Monday, September 8, 2014

Oh Thou Who Changest NOT

Hey Everyone!

Oh boy it has been a whirlwind of a week and people and the world
around us seems to be changing and at times falling apart. I keep
thinking of Helaman's words to his sons Nephi and Lehi, "It is upon
the rock of our Redeemer who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must
build your foundation...a foundation whereon, if men build, they
CANNOT fall." Helaman 5:12. I've found it doesn't matter if I'm in the
Styx of Smyrna or urban Philadelphia, we as humans are all subject to
temptation and the "fiery darts of the adversary." I was talking to
Elder Roberts earlier about how we wish we could somehow just show
these people we meet a short video clip of who they were in the
pre-existence. I would bet it would have a nearly immeasurable effect
on the choices they make each day. But we can't do that, so...

Each day I'm more and more grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in
my life. It keeps me strong even when life throws it's curveballs.
Elder Roberts and I just finished visiting an Elder in our Zone who is
in the hospital right now for pancreatitis. It's kinda worrisome
having a fellow missionary sick and in the hospital! But he is
improving, just in a bit of pain, and he'll be in there for a few
days. I've loved the opportunity to get to know and work with the
other missionaries. We had Zone Training on Thursday and it was a
spiritual feast. Elder and Sister Wrigley trained on recognizing the
Spirit and seeking the gift of discernment in teaching and finding as
missionaries. Because we are human and don't have super powers to
understand every issue or internal conflict that each of the
individuals we work with may be struggling much as I wish I
was superman or Mr. Incredible or someone, I have an even better gift.
The Holy Ghost.

When we knocked on Raheem's (20 year old man whom we met buying
Agatha's chicken kebabs) door, I was quickly disappointed when after 3
or 4 knocks and a phone call, he didn't answer the door. Just as I was
turning around, I cynically assumed that he just wasn't ready for our
message when all the sudden he opened the door and exclaimed, "I just
had the feeling like someone was telling me to answer the door." We
were amazed with our jaws dropped and everything. As we taught him and
talked about the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel, the
Spirit moved upon him. I've seen this numerous times where we say
things that we don't necessarily intend to touch he lives of others,
but it ends up working out that way.

Agatha and Frances are preparing well and so excited to become members
of the church. The Lord is pouring out His Spirit on these people and
it's amazing to see that even in a city with 5 million + people! we
are able to find the elect and help them get on the path to eternal
life. As I've spent some time in the city (a whoppin' 3 weeks...look
at me!) I look around and see countless people searching for
happiness. Some find it in music, some find it through methods that
the world has offered that really only bring momentary pleasure. But
not lasting happiness. Some, like Agatha, or our 9 year old Emmanuel
Jardiah find it in the truth. Reading scriptures, going to church, the
Sunday school answers. But it's he small and simple things that these
people do that bring them the true happiness the rest of the world is
so desperately looking for. I really love love love these people and
am seeking to be more charitable with everyone. But what helps me love
them the most is those sacred spiritual experiences that we have

The Assistants doubled in on Saturday night for a few hours and even
they have flaws, but I've come to realize that one universal trait of
all successful missionaries (success as Preach My Gospel defines it in
chapter 1) is that of Love. Now you may differ in opinion, but the
whole reason for this plan, the whole reason I'm out here now is LOVE.
Love for my God, love for my Savior and love for the beautiful hearts
and people we work with. In a world that seems to change it's morals
and values every day to be more politically correct or to be in line
with the times, I find peace in the lyrics of the song Abide With Me.
"Change and decay in all around I see; oh Thou who Changest NOT, abide
with me!" I promise that Christ is the ONLY way. I'm not ashamed to
proclaim that anymore. And I'm ecstatic for those who are accepting it
here! I love you all and pray for you often. Let Him abide with you.


Elder Jacob Robins

Almost touching the Liberty Bell!! I just wanted to hear it ring...maybe another time.

Me standing in the very room where the Lord poured out His Spirit upon our Founding Fathers to create this great nation. There was a definite Spirit in the room and I felt the Lord knew what He was doing in preparing the earth for the Restoration of the Gospel.

The very chair that George Washington himself sat in and stood in front of. The orignial chair itself has a small sun on the top and when things started to come together, Ben Franklin commented that it was a Rising Sun, rather than a setting sun. AKA the American Revolution had been a success!

Me and Elder Roberts in front of Independence Hall...where it all began.

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