Monday, March 24, 2014

Becoming Me

Hola Amigos y Familia!

I've kind if been in Spanish mode the past few days. Especially after
an awesome Sacrament Meeting yesterday. Oh it was just amazing. Being
around Spanish speakers much more frequently, I've been getting better
at understanding Spanish, it's the speaking that gets me. But every
Sunday we and the Spanish elders go to the de la Cruz's from the
Branch. They speak Spanish and have 4 cute, young girls. She'll make
us spaghetti with some sort of Mexican entree like homemade taquitos
yesterday. Such a sweet family. I pulled up my El Libro de Mormon and
did my own little lesson on Helaman 5:12 building our lives on the
rock of Jesus Christ. And during church the former stake president(
and will be mission president in DR in July), Aman Corbett, gave a
powerful talk in Spanish about the Atonement.

A powerful lesson I have learned so far here is that God speaks to all
of His children the same way, no matter what language or background.
His language is that of love and the Spirit, and "The Lord go giveth
light unto he understanding...he speaks to men according to their
language, unto their understanding." (2 Nep. 31:3). I felt the Spirit
as He spoke to my heart and confirmed truths that were being spoken in
another language. With our Burmese families, the Meh's and the Reh's,
I know it will only be the Spirit testifying of truth and teaching
them that will help them progress. We found out this week that they
know each other! We saw the Reh's coming out of the Meh's after lunch
and getting into their car which was parked right in front of the
church...during church...soooo, explains why they weren't at church.
Ha, such sweet families though.

Mylta's brother passed away this past week and she has really been
struggling with that. Two appts fell through and she was crying
through the window to us. So right now we are praying for her and
giving her some space. But not giving up on her, she's just too good a
person. On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Wilkes in my
district. He's a solid missionary with lots of enthusiasm and great
work ethic, but they are in a walking area that desperately needs a
car. They make do, but it's tough. So we worked on finding new people
to teach and found several potentials for them to stop by later. We
were taken out for lunch AND dinner that same day...loaded members
with generous hearts.

We had more iPad training that all the district leaders do to help the
missionaries understand how the iPads are meant to help us fulfill our
purpose as missionaries. We had a great discussion about finding
families and their is a wonderful Mormon Message you can look up
called "Families Can Be Together Forever" that talks about what we can
do to make our families eternal. I thought of my family and my future
family and how it all makes sense. God just wants us to be happy. The
gospel is how we do it, and families are what help make it happen and
where the happiness is shared. Love it. Love my family. And I know
that we can be an eternal family.

We are working hard to find and teach families. Elder Facuri and I get
along great as we sing and laugh and have fun. He's teaching me the
ukulele and how to cook spam..ha not really, Hawaiian joke. He just
needs a good amount of sleep...walking zombies don't work well as
companions. Personal experience. Trust me. He's patient with me and
really helping me find out who I am. He's helping me in a way, become
me. I can't help people if I'm not myself. Kind of a deeper
existential issue haha, but we all go through it in some way or
another. I want to help others do the same.
32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your
places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye
know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with
full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the
means of bringing salvation unto them. (3 Nephi 18:32)

The Savior receives each of us with open arms, why shouldn't we do the same?


Elder Robins

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Mile in My Shoes

Hey Family and friends! Happy St. Patrick's day!

Quite a cold, windy and snowy holiday for us out here. 6 inches last
night, never really thought about it snowing on the ocean cause it
didn't really happen back at home. And as fun as it is to travel this
part of he country and see some cool sites and have cool experiences,
it all pales in comparison to the sweet moments I am so blessed to
have with members, non members and my Savior. Like yesterday we were
walking home from the bus station, about 4 blocks, and we saw a man
across the intersection really stumbling and fumbling with his feet,
he was clearly very intoxicated. He walked into a parking lot then
blacked out completely and collapsed like a rag doll on the ground. As
this was transpiring, I felt to run over to aid him. The natural man
in me said, no he brought this upon himself, leave him be. But we each
took an arm and propped him up. As we walked him to the Rescue Mission
less than a block away, I felt the love of the Savior for this poor
man, reeking of alcohol. I thought of the Good Samaritan, and just
wanted to help him. Some others kind of told us to sit him down until
a worker came out to get him. So much joy comes when we act as the
hands and feet of the Savior Himself.

I love Atlantic City. Parts of it remind me of Wilmington, like the
projects looking parts. But this is a walking area, so we rely heavily
on public transportation. We cover pretty much the whole island that
Atlantic City sits on, so we do have to plan travel time. So much
happened this past week that it feels like it's been a month since
last p day. And my companion has made it a lot of fun. I've been
learning the ukulele during lunches, etc. it's way fun! We've been
busy and working hard. So to start off, the English branch needs a lot
of help and work. We had 4 members at church yesterday. Excluding
leadership and missionaries. We teach Sunday school and
priesthood/relief society (always combined) and do the Sacrament and I play piano for it, so they rely heavily on us 4 missionaries. We are
going to start a Bible study class at the church for members and
non-members  to come feel the Spirit in the church.

We are teaching a really cool guy named Joe R. He is the recent
husband to a member named Sister Magaly. She talked about wanting to
get sealed in the temple and invited him to meet with us. So he has
been for a month or two, he comes to church occasionally and wants to
take it slow. But he has great questions and a big heart and sincere
desire to know the truth. Just what the branch needs. We talked on
Tuesday about revelation and watched an Elder Bednar Mormon message on
discerning light, which really helped him understand the Spirit

Wednesday was fuhhreezing. Windy and rainy and wet, but we work
through, thinking of the pioneers. We taught our older investigator
Joe H. About the plan of salvation, and it was so awesome to hear him
pray to be able to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. He's had some
recent health problems but has incredible faith in God. On Thursday we
had Zone Training in Vineland, NJ and went on exchanges with the Zone
Leaders right after that. It was sweet because they speak all Spanish,
so I was forced to pull out all my Spanish. I've got a lot to work on
and study and not a whole lot of time to do it, but it can only help
in the long run.

On Saturday we had back to back appts with our 2 Burmese families.
Let's just say it was exhausting. We skyped the Dun's from the Cherry
Hill Ward into the lesson to translate back and forth. They are
actually waiting for approval to translate the Book of Mormon into
Burmese, and they are the Burmese translators for General Conference.
What a blessing it is to be able to include them in the lesson from a
distance. As far as we know, the lessons went as well as could be
expected. But even more amazing was that we were kind of freaking out
when Klawmey, (mom of the Meh family) showed up at church. There ain't
a whole lot we can do about translating all of church for her. She was
really timid, even though the members were great about reaching out to
her. So during Sunday School we watched For God So Loved the World
Bible Video depicting the life and mission of Jesus Christ. I looked
over at the end of the video and saw her wipe a tear from her eye.
It's so amazing how the Spirit can touch anyone's heart, no matter
what language they speak. Especially with universal truths about the
Savior and Redeemer of the world.

I testify that He does live. He loves us and wants more than anything
for us to just come to Him. 3 Nephi 17 has a beautiful account of that
love as He says "Have ye any that are...afflicted in any
manner...Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion
upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy." (3 Nephi 17:7)

He is able to heal us only because He's walked a mile in our shoes. A
mile in my shoes, so when it's raining or cold or life gets stormy, I
look to Him for strength, peace and example. His arms will always be
outstretched towards us. I know it to be true.

Love you all, don't get pinched today!

Elder Robins

Geno's Steak in Atlantic City
More interesting food 
Jake and his companion in Atlantic City

Jake with the largest pizza ever. 
Fish Head 
Elder Facuri with his smug face. No that's not bling, he lost the clip
name tag so has to put his pocket name tag on a necklace. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm is There!

Hi everyone!
Hope yous all (east coast saying) had a great week. It was quite
eventful for us! On Monday and Tuesday I we spent time saying goodbye
to many of the members whom I had come to love. There really are some
kind hearted people in Smyrna and I have felt so blessed to have the
kind of member support we enjoy in Smyrna. The Guessfords took us out
to lunch on Tuesday and then again to breakfast before driving us 2
hours up to transfers Wednesday morning. Hey are such awesome people
and I have found that the Holy Ghost has a way with binding people
together spiritually in a way that no other source can. It makes
relationships much more profound. But we still laugh and have fun with
each other.

Soooo, on Wednesday 180 of us missionaries stood across the Broomall
cultural hall from each other, starting to nervously sweat as we
awaited the transfers to be announced. Soon, I heard Elder Jenkins
(assistant) say "And in the Cherry Hill South Zone, serving with Elder
Facuri in Atlantic City (aka Zion of the east coast), is...... Elder
Robins!!" My jaw dropped as I ran kind of in shock to go hug my new
companion. Elder Facuri's a bit of a legend in the mission, so I never
thought I'd be comps with him, nor did I think I'd really ever serve
in Atlantic City(home of one of the world's largest pipe organs...for
you organ geeks out there...oh so few of us ha). So I was stoked. So
excited for this new adventure.

Elder Facuri is a big Hawaiian boy from Oceanside, CA (nope he doesn't
know Reed and Celeste) and he likes to surf. A lot. Kinda lives the
island lifestyle. He is fun loving, loves to laugh and work hard...oh
and he's uhh..narcoleptic....what?? I've already gotten pics of him
during studies, bless his soul he doesn't last more than 90 seconds
sometimes. But hey, At least he gets a more in depth study of Lehi's

And then..there's Atlantic City. Oh boy, let's just say they called it
Sin City's sister for a reason. The first thing I noticed as we were
driving through New Jersey and into AC, was all the casinos. Tons of
em. Not nearly as flashy as Vegas, but still sin city! So here I am
sitting on the Caesers Boardwalk mall, looking out on the AC
coastline. It's been a fun p-day exploring he city and what not with
another pair of Elders serving in our huge district.

So the Atlantic City branch we serve in has about 35 active Spanish
speaking members, and them there's an English branch tacked on to it
with the same leadership and everything, and it has about 8 active
members. Yes 8. That's with 3 recent converts. So we've for sure got
our work cut out for us. But I love it here!! There's so much
potential and I know the Lord has placed me here for a reason. I felt
to pray before transfers to be able to develop my language skills in
my next area. So it's no coinkidink that I'm here.

In terms of investigators, we are teaching a Burmese family that speak
only Burmese, except the daughter speaks a little English. So we will
skype in another Burmese family in the stake tonight on the iPads to
help us teach/translate. Technology is such a blessing! So we shall
see how that goes tonight. We're also working with a lot of less
actives on the island.

I must admit that it's not always easy to share the gospel whenever we
get the chance. We're supposed to talk to everyone. But I think of the
Apostle Paul speaking to the Romans when he says "16 For I am not
ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth;" (Romans 1:16). I love this
gospel and I love love wearing Christ's name on my badge. Why be
ashamed? Let's share what makes us happy!

With love,

Elder Jake Robins

Ps, we were helping move a member and there was a Muslim man helping
out. He just said yeah I saw her moving stuff so offered to help. Like
a good neighbor, this man was there.

Monday, March 3, 2014

So Long! Farewell Smyrna!

Hi friends and family!

My this storm has been nuts. Although we heard about it for over a
week and we were told we'd be getting anywhere from 3-14" ....the
weathermen have been struggling with accuracy lately, so we just trust
Mother Nature to let us know..which makes it interesting. As of this
morning, we got about four inches here in Smyrna. I'm fine with not
living in a lot of snow later in life. Ha

But we had a good week and saw many miracles. We stopped by a former
investigator whom I had never met, and she was just the kindest lady,
so thankful for what we're doing and willing to listen to a message
about Christ. She was very welcoming and it was refreshing to find
someone who listened with intent, but we shall see. Later in the week,
on Saturday, we helped move some of Megan's stuff, including an
electric organ, from her parents house to her house in the boonies of
Clayton, DE. So we got to meet her parents and siblings and found that
they live right next door to the nice former I mentioned above. Small
world. Megan has already been doing her own missionary work, even
though she hasn't joined yet.!!! Her dad has had some issues with the
Catholic Church lately, so she invited him to meet with us and
introduced a bit of what we believe in. For now, he's not too
interested, but awesome guy. And maybe when he meets more of the
Bailey family and sees how the gospel has blessed their family, her
family will come along.

And then Josh that we had worked with months ago, the man that lives
in Dover and has been taught by the Dover elders, and is GOLDEN, he
came to church with Jessica on Sunday. During Elders Quorum, he got up
and shared a missionary experience saying, "I'm not a member yet. But
I had an awesome missionary opportunity at work where a friend said
he's been looking for a good church and didn't feel welcome at the
past few he's gone to. So I invited him to come to this church with me
and he might be here next week. " He was beaming in excitement. I
wanted to say to the other quorum members, This is how you do
missionary work! Look for opportunities to share it and open your
mouth, God will fill it with the right words to say.

We did meet with Megan and discussed how God calls prophets to lead
and guide His children. She understood the concept and said she
believed Christ had called prophets and apostles in Bible times. The
Baileys love working with her and helping her in the process of
conversion. I'm excited to hear about how Megan progresses in her

On Friday we came to a point in the late afternoon where we had names
planned, but didn't really know where to go. So we pulled the car over
and said a prayer to know where The Lord would have us go. Elder
Allred said we should go visit Brother Boynton, less active that lives
at the very west edge of our area in Worton, MD 32 miles away. So...I
was a little skeptical, but I felt a confirming witness that "he'll be
home tonight." So I acted in faith and drove. 40 minute drive later we
knocked on his door, he answered and with a big smile let us in. He is
from Ephraim, UT but has been in Worton for over 20 years. Hasn't been
to church in nearly 10, but he was oh so happy to have us there. He
and Elder Allred hit it off right away. It was such a blessing to see
how The Lord had guided us on the right night at the right time (with
the miles to do it) to one of His lost sheep. It was so awesome. We
invited him to read and pray and eventually come back to church. He
was just so thrilled that we had made it out.

And after 6 months here in good ol' Smyrna, I will be transferred to
another portion of the Lord's vineyard this weds (if weather permits).
It's bittersweet, but I have felt it's my time. 4 1/2- 6 months is a
good amount of time to spend in an area and hopefully the ground work
that I did will help future missionaries to harness the potential
here. I'm stoked for my next area though!

I've been struggling with feeling like it's all my fault that I
haven't had more success. And I've prayed a lot about really
fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. Our purpose is NOT to knock
doors, but to invite others to come unto Christ. Well I was doing a
Preach My Gospel study activity which brought me to John 15:4-5

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide
in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in
him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do

I was brought to tears as I felt the Savior's love and realized that
that is exactly what I need to be doing. Abide in me and I in you.
This is not the work of Jake Robins. This is the work of Jesus Christ,
I testify that that is true. I need Him, you need Him, and with Him,
we can all have joy, success, and hope in then life and love to come.
With Him, we will bring forth fruit.

Love you all,

Elder Jacob Robins