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

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