Wonderful Family and Friends,
What a relief it was to hear of all the rain CA received this past week. The power of fasting and prayer is so real. We are planning a ward fast the upcoming month of March where different families or individuals sign up to fast each day of the month. We did this in Wilmington in the Elder's Quorum and saw many miracles, so we're hoping it will help end the spiritual drought here in Smyrna.
Last Monday we went to visit our ward mission leader's Less active son and his "baby mama" (for lack of a better term) and their adorable kids. They have a 7 year old girl named Jacqueline and 9 year old son named Aaron jr. Both are whiteish blonde and you'd think they're straight from heaven. Big smiles, polite, kind, just everything good. A few weeks ago when Grandpa Mcvicker (WML) brought them to church, I went up to Jac. and called her by her name. Her face lit up and she was like, "You remembered my name!" I wanted to say, Yeah I know, I'm surprised too! Short term memory loss...not my best friend. Aaron jr. has not been baptized, so we hope to spend more time with them and help him ask his daddy and hopefully something will come of the whole situation. It may sound creepy, ha , but kids are just the best! They are literally heaven-sent and they carry such power to change lives and change hearts. There are several such kids and youth in the ward that I have just grown to love.
One of them, Andrew, has down syndrome and he's about 11. He'll run up to his primary teacher jump up and wrap his legs around him. Makes you want to laugh, smile, just everything good. And the youth can be wonderful too....some of them that is. We've been doing basketball Saturday mornings and volleyball in the evening. We've had several non-members or less actives show up which is a good, non-threatening venue to still help them feel the Spirit in the church.
On Wednesday we had a rather empty day, which is soo daunting when it comes to planning session. But, we went to a volunteer service meeting at the local Smyrna Opera House which is connected to the library. We walked in and said we wanted to volunteer, they literally gave us a standing ovation...we sat down, blushing, having no idea that we'd be so welcomed when most other places won't have much to do with us. We found that we could help put programs together, be ushers or clean or set up or really whatever they needed us to do. It's a nice little venue, similar i guess to the Village Theater in Danville. And several people mentioned members of the ward and asked if we were from their church, so already we're getting good publicity and the people are just the nicest.
I think I mentioned in my short vignette last week that we'd be teaching Michael's (active member) girlfriend, Megan. I was on exchanges with an Elder Wasden in the district and we helped her set up some furniture in her 400 year old house. (not joking there).! We stripped a few of the screws, silently screamed at the cheap Ikea nightstand kit, then voila we finished! I went to put the top drawer in, slid it in and it was completely crooked. They were chuckling under their breaths as I put my face in my hands and sighed. I guess I'll have to hire for the handyman work, or I need a lotttt more training. Then we taught her the Restoration and found out that she is agnostic and has been atheist. Good.!...no wonder the whole lesson went over your head! So we will start from square one next time, with God is our Loving Heavenly Father. She has read up to Mosiah in the Book of Mormon (all on her own with Michael and his parent's help) and comes to church just about every week. AKA dream investigator.
She knows that temple marriage is important to Michael (who has four young kids from a bad previous civil marriage) and so she has been looking into the church. She sees things analytically, because she's a scientist, so we're having to take a different route, but that's what the Spirit is for!
Joseph (Liberian living with the Gibson family) has been coming along, missed church yesterday, but he has good questions. There's a tiny bit of a language barrier because his stinkin' Liberian english accent is thick as molasses. He's got a sweet spirit though, and a great family to guide him. I gave several Priesthood blessings this week to ward members for various health issues and a few of them non-members were present for.
After a great Zone Training on Thursday, the Assistants came up to me, Elder White put his hand on my shoulder and said "You're a ROCKSTAR, Elder Robins! Thanks for all the work you're doing." I felt loved and appreciated. He asked how the district was doing and how I have been doing. I told them I am just exhausted. Reaching what they call "perma-tired" (aka always tired). And slow missionary work doesn't help. But we still work and pray and have faith. They expressed their trust and love for me and I was glad to have humble, concerned leaders. Too often leadership goes to the head!
I appreciate the love, support and prayers in my behalf. I hope I can magnify this sacred calling that I hold for these 2 short years. I've been reading in the war chapters in Alma, which i used to despise. But now I love it, maybe cause I understand it now and am able to find the doctrine. In Alma 50, Moroni and the Nephites strengthen their cities and are blessed as they keep the commandments of God. "But behold, there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi." Alma 50:23.
Life happens, and it's not going to be perfect, they didn't have it "perfect" but if you choose to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can be HAPPY. I testify of this because I've seen it in my own life and in my own family. We aren't perfect, life will never be perfect, but we're happy. And that's just the way God wants it to be.