Monday, November 4, 2013

Jake's Latest

Family and Friends!
How's it going? Oh what a week it has been! And I am ever grateful to be part of this work, rarely is it easy, but it is always worth it. Many experiences with members and non-members made me think of something Sister Shaia (who just left our district) said. Too many people see our name badges and start vomiting their life stories on us like we're paid, professional psychiatrists. We are not psychiatrists people! This badge simply means we are representatives of Jesus Christ and full-time stalkers. Just trying to find people to bring closer to Christ! Really have to take everything with a "grain of salt" never really got that until the mission.
We got Sister Bradshaw in the ward and had ward coorelation on Wednesday. She is just on fire and wants to do all she can to help the ward and it's contagious. The ward needs a LOT of work. By the ward, I mean the members. Which can be discouraging. We aren't in charge of their conversion, they are. And as she asked about the ward, I brought up a particular family...little did  I know that I was opening a can of anacondas (not just worms). Everyone just erupted over this nasty divorce going on and the ward is split. Literal nightmare. But never underestimate the power of the Atonement in changing situations and changing lives. We also met with Steven that night and it just felt off from the beginning. It was like pulling teeth to get him to say two words about why he was so down and wouldn't talk. He told us he wasn't ready to get baptized. This is the son of an active member. So it was disheartening, and we don't know exactly what's going on, but trust that the Lord will continue to prepare him.
Wednesday night (oct.30) is known as "mischief night" really only in the greater Philadelphia region, so we were cautioned to be safe, but didn't see anything. We visited Sherissa and her 4 year old son, Wayne, wasn't at the door so I found myself saying, "Where's Lil' Wayne" then I realized...oh..great nickname for a 4 year old, with a rapper as a role model. As we were saying goodbye Brother Collins who was with us that night, he said, "Remember who you are, just don't get too down about it." He can be a punk, but he's funny.
Thursday was an entertaining district meeting. We have an oreo tripanionship with two big black elders and a white elder. Soo funny when they got put together. Including me, there are 3 Jacob's in the district. Not a very popular name. President Anderson asked us to be in by 6 pm on Halloween, but we didn't see a single trick-or-treater! We were even prepped with our 3 fun sized m&m's bags!
On Friday, we took a trip out to Leipsic (I thought it was Lipe-sick, it's actually lip-sick, so I just call it Lipstick) Delaware. It's about 10 miles away, so we do have to plan for it, but it's not like to mars and back. We tried contacting a referral who wasn't home. Then we decided to knock a few doors in the 10-street town. Many houses boarded up or abandoned. The town lies right near the large Delaware river with an offshoot, Leipsic River, running through it. For some reason, I was kind of drawn toward the water. And we got to the water front with fishing boats and small docks and knocked a few doors. Then a man in his truck backed up to the dock. He got out and said, "What, are you salesmen?"
"Nope" I replied, " We aren't selling, we are actually giving away."
 "Oh really?" he said skeptically. "Everything in the world today costs money."
"Well, what we have is worth more than anything in the world. You cannot buy it." Then I held up the Book of Mormon and we taught a mini-restoration lesson on a fishing dock. After that we transitioned into asking what he does. So his name is Boe, he "works the water" as they say and his dad did as well. Humble man with a small family, lived in Leipsic his whole life. He is currently "conking" or fishing for conch's (he said conk's). He showed us a small conch and the traps they use. The town used to be bustling, but has since died with the drop in local seafood i guess. Anyway, he was just the nicest man and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He is always on the water, so he may be hard to catch, but I trust the Lord will work something out. It made the whole trip out there worth it. And cameras simply cannot capture the gorgeous scenery out here. California is beautiful in the fall, but there is just something about the trees out here. The colors are vibrant and bright against the soft blue sky. And Delaware gets magnificent sunsets. Gah! I love it!
Yesterday, Jackie made it to church with Sister Guessford. We sat next to her in the very back row of the chapel. It was fast and testimony meeting and one member got up and was talking about how he used to be a Baptist, when Jackie heard that she shot a youthful fist bump into the air and whispered, "Yes!" Then in the middle of a particularly poignant testimony about Christ's ability to help and heal us amidst the deepest trials, Jackie yelled "Amen!" from the back row, right next to me. The congregation bursted out laughing and the speaker said, " I have always wanted that to happen to me!" Sister Collins came up to Jackie afterwards and introduced herself and said she's always welcome back at church. It's refreshing to have a little baptist zest in the meetings every once in a while!
After the meeting I talked to the Dover Stake President, Howard Long, and after telling him I am from CA, he said he is from Modesto. I asked him if he knew any Stone's...Temple president in Tahiti..His son is my stake President in Danville..He said oh, Jared Stone, and his dad is Tom? Kinda cool connection there, shout out to the wonderful Stone family!
Miracle of the Week: So a few weeks ago we contacted a Spanish speaking referral named Miguel. Then just last week we called him back and actually set up an appt with him for sunday. Then we asked Brother Cherriman from the ward (who speaks spanish) to go with us. He willingly,giddily agreed, excited at the prospect of using his spanish. So we went out to Millington Maryland, to this address that didn't seem to exist. After a mile long dirt road, we found this run down trailer house, so we knocked on the door. A man opened it and said, "Hermanos!" He let us in and we had a wonderful conversation that Elder Rabe and I weren't able to participate in! That was sweet. Ha, but I was able to pick out parts of it and get the gist of the conversations. We asked how he got in contact with the church and he went to his closet and brought back a dozen pictures of his newlywed daughter in front of the Mexico City temple. The Spirit washed over us as I thought of the prospect of this humble man being sealed to his family for time and all eternity. He is pretty much the only non-member in his family. He is the only one, besides a son, here in the US. He already had a "Libro de Mormon" I mean.. this man is prepared. So we taught the Restoration and I opened my mouth and the Spirit filled it with Spanish words and I was able to read from the pamphlet and add to the lesson, then Brother Cherriman would clarify. It was so amazing to feel the Spirit working through me. No way I would have been able to speak without Him. Working with a God of miracles.
In Moroni chapter 6, (please don't tune out for the spiritual note) we learn about the purposes of going to church. After baptism, we are "wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost...and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who is the author and the finisher of their faith." I am really having to learn a lot about the concept of faith, so this brings great comfort in knowing that Christ starts our faith and is the very reason we keep going. He refines us and puts the "finishing touches" on us. Why go through life without Him? I marvel that people want to do it on their own, but some merely need an invitation. Which I am willing to give.
Love you all, stay safe and strong.
Elder Robins
In front of the quaint little Lipstick sign

The magic conch shell...don't watch Spongebob, it's bad for your brain.

The dock in Leipsic where we met Boe. Gorgeous day outside, thank heaven's for nature...oh wait, it hasn't snowed yet.

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