Monday, April 20, 2015

The Pursuit of Happyness

Dearest Family and Friends,

Can you believe it?! Two years has come and gone just like that. It's so surreal. And I've been around many "dying" missionaries throughout my mission, but it's different when it's actually your turn. There is a whole slew of emotions and thoughts and what not that really bog me down if I'm not careful. I've found the key is to frequently and consciously let my mind be clear and settled. That brings me inner peace, as hard as it is to do. 

Thank you all for the thoughtful birthday gifts and wishes, including the "Happy Socks" mom. Those are just a pleasure to wear.  Our car needed an oil change, so we did that first thing in the morning on Tuesday. We hadn't finished planning the night before for various administrative we kinda did that while waiting. Elder Bergman suggested going to Downingtown to visit a struggling companionship. Selfishly, I was like "Come on! On my birthday?" Then I thought about how selfish I was sounding or thinking and I realized that it could be a blessing to the elders and for us to be able to minister to them. So we get there around 12, call them to see where they were at and they were on their way home for lunch. Our intent was to do a surprise double-in for a few hours so we could see how much they had actually planned, not just to look good for the zl's. We went walking around in Coatesville and found the elders a new potential investigator. We drove a few minutes to their apt and knocked on the door. They were a little shocked to see us standing at their door, but I think their apartment was a little more shocked. Perhaps a tornado touched down the day before. It was not pretty. So we spent close to an hour just cleaning it with them. Three bags of trash and a couple of squirts of febreeze later, it was again inhabitable. I then spent a few hours with Elder Rychlik and set goals to help him get back on track. I left feeling like I had done some good. 

We went to the Concoba's home for dinner on the and ya just had to be there, but it was pretty funny. She is from Portugal and he is from Guatemala and they have two kids. And they usually cook us up some of their native food which is wonderful. But she felt so bad because she had been running behind and resorted to feeding us pasta. Which wasn't a bad thing, they were just used to feeding the missionaries better. She had no idea it was my birthday and I wasn't about to pull the tacky card and tell them. I'd been taught better than that. (Though we all have our tacky tonight where I put in the wrong address for dinner and we're half an hour late...yeah, not classy.) but we can't beat ourselves up over the little things or we'll never be happy. Eventually just out of the blue their little daughter asked if it was her birthday because of the cake she saw. Sister Concoba double checked to make sure it wasn't anyone's birthday, then Elder Bergman pointed to me. Sister Concoba just about had a heart arrack. She felt so bad. I really didn't mind I was fine just being there, but it was funny to watch their reactions. It was fun to just enjoy the moment.

We all have those moments or days or things we coulda shoulda woulda done better. Good heavens, it seems like I have them every 5 minutes! And if you're like me, you let them get to you.  Don't do that! Keep calm and carry on. Simple, cliche, but wise. I'm slowly learning to just let go and not be so tied up with every action , every word. Repent, move on, and change. Is that not the essence of the gospel? Kyle Newton is a good example of that. He feels bad that even after his baptism he just keeps doing things that don't make his mom happy. He feels like he keeps messing up. I have testified multiple times to him of the gift and power of repentance. And really as cheesy as it may sound, the gospel is the key to happiness. 

The moments that have been some of the sweetest are when the Spirit bears witness to my heart and the hearts of those I'm teaching that my testimony is true. They feel the light and happiness that can come, and if their heads are screwed on straight, they'll want more of it. 

Well I've thought and learned a lot about what makes us as humans happy. I think of the time and I've probably quoted this before, when the Nephites officially break off from the Lamanites. Lamanites were being naughty and rebellious, not listening to their mamas, or really anyone BuT the natural man. The Nephites led simple lives, with their eyes focused on what matters most. And for this cause, Nephi was able to simply declare "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." 2 Nephi 5:27

Let's be real, Nephi probably didn't have a Liahona show up under his pillow every night, nor was he blissfully communing with the Spirit day in and day out. But it's the little day to day things that we do in living the gospel that truly make us happy. Now I could be better at practicing what I preach, I'm still figuring it out. This life though really is just a pursuit ofHappyness. Happiness is what we humans long for. I have my life ahead of me and who knows what it will bring, but I pray that every moment will find me living the gospel of Jesus Christ as if He were standing right beside me, being anxiously engaged in a good cause. "Each day we decide the degree of our discipleship." Neal A. Maxwell

I will end with an example of a living wonderful disciple of Christ. Sister Tina Byrd. I've talked about her before. She is from Cambodia and she speaks rough English. She's been a member for over a decade. She has one of the sweetest and simplest testimonies I've ever heard. She knows God loves her. She loves Jesus Christ. She knows members of her Ward love and care for her. And although she still has mountains to bed bugs, and what not, she is on the road of happiness and fulfillment. Pure and simple and beautiful. 

Thank you all for your love, support and testimonies. I hope something of the novels I've written has touched some one of you. Thanks for reading. I love you all and will see you so soon. 


Elder Jacob M. Robins

Had a grill off with Caleb Coe and thought I'd just get a picture with the Coe family. Wonderful last pday. 

Some African food we ate at the Adewole's in our Ward with adorable Olayomade on the other side of the table. Mom and dad, get ready to eat this!

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