Dear Family and Friends,
Isn't the Christmas season just wonderful? I hope you've all gotten
the chance to watch that video the church put out called "He is the
Gift". I've seen it touch many hearts. This is the perfect time of year
to let go of our fears and just bless others.
Friday night came, and we got transfer calls. Elder Parker and I had
been joking the past week and a half that one of us would be getting
transferred. He kept denying it though. We both really wanted to and
planned on staying one more transfer. This transfer was only 5 weeks
too! Well, 10 days before Christmas, less than that, and the Lord has
need of me elsewhere. At first, Elder Parker was pretty disappointed
and frustrated. We have been doing great work and getting along as if
we've been friends since childhood. "It seems like whenever
missionaries have companions that they get along with, they get
transferred right as things are really picking up! What is this?!"
I feel bad thinking that way because it shows a little lack of faith
in the Lord and in His will and in His timing. So I don't know where I
will be for Christmas but I trust that I will be with my Savior in
Spirit. We have continued to see many miracles here in this area and
many people whose hearts are turning to Christ. Yesterday as I said my
goodbyes, my heart was filled and I realized I don't know how soon I will
see some of these people, if ever again in this life. I have come to
love more as the Savior loves, looking beyond what the common man would
see in his brother. The African clothing, the tokens of love and
appreciation, the pictures, the hugs and handshakes are all great and
I will remember them fondly. But nothing means more to me than the
relationships that have been forged, the hearts that have been
touched, and the experiences that have helped me and others come unto
Yesterday we woke up a little early to ride the trolley to church with
our investigator Musa. He is such a sweet and humble man whom Elder Parker and I felt to talk to on our very first day together. He recently
lost his wife to Ebola in Africa, and his son. So the plan of
salvation has been meaningful to him. He was with us from 8 am to
about 3 pm....that's a long time at church for a first time
investigator. Luckily I had some little morsels of food to give to him
to keep him going. We just had meetings and things to do. Plus
Sacrament meeting was combined with the Phila 4th Ward so it was
filled to the back of the cultural hall. Sacrament took about half an
hour and then the stake choir performed several segments of Handel's
Messiah. It was kind of cool, with a small orchestra as well. Musa
just soaked up church and loved it.
While waiting at the 40th st trolley stop, I said, Musa, I'm leaving
the area. I won't be here anymore! I had to repeat it in different
phrases for him to understand fully. He just looked at me with almost
a pout, a tiny little quiver in the lip. My heart kind of melted. In a
matter of 4 1/2 short weeks, he and I had grown close and he was like
"No, they not supposed to do dat to you."
And then, we knocked on Agatha's door late last night, she came out
with a forlorn look on her face as I had previously texted her to let
her know. She left us at the door for a minute and went back in her
room to get the "little token" she had for me. She came out with lined
paper folded up, put it in my hands then walked away again to get my
"soup"...oh boy! Not the kind of soup you're thinking of. While she
was away, I saw that she had enclosed a decent sum of money in the
makeshift envelope. Again my heart broke as I thought of the
sacrifices these african refugees make to get here and then just to
survive. They are scraping every day just to get by. It almost put me
in tears. Of course I couldn't take the money, but I was touched just
by that token of appreciation. She has felt God's love as she's
embraced this gospel and strived constantly to share it.
God will fill you with His love, 'if you let Him.'
Ed sat us down Monday night at his usual dining room table and made it
quite apparent that he was in a bit of pain and just plain not in a
good mood. I knew we were in for it. So I immediately started pleading
for the Spirit's guidance. Right after the prayer he said, "Alright,
looky here boys. I'm fine with y'all comin' over, I just don't want
you to waste your time because I'm not planning on joinin your church
or nothin'. I'm just going to stick with my church down the way."
....my first thought, natural man in me, 'Satan you are the devil!!!'
He makes so much more work for us that we have to do just to keep our
investigators in the light of Christ. He splattered on about this and
that, and we listened. But I boldly and simply bore my testimony of
God's love for Him. He calmed down and the Spirit gave way to the
Lesson we had planned. We had talked about family history the time
before. So we pulled out the My Family booklet, but he wanted to jump
right to familysearch.org.
I kid you not, by the time we left he was just about jumpin up and
down in excitement because of the Spirit and the thrill that he felt
as he began doing family history. He felt a link, he felt the love,
the memories flowing, and the sweet and real Spirit of Elijah. His
whole countenance changed right before our eyes, the room got brighter
and we were both just ecstatic about all that was taking place. "This
is really great guys! I like this, this feels good." All we did was
create an account and add his deceased father to his tree. That was
all he needed.
The Spirit will enter in and permeate your life 'if you let Him.'
Wherever I go next, it's not likely that it will be anything like this
area. A sprinting area. We found ourselves again sprinting for a
trolley that we ended up almost missing until Elder Parker kicked it
into gear and sprinted like a pack of wild wolves was after him
towards that trolley. What would I do for my God. And what would He do
for me. I'd sure hope I'd do anything for Him, and I know He'd do the
same for me. That's if we put in our own effort to keep His
commandments. Just let that "seed of faith" stir and grow with in you
and watch the miracles come. Alma 32:27
Love you all, spread some Christmas spirit this week!
Elder Jacob Robins