Monday, January 19, 2015

On the Rock

Happy Monday everyone!

Missionary weeks just seem to be packed full of action, sweat,
tears, and fun. I often just don't know where to begin. I am proud of
my comp who is sitting down at the Organ and teaching himself how to
play. My first companion who actually has an interest in the organ.
He's boss at guitar and has tried to teach me, perhaps I'm just too
impatient, I think piano is so much easier. But remembering back to
when I was seven, that probably was not the case. It has been fun to
be in a musical companionship. This past Friday at zone conference in
Broomall, there were six zones and about 160 missionaries in
attendance. I have been asked to play the organ for the conference,
but I felt to put a little more practice into it this time around. Our
mission hymn is to the tune of "We'll Bring the World His Truth" with
the first line being "We have been called to Pennsylvania, to New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland too. Thrusting our sickle and preaching the
word, we won't go home until everyone's heard." I love it, so I spent
some time doing my infamous Jake Robins frills and jazzed up
arrangements. Oh, there goes Jake pullin out all the stops again, just
blow our ear drums why don't Ya!? Well president for some reason likes
it when I play so I spent some time on this hymn, being the closing
hymn for zone conference. It turned out to be a very spiritual
experience and with the key change and everything that I put in, I was
able to feel the Spirit as I played. Several departing missionaries
were in tears. Im not attributing that to myself, I was just happy to
be there and be a part of it. I am so grateful for the way music
touches lives and so powerfully invites the Spirit.

The mission has an interesting set of goals this year and with the
recent change in the rules for missionary attendance to the temple in
the northeast area, Pres. has set the goal for each missionary to get
to the temple once a month in the year 2015 with a recent convert or
returning members. I just think that is so inspired and we are working
hard to get that started with Anastasia right off the bat. So on
Saturday, remit off with Anastasia and the Koch's who drove us to
Philadelphia, where we got lunch at the Reading terminal market and
then went to the temple site for pictures and a lesson. It was a
wonderful experience for Anastasia to feel the spirit and to learn
about sacred covenants and prepare for exaltation. She is excited for her
baptism and so are we and she is preparing names to take to the temple
for baptisms for the dead.

Later on that evening, we met our Indian investigator at
the halls house. Sis. Hall is a stake Relief Society president and
both she and her husband made just awesome fellowshippers for Varsha.
They were in tears as they bore their testimonies and shared
experiences that they have had with staying true to the gospel of
Jesus Christ. Sister Hall is a white lady from South Africa and has
many incredible stories about her life there, so she and Varsha
clicked especially. For sure (there are a lot of spelling and grammar errors in this email, not sure what he means here) comes from a Hindu background her parents
are not actively living in but they still believe, so she is
struggling to find her way when she does want more troops in her life.
After dinner with the Halls we sat down and talked about how
revelation comes and how far should I need to act in order to see a
change and to know the truth for herself. She is a 21-year-old student
who has gotten into med school but is deciding which school to go to.
She is actually looking at some med school in Florida called nova
something something. Very brilliant girl who I know will go far in

Exchanges with Elder Clark who is serving in Westchester. While we
were on exchanges in my area, our companions knocked on the door of a
celebrity named Bam Margera who is the star in Viva la Bam and another
show which I won't mention here. They actually didn't knock on his
door because his house was gated, but they ring in to his house and
talk to him on the phone just as awkward missionaries were due. He
answered and before Elder Eldredge finished saying The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bam hung up. But Elder Eldredge got his
fill. They got it on video to prove it too. A lot of the shows that he
does are filmed in Westchester, PA. So no, Elder Clark and I did not
meet any celebrities, but we saw some incredible miracles. One such was
when we knocked on the trailer door of a recent convert and his semi
investigator wife. Robert and Teresa are very nice people but are just
living in humble circumstances and struggling quite a bit. So our
timing that day, Wednesday, was impeccable and Rob felt that every
time we come, it's when he needs us most. I had thought to talk about
repentance and then near the end of our lesson he asked a specific
question about whether or not we need to repent every day or if it's
more of an occasional thing. He's very sincere and wants to go to
church but has not been able to get a ride lately.

Yesterday we got in her car, well before we got in her car, other
Eldridge was carrying a box to the trash and I looked back and warned
him that the walkway was slippery. No more than two seconds later I
hear him crash on the ground with papers and stuff flying out of the
box. I went back and see him laughing on the ground looking like he
had posed for a picture. Too bad I didn't get it on video. So I woke
up yesterday morning and the roads were dry and everything from what I
saw at the window. But when we got out there it was fuhreeeeeezing and
everything was iced over and rainy and wet. I remembered aunt Deb
telling me about the ice storms that the East Coast gets, but until
yesterday I hadn't really experienced one. It's bizarre; you think it
should be snow but it comes down as rain and then freezes and so it's
almost more slippery than snow. I bet you can guess who was driving.
So we get to church, Eldridge had brushed himself off and we helped
our beloved sister bird up the steps into the building. We walked in
the chapel to see no more than five people there. One of the bishopric
members came up  to us and told us that they had just texted the rest
of the board to tell him that church was canceled for the day. Well
apparently not everyone got that text because we had about 30 members
still show up, minus the organist so I got to play again. We also had
five of our faithful investigators show up to church on the worst
weather day of the year so far. A little ironic in my opinion. But it
was a joy to see them there nonetheless. Varsha included.

Included in that group that came to church is a middle-aged woman
named Vicky. Now brace yourself for the story, it's a good one. Elder
Eldridge prayed one morning that he would find a solid investigator
who would accept the Gospel. This was about two months ago. Later that
day an appointment with our investigator, Kevin, fell through, so as
they were dragging their feet and disappointment to their car,
they noticed a woman who was getting groceries from her trunk. So
naturally being the diligent missionaries we're asked to be, they went
up to her and asked if they could help her carry her groceries. She
looked at them a little funny, thought about it, and then agreed to
let them help. She handed Elder Cottle a wooden box and said "careful,
those are my son's ashes." In shock, he carefully took the box and they learned that she had just come back from Texas where she
had attended her son's funeral. She was obviously distressed and in
need of comfort and help. What better time for the missionaries to
stop by?

What I love about this story is that the missionaries and their planning
had nothing to do with it, but they were in tune with the Spirit and
were in the right place at the right time. So this past week, Elder
Eldridge and I went back to Vicky's with Brother and Sister Swenson
from the ward. We talked about the Restoration, this being the first
time we could pin down a time to teach her. As we discussed the
principles of the Restoration, and watched the Restoration video clip
she was filled with the spirit and at one point she even said that
what she watched felt like déjà vu. She was able to except the point
that we have living prophet and apostles on the earth today. She said
"I always knew existed on the earth I just didn't know how to prove it
but here you guys are telling me that they do live."  I sat there a bit
dumbfounded at the simplicity and beauty and miracle of the situation.
She loved what she heard and has been looking for a church that isn't
corrupted by their own endeavors and ideas. So she readily
accepted the invite to be baptized some time in March. We haven't
fully pinned down the day. She loved church and was well fellowshipped

At the temple site visitors center with Anastasia, we turned some time
over to the couple who have been construction directors on site for
the temple. They have a whole little demo they do where they talk
about the foundation of the temple. They built an underground parking
garage, so they dug 35 or so feet deep and hit solid granite about
halfway down. Under the granite runs some water from the DE and
Schullykill rivers, making possibly unsteady. Long story short, he
talked about how the temple is literally built on the rock and that is
exactly how the Savior asks us to pattern our lives. "O remember,
remember that 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 know I've used that same scripture multiple times, but it has become
so real for me. Especially as I help others solidify their foundations
on Christ. And especially because the winds and rains of the earth and
hell are going to come. Holy long email! Well there would be more, but
your eyes probably hurt and I'm going to go bowling so that when Tyler
and I play again, I can actually beat him...too real.

Love you all, get on the rock, and stay there.

Elder Jake Robins

The temple site

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