Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 26

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  I loved skyping home and seeing the family.  It was a fun day for sure.
It was a pretty busy week with different Christmas activities within the mission, so we didn't get too much solid work in.  We spent a lot of time just street contacting.  Lots of good contacts!  But not any great success stories unfortunately.

On Wednesday we all went to the stake center and president delivered our packages to us, then I went on an exchange with Elder Sundrud from Highline.  He's super good at singing so we sang some Christmas hymns for people that day.  "J" loved it.  She's come to church 2 weeks in a row!  She said that she wants to join, she's just way too afraid of water.

"A" is progressing.  He's only smoked a couple of times in the last 3 days!

We had a Christmas Eve zone party at the stake center which was pretty fun!  The hermanas made enough food for the whole zone so that was sweet.  Then we played jeopardy and watched Christmas videos.  Christmas day was super fun too; we hung out with 2 families in the ward and had an Italian Christmas dinner!

Sunday night we had another fireside, I was most excited to see Moses come!  First time I've seen him since his confirmation.

Last night we got a call from the APs, Elder Woolf and I are staying in West Seattle for another transfer, probably my last here.  I also got released as district leader, but it's OK, I still have my son!!

Elder Hodson got transferred, one of those pictures is from this morning when he came to say goodbye.  We were so sad!

Here's one of my favorite scriptures for the Christmas season, even though it's passing.  Every day is Christmas on a mission!  It's Isaiah 9:6: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everylasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Robb

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 25

Hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season as much as I am!

This week we had our first district meeting and it went pretty well.  I was probably a lot more stressed for it than I should have been.  It doesn't help that the zone leaders are in my district.  It went well.  I trained on the nature and characteristics of God and then we talked about how we can effectively teach that doctrine to others.

Afterwards we went straight to "Y"'s (South Seattle College student) house and we had our first formal sit-down lesson.  Coincidentally, we ended up discussing the nature of God, because "Y" doesn't have much Christian background.  He's only been in the USA for a year and a half.  At the end of the lesson, he said a prayer, he told us that in all his years of praying, he's never felt like he did at that moment.  He literally felt God's presence and His love right there in front of us. It was a super cool experience.  He came to church yesterday and loved it.

Our best lessons have been with "B", they're much more conversation-like, which is the ideal.  We know she feels the spirit and she's even told us that she's planning on being baptized, but every time we try to pick a date she just pushes it off.  It's tough!  She says she just doesn't want to commit just yet.  We know God is working with her and it will work out in His time.

We had our Christmas party with other missionaries on Friday!  It was pretty fun, aside from the fact that they held our packages for another week!  Not sure why. . . but that's OK.  I was planning on opening them right then and there, but at this point I might as well just wait for Christmas.

We found a couple new investigators this week . . . we were tracting an apartment complex absolutely no one was answering.  Only one door opened in that complex, and he let us in and we had an awesome conversation.  His name is "A", he's from Ecuador and he actually ran into missionaries down there at one point and they gave him a Book of Mormon.  We went through the restoration with him and he really loved it.  He talked about how he's been looking for more meaning in his life and how he really wants to strengthen his relationship with his family.  It was funny, how every question he asked, Elder Woolf and I just thought, "the gospel can help you with that!"  It was a great night, only one door but he was ready!  He's scheduled to be baptized in January.

After that we went to get some gas, and this brother in a turban comes up and asks us where the nearest ward is.  He's visiting from Arizona, so we ended up giving him a ride on Sunday.  He's big into music production, and we asked him how he got so high up.  He said his son is a really big rapper and he'd only tell us who it was if we guessed right.  First guess!!  He's T.I.'s dad!!!  We ended up having 3 investigators at church too.  "A" came, "Y" came, and we were able to get "J" there as well.  A great week here.  The work is moving forward!  The Lord is helping us out every day.  Miracles all day every day in West Seattle!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and remember the real reason that we celebrate.

Elder Robb

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 24

Hey everyone!

Don't have a lot of time but this week was pretty good.  We met a new investigator that goes to South Seattle College here and we just clicked right off the bat.  We invited him to be baptized in a follow-up appointment and he's down!

We're super close to getting Beth to commit to baptism, she just really wants to know without a doubt that this is what she needs to do.  We've been talking with her a lot about faith and how God works through faith.  We "receive no witness until after the trial of our faith!"

"A" was supposed to quit smoking on Saturday but we lost contact with him, so things are doubtful.  His phone is out of minutes.  We were planning on seeing a baptism with him on Saturday, we waited for him there but he didn't show up.  We're going to drop by tonight.

Tomorrow is our first district meeting, now that the transfer is almost over.  It's been a busy month!  I'm excited to get my first chance to give training though!  This week we're also having our Christmas party on Thursday!  We made a video as a zone that I'll try to get my hands on to send home!

We had Elder Daniel Johnson of the seventy come to our mission this week and do a zone conference.  I'll try to remember to write about it next week.

I've definitely grown a lot on my mission, it's been a great few months.

I love you!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 23


It was a good, rainy week.  It's amazing to me that it's almost Christmas.  The junction in West Seattle looks super festive, we've got our Christmas lights up in the apartment and we've got the Christmas hymns blasting in the car.  Tis the season!
Elder Woolf and I have been working our butts off this transfer finding people to teach.  We've got a good few people we're working with and we have high hopes for them!  We went through the area book in weekly planning and looked for some more people, and that's where we found J.  We went over later that day and talked with her.  We were hoping she'd come to church with us but that fell through, nonetheless, she said she still wants to be baptized, she just has to get over her fear of water, and her love for coffee.

We've been trying more street contacting.  Fun story though, last night while we were street contacting at the junction, Cage the Elephant was playing a concert at the record store!  Super cool, it's not every day a big name band like that plays in downtown West Seattle.

We got invited into people's homes more than ever before this week.  When it rains on us people are pretty nice.  We went on exchanges with the zone leaders a few days ago.  I went with Elder Jones, who was actually my first zone leader way back in Bothell.  It was pretty fun; he helped me be more bold in talking with everyone.

I had the opportunity to interview 3 people for baptism this week, which was a fun experience.  I always ask them to share their testimony with me at the end of the interview and I love it.  It's great to hear the simplicity of their beliefs.  I always complicate the gospel, so it's great to hear it from others in a pure and basic testimony.  On that note, I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

I love you all,

Elder Robb

The above picture and this one were taken by Jo.  She is so good to (Ben) the missionaries taking them for dinner and sharing pictures with us.  They had a linger longer after church on Sunday.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 22

HELLO everyone!  Another great week!  We had an awesome member take us to a super nice pizza place on Alki Beach.  Afterwards we went to Top Pot Donuts.  I guess it's a really big deal here because Obama endorsed them when he came here.
Picture courtesy of Jo Sivley

For Thanksgiving we spent the day with other missionaries and President, then we went to a member meal.  There was lots of people and lots of kids!
This week I went on my first exchange as a district leader!  I stayed in West Seattle with Elder Packer, from Highline Somoa.  He's only been out her one less transfer than myself, and he's a really great missionary!  It was funny how we had never worked together before but we were pretty united in our teaching.  We found 7 new investigators that day.  The best experience came later that night when we were out tracting some apartments.  We weren't having much success, so we walked up a different hill.  We knocked some doors and still no success, so we decided to just say a prayer for guidance at one corner.  We ended up walking up this staircase that led us to a different neighborhood, and the first door we knocked, this guy was in the process of moving.  We talked for a while and turns out he's an inactive member who was baptized 4 years ago.  Elder Packer and I were blown away!  We're going to be working on getting him back to church now!  We said another prayer and ended up knocking on the door of a lady who let us in and we taught the restoration to her.  It's super rare that this stuff happens, you could call it a coincidence, but I just can't.
We're teaching a 97 year old lady from Louisiana.  She apparently has already read the entire Book of Mormon and she's going to come to church with us next week hopefully!

This week a really great scripture that hit me was Mosiah chapter 5 verse 2: "And they all cried with one voice, saying:  Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."

It's really great how the spirit and a knowledge of the words of God can make us change to be better.  It's been a cool experience to serve a mission and grow!

Love you all!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 21

It's been a good first week with Elder Woolf!  He's a great missionary, a whole lot better than I was when I started.

We had zone conference this week at the Bothell Stake Center!  It's good to hear from President and other mission leaders.  They installed Tiwi black boxes in our cars though.  I'm a good driver but this is making me extra careful.  If I get too many violations they'll stick me in a bike area!  Not what I want when it's this cold and wet outside!!  The traffic coming back from conference was insane, but we did have time to meet with one of our investigators.  It was the first time she actually let us in and we were able to have a solid lesson about the Book of Mormon.  She's committed to do everything we challenged her with!

We had an emergency preparedness event at church on Saturday, so we went and introduced Elder Woolf to a lot of members, after that we had a really rough day . . . Saturday's are usually a good day to catch the people we're working with, but no one was home.  We only had about 45 minutes left before dinner and we wanted to be as effective as possible so we prayerfully went through our list of people we could see and decided to visit G.  He's a really nice older guy who wasn't too sincere with learning from us, so we don't stop by often.  But we're really glad we did Saturday!  He answered the door and was a little unbalanced so we thought he was just drunk and helped him sit down, but it turns out he was actually having what he called one of his "episodes".  He had a life alert button but wouldn't let us press it!  He couldn't talk for a minute, he was nodding off and honestly there was a second where we thought he was dead!!  He came back though and siad he was really glad we were there for him.  When he came back, we just talked him down and he explained that he hates calling the ambulance because these episodes are over by the time they show up.  He figures if he dies he dies!  We're obviously glad he didn't die on our watch!!! We read a verse from the Book of Mormon with him and all jokes aside, the spirit was really strong.  Looking back, that was a lot crazier than it seemed in the moment.  God's timing . . .
One scripture that I read this week that really hit me was in the New Testament; Philippians 3:13-14:  "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  I've come to realize that we have to live by faith.  It's the only way.  Faith is for the future.  Faith is trust that God really does have great things in store, for all of us!
 I love all of you, and hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!


These next two pictures of of the Vashon Elders that he spends time with each week and gives rides from the ferry to meetings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 20

Not too much to report on this week.  We've had a lot of our investigators kind of fall off or stop progressing.  We're still working with Adam.  He's definitely progressing, he wants to start to pay tithing, which is really awesome given he's not even a member yet!

We had zone training on Friday, we focused on the importance of being consistent in our spirituality and studying the scriptures!  Elder Whiting (ZL) compared it to using mouthwash, you can't do it a couple of times a week and expect a change!

We did get some good opportunities to do service this week!  We planted some bulbs for one member and organized the shed of another.  It's been raining quite a bit this week!  We did see the sun earlier today though!

We had another great fireside this week, this one at the Bellevue South stake center.  We had to pick up the Vashon elders, so we were there super early.  The church is right behind the temple so we walked around the temple grounds for a while and took pictures (forgot my camera at home, sorry!).  We barely missed the 9:20 ferry and the next one wasn't for a whole hour so we waited and hung out with them one last time before transfers.

As for transfers, I lost Elder Skelton, but my new companion is Elder Woolf, fresh off the plane!  He's an awesome guy, we're pretty similar!  I'm excited for the next 12 weeks!  They also called me as a District Leader yesterday, so I'm feeling pretty inadequate.  I have really great missionaries in my district though; they make my life easy.

Love you all!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 19

This week I had an awesome opportunity to serve in Des Moins with my trainer for a day!  He's recovering from some sort of injury he got playing basketball, so he's been wearing a boot, but we went out and tracted in the early afternoon anyway.  One lady opened the door and was just in tears because of various things that have happened in her life recently.  We talked to her for at least 40 minutes and helped her feel God's love for her. We shared a message about charity with her from the Book of Mormon.  She said our timing was perfect and that she felt so much better.  God's timing is perfect!

Back in West Seattle, we had an interesting few days.  Some Muslim missionaries saw us walking and pulled over to talk to us.  We talked for a long time!  Really cool guys.  They asked us to say a prayer with them so we did in Arabic and apparently that's all it takes to become Muslim!  So Elder Skelton and I accidentally became Muslim.  They gave us a hug and then asked us to make them an offering so we gave them a Book of Mormon.

We tracted into a member the other day and she invited us in and gave us hot chocolate!  So awesome.

We've been working with A a lot.  He's trying to quit smoking this week!  It's been hard for him but we're praying that it works out.

Last night we had a meeting at the mission office.  They read off a list of 15 missionaries who will be training a new missionary starting next week and I'm on that list!  I'm excited for it!

This week I was reading one of the more popular chapters in the Book of Mormon and it really stuck out to me.  Moroni 7:47 says "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."  The pure love of Christ is shown by loving other people.  When we love other people, we love Christ, and when we love Christ, we love other people.  They are the same thing.  Pure love is unselfish.  This is the love Christ has for us, and that we should strive to attain.

Love you all!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 18

Last P-day we went to the mall with the Vashon and Burien Elders!  It was fun, picked a pretty bad week to do so though.  We are all pretty broke towards the end of the month.  Today we're all going to Buffalo Wild Wings and then we'll play basketball.

Later last Monday we had an awesome meal/FHE with a member.  They were trying to teach their son how to bare his testimony so we just each stood at the front of the room and shared a simple testimony.  It was fun!  After that we met with P, his wife H was sick but he invited us in to talk!  He had quests for us and we ended up teaching him about God's plan of salvation.  He says he really likes talking with us.  We also gave him a children's Book of Mormon for his kids, I hope they read it!

We had a good opportunity to do service this week.  We did lots of raking for people in the neighborhood and some members.  We were lucky enough to have the Bishop come out with us for some visits this week.  We had planned to see C, but that fell through.  We visited with a few other people in the neighborhood but nothing too solid.  Nonetheless, it was fun to be with the Bishop, he's always really motivational to us.

We had lost contact with A until the end of the week, we were really worried!  All is well though, he hasn't been able to give up smoking, he really wants to though.  He even gave us his last cigarettes last time we saw him.  He told us at church yesterday that he slipped up again, but that's okay!  He's made a lot of progress in cutting back in just the two months that we've been in West Seattle.

On Friday we had a district meeting where Elder Follett asked me to give another training on having a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  It went well.  I was terrified of giving trainings/talks when I first go here but it's gotten pretty easy.

We had a little miracle happen at church yesterday!!  Someone just showed up because one of her friends gave her the address to our church.  The testimonies we heard during sacrament meeting were great and she loved it.
Just one thought I wanted to leave with you all.  I was reading a speech by Jeffrey R. Holland this week as I was studying the attribute of charity.  He said, "I like Mormon and Paul's language that says one who truly loves is not "puffed up."  Puffed up!  Isn't that a great image?  Haven't you ever been with someone who was so conceited, so full of themselves that they seemed like the Pillsbury Doughboy?  Fred Allen said once that he saw such a fellow walking down Lovers' Lane holding his own hand.  True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves.  That is Christ's great atoning example for us, and it ought to be more evident in the kindness we show, the respect we give, and the selflessness and courtesy we employ in our personal relationships."

This is the type of love we need to strive to have in our own lives.  As we selflessly give, we will make God happy and we will change into what he wants us to become.
Hope you have a good week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 17

Last P-day we went to Vashon which was super fun; we played pool and took their jeep off-roading!  Elder Skelton was a saint and bought all of us pizza from Saucy's, because the rest of us are all broke.

We had a lot of walking days!  Trying to save miles as we near the end of the month, it's been good exercise though.  Little kids always ask us if we're cops.

Friday we had zone interviews.  It's always good to talk with President and Sister Schofield.  President reminded me that we have to live by faith, that perfect knowledge does not come on this side of the veil.  Sister Schofield encouraged me to always give thanks to God when I see his hand in my life.  Good advice!  After interviews, we went to DQ with the Vashon elders.  Elder Hodson introduced the DQ quart to me!

Saturday was spent helping a member move.  She has a piano, but that was nothing compared to the 3,000 pound printing press she owns.  That was crazy . . . Then we stopped by the church to check out the Halloween party.  None of the people we invited showed up but it was still fun.  Sister Morgan (ward mission leader's wife) kept winning the cake walk and giving me the cupcakes.  I think I had at least 5 . . .

Yesterday was definitely the best day of our week.  Elder Skelton and I felt prompted to go see a couple we tracted into a couple of weeks ago.  They grew up Buddhist but don't practice anymore.  We taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and they loved it.  This time when we stopped by we met S's sister, P.  She has a similar background but already has really great faith in Christ.  It was raining so she invited us in.  S joined her and we taught them the restoration.  It was a really powerful lesson and they loved it; they agreed to pray to find out if this is the path for them.  P accepted my invitation to baptized!  God really does prepare people for us as missionaries, we just have to be the guide for them.

Last night we had dinner with a member family and ended up talking about baseball the whole time.  They got me all caught up on the World Series!  I left them with a scripture that I read this week, 2 Samuel 22:29.  It says, "For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness."  Almost every time "light" is mentioned in the scriptures, it is referring to the Savior.  We need to remember to have faith that He will guide us, and then help be the vessel for the light to reach others.

Love you all!!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 16

This week we went on exchanges!  On Tuesday I went to Des Moins with Elder De Mille, he was in the room next to mine at the MTC and we played ball together all the time so that was pretty fun!  I didn't get the chance to bike though because we had to exchange back pretty early so I could take Elder Skelton to his second transfer training.  They gave us Costco pizza at the end.

Since Vashon Island is in our district this transfer, and the ferry is in West Seattle, we've gotten to pick up those elders quite a bit for meetings and whatever else.  We're pretty tight now!  Today Skelton and I are actually going to go hang out on the island with them.

We had our district meeting on Friday, Elder Skelton and I gave a training on how to effectively study the scriptures.

We had our investigator, Chad, come to church yesterday for the first time and he really enjoyed it.  He's starting to understand more about the atonement.

We had another member missionary fireside last night, this one was in Redmond.  It was pretty cool.  The theme of this one was to preach the gospel, regardless of how new you are to it.  The best part is always seeing my friends after it's over.  Grace gave us some sushi to take home.  I haven't had any since Bothell.

Love you!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 15

 It looks like the rain season might finally be here!  We got soaked while out tracting the other day, but we love the rain!  One person tracked us down after we knocked on his door and he was kind of rude, and he came and apologized to us.  That doesn't happen everyday!  Especially when it's pouring buckets outside.

We didn't find too many people who were interested in joining our church but a lot of people wanted to talk, so that's always fun!  It's really fun to hear about other people's experiences with religion and with God.  We met one person named Greg who answered the door wearing a duck dynasty beard because he thought we were his daughter!  He was really cool and invited us in!  We got him a Book of Mormon in supersize font.

We met with Chad and talked about Christ's atonement.  We read out of the Book of Mormon as well, the spirit was strong.

My district leader (and former trainer) challenged me to be more bold this week.  So an elderly man answered the door this week and started cursing us out!!!  Usually I will just leave it at that but he kept going and cursing us out!!  I stood up for us.  I told him nicely that we won't come back to his again but we can't control if missionaries in the future do and he got super mad.  He was in my face and everything.

My MTC companion just walked into the library and gave me a huge hug!!! Turns out we are "neighbors" now.  Today is Zone sports day so that means we'll get to play ball together again!  It's going to be a fun transfer!

Love you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Week 14

What a great week!  Elder Skelton and I survived transfers, so we're staying in West Seattle for another six weeks together!  I'm glad I'll get to finish out training him.  I'd say he's taught me as much as I've taught him though!

We've really struggled to find people to teach these past few weeks, things went so well for us when we first arrived, but we hit a rough patch.  We went on an exchange with the zone leaders.  I stayed in West Seattle with Elder Zhao.  We found so many people to teach.  Everyone was pretty nice and invited us back!  It seems like our luck has changed since then.

We had a really solid lesson with Chad and invited him to be baptized on the 24th and he said yes!  That is on hold now while he does some more research rather than jump right in.  We'll meet with him to answer any questions he has.

We tracted into a young family who's pretty interested in the Church.  They had a friend in college who was Mormon and said he had really good values.  That just goes to show the example you set really does make a difference!

General Conference was great.  It was definitely motivating.  The Samoan Ward fed us lunch, so there was lots of food to say the least.

Love you all!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 13

It was a hard week!  A lot of our appointments fell through and we didn't find too many people to teach, but I'll try to make this good.  Our one bright spot was a guy named Chad.  Just really open minded and nice.  I asked him to be baptized and he said he would be willing if he gets an answer to his prayers that this is the truth!  We actually found him while on exchanges with the district leader's companion, and that was pretty cool.

We were only able to teach one of our other investigators the whole week.  Other than that we looked for new people.  Tracting during the Seahawks game is the most ineffective time.

We met with a less active member named Harrison.  He used to be in a gang so he had lots of stories for us.  He's cool and our ward mission leader said we should have him come out on visits with us.

I had some really good pizza from this place called Zeeks!  It was crazy expensive, like 20 bucks.  It wasn't worth it but I was starving.

Love you all!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 12 - West Seattle

We had a great first week in West Seattle!!  The area is beautiful and very diverse.  You meet lots of different people.  We also have a really nice view of the skyline.  It will be even more beautiful here when the leaves start to change color.
The first few days here were super hard because we didn't know ANYONE.  We have a really involved ward mission leader though; he's been awesome and the transition went a lot more smoothly with his help.

Our first night we had dinner with the Elder family!  They bought a bunch of pizza so I was in heaven.  The next night we had a meal with a member who gave us cheese and crackers.  I love the meals here.

This week we really tried to find a lot more people to teach.  We ran into one guy who was being taught a few months ago.  He had a church tour with the missionaries but he's never actually attended Sacrament meeting!  We also found a few more people to teach.  One lady we met is really awesome.  She has been meeting with JW's for a little while so she was really interested in what we had to say as well!  She's probably our most solid investigator right now.  We only inherited one from the previous missionaries.  He's on date to be baptized next month but he needs to kick the habit of smoking.

For my birthday, Elder Skelton baked my cake and decorated it.  It was awesome.  I got a lot of great gifts and letters in the mail.
Yesterday was our first day in the new ward, and I love it!  The building has been around forever, so it looks really old school.  The members are awesome!  The Bishop is really nice too; he set up an appointment to meet with us every week so that he can stay involved in missionary work and helping us out!  On Saturday we helped the SeaTac ward do a blitz, where we go with members and visit people on the less active list to see if they're still around and invite them back to church.  It's something that our bishop has expressed interest in doing for our ward.  It'll be really beneficial for him to have all the records updated so hopefully we can get that going soon.

After church, we met with a guy that our zone leaders found when they were tracting in our area.  He's from a reservation in Montana.  He seemed really interested and would ask lots of questions.

Last night we went to the member missionary fireside.  It's always awesome to hear the testimonies of new members because they are so strong and personal.  The theme of the fireside was enduring to the end.  It was great and afterwards we got to meet with all of our friends from North Creek.  Grace even made me a red velvet birthday cake and bought me flowers!  Great week!
Love you all!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 11 - Emergency Transfer

It's been a very eventful week!  We were able to baptize Moses on Saturday, and that was just a great experience.  I forgot to tell him to bend his knees so it was a little awkward but it worked out.  He was really happy that day; he said he feels like his luck has changed now.

We had a couple people we were teaching drop us, so our teaching pool really shrunk down.  We were planning on doing a lot more finding this week.  Yesterday we got a new ward mission leader!  He's awesome and was super excited to get the members more involved in doing missionary work.  We had a meeting with him last night and came up with an awesome plan.

Just an hour after that meeting ended, we got a call from the AP's saying that we were being emergency transferred to West Seattle.  We packed as fast as we could and cleaned our apartment and this morning we left at 9am.  I haven't even been to my new area yet, so I have no idea what to expect.  I'm so excited though.  I'm still training Elder Skelton.  Its funny how I was just starting to get comfortable in North Creek, I was actually starting to hope I would stay another transfer, but we didn't even finish this one!  Change is good though, and I'm happy to be even closer to the city.  It's going to be a lot of fun, I've heard it's a good area.  Now I'm back in the same zone as Elder Follett!  He'll be pretty surprised to see me so soon.

Sorry I didn't have time to e-mail everyone back last week.  I love and miss you all.  


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Week 10

Sorry I didn't e-mail Monday, it was a mess because the library was closed and we also had zone sports day.  We played soccer and ultimate.  It was fun but then there was no e-mail time!  We had to go to the stake center in Redmond but got lost, so couldn't make it.

It was a good week though.  I wish I had more time.  I'm having my first baptism Saturday at 7, it's Moses.  He's super cool.  He turns 20 later this month and his mom (Grace, from the temple pics) is doing a combined birthday party for us on the 19th.  Moses asked me to perform the ordinance, so I'm stoked.  I'll have pics for you next week!  Yesterday our district leader came on an exchange to North Creek with me and he did the baptismal interview.  Moses said he's excited to "become a new man."  The coolest experience we had with him was asking him to pray at the end of a lesson, and he told us it's been since first grade since he had a sincere prayer.  It was really cool because you could tell he felt it.

Other than that we did a lot of service last week.  This older lady, Joni, has us going over again today.  We cut her trees, blew off her roof from the crazy storm, and cleaned the gutters.

I feel like I've grown so much in the aspect of Jesus Christ though.  I think I mentioned last week that I had started receiving answers and guidance and that has continued.  It's been great.  My faith in God is better than ever.  I think I have the faith to do anything he wants.

Other cool thing, a member pulled over and tried to give us money for dinner because they couldn't have us over and I tried so hard to deny it but they wouldn't let me!  So we had free sushi!  Then later that night, we went again (unexpectedly) with the Nakamuras!  And the even cooler thing was some random person paid for us just because we are missionaries.  So I had a lot of free sushi!

Don't have time to answer everyone's e-mails but I will get to them all on Monday, sorry for the dely.  Love and miss you!!


Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 9

Our first week into transfers went really well!  I was super stressed at first, knowing that I have a lot more responsibility now in training, but I feel like I've grown a lot more as a missionary because of it!  I've been more in tune with the spirit, I've received a lot more promptings on what to do, I'm not really worried about anything out here anymore, and I've been a lot better at teaching.

We had a lot of cool experiences when we were looking for more people to teach.  One lady just walked up to us and told us we should come talk to her family at their lemonade stand!  We talked to them for about 40 minutes.  They gave us cookies and her husband gave me a book he wrote about the Bible.  Then there was another guy who was just sitting in his driveway and had a lot of questions for us.  One of his friends used to be Mormon so he knew a good amount about our church.  We are going to go back and see both of them later this week!

Saturday morning we got to be witnesses for a kid's baptism from the ward.  When we got home there was a crazy storm!  The wind knocked over trees all over the roads, there was a lot of smashed cars in the parking lots.  We helped people clean up some of the mess and then we went out and taught a couple of investigators.  Our power was out until the next day and we got soaked in the rain!  It's been nice to have the rain though.  Since the power was out, nobody was in their houses because they were all in their cars listening to the Seahawks game, so I had a good chance to talk sports with some people!

Hope you all have a good week!


Other tidbits:

I asked about people they are teaching:  The granddaughter to the ward member is named Stephanie and we taught her last night.  She is committed to read 1 Nephi.  The guy who just walked into the stake center is Justin, we are still teaching him, just not this past week.  He was pretty sick but we have an appointment Tuesday.  We got him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Tamil and he said he'd read it.  He said he prays a lot already, so that is good!  There are two people we are teaching that were here when I started.  Brenda is one of them,  she's in her 50s and takes care of her grandkids.  She wants them to grow up in a church.  She's been really busy with her daughter's wedding and stuff but that's all over now.  The other is Sharon.  First time I met her we talked for 2 hours.

re:  new companion/training:  Elder Skelton doesn't have driving privileges but he doesn't want to drive anyway.  The training part came to me really easily.  I don't even think about it anymore.  My first day I spent my personal study time planning what we could talk about for the next two hours but teaching is just easy for me now.  They had me teach Gospel Doctrine again too, and it's just easy.  I don't worry about it.  We get along pretty well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 8 - 1st Transfer - Staying in Bothell - Trainer Now

Hey Everyone!

So this week I had the chance to go to the Seattle Temple!  It was a perfect day.  We went with two recent converts and did baptisms.  They both loved it and it was just a great experience for them.  Our ward missionary came with us also, he's been great about helping us try to get people in the ward involved with missionary work.  It's a lot more effective to work through the members than it is to knock on doors.

We've also been working with the son of the sister on the left.  He's 19 so we get along pretty well.  We've really just been hanging out with him and playing basketball, but he's agreed to take the lessons from us!  We are really excited for him, he's probably the coolest person I've met in Seattle so far.

Yesterday was tranfers!  I got a call the night before from the zone leaders saying that I was staying and Elder Follett was leaving.  I miss him!  The morning of transfers I got a call from one of the APs letting me know that I would be a trainer!  Apparently President thinks I learned enough to train a new missionary after just 6 weeks of being here.  Technically the training period is supposed to be 12 weeks, but I'm really excited for the opportunity to learn better how to teach.  As a trainee I was taught a good amount of lessons but Elder Follett really did the bulk of it.  This is going to be a huge change for me and I'm stocked to start taking the leads in teaching.

My trainee's name is Elder Skelton.  He's fresh out of high school and he was in marching band just like me!  He's from Utah and pretty nice.  He has a strong desire to learn and I know I have a lot to learn from him too!
I didn't get to mail home on Monday because they like to move preparation day to Tuesdays during transfers, I'm not so sure why, but it didn't even matter because transfers lasted until 7pm.  So we're just doing e-mail and shopping today and then we'll be back to work.  I think usually transfers are supposed to end a lot earlier but we had a group of 29 come in, and each of those missionaries has to meet with President and Sister Schofield.  While they were doing that, I was in a first-time trainer class, so it was a long day!

Love you all and thanks for the support!

Other Tidbits:
re:  Washington Fires - We had a decent amount of smoke here 3 days ago!  Its been gone ever since though.

re:  Driving the car since he is the senior companion now - YUP I got the sweet new car!!  I'm worried I'm going to get lost sometimes.  I didn't pay attention to directions as much as I probably should have.  I got us home from the mission office OK and that is what I was most worried about.

re:  Bella getting leftover pork strips from Grandma's purse - I'm trying not to laugh hard in the middle of the library at that!  LOL

re:  boxes on transfer week - A box!! No, not yet!  They hold packages on transfer week because they don't want to send them to the wrong place.  I'll probably get it Friday!!

re:  breakfast - I used to make smoothies for breakfast.  I would put banana, some vanilla yogurt, milk and some protein that I bought in there and it was pretty good.  I learned how to make a great egg sandwich from Elder Follett.  He puts cream cheese on it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 7

This week went really well!  My companion had a gift card to Red Robin so we went there and I got bottomless root beer floats for just $5.  The mugs were huge so I only got through four!  Later that night we ate with an investigator who cooked us lamb and rice, and it was really good.  I was pretty stuffed that day.
Our car was recalled this week and we now drive a 2013 Ford Fusion!  It's definitely an upgrade from the last car.  We just got done waxing it a couple of hours ago.  It is looking pretty sweet!!
It finally rained here!!  Elder Follett and I were so stoked, we went out and just knocked doors for a while.  People were a lot nicer just because they felt bad for us being out in the rain, but we loved it!

Last night we had a new member and missionary fireside.  We have one every month and it's where recent converts to the Church get up and share their experiences, and then our mission president speaks.  It's really awesome!  We had people speak Korean, Spanish and French.  Some missionaries would translate for them.  It was really great and motivational!

Not too much else went on this week.  We've just been continuing teaching the people we've been working with for the past month.  Transfers are next week, so we'll see if I'm here next time I write!  I'd be pretty surprised if they move me out of this area though!  We did get one new person to teach, someone just walked into the stake center and spoke with the stake president about taking lessons from us, so we're definitely looking forward to that this week!!

Elder Robb

Other Tidbits:

re:  Becca getting a job - I'm so happy to hear Becca got the job!  She told me the whole process took 4 hours (dropping off the application to being hired) and that's pretty unheard of.  I know she'll be really good there, she is friendly and that's the most important thing.

re:  Steph tweet was shared with him "It's 1:35am and my mom is cooking bacon . . ."  I was cooking it for a salad we were taking the next day - That's awesome haha I miss your cooking!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 6

Last week we had the chance to go on exchanges and I got paired with our District Leader!  It was awesome; we had a lot of success.  We were just out knocking doors when we ran into a woman who had just got off work.  We sat down at her front door and taught her and her two young kids about Jesus.  She gave us some lemon bread and vitamin water and told us we made her day!

My companion used to work at Jimmy Johns so we went there last week and he was super excited.  It was my first time and it was pretty good!

On Thursday we planned to not use the car all day, but we were feeling kind of lazy after a few miles of walking.  Well apparently we left the lights on overnight so our battery was dead and we ended up walking the whole day anyways!!  It work out though, walking made it so that we could have good conversations with the people we met on the street.  It also lead us to tract in a neighborhood that we definitely wouldn't have done otherwise.  The last door that we knocked on had a guy who said that he had been praying for us to come by.  He said he had goosebumps when he opened the door!  It was really a cool experience and it's funny to think it probably never would have happened if we didn't leave the headlights on.

Yesterday at church a member brought her granddaughter to us and said that she's interested in taking lessons from us!  We've been teaching a lot more lessons recently and our schedule is starting to fill up pretty quickly so we feel like our work has paid off.  We're really excited!

My favorite thing about the mission is study time.  Maybe that's a little selfish given that it only helps me and my spirituality but I learn a lot every day.  I read at least 10 pages out of the Bible and a few from the BoM every morning.  I had to set that quota for myself because I had trouble staying awake during it sometimes. haha  I just got to Leviticus 8 where they talk about the priesthood robes and such, I never knew all of that was in the Bible!!!  When I just stumbled across it, that was really cool.

Another favorite thing about the mission is eating dinner with the members on Sunday and Monday nights.  It's really fun to get to know the members and learn about the different cultures and backgrounds they come from!  It's also super fun when they have lots of kids!

Whenever people ask me where I'm from and I say New York, they always tell me I have a little bit of an accent!  I'm always so shocked to hear that.  Sometimes people tell me I look like Shia Labeouf, too.  I've never heard that until I moved here.  Oh and we're officially "regulars" at the Dairy Queen!

Oh and before I forget, we were knocking doors and I saw an RPI jersey hanging on the wall in someone's house!!  Unfortunately they weren't interested in church stuff but it made for good conversation.  I never expected someone to have one of those here and he was really surprised I knew what it was.

Pretty great week!  Miss you guys!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 5 - No Official Update

Ben ran out of time to write his weekly update to e-mailing back and forth with me and his dad (and I'm guessing answering other e-mails).  He did send some pictures this week of his apartment, the sushi he is loving and the view of Mt. Baker (according to his companion, Rad thinks differently) from his plane.  Stephanie noted the weights in the last picture he said they are 20# weights so he is happy.

Tidbits from our e-mails:

I asked how the alarm clock is working out for him - The alarm clock does well at waking him.  He said, "I set it for 6:31 so that over the course of 2 years I'll get an extra 12-1/2 hours of sleep."

New Mission President - "One rule that already changed is that we are now allowed to hang out with other missionaries in our zone on pday.  It used to be that we could only be with our companion.  President Schofield is really nice.  He was a judge though so he can be serious."

Investigators - We probably have 5.  I feel good about Patrick.  He's from Africa and really friendly."

Today - "We are going to Jimmy Johns and then shopping.  I don't know if any other missionaries are playing ball this week but we might do that.

Weeding we did this morning - "WOW that's a lot of weeding, should have got the missionaries to help. haha  We've been doing a little bit of service because there's an older family in our ward who needs help like that.  We weeded and put in a new sprinkler system for them.  It's probably going to rain for the next 9 months but people here are worried about their lawns not being green.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 4 Update

Hey Everyone!

It's crazy how fast the week flew by!  This past week we found a couple more people to teach.  We had a couple of training meetings also.  On Thursday we went to the mission offices for a training in the morning for all the new missionaries.  Then we had to stay for another session because they had second-transfer training, which includes my companion.  So for the hour in between we went to downtown Bellevue and just talked to people there, which was super fun!  Hopefully one of these days I'll get called to serve in Bellevue or downtown Seattle.

Elder Follett and I have been trying to come up with more creative ways to find people to teach.  On Saturday we went to the park and were going to find people to play ultimate frisbee with but, of course, it rained so nobody was there.  We did end up running into one person who had a little poodle the size of my hand, so that was fun, and she seems pretty interested, so we'll teach her this week!

While we were tracting the other day we ran into these Hispanic kids who just followed us around and knocked on doors for us.  That was super fun, now every time we go to those apartments they come up to us and ask us for more of the pamphlets we hand out to people.

Yesterday I had the chance to speak in sacrament meeting about family history.  It was a hard topic for me but I think it went well.  I also had to teach in second hour about the sacrament and the Sabbath day, so I had a lot on my plate but everything worked out well.

It finally did start to rain.  All the locals tell me it will be like this until next June.


Tidbits from other e-mails:

What was hard about the family history topic?
Just that I don't know anything about it. haha I've never really had experience with it, not too much at least.  I said in my talk that when I received the topic I wished I could have called you because you know so much more about it than I do.

Re:  kids he mentions in e-mail above
Yeah, the kids are fun.  Just wish their parents spoke better English.  We went over to Fernando's and his mom wanted us to pray for her aunt.  We did at the door and that was a good experience.  We referred the family to the spanish elders.

Re:  box Grandma Rose sent
Yeah, I did get Granma's box!  Lots of good food in there.  I got it at the zone meeting Friday so it was super awesome.

How many miles can you put on the car?
900 Miles, unless we win the car inspection at transfers and the "gold plates", then you get an extra 100 miles.  The mile limit depends on the area.  I think we are at 700 or something, maybe less, and it gets reset this week.  . . . I think it is based off how clean the car is.  Elder Follett loves cars so we keep it pretty nice.  Last p-day we waxed it. haha

Re:  Bella using a retainer as a chew toy
I can't believe the dog could get up to the table!!  Has she grown?  Thank goodness the new retainer wasn't too spendy.  I miss having Bella around!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 3 - First Bothell Area Update

My first week in Seattle went well!  I'm serving in Bothell which is pretty cool.  Most of the people here are Muslim and we don't have too many people to teach so we've been trying to find some people.  It's been unusually hot here this summer but luckily we have a car so it's all good.  My trainer has only been out for six weeks himself so he's pretty new like me, but he says you really get the hang of things after a few weeks.  His goal for me is to have me training someone new next transfer, but I'd rather get moved around so I can experience a different area!

The food here is pretty good.  I can't believe I never tried sushi before now!  We've had it a lot because there's this awesome sushi place right by our apartment.  I'm starting to get used to the missionary schedule, the only thing I probably need more experience with is teaching lessons!  Hopefully we'll have better luck finding people these next couple of days.

We had a chance to do some yard work for a couple members on Friday, which was fun.  One of the people we are teaching named DJ wants to play tennis with us at some point so that'll be fun to learn.

Miss you all!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Arrived in Seattle

They're letting me e-mail a little today because they originally planned for us to have more time yesterday to talk to home.

My companion is Elder Follett and he's pretty cool.  I'm serving in Bothell North Creek, which is the northernmost part of the Seattle mission and we have a car.  I got here late in the day yesterday so we only really talked with one person who was just baptized and we went home.  Today we have a lot more planned and people to see.

It's kind of stressful but hopefully it gets easier!!  This area has been good with baptisms lately, my trainer has only been here for 6 weeks and has had 4 baptisms already and one is scheduled for the 25th.  We are going to visit with that person in a couple of hours.  It's hard for me to know where everyone is in their progression because they've been being taught and I'm just jumping in.

We only get fed by members on Sunday and Monday nights here because they believe that the 5-7 time frame is prime for knocking doors because people are home, so I don't have to worry about gaining too much weight.  We just went shopping and I bought a bunch of produce and some mac n cheese and spaghetti to get me through the week.  I'll get another p-day on Monday so it feels like I've had a lot of opportunity to talk to home these past few days, which is awesome!!  It was great to call home from the airport.

These are some more pictures from the MTC and the Provo temple.