Monday, July 21, 2014

Jimmer Fredette is My Cousin

Howdy Ya'll! How yous doin?!!

Ha I swear there are just some people out there that make ya laugh.
We've met a few (and I'm sure it's worse in other areas) who add an
"s" onto just about every other word. I was bummed when I got to AC
and south jersey to find that no one there really had that very
distinct "joisey" accent. I'm pretty sure that's the north end of the
state. But the further south you get into Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, (which in case you didn't know..makes up the "Delmarva"
penninsula...shout out to good ol' Mr. Kelly Hoover for an outstanding
geography class where i learned more about Britney Spears and
houseboats than where Africa is in a map). Anyways, I think I'm
technically below the Mason Dixie line which marks the "South" but who

We had many miracles and some funny stories and just a whole bunch a
hooplah. And when the going gets tough or a much anticipated appt
falls through, I just tell Elder Tryon to "Just keep tryin'!" "Hardee
har har, never heard that one before," he'll respond. We have one of
the nicest apartments in the mission right now and boy is it nice to
be back in a unit with central air! No one out here has central air
except for some apartments! And a car. I felt even more this week that
I am needed here in Salisbury. Even when we knock on the door of a
neighbor of one of our potentials. This middle aged lady with long
hair and glasses comes to the glass door right after we heard one of
the 4 or 5 kids screaming inside, sees us, and rolls her eyes as she
opens the door with a kid in hand. As soon as she opened the door she
started teaching or testifying or declaring, whatever you want to call
it, "Jesus is the Son of God, He died on the cross for my sins. I know
I can be cleansed through His blood if I believe in Him and repent. I
have faith in God, thank you have a good day." Literally all in one

"Exactly! That's what we believe!"
"Okay...that's great have a nice day." She impatiently responded.
Right as she was closing the door I kind stuck my foot in the door and
asked, "Do you know who we are?"
"Jimmer Fredette is my cousin, yes you're Latter-day Saints." Then the
door closed.

Elder Tryon and I looked at each other and began laughing
hysterically, not really knowing what had just happened. Ha it was so
funny she was just so rude about it all which made it a laughing
matter. We did absolutely nothing to make her mad, but hey. Hope she
finds the gospel some day! I'm tempted to put her in the area book
just as "Jimmer Fredette's cousin."

Nutty or not?... Diatra is her name. She lives on a ranch with several
horses and 40 acres of land (ain't gonna find that in AC!) She's got a
sweet pure grin, missing a few teeth. White hair like Einstien's
sister, and glasses. But I swear his woman has a heart of pure gold.
You can just see her spirit, radiating with the love and knowledge of
God. Such a sweet spirit. She had a stroke a while back so her speech
is impaired and lots of her words are slurred so she can be hard to
understand. But in our lesson sitting on her outdoor furniture looking
at the horses and what not, she would ask a question and he follow up
after the answer with "Ok good! I didn't want y'all to think i was a
dummie or somein'!" Diatra showed up to church yesterday with her
friend named Pat. They were just beaming, so happy to be there and
Diatra is already doing member missionary work. Both were wonderfully
welcomed and fellowshipped by members...yes we have more than 5 active
members here...ha too soon.

I went on exchanges with zone leader Elder Hansen and we taught our
Haitian investigator Mary Cadet. Get this, she speaks Haitian Creole,
reads French, understands some Spanish, and can sort of set appts in
English....Seriously don't even know what language of Book of Mormon
to give her. No, she reads Creole too, but we have only one Creole
speaking family in the ward...who just happens to be busy with their
lives and triplets. So we take Spanish speakers and somehow manage to
manage. Thank heavens for my AC experience, I learned a lot more
Spanish there, by no means am I fluent but I am able to be guided by
the Spirit and contribute to the lesson with the member. I love
languages!! I love Mary too. She was given a Book of Mormon by Elder
Tryon's last companion, Elder Barker in another area in DE. Then Elder
Barker a year or so later finished his mission down here in Salisbury
and heard a lady yelling out of a window at them. A few minutes later
she showed him the very same Book of Mormon. God moves in mysterious
but miraculous ways.

She was asked in Spanish if the she believes the Book of Mormon, the
member translating back said, "She doesn't believe the Book of Mormon
is true. She knows it's true." On a scale of 1 to prepared, she is up
there. She has such a sincere desire to get baptized and to continue
in the faith. She is living with her boyfriend and almost breaks down
in tears every time we bring up baptism because she knows they need to
get married before she or he can get baptized. But we promised her
that if she continued in faith, we would find out a way to get them
married, whether it be the Bishop or what not. Her boyfriend Sylvio is
this huge Haitian guy, like 6' 6" or something, he's a big daddy. But
the two of them came to church yesterday and the week before with her
3 grandkids who are young, but better behaved than half the Mormon
rascals runnin' around like chickens with their heads cut off. I hope
to see their baptisms, such wonderful people..kinda living in the
hood, but we can work with that. Nothing new at this point haha.

Safety for The Soul

I was thinking the other day, if Mormon or Moroni were to compile or
abridge my weekly emails by the end of my mission, the end result
would probably give the BOM a run for it's money in length. Lo Siento!
But I don't know if I've mentioned Barry and Frances yet. The
Whealton's. Part of the reason, I feel, I'm here in Salisbury. Never
before have I had investigators who have scrutinized, questioned, at
times doubted, as much as they have. I got into the area and they had
already been taught everything, been meeting with missionaries for
about 4 months.

For example, on Thursday we taught them, had in mind to talk about the
Book of Mormon and how it works with the Bible to teach us of Jesus
Christ and how to come unto Him. Barry was disputing the whole time
saying that there is no tangible evidence that there were horses or
chickens here in the Americas or that any of the Book of Mormon
happened. He thinks Joseph Smith made it up. He's listened to the
whole thing on cd about 3 times, so I asked simply, "How do you feel
about the Book of Mormon, Barry?"
"I don't believe it. I know that sounds harsh to you, but I really
just couldn't believe that a book like that is the word of God." I
respected his opinion, but felt like I had been stabbed in the heart.
Frances is a sweet lady and will often roll her eyes when he says
stuff like that. It makes us crack up and kind of breaks the ice. She
has some interesting and rather deep questions too, but the four of us
made a pact that we would not tell each other that the other's faith
is wrong. So they may doubt or disbelieve, but they respect our
beliefs as we do theirs. The lesson got a little heated, Barry just
kept going and I felt the Spirit leaving. When the Spirit leaves, I
get nervous cause I know we're on our own. Elder Tryon was about to
reach across the table and put Barry in a full nelson he was so fed up
with him. But throughout this heated discussion, I kept feeling to
"Show the video" we had planned to show. The mormon message from Elder
Holland in his bomb testimony of the Book of Mormon. Finally, I just
cut in and said "Alrighty, we're going to end with the testimony of an
apostle. Pay attention to how you feel."

I think it'd be safe to say we were all touched by the Spirit. Barry
was speechless, Frances was in tears and I simply testified that if
they read and PRAYED about the Book of Mormon, they too could know and
have that unshakable witness of its truthfulness. Never Before have I
been so stretched and questioned spiritually, but it felt rewarding
and edifying to testify of God's love for them. I don't know if they
will join, hope they will, but they don't want us to stop coming over.
When Frances texts us or prays during lessons she'll call us Kyle and
Jake. It sounds weird to hear it, but I like it. ha it's almost like I
forgot my name!

In a recent Facebook post, I alluded to the fact that so many people
in the world today are going too far, searching too long, and
scrutinizing too much for truths that are right in front of them. Let
us be sure that we are not "looking beyond the mark" for truths that
God has already revealed to us. (Jacob 4:14) Let us be open to the
whispering and feelings of the Holy Ghost so that we can know for
ourselves whether the source of truth we encounter is divine. And just
as my dad poignantly commented "Too often we want things to be too
complicated when really Heavenly Father's plan is beautiful in its
simplicity." How true that is.

I am doing well, sorry to those of you who I didnt email this week!
Felicitaciones to Terry and Jenny! So happy for you and it made me
happy to see the pictures. Gotta love the Hagen and Robins Clans!

Love you all and thanks for your testimonies and convictions of the
truth we have.

Elder Jacob Robins

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gone Fishin'

Dearest Family Friends!

Another whirlwind week behind us. I hope this finds you all healthy
and well. I don't have a whole lot of time, but Salisbury is awesome
so far! Elder Tryon and I had a great week and we really felt like The
Lord was guiding us throughout. Many spiritual experiences that
confirmed to me that I am supposed to be here right now. P day in
Salisbury is quite a bit different than AC. I spent quite a bit of
time walking the shops and boardwalk in AC people people people. Here,
we went to a members house and went fishin. We were gone a fishin'.
Hehe out in the good ol Styx of Maryland. Like the 2nd time I've
fished in my life.

One such experience was with a new investigator named Patrice. Elder
Tryon and his trainer found her late last transfer, but weren't able
to pin her down for an appt. last week we taught her with a member
named Brother Naumann. It was a spiritual feast. Gosh I love teaching.
We taught the Restoration, she had great questions about prophets and
truth. I felt to watch a segment of the restoration video. It invited
the Spirit so well and I don't know exactly what it is, but the fact
that we have a loving Heavenly Father who answers prayers touched her
heart. She was so intrigued by the video that by the time I stopped
it, she was about 5 inches from the screen. She backed up slowly and
said, "I've just got this really good feeling inside, almost like a
burning feeling. It makes me want to cry. I've never really felt like
this before."
"Patrice" I said gently, "That feeling is the Holy Ghost. He is
testifying to your heart that the message you just heard is true. I
know with all my heart that Joseph Smith did see our Father in Heaven.
This event changed the world forever. Let it change your life."

The Spirit was so tangible that by the time we invited her to be
baptized in August, she just about jumped out of her seat in
excitement. We got excited and just left feeling filled. Similar but
not quite as enthusiastic experiences and invites happened several
times throughout the week. I felt homesick for AC, it is so hard
leaving hustle and bustle and going to the woods, same thing with
Smyrna. But as I focused on the people and seeking the Spirit in all
we did, the homesickness went away. Until President Perez called us on
the phone just to see how I was doing and what not. But the work is
picking up and good things are happening here. I met the bishop on
Sunday and 3 minutes later he told the ward council he's moving to
Colorado in 2 weeks and that next Sunday is his last. So new bishop

Elder Tryon is a hard worker, a lot like me at the beginning of my
mission. Dedicated, obedient, non time waster, a little quieter. We've
learned a lot from each other already. He reminds me of Jared a bit,
which makes me miss my brother more. There have been moments in the
last transfer or so that I have never felt more alone. But it is in
those solemn moments that I resort to the only other place I can turn.
To my Savior. I've got to end this, sorry! But I want to bear my
growing witness that Jesus Christ lives, He is the Redeemer of the
world. I have felt His presence in my life as of late and it is He
that has gotten me through. This isn't easy but I trust Him to make me
all that I can be.

"yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth
bless and prosper those who put their trust in him." (Helaman 12:1)

Just trust Him.

Love always,

Elder Jacob Robins

Sent from my iPad

Ps there is a Robbins family in the ward but they spell their darn
last name wrong. I haven't met them yet so I'll set it straight when I

Me, Joe Ruple, his member wife Magaly, and her son Alberto. 

Me and the Swan family. Only english family in the branch. he's in the presidency. some of the coolest, most down to earth people i've met. 

President Perez and his awesome family. He came up to me after our branch going away party and said "Elder Robins, can we make like a pact or something to visit each other and keep in touch?" Of course it was in his broken english, spanish accent. It made me happy to know that I've had an impact on some members. I told him he has to take me to Guatemala (home country) after my mission. I'll miss that man.
Me and the De la Cruz Family-Spanish Branch. They fed us almost every week. Yummy yummy mexican food. I'll miss them!
One last picture with my favorite adopted grandmother and convert, Dottie. Love this woman, can't wait to reunite on the other side. But hopefully before that too!
 Me and the Cruz family. Patty doing the bunny ears is crazy, but a crazy good cook too. ha what"s with me talking about food so much! They know it's how to get to a missionary's heart. ha. The man sitting is Hmno/ Marco in the Branch Presidency, he cried when I said good bye and tenderly told me that I am always welcome in their home. They asked me on Facebook if they could come visit me down here in Salisbury...3 1/2 hour drive, why not?
Me, Elder Seeley and Sister Amandy- Filippino member who fed us the halo halo and all that crazy food. such sweet people. 

Our AC apt. I'll tell you more about it after the mission. Let's just say some bad things happened there before missionaries got there. hehe. and the neighborhood, boy should've gotten a pic of that. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Hurricane of a Week (pun intended)

Hey Everyone!

In case you didn't hear, the east coast actually did get hit by
Hurricane Arthur last week, ha we were told we'd kinda get hammered
with rain and at one point there were flash flood warnings. Well
Friday came around which was the day it was supposed to hit jersey.
Well it was raining in the morning, so Elder Seeley and I went biking
in the morning. The storm was pathetic when it did pass. There we were
secretly hoping AC would just get walloped and maybe wake up the
people. some of our investigators. Pam fell off the face
of the earth, or so it seems. Two of the Burmese families have been
busy or avoiding us, with the language barrier we really can't tell.

Dottie got baptized though!!! She is seriously one of my favorite
people. Adopted grandmother! Not to replace either of my existing
grandma's ;) Elder Hardy and I went on a short exchange so he could do
Dottie's interview. They ended up doing it in a gazebo outside the
Jewish apt complex she lives in. I sat in the car with Elder and
Sister Johnson, looking at the gazebo and after the interview, she
came out, threw her hands up in the air and exclaimed " I passed!" We
all smiled and chuckled at her enthusiasm.

On Saturday, we were a bit late to fill up the font at the next
closest church building in Linwood. But we got there, barely figured
out how to get the contraption to spew out water, and got the room set
up. The water was piping hot and because we were low on time, I didn't
even get to clean the spiders and bugs out of the font. Very hot bath
for them. Well we soon realized that this rather large font would not
be filled by 2 pm and it was already 1245 we went to the
kitchen to find buckets...ha story of my life. Elder Seeley found
probably a 2 gallon pot, I was still looking, then I spotted it!
Seriously the mother of all pots, I swear you could bathe a baby in
this thing. It was huge. So I managed to put it in the sink but
quickly realized that I alone would not be able to lift the beast and
carry it the 40 yards from the kitchen to the font. So I started
filling it half way. Then the Cape May sisters showed up with the
Johnson's and laughed as they saw our plight. The sisters helped us
carry more water. We got desperate as we noticed the time and that
Dottie would be arriving with Sister Swan any moment. That would a
tiny bit tacky if she saw us hauling water for her baptism

So the hauling hastened. Hastening The Lord's work in more ways than
one! We eventually stopped hauling and started the program while the
water was still running up until the moment she entered the font.
Throughout this fiasco the thought kept coming to my mind, Why in the
world didn't we just baptize her in the ocean!?! Haha I wanted to so
bad, but with the hurricane and the difficulty of finding a beach that
could be relatively "reverent" we resorted to the Linwood chapel. It
all worked out though. It was a beautiful experience and the Spirit
was strong during the program. She would just get hit with the Spirit,
sigh and smile as she truly felt that this was the right path for her.

I entered the hot tub/font and immediately worried that it'd melt her
frail skin right off. Elder Seeley stood behind her to support her
fragile back and I performed the ordinance. On her way up out of the
water, she looked a little dizzy and we grabbed her arms to steady as
she wobbled back and forth a bit and said she felt like she was going
to pass out. Probably a combo of the hot water and her condition. But
she didn't pass out, we briefly embraced in the water and I said,
You're clean! She gave us a huge grin then turned to the small
congregation of about 18 people, threw her arms up in the air and
excitedly said, "I'm clean!"

Afterwards, while eating some refreshments I sat down next to her, and
she got a little choked up as she looked me in the eyes and said "I'm
really going to miss you. I love you both, but there is just something
special about you, and I can't put my finger on it. Don't forget me
now, will ya? And I'll see you in heaven some day." I thanked her for
her kind words and gave some to her. I think she and I must have been
friends before this life.

I hate hate hate waiting for transfer calls. I feel nervous, sick and
just uneasy til we get them. Then once we got them Saturday morning,
because we got to stay out til 10 pm on the 4th, I was a mess until
yesterday at transfers. We all just felt ill and nervous as President
Perez drove us there. I'll be completely honest, I was kind of hoping
not to get sent back to the Dover Zone, but here I am!! Salisbury
Maryland, southern most part of the mission. I'm serving with Elder
Tryon from Mesa, AZ. More about the area next week.

The morning of transfers I felt to read over my mission plaque
scripture in Jacob 5. It's so easy to get caught up in the politics of
missionary work, who goes zone leader or who's the next Assistant or
will I train, all that jazz. But this chapter and particularly the
verses on my plaque help me realize that this is HIS work. No I
wouldn't have chosen Salisbury, MD as my next area, but He needs me
here. And I'm determined to find out why. AC for the most part was
Dottie and some personal growth and other individuals. But the
principle is the same.

72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their
mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they
did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
(Jacob 5:72)

I imagine the Savior with His hand around my shoulder, pointing and
teaching me how to tend His vineyard. What a blessing it is to know
that it's all His work. I just do it! Love you all. Keep smiling.

New address: 1536-C Sharen Dr.
                      Salisbury, MD 21804


Elder Jacob Robins

Dottie's Baptism

Dottie's Baptism

Dottie's Baptism

Dottie's Baptism
Me and elder Billings, who knows Rob and Rachelle Williams...photobomb!

Zone Training in Vineland last week

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How Do We Do It?

Dearest Family and Friends,

It is so beautiful and I love the still moments when I get to just
enjoy God's creations. I think I must be a little peculiar, especially
for my age, for how much I love and connect with nature. I'm learning
to show an interest in cars, etc. But this summer has been beautiful.
Humid, yes. And hot. And boy do people's wardrobes (...or lack
thereof) show it! I swear people have no sense of modesty. They bring
the beach to the streets ha. Oh well we keep goin.

On kind of an exciting note, the Atlantic City Branch Soccer team won
the Cherry Hill Stake World Cup!!! First place baby! First time ever
for the branch. President Perez was cheering on the team, yelling " Do
AC! Do AC!" It was fun. There were some close games, but we made it

During the game, I called Dottie and talked to her a bit on the phone.
She had been crying and praying most of the day because her grandson
had been in town and was leaving Sunday. So there was a family going
away party, but because of past complications with a family member,
she hadn't been invited. It's so sad that she was estranged from most
of the family because of that one in-law. But here's the cool part. I
taught her a bit about the nature of prayer and how God sometimes has
us wait and continue in patience, faithfully obeying the commandments
before the blessings come. It's tough, but always worth the wait in
the end. She texted later Saturday night and said:
"Guess what!!! My grandson just called saying his Dad will pick me up
for his going away party. Can hardly believe it. (3rd contact in a
year). Heavenly Father got right on this didn't He. So many little
miracles letting me know He truly is watching over me. He is so
amazing!!! Now, go win your game!!"

I smiled as I read it. Pure and simple faith brings about great
miracles. Dottie didn't make it to church on Sunday although she tried
her darndest! More medical complications wound her up in the hospital.
She's doing better now, but she's said before that once she gets
baptized she'll be ready to trip into her grave any day. Especially
with the way the world around us is spinning into chaos. Quite

I sometimes feel bad for people who live in complete chaos with
absolutely no secure anchor to hold on to. Just walk around on the
street. It makes me sad. Elder Neil L. Andersen said poignantly in
this last General Conference, "The world wil not glide calmly toward
the Second Coming of the Savior."...right after telling a short story
about a tornado and its wreckage. And so....that's exactly why I am
here.!!=) Help people get out of the chaos and onto something sure and

Take Eddie for example. He's living with his mom, uncle, girlfriend,
and her 4 year old son Vincent (cute kid). The house is a wreck, I'm
pretty sure I saw a bedbug on him once...and you know my experience
with bedbugs in the past has not been a pleasant one, so we  just sit
on his porch now. He's made mistakes in the past, and sees that those
same people he was with then now expect him to continue to do the
things he did back then. He feels in a bind sometimes. Sure they're
friends, but they're pulling him down. So he tries to avoid them, then
looks like the bad guy. He wants nothing more than to change his life
for good. And what made me so happy was when he said that he doesn't
want to go to church and just have it be a one time thing (as so many
investigators think is ok). He explained that if he gets into this, he
wants to do it forever. He wants to be changed permanently. Which is
so awesome. I wish everyone saw it like that. But he also recognizes
that some things need to change in his life before he can fully
embrace and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we shall see, but I
have high hopes for him.

Every time we see Benito now, it just feels or seems like his world is
falling apart. Car payments here, only a meager social security check
to buy food there. Literally all his problems just pile up and we hear
it. Which is fine. But we've told him several times now, do all you
can to quit smoking so that you can get baptized and receive the Holy
Ghost. No one will guide you more in your life than Him. He knows it's
true though. And so does Pam. She's got an old, dying uncle who she
spends a lot of time with, which gives her excuses not to meet with us
or come to church. We can only do so much with her if she's not going
to commit herself to this ya know. We love her to death, as we do all
our investigators, but commitment is one thing almost all these people
seem to be scared of. This is eternity people.

We were finally able to catch the Tah's at home. So we met with them
and because his english is very broken, I made a doctor's appt. on the
phone for their little boy Sawdar. He was so appreciative of just that
little bit of help. He wants this too, but with work on Sundays, we
just don't know how they will get to church. She doesn't want to go
without him.

Sunday was a hectic day where we just felt like we were running around
all day. After a crazy branch council, we had the Spanish sacrament
meeting where I play the piano and usually read from d & c. Then we
had several English members come for classes so we taught them and
were given cereal by Sister Soto. After church we got ready to hang
some pictures up in the church,  gave Brother Swan a powerful blessing
of healing, took lunch, went to see our less active Mike who lives
across the street from the church. We talked with him and his young
grand kids about prayer and studying the scriptures.  Short lesson
because of family drama. Then we biked up to teach Eddie and got a
text saying that another members friend needed a blessing for a
motorcycle accident he had just had. He only fractured his finger, but
we met them back at the church and it was a good chance for him to
feel the Spirit and be in the building. Then we raced home. Oh and
somewhere in the middle we had a delicious Filipino dinner at the
Amandy's then taught their neighbor Rose about the Book of Mormon.

At the end of the day, I sat on my bed, filled with halo halo, lumpia,
and the Spirit and i thought to myself,  How do we do it all? How are
we able to maintain the rigid, crazy schedule we have and stay on top
of the personal spiritual progression of over a dozen of our Heavenly
Father's children, (not including our own)? I was overcome as I
thought of the Savior and a talk by Brad Wilcox I read last week
called  "His Grace is Sufficient." Every change we need to make, all
the good we do in the world happens and is able to happen because of
His grace. The enabling strength and power to live as Christ would
live. Now that's divine. And it all made sense. That's how we do it.
That's how you and the prophets and apostles and countless other good
people maintain their goodness day in and day out. "His grace is
sufficient for ALL men who humble themselves before Him." Ether 12:27

This church this work and this message. Each is true. And He lives. I
know He does.

Love always,

Elder Robins