Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Off "I" Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Family and Friends,
How are you all? (respond in your head and continue reading) The subject line..I think we just found ourselves singing the Air Force anthem this week and I remembered it from choir with Sister Brown. Well first things first, rumors are true, I am getting
transferred!!! We usually find out Friday night, but one of the assistant's had an appendicitis, so that delayed things. I won't know where I'm going 'til weds though. I trust that Elder Timmerman and his new comp will further the flourishing work in this area. And yes, I was at Bishop Condie's house when he made that phone call home, obviously I didn't talk though. But I appreciated his willingness to do that.
Yesterday was the Primary Program during Sacrament meeting, but before the 50+ little kids started their parts. I was asked on the spot to bare my testimony, so it was a little rough, but I testified that we are each children of a loving Heavenly Father. And as such, we have divine potential to live with Him and become like Him. The theme of the program was "I am a Child of God" and this group of kids may have been the best sounding primary I've heard in a while (sorry Danville 1st!). Most of the primary population is junior age too. One of the songs they sang was "A child's Prayer" with about 7 moms and their daugthers. "You are His child, His love now surrounds you." And I felt that love surround me as they sang. It sounds cheesy, but music can really provide a beautiful vehicle through which the Spirit can testify of truth and can strengthen us spiritually. Enock did not make it to church, nor did anyone else that we invited, despite our best efforts.
We invited Rod (police officer) and his family, daughter Amelia, and wife Angela, but their schedules conflicted way too much. Rod assured us that once his wife got on board, he would be "easy pickin's" to be baptized. And Amelia was jumping up and down about going to church and meeting girls her age. Literally a missionary's dream. But, Angela wants to check out a unitary church this week or something. Yes we are trying! But, we are praying and trying to fit into their busy schedules. So I guess I will find out 2nd hand how that all turns out.
Elder Bowen from the first Quorum of the Seventy and his wife visited the mission last weekend. They did several zone conferences, ours being on Saturday in Newark. And there were some intelligent missionaries eating during the conference and kind of talking during Sister Anderson's talk. Sooo, Elder Bowen got up and chastised us for taking lightly sacred opportunities to learn. Seems a little harsh, but totally makes sense that if the Spirit is going to teach us, He wants our full attention, not split  50/50 with some Nature Valley granola bar. He also reproved us for a general lack of faith in the mission but assured us that he was "showing forth afterwards an increase of love towards him whom thou hast reproved" (D&C 121:43). And he did. So we talked about some doctrines such as the Abrahamic Covenant, Gathering of Israel,  and how we are fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant as we live our baptismal and temple covenants.
A few things that stuck out to me as he taught and discussed (it was more like a classroom setting w/ a chalkboard and 45 missionaries or so):
-The hymn Redeemer of Israel (p.6) says "How long we have wandered as strangers in sin, and cried in the desert for thee." So the concept that we are not at home on this earth, we are but wanderers, struggling to find our way through this dark and dreary world. We are trying to find our way home. Jesus Christ is that way home and is the literal light of the world, lighting the path back to God. We as members and missionaries are instruments in sharing that light with all of God's children.
-One of the things he focused on was the Priesthood. In Abraham 2:9-11, Abraham was promised "that in their (our) hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood to all nations. And I will bless them through thy name (Abraham); for as many as receive this gospel shall be called after thy name."
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we hold that Priesthood power of God, the same power that Christ used to create the earth. Think about that. Powerful stuff, God has entrusted us with His literal power. Wow. You'd think everyone would be running to us if they understood that. I know that the Priesthood is real because I have felt its power in my life and have seen it bless the lives of others. Quite frankly, it is by the power of the Priesthood that I am alive today.
This whole meeting was physically and mentally exhausting, as spiritual experiences tend to be. So the rest of the week has kind of blurred for me, but a wonderful man named Reggie sang us a beautiful song with his guitar, about Christ and the work we are doing. He told us that we are working in a spiritually very dark community, but we are providing the light to those who will receive it. Very kind man. On wednesday I went with Elder Shepherd on exchanges, and miraculously, we saw Xavier in his area. He gave me a hug and said he wanted to meet again and get baptized. But...he didn't keep his appt that we set for Saturday, so we're a little confused as to his commitment level...but hope he comes around. We were called off the street to help a member's neighbor move a couch. Looked reasonably doable at first. Then he decided to take it upstairs, and I saw what a ridiculous feat we had agreed to take on. Both men left the stairwell at different points, leaving me and Elder Timmerman to shake and shimmy and heave the couch up the stairs, much of it on our own. One of them named Greg is from Philippines (told him about Cody in Laoag) and insisted he pay us for our service. We told him we just want to teach him and help him more.
I have struggled most of my life to say that I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and did indeed restore the fulness of the gospel. Many experiences and even Restoration videos have blessed me again and again with that unwavering witness that he was indeed a Prophet. Making the Book of Mormon the word of God. If the Book of Mormon is true, then as the Introduction says, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom once again established on the earth." I know this is true.
Love you all, here are some pics,
Elder Robins

Alli and Tyler Selder (Amy and Taylor Jackson's relatives) Tyler is 5 Alli is 11

Mama Fist, member from Bulgaria, kinda the mission mom

Me, Bishop and Sister Condie

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