Monday, August 25, 2014

"In West Philadelphia, born and raised..."

Hey ya'll!

I had to start out by quoting the good ol' Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Thank you Will Smith! So I'm in Philly! West Philly and Darby and
University City. University of Pennsylvania (ivy league...just learned
that last week) is in our area as well as many law schools, etc. Fun
Fact: Philadelphia alone has close to 80 colleges and universities,
giving it one of the densest concentration spots or colleges in the
country. Not to mention, the birthplace of the nation. We are in the
Valley Forge PA stake, east zone which covers all of south and west
Philly. At transfers I got the clammy hands, but felt that The Lord
had something good in store for me. I am so stoked to be here though,
I love it! City life is hectic and crazy,  but fun. And it's amazing
to see how The Lord prepares different children in different areas of
the world to receive the truth.

At transfers, one of my favorite Elders, an assistant, elder Tarry
came up to me and said, "Hey brothuh, you are going to love it there!
You're going to "mini Africa!" And boy I had no clue what he was
talking about until I got here. Walking down the streets, I soon
realized we were a tiny minority in this part of the city. Just for
the record, I'm not being racist by saying that, just describing local
demographics. The majority in this area is probably Liberian, west
Africans. Some of God's children who came here seeking light and
truth, and freedom. Unfortunately, they may not be getting all that
they ever thought the American Dream entailed, but from what I've
learned, current circumstances are far above what they experienced in
their home countries.

We've had the opportunity already to work with one such refugee named
Agatha. One of the sweetest, strongest women I've met on my mission.
Oh she is such a joy. The first time I met her, she came out of her
one room apt and unlocked the gate for us. I smiled as we shook hands
and greeted each other. Near the beginning of our conversation, she
gave me a name that Liberians say in their tribes, "Korle" (Kor-lay,
soft r) which means little man that goes around teaching the people.
Agatha came from Liberia several years ago to escape the oppression.
Some horrible things happened to her there, out of her control and yet
almost part of the war torn country. The civil war in the 90's left a
lot of innocent people like her negatively effected by the evil
actions of others. But with Elder and Sister Wrigley, a new senior
couple, fresh to the area and culture, we testified of the power of
the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal all wounds. It was a sacred
experience and I love her already. She loves the church and is ready
to pay tithing and live the commandments and her baptisms not for
another 2 weeks!

OH! My companion's name is Elder Roberts! He's a stud, he's in the
Marine Reserves and did basic training and all that before coming out.
He's from Eugene, Oregon and he's been out just over a year. We're
stoked to be here together. The Lord already has blessed us to be put
in the path of humble people who are ready to receive His truth. We
missed the trolley one night, despite running like mad men with
satchels after it. And a man stopped his car and yelled "Y'all doin
The will of God?" We responded in the affirmative. Long story short,
he gave us a ride near our next destination and we set up a time to
meet with him because he was looking for a church he could raise his
family in.

I am serving in the Philadelphia 1st ward, meets in the building on
39th and Chestnut. I remember uncle Dan emailed me about a ward he
went to in Philly on a business trip. I think this is the closest
building to center city as of now, so I'd imagine he went here. Oh and
small world, a lady came up to me at church and asked if I was Jessi
Bangerters brother. I said yes and she said, Hey your sister married
my cousin Wil! So Sally Duffin is her name, super nice, but she's in
Philly 4th ward! Alright love you all, got an appt to go to! Have a
great week. "Charity never failteth." Moroni 7:43-48

Love always,

Elder Jake Robins

Sent from my iPad

PS, dearest mother, I did not forget your birthday! I am in the
process of sending something! Happy Birthday, love you:)

New address:7701 Lindburgh Blvd. apt. 1913
                    Philadelphia, PA 19153

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