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!!
Elder Jacob Robins