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 was Independence Day in St. Lucia, so Rob was unable to send email until today. Since his camera broke, I am including a panorama shot of St. Lucia I found on a google search. The new camera arrived yesterday, so we will hope for Rob's photos to resume next week. Here are his notes from Castries:
"Hey, sorry I wasn't able to email you yesterday. Things got held up at the email place, but independence day was so cool! Lots of people doing a whole lot of stupid things haha! It was cool seeing all the lights everywhere and all the cool decorations though! How's everything back home??? The baptism is going to be this weekend, so we'll see if it still goes through! :D I'm excited for her. I think she's very apprehensive but it's nice to have her mom there with her because she went through the same thing and she basically tells her 'its scary at first but don't worry. Once you get in you won't even care who's around you, you'll just be in your own world.' lol So it's good to have her there for the positive encouragement. It truly is inspiring to me how hard working Dad is. I look up to him big time for that. I tell people all the time out here 'my dad's a freaking champ. He kills cockroaches all day!' haha I don't know how you do it but you are one awesome man! I miss you guys too. Thanks for the prayers and everything you do for me. I'm trying to be better every day and work harder at being a more consecrated missionary, as hard as it is sometimes. I catch myself falling short a lot of the time and I just need to be more focused and choose what is right on a constant basis. Something that's really stood strong with me is that as long as we keep the commandments we will prosper. I know it sounds simple but when we look back at the last general conference sometimes bringing it back to basics really is the key to all of this. I don't think the Lord wants His church to be all in depth and complicated, He made it as simple as it needs to be but at the same time a never ending supply of complexities, not to confuse us, but to have us constantly working. The Lord will only give us as much as we can handle right? Anyway, I'll send pictures this week from the baptism. Hopefully all goes well :P Love you guys more than you'll ever know! :) Tell Baxter i love him ;) That must've been fun to have the kids over though. You should send me a copy of President Fisler's book! Sounds really good. President Fisler is a super smart guy. Plus I love the way he treats people, I bet it'll be a really good read. :P Thanks for the uplifting encouragement though. I feel bad I always write you guys about how hard the mission is. I should really be writing more uplifting things. There's a lot out here that is really cool and a lot of good successes happening and I'm just trying to push forward and do good. We have zone conference coming up this weekend. Life is good. My understanding for our Savior's Atonement has been magnified quite a bit in these last few days. It's so hard to even really gain a concept or even grasp what it is or how it happened but boy am I grateful for it. I just can't believe how much He must truly love us. It's quite amazing. But I have to go. Sorry it's short but I loveyo u guys a LOT! And I miss you guys like nothin' else but I'll be home just now to come and hang out and start tackling life! haha love u!
Yesterday was Rob's birthday, and we missed having Rob here, but love hearing about what he is up to in St. Lucia. We appreciate so much the branch members who made his day special even though he is far from home. Here are notes from his emails today:
"Hello! Ya, a birthday in the mission is to be as expected. Johnathen hooked me up with three really cool lookin' ties for my b-day though, which was really nice of him! Ya it was weird being away from home for the first time on my b-day. lol Kinda strange but I tried to make the best of it :P Christina fed me REALLY well along with the rest of the district. lol It was super fun. And then Sancha (her daughter) finally set a baptismal date for the 27th which was really cool! I'm stoked for her. She wants me to baptize her so that should be fun! Christina is this really nice lady who has been meeting with the elders for awhile and finally decided to make the plunge. She's always reply nice to us and her home is like a home away from home to us cuz she always feeds us and makes sure we are comfortable, then she usually beats me for playing with the kids too much. She always says, 'Elder Platt, you see you? He be playing too much!' haha. Then we all laugh. It's a good time. Elder Renlund's talk sounds really powerful. He's so right too, without a belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet we can't really do anything else, which is why the Book of Mormon is so centered on everything that we do! Thanks for the package, and sorry about the camera! Totally broke it while traversing that cliff :P But ya, love is so essential when it comes to EVERYTHING, like when Jesus tell us the most important commandments of all. That always rings out strong to me. I'm just hoping things will speed up in the next year. Like I'm still gonna work my tail off but I'm just over teaching the same lessons every time. With so many similar outcomes and questions and doubts that people have, it's annoying. lol I don't think I've ever had to do anything as challenging as this right here. Just is a rough road, but I see blessings every day, and I'm hoping they are coming your way as well. But I know my work is not done and I need to keep pressing forward. Think I just need to switch it up, just know I love you guys and think about ya all the time and can't wait to catch up and hang out with everyone again. Love you guys!"
Rob was able to give us a little more information about last week's baptism in his email today. Also, it sounds like they had a fun P-day on Pigeon Island, and he continues to learn and grow in the gospel. Here are his notes from St. Lucia: "Heyo! Ya, the baptism was cool. The Elders before me had begun teaching Christina and she decided to take the plunge while we were there, so that was really cool! But anyways, lol, it was actually really cool. She was really nervous at first but Elder Hardy and I gave the talks during the opening and she said it really comforted her and all her cares kind of just went away, which was rad! She's always telling me she's going to beat me in church because 'Elder Platt, you play too much!' Her exact words. lol She keeps me in check. :P haha. I'm just trying to staying focused and have as much fun as possible. Some days are a lot harder than others, but it will all come to end sometime. One thing that really stood out to me was on Sunday during principles an investigator was confused about the Atonement. His question was, 'Why do we need to repent if we're never going to be perfect? why even try?' And I told him that just because we won't achieve it doesn't mean we have the option to stop trying, because one day we will all be judged and it doesn't matter how much we really accomplished, it just matters how hard we try. If we try our hardest then we will get our just reward. Then it kinda dawned on me. I'm like, ah crap, same applies to me. I shouldn't be judging myself because as long as I try my hardest I'll be rewarded justly. *face palm moment* lol So just gotta keep to the grind and push forward and not worry about it so much, ya know? Anyway, that's what I learned this week. That's cool Dad got to hang out with brother Jarman for a bit. Ya, me and Nate talk pretty often. Except now that he's a dad! Wild. I still can't believe that! But needless to say, I'm sure he's a very busy man these days. And ya! One year mark coming up. woot woot! Chances are time won't speed up, cuz I don't think I'm ever going to be done with this place. [In response to my report on the Super Bowl] Stinking Peyton Manning! meh. O well, I guess he deserves it, that old foggy. ;) lol Well, as far as the mission goes things here have been pretty rough. Just not a whole lot of success, :/ just constant little bits of progression then just back to their old ways. :P This guy Curtis that we've been teaching for a while just had like a break through experience where we watched the Restoration movie with him and he was like, "Wish I had seen that earlier! Now I get why Joseph Smith is so important," with this, that and the other thing. He also started reading the BoM and was like, "It just occurred to me that when I read it takes away my desire to smoke and I sleep better and it's awesome!"... Then we come over the next day and he's smoking weed with his friends and his friends get all up in our business about pointless doctrine like how Noah could possibly put EVERY animal in the ark if he would've needed to go to all parts of the world to get those animals and crap like that. We tried explaining the complexities of God but he was just disagreeing with everything and ya lol.... So we came to get him for church and he was like, "Nah, I'm not gonna go. I don't really think I believe in this anymore." So I'm just sitting there jaw dropped like "HOW!?" It's amazing to me how outside influence can just warp someone's entire perception. blah! O well. Agency is good I guess >.> lol Just kidding. It is just frustrating. Hopefully he'll come around again. I think we need to either just work with him more or drop him... hopefully not the latter tho. I've come to the realization that bashing is probably not the way to go. Doesn't ever convert anyone, all it does is make the person feel stupid and drive the Spirit away, so I'm gonna do better at that. lol Funny how Satan works tho. The day I decided to not bash anymore I had done studies that morning and finished The Great Apostasy (freaking awesome bashing book btw :P.) Anyways, it finishes off basically talking about all the corrupt things the Catholic church did early on in like the dark ages and stuff. But that day we contacted and EVERY SINGLE person we contacted was Catholic. I'm just sitting there like :X, like an animal in a cage wanting to make them feel dumb. BUT I didn't. lol I was pretty proud of myself. :P I'm getting better right? :X But that's been my week. Today we went to Pigeon Island to go hiking and some of the missionaries and myself climbed down this HUGE cliff! haha It was actually kinda scary like we were pretty high up :P I'll send pics but ya, that's my week. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Have a good v-day! Just know I love you and can't wait to come back home and start my new life. lol Bye!
Rob was blessed to be able to participate in another baptism this weekend. His time and notes were short today, but he sounds good and the photos he sent more than make up for it. Here are his emails home: "Jonathan received the Aaronic priesthood yesterday, and was called to be the Young Men's president, which was pretty cool! Johnathan is a great guy! Really cool to watch him grow in the faith. And the baptism did happen and it was soooooooooo good. I'll try to send you as many photos as I can, but you know I'm always on a time crunch. Things here are good! I'm just trying to help people come closer to Christ, ya know? The usual. lol ;). The Great Apostasy has been a great book so far. Thanks for sending that! I am still with Elder Hardy. I realize it is all going to come to an end at some point, so I might as well have fun while I'm here. [I mentioned in my email that Chinese New Year is coming up and that it is the year of the monkey.] Of course it's the Chinese year of the monkey! Obviously Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something here. Tell Baxter it can't always be the year of the Maltipoo. Sorry time is short today. I got a lot to email and a lot of pictures as well, but I'm going to send a long one next time! Sorry again, hope all is well! Love you guys!"