Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Beat the Rush!

Hey Everyone!

Hope you're all nice and cozy in your 60-70* weather out west. Ok
maybe it's dropped to 40, my bad. Ha no I am just a bit jealous. But
the drought is probably not worth it. On our way out of the Donahue's
(part member/less active family that lives at the bottom of our area
in Conshohocken...I know, what a name. Don't worry it's nicknamed
Conshy) we slid our slick shoes along the completely iced over brick
sidewalk, just about falling and tripping and slipping down the hill
every three inches. I probably looked like a penguin on crack. To be a
little more explicit, we had a pretty bad ice storm yesterday. And
Elder Bergman let the California boy drive! I'm like, ...snow...what's
that? Ha jk. No pet peeve is when people think I can't drive in bad
weather because I'm from California. Good heavens! I don't live in a
bubble with a perfectly set thermostat! Ok, Danville is a bubble,
let's be real. But you get the point.

Where was I going with that? Some days I type like I talk. Like a
maniac. So the Donahue's are awesome. They've got their fair share of
recent convert challenges. I say that because it seems for those
individuals and families who choose to "take up their cross" and
follow the Savior into the waters of baptism, all Hell breaks loose
either right before or within a year after their baptism. Such was the
case with the Donahue's. He lost his job, she had medical issues,
their non member son Steven who we recently started teaching needed a
car for work, just everything. But in our lesson last night, we
focused on starting with the simple things: daily scripture study,
prayer, and church attendance. Often times we pray and ask for a
grocery list of things that we want God to give us, without thinking
twice about the basics of our end of the deal. Or the very "Thy will
be done" part. We invited him to repent and change and exercise faith
in Christ. Ya know, back home the word repentance felt like a naughty
word, it always seemed to imply that you had done the naughty and
needed some sort of a time out. I'm grateful that my perspective has
changed because that's really what it's all about. Change. Why do we
need faith AND works, how on earth could Christ change us if we're not
willing to work to change ourselves. Rant over.

I love Steve though, he's in his 60's and sometimes he just gets in
these moods where he's hilarious. He got talkin about judgement and
how he doesn't know how it's going to all work out. So jokingly, he
turned to his son Steven jr, and said "Repent now boy, beat the rush!"
You really had to be there, but we're still laughing at it. It's true,
why wait to change? Is sin really that appealing? Are those momentary
pleasures with the inevitable accompanying guilt and pain and
challenges that come with sin? No. I'll just answer my own question.
He knows it, and I hope that most of the people we work with do.

Kyle and Soreen, the two middle kids of the Yi family, went to the
valley forge 1st and 2nd ward youth conference. It was held at the
Freedoms Foundation center in Valley Forge park. Kind of a neat place
with statues and history. The kids just had a blast. We and the two
sets of sisters in the second ward had been asked by the YM president
in their ward, Brother Rothey, to participate in the Friday evening
activity of the conference. So we showed up a little after 6,
practically sprinting from MLC to home to change and then from there,
to the YC. Had a slice of pizza, talked to Bishop Behunin about the
work in the Ward right now, and got prepped for the activity. They had
each youth in a downstairs room where they were reading 1 Nephi 8
about Lehi's dream of the tree of life. Every 60 seconds one of the
youth's name and picture would come up with a little ding, signaling
their time to walk up the stairs to the main floor. There they were
given written testimonies from their parents, to read silently for a
few minutes. Once they were done reading they were blind
folded...you're probably thinking alright robins, where are you going
with this..pulling out the blindfolds, eh?

They were then led by the arm one by one by one of the missionaries.
Ha I wanted to see how many one by one's I could get in there while
still being grammatically correct. I think...anyway. So we each had
the chance to lead about 6 YM or YW out the doors into the 14-15* air,
down some curved steps and onto a short path toward the point of no
return. Aka the point of decision. As we guided them, tapping them on
the back lightly to turn them or make a slight course correction, we
would whisper encouraging words to them, warning them of the decisions
that lie ahead. To the right was the end of a large building with big
windows and lights and a balcony inside. Great and spacious building.
Minus the whole Jezebel character. There were youth leaders enticing
them with hot chocolate and cookies and warmth. The hot chocolate was
cocoa powder and cold water and all the cookies were crumbled. Or you
could go to the left and down a short path with candles and a rope
that led to a fire pit, unseen at the point of decision.

At the fire pit, both bishops from the wards stood there to welcome
anyone who had made the correct decision. They were then led to a
building with real hot chocolate and warmth and cookies, tree of life.
It was a stretch, but such a powerful experience for each of us. As I
acted as the Holy Ghost in our lives, guiding the children of God down
the strait and narrow, helping them avoid danger, I felt a powerful
Spirit bear witness of the divine mission of the Holy Ghost. And the
role of agency in our eternal lives. Walking down that path, the words
of I am a Child of God came to mind. "Lead me, guide me, walk beside
me..." I know the Spirit is real. I can't deny that. It's up to us to
follow that. So I guided Soreena down and tried extra hard to prep her
for the decision. She's got a learning disability, so I repeated the
phrase "don't listen to the voices..." In hopes that she'd ignore the
taunts and alluring sounds of the great and spacious. But I took the
blindfold off and she looked ahead, then back at me, then without any
hesitation she heads straight into the great and spacious. Elder
Bergman had been watching with me nearby and we threw our hands in the
air and started laughing. Soreena! No!!! Did we not just tell you
three seconds ago?! Ha it was so funny.

You know I could go on and on, but I'm going to take Jacob's advice in
the Book of Mormon. "O be wise, what can I say more?" Jacob 6:12. We
have the Spirit. Just act on it! I'm still working on it. Varsha is
still working on it, she came to sacrament meeting yesterday by the
way. And if we have slipped up, that's what the bishops were there
for. Representing Christ, the good shepherds. Bringing us BACK to the
fold. Love you all, be strong and be wise.

Elder Jacob Robins

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