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.
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?|