Dear Friends and Family,
Happy belated Father's day by the way! I have some incredible father figures in my life and am eternally grateful for their influence in my life, especially Dad and grandpas. So this week was awesome, but soo exhausting. To finish off that story from last week: Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Pres. of the 70 visited Moore, OK and talked to a little girl named Torrie Sorelle (sp?). She shared her survival experience during the tornado. The principal got on the loud speaker and told the elem. school students to get in tornado position. So she ran to the bathroom with a few of her girlfriends and went into a stall. They huddled together and put their hands over their heads. It got dark all the sudden, the wind was blowing hard. Then the roof was gone, then the walls that separated each stall. After it had all died down about a minute later, she looked up and there was a stop sign on top of her. She knew there were no stop signs on school grounds...When Elder
Rasband heard the story he asked Torrie if she would like a Priesthood blessing. I have always felt strongly about Priesthood blessings, maybe because they have literally saved my own life before. Anyways, I don't know how much I'm allowed or supposed to tell, but in the blessing, he told her that Heavenly Father was watching over her and had angels all around her to protect her. I don't care what "God" or religion you believe in, that is powerful. That is evidence that we have a loving Father in Heaven who does indeed watch over and protect us. Yes some innocent lives are lost in such disasters and we won't always know the reasons, but trusting in God's will and exercising faith in Him is really all we can do.
Speaking of tornadoes, a week ago we were driving home from Newark which is 20 minutes south of us from a P-day activity. We got out to our cars and there were legit rivers in the church parking lot. Driving down the road was like driving a jet ski, pretty fun. glad i got to drive..:) Then we got downtown to stop at a bike shop for the Spanish Elders who were with us. They came back out to the car and had seen on the tv inside that there were Tornado warnings for the Newark Wilmington area...didn't know the east coast got tornadoes...but alright. So we got in the car, driving cautiously because it was pouring rivers outside. I kind of wanted to see the tornado, but it did touch down in Newark as we were driving through, we just didn't see it. The streets were flooded with over six inches of brown water that had a nice stench to it, for the sewers had erupted downtown. It was nice to drive through all that muck.
On Thursday we had Zone Conference in Dover, DE. President and Sister Schaefermeyer gave beautiful, powerful closing talks as they are going home next weds or thursday. Sister S. told us that happiness is a choice. I love that. You can be in the most dire of circumstances, like many people we teach, and still CHOOSE to be happy. We also learned that "faith is not only a feeling, but a decision" a decision to act upon the things we believe. That makes me want to exercise more faith. Agency is a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father. I have come to appreciate how our investigator Nikki is using her agency lately.
She took herself to a mental institution to help overcome her bipolarism. And she took her Book of Mormon with her. So we didn't teach her for about a week while she was there, but she just seems happy and organized and ready to move forward with her life. She said she no longer drinks every day. And when she does, it is not to get drunk. It is sooo cool to see the Spirit working through her bit by bit and slowly, but surely changing her as a person. She may not get baptized for another 6 months or so, who knows? But progress is progress. Latisha said she would come to our Bishop's granddaughters baptism this last saturday and she was excited about her own baptism and wanted her girls to be baptized. We don't know how drunk she was when she told us that, it's always hard to tell. But I am seriously hoping and praying so hard for her. She is humble and seems so ready to learn and grow, then she didn't show up for the baptism. Saturday was rough after
that. No one wanted to talk, a little bit of rain, a man bashing the Book of Mormon and all organized religion. And a headache and hurting feet to top it off.
The beauty of Saturday came as Elder Taylor and I were walking home. We were on Union Street which is lined with trees and house on one side. As we were walking, I was kind of praying about the day and its difficulties, then I saw a spark of light fly in front of me. Here and there it would pop up and the small yellow light made my day. I felt God's love and kind of the Spirit wash over me as I held a firefly in my hand and thought of how much God cares about each of us. I knew then that my efforts, my faith, and my prayers had not been in vein. They are never in vein for any of us. God is always listening. He is always mindful of our needs and that light that shines within each of us is not meant to stay hidden, but to shine. I love it, sometimes my light flickers, but exercising faith in His will will pull me through.
Members in the area are finally beginning to realize that we need help, that street contacting is more of a last resort to find people. We saw a bunch of less active members this past week, and watching the flame of their testimonies being slowly rekindled is a moving experience. They may not get back to church right away, but it is the friendships that are created that are important in the long run.
I love the Book of Mormon so much. If you have not read it and prayed about it yet, please, please do so. I wish the whole world could feel the same joy that it brings me and so many who have done the same thing.
Congratulations to Randy and Alycia! So exciting!
Elder Jacob Robins