Rob is serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the West Indies. This blog will contain his letters home. He is doing a great work, and would love to hear from you!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Missionary parents all over the world look forward to hearing from their missionaries on Christmas Day. We were no different - and loved being able to Skype with Rob, ask him our thousands of questions and just listen to him talk about his new area, the work he is doing, and how his testimony is growing "every day." We also heard about how his brief employment in the pest control industry served him well in eradicating the cockroach infestation in his apartment, much to the relief of his companion. He said he's had a lot of crazy things happen, and often stops to think how amazing it is that he is out there in the Caribbean. But his most memorable experiences are his opportunities for service. He has learned that you have to love the people you teach, or you just can't teach with the Spirit. Sounds like he does, and he does. We are super proud of him. Here are Rob's emails from today: "It was great seeing you guys on Christmas - the best part of my Christmas too! St. Lucia is pretty good! Lots of hills. We've got a baptism coming up on the 9th of January, so hopefully things will go smoothly with that. If you could send some prayers my way as far as getting a more solid teaching pool that would be awesome. The people we teach are lowering in numbers which makes it fairly difficult to have a solid schedule :P Thanks! Elder Hardey and I saw these really cool mountains yesterday so we went "exploring" which was cool. We went on a hike around Castries and got to look at some really cool views and met some pretty sweet people! [In response to Roger's note on the return of Sister Oross:] That's crazy that Ashley Oross is already home. lol Seems like she just left! Tell her hello for me will ya? haha. Ya, I will probably miss this place when I finally leave. It was funny how much I realized how attached I was to the people of Barbados before I left. lol. Never thought I'd say that but I miss that place sometimes. I'm sure it'll be even harder leaving here, considering the people are so nice and the views are incredible! The rest of my Christmas went well, everyone brought a lot of food and we got fed by an investigator too which was really nice! haha. We watched a few Disney movies, like Tangled and Aladdin. lol. I had crazy flashbacks watching Aladdin, haven't seen that in forever but I remember watching it a lot as a kid. lol. Love you guys, hope all is well! Poor Baxter. He's so misunderstood."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Castries, St. Lucia

We received our first email from Rob in his new area, Castries, St. Lucia. He sounds great - enjoying the beautiful scenery and looking forward to our Skype on Christmas. I told him I'd been pronouncing St. Lucia incorrectly (Saint Loo-CHEE-ah) and asked for confirmation on the correct pronunciation (Saint LOO-sha). Here is his email: "Hey, it's called Castries, St. Lucia and it's freaking beautiful! Holy crap, this place is gorgeous. I never wanna leave. haha. Things here are great! Mostly the scenery and the people. Super cool environment to work in. I love it. So my companion is like super missionary, fresh off the boat, wants to, like, not sleep and just do missionary work. It's pretty exhausting, but it's good! I'm glad I'm with someone who is eager to serve, ya know? But ya, this place is MOUNTAINOUS! But it's SO cool. Like, people live ON the mountains in the middle of a forest! They are hard to get to cuz the hills are really steep, but once you get to a house they always have this amazing view. People here are a lot nicer as well. I'm thinking we're gonna be very successful here. I'm hoping Barbados was just the refiner's fire, you know? Haha. We'll see. It's pronounced Saint Loosha. haha. Can't blame you on that one, it's spelled weird. Kinda like how tire is spelled 'tyre' here. haha. Everything is good here, just trying to plug away and forget about time. Thank you so much for the Christmas package! Everyone got a good kick out of the platypus, considering it's my nickname in Barbados. I have a couple of people I served with in Barbados here in St. Lucia with me, so that's pretty cool! I'll get to teach my first district meeting here tomorrow, so wish me luck. Skype is all set up for Christmas. I'll be Skyping from the church. We're gonna have a Christmas get-together as well, so that should be cool. We share the video "A Savior is Born" a lot with people. We mainly have pass-along cards that direct people to the site, making it REALLY easy to get in contact with people. Although the branch here seems to be a lot smaller than the Christ Church Branch in Barbados, the few that are here seem to be very unified. I think a lot of the unification has to do with people being not as prideful like all the Bajans. haha. Good people, just very prideful. Anyways, miss you guys and hope all is well. Tell Baxter I miss him the most!! And that I'm pretty sure Matthew 5:14-16 refers to him and his gloriousness ;). Bahaha. O, Baxter, what a good dog."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

St. Lucia

Rob is heading to St. Lucia today and will be serving in the capital city, Castries. Note: his snail mail address has changed. You can find the new address in the column to the right, under his picture. St. Lucia is similar in size to Barbados, but it is a volcanic island, with more dense rain forest and more mountainous terrain. Above is the flag of St. Lucia. The colors and symbols of the flag carry cultural, political and regional meanings. The blue field represents sky and sea. The black and white allude to the harmonious relationship between the two cultures that dominate the country. The yellow symbolizes the sunshine, as well as prosperity. The two triangles represent the Pitons, which are twin volcanic cones located in the southwest part of the island. These mountains, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, are a national symbol of Saint Lucia. One last picture from Barbados. Rasta Mon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Leaving Barbados

Rob is leaving Barbados. Not the mission, just the island nation of Barbados. He will travel to St. Lucia this week and begin a new adventure in a new district. He's been saying good-bye to Bajan friends, and took pictures with some of them. Yay! Here are notes from today's email: "It'll be nice to get out of here, even though I didn't particularly want to go to St. Lucia. It sounds pretty touristy. But it'll be cool to have that experience. Everyone's been telling me all about St. Lucia and how people will feed me a lot and how there are a LOT of bananas out there. Apparently there are a lot of hills and the taxi drivers drive CRAZY like on the edge of the cliffs on the coast. haha. But I guess they know what they are doing, right? Maybe I will get my dangerous mission after all! ;) Just kidding. I'll be fine. Got the email from James Ellsworth. Sounds like he had it more rough that I do! But it's nice to hear from someone who's actually been through that, you know? Helps a lot. This week Tonya came to church again, along with Angela and her two kids, and Kira - a woman that Elder Kuru and I contacted when I first got here, who we teach every once in awhile. Haha. Never thought she would actually make it out to church, but she did! Pretty wild, eh? Anyways, I'm stoked that they made it. Been taking a lot of pictures with everyone before I leave the island. It's funny, cuz for the first few days I'm like, 'Ya, I'm stoked to get off this rock!' And now I'm like, 'Wait? I'm leaving? SHOOT!' bahaha. But o well, I knew it was going to come to an end sooner or later. Well, I'm excited for the Skype call on Christmas. Hopefully everything will go as planned! Love you guys. Take care. Talk to you next week!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Putting Things in Perspective

Rob seems to be doing lots better this week. Thanks to all who wrote him and/or remembered him in your prayers. His notes continue to amaze us. Here are his email messages from this morning: "Hey! Things are going well! Still struggling with a few things but I'm working on focusing on the things that are uplifting and making me happy. We have an investigator that has come to church for the past four Sundays, and she said that she is going to just keep coming. Only problem is she lives with her boyfriend, so she cannot progress any further until she either marries him or moves out. No further information about transfers so far, although EVERYONE in the zone is saying "If you don't get transferred I'm gonna be very surprised." Haha. Everyone thinks I'm going to be leaving, which is probably accurate considering I've been here longer than anyone in the mission. I'll let you know what happens with transfers next week. Wish me luck! The Christmas traditions here are way similar to back home. You should see Bridgetown at night! It is the coolest thing! So amazing-looking with all the lights up. I keep forgetting to take a picture when I'm down there at night. Next time I will though. Everyone's house is lit up and getting ready for the Christmas season. We didn't get to see the Christmas devotional just because it started at 9pm here, so the district is going to watch it this upcoming weekend. Sounds like it was a good one, though. haha. Ya, it's funny because Elder Sandbakken is always like, "It's so weird to think it's December right now!" [Elder S. is from Utah.] I'm like, "Nah man, this is normal for me." Lol. The weather is a bit more humid but I'm starting to get used to it and it feels just like home now. I'm probably going to shrivel up when I get home, from the dryness. Thank you for the fast. Much needed. I continue to pray for you guys every night as well. The mission really puts a lot of things in perspective, ya know? Like how important family is and how more than ever we need to stick together in one purpose. I don't know where it comes from. lol. Probably learning every day about eternal families finally hit home for me. But I'm grateful to be part of this one and to be uplifted by so much positivity by you guys. It honestly gets me through each and every day. Thanks for never giving up on me, when you easily could have. Thanks for everything. I really mean it. I hope being on a mission can bring blessing back to you so that I can at least repay you in some way for all the things you did/do/will do for me. That letter you sent me was spectacular, by the way! The one that talked about God clothing us in our times of need with the Spirit. Really uplifting. Thank you for that. It is so true, too. It ties back into what you were saying about Elder Bednar's talk. Like it seems so simple, but the more you think about it the more it gives you reason to keep pushing and striving to pay back the ultimate favor that He did for all of us - the Atonement. I don't think anyone will ever get to comprehend all that the Savior did for us that day, but gosh darnit, I've come a lot closer to getting it here than I ever had. It's so gnarly to think of that kind of sacrifice and how God's perfect plan was in effect and the mercy and grace we receive through all of that. Pretty awesome stuff. Hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season! Miss you guys and can't wait to come back home and share all these crazy experiences with you. O, Barbados! Anyways, merry Christmas."
Rob and his companion, with investigator.
Delivering Christmas gifts at the children's Cancer Society "ting."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hangin' Tough

Rob had another tough week, but is committed to moving forward. He answered a couple of questions about what he might need for Christmas, and vented a little, but also sent this fun picture to his sister:
Must be hard finding your name on a Coke bottle in Barbados if you are not from around there. Here are a few of Rob's notes from today: "This week has been pretty rough. Sorry for another "Debbie Downer" letter, just know that your son is out here standing up for what he believes is the right thing. I've already decided that nothing will keep me from trying, and progressing the work. As long as I am praying and receive an answer that what I'm doing is good, I'm going to keep at it. I just saw one of the videos from REALLY good. It is nice to have those because we get little cards with that site on it letting us more effectively share the message in a somewhat new approach. Thanks for the support. I miss you guys a lot and I hope you guys are enjoying the Christmas festivities over there! Keep fighting the good fight :) One love. Haha!"
This is a picture Jana sent to Rob. It requires an explanation. Every year, one of Rob's favorite holiday traditions is hiding a piece of candy inside this moon box ornament. The idea is that when he opens it the next year, he wants to see how gross it has become. So of course, we opened it for him and wanted to send him our grossed-out response. Jana chronicled the event. When he received the photo, Rob was delighted to see the tradition continue and said the picture made his day. It must be pretty bad there, if a crusty, moldy piece of candy and two disgusted parents can make his day. The question now is: shall we leave the candy in there another two years? Ugh!

Monday, November 23, 2015

One Love Jah Bless, Mon

With Thanksgiving this week, we are especially grateful for Rob, the work he is doing, and the fact that he seems to be faring better. Great emails from him today, with some fun updates and stories. Here are his notes: "Man oh man, Barbados is HOT. haha No surprise there, though. haha Things are ok. We had 4 people come to church on Sunday, which is the most I've ever gotten to go, which was really cool. 3 of them were a family (the mom and her 2 kids). Her husband couldn't make it, but he had a drinking problem that he's still kind of going through and has been raised Hindu. She said if we can get him on board and help change his life that she'll get the whole family baptized, so we're working on that. We try to get him involved in the lessons but he normally just sits there, and when we ask him questions he just responds "I'm a good listener." haha It's ok though, because we can get him to laugh and have a good time. Even if he isn't learning anything or accepting anything he's still having a good time. I'm trying to figure out a way to help him. Also, Tonya came to church again. She's really cool and REALLY smart which is refreshing out here. lol Sounds bad, but people here are very uneducated. But her main concern is the same as Angela's (the mom with kids,) that is, that she wants her boyfriend to be a part of it and she wants to start obeying the law of chastity with him, so were getting him involved. He actually read 7 chapters in 1 Nephi and explained them all and stuff. I had to take a step back and be like uhhhhh where do we go from here? haha (Doesnt happen EVER.) He's very smart and sarcastic so we get along ok, but I don't exactly know how to be like... "Hey, you 2 need to just get married." lol But we'll figure it out. Anyway, that's been my week. Thought I'd fill you in on what's going on over here as far as my work goes. Transfers are going to be in about 3 weeks or so. Still no word on where I'm going but we'll see. lol ummmm Thanksgiving I'm pretty sure isn't going to be anything special for us, unfortunately. Jillean said she was gonna make us dinner but we haven't heard from her in awhile. Last time I talked to her she told me the reason she backed out of the baptism was because of all the rules that she had to hop though in order to get baptized (beach, people, etc.). So that was a little disappointing. I know she'll one day get baptized, just probably not while I'm here. :P But right now is Barbado's 49th anniversary of independence, which is pretty cool! Lots of Bajan flags hanging all over the place and Bridgetown is lit up in all blue and gold. It's really beautiful! haha Super funny though, they are already celebrating the 50th year. Like, they have a bunch of pins and flyers and stuff for the 50th year, so I asked someone once, I was like, "Isn't it the 49th year? You guys just couldn't wait or what?" haha And basically that was the answer. lol They said, "Well, it's so you'll have 'em for next year!" lol -__- Bajans. Man, I'll tell ya, crazy people, gotta love 'em. Food here is good. We live right next to this place called Skymall. It's like the nicest mall in the whole island, so I can't complain. lol Ya, Ziggy is super rad! [Ziggy sometimes posts pictures on the mission Facebook page. I told Rob to thank him for the photos. Credit to Ziggy for the pictures below - which may actually feature Ziggy between Rob and his companion.] We found out he lives near us so we get to teach lessons with him. It's nice to have an old Black Rock friend to lime with here and again. lol. Had to break up a fight between missionaries in my district earlier, so that was fun haha. Basically, one of the missionaries has had a problem with fighting for his whole mission, and so I sat them both aside and talked with them, then talked to them together, and was just like, "Ok, I want you to focus on three things: 1. missionary work 2. respect one another as adults and 3. communication." Since then they've been all right, so I felt pretty good about that. The mission pres. was going to have to handle the situation but apparently he called them and they were like, we're good now, Elder Platt solved the problem. [In response to my email about Paul from our Sunday School lesson, Rob wrote:] But ya, if I could be like Paul just in a small sense I'd be pretty stoked on that. He was a brilliant man. Ya, thanking God is for sure a very key step in this process. Something cool we talked about on Sunday was our talents and the parable of the talents. The way I look at it is God GIVES you those talents so when you hide them it's like receiving a Christmas gift and then throwing it away. The person who gave you that gift is going to be hurt because it was thought out and something that you really wanted them to take advantage of and enjoy. I think it's the same for God. He gives us all agency so he can't MAKE us use our gifts, but when we choose to hide them (throw them away) it upsets him because he wants you to enjoy it. Anyway, I'm doing well. Things are ok and looking up... for now >.> never know what the Lord has in store for you next, so I'm just gonna ride out the wave while it's still good. lol. I appreciate the good thoughts and prayers coming my way they really do make a difference. Anwyays love you guys and can't wait to be back and tell you all the crazy stories of things that happen out here. haha. It just gets more wild as the time goes by. One love jah bless mon! O ya, haha, this REALLY ghetto area we go to this guy who we stopped teaching cuz we found out he has murdered a few people pulled me aside the other day and was like "MORMONS! Hey, you let me know if anyone gives you any trouble out here. I got your back." bahaha I was like alright, dude. You're the man! So funny! Anyway, that's my funny story for the week. 'Stay classy, San Diego.'" -(Anchorman, Ron Burgundy)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rob noted this week that he has been in Barbados longer than anyone else in the mission - including the mission president. So he would not be surprised if he is transferred on December 14. If you wish to send him Christmas greetings, cards and letters need to be mailed now to his current address in order to reach him before Christmas. Here are his notes from this week: "Things are going okay. We've been contacting a lot of cool people recently and I'm hoping that they will start to make it out to church one of these Sundays. That's a cool analogy about the kayaking [I sent him my notes on Darren Wilcox's recent sacrament meeting talk, comparing paddling a kayak to keeping the commandments. Thank you, Darren!]. Sometimes you just have to keep pushing forward and doing your best. Satan obviously wants you to give up, but that's when you need to try the most, when you have everything against you. Because you KNOW you're on the road to something successful if Satan is trying to keep you away that badly, right? But we'll see how everything works out. I can only do my best :P Loving the people is the key component of it all. I understand that, and I try, but it can be hard. lol I'll work on it though. :P We've just been trying the best we can to revamp our teaching pool and get some solid people in. We've met a few cool people, so well see what happens. The fact remains however that I will most likely not be here when the transfers come because I've already been here for way too long! haha In fact, I've been here longer than everyone else... including the mission president. lol. So I'm pretty sure my time is up, but we'll see. Anyway, just one day at a time trying my best out here and trying to stay positive :P thanks again! Much love from my end. Thanks for writing me every week. I appreciate it and look forward to it every week. I appreciate it a lot!"
Elders Platt and Kuru.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Yellow Vests

Rob's zone helped with International Service Day in Bridgetown this week. Looked like a big project! A member posted some pictures from the activity on the mission Facebook page. Nice to see Rob in the yellow Mormon Helping Hands vest, doing some cleanup work. He sounds a little better this week, and had comments about investigators as well as messages to family members. Here is his email from this morning: "Ya, the service project was a LOT of work but I'm all right. A little sore, but all right all in all. haha. This week hasn't been much better, just hope things can move forward from here on out. Finally got in contact with Jillean yesterday and she told me the reason she didn't go through with the baptism was because of all the rule changes at the last minute by President Herrington. But ya, other than that things are ok. We got an investigator to church yesterday. She said she liked it and will be coming back. Her name is Tonya and she seems super solid. Only problem is she lives with her boyfriend, but she already knows she shouldn't be doing that, so hopefully she can sort those things out. ummmmm First time I've ever been cold here was today! haha It's pretty amazing! Super overcast and rainy, which usually doesn't make a difference, but it is indeed colder than usual. I just hope it can stay like this. That's cool that Jana/Shelley and the kids made it over for a little. I know Shelley said she was stressing over the triathlon, so I'm glad she made it out ok. Tell Lyla [Rob's niece, 5, who likes to do Jedi mind control tricks on him] that I hold the Jedi powers now and I will be controlling her mind. lol Speaking of Jedis... -___________- I'm SO bummed I'm gonna miss out on Star Wars! [Mom note: He was mourning the fact that he would miss the Padres' great season this summer before he left. Turns out he missed nothing. Chargers, same deal.] haha O well, little less than a year and a half and I can come home and have a marathon of movies I've missed. lol. O ya, apparently Ziggy [the member who took pictures of the service activity] lives like right next to us and a lot of our investigators, so we are going to try to use him as the third male so we can teach broken single mother homes. And yes, Lyla is correct on the monkey ;)[Lyla votes in favor of Rob bringing a monkey home. Not a surprise.] What elseeeeeeeee uhhhh, just trying the best I can to stay positive. I have 10 elders and some sisters in my district now, meaning I have to make 6 nightly calls, which is kind of a hassle when all I wanna do when I get home is sleep! haha O well, work has to get done! But hey, I miss you guys and hope all is well. Tell Baxter I love him so so so so so so so much! And that I miss him and that he's king of the world and that "he is my little gentleman" (Anchorman) ahaha Ok. Love you guys. Bye!"
International Service Day
Rob's District/Zone

Monday, November 2, 2015

Still Hangin' In There

Rob had a tough week again. I sent him this quote from Adlai Stevenson: "All I say is that nothing is easy, and the best things are the hardest." Not sure that cheered him at all, but he is working hard and trying to be obedient. Here's his latest email: "Our mission president told us yesterday that the change for the mission is that we cannot teach a female alone, even if it is outside, so... there goes our teaching pool. :( Time to start over. Like you said though, the hardest things end up being the best things in life. So I'll just tough it out. I'm just trying to find the light here in Barbados. We'll see how it goes. Any advice? Anything uplifting could be very beneficial right now. Sorry to be such a "Debby Downer." Things will get better. I just have to keep up the work. The weather is the same as always, actually just more rain than normal. >.< Thanks for being there for me and being on my side. I couldn't do it without you guys having my back on this."
Another picture from August. After a little research, we believe the cannon is located at Needham's Point, part of historic Bridgetown. Barbados has the world's rarest collection of 17th century English iron cannon.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Another Rough Week

Elder Platt had another rough week, but he is hopeful things will turn around and grateful for the experience a mission brings. In response to a story Roger sent him about an answer to prayer, Rob wrote: "I love it when that happens, when prayer seems to just work instantly! I can't tell you how many times I've seen it work in my life as well." He also commented on Sister Freyre's recent return from the mission field: "Can't believe Cece is already home. She's way rad! Give her my email sometime." If anyone reading this blog knows Sister Freyre, please pass it along. Here are the rest of Rob's email notes: "Blah. This week has sucked pretty badly. Had eight people who told me they were going to come to church and no one showed up :(. All the new missionaries seem to be having baptisms and I can't even get one :(. Just really annoying. I feel like I'm no good at this :/, but life goes on. I just gotta keep trying my best. The district here is about the same size it was, but they replaced a lot of the sisters with elders. The companionship in Black Rock split up too, so now I'm a district leader over the whole zone? lol. I don't know what the difference is anymore between a district and a zone, but yes, 30 more missionaries are coming in this transfer, so we'll see how that goes. And Jillean - ugh - her back is feeling better but she's just having more complications with the hospital on Jace's medical records, so she's in kinda a rough spot. I don't know exactly how that's gonna go, but I'm hoping she'll be up and running back in the church soon enough. :P We'll see. But for the most part things here seem to be lacking as far as progress goes. Hopefully that'll change soon. Sorry this email isn't all that long, but I'll try to think of more things to add next time. Thanks for the love and support, much needed."
This photo is a couple of months old, taken while Rob was still in Black Rock. No new pictures sent today.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hangin' In There

Not the best week for Rob, but he is "hangin' in there." At least he was able to work off his frustration with some beach volleyball today. Here is his note from this morning, followed by some great pictures: "Plenty of volleyball today. Last week Elder Cox was pretty vexed because I wasn't there to play on his team. lol. We dominate on the v-ball court ;) We actually moved into a new apartment because they are splitting our area in half, so me and Elder Sandbakken are going to be taking on the northern half of the area while the new missionaries are taking on the southern half. Which is good, cuz the last apartment was filled with roaches. XP So nasty! I don't know if I told you this already or not but the roaches here can fly O.O lol. But ya, so we were filling up the font with an hour until Jillean's baptism and she called us an hour before hand and told us she hurt her back falling down a set of stairs and couldn't make it. -______- Not sure what the Lord has in store here but I guess he knows best. Pretty frustrating, just cuz I'm working so hard out here but I'm not able to see the results. Never wanted to call it quits as much as I have this last week. Like, I know it's important to be out here but this last few days I just feel like I'm not good enough for this work. Like I'm not really making a difference for anyone. Just frustrating. Hopefully things will pick up here. Gonna talk with Jillean today. Not a whole lot to report on this week just kinda hangin' in there. Hopefully everything works out in the end. We shall see :P." (In photos below, Rob is in the green shirt - in case you couldn't tell.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Adventures with The Sandman

In the photo above, Rob shows off his culinary talents. Apparently, the chicken-in-dumplings recipe brought a smile. Here are his notes from this week. The first remarks are in response to a chance encounter we had with Sister Patterson at Roger's mom's house. She was at the MTC with Rob, and has a sister who served in Black Mountain Branch before Rob left: "Hahaha! What the bird? Small world indeed! Tell Sister Patterson #2 that I thank her for finding my grandma:)." Regarding one of his contacts, Rob said, "If you could go and do a session at the temple and put Jillean's name on the prayer role, and maybe pray for her as well, that would really help out a lot! I'm hoping the baptism goes well. She's still on board to be baptized this week, but she seemed a lot less interested the other day :/. Like she just wasn't super stoked on it like she has been, so I'm thinking we're gonna take her to a member's house and get her to feel friendship and watch Meet the Mormons? That was the best idea I could come up with. By the way, Jillean says she knows a guy that can get me a monkey! :D :D :D Not a whole lot has changed in the last week, though. Took a nice spill on the bike and blew out a few tires. haha. But that's pretty normal ;). The Sandman (Elder Sandbakken's new alias) was like 'DUDE! You ok?' bahaha. I'm like, 'O, I'm fine. It's not the first time.' ^.^ Getting pretty sick of bikes, but O well, it's good for me. Elder Sandbakken makes a mean breakfast, which is really nice! O, and we cooked chicken-in-dumplings yesterday! Tasted close to home, but not quite as good;) I don't know how you fold those darn croissants so well! Things are good here, though. It's finally starting to cool down, I think. Been pretty overcast this last week. We got rained on HARD the last few days. It's kinda fun, though, trekkin' through the rain doing the Lord's work. On Tuesday I met this crazy guy. haha! He was wild! He was ranting and raving about Joseph Smith and how awesome we are. Needless to say he was wasted, but still quite entertaining. He literally stopped traffic in the middle of the street to yell about Joseph Smith to people. He dragged us into a bar and stopped everyone from what they were doing to say a prayer. O, man, this guy was hilarious. Highlight of my mission so far. lol. I'll send you a picture. Tell Baxter I miss him so so so so so so SO much! Lol. My monkey is gonna be so cool, though. You have no idea! Baxter is going to love her."
This is a picture of Rob with the gentleman who advocated loudly for Joseph Smith. I am guessing he is not a park ranger.

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference Applied

Left: Rob with Ralph. As we watched General Conference this weekend, we wondered about Rob's experience: was he loving the messages more than ever, or dozing through them? We got our answer in his emails today. Here are his thoughts: "Conference was killer! It's funny, Elder Sanbakken and I were talking about how like at home you look at the clock and you're like 'UGHHHHH! When is this gonna be over? He's been talking foereverrrr!' haha. But here it's like, O.O 'It's already been two hours!? Things just started getting good!' lol. It's quite the change. I really loved how someone (I don't remember who) talked about how we need to see everyone as children of God. Like, how He's EVERYONE'S Father, so we should look at these people as such. We went and did some contacting afterwards, and met this guy who had gone to the states to take a class on Bible knowledge, or something like that. The guy knew his stuff and normally I would just turn the bashing switch on, just start going to town like, 'O, ya? Well I bet you didn't know THIS!' haha. I know I'm awful, but sometimes people need to be put in their place. But instead I just looked at him as a child of God, like I was told to do, and everything came out like clockwork. The Spirit was there and we were able to teach him and instead of being stand-offish, he was actually like, 'Well, that's a really good point. I didn't think of it like that.' Things just kinda worked out, so we're gonna see him again. I'm pretty excited for it. But the absolute highlight of the week was Jillean came to Saturday session, and during the afternoon session she was like, 'I have to go soon, cuz I wanna meet up with some friends,' and I told her to 'just stay for Jeffrey R. Holland, he always kills it,' so she did, and O MY GOODNESS! So inspired! If you don't remember it, Elder Holland spoke on the immense respect he has for a mother's love and care, and it touched Jillian and she loved it. So cool. But ya, that was my spiritual moment of the week. The theme I got from Conference was to obey, obey, obey. I like how someone put, 'It's easy to be skeptical, the hard thing is to be obedient when we don't know why we need to be." I like that cuz especially in the mission field it's like, 'that rule is 100% lame, I don't know why I'm following this.' But everything is for a purpose, you know? I also love when it talked about praying for what you need and you'll receive an answer. And to avoid all the 'loud' chatter in your head and listen to the still small voice. Sometimes I have a hard time discerning between my worldly desires and what the Holy Ghost is trying to tell me. I've been thinking a lot about the scripture in Galatians that talks about the fruits of the Spirit, and have been using it with my investigators in the first lesson when I ask them to pray. Pretty good stuff. Speaking of that, I am having like a downpour of people ready to be baptized. Lol. It came out of nowhere, but everybody is all of a sudden like on board. I don't know what happened, but it's pretty cool. I had kind of a personal revelation when I prayed that night after Saturday session, about getting answers, that told me to get back into the habit of getting in shape. So I guess that's what I'm gonna do. Right after I make myself some chicken-in-dumplings. bahaha. I finally found some of those croissants. Jillian found 'em for me, and she says she's even gonna make us Thanksgiving dinner :0. So stoked! Haha. O ya! How's Baxter!? Poor Baxter, what a good boy. Speaking of Baxter, I found like a HUGE dog. Lol. So obviously we had to challenge each other to pet it. And I won, of course, which almost cost me a finger. bahaha. I was like, 'Hey, what's your dog's name?' The dog's owner was like, 'his name is Ralph.' I continued to ask her if he was friendly, and she was like, 'I think he's bipolar, cuz his mood is always changing.' So I got a few pics with him, then as I was walking away, he jumped at my face and tried to take a bit out of me. Good thing the rope was just long enough around his neck to miss my nose. ahaha. O Ralph, what a crazy pooch. Hope all is well out there in beautiful San Diego. Thanks for the support. Sometimes it's the only thing keeping me going, so thanks. I really do appreciate it! One love Jah bless.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rob with his new companion. Just kidding. However, Rob does have a new companion. The goat just likes to follow them around. In my email, I sent thoughts on my "scripture of the week," 1 Nephi 1:20. Here is his response: "LOL. So funny that you mention that scripture because every time I start reading through the Book of Mormon with an investigator, I ALWAYS point that out (the ending of verse 20). I love how Nephi put that, how we know that we can become so much stronger and have Chrsit deliver us in all that we do if we can just rely on Him - or in other words have faith! haha. Sorry. I never thought I'd be that guy that gets all scriptural all the time. It's funny, cuz EVERYTHING out here relates to the scriptures, it seems like now. haha. Guess that's what happens when all you do is focus on the gospel. Anyway, I'm almost done with Jesus the Christ. Learning something new every day! It's like God hooks your brain up to a machine and just starts cranking information into it. Lol. Mission miracles are real. My new companion is rad. He's from Spanish Fork, Utah, and his name is Elder Sandbakken (Norwegian last name), so naturally we get along just fine. He's big into science and space exploration, but he's really cool. Looking forward to serving with him. Just need to break him out of his shell and get him to feel more comfortable talking with investigators and such. He's teaching me how to juggle. bahaha. And teaching me about Einstein's theory of relativity? I don't think I have any of that right, but yeah, pretty interesting. And Elder Sandbakken can cook (hallelujah!). Apparently we'll be watching conference at the church. Our investigator Jillian (the one with the sick kid) is getting baptized not this week, not next week, but the week after, hopefully. She bore her testimony on Sunday (only if I went up with her, cuz she was nervous) and started tearing up talking about her life struggle and such. Afterwards a member got up and gave her a big hug and she made a lot of friends at church. Gordon B. Hinckley said the three things a new convert needs are a friend, a calling, and to be nourished by the good word of God. So hopefully we can provide that for her. Gave her son a blessing a couple days ago. He was kinda squirming around, so I had to make it short, but I'm hoping the Lord got the message and He'll work some of His magic in the kid. I know He will just want the kid to be OK. Regarding the weather: Yeah, the heat has been intense! Plus my bike tire blew out, so for a day we had to walk in it with the sun at noon day :P. It's funny cuz even the Bajans are like, You shouldn't be out in this heat! haha! They don't understand the Lord has my back ;). O, and I got to burn my tie on the 25th. It was like the ugliest tie ever, so I saved it for that very reason. bahaha. Anyway, hope all is well back home Love you guys. Just know I'm getting better at this whole missionary thing every day, and keep your minds open on a monkey. Baxter will get along with him just fine. Tell Baxter he's still my favorite, and that I miss him and love him and can't wait to come back and spoil him to death by letting him have my man cave."
The burning of the tie on September 25th commemorates one quarter of the mission done. Who started this? And what do they burn when it's half over?

Monday, September 21, 2015

"An army of monkeys"

The caption on this picture was, "Found an army of monkeys yesterday. Haha (I'm totally bringing one home with me):D" Other than that, Rob's update this week is spectacular. I asked him about Jace, the little boy with health issues, and his mother Jill. Rob began with answers to my questions: "Jace is 4 years old; we haven't given him a blessing quite as yet, but we will this upcoming Sunday. Jill actually came to church on Sunday! :O Pretty cool. We've set a baptismal date with her, so we'll see how it goes. It was funny, in gospel principles class this lady was like trying to start an argument and debate in class saying "if God is so equal and fair why does He separate us into 3 kingdoms!?" I'm sitting there with my face in my palm thinking "Great. Well, we're never gonna see Jill again. Thanks a lot, you Darrell." But Jill was whispering to us and was like "She just doesn't understand what you are trying to say I think" and so she wanted to throw in her 2 cents. So I told the teacher Jill has a comment to make and Jill said, "It's like a job, either you can do really good and work hard to progress at your job (celestial), stay stagnant at your job and stay at the same position forever (terrestrial), or do a terrible job at work and get fired (telestial)." And the lady who started it was just like, "O, ok. That makes sense." It was so rad!!! haha She totally put it into perspective for this other girl and in turn everyone was like, thanks for your comment that was really good! Made her feel welcome and knowing that her opinion is valued. It was a total tender mercy! It was kind of cool, President Herrington did interviews this week and just like everybody else, I had to do a role play with him on how to introduce the Book of Mormon in my teaching. After I was done, he said that it was perfect and that he wants me to use that exact same format in my next district meeting lesson :P. Kinda cool to see at least I'm doing something right. Haha. Anyway, transfers are here, and Kuru is gonna be training in Oistins while I train another greenie here in Christ Church. So he'll still be in my district, I just won't see him every day. Apparently President Herrington thinks Kuru is ready. My greenie is from Spanish Fork, Utah. Just trying to make sure he gets trained right but still has fun in the process, because as Elder Cornish said "If you aren't having fun you're not doing it right." Wise man. lol. O ya! HOWS BAXTER!? I miss him so so so so much! Tell him he's a champion. Poor Baxter he never gets enough attention ;) Anyways, things here are good. We met a 70-year-old lady who must weigh around 500lbs and her blind husband who can't weigh over 100lbs. They told us they want to be baptized. I'm excited for them, but it's gonna take awhile I think because they take a while to catch on to what we're saying. Like, I'll say "So in order to live with God again we need to be baptized, how do you think you can live with God again?" And shell be like "...I don't know." haha I'm like *face palm*, but she'll catch on eventually. Just gotta keep working with her slowly. The work seems to be getting easier. As in, I'm not freaking out in lessons as much, thinking to myself, "I hope they don't give me a question I can't answer." I feel much more confident in what I'm teaching, which is nice. I've never seen the Lord working so strongly in my life before. It's a very cool experience to know almost of a surety that He's here with me and that he does work miracles even today. I know I shouldn't get too comfortable though because when I stop progressing it means I'll be in damnation. That's one thing I've learned, is to never stay stagnant. The Lord doesn't like it when we sit in one place for too long. We should be constantly learning and striving to be better. There's always something to work on, and that's something that I never really could grasp back home. But with the closeness of the Spirit in my life these days it's very apparent to me that it's an important task for Him. It's funny, I remember Matt Boles telling me before I left, "It sucks, because now that I KNOW the gospel is true there's no turning back." In other words, I can't live in ignorance anymore because I've found the truth, so now I'm obliged to live by it. haha. Tell Matt I now get what he meant when he said that and I feel his pain. LOL. hope everything is going well back home and that Baxter is getting the attention he needs ;)" Rob also responded to the news that his friend Dylan is planning on going on a mission: "That's so rad to see that Dylan is putting in his papers! I'm excited to see where he goes. Tell him I'm stoked for him and it's a decision he'll never regret! I know a lot of people will tell him that, but until you experience it for yourself, it's hard to understand the magnitude of it all. It's like trying to explain the Spirit to someone who has never heard the words Jesus Christ before. Just gotta experience it for yourself." Regarding the weather: "I thought it was gonna be constant rain, but it turns out it turns off and on like a light switch. Haha. But I guess we're just entering the rainy season? I don't know. Everyone had a different opinion. I'm pretty sure nobody knows what's going on with the weather. I just know this week has been ridiculously hot and wet. Hope all is well. Love you guys, and as always, tell Baxter he's the light of my life and that I miss him the most! Haha! Happy P-day!"

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Rasta man no fly on iron bird"

Rob promised pictures this week, and indeed we did receive this photo of a random street contact, with the caption, "Rasta man no fly on iron bird!" It seems Rastafarians don't embrace airplane travel. Here are some of Rob's notes from this week's emails: "Things here are good! Just pushing the work forward! Found a cool scripture the other day that helps me relay Jesus Christ as the creator of this world. Hebrews 1:1-3 and John 1:1-3, 14, help when trying to explain that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. Also 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 and another one I can't remember. lol. Ya, it's been that kind of week. Kinda cool learning experience, though. It's pretty amazing how much your sureness of the gospel relies so much on how you teach. I mean, it makes sense. If you don't fully believe in it then why would anyone you're teaching want to learn from you? Elder Dye said something in zone meeting last week that was really cool, 'The only thing more contagious than a good attitude is a bad one.' We have to be excited about this gospel, otherwise it's gonna come off as a chore or something we don't really care all that much about." Roger asked him about the weather in Barbados. He responded, "Oh boy, the temperature... don't even get me started. One minute you're soaked in rain, the next you're soaked in sweat. Half the time I can't even tell what's soaking my shirts more by the time the day is done. haha. It's not too bad though, like I am getting used to it finally. The other day we were getting some food inside a SUPER air conditioned room and by the time I got done eating I was like FREEZING. haha. I was like, 'this is what it's gonna feel like when I go back home, isn't it? Just cold every night for the first 2-3 months.' The Bajans find it funny." Regarding one of his contacts, he wrote, "We ran into a girl the other night after a lesson fell through and she has a child that was born with a rare version of a rare disease, and her son can't eat any solids. In fact, the only thing he can eat is baby formula, but only the powder kind, because the pre-mixed liquid is too acidic. I guess they just stopped selling the powder here in Barbados, so she's been having a very hard time. We had a really good lesson about the atonement and how through Jesus Christ anything is possible, but it depends on her faith. So we're going to give the kid a blessing in the near future and hopefully get her to come close to Christ so her son can live a healthy, normal life. If you could mention him in your prayers that would be great. His name is Jace and the mom's name is Jill. Hope everything is going well back home. Tell the dogs I miss them and that I'll be back for them soon! Poor dogs!!!! They never receive enough attention."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Trucking along in Barbados

No pictures in the blog this week, since I am writing remotely on my iPad and can't figure out how to get saved pictures out of iPhoto. Still, I wanted to share his emails from Monday. Roger gave a spotlight on Rob in church last Sunday, so Rob wrote: "That's cool you got to talk in sacrament meeting. Hopefully you made me look like a stud ;) haha. Yeah, we actually played cricket today for P-day with everyone. It was fun. One thing I learned is that sometimes it's more important to block the wickets than try and slam it out of the park. haha. We found a bass guitar in a shop today. It was so cool! Of course I had to play a little bit but I didn't waste too much time on it. Oh ya, I told mom already but I thought you should know too, I had to buy some pants today cuz mine were all ripping. So if money got taken off the card that's why. Yeah, mom didn't really send me too much bashing material -____- kinda disappointed because I know if she would hook me up with some juicy stuff then I could totally wreck every Bible basher that passes by. lol." Rob had asked me to send him some "deep doctrine" so he could use it in discussions with some of the Bajan Bible authorities he runs into. I sent him a couple of Ensign articles via snail mail, but wrote to tell him he doesn't need deep doctrine, he just needs to stay close to the Spirit and continue to seek to know Christ by reading the scriptures. In response, he wrote: " lol That's a terrible answer! But ok, it's probably for the best. I've been tending to act a little smug this week on my doctrinal knowledge and I think its pushing people away more than its bringing them into the gospel, so it's probably best I lay off of it for awhile haha ;) Been doing ok here, just trying to fufill my purpose. lol I got a complaint that my pants were falling down at church on sunday >.> Oops. So I'm gonna start wearing suspenders (mission president approved it). Hopefully that'll fix my problem. But nothing too exciting in terms of investigators. We're seeing this girl named Leanne so hopefully that goes well. This week has kinda been a flop as far as getting the work done is concerned, but I know I just need to keep trucking forward and I'll see success. Elder Cornish of the 70 came and taught our zone and expressed the importance of member lessons, so if I have any advice for you it's to help your missionaries teach lessons! Helps the investigator feel much more comfortable :P Tell Lyla I can smell her from Barbados and tell Baxter I'll be home soon <3<3"

Monday, August 31, 2015

Exploding Head, Inspired Blessing, Food Fantasies

Another amazing week for Rob in Barbados. Here is his email from this morning: "This week has been CRAZYYYYYY. haha So much deep doctrine that my head is gonna explode. For some reason the Lord seemed it fit to put all the Bible experts in Barbados in my path. lol And just when I thought it was all over yesterday we had an investigator start talking about the Apocrypha lol -____-. Good stuff. I'm learning a lot, that's for sure. The sister missionaries in my district called me up and asked if I could give a blessing for their investigator which was really cool. You know how like when people say, 'O, don't worry, the Spirit will tell you what to say?' I have NEVER felt that before until this last blessing we gave. Like, I just opened my mouth and the Lord poured stuff out. By the end everyone was in tears (except me of course, cuz I'm too tough for that ;)) and the lady said her leg was like fully healed the next morning and was up walking around. PRETTY AMAZING! But ya, other than that I was wondering if you guys could help me with some like DEEP DEEP doctrine stuff. Just share your knowledge with me so I can have more insight and more tools in my arsenal haha. Should've taken advantage of you while I was back home. lol. I've been just getting thrashed on the Old Testament lately. I remember my companion telling me there's really no point in studying it, so I payed it no mind. But now I'm like getting it thrown in my face constantly, that and the Apocrypha :P. So if you could throw some knowledge my way that would be greatly appreciated. Mainly, I'm trying to get the lineage in order, like I guess I never understood the whole 12 tribes of Israel thing, what with Abraham and Isaac and all that. Like, did you know Ishmael is the son of Isaac [I'm sure he meant Abraham. lol.] and that is what the Muslim religion stems from!? You probably already knew that, but to me it was a trip to see how all these different religions are tied together like that. And how we all just keep branching off from one another. haha. Pretty sure my brain is gonna explode if I get confronted with another Old Testament Bible bash. Miss you guys and can't wait to come back to a home cooked meal again. Me and Elder Kuru have been fantasizing about real food all week. Well, but anyways, love you guys and hope all is well. Tell all the kids that I can smell 'em from Barbados and they all STINK! O, and tell Baxter he's wise and that I love him. haha."

Monday, August 24, 2015

More Blessings Than You Have Room For

Rob seems to be thriving in his new area. I asked him about whether he would be teaching seminary again, and he was happy to report that the branch in Christ Church pretty much runs itself - so he won't be needed in seminary. The photo above is of Rob with his new companion, Elder Kuru, from Sydney, Australia. Here are the rest of Rob's notes home this week: Thanks for the recipe. I'm gonna try my best to recreate it. I can't remember who it was, but somebody cooked for me the other day and it was sooooo bomb. Tasted like home lol. Obviously not as good as anything you make but close enough. haha. Hurricane Danny isn't gonna touch Barbados, I guess. Apparently all the storms miss us. And you better believe the Bajans take pride in that as well. "Nothin' touches Barbados, mon!" haha. Gotta love it. And yes, I did get the stink book [a book written and illustrated by Rob's niece, Lyla, 5. Don't ask]. It was hilarious! I read it every once in a while when I'm having a bad day and it always brings my spirits up. Haven't heard of the "My Plan" thing yet but they'll probably start implementing it with the new missionaries [a new program to help missionaries transition after their service]. Speaking of new missionaries, we're getting 24 greenies next transfer then 20 more the next transfer O.O I don't know where they are gonna put them all. lol We've set a few baptismal dates and things are flowing pretty well. It's funny you mention that it takes a year to get the hang of things cuz this past week I've really been learning more than usual. Probably cuz I don't have a companion who knows a whole lot scripture wise, so it's made me step my game up. But holy crap, I can preach the gosel so much better now. Like back it up and everything. It's really cool. That little book Nate sent me has been like my Bible out here. I'm using it to answer all the questions people have here. Ya know, even if I don't convert anyone out here (which I really hope I can), I know that my testimony is growing significantly every day. Like it's insane how much you get the chance to learn out here. lol I'm learning so much more in this past week than I have throughout my mission. It's like it all just started pouring into me. I don't know where it comes from. Like, you know when the scriptures talk about bringing souls unto him and how youll receive blessings with more than you have room for? That's how I feel when it comes to all this knowledge I'm gaining right now. I hope I can keep that going. Its really nice. Thanks again for the support. It's really what keeps me going sometimes, so thank you. I appreciate the prayers. I can feel em making a difference out here as I serve. lol Funny story: I had a lesson with a Rasta the other day, and was talking totally "white guy" language to him but after the closing prayer we were getting on our bikes and I yell at him "celasee i, jah bless, one love brada." bahaha. He's was like "No way. He's a true Bajan!" lol Kinda funny. But ya, I'm a true Bajan now apparently. Anyway, jah bless, one love ;) Tell Baxter I miss him a lot btw. And all of you as well. lol. My cricket game is not as good as I'd like it to be but my volleyball game is on point, which is more important anyway. Welllllll, I miss everybody back home a bunch and wish I could be there, but I got important work out here I still have to do. Give Baxter a treat for me <3

Monday, August 17, 2015

Leaving Black Rock

Black Rock was good for Rob, and Rob was good for Black Rock. From the picture above, looks like the branch members there were sad to see him go. He is now assigned to a neighboring parish. Christ Church is just south and east of Bridgetown, which is the capital of Barbados (see map below). Here are his latest emails, fresh off the internet: "The move went well! My companion is an awesome, super humble guy. I'll be sure to send you plenty of pics. The coolest part is that the branch is very self-sustaining, so I don't have to take care of everything anymore :D. We we are blanking the area, meaning that we are both brand new missionaries to the area so we have been going door to door A LOT! Haha. It's cool though. We've found some cool people. Just excited to get the ball rolling and get some solid people to see. Everything else is good. Training isn't super hard. Oh yeah - I wanted to know how to make those chicken-in-dumplings? Are they super hard to make?" To Roger he wrote, "The responsibilities aren't too bad, but blanking the area has been pretty tough :P. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get it figured out. The Spirit works in weird ways sometimes, but I can definitely feel it working with me every day. Love being out here and learning more about the gospel too. Like I'm figuring out sooooooo much more about everything since I've been here. It's crazy. Lots of deep doctrine and stuff :). Hope all is well! Been missing home this week. Glad to hear everyone's doing well! Give Baxter a big hug from me!"

Monday, August 10, 2015

Transfer, Trainer, Tender Mercies

Rob was transferred this week, but only into a neighboring community in Barbados. We had lots of questions for him this week, regarding the potential baptism Saturday and the transfer. Here are his answers: "Our baptism got cancelled :P. O Well. He ended up smoking weed on Kadooment Day. And yes, I'll be moving just next door into the Christ Church area. lol. Not much of a change, considering the Black Rock area and Christ Church areas touch, but apparently I'll be training a Polynesian from Australia. Don't know how good of a trainer I'll be, but we'll see how it goes. haha. There is a new address to send snail mail: Barbados Bridgetown Mission, Trident Insurance Financial Centre, Hastings, Christ Church BB 15154, Barbados. Thought you'd like to know. [NOTE: Rob's old mailing address was the address of a senior missionary couple, who are finishing their mission and going home. His new mailing address is the mission home in Barbados. See also sidebar to the right of this post.] I've been reading Jesus the Christ lately. I'm about half way through it and I can't seem to put it down. Lol. It was cool, Damian was asking about the meaning of the name Elohim, and I was at home trying to find an answer for him and I opened up Jesus the Christ and it just like popped out at me. Tender mercies, I'll tell ya what. Just got a call in the middle of this email and apparently I'm gonna be the Christ Church district leader as well. :P Yikes!" In reply to Roger's email, he wrote, "Member referrals make a HUGE difference, just cuz it makes the new investigator feel super comfortable. Thanks for the constant emails. It seriously makes my week, even though I probably don't show it. There is so much that I am learning and I continue to learn as I'm out here and everything points in the same direction: that God is real and this is His church, restored here on the earth today. I feel so blessed to have grown up in the gospel, just because I'm not sure if I would've found it on my own. So thank you for having the courage to set those standards for me. I appreciate it! Anyways, hope all is well. Tell Bax I miss him, and Bentley too... poor Bentley. Tell Baxter not to worry about the monkeys, that they will be like brothers ;)."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Monkeying Around

As you will see from Rob's email, he is not just monkeying around in Barbados. But monkeys were involved this week - along with cricket and Kadooment Day. Here are his notes from the field: "The baptism is gonna be this Saturday and it's still on. Pretty exciting! My zone leader and I went on the trade offs yesterday and he told me he's gonna request to have me as his companion. Lol. So I might have to be a zone leader next transfer :/. Gotta do what you gotta do. Anyway, things here are good. Vanique's little bro just got the priesthood on Sunday, which was REALLY cool! Ummm... I just finished Corinthians and I think that's my favorite book in the New Testament! But yeah, the transfer is still up in the air. I don't know where I'll be going yet but we'll find out next week. Oh yeah! I got to hold a monkey the other day! :O Pretty much the coolest thing ever!!! Haha. It was so rad!!!! I want one so bad." I asked Rob in my email if he had been playing cricket, as I saw pictures of him with other missionaries on Facebook, taken by a branch member. In reference to the photos below, he explained why he looks like he's playing baseball with a cricket bat: "We were playing cricket. Lol. I'm such a boss at cricket, even if I am not 'holding the bat the right way' I still smash that cricket ball. It's funny whenever someone here says they are going to watch cricket they don't say, 'I'm going to watch a cricket game,' they say, 'I'm going to watch the cricket,' or 'gonna go to the cricket.' Just a fun fact. And yeah, we had to leave Black Rock for Crop Over [the celebration that concludes with Kadooment Day, a large celebration similar to Carnival in other countries]. I guess the women don't wear any clothes when they are in the parade. Lol. Hope all is well. Take care of Bax for meeee!"

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rob vs. the Volcano

"Joe vs. the Volcano" is a movie from 1990 with Tom Hanks, very cheesy. "Rob vs. the Volcano" describes this week's missive from Elder Platt - not just because he is disappointed in missing a volcano and possible tsunami, but because his letter is erupting with good news. Here is Rob's email from this morning: "Things here are good! We just reactivated part of Vinique's family [see blog posts dated June 1 and June 8 for references to Vinique and her younger brother Chris]. We have yet to get Vinique to come out to church, but she'll soon be back and at it, I'm sure. We have a baptismal date for the 8th of August, and the investigator came to church this Sunday, which is really cool! Rumor has it I'll be getting transferred this transfer, so we'll see how that goes. I'm thinking Grenada (hoping Grenada). Haha. But yeah, we had a little scare here on Wednesday or Thursday. Apparently, because of the earthquakes, a submarine volcano near Grenada was expected to erupt and as an effect we had tsunami warnings O.O I was debating getting a surfboard and just riding it out ;). Just kidding. But it turns out we are out of reach and won't be getting anything out here :P. The branch is growing slowly and we are seeing a LOT better turn out at home evening. Like, before we had 1 or 2 people show up and now it's like 25-30 :D, including a lot of less actives. Kinda cool! I got your snail mail about the Bajan slang [see sidebar to the right, under Rob's picture on the blog]. Haha. It was all actually SUPER accurate, except 'all-a-wanna' is just 'wanna' meaning 'you all.' Things this week were pretty cool! Elder Pollard and I got into a couple of Bible bashing sessions, which we dominated, haha. We probably shouldn't have been Bible bashing, but we were nice about it. Thanks for everything and for supporting me in this. I really appreciate all you guys do and have done for me over the past few years and I don't know how to repay you for it, but somehow I'll figure it all out. But thank you:)."
Worthing Beach, Barbados

Monday, July 20, 2015

Earthquake News

A few people asked this week if Rob was okay, having heard about a 6.4 earthquake 81 miles off the coast of Barbados. So of course we asked Rob for information. Read all about it, Rob style, in his email notes posted this morning: "As far as the earthquake goes, I didn't feel it but everyone's been talking about it. haha. They apparently aren't as used to them as I am. Nobody is hurt here and everything seems to be going well." In other news, regarding teaching the YM, he said, "It's hard, but things are pretty good. We have a family visiting here from Idaho so it's nice to have a little larger turnout at HEG [Home Evening Group?]. We got a less active family to come join us at HEG for the past four weeks, so that's pretty cool considering they really seem to enjoy it. Hey, have you ever read Jesus the Christ? Really good book. I highly recommend it!" We asked Rob if he has met his new mission president yet. He said, "We met the mission president and his wife a few weeks ago and he comes to our branch for church, so I'm assuming the mission home is pretty close [new mission, new mission home; apparently Rob has not yet been there]. Seems like a really nice guy, great people." Regarding investigators he is teaching, Rob wrote, "We have a few people who 'PROMISED' they'd make it out to church but no one showed :P. We're gonna try to do some things that'll get them there, though." Roger and I both told him we are thinking about him a lot with the recent hot, humid, and rainy weather here. He said, "That's nice about the humidity and rain! Get a little taste of Barbados over there. hahah ;). It's still raining here off and on all the time and it's constantly hot, but I'm getting a nice tan going on, so that's good. As far as transfers go, I have no idea if I'll get transferred or not, but transfers will be in two weeks so we'll see. I'm okay with leaving, I'm okay with staying. It's wherever the Lord sends me. I'm not too concerned about it. Tell Baxter [the dog] to book a flight so we can hang out in Black Rock!"
I found this picture on the West Indies/Barbados Facebook page. Nice photo of Rob with the new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Herrington, along with other missionaries and branch members. Photo credit goes to Brother Taylor. Also on the WI/Barbados Facebook page this morning, this picture of Rob with his companion (to his right) and the two other elders in his zone. Not sure what they are eating, but it looks like French fries are involved. Thanks again to Ziggy Taylor for the photo.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Note: Three missionaries in red, white and blue, spelling USA with their hands. Photo caption is "Muricaaaa!" Took me a minute, but I finally got it. It's a July 4th picture, "Murica" being a patriotic contraction of "America." There is no explanation for the face Rob is making in the picture. Here are his notes from the field: "Randy [who had planned on being baptized yesterday] is complicated. Basically he has a girlfriend in Guyana right now that will be moving back in 10 weeks. Elder Wilson and I decided we could figure out the plans for that after baptism, but our zone leader here gave him the interview and he basically foretold future sin. Weird, right? But it's okay. We are still working with Randy and hope he will be ready for baptism soon. Nothing too exciting here. I was on the news for Agriculture day. haha. It was kinda cool. We have an investigator who is steadily reading the Book of Mormon, which is exciting cuz he seems really interested in it. But other than that nothing really exciting has gone on. Hopefully we'll work out this whole Randy situation soon though!" Rob's nephew Riley was just ordained a deacon, so reacting to that news he wrote, "That's crazy that Riley is already that old! Time flies. Let's hope these 2 years pick up as well. haha. Just kidding. I love it out here but there are times when I miss the simple things in life.:P HOW'S BAXTER!?"
This is a picture of Rob with branch members at Agriculture Day. No details, and the photo is courtesy of Ziggy, a branch member.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The photo above was taken a few weeks ago at a zone conference in Barbados, and features the outgoing mission presidency, along with Elder Platt, second from left in the back row. We just received the picture through a mission newsletter online, and decided to post it this week because there are no new photos from Rob in his emails. He is excited for Randy's baptism this coming Sunday. Here is his email: "Randy is doing great and he'll be baptized this Sunday! Can't wait! It's gonna be rad. He's pretty stoked on it too. I know it'll help to have more priesthood, or soon to be priesthood, considering there are only like two active holders here. :P Anyway, time is just going really slow right now, but I told myself from the start that I'm not gonna give up, so I'm just biding my time right now. Just want you to know I love you guys and I'm so glad that I was raised the way I was, with morals and such. So thank you! Any who, I just finished John and a lot of it is still confusing but I'm getting into Acts right now. I just wish I had studied this stuff a little more before I came out here. haha. I feel so inadequate sometimes. O well. I am just struggling with some home sickness this week, but it is what it is and nothing is gonna stop me from progressing this work! HOW'S BAXTER??? [the dog] Tell him I miss him and I'll be home soon. haha.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Mission, New Companion

Some time in July, Rob's mission will officially change to the Barbados Bridgetown Mission. Eventually he may be transferred to any of the islands in the mission, but for now he will remain in Barbados long enough to have a baptism in two weeks, if all goes to plan. He is really happy to be where he is, and happy with his new companion. Here is his latest email: "Randy is gonna be baptized not this Sunday but next Sunday, and I'm super excited! My new companion is all right, not as gung ho as Elder Wilson, but it's whatever - we still get work done plus he knows how to cook, so that's a huge plus for me ;). I didn't take a whole lot of pictures this week, but I sure do miss you guys and can't wait to come back and share some cool experiences with you! Anyways, things have been pretty hectic because of the mission splitting and all that jazz, you know? Things are good. The rain has let up quite a lot, which is nice , but ya, I'm just trying to keep doing the Lord's work. O ya, I started John in the New Testament recently and I'm like so confused. lol. If you could help me out that would be rad. haha. Thanks. Love to hear from you guys! Keep the snail mail coming. It's much appreciated. Love you!"
This is a picture sent last week, at the caving excursion. No pictures this week. Below is a picture of the shirt Roger received for Father's Day, with a partial map of Rob's mission on it. Rob's reaction: "What the bird? That shirt is way cool! Lol. My parents are more stylish than me these days. haha."
The red circle on the shirt was added in photoshop to show where Barbados is - covered by a lovely tropical flower.