Welcome to the Himalaya's!! Yes that was an allusion to Monster's Inc.
inspired at large by the bitter cold weather we had last week. Holy
freezing! Scarves and sweaters and all the winter garb. Poor Africans
just aren't used to it. But we survive. And then good ol' east coast
gives us 72 degrees today and balmy. It rained this morning, but wow
Mother Nature is not on her A game this year. We've had a few snow
flakes one day, while the rest of the east coast is getting pummeled
by Jack Frost.
Anyway, we had a very interesting series of events this week. We
started the week out by going on an exchange with the Drexel Hill
Elders in which it was more or less a double -in to our area. So both
companionships worked in our area, the purpose of this was to
transition them in to taking over Darby. It was a good portion of our
teaching pool and members, but we trust that it was an inspired
decision. And although it's hard to hand over people and the area, we
know the Lord has so much more in store.
On Thursday Elder Parker and I sat in the mission with Elder Jones,
the "car czar" aka vehicle coordinator. The number of missionaries is
decreasing, so the mission closed 5 areas and had 5 cars to give away.
This is one of two Zone Leader areas without a car...and it is tough
to get to zone and mission meetings on Septa, doable, but
inconvenient. So we were offered this spare car, but after prayerfully
considering the circumstances, we felt to give the car to those same
Drexel Hill Elders because they would need it more than us, covering
much more in terms of rural neighborhoods.
We were walking down the street in what felt like the top of Nepal and
saw some people with a pile of groceries that they needed to take
inside. Ha I'm laughing at the fact that we looked like Eskimos that
day and today we're sweating a bit because it's a little warm and
humid...what is this? But hey I'm not complaining! I love it! So we
took a good portion of their groceries upstairs and found out the
three of them are from Benin...we were like, where in the world is
that? Mr. Hoover surely didn't teach us about tHaT country! It's in
west Africa I believe, happens to be the first person I've met from
there. Oh and I don't know if I mentioned that a few weeks ago I met
and ate the food of a recent convert from Nepal...speaking of
Himalayas. They speak French and so there was obviously a language
barrier. But I love doing the seemingly inconsequential acts of
kindness like that because it makes me feel just a little better, a
little kinder, and a little more like Christ.
Perhaps the mighty change of heart we so earnestly seek and pray for
is not a one time event, but rather a fabric or web of actions and
events that over time change us.
Elder Parker and I helped Vince move two hefty, old TVs to his car and
then to a hazardous waste center in south Phila and he was just so
appreciative of that small act of kindness. We discussed in our lesson
beforehand the concept of overcoming sin and temptation. The best way
to do that is to not only stamp out all the bad, but to fill our lives
with good. He said or quoted that those little acts of goodness,
reading scriptures, being friendly to our neighbors, or going to the
temple or smiling at someone. Our individual actions contribute to the
whole fabric of good of society. Likewise, being a little too casual
about the covenants we've made or are about to make or saying a mean
thing to someone or those seemingly harmless acts of less good. So ha
I'm kind of just thinking out loud. But these things contribute to
that seamless fabric, or we can contribute to the holes in the fabric.
Vince has his quirks as do we all, but he is a very bright man, deep
thinker, that's where I get a lot of these ideas.
"We need to learn how to live so that a weakness that is mortal will
not prevent us from achieving the goal that is eternal." - Dallin H.
Yesterday at church one of the members who is a doctor, gave a
combined Sunday School Lesson on health and hygiene in the wake of
this Ebola scare. She tactfully addresses some legitimate concerns and
scares regarding member families whose loved ones have come to America
from Liberia...do they have Ebola? Are we going to catch it? Lions and
tigers and bears, oh my! She assured us all that the likelihood here
in America of catching and spreading the disease is next to nil. The
best thing we can do to help each other out and comfort those who have
lost loved ones is to be as the Good Samaritan. Look for opportunities
to lift and brighten and strengthen others.
During one of our sprints between stop bys and appts we got on the
trolley and I ate a handful of Frosted flakes from a bag in my pocket.
I looked to Elder Parker and said, "Frosted flakes, they're more than
good, they're dinner!" Haha it was funny cause that's our life. Guess
you had to be there. But on Saturday we got a call from a member of
the mission presidency telling us we would be having Stake
Coordination meeting with the Valley Forge stake and the mission
presidencies and that they would like us to put together our reports
indicating the involvement of the members with our missionaries. Holy
talito, we had the numbers but were not ready with all the names and
what not. We were scrambling and yet able to get it done just in time
to miss curfew by two and a half hours...we didn't get in until 11:20
Saturday night. That was a blast. But the meeting was great and I love
learning from so many wonderful leaders.
In such meetings, we focus on blessing lives and lifting others and I
think of patrick and Lilian who have been without heat. They can't pay
their bills and so the landlord turned off the heat right as Mother
Nature decided to give us a little taste of mt. Everest. They still
love the gospel and the Book of Mormon, but their financial situation
has been quite the impediment. Lilian came from Belize not more than 3
months ago and has been having a rough rough time with this cold
weather. But one of our kind members lent a space heater to them which
was another stitch in the fabric. Our Liberian members make such good
missionaries and I really think they stay warm because their spirits
are warmed by the light of the gospel.
"And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with
another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one
faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and
in love one towards another.22 And thus he commanded them to preach.
And thus they became the children of God."
It is my testimony that reaching out to the lost, the cold, the hungry
and weary that our hearts will indeed be knit together as one, all
children of the same God.
Love you all,
Elder Jake Robins
Ps mom who do I have for Christmas?