Monday, August 11, 2014

This is NOT the End

Hey Family and Friends!

Crazy to think I've been out for just over 15 months already! Time
flies! We had some interesting experiences this week, some were great
and joyful others were hard and tested my faith. Just to clarify,
Elder Tryon got finished being trained when I got him, so I am
refining him. Goldens are new missionaries and gold needs a little
refining to become I'm helping him become more pure..haha.
He's a super hard worker and we work pretty well together, but really
have no idea what will happen when we find out about transfers on
Friday. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of this week of uncertainty
before transfers. But this time around I don't really mind what

We had a lot of appointments fall through and several of our solid
investigators dear John'd us. I guess a few of them actually have met
with Jehovah's Witnesses before though. Good to get different
perspectives. But Orlando walked up the street on Friday I think it
was, with a beer in hand wearing an orange baseball cap. We were
stoked to see him because we hadn't been able to contact him for a
week or two. He almost immediately said, "I'm not in the mood for
company tonight" as he walked to his door and unlocked it. I felt to
prod a little more, not to be rude, but just to survey the situation.
I asked how he felt about continuing to meet with us and learning
more. He said he went back to his Holiness church and didn't want to
meet anymore. I didn't want to be pushy, but I reminded him of the
sweet Spirit he had felt during the church tour and when we gave him a
blessing after his sister died and when he talked to his friends
excitedly about receiving the Priesthood. But he kind just put his
head down and said no thank you. We were heart broken, but agency
plays a key role in God's plan for His children. Hopefully Orlando and
others I've come to know and love will eventually come around to the

Diatra has been getting so much flack from her husband about meeting
with us and getting baptized that she canceled our two set appts last
week. Again, stab to the heart. But all we can do really is pray. When
she prayed about baptism I think she knew this might be an issue, but
not exactly how stubborn he would be. I swear it's always the spouses!
If only they could see and feel that this IS the one path to eternal
peace and happiness!

Throughout the week, we kept our eyes open for service opportunities
and people in need. We got to help move a less active lady named
Sister Shupe on Saturday. Her less active brother and active father
were also there. I worked with the brother organizing boxes in the
truck while Elder Tryon was carrying the boxes out. You could tell
there was no EQ involved as it was fairly disorganized, but the
brother knew what he was doing. Just the nicest people who all have
their own stories and lives. I thank my Heavenly Father for this
experience even just for the chance to MEET people. I love getting to
know others. When I'm communicating with others and learning about
their lives is when I forget myself and I'm truly happy. President
Monson has said that a lot , "To find real happiness, we must seek for
it in a focus outside ourselves." Definitely one thing I know to be
true, but have not mastered. Hehe. I feel so much better when I just
stop bugging The Lord about all my petty little issues and start
caring about, praying for, and loving others. Those are the sweetest
moments when I feel I am truly an instrument in the Lords hands.

Such an occasion came as Elder Tryon and I were walking in "the
neighborhood" kinda the not bestest parts of Salisbury (but not
anywhere near as bad as Wilmington or AC.) In AC I got out of the
habit of talking to everyone because so many people were drunk or
high, they wouldn't even know what we were saying, so...we'd just keep
walking. Elder Tryon is helping me get back in the habit. And here's
the thing, I'm not superstitious per se, but yeah ...I kind of
am...whenever I email home about the successes we have had or the
miracles we've seen, it seems that everything just turns around and
heads south soon after. Those people who we thought were solid end up
dropping or avoiding us...even though we see them through the blinds
when they peak through...or my favorite, we knocked the door of an
investigator and someone on the other side of the closed door yelled
"No one's here!" A little puzzled...I scratched my head and said
Hmmm...they must have a voice recorder like Ferris Bueller or

I'll do it anyway for your benefit! We walked up to a lady sitting on
her front steps. After talking to her for a few minutes, we found out
her name is Shirley and we felt the love the Savior has for her. She
doesn't feel much love from the people around her and she just seemed
lonely and destitute, but not homeless. I testified of our Heavenly
Fathers deep and abiding love for her and she was in tears as she
welcomed the prospect of hearing more at a later day. So we went back
and she loved the lesson! But she can't read because she can't afford
glasses right that presents an issue, but it'll all work out.

Mary has been trying on some of the sisters dresses from the ward and
we're working on setting up a time to go to the courthouse with them
to get a marriage license. In Maryland, you don't even need ID to get
married, you just write your name on a piece of paper and pay $35. So
that is in the works. She has such a strong testimony already.

So our investigators are doing fairly well as far as we know, we're
kind of getting a new bunch of people as several past people just
won't respond to our trying to contact them.

On a sad note, we got a call from Brother Webster, the EQ President,
at 10:20 pm on Saturday. He asked us if we had heard the news about
Brother Twining, our ward mission leader. I told him no and he
proceeded to tell me that he was in the car driving in Atlanta, GA
helping his son move when he suddenly stopped breathing. He went into
cardiac arrest and despite being shocked with paddles and CPR and what
not at the hospital, he was not able to be resuscitated. So our
beloved ward mission leader, kind of a quieter, gentle fellow, passed
away Saturday night. He was, well still is in spirit, a wonderful man,
valiant in his testimony of Christ. It still feels surreal because we
had talked to him just a few days before and would have had our weekly
meeting had he not been helping his son. And now he's gone. We still
don't have a bishop the ward is kind of in limbo, being
run by the rest of the ward council and bishopric counselors. But its
helping us get to know the rest of them better.

As I pondered that all a distinct thought came to mind, "This is not
the end." Brother Twining lives on, Grandma Clyde lives on, all of our
loved ones still exist and live and are in better places. What a joy
it is to know we will be able to see them again.

At Zone Conference on Thursday we had training on several important
things pertaining to missionary work of course. One thing that stood
out though was Sister Anderson's comments about prayer. She used the
letters PPM(Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission) to teach us the need to
Pray, Ponder and Meditate. So often we get ready for bed and we're so
beat that we either fall asleep shortly after addressing Heavenly
Father or we say a quick 1-2 minuter to make sure we wake up the next
morning. Is that really the purpose of prayer though? I've thought
about the time I give my Heavenly Father to talk to ME.  "Counsel with
the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good."Alma
I know prayer is our vehicle of communication with God and His Spirit
is how He speaks to us.

Love always,

Elder Jake Robins

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