Happy New Year Everyone! Let's make 2014 the best yet!
We had a fun New Year's Eve get together at the Hengst's with some of their in-laws and what not. They had tons of food and desserts and unfortunately I just wasn't that hungry that night. Neither were my companions. It was weird, probably the least food I've eaten on New Year's Eve since birth...ehhh,,, probably not. But you get the point. The in-laws were visiting from AZ and asked each of us what sports we played in high school. I was last and as usual told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...So I told 'em I was starting quarterback in High school. Then out of the blue Brother Hengst (quieter 60 year old man) blurted out, "Elder Robins? Yeah right! You were probably the waterboy!" Wow thanks pops! We all got a chuckle out of that as we all know I made it onto the BYU football team for my mad skills. So now I'm nicknamed the waterboy. Good. Great reputation to leave.
After the Hengst's we went to the Poquita's (Filippino family in the ward who are awesome member missionaries!) and there was even more food that we kind of just looked at and nibbled. I was disappointed that I just didn't have an appetite. That night I woke up at 12 am and was like, "Huh that worked out nicely. Automatic alarm clock!" Then within the minute there was dozens of gunshots going off outside and geese and ducks scurrying all over the sky. Not the typical California pots and pans and illegal firecrackers I'm used to.
New Year's Day we spent the day in Maryland, wanting to get all the way out to the Chesepeake Bay (partially because we just wanted to say we got out there) But we did spend some time in Millington, having prayed to Heavenly Father that we were going to find a family. A family that doesn't just say yeah come back, and then stand us up.A family that is ready for Christ to really be a part of their lives. So we went searching. And knocking. We visited Miguel (Spanish speaker from Mexico with the family that's all members, ps I talked in spanglish to his pretty daughter on the phone and she is waiting for a mission call, which is awesome for all of them!) and he showed us the chicken farm again because Elder Allred hadn't seen it. I'll send a few more pics. Came out covered in chicken dust. Could have deep fried me and called it Southern cookin. He's busy working the machines a lot, which is his excuse for not coming to church or reading the Book of Mormon. But we are patient with him and hopefully helped him see the need for the Book of Mormon.
We did find a man named Bernie in the nicer, main housing development in Millington. He immediately let us in and we talked for a few minutes. He readily accepted the Book of Mormon and invited us to come back on Sunday. (which we did and it was a no show appt). But he has seen the corruption in so many other churches and showed an interest and said he would have his family listen in as well. Then we went up to Galena MD (which is about 8 miles NE of Millington) to scavenger hunt for a less active. The neighbor couple gave us their address and we got so excited, like we just got a 4.0 or something. Galena is even smaller than Millington and I guess i must've blinked because I definitely missed it the first time through. Elder Allred is a huge hunter. He is just loving the geese and all these hunters we're working with. So he's in heaven and the couple liked that he was a hunter and invited us to come back anytime.
We finished New Year's Day with a very formal chinese dinner at a member's home. They bought take out and made the whole set up really fancy. The Christian family lives in a decent mansion on 3 or 4 acres and their kids are just awesome. Noah Christian actually met or knew Grant Ganschow as he was leaving the Colorado Springs Mission and Grant was coming in. PS, has anyone seen The Saratov Approach? The movie about the missionaries in Russia that got kidnapped? Sister Christian headed the only playing of that movie on the east coast in Middletown, DE. So that was a big deal out here.
Thursday we went to Zone Training in Dover, which can be boring or fun depending on what they plan...this time was so so. Then we weekly plan right after zone training. Ick. I am not a fan of weekly planning, but I do it because the Lord asks us to and I know He can work with and modify the plans we make to bring people closer to Christ. It usually takes 2-3 hours out of our thursdays. Then we'll take a late lunch. So we usually don't start proselyting til about 4 on thursdays. But we saw Bill (Jackie's husband) who lives alone because Jackie is back at Pinnacle, probably for good. He loves it when we stop by. We picked up the dog crap on the side yard and after talking to him for a bit, he was in tears as he said, "You are true friends." It was a touching moment. But I've never seen someone get upset or tearful like he did when he said " After all these years, I still can't believe they did that to my Lord." I was struck by His reverence and awe at the sacrifice and Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
And the storm started that night. I wasn't expecting much, being in good ol' Delaware. But it started coming down hard and it just kept coming and coming. I was peaking through the windows and opening the door to see the snow. My comps from Utah were both laughing at me and making fun of me, acting like a Californian that had never seen snow before. They give me some flack for being from CA just because the wonderful reputation the state has. We had actually gotten told by the Zone Leaders that President Anderson wanted the whole mission to be in by 6 pm because of the storm. So though I really wanted to stay out in it, we were told otherwise. Trusting he knew what was best. We got about 8 inches here in Smyrna which is a ton for this area. that means the Northern part of the mission got close to 2 feet. And...the next morning we were told on our weekly wednesday Mission wide conference call that only senior companions can drive now because there were like 11 accidents in the mission in the past 3 weeks or something. Ridiculous. Needless to say, I was a little ticked. But.. got over it.
Almost done. Friday morning we get a call from a man in Wilmington whose sister's car spun off the road. REally long story super short. We get there in Townsend and we had been told that a 4x4 truck and all that jazz would be needed to get her out. We laughed when we saw the scene. We gave it a few shoves as she stepped on the gas and she got right out. Ummm, what? It was just an unnecessarily long ordeal, but hey, gotta love the service opportunities! Then E. Allred and I went to Dover on exchanges with a very trunky jamaican Elder who goes home to get married in 2 weeks. Not the most productive day of my mission, I'll say that much.
So I love the Book of Mormon. I love the sweet Spirit that quietly, subtley (sp?) speaks truth to my heart. I've read it several times before, but never has the Book of Mormon made so much sense or felt so true in my life. Please take time to read it, even if a verse every day. It will change your life. I say that only out of experience. No I'm not going to come home being gandhi or father theresa. But I'm becoming a better man. A better priesthood holder. Future father and husband and so much of it can be attributed to the spiritual experiences I have with the Scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I love what Ammon says in Alma 27:17 about being "Swallowed up in the joy of his God." If we let it, the Atonement and Christ will work to swallow up all that sorrow and misery. All the unfairness and pain in life. We can have peace and joy. Just let HIM in.
Elder Jake Robins
|Once there was a snowman...that eventually melted|