Friends and Family,
How are you all doing!? Thanks for the email and love, support, and prayers. Much needed and appreciated. This has been perhaps the slowest week on my mission so far, yet so much happened that I can barely remember. Short term memory loss, I swear. Today we are in Dover for P-day. Dover is just a beautiful city, with older colonial, but new-looking buildings. I was going to send a picture of the oldest capitol in the nation, Dover, DE, but we did emails before I could take a pic, so next week. The car is getting an oil change as I type, this is the Zone Leader's area, so they drove us to the library. It is nearly impossible to go site-seeing or do fun things on P-day with all the driving around and stuff, it just seems like much more effort than it's worth, especially for an hour or so of fun. Later, Sister Hengst from the ward will cut our hair and said she would feed us dinner, "if we were good boys...." We get dinner about 4-5 times a week, which I think is perfect. 15 days in a row in Wilmington was just too much. We like a break every once in a while. The members are awesome here though. I really am coming to love this area and the experiences this past week definitely helped.
On Wednesday, we planned to go out to Maryland to visit some less-actives and a former investigator. We didn't plan too well and it ended up eating up quite a bit of miles, but it was a good day. The Smyrna Ward was one huge area til they split it 3 transfers ago. It goes from eastern DE to the Eastern shore of Maryland. I thought Wilmington was a big area. The former investigator we stopped by had moved 3 years ago, so we decided to 5x5 (knock 5 to the left, 5 across, 5 to the right). The only neighbor across the street was a big cornfield, and we didn't think those "ears" would listen too well, so we went to the right. As we were walking, I rhetorically posed the question to Elder Rabe, "Is the Lord waiting for me to show unwavering faith in knocking doors to bless me with someone to teach? or will we just eventually find someone?"
Literally the next door, a woman comes out from around the back and says "Can I help you?" We told here who we were looking for. Learned that her name was Marsha and began telling her what we do. She had been praying for nearly 6 months to increase her faith and felt that the baptist, methodist and other churches she had gone to just didn't "click" for her. My mouth must have been wide open because I was so excited...and in shock after the question I had asked 20 seconds before. Does the Lord listen to us? I think yes. Anyways, she seemed very interested, I testified of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and she thanked me sincerely. We got her contact info and left. Excited. Very excited.
Come Sunday (yesterday) we call her to set up an appt for this week. She tells us that she read it..ish.. and "researched" the church. And We all know thegreat stuff the internet has about the Mormons! She feels drawn toward the baptist church, which is totally acceptable and we respect her decision, but we asked her to pray again to know which way she should go, not influenced by the world, but by God.
There is a cricket, or maybe a family of crickets in the apartment. It was Monday night when we really noticed it. So we pulled out the phone and played the cricket chirp ring tone and the real cricket would respond. Poor thing just wanted a friend...or mate..either way, all he's going to find is dust bunnies.
We are teaching the sister of a recent convert named Ashley. She can be rude, or so she says, to people, but I really like her and she has a very genuine Spirit. We taught her the Restoration with Bro. Langenstein (whom I met and prayed with in the VA hospital in Wilmington). She said it was the most powerful lesson she's had yet, and she's been meeting with missionaries for a while. So she must have felt the Spirit. She has two little youngsters, some of the wildest kids yet. The 6 year old is just a ball of energy.
Bill and Jackie, they call eachother husband and wife, but she also mentioned he was her uncle, so we are like...umm, which one is it? We have no idea, and it feels a little weird to ask. But Jackie came to church on Sunday, Fast and Testimony meeting, and she just loved loved loved it. Sister Guessford picked her up for church and they were laughing and talking like they had always been the best of friends. She felt welcome and we are hoping she knows at this point what the Spirit feels like. She is awesome, Bill won't come to church because he doesn't want to look grungy and church clothes are too much of a hassle to put on. But they both read and love the Book of Mormon.
Oh by the way, while out in Maryland, we stopped by a members home. 200+ acres of inherited farmland and a ton of hens and chickens and pigs and all sorts of animals. So beautiful out there. A little different than Wilmington...I wanted to ask them how they like their neighbors..4 miles down the road. Instead of mountains like Idaho, it's all surrounded by towering trees. Made for a spectacular sunset which my Barbie digital camera was sadly not able to catch.
There is a sister in our ward who was baptized as a teenager, her mom just died a year and a half after joining the church. The mom was anti-mormon before joining, but came around as she saw how the gospel was changing her daughters life. She passed the Friday before I came into the area, so I never met her but she sounds like quite the Spiritual Giant.
At the apartment, we have normal food that college kids might have..no strike that, that's a lie. We eat better than I did in college. Much better, but that's cause we have great members and a set amount of money per month, so if I budget, I can usually buy the food that I want. Yes I have had several Philly cheese steak sandwiches, the best one being on the Riverfront in Wilmington so far. None from downtown Philadelphia though.
So I had a rough day last week and things just weren't working out, so I got on my knees to pray and felt to open the Book of Mormon. I picked up where I left off in 2 Nep. 5 where the Nephites are separating from the Lamanites, living the gospel and being led by Nephi. Then I read verse 27
"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of HAPPINESS."
Tears came to my eyes as I read Nephi's inspired words. We live in a tough world with suffering and pains and tests that none of us want to go through. Some may curse God and turn away from Him when trials come, but I have seen many sides of the spectrum of happiness. Can I just echo prophets and apostles and the scriptures, there is NO other way to true happiness than through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about it, every worldly outlet to peace and happiness just ends in eventual darkness and misery. Momentary pleasure or happiness, never lasting. I feel happy living this gospel. I just love it and know it to be the most true thing mankind can hold onto. And at the center is Jesus Christ Himself. Please, if you are not really happy, consider what this gospel might do for you.
I love you all and really want the best for you all. That comes from a love of my Savior and His desire to bring us all home.
"In our lives, are we priortizing the things of Eternity?" -Sister Shahan from the ward
Elder Jake Robins
|little froggy, from Barbie digital's eyes|
(Jake has a really junky and cheap camera like little girls get for fun,
so we always teased him about his "Barbie digital" camera)
|"Preaching the gospel to every creature" (Mormon 9:22)|
|Driving in Maryland|