Monday, October 27, 2014

You Can Bet Your "Bottom Dollar"

Dear Family and friends,

Just in case you're wondering, yes! I am working with primarily
Liberians and Sierra Leonians...aka Ebola breakout station. It's been
interesting being in this location, mourning with those who have lost
loved ones to this deadly disease, it makes it that much more real. We
had a member whose daughter, son in law and grandkids came here from
Liberia just 2 or 3 days ago. But before coming to Phila., they were
quarantined in Chicago for 10 days. They're fine and all but it's
crazy that it's all here. Signs of the times. I'm  just surprised it
hasn't hit Philadelphia yet! That's a good thing.

Last Monday, feeling a little sheepish, I got on the trolley with
Elder Roberts and we went to the store to buy groceries. Well we went
to a budget grocery store called Bottom Dollar right near our apt. And
I was at the "bottom dollar" of my MSF account for the month,
literally. So I was just a little peeved and wallowing in my own self
pity. We got to the checkout stand and as Elder Roberts put his stuff
on the belt, i ran back to grab salad or something. When I returned, I
found that a lady had put her stuff on and kind of cut in front of me.
She looked back and apologized and I half heartedly said, "Oh no,
you're fine." Then I just felt terrible for being so impatient with
her. A young pregnant woman, relying on food stamps to buy her next
meals. Here I am practically tapping my foot because I'm worried we're
gonna burn for not being done with p-day stuff by 6 pm on the DOT. I
prayed then for charity and felt more compassion for her.

Then a miracle occurred. As I finished my transaction and what not,
Elder Roberts quickly became aware of a lady in need. She had several
bags of groceries and had to transition from a power wheelchair to her
crutches. So Elder Roberts offered to take her groceries for her and I
again felt bad for not recognizing the opportunity to serve. But it's
no use beating ourselves up, because these things are all for our
experience and learning. As we carried the groceries out to her car
she began thanking us in a very sincere manner. We got to her car and
put the groceries in and she said " I seriously cannot thank you
enough. I've had a terrible day and to top it off I just didn't know
how I'd get those groceries to my car. You truly were a Godsend in a
moment of need. Thank you sooo much." She then told us how she had met
with missionaries in years past but the timing just wasn't right and
she wasn't ready for it. We learned that Kelly Ann loves Mormons
because they do their best to truly live their religion. I was
grateful for that small act of service we had just performed. It cost
us nothing, but it truly did soften my heart and I felt immense
gratitude for the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands.
Needless to say, she gave us her information and gladly invited us to
teach her more.

Yesterday, we had the sweet privilege of helping 2 more of our friends
make covenants with their Heavenly Father. I love that these people
are beginning to understand the need for covenant making and keeping
in the Kingdom of God. Jimmy Daniel and Solomon Kofa took upon
themselves the name of Christ yesterday as they entered the water and
were baptized. Jimmy was smiling and Solomon kept saying beforehand,
"My brothers, I am ready for my marriage to Christ!" An interesting
way to put it, but a covenant IS a binding contract that links two or
more people together. It was a great service and both of Jimmy's
parents were there. Joseph could have been ready, but he and Florence
need to get married first. So there is a potential for a whole family
soon entering the fold.

We have seen many miracles this past week and feel that there are just
so many prepared children of God here. Sometimes I feel inadequate for
the tasks ahead of us, sometimes I'm happy and satisfied with the work
we've done, but the overall feeling reflects that of Alma in Alma
26:12" Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak;
therefore I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God, for
in HIS strength I can do all things...many mighty miracles have we
wrought in the land for which we will praise His name forever." I know
that I'm able to get through the thick and thin of life and missionary
work because of Christ. His perfect grace strengthens me. For that I
am forever grateful.

Love always,

Elder Jake Robins

Jimmy & Solomon: I was reaching over to try to get Jimmy to smile!

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