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, August 29, 2016

P-day in Beckway and Dancing Rasta

Rob had a great P-day visiting one of the Grenadine Islands, Beckway. It's good they have a day for recharging their batteries, as the day-to-day life of a missionary can be difficult. Here are this week's notes from St. Vincent: "We just went to the island 'Beckway' for P-day and walked around and got to ride on a boat. I'll send some pics in a sec. It was actually really fun! Lots of cool scenery. Ankle still hurts a little, I think cuz I'm not giving it much rest. The work must continue, right!? haha. So church on Sunday was kind of a miracle. lol. We didn't have any investigators show up (4 said they would be there) as usual, but these 2 other RANDOM people that live in our area were brought by other members, so it was like 'WHOA, add 2 to the teaching pool!' haha. Pretty cool. We also got to go to the turtle park in Beckway and pick up big and small turtles! It was cool! As far as me spiritually, I'm still growing slowly. Had the same old white guy find me again today and wanted to tear down my testimony more which was kind of a let down. But the more attacked I get I try to turn it into a learning experience so I can see where other people are coming from, ya know? Like we had this fireside at the branch on Friday called 'Are Mormons Christian?' They brought out a really good point, and that is: when people ask that question they are really asking 'Do you believe in Christ?' and 'What sets you apart from other Christians?' So it's an interesting account to take in. You know the cliche, we teach the same things and it all comes down to revelation. No other faith will tell you they have divine intervention through revelation directly from God Himself, ya know? Well, maybe Catholics, but you know what I mean, right? I mean it all boils down to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which is what we teach. But to convey that to the unlearned and the stubborn and the prideful can be kinda a tricky thing sometimes, as simple as it may sound to us. Time is slow... haha, always slow. Some days we get cursed at and spit at and laughed up, but anyways, all is well. The work continues. Sometimes it's harder to see the end goal than at other times, but the road is strait and narrow. All we can do is keep hoping things will get better :). Fingers crossed. In brighter news, there was a Rasta man who tried to rob Elder Jackson a couple weeks ago and he was dancing on a roof singing about Selassie I. lol. He was extremely intoxicated, but I thought it would be funny to go up on the roof and start dancing with him... so I did. bwahahaha. He didn't do anything though. :( Really thought he was gonna start freaking out on me... o well. :/ But ya, that's been my week. lol. Progressing investigators are few and far between. Just trying to hang in there, plug away, ya know? I'd be lying if I said I'm not super exctied and ready to come home. lol. But I know the work comes first. I was thinking about school and I want to start getting all my ducks in a row and figure out what I'm doing when I get home so I'm not caught up doing nothing. Hopefully I can figure it out before I come home. Thanks for the continual support, it really helps a lot! Anyways, one love, miss you guys and love you! Hope all is well! Jah bless."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Still in Vincy

Rob will be in St. Vincent another 6 weeks. He didn't say where this picture was taken, but I love seeing the people of St. Vincent and like to imagine it is one of the homes where he was fed. Here are his notes from this week: "HEY, things in Vincy are good! haha Ya, I forgot to tell you the tripanionship split up a while ago. Elder Anderson left to St. Maarten a few weeks ago, but transfer calls did come in and Elder Jackson and I will be serving together for another 6 weeks. I don't know how I feel about it. haha. Campden Park is a tough area, but I know it's where I'm supposed to be right now. I'll just work my tail off and hopefully things will go by quick. haha. I sent some pics this morning when we stopped by the church. lol. So we did 3 service projects in one day! It was nuts, we painted a house for the first one and I ended up rolling my ankle moving some cinder blocks. :/ I didn't think it was that serious so we went to cut some grass with cutlasses (machetes) out at a less active's house and it got way worse. haha. Had to take it easy. But when I got home my ankle was the size of a softball. lol. So I limped over to the third one and let Jackson handle the heat of the sun. haha. Cool story about the less active we cut grass for tho! So Elder Jackson was told by a missionary that served in Campden Park (a guy who lives here now and is actually the branch mission leader) about her. Her name is Miss V. and he said NOT to bring up living with her boyfriend cuz she gets really offended. But the last time we went over there we had found out he's moved out and they BOTH want to get back on track with the Lord! haha. Pretty amazing right? Lots of tears shed. You could totally feel the Spirit in the room. Anyway the boyfriend moved to the sisters' area and they are teaching him and Miss V. has been coming to church for the past few Sundays now! :P Way cool. O, and the picture of my cutlass- I don't know if I ever told you but I bought a cutlass in St. Lucia and had an investigator shave off the end of it to make it look more like a sword. bahaha. Cuz why not, right??? Then I took it to an old African Rasta guy who carved some tiki symbols in the handle and made me a sheath for it. LOL. It's pretty rad. As we were doing service I got taught how to use it by some guy who was dumb (literally couldnt speak). He would just point at me and shake his head, and then take my cutlass from me and show me the correct way. Not sure if I ever got it right. lol. But ya, that's been my week. We got in contact with one of our investigators who had a baptismal date. He kinda fell off the face of the planet for awhile, but when we met him again something seems to have changed in him. I dont know what happened exactly but he seems more humble, so we'll see how it goes. :P P-days usually consist of football (soccer) here. I don't know if I told you but the mission president banned the use of beaches on p-day cuz of a missionary who tore her ACL playing volleyball out here. so that's kinda bad, I miss my volleyball. :/ O well. They do have KFC out here. In fact at the airport the first sign I saw was a big sign that said "Welcome to St Vincent! Home of the world best KFC." bahaha They sure do love their fried chicken out here. We got fed yesterday one of the most delicious meals I've ever had! It was still the same old rice with peas (beans) and chicken, but it also had some mashed potatoes and some potato salad that was really good. Emmanuel (the lost investigator was talking about) also made us breadfruit and chicken on Saturday which was really good! He somehow was able to make the breadfruit taste super sweet! I don't know how he did it. lol. O, I also sent you a pic of a GIANT avacado. haha. Emmanuel gave it to us and I was like WHOA that thing is huge! He was like, "Man I just had one last week that was way bigger than that one." haha. Pretty crazy, right? Anyways progressing investigators are few and far between. :/ We'll change that just now tho. It can be discouraging, I don't think you can really grasp it unless you come out and do it ya know? Pouring your heart out to complete strangers everyday while getting doors slammed in your face is emotionally exhausting. haha I was telling Jackons about that earlier like "I always wondered why missionaries came back depressed but I get it now. They just came back from a freaking war pretty much." haha. I know that's not the reason but if it was that'd make a lot of sense. The Lord sends his love in very harsh ways sometimes, but as long as you can realize it's for your benefit it will all work out ya know? Like Nephi said, the Lord giveth no commandment save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commanded... or something like that. But ya, things will work out. Just need to learn to rely on Him, easier said than done sometimes, which is kinda goofy if you think about it ya know? Like He is all powerful and we know that, so why do we continue to doubt His will? Idk probably just the natural man. That's weird to think Pres. Ellsworth is no longer our stake president. I'll miss him in that spot too. :/ One of my good friends from St. Lucia is leaving the island on Monday which is kinda sad. :( But life goes on. You would think I would get used to saying goodbyes but it's still hard. Miss you guys a whole lot. But everything here is going really well, just trying to make the best of it. Hoping to have another baptism this transfer. :P Cross your fingers! Anyways long email today. Hope you enjoyed the pics. Jah bless! Love you guys."
Strangest avocado I've ever seen. Thought it was a mango.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jah Bless!

Baptisms are up on the island of St. Vincent, and Rob was happy to be part of one on Saturday. He sent more pictures this week, including these from the baptism. Here are his emails: "This weekend was really good, the baptism went well. Elder Jackson baptized Jevoni. It was really awesome! I probably mentioned this before, but Jevoni has been taught by dozens of missionaries in the past and finally he was ready to take the step! There have been a lot of baptisms in St. Vincent these past few weeks! Kinda cool cuz last month the whole mission only got 4 baptisms and now St. Vincent alone has had a total of 5 in 2 weeks! It's funny, I was talking with Elder Wilson (my trainer/first companion) over email and he told me he had taught Jevoni while he was here. Kinda funny, cuz Elder Wilson served in Gouyave too, so we were able to catch up on all the areas. I am sorry to hear President Ellsworth has been released, he is the best! I like the comparison you told me about in his talk with the coins. That's really cool. Ya know, it seems like we all judge ourselves on our self worth and how much we've accomplished in life, but if we keep the big picture in mind we aren't taking any of that with us. It's kinda like Mom's last email about our personal light. That's really what matters in this life. Putting the Lord first is what will bring us eternal happiness. In answer to your question about the Zika, ya, it is fading away. I'm not too worried about it any more. Hopefully they come up with a vaccine of some sort. Thanks for sending the article about Chris Roundy! That's crazy! Man, I haven't seen that kid in forever!!! That's so cool. haha. Maybe he can cure my virus! One can only hope. I'm not feeling 100% today, kinda just feeling out of it, but things will get better, right? haha. Wish you guys were here to tell me that they will be. Hope all is well on the home front and you guys are doing well. That'll be cool to have Jana and the kids there though. This week's been an emotional rollercoaster, BUT I'm hanging in there, ya know? One day at a time. Poor Baxter! He is so misunderstood! He never gets enough attention. Love you! Jah bless!"

Monday, August 8, 2016

Zika Saga Continues

In spite of the Zika virus (evident on Rob's face in this breakfast picture), Rob seems to be upbeat and doing well. Here are his emails from St. Vincent this week: "All is well here. I'm still on the brink of death with the Zika. :( Apparently it has some after effects on me that have left me feeling pretty crummy, but what can ya do? The work goes on, right? The baptism will be going through this weekend. Jevoni had his interview and is getting baptized Saturday. I'm super pumped! Jevoni is a good kid, we're happy to see him progress to that stage. We agreed when Elder Jackson gets home we're all gonna go through the temple together so that'll be saweetttttt! I have a plan for when I get back, btw. Check this out: I'm gonna fast for 24 hours the day before I leave for home, break my fast, come home, get set apart, do a session in the temple, and afterwards sit in the celestial room with a pen and paper and write down my ambitions and goals for life while in the temple. Sounds pretty solid right? I thought so ;) I think working in the temple would be awesome. I miss it there! Hope all is well on the home front. I miss you guys a lot! Can't wait to be home and share pictures and just hang out with the fam and watch Star Wars. LOL I'm stoked for that. Buttttttt I still have 7 more months to go so I should probably keep my head to the grind (even if it's pounding everyday nowadays -____-). To answer your questions about the church here, the meetinghouse is actually like a legit chapel! :O! Crazy. haha. It has pews and a pulpit, the whole 9! Pretty cool. Makes me feel like home! Until testimony meeting yesterday that is. haha. So many crazy people! The Caribbean has their fair share of crazies but St. Vincent I think takes the cake! haha. Not so much in the church, but on the streets. O man! Lots of people that have just lost it! lol. I love it though, makes for an interesting time. No bikes in this area unfortunately, or maybe fortunately. There are a LOT of hills, like our whole area is just STEEP hills. #goodworkout. We take the bus frequently. Ya, my diet has kinda kicked back up, which is nice. I'm losing weight again, mainly cuz of the sickness, but ya. My studies are getting more and more intense. Lots of new things to look up thanks to this investigator who has been drilling us on the spirit world. -____- Always something, ya know? It's crazy how inspired the Lord is, for instance, I had just got into a huge discussion with an investigator about repenting in the spirit world and she was very confused, cuz the OT occasionally says once we're dead that's it. :/ I shared with her 1 Peter 4:6? I can't remember the exact scripture but you know what I'm talking about, and John 3:25. But she still was confused, so having that letter Mom sent me directly on Alma 40 was truly inspirational! haha. Pretty cool. That's crazy about all the changes coming up in the wards! Not that it'll matter much when I get home, considering everyone in the home ward is like all gone anyways. lol. As soon as my camera gets here I will take LOTS of pictures, I promise. My #1 weakness is I don't take enough pictures. Good thing I have reminders from the home front. ;) haha, And ya, the work is going well. We were able to teach a lot of people this week. One of the lessons was actually really cool. There was a guy the elders have been teaching for a very long time and he finally was like, 'You were right. I need to change my ways. I need to go back to my family. The church is true.' Lots of crying. The Spirit was clearly there, it was amazing. It was cool to see the change of heart in someone. Makes me wonder if that's what will happen to investigators I have dropped in the past or even ones I had to leave on other islands that didn't seem to be super interested. I don't know. I guess only time will tell. Thanks again for all the love and support from both of you guys, though. It truly helps me more than you can imagine. I'm workin my butt off out here and I hope you get to see the blessings out there. Love u guys!"
The promised Zika photos. In the last one, Rob's companion looks like he is being hugged by a leper. Poor guy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dreaded Zika!

Thanks to Sister Layton for supplying this week's photo (an old one from Grenada). Rob's letters were short this week, perhaps because he has been down with the dreaded Zika virus. Sounds like he is on the mend, and we hope for better news next week. Here are his notes: "Heyyy! Ya, Vincy is ok (apparently they have holidays every Monday too ;)). We are seeing some success, though I got Zika this past week. XP Kinda a bummer. lol. But it has already passed which is quicker than most folks that get it. It was pretty gnarly I had a rash that covered my ENTIRE body! It was wild. The woman we were teaching dropped us, but we ran into an investigator who's been through 10 sets of missionaries. He's been to church every week now and has a baptismal date set. Jevoni is going to be baptized on the 13th. He's our most progressing investigator right now! He seems pretty solid, like normally I don't like to get my hopes up, but with him it's like I'm pretty sure he'll take the dunk, so that's exciting. Life her is, well... hot. haha. As usual. That never changes. The branch is amazingly stable! Which is awesome. Don't have to do a whole lot on Sundays, which is GREAT! Food is the same. Not getting hassled as much on the streets as I was in previous weeks. I may or may not have told a few people off. haha. I think the culture here is just used to missionaries taking crap with a smile and walking away empty handed... till they met me ;). Nothing to be proud about I guess though. Sounds like everyone is leaving/moving away from PQ3. Pretty crazy! And that's too bad that President Ellsworth will be released! He'll be missed greatly. I have been extremely trunky this week, probably becuase a majority of it has been spent inside due to my Zika. Sorry for the short email today. I will send more with pics of my Zika next week. Love you guys! One love." [Mom note: Do I want pictures of his Zika? No, I do not. Sounds like I have a week to prepare for them :^(]