Dearest Family and Friends,
What a week! And to top it off, Elder Roberts had to go get himself transferred. We were both pretty bummed and he's taken it kind of hard, he has grown to love this area and we've been working hard and well together. Literally all but two of the companionships in the zone will get new missionaries, we're going to have a whole new zone! It'll be fun though. So we go to transfers tomorrow morning!!
In a lesson with the Wrigley's, Elder Roberts told Agatha that he would likely be leaving the area, she got quiet and broke down into sobs. It was sad, she has gotten so attached to him. In telling her story and thanking him she tearfully said, "You have saved my life." It is incredible to see how simply teaching touches people's lives in ways that don't always meet the eye.
For example, yesterday we set a man named Johnson with a baptismal date for Auntie Katie's Birthday...Happy Birthday! December 28th! I've thought about why we set dates when some people end up falling off, or we lose contact or they drop us. But I realized it's an act of faith on our part and for those whom we are teaching. Johnson came to the baptism of a friend of his several weeks ago in the Phila 4th Ward and he was touched by the Spirit and with the way the LDS church runs their Sunday meetings, focusing on the Bible and scriptures and not on mans own word. He asked why he would need to be baptized again, which is a question we get a lot, and we testified of the Priesthood being restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith, but it is ONLY found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What?! How could you say that? You mean to say my baptism in my last church just doesn't count? But my preacher got his authority from God too! It's a hard pill to swallow, and sometimes pretty hard to teach, but it all goes back to the Restoration. All of it. If they sincerely want to know, which this man does, they will read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. God intends us to ACT if he's going to give us the answer.
I think that's something Ed Moore has been learning. It is amazing the sweet and special experiences he has been having that are changing him and his very nature. He said himself that before he wasn't receptive or open to the Spirit. And he pointed that out himself when we talked about hardheartedness in the scriptures. He was touched by the message of the Plan of Salvation and told us that he read the pamphlet the other night and pretty much couldn't put it down. "I've read the Bible and some other good books, but that was powerful." It was amazing to see his countenance changing as he felt God's love for him and perhaps a greater purpose in life, outside himself. That reminds me of President Monson's quote that true happiness can only be found in a search outside ourselves, in the service of others. I'm coming to know Ed as the kind, tender hearted man that he is. So when we invited him to church, he said, "See, I knew that was coming! But yes, yes I'll come.
Right now we're at Penn's Landing on the eastern edge of Phila in the spot where Tun Tavern used to stand. 239 years ago the Marine Corps was founded in this very spot and here I am with a Marine companion. Proud moment! Ha so funny story..we just went to get on the subway to go home and we're in a temporary trio til tomorrow because of an emergency transfer, and Elder Castro and the three of us sprinted down the stairs to catch a train that was about to leave. We all got through the turnstile and were running as if our lives depended on it towards the train with doors open. As Elder Castro and I stepped on, we heard the voice over the intercom say "Doors are closing." I was turned the other direction, then elder Castro was like, Wait! Elder Roberts!! And I turned around as we were pulling away with the doors closed to see my companion reaching to us from the distancing platform. Our jaws dropped as we realized the white handbook rule we had just broken unintentionally. Stay within sight and sound of your companion. Trios are harder in a way because if one person gets stuck behind a turnstile in a subway station then.. Gah! Ha Elder Castro and I were cracking up hysterically. And now we are reunited. Ha wish you could've seen Elder Roberts face of relief when we walked on to his train a few minutes later. Literally I've had nightmares about being separated from my comp and it just happened. Luckily I wasn't the one alone, wouldn't have been pretty. Fun city adventure.
We had a Zone Training on Thursday and trained on using the My Family booklets and the sister training leaders on the Law of Consecration. A law that many members of the church don't understand perhaps as much as they should. Consecration involves giving up those selfish desires, those weapons of rebellion, to follow Christ. Really we are choosing heaven over this world. Which makes it so exciting to work with people like Ponsford and his son Justford who understand now the purpose of this life and the hope in the life to come. I want so badly to give up those bad habits and traits that would keep me from knowing Him.
I read a beautiful scripture this morning "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." John 14:21
I am learning and firmly believe that the Bread of Life concept is real. Spiritual food is so much more substantial and satisfying than physical food. But rather than working at a desk and computer all day to provide some pizza and donuts and a salad (to make it healthy ;) the Bread of Life fills us as we continually keep the commandments and do so out of love. That is something Vince is learning and sees in us. He sees that many churches teach what we teach, "But the Mormons mean what they say!" He said with his quirky chuckle. We continue to see the hand of the Lord as we cast out the doubts and replace it with real faith.
I love you all, keep the faith,
Elder Jacob Robins