on  Saturday, I got another feeling that Satan had been working on her. Sure enough, her first words were "Yeah hey guys, I don't think I'm going to do this whole LDS, book of mormon thing. I just don't feel like God would add to what's already in the Bible." My hear dropped as I thought we had already tried to resolve this concern in the last lesson. But I think the adversary knows that this sweet woman has great potential as a daughter of God, and he just wants to thwart that potential. Gahh! Satan, you are the devil! Ha, I've found myself saying that recently. We really are waging an all out war against Satan and boy do we have to be vigilant. So we invited her to keep reading and try us out at church. Come, join with us as Pres. Uchtdorf so wonderfully stated.
 
Miracle on Main Street...aka the library. We went to work and find on Facebook as we usually do in the morning. I sat down next to a man that looked to be about in his 20's. He was unfamiliar with the library and computers and how it all worked, so he asked several questions and I gladly helped him work it all out. Several minutes later, he glanced at my nametag and asked, "So what kind of salesmen are ya'll?"
We're not salesmen actually, we're missionaries. But what we have we are giving for free and it is more valuable than anything money can buy. He perked up as I pulled up a copy of the Book of Mormon. We taught him a quick little lesson there, then set up and appt to teach later.
 
Fast forward to friday, we taught him and his wife the Restoration and asked about their religious backgrounds. Cardin studied Islam, and his wife, Tynequah, grew up Baptist. They expressed an interest in finding a solid middleground religion to raise their two adorable children up in. I grinned at the prospect of having a wonderful family join with us. The miracle is that Cardin had not planned to go to the library that day, but he got a feeling that he needed to go for some reason. He also didn't usually talk to people, but he opened his mouth and talked to me. So it was touching to me to see these two wonderful people brought to us by the hand of the Lord. They accepted our invitation to be baptized that first lesson and Elder Rabe and I left the lesson just beaming with joy. Such people and occurrences make it all worth it.
 
I have been interacting, discoursing if you will, with many different types of people. Some recently have been very learned and intelligent. And I feel dumb or insufficient in knowledge to talk with them. Then the Spirit reminds me, "Just testify Elder." And you can't deny a pure and simple testimony. Why are  different people put in our lives?
 
I think Jeremiah 18:1-6 has an answer. Christ talks about the broken vessels, which all of us are. He wants to take our lives and reshape and mold them into what He knows they can be. I find so much comfort in knowing that as I try my hardest to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He can make me what HE needs me to be. Same is true with all of us, if we just let Him. Ponder what you can do to let Him shape you each day of your life, and you will feel a greater sense of purpose. Just as Zack does, just as Jackie does when she prays, or me or anyone who submits to His will. Let us be clay in the great potters hands.
 
Love you all so much, have a wonderful week,
 
Elder Jake Robins

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pic-ies

think anyone lives here?

Ceremonial "burning of the tie" for my 6 months mark...don't worry, it's not a Mr. Mac tie.

Blurry me and miguel.  So Miguel owns chicken houses. I was excited before I saw it, but this was just a jaw dropper. So he has one one story building, and a newer two story. Each level holds 95,000 chickens X3=240,000 chickens. That's a lot of feathers! He raises them to four months then another dealer takes them. 25 tons of feed in 3 days. a huge semi full of chicken droppings filled in 2-3 days. Like, it's nuts. Miguel is just the bomb too. Such a nice man and so patient with my terrible spanglish.  Feathers flying everywhere when we would walk by, the chickens would freak out and start quacking like maniacs.

Jake's Latest

Family and Friends!
 
How's it going? Oh what a week it has been! And I am ever grateful to be part of this work, rarely is it easy, but it is always worth it. Many experiences with members and non-members made me think of something Sister Shaia (who just left our district) said. Too many people see our name badges and start vomiting their life stories on us like we're paid, professional psychiatrists. We are not psychiatrists people! This badge simply means we are representatives of Jesus Christ and full-time stalkers. Just trying to find people to bring closer to Christ! Really have to take everything with a "grain of salt" never really got that until the mission.
 
We got Sister Bradshaw in the ward and had ward coorelation on Wednesday. She is just on fire and wants to do all she can to help the ward and it's contagious. The ward needs a LOT of work. By the ward, I mean the members. Which can be discouraging. We aren't in charge of their conversion, they are. And as she asked about the ward, I brought up a particular family...little did  I know that I was opening a can of anacondas (not just worms). Everyone just erupted over this nasty divorce going on and the ward is split. Literal nightmare. But never underestimate the power of the Atonement in changing situations and changing lives. We also met with Steven that night and it just felt off from the beginning. It was like pulling teeth to get him to say two words about why he was so down and wouldn't talk. He told us he wasn't ready to get baptized. This is the son of an active member. So it was disheartening, and we don't know exactly what's going on, but trust that the Lord will continue to prepare him.
 
Wednesday night (oct.30) is known as "mischief night" really only in the greater Philadelphia region, so we were cautioned to be safe, but didn't see anything. We visited Sherissa and her 4 year old son, Wayne, wasn't at the door so I found myself saying, "Where's Lil' Wayne" then I realized...oh..great nickname for a 4 year old, with a rapper as a role model. As we were saying goodbye Brother Collins who was with us that night, he said, "Remember who you are, just don't get too down about it." He can be a punk, but he's funny.
 
Thursday was an entertaining district meeting. We have an oreo tripanionship with two big black elders and a white elder. Soo funny when they got put together. Including me, there are 3 Jacob's in the district. Not a very popular name. President Anderson asked us to be in by 6 pm on Halloween, but we didn't see a single trick-or-treater! We were even prepped with our 3 fun sized m&m's bags!
 
On Friday, we took a trip out to Leipsic (I thought it was Lipe-sick, it's actually lip-sick, so I just call it Lipstick) Delaware. It's about 10 miles away, so we do have to plan for it, but it's not like to mars and back. We tried contacting a referral who wasn't home. Then we decided to knock a few doors in the 10-street town. Many houses boarded up or abandoned. The town lies right near the large Delaware river with an offshoot, Leipsic River, running through it. For some reason, I was kind of drawn toward the water. And we got to the water front with fishing boats and small docks and knocked a few doors. Then a man in his truck backed up to the dock. He got out and said, "What, are you salesmen?"
"Nope" I replied, " We aren't selling, we are actually giving away."
 "Oh really?" he said skeptically. "Everything in the world today costs money."
"Well, what we have is worth more than anything in the world. You cannot buy it." Then I held up the Book of Mormon and we taught a mini-restoration lesson on a fishing dock. After that we transitioned into asking what he does. So his name is Boe, he "works the water" as they say and his dad did as well. Humble man with a small family, lived in Leipsic his whole life. He is currently "conking" or fishing for conch's (he said conk's). He showed us a small conch and the traps they use. The town used to be bustling, but has since died with the drop in local seafood i guess. Anyway, he was just the nicest man and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He is always on the water, so he may be hard to catch, but I trust the Lord will work something out. It made the whole trip out there worth it. And cameras simply cannot capture the gorgeous scenery out here. California is beautiful in the fall, but there is just something about the trees out here. The colors are vibrant and bright against the soft blue sky. And Delaware gets magnificent sunsets. Gah! I love it!
 
Yesterday, Jackie made it to church with Sister Guessford. We sat next to her in the very back row of the chapel. It was fast and testimony meeting and one member got up and was talking about how he used to be a Baptist, when Jackie heard that she shot a youthful fist bump into the air and whispered, "Yes!" Then in the middle of a particularly poignant testimony about Christ's ability to help and heal us amidst the deepest trials, Jackie yelled "Amen!" from the back row, right next to me. The congregation bursted out laughing and the speaker said, " I have always wanted that to happen to me!" Sister Collins came up to Jackie afterwards and introduced herself and said she's always welcome back at church. It's refreshing to have a little baptist zest in the meetings every once in a while!
After the meeting I talked to the Dover Stake President, Howard Long, and after telling him I am from CA, he said he is from Modesto. I asked him if he knew any Stone's...Temple president in Tahiti..His son is my stake President in Danville..He said oh, Jared Stone, and his dad is Tom? Kinda cool connection there, shout out to the wonderful Stone family!
 
Miracle of the Week: So a few weeks ago we contacted a Spanish speaking referral named Miguel. Then just last week we called him back and actually set up an appt with him for sunday. Then we asked Brother Cherriman from the ward (who speaks spanish) to go with us. He willingly,giddily agreed, excited at the prospect of using his spanish. So we went out to Millington Maryland, to this address that didn't seem to exist. After a mile long dirt road, we found this run down trailer house, so we knocked on the door. A man opened it and said, "Hermanos!" He let us in and we had a wonderful conversation that Elder Rabe and I weren't able to participate in! That was sweet. Ha, but I was able to pick out parts of it and get the gist of the conversations. We asked how he got in contact with the church and he went to his closet and brought back a dozen pictures of his newlywed daughter in front of the Mexico City temple. The Spirit washed over us as I thought of the prospect of this humble man being sealed to his family for time and all eternity. He is pretty much the only non-member in his family. He is the only one, besides a son, here in the US. He already had a "Libro de Mormon" I mean.. this man is prepared. So we taught the Restoration and I opened my mouth and the Spirit filled it with Spanish words and I was able to read from the pamphlet and add to the lesson, then Brother Cherriman would clarify. It was so amazing to feel the Spirit working through me. No way I would have been able to speak without Him. Working with a God of miracles.
 
In Moroni chapter 6, (please don't tune out for the spiritual note) we learn about the purposes of going to church. After baptism, we are "wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost...and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who is the author and the finisher of their faith." I am really having to learn a lot about the concept of faith, so this brings great comfort in knowing that Christ starts our faith and is the very reason we keep going. He refines us and puts the "finishing touches" on us. Why go through life without Him? I marvel that people want to do it on their own, but some merely need an invitation. Which I am willing to give.
 
Love you all, stay safe and strong.
 
Elder Robins
In front of the quaint little Lipstick sign

The magic conch shell...don't watch Spongebob, it's bad for your brain.

The dock in Leipsic where we met Boe. Gorgeous day outside, thank heaven's for nature...oh wait, it hasn't snowed yet.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Caterpillars and Red Cups

Hi Friends and Family!
 
I've had a great week and love all the emails and letters of support and I know we are blessed to live in this day and age with such communication technology. We had a fun little trunk or treat in the church parking lot on Saturday from 7-9pm. It was rather late...in fact, I think several little kids went home sleeping zombies. We didn't really dress up, but I put this weird alligator toy in my pocket so people couldn't say I didn't have a costume on. It was a fun little get together.
 
Last night, Elder Rabe and I joined the youth at BYD at Bishop Deutsch's request. We did a few activities where the youth acted out how they would handle encounters with church related questions. The theme was "Hastening the Work of Salvation" which is really just inspired in general. WE aren't just bringing people the chance to have this joy and happiness, but we are rekindling the fires of those who once had it already. Bishop told the youth that the Smyrna ward is currently at 28%  weekly attendance, with nearly 450 people on the roster. I'm sure every ward has it's struggles, but that just seems a little daunting. So we and the youth and leaders will be visiting people on the list who's names we don't know. This ward is like a big metal ball at the top of a free fall ride. Tons of potential energy there, we just need to release the doubts and gates and turn it all into kinetic energy. (thank you high school physics for teaching me intelligent sounding vocabulary-ha).
 
I know this is chronologically way out of order, but Wednesday we knocked on a former potential investigator's door. She answered and after a minute we learned that she plays the organ for her church. I perked up immediately and told her I play too and that we need another organist for our congregation. We then gave her a Book of Mormon and she seemed more than willing to read and pray about it. Our apartment has a little dinker organ...why a missionary apt has an organ?...I'll never know. But nonetheless (I've started speaking in scripture terminology) I love having a little something to toink around on. Pedal board doesn't work, but I like it for the buttons. Such a tactile person.
 
Saturday was just off. It felt like we were driving and knocking doors for hours on end. So I was praying that we would be put in the path of someone who needed the gospel. As we were getting back in the car after the thousandth visit of the day, I saw a young man, about 16 walking past across the street. It felt like the Spirit almost dragged me across the street to this young man, then before I knew it I opened my mouth and asked, "Do you ever wonder why we're here on earth?" "Yes!" He replied. I continued explaining and asking as guided by the Spirit and set up an appt to meet with him this week. The miracles that God can do through us if we but open our mouths or simply ACT!
 
We have had trouble getting investigators to get to church. Zack keeps saying he will come, but since he's gotten this new job, he's always tired bc of the night shift hours. Antonio told us yesterday that he has been reading the Book of Mormon with his son. Elder Rabe and I noticed a dramatic change in his countenance since the first time we met with him. The light of Christ and the gospel is filling his life. It's such a miracle to see.
 
I want to gain charity more than almost anything. I just want to be filled with that pure love. Moroni explains "Charity suffereth long, and is kind...rejoiceth in truth...Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever."(Moroni 7:45-47). I can be so sarcastic and rude, and have always wanted to change, but never really knew how I guess. Yesterday, the theme at church and for the day was charity, and compassion and the pure love of Christ. Stories were told that pierced me to the core. Gah I can't describe how wonderful it felt. I'm not a whole lot more charitable or loving today than I was yesterday, but just like conversion it's a daily process. So what are we doing each day to have that charity,  that pure love that changes hearts?
 
Love you all, help someone else feel loved today,
 
Elder Jake Robins
Caterpillar I caught cause it looked cool. I didn't know they actually eat leaves, but it did. (thank you disney movies)

The ward trunk or treat, inside part, i noticed I'm not good about taking pics of myself..sorry!

Just the opposite of what the world needs to hear, but hey. Kinda funny

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Latest

Dearest Family and Friends,
 
Oh the joys that come from the chance to serve the Savior full-time. So much happens each week it's hard to remember the details, but just knowing that I am making progress and helping others to make progress towards their Savior is comforting. So we successfully got rid of the bed bugs and I still came away with no bites. We went back to Jackie's yesterday and found MORE bedbugs crawling on her couch. So we slyly and politely killed them while she was talking. Her kind of pretty couch is now covered in the black spots and streaks that the little buggers leave. She has had many neighbors and family members question her decision to become a Mormon. But she said the more she prays about it, the more she feels this is the direction the Lord is leading her, so it's amazing to see how her faith is being strengthened.
 
I went on exchanges in Dover for the third week in a row on Wednesday, this time was with Elder Tolbert from our district. He is black and he's from right outside Atlanta Georgia. Loves deep fried food and he is just awesome. We had some good conversations and just a good exchange. After giving away 3 copies of the Book of Mormon to these fairly humble, slightly drunk women, we encountered another black man, lighter than Elder Tolbert. The man right off started asking why a black person like Elder Tolbert would be a Mormon if the Book of Mormon says God cursed the Lamanites with dark skin. yadada. All he wanted to do was bash. The Bible this, Bible that. We tried to testify simply and powerfully several times, to no avail. He would just spout off, well how do you know that. We ended up walking away flustered and slightly angry that our simple testimonies weren't able to "confound the wise" but the Lord moves in mysterious ways.
 
We bought new pillows that night as a caution for the bedbugs. I think I can sleep a little tighter now. Ashley and Ryan (Ryan we miraculously met last week after not having met missionaries for close to a year) took us to a nice Hibachi grill in Dover a day after we helped them moved from a trailer park to her mom's house (temporarily). The real miracle was that in the car ride home, we got Ryan talking about religion and how he doesn't feel like the church they've been going to is the right one for them. We told both of them that this would bless them and their two little boys more than anything else in the world. So we are hoping and praying that their hearts will continue to be softened to the message of the gospel.
 
Interesting tidbit about Smyrna or this area, we actually have Menenite colonies, I guess you would say, that live in Clayton, Dover, and parts of Maryland, still in our area. So it's not just up in PA like I had originally thought. Elder Brayden Prestwich serving in this mission wrote an article in this month's New Era on missionary work and technology, should have a picture of a tablet on it.
 
The other night, we met with one of our truly amazing members, Sister Guessford, at Will and Morgan's house. The first half hour of the lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ was just a train wreck. Will was in and out of the house smoking. Friends and family were all over the house, people were eating and making food and noise. Morgan was sitting across from me at the table looking half dead of boredom as we went over repentance. It was a small nightmare. I said a quick prayer that Will would pay attention and that the Spirit would help us.
 
An amazing thing happened. Not more than 3 minutes later, Will sat down we read 2 Nep 31 and he got up to get a highlighter bc he liked one of the verses so much. Sister Guessford shared her miraculous story of conversion and the Spirit just settled in the room. A feeling of peace came and Will's wife Pam joined us (and she never does) and Sister Guessford talked to her about forgiving her father and the peace that can come. I still don't know how it all happened, and Will can't get baptized for a while because of legal issues. But I promised him that if he moved forward with faith, the Lord would provide a way. He is a God of Miracles. That's for sure.
 
Another man we found in a trailer park in Townsend, north of Smyrna, literally got out of prison a few weeks ago. So like fresh out of prison. And he has a very humble demeanor which we are hoping will last and bring him to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I found myself loving him a whole lot more than judging him. I saw him more through the lens of Christ, as what he has the potential to become. Zack told us he would have trouble giving up weed in order to get baptized. He argued that God told us in the Bible that we can use all the plants and herbs of the earth. And he says he feels closer to God when he's smoking it. I don't know what weed's like. Don't need to. But I do know that it is not men who sets the commandments. It is God who gives us the commandments. Weed may seem beneficial in the moment and even healthy, but let's be real. Who do we trust. God or some high up doctors.(not to bash doctors)? Doctors right? We told him we would help him increase faith in God, we don't know the reasons for all things, but God does. So let us exercise faith in Him.
 
I missed Sacrament meeting two weeks in a row because of Stake and General Conference. Makes you grateful for the strength that comes from taking the Sacrament each week. I opened up to Moroni 9:25 this Sunday and I was impressed with the wording in the verse. "Be faithful in Christ...may Christ lift the up...and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever." Why are we here on earth? We want to return to God, eternal life. I want such thoughts to always be on my mind. Love you all. Have a wonderful week.
 
Elder Jacob Robins
Legislative Hall @ night(Dover State Capitol)

Taking pictures at zone training. I don't think we had enough cameras

Senility Prayer @ a member's house- so funny

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Hi Family and Friends,
 
So I always loved it when mom or dad would tuck me in and say "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!" Cute little bedtime rhyme right? mmmm, not so much when the bed bugs actually do bite. Elder Rabe woke up Sunday and Monday with these small little bites on his arms and legs; some formed small triangles, some form straight lines. And he recognized them as bed bug bites. And so the nightmare begins!  So we take allllll the blankets in the apt, all the bedding, our clothes, everything to the laundromat and wash it. Just as you would for a lice treatment. They get in the seams and small cracks of fabric, so you have to wash and dry it all to kill them. Then we used permethrin and a special Raid to spray all the bedding and furniture in the apartment. It ate up most of our day. I luckily didn't get bitten, but I feel bad Elder Rabe was the one to get bitten.
 
We visited with Jackie in the afternoon  yesterday and found that an exterminator was there spraying for bed bugs....Alas, we found the source! So we talked to Bill and Jackie as we waited for the man to leave. I looked down at the seat cushions of the kitchen table chairs and found a little something crawling. These cushions had over a dozen full-sized bugs on them. They're hard to squish and kill cause they're so flat, but we got most of them and then helped her put the cushions in the dryer. So that's that. We're still looking out for them.
 
Jackie came to Stake Conference on Sunday in Dover. They talked about the temple and keeping covenants there and missionary work. Soo it was a great meeting for members, but I had to do a lot of explaining to her. She is still working on getting an answer as to whether or not she feels this is true, so we are being patient with her and giving her time to read and pray about it all.
 
Last Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Spackman (Zone Leader) in Dover. We walked up to this college-aged young man and started a conversation with him. We asked if he knew anything about the church to which he responded, "Yeah, you worship Lucifer, right?" I did my famous eye roll and laughed, thinking he was joking. His facial expression did not change though...Really? Where in the world did you hear that? He had talked to some friends and consulted the always trusty and reliable internet. Gotta love google. But he was touched by our testimonies and the Book of Mormon and the Zone Leaders have since said that he seems willing to get baptized. It felt awesome to be an instrument in the Lord's hands in not only clearing up misconceptions, but testifying of the truth we do have. 
 
For dinner that night, I got to go "on base" at Dover AFB to a member's home. Cute little family. We have also been visiting a bunch of less actives who literally live in Timbuktu. The boonies of Delaware, I know, I didn't think DE was big enough to have boonies either. Yesterday I saw a Menenite family in Walmart dressed up in their dresses and bonnets and aprons. It's cool to be in a part of the country where so many different cultures live so close together. It helps to recognize the fact that we are ALL children of the same God. No matter our beliefs or our backgrounds. No matter the mistakes we've made in the past. No matter the color of our skin. We are all  children of a loving Heavenly Father. It's taken me effort to recognize that and see people as such, but my perspective is changing as I help others come closer to that God who gave them life.
 
CHAPTER 2-sure does seem like it
 
We met a John and Rebecca, sweet little family and John had gone to temple square a few weeks ago, church found out that he was baptized when he was 12, has since gone inactive and so we got a referral for us to visit him. So we did and they are just the nicest people. He told us he was moving to Seattle, but before i got a chance to ask he said, "yeah we're looking at a house in Renton." I jumped out of my seat and told him I have an aunt and uncle in Renton!! They'd be more than willing to have you (and the missionaries haa) over for dinner when you get there. Hope you're ok with that Brian and Pattie! Ha, but that would be awesome if you guys got to meet them.
 
We set several people with Baptismal dates, the most solid so far is Steven, the son of a ward member. He is 14 and knows more about the church and the gospel than a lot of 14 year old members. He is gung ho about getting baptized and reads the Book of Mormon faster than I do, So we are excited for him.
 
In my interview with President Anderson on Saturday, he asked me what I do about stress and the burdens of missionary work. I told him I try to do exactly as the Savior asks us, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." We talked about how exhausting it is when people choose not to accept the truth or when things just don't go as planned. We put our hearts into this and I have felt like the Sons of Mosiah " That salvation should be declared to every creature...could not bear that any human soul should perish." (Mos. 28:3) And that's really all we can do. Be obedient, act in faith, and rely upon the Lord to do the rest. I hope all is well with everyone. Remember to Smile, the world needs it=)
 
Love,
Elder Jake Robins