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 piano...it'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