Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for the emails and letters of love and support. I was telling Jessi, letters for a missionary are like candy for a fat kid. It's awesome. I got to go to the beach on Memorial Day and we went swimming and it was a blast. Jk, we were actually told be President Schaefermeyer to go to cemeteries within our mission and talk to people about the Plan of Salvation. We were a little skeptical at first, thinking it would just be way too forward of a thing to do in a cemetery on such a day. But we didn't even see that many people in the cemeteries. One man, named Ralph, was mowing the lawn around the gravestones and when he saw us he stopped the lawnmower, gave us a huge smile and shook our hands. We talked with him for about an hour about his church and volunteer work and a little bit about the Restoration. He specifically said that his faith was increased by seeing us out here doing what we're doing at such a young age. We gave him a Book of Mormon, which he accepted graciously and agreed to read. Then we offered to come back next saturday to help him mow the dauntingly huge lawns in the run down cemetery. It's invigorating to know that there are still good people like him who are truly influences for good in the world.
We stopped by Frank, think I mentioned him last week, and had planned to teach him the Plan of Salvation as his second official lesson. But as we got talking, actually he is a chatty kathy, gabby gibby, whatever you would call him. It's hard to ask him questions cause he goes into 10 or 15 minute monologues and he is a little slow with words. But it's obvious that his desires are pure. He expressed frustration that when he prays to quit smoking, God will put a pack of cigarettes in his coat pocket or a beer on the counter. So we were prompted by the Spirit to teach this wonderful man, rather than teach a lesson. The Word of Wisdom popped into our minds, so we pulled out D & C 89 and began teaching. The Spirit was strong and he said, "ya know, when you read those scriptures, i felt something. This just feels right. It feels like this is what I need to be doing." The feelings that result from seeing an investigator's faith grow like this are indescribable. He told us how weird he thought it was that this was our third visit and he already felt a profound love for us. We agreed and told him that he was being touched by the Holy Ghost, changed bit by bit. He really wants this and it's amazing. We walked out of his house beaming with joy for how well it had gone. Elder Taylor is a tiny bit slower with forming a testimony and sentences, but he is often much more powerful in his message than I am.
On Wednesdays we have a mission  wide conference call where President will teach us out of the scriptures, ask questions, etc. It's cool to be able to meet with the rest of the missionaries via phone. It was interesting that he emphasized the usefulness of Facebook. He just loves it and feels very positively of the results it has brought in proselyting and bringing Less Actives back to church etc. We were told that it is likely that the Brethren will authorize missionary FB worldwide in the coming year because feedback has been so positive. I can get a facebook after I am done with training, but we'll see. Elder Taylor uses it to get in contact with former investigators from other areas, etc.
We ran in a ward 5K yesterday in this beautiful park called Delcastle, right outside our area. It was gorgeous weather, the whole ward was smiling and wonderful. They lied to us about investigators being there..... ha but that's ok. We have been trying to focus on building trust with ward members and getting them fired up about working with us. It is so beneficial when referrals come from members, because they act as built in fellowshippers. The ward mission leader......mmmm he's tough to work with. Just not as excited about the work. Which is kind of what Kari warned me would happen. But I am taking her advice and being of good cheer, kind of the mission motto. Elder Taylor is bummed that this is my first area and most of what we do is tracting, street contacting, knocking on doors, finding finding finding. But this past week our teaching pool went from about 5 to about 17. 2 or 3 referrals from the spanish elders, the rest by our own finding efforts. It's a miracle. Who knows how many will last, but we are finding people who want to learn. God is blessing us for our efforts.
Another miracle is that every once in a while we will knock on a door, they'll open it and one of us will introduce ourselves. The person will nod and give a slightly confused look. Immediately Im like, crap! They speak spanish!! I knew i should've paid better attention in High School. Then an amazing thing has been happening, I open my mouth, and my mind is guided to the words that I need to say. I remember like 28 words total from high school spanish, but miraculously, the Lord is able to work with that. I bear simple testimony, often using the wrong, informal (disrespectful) verb conjugations. But I get it out. And with that, I've been able to get the Spanish Elders 3 or 4 referrals. So cool. I love that the Lord is using past knowledge and learning. There is a reason for everything. Jared...stay in Spanish..Dallin, you're going to Provo on your mission...soo. ha jk. Im so glad Jess and Wil get to be in Florida this summer, sounds like an awesome experience for them.
One more investigator. I know this is long and more boring than the Old Testament, but this woman's a hoot. Her name is Nikki and she's a referral from the Spanish Elders. The first time she met Elder Taylor and I  she said, "I'm going to be honest, I just took a sip of my devil juice( vodka or something), so I'm not all there up top." She is crazy. But she said when she started praying on the streets with the Elders, her life began to change. She no longer gets angry or desires to fight. She still pays friends for her cancer sticks (cigarettes), but she is reading the Book of Mormon. We challenged her on Friday to be totally sober all day Sunday when we would come to teach the lesson. We got there Sunday night and she said it had been the looooonngest day of her life, but she did it. What a miracle. She is slowly but surely changing. I love it.
The members feed us once or twice a week. Kinda surprising, but we need to get the ward to like us more. One of the ward missionaries, Brother Hooper, a walking encyclopedia and so spiritually insightful, gives us food and frozen pizzas and whatever we need. He is so awesome. Keeps us going. Hope you had a nice weekend in Big Sur, sounds like it.
Read Alma 56. This made me think of Mom. "Behold our God is with us, and he would not suffer that we should fall...they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt. God would deliver them." I do not doubt my mother knew it. I feel so blessed to  have you two as parents and I am forever grateful for your testimonies and faith.
Love you All. Pray Always. not just night and day. Always.
Elder Robins

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week 3 in Deleware

Hello Family and Friends!

I apologize in advance for the length (no dad, i'm not trying to compete with you..). Sorry I only got 10 minutes in the airport to call you guys, Detroit didn't work out cause we had a quick layover and the airport is at least 5 miles long. So I woke up last Tuesday at 230 AM, that was way fun. The flight was fun, at least 6 or 7 first discussions going on in the plane. As we flew out of Salt Lake though, I was overcome with the Spirit as I thought about the Prophets and Apostles making these thousands of calls to serve. Then I thought about the 697 of us missionaries being shipped out into the world all within 3 days of each other last week. Then I thought of my Savior, whom I have enlisted to serve for the next two years. I am humbled and excited to join 80,000+ other missionaries in bringing God's children to a knowledge of their Savior. We got picked up at the airport, it took 7 cars, trucks and vans to get all of us and our luggage to the mission
home in Broomall. The mission home is about 20  minutes from downtown Philly, in a gorgeous rural neighborhood; 3 story house, giant backyard with a river running through it...that floods every so often. I walked in and felt at home. The senior couples were setting up Philly Cheese steaks and salads from a nearby restaurant. President introduced himself and we ate on the patio. First cheese steak was a success and I did enjoy it, probably go back for more sometime. 

With 31 new missionaries in one house, it got pretty hectic, so exciting though. We did interviews with President Schaefermeyer, he is so awesome and dedicated to this work. One of the sayings of the mission is simply "Be of Good Cheer" which can be hard when people simply aren't interested in our message. Many of the Senior Couples and President and Sister Schaefermeyer's will be going home at the end of this transfer, so admin overhaul in July. Wednesday morning we woke up and had a devotional where Pres. talked about how this really is the best mission in the world. Think about it, without this mission and what happened  in it, no other missions would exist. Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Priesthood Restoration in N. PA, Valley Forge and G. Washington's prayer there. Seriously hollowed ground. It's awesome to be teaching in the very places where much of this started. We were told that there are roughly 9 million people in the boundaries of
our mission. May not seem like much, but it's a little daunting to think about it. 205 (soon to be 240 next transfer) missionaries for 9 million people. We have a lot of work to do. hehe PPM(Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission)'s slogan is "Firm, Undaunted, Obedient" and that about sums us up. I love it. Obedience is key.

So after that devotional, they took us goldens, (they don't call us greenies here b/c fresh out of the MTC and we are on FIRE!)  out to Philly. West Philadelphia actually. I started rappin fresh prince of bel air as we drove through the sketch neighborhoods downtown. But I got another confirmation that I'm supposed to be here. After a little practice, they kicked us out of the gated church building and had us street contacting in west philly. I didn't see a white person besides my comp for 3 hours. But it was so much fun to talk to people who all have different stories. One man had recently gotten out of prison but believed in God and the Godhead. Good people, not so good circumstances. The rowhouse system is full of impoverished people struggling to get by and find work. I'm glad we got to serve a day in PHilly though, nice eye opener to what the area is like. Then we drove by the temple site downtown. They took us back to the Valley Forge Stake Center
in Broomall where we had dinner and met our trainers. They lined all 62 of us up, trainers across from goldens, and picked it felt like picking teams. So I met Elder Taylor who is from Delta, UT and has been out for 7 months. He is excited about the work and happy to be with someone who also wants to work. He's awesome though, teaching me a lot about how to begin teaching and starting convos and feeling the Spirit every time we talk to someone. 

We are serving in the Wilmington Delaware 2nd Ward, about 40 minutes from the mission home. Downtown Wilmington is by far the most dangerous and sketch part of Delaware, not that DE is very big..but it's bad. It is primarily section 8 housing, with unimaginable amounts of drugs, dealing, alcohol, theft, murders, you name it. Not a safe city. In fact, a cop rolled by us as we were street contacting a few days ago and asked us what we were doing. We explained and he replied, well be careful out here and then with a roll of the eyes, God Bless You. We met a man named Frank who we will start teaching, he had an open heart and was ready to listen. I think he had more fingers than he did teeth, but such is the case with most of these people. Some have come up to us bawling, begging us for money and we feel bad cause all we can do is give them the greatest gift ever, but they are often not ready to receive it. We have had to essentially start fresh cause Elder
Taylors last comp was....idk they just did not get much done. So we have been knocking and street contacting every day that I have been here so far just to bring our teaching pool up from 0. 

I know there are people out there though, people who have been prepared to hear my message. I am praying to be guided to those precious souls. I challenge you to do as we do and write down one small miracle that you see each day in your life. Something that would not happen if God did not care about the details of our lives. I feel bad for bombarding you with my last week and a half, but it's been crazier than I can describe. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. There are some really nice parts of my area like in Hockessin, but I am slowly coming to love it all. 

We have been going on splits with the Spanish Elders, which has really made me want to learn Spanish...wish me luck on finding the time. Other than that, the ward is decent, but we have vowed to get them all fired up. AND  to get all the members living in Section 8 housing to church. It's hard work, but so worth it. 

I want you all to know that I would not be doing this if I didn't know it was true. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families and individuals because it allows us to access the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves each of us personally. 

Keep up the good work in t ball Ty!
Alli, don't give up on's not worth giving up
Jared-I expect to get free tickets when you are a pro baseball player
Dallin-Swag on. Kindness goes a long way. Senior year is less than a month away. 
Jess- I will write you and Wil a letter. Sounds like you are having a blast in Florida, what's the ward like?
Wil-Send me some alligator skin or horns or something when you kill it! 
Mom-Thank you for all you do and the sacrifices you make to raise us and to get me out here and to show your love for your children. We were challenged to be the kind of missionaries our mothers would want us to be, so that  is what I will do.
Dad- I cannot thank you enough for the example you have set all my life. Preparing me for this day, these years, to be the kind of missionary I know you were and would want me to be. 
Congrats to Becky and BJ!:) Send me pics!
Did Ashley Dana get her call yet?
I have learned what this truth is worth in these people's lives and will go forth sharing it. 

Here are some pics of the MTC. Lost my notebook and camera battery on the plane. Typical? Nah. 

Love you all and thank you!

Elder Jacob Robins

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
Haha...nah, way to formal for me. What up everyone? So Ive already been in the MTC for about a week crazy. But what a week it has been. BTW, i apologize for bad grammar or spelling errors etc, keyboards here are less than desirable. So my first day in the MTC, i had come from G and G Robin´s house kinda feelin like crap with butterflies and all sorts of nervousness. Then we ate lunch and i wanted to vomit afterwards. But i kid you not, as soon as we entered the MTC gates, all the butterflies, the upset stomach, the threatening headache and all other worries fled. It was a small miracle. I got a little choked up hugging mom, but knew that I was putting my life entirely in the Lord´s hands for the next two years. They filtered us through these really efficient orientation lines and stuff and I got to one woman who asked for one of my envelopes. She pulled out my nametag and said, ´¨Thank you Elder Robins, for choosing to serve our Savior.´¨ Then she gingerly placed it in the pocket of my suit coat. The Spirit washed over me as I officially felt like a full-time representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
My host Elder helped me take my bags to my room, then kinda just left me.. at the main building where we met for the orientation devotional. I was ushered into a room with probably 250+ Elders and Sisters who had also just reported. We were told there was another room right next to us with just as many brand new missionaries. 500 may not seem like a lot, but in one delivery day, not half bad. There was a very powerful Spirit in that room. Especially as we sang the Primary song "We''ll Bring the World His Truth." They changed the lyrics from "we will be" to "we are now the Lord's missionaries." Simple phrase that really packs a punch when you've been preparing most of your life to be that missionary sung about and when you're singing with several hunderd other missionaries. One of the first things we were told was that we weren't allowed to call each other guys. Guys are the young men at home dating our girlfriends...guess you had to be there.
After that quick meeting of instruction, we went to our classrooms, and I met my comp and district. My companions name is Elder Porter, from Boise, ID. He is way cool, and has a stalwart, powerful testimony with a zeal for missionary work. I feel blessed because we've been able to teach each other and learn to live 24/7 with another person. One of my roommates is from Australia, we didn't get along at all at first. He found me irritating. Then like yesterday, he magically popped out of it and is way cool now. Elder Baker from Pocatello is 18 and is very knowledgable (sp?) in the gospel. The sisters in our district are simply amazing. I said that in my letter, but they have such strong testimonies and add so much to our class and district time. 4 of the sisters are going to Philly with me. The other 2 sisters and 3 elders are going to TuK-sun as they call it. I will be flying to Philly with about 3 Elders and 14 sisters and a couple or two to join the new transfer. Sister Knowlton is one of our teachers. Simply stunning, yet she's crazy. She is energetic and excited about the gospel. And she loves what she does. One of the encouraging statements she said to us the other day, "You are full-time 'reminders.' The people you will teach have already learned everything you will tell them. You are reminding them of Home with Heavenly Father." So powerful, there have been moments in class when tears are running down our faces and the Spirit is so sweet and strong that no one will say a word. It is moments like those, when you know that Heavenly Father is mindful of all you are doing. I have come to know my Savior Jesus Christ as I have learned the Doctrine of Christ and really begun to internalize it.
I know this gospel is not only true, but it is for everyone! Mom thank you for your example of missionary work and spreading the gospel. Sorry for no pics.   I took the cliche ones with all the missionaries in front of the Provo Temple and then learned that transfderring pics was more work than it was worth. Sorry about that. Oh and I happened to fast for Emma on Sunday too. Wish her the best for me. Umm Chad Lewis spoke on Sunday. I have a lot more to say, but my time is two minutes I have to stop. Thanks for the letters sibs! Love you guys. Good luck in Florida. Thanks for the cupcakes Katie. My next P-day will probs be weds. My flight leaves 7:15 am on Tuesday the 14th, so i guess plan for a call in the early morning. Unless im allowed or have time to call from Detroit. We'll see.
Love you all, church is true.
Elder Robins