Hi Family and Friends,
What a week it has been! I'll try to be short, but uhh don't count on it. So yes, I have been transferred to Smyrna, Delaware. My companion is Elder Rabe from....take a wild guess...UTAH! And it has been quite the adjustment for me, but I'll get into that in a bit. So Monday and Tuesday Elder Timmerman and I stopped by former investigators and investigators as well as members that I wanted to say goodbye to.
We had been working with an inactive woman named Pat, helping her see the need for coming back to church. So we would take one of our pre-missionary priests over, James, to have the 3 of us "practice" teaching the Restoration to her. She was stubborn and almost standoffish at first, but she has since then softened up and agreed to look for a dress to wear to church, so the Spirit has wonderfully been working on her.
I also got to say bye to my very first investigator, Frank, and introduced him to Elder Timmerman. He is humble and recognizes the need to change and sees that the Atonement can do that. So I've come to realize this: No, I did not baptize anyone in Wilmington, I did not see any less-actives I worked with go to church, I did not teach any individuals brought by members. But, I worked hard all day, every day to invite the people of Wilmington to come closer to Christ.
And the wonderful Anderson family in my ward, saw them on Tuesday, they prayed and prayed and fasted to be able to give away 1 Book of Mormon by 9/15. And they were NOT able to do it, but Sister Anderson looked me in the eyes and said, "Elder Robins, you have changed our family. We are all continuing to pray every day for the opportunity to give away a Book of Mormon, you really have inspired us all. So thank you." I mention this not to brag, but because it was one of the marvelous workings of the Spirit of which I have been a part. "That I may be an instrument in His hands.."
It is people and families like that that have made this whole "transfer" process pretty difficult this past week. I grew to love the members and non members of Wilmington so much that it felt like I was leaving home, yet again. I wrote a paper winter semester at BYU-I called "The Heart of a Nomad" talking about these nomadic years of life where we don't have a set home for an extended period of time. What I am coming to realize is that what makes home feel like "home" is the people that are there and the love and Spirit that is shared. It's a miracle that Heavenly Father puts people in our lives to not only love us, but to assisst us in this process of change in our lives. Changing to return to that God who created us.
I switched places with Elder Seeley, he came from Smyrna to Wilmington, me vice versa. Smyrna is a little less than an hour south of Wilmington, and the first day I felt really weirdly homesick for the crazy city I had just come from. It is much smaller down here. Completely flat. Like not a hill in sight. Just trees. A lot of farmland with pivots (learned something in Melba last summer!) and such. The Smyrna ward was split Smyrna North and South, sisters up north. And it covers from the eastern delaware border to the chesepeake in Maryland. There are a number of members in Maryland, so we will probably spend some time over there this transfer. Elder Rabe has been out over a year and knows his stuff. He's a bit quieter, but I like him and he works hard.
There are two different members in this ward who Elder Taylor and I visited and gave blessings to up in Wilmington, so it's been nice to catch up with them and get to know them here. I could literally go on for days. But to save time and words and your attention, if I didn't lose it the first sentence, I'll introduce Bill and Jackie. They live in a trailer park in Smyrna, 91 year old uncle living with his 74 year old neice. He is very hard of hearing. I've never shouted the First Vision so loud in my life. After Bill was trying to remember the name of a family member, Jackie confirmed the name and muttered to us, "I thought I saw a little smoke." Sooo funny. They are wonderful and humble and hopefully prepared. Love em already.
Epilogue (to go along with my novel)
Last night, we had dinner at a member's home and I sensed that these members were exhausted from the day-to-day grind of raising their 4 grandchildren. I turned to chapter 24 of Mosiah where Alma is talking about the oppression Amulon puts Alma and his people under. These people would be killed if they prayed allowed. But they prayed in their hearts for deliverance from God.
"Lift up your heads and be of good comfort...I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders...and the Lord did strengethn them that they could bear up their burdens with ease and submit CHEERFULLY to all the will of the Lord." (Mos. 24:12-16).
The hard part of this mortal journey is that life just plain stinks sometimes. It may just seem like nothing is ever going to work out. Or what about those times when the tough just don't want to get going? You're down to your last straw. I testify that Jesus Christ alone is the answer. There is no counselling or money or any worldly possession that can ease your burdens and give you the strength to endure as the Atonement of Jesus Christ can. I may be a mere 19 years old, but I HAVE felt the power of the Atonement strengthen and enable me to live my life as He would have me live.
Love you all, Be of Good Cheer,
Elder Jacob Robins
|Blurry me and Enock (hopefully getting baptized soon)|
|Me and James from the ward, from Liberia, waiting for a mission call|
|The Anderson Family, minus Brother Anderson|