Dear Family and friends,
Humidity is kicking in and the brutal winter kind of helped me forget
how uncomfortable sweating in missionary attire really can be. hehe.
no fun. Sorry for you Filipino missionaries!! I remember my first
bishop out here commenting that he knew I was a greenie because my
shirt collars were completely white and well pressed. Not so anymore.
A nice golden brown.
The Amandy (Filippino member family) fed all four of us missionaries
last week. They had us make the halo halo this time. Sweet Corn ice
cream, the week before it was purple yam ice cream with cheese bits in
it....how's that for a Food Network specialty? Their son Pyke is less
active, is married to a non member named Leah and they have a spaz
menot 4 year old son named "Batchoy" which in Tagalog means fat boy.
He's a chubby one. Literally a tornado on wheels. Mr. Destructo, nice
ice cream hand prints on my white shirts from him. But he's fun. So we
painted their porch and stuff a week or two ago and try to have weekly
contact with them because we want to work with Pyke. He would be a
great Priesthood holder if we could get him actively coming again. He
told us his wife wasn't interested, but she's still friendly. So we
shall see. But i Love Filipino people!
On Wednesday we played volleyball with a less active named Michell (no
e at the end). She was baptized several years ago, but work (as it
always seems to do around here) keeps her from coming to church. We
played on the street side of the boardwalk in some nice sand pit
volleyball courts. Right in between two huge casinos. No we didn't get
all the way in the water. just up to our necks. Just kidding! We had
nice 30+ mph winds headed away from the beach, so when ever I served
it made me look like i was just pounding the ball. Which was sweet.
Then we switched sides....But We met Michell's boyfriend and some
other friends, nice guys that we'd just need to be around more
often/and maybe they'll want to learn more!
Zone Training was in Vineland on Thursday and they talked a lot about
finding through the members which is always an awkward subject for the
AC English elders...cause we have like 4 active members!! And we're
working with the Branch and stake Presidencies and President Anderson
to figure out if this area is ready for more missionaries. We won't
get more until the stake assigns more members to go here. We need more
member support. It will all work out, but it has definitely been a
struggle figuring out how we would support 10 new converts, if and
when our investigators are baptized.
We talked with Dotty on the phone, she is just such a Saint, such a
wonderful pleasant lady. She is surrounded by Jewish people, but is
not afraid to live and show her faith in Christ. And like prophets
have recently emphasized religious freedom is so key in this country
and around the world. We are ALL children of the same God at the end
of the day. Whether His name is Allah, or Jehovah or Heavenly Father,
He is the same loving, merciful being. She gets that. But she feels
the Spirit as she reads the Book of Mormon and she said she grew up
just knowing that Christ couldn't just have visited the America's. So
it all is making sense to her. Dotty told me on the phone "You are
just some of the nicest people I have ever met. I know I'm learning
slow, but please don't give up on me. I really feel like I want to do
this." Gahhh! More Dotty's please!
I had an interview with President Anderson on Friday, which went well.
On the way out he put his hand on my shoulder and paused for a second
then proceeded, "Elder Robins, when I die" (umm Pres, are you planning
on kicking the bucket soon?...i thought) "Will you play the piano at
my funeral? Your music is just so soothing to my soul." I chuckled and
told him he has to come to my wedding first.
The Cherry Hill Stake is holding a soccer tournament this coming
Saturday, so this past Sat, we went out to Northfield with four other
elders and played with the other guys that will make up the Atlantic
City team. AC has never gotten higher than 4th place....so, we're
going to change that this year. Francis Reh wants to join us as well
as our investigator Kelvin (Ghana...aka bomb at soccer) so we're
trying to work it out so they can make it.
Later that day, we had this awesome hispanic get together, bbq,
whatever you want to call it at Hermano Marco's house (1st counselor
Branch presidency). Bunch of people were there and the Johnsons
brought us and Benito, who was invited by Marco himself. Benito loved
it and seriously just fit in like another member of the church. We had
a good time and tried some grilled plantains and tamarindo juice.
Benito has been doing good, he didn't come to church because he went
to help out his friend at the shop instead. But slowly and surely he's
waning himself off the cigs. cancer sticks.
The Burmese families...we are just going lesson by lesson. I hate to
say we have no idea..but, it's kind of like what Elder Bednar describe
as the Spirit guiding us in the fog. Just enough light to take the
next step or two, but not much beyond that. In thinking about my
calling as a missionary, I've considered what it means to magnify my
calling. Jacob 1:19 "We did magnify our office unto The Lord, taking
upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our
own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence;
wherefore [we labor] with our might." IN teaching these families
although the language barrier is discouraging at times, we have to try
our hardest. Just keep going. I really do feel that God will bring
about miracles, but as Brother Swan suggested it may start with them
learning english. So we will spend more time doing that.
My hope is that when I go home I will continue to diligently labor in
building the Kingdom of God on earth. With all diligence I know that
this work will roll forward, even though things slow down at times, we
have the Creator of the Universe on our side. Who could possibly be
against us and prevail. Just trust HIM!
I love you all and hope this finds you all well!
Elder Jake Robins