Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Hey Family and Friends!

The transfer is over and we are heading into summer. Yay for humidity!
Elder Seeley and I were sure one of us would be leaving. But The Lord
needs us both here again and I mean it's AC....beaches during the
summer...not just any missionary would serve here during the summer.
Hehe obedience!!!
Swimming once a transfer, right? Oh wait! Fun fact the population of
just AC year round people (not including the other cities on the
island) is about 38,000. Pretty low, right? Danville is bigger! But
this month the population will jump to 1/4 million. Nuts! It is also
illegal to buy or sell alcohol on the island of Ocean City. Bummer, I

We were driving through lower AC and ocean city earlier and can I just
say dang it's going to be tough serving here in the peak of summer!
Gahhh! Definitely can't be on the boardwalk anymore!

So we contacted Benito once last week! We're pretty worried about him.
He is struggling so much with the stop smoking program that he didn't
even answer our calls or texts this past week. His body and mind are
reacting badly to the lack of nicotine, so he gets moody and doesn't
want to be around people for fear that he'll snap in front of them. He
had so much member support and encouragement and read his scriptures
and everything. But just as he said, Satan is not going out (of his
life) without a fight. And he sometimes won't answer his door...why
does there always have to be so much opposition against God's choicest
spirits like Benito.

On a good, happy note, we've been in contact with some sisters in salt
lake about a lady named Dotty who became interested in the church a
while back when Mitt Romney was running. She was impressed by what a
Bishop said on TV that those who don't hear the gospel in his life
will have the chance in the next. They've been teaching her a bit over
the phone and we finally met her in person this past week. She 73 and
has health issues up the wazoo, but sweetest lady you'd ever meet. She
has such a yearning for learning, especially about the gospel. It
wasn't easy for her, but she came to church yesterday and just loved
it. By the time our 3rd hour Sacrament Meeting came though she was in
too much pain and a member drove her back home. But she was in tears
as we discussed how she would be able to see the son she miscarried at
7 months again. She loves our emphasis on eternal families. And read
up to 1 Nephi 15 since Friday. 7 hours. She couldn't put it down. Book
worm for the Book of Mormon!

We got to teach Francis on Facebook a few times this past week and
Dallin helped out a lot with one of those lessons. It was a touching
moment to watch my brother testify of the power of repentance and the
atonement and to be able to work together a little to bring souls unto
Christ. Francis loves reading, may have trouble when it comes to
giving up the lifestyles of the world, but he's got a good heart and
is fun to teach.

We are praying and fasting and discussing a lot about our Burmese
investigators. Brother Swan, 2nd counselor in Branch Pres. Is pretty
much over the English branch and is concerned about these people. Will
they be ready for baptism? Do they really understand what is being
taught? Sometimes we feel like Kluemay just lets us in because they
don't know how to say NO. Haha, but they expressed a desire to follow
Jesus Christ by being baptized. Vai Sikahema, stake president, is from
Tonga so hopefully he will have some pointers when he comes to our
Sacrament Meeting this week.

We werent able to neet with Pam at all last week, we didnt even see
her. Our schedules didnt line up and she'll text us and be like "When
can i see you again luvs, I need yall's anointing." I would love to
see these choice spirits follow Christ's example down into the waters
of baptism. We are working hard to help them get there.

On Friday the Johnson's came with us to teach Joe Ruple about the law
of tithing. It sounded like he'll have a bit of trouble paying that at
first, but beyond that we don't really know what's holding him back
from getting baptized. We also taught Kelvin(16 year old from Ghana)
and he has been talking to his friends about the Book of Mormon. The
Johnson's took elder Seeley and I out to dinner that night. they go
teaching with us about once a week cause they like us.

I have gained such a great appreciation for my Heavenly Father's
perfect mercy. I work with imperfect people, including myself and
other missionaries, who all make mistakes. We are learning HOW to be
obedient. So just like learning to ride a bike, we are going to slip
and fall. But as parents do to their children, God picks us up, dusts
us off and sends us on our way to try again. Such is the way of life.
A sister gave a beautiful talk in Spanish Sacrament Meeting that I
didn't understand. But, a line of her testimony stuck with me and
touched me. (Forgive me if it's not proper Spanish). Agradezco por la
Expiación de Jesucristo. I am thankful for the Atonement of Jesus
Christ. I think more than ever before, I am learning to love language
and how thoughts are expressed. It's beautiful.

We are all broken. Benito, Pam, Joe, the Burmesians, Dotty, you, Elder
Seeley, your coworker, ME. Would we have this gospel if God didn't
like working with broken things? I don't think so. Change happens over
time and by consistently living those pure and simple principles. And
just watch, every day you will see miracles, small and large, if you
will but "Follow Him."

Love you all, stay strong.

There was no caption for this one...

Facetiming the family on Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Believe

Hey Everyone!

The sun is out, it's close to 70 degrees, yet I've not been able to
figure out how people here are still in hoodies and some even jackets.
Spring has definitely sprung and what a joy it is to witness God's
beautiful creations. It's so lush and green out here I have no doubt
as to why they named this the garden state. Parts remind me of Costa
Rica, feeling so tropical.

Well this has been a whirlwind of a week from meeting a popular band
to one of the most uplifting stake conferences I've ever been to. The
Lord loves us and one thing I'm slowly realizing and painfully
learning is that He does have a plan for each of His children

You ever wonder what it's like to be famous? Living the life of a
celebrity or even a leader of the church. Such a different lifestyle
than most of us live from day to day. I've found it hard at times not
to want the same kind of attention. The praise and fame of the world!
Elder Seeley lives down the street from Branden Campbell from the band
Neon Trees. Look em up if you don't know em. So the band did a concert
Friday night at a casino. We worked it out to meet up and Branden took
us and the Spanish Elders to a super nice steak dinner before the
show. Then they  let us sing with them on stage...oh wait, they'd lose
fans. Then a security guard took us and Branden past fans, who gave us
some interesting looks, to the backstage area. We waited for the meet
and greet to end, met each one of the band members and took some
pics.They are on tour and fans were all over them wanting signatures
and pictures, we got it all for free along with t-shirts. And it felt
all cool and good that night. But I woke up the next morning just
feeling like "Ok cool, what does it all mean?"

I told Elaine Bradley that I loved her mormon message....here's the
link if you haven't seen it. http://www.mormon.org/elaine
She and Branden are both active Mormons, Chris the blonde in the
middle is a less active member and Tyler is less active, but all 4 are
returned missionaries. And just great down to earth people. Chris
signed a pass along card for me and as you can see next to the Book of
Mormon, he wrote "i believe!" And even though he's struggling with his
testimony, he believes in those feelings of the Spirit that no one can
deny they've felt.

Benito did the stop smoking program and had an extremely hard time
physically and mentally turning off those bells or triggers hat make
him want to smoke. He had several nights where he couldn't fall asleep
til 9 AM then he'd sleep during the day. But he wants so badly to
"leave his nets" and follow Jesus Christ. Seriously this man is
special. He has a powerful Spirit and with the wonderful calls and
support from Brother Swan and Hermano Marco from the branch, he feels
loved and cared for more than ever before. So it's just a matter of
time. He did slip up 2 or 3 times because his neighbors smoke, but he
reads a lot, we will teach him indexing and family history too so he
can have something more to do with his time.

We taught a lot of Facebook lessons last week which is more convenient
for us and them often. We teach Francis Reh on FB, one of the 15 year
old Burmese sons. He is so awesome, one night after teaching him about
the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith he changed his profile picture to
just the Book of Mormon for a day. It will be through the kids that
the parents of these Burmese families will be touched and eventually
converted. Ps Mom and Dad and Dallin, will you make sure your chat is
on on fb so whenever I see you on, we can just include you in on a

We had an awesome miracle Sunday night as Elder Seeley had the random
thought to stop by a less active we were near. We had not planned at
all to see him. The family let us in and we saw Mike (LA) sitting at
the kitchen table. We walked up to him and he just seemed a little
off. He told us he had had a stroke this past week and his body was
just out of whack. He couldn't fully walk and talk normally, and we
could tell. So we offered him a Priesthood blessing. He accepted the
offer and we invited his wife to sit in, but before giving the
blessing, I read James 5:13-14 in Spanish to him and his wife to
describe what we do.

Elder Seeley anointed and I sealed the anointing, it was a powerful
experience as we felt the Spirit and power of God flowing through us
and into Mike. I promised him specific blessings for his faithfulness.
The Spirit was almost tangible. After the blessing he looked up at us
in tears, grabbed hold of the table, stood up and hugged each of us.
He thanked us profoundly for the blessing and promises which were
bestowed upon him according to his faithfulness to God's commandments.
He said it felt like magic and he was talking and moving normally
again. I know the Priesthood is absolutely real and it is the very
reason I am living and here today. Our faith and his was strengthened.
This work is true.

We had a great lesson with Edward and his uncle Al about the plan of
salvation, they felt the truth of our message and said they feel they
need to get to church and Edward really feels that this is right. We
weren't able to meet with Pam last week, but she loves us and tells us
we're her family and she feels welcome at church. We walked on to a
crowded bus the other day and it was hot and sweaty and this older,
kinda crusty lady scoots her way up to me and Elder Seeley standing at
the front of the bus. Standing capacity of like 10 and there's close
to 20 standing like sardines. So the bus jerks forward and this homely
lady puts her hand on my shoulder and squeezes, saying" Hey Hun, just
need something to hold on to." "He's a good one to hold on to" Elder
Seeley snickered. She then wrapped her arm all the way around me,
looked at me blushing and red in the face, pulled herself closer and
chuckled, "watch this!" Then she puckers  her lips a little and smiles
with her 7 or 8 teeth. Then she pinched my cheek and pointed out my
blushing, then switched her arm over to Elder Seeley. Luckily she got
off at the next stop. Welcome to public transpiration! Where there is
no such thing as personal bubbles.

It was an incredible opportunity we had to attend the Cherry Hill New
Jersey Stake Conference this past weekend. The stake president, Vai
Sikahema, played for BYU and the Philadelphia Eagles and is now a
famous news anchor on Philadelphia's NBC news. So he's got a little
fame to his name. And he knows people know him. But I was touched by
the fact that he knows ours is the call to be full time disciples of
Jesus Christ. Our religion is not a Sunday religion. He had a cool
article written about 2 of our sister missionaries and a Filippino
couple they taught in Deseret News...look up his column. He knows that
each of us is famous in the eyes of our Creator though, more important
than the fame of the world.

Elder J. Christopher Lansing spoke at the stake conference on enduring
to the end. I needed it. He took a little liberty in quoting from D&C
121 in saying that Joseph was asking for trials to be lifted. He said,
essentially God was telling Joseph to just chill for a while, this is
His world and He knows what He's doing. But He did so in a way that
Joseph felt the arms of His love.
7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine
afflictions shall be but a small moment;8 And then, if thou endure it
well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy

He then related it to Dory in the animated film, "Finding Nemo" who
when trials and obstacles come her way had the mindset to "just keep
swimming, swimming, swimming." I'd never thought of it this way
before, but success, blessings and everything good will come for those
who continue on in patience. This has not been an easy principle for
me or I'm sure for anyone to learn, but it's what will help us return
to Father's presence. And THAT I know is true.

Love always,

Elder Jake Robins

Happy Birthday Elder Seeley! Backstage with the Neon Trees

Our Uncle Terry and his fiance got to have lunch with Jake in Atlantic City! Surprise! 

Jake with the largest pipe organ?

Neon Trees

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

There IS a God

Hey Family and Friends!

I hope everyone had a marvelous Mother's Day. I studied a little bit
about motherhood and mothers yesterday and what a sacred and divine
calling that really is. So many people don't comprehend the gravity of
being able to create physical bodies for our Heavenly Father's spirit
children. Here in the center of all the world has to offer, it seems
that the only satisfaction the world finds is from those fleeting,
momentary sources of worldly pleasure. Take smoking for example.

Benito started the 7-day 15 daily step Stop Smoking Program where he
has to do things like drink unsweetened raw grapefruit juice and use
cinnamon toothpaste after every meal, etc. It's a tough process, but
if they are completely committed they will be successful in turning
off ALL triggers that make them want to smoke. I think he's smoked
once or twice since starting, but he is so on board and wants to go
teaching with us and just fill his day with uplifting things that will
help him get away from temptation. He reads the Gospel Principles
manual as well as the Book of Mormon. We're really just praying for a
miracle in his continued progression and eventual baptism.

I got to thinking about how it's so easy to walk down the street or
hallway or wherever and judge people based on what meets the eye. Too
fat, too thin, too ugly, too buff, too scrawny, we could go on and on
about how the majority of the world does meet Hollywood's standards of
excellence in terms of Human Worth. What's the point? Why does it all
matter?... (I apologize for writing more of a novel rather than the
exciting stories that you all want to hear. But this is i guess
therapeutic for me and faster than writing in my journal.) I want so
badly to be able to walk down the street and see people for their
spiritual, eternal worth. Yeah I'm sure it's great to be good looking
or have money or cars or fame, but it's so so much infinitely better
to have the simple, pure knowledge that "I am a CHILD OF GOD" His love
feels better and is worth more than all the world has to offer. I've
felt a glimpse of that love as we witnessed more of His children
seeking His truth.

We go to McDonald's sometimes to sync our iPads and come upon
some...interesting people, who are probably not in the best places
that they COULD be in. One such man walked up to us as a group of
missionaries in the parking lot of McYuck's and started talking to us.
He asked us what we do, if he could have change, ya know, the usual. A
little "rough around the edges" if you know what I mean. Then in his
drunken voice he exclaims, "Well, ya'll are welcome at my place any
"Oh k, yeah we'd love to stop by sometime and share our message with
you! Where you at?"
"County Jail."

.... Didn't know how much he was joking but we sure got a chuckle out
of that one. Then later in the week we had Zone Conference in Broomall
at the mission office. 6 Zones with close to 150 missionaries it was
sweet. A tangible power in numbers. Dr. and Sister Dunn who live in
the Columbus Ohio mission (but cover medical stuff for like 12
missions) spoke and it was pretty incredible. They talked a lot about
how the condition of our physical bodies (stress illness etc.) result
in a sick spirit and vice versa. So keeping those to aspects of our
lives in harmony with each other help us to be not only healthy but
happy. Word of wisdom, law of Chastity...it all makes sense! The
Spirit of God will be with us when we're obeying.

Miracles this week: We stopped by several old potentials on wednesday
and talked to some neighbors and family of those we weren't able to
contact. One such man was outside on his porch, seeming to be
pondering life. Big, young black man named Eddie whose sister had met
missionaries before. We introduced ourselves and taught a mini
restoration to him right there. Then we had him read Moroni's promise
in Moroni10:4-5. I think we each felt the Spirit, and after reading he
looked up and said, "you know I felt it when you guys walked up and
when I read that. It feels like you guys have the truth. " I replied
softly, "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of
ALL things." We taught him again with the Johnson's and he again just
confirmed that he felt the truth. He and his uncle Alan both accepted
a baptismal date for June. I want so badly for these people to
progress ALL THE WAY. We are working hard and miracles are happening,
but what a miracle it would be to see investigators in the waters of

Pam and Derrick also both accepted baptismal dates for June and Pam's
niece left our lesson on Saturday holding the Book of Mormon tight to
her chest and proclaiming it to be hers. She felt the Spirit so much
in the lesson that she really just didn't want to put the book down.
We will hopefully meet with her again this week. Pam came to church
and loved the little Mother's Day program our branch president put
together. It was a rough morning for me and I was stressed out and
everyone knew it. I just felt alone and wanted to fall apart and cry.
I wanted just to hug my mom. I walked into the room with the sisters
eating their Mother's Day stuff and told them that we don't always
know what the next day will bring or how we'll even get through it.
But I remembered the words and example of my own faithful mother,
Trust in God, listen to His Spirit, and it will ALL work out. I choked
up and barely got it out, but the Spirit was so strong and I felt the
love of my Heavenly Father. And even though I felt so incredibly
alone, I felt to proclaim as Nephi, "There IS a God!" 2 Nephi 2:14.
Each day brings it's roses and thorns as we all know. But take a step
back, I promise that there really is a God. He has a plan. Get through
this life, but do it WITH His help. There's no other way. He loves
you. Trust Him and keep going, I AM!

Love always and happy Mother's Day,

Elder Jake Robins

Sent from my iPad

Ps I saw the worlds largest pipe organ last Tuesday. No biggie. Pps,
mom and dad, we should start doing what Elder Ballard suggested in his
last conference address, reading Preach My Gospel together.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Looking Back and Moving Forward- Jake's 1 year mark!

 Nice view of AC from Ventnor (South) Short sleeve weather finally!!!

We went surfing today for P-day..only allowed if you're with an investigator, Right?

 Ripley's Believe it or not place right on the Boardwalk

One of the casinos that Donald Trump owns called Taj Mahal.

Enough Said

Is it bad that this sign made me think of our investigators.?

Hey Everyone!

Can you believe it's been a year already? It seems like just yesterday
that I drove through the MTC gates in g & g's van, shaking like a dog
doing the Macarena, mom crying her eyes out and saying goodbye for 2
years. But I still remember the powerful feeling that I got as I
walked through registration and a kind lady looked me in the eye, and
as she placed my nametag bearing His name she said, "Thank you Elder
Robins, for choosing to serve our Savior." In that moment I realized
the gravity of my calling as His representative.

Naturally, I did a bit of reflecting on the past year and it's nuts to
think it's been a year. But so many people and experiences flood my
mind. Some good, some amazing, some could be better, but all have
contributed to the Servant and disciple I am today. And I've learned
that I cannot go back and change the past and do better what I now
know how to do better. But that's part of mortality, learning from the
past and moving forward.

And so this week we got a nice dose of the joys and the burdens of
discipleship to The Lord Jesus Christ. Last Wednesday was...quite a
day! It felt like the return of Hurricane Sandy and yep we're in a
walking area. I may not be in the jungle blazing my trails with a
machete, but we do get some nutty weather. You know it's windy when 3
inch deep puddles have white caps..So Elder Seeley and I rode our one
speed matching bikes the mile, mile and a half up to North AC to
contact some potentials in the area.  We weren't able to contact
anyone and Benito's appt fell through because he was lying in bed
overcome with pain. But as we rode the the 45+ mph winds rocked us
from side to side and gave a delightful headwind. I thought of all the
disciples throughout history who have had enormous headwinds usually
more figurative, that test and try their faith. How has my faith
grown? Well I am more sure than ever before that God's promises are
sure because He has always followed through in some/way or another.

So to continue the winds of adversity that blew, we parked our bikes
in a conspicuous area in the rear of a housing authority apt.
building. Then we went up into the building, knocked on the door with
no success, and as we were waiting for the elevator to come back up,
Elder Seeley exclaimed as he looked through the window at where we had
just parked our bikes, "Are you kidding me? Our bikes aren't there
anymore." I didn't believe him until I looked through the window
myself. Goodness people, are we that desperate?

We get outside, check out the situation and they're no where to be
found, nor are the nice helmets. So we walk a few yards and I suggest
that we pray, surely God will help us find our bikes. I told God our
pathetic situation, and as soon as we lifted our heads at the end of
the prayer, we see this larger black man ride by casually on one of
the bikes (clearly visible by its red handles). Both our heads turn in
silence as we watch this..man ride away...  ...and he's gone. "You've
got to admit, God does have a pretty good sense of humor." Long story
short, we eventually found and confronted the man and he gave us back
the bike, claiming that he needed the scrap metal, but that he didn't
know where the other bike was. I chuckled at the whole situation as we
walked toward the bus stop with one bike. Elder Seeley looked like he
was about to blow a gasket. hehe

One of the many joys of discipleship however, is teaching. I love
teaching so much. I love seeing the light of the Gospel just fill
these individuals eyes and lives. That same night Par Lwin and Mya Poe
Tah let us right in with smiles. This Burmese family is so kind and
they just soak it all up. Little kids were running around as we
discussed the Plan of Salvation in broken English and translated
Karenni/Burmese. I love teaching because of the Spirit that testifies
not only to their hearts, but reaffirms the truths to my own. So after
this long day of...fun...the Lord did NOT leave us comfortless.

Speaking of the Burmese families, we had a great lesson with the Reh
family last night, talking about prophets. They strongly believe in
Jesus Christ and go to a nearby Catholic Church in English, but had
never heard of our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, or of Joseph
Smith. And they committed to pray as a family and individually to know
if there was a prophet on the earth. The younger kids, Francis and
Monica (15 and 12 respectively) understand the gospel better in
english. Francis came to church for the last two hours including
Sacrament meeting. The members we do have were really good at
fellowshipping and making him feel welcome.

We walked into their house and Elizabeth Reh was cooking...we had no
idea they would be feeding us. Thai food. Thai food is pretty spicy.
Doesn't help when you're companion dumps chili powder all over your
noodles..but I guess I did the same thing. It was you know, hot but
not unbearable. They just laughed at us, stupid Americans, ha crying
and sniffling with their staple spice. Then Francis brings out this
deceiving little pepperthat looks like a green bean. "Try it" ...
...don't give into peer pressure! I bit just the end off and chewed a
bit. Tasted fine...for about 10 seconds. Then it kicked in. Straight
up blow torch on the mouth. The hottest thing ive ever eaten. My eyes
were watering, mouth was on fire and my entire face started going
numb. Not the most pleasant feeling in the world, but Elizabeth handed
me a plate of cut up mangoes. Probably the sweetest, just the best
mangoes I've ever had (perhaps because the sun had just blown up in my

Benito is such an incredible man and he has truly been prepared by The
Lord. In our powerful lesson with him and Elder and Sister Johnson on
Friday, we talked about how baptism and the Holy Ghost are essential
to God's whole plan of Happiness. "Awesome!" He would cheerfully
exclaim. "So what do I need to do? When can I get baptized?" We
assured him that if continued keeping his commitments then he would be
able to get baptized at the end of May. He already has a powerful
testimony and on Sunday committed to stop smoking and live the word of
wisdom. I just feel an enormous amount of love for him when I see him,
it's almost like the Savior's love working through me, and I get to be
a participant.

With all these experiences I've come to realize that there is so much
heartache and sin and confusion out in the world and so many "mouths
on fire" if you will from the deadly sting of sin. The one and only
complete, fully effective antidote to all of this is the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. That fruit so sweet in my/mouth, was nothing in
comparison to the eternal sweetness and joy that Christ can bring into
our lives. We occasionally slip up, Pam doesn't make it to church,
Benito misses a lesson, Joe Hicks is the busiest 80 year old in New
Jersey, I'm a running ball of stress. But, but, God provided His Son.
And through Him, we can move forward. As I look back on my 20 years of
life, I desire with all that I have and am to Move Forward with faith
in His gospel and His power to change the world. To change ME. "Press
forward with a steadfastness in Christ...if ye shall press
forward...and endure to the end...Ye shall have ETERNAL LIFE." 2 Nephi
31:20 I would venture to guess that there is no fruit sweeter than
that of eternal life. So keep on going. Seek Christ and you will find
Him. I know this to be true!

Love always,

Elder Jake Robins

Me, Elder Seeley, Brother and Sister Dun (Burmese members who Skype into our lessons) and a Burmese young woman that lives up North and wants to get baptized. This was at our Burmese FHE get together last Monday. Boy is their food Spicy!
Some cute little animal at the Cape May Zoo last week..eating cookie dough...at least he's got a good diet