Monday, February 2, 2015

Clocks on our Foreheads

Dear Family and friends,

No! I'm not getting transferred! But Elder Eldredge is! We knew one of
us would be getting transferred, we both die together so it was kind
of inevitable. But I haven't trained so we thought it'd be me. Elder
Eldredge was hoping to just die here, and that would have been 5
transfers for him here. But 1, 2, 3 strikes you're out of the old ball
game. Or valley forge. I know, it doesn't really go with the tune. Oh
well. I'm really going to miss him though, well rounded kid, fun to be
around and solid missionary. And he plays guitar which helps me keep
my cool Haha.

At our last zone conference, president took all the zone and district
leaders and we had a wrap up meeting. He began the meeting by saying
something like "Gosh, I look at all of you and it's as if I see little
clocks on your foreheads, just counting down the minutes til you all
go home". Most of us in there had 6 months (or less?) left. Elder Eldredge and
I reached our 21 month mark just the other day. But I plan on doing
what is expected of me and giving the last my absolute best. I am glad
to have another transfer here. I would have left feeling like I hadn't
really found my purpose for being here in Valley Forge. And I've felt
I had a purpose or person in each area so far. I'm so proud of the
members here. They are the salt of the earth, and they're so willing
and ready to help us out with anything. Trust means so much in
missionary work, and I think if we were to let the clock show, some
members might lose that trust. There seems to be the idea that
missionaries just "check out" when they've got only a few months left.

Anastasia was confirmed by Elder Eldredge yesterday and she was just
beaming with joy and the Spirit. We had a lesson and dinner with her
and the Koch's on Saturday and we talked more about family history.
She doesn't yet know her grandparents first names... So she's working
on getting that info so we can all go to the temple to do baptisms for
the dead with her. My recent convert Dottie from Atlantic City is also
getting ready to go to the temple this month. It's so exciting to have
solid people who are ready to not only make sacred covenants, but KEEP
So we shall see.

So every Friday or Wednesday morning, we volunteer at a food pantry up
in Schwenksville (sounds pretty "Schwenky" I know, like hoity
toity...sounds like a word mom would say to describe Piedmont or
something.) Anyway, we got there and there was this younger woman
dressed in casual attire. Her sleeves were rolled up, exposing some
pretty cool looking tattoos, and we began bagging food for families
that would come for pick up the next morning. As we got talking, we
learned that her name was Nicole. She had come to the food pantry out
of a sincere desire to serve outside herself. She said she enjoys how
it makes her feel to focus on others. She asked us where we're from
and how long we've been on our missions. Then she asked us if we knew
a Tom Sorenson, one of her really good friends who is currently
serving a mission in Portugal. I knew the Sorenson's in Phila so it
was cool to make that connection. Well it was her first time at the
food pantry, so we helped her out along the way, kind of showed her
the ropes. But she continued asking questions which was awesome, so
often people see the tag and run either literally or figuratively. She
went to one of the philly wards for a comparative religions class a
few years ago and she said she just loved it and it was a beautiful
experience for her. So as we were packing up to leave, I asked, "Well
would you be interested in doing a little study with us where we can
help strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ?"
"I would" she replied simply.
"Awesome" I said with a giddy smile like a kid in a candy shop.

I prayed the night before and that morning that the Lord would lead us
to someone whom we could teach. So we brought a returned missionary
Named TJ and taught her at the church the next day. She has quite the
experience with the world and with religion and is really just still
searching for that relationship with her Heavenly Father. We taught
her the whole Restoration and to be honest, she was a bit overwhelmed.
But we reassured her that we'd go at her pace. She had all the right
answers and insights and she's just got so much potential! Is it bad
that in the back of my mind I still fear the persons like this
dropping us? I've seen it enough that it haunts me sometimes. Yes
faith and not fear, but that doesn't mean their decisions don't still
take a toll on us. Missionary work is a lot more emotionally demanding
than it's often given credit for. I wouldn't trade even the difficult
experiences for anything though. I just want to help her and so many
like her find that true joy.

Tuesday night, I felt to call Elder Clark to follow up on a commitment
he had made during an exchange a week or two before. It was about
10:19 pm and I almost didn't call. Thank heavens I did. The poor kid
has been struggling a lot and he really just needed to talk and have
someone listen to him that night. Then we asked if they'd like to do
exchanges the next morning and they agreed. The crazy part is that MLC
was supposed to be the next morning on weds and we have a weekly set
appt with a recent convert. Both fell through, so our day was open. I
love opportunities to lead and guide the Lords children. I know in
those moments that it's not me. I know when the repentance process
begins in our lessons with investigators, it's not me. Even when I
play the organ and people feel the Spirit, heaven knows I get
butterfingers and butterfeet when I'm in front of more than 2 people,
it's not me.

Elder Jake Robins

No comments:

Post a Comment