Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 43

Hey everyone!

This week was pretty great.  I went on an exchange with our district leader, Elder Packer!  We went on an exchange together way back when I was in West Seattle and I was his district leader, so it was a lot of fun!  We always have some really good experiences together, they just need to make us companions so we can have these miracles every day.  We had a really filling dinner with a member and then went to teach Z X and E, and they made us a TON of dumplings.  We had a really good lesson with them about God and His plan for them.  They have no background in any branch of religion so we're just starting from square one with them.
We were biking home and it was 8:45, so we were thinking we might just go in early and plan, but we felt like we should keep going.  So we walked down to visit these members who love us when a lady stopped us and asked if we were the Elders from the church!  Turns out she had just moved in from Mexico and was baptized not too long ago!  None of her kids are members but she wants to bring them to church and get them involved.  So cool, and we were thinking of calling it a night.

I gave a talk yesterday at church on perfecting the saints.  It went pretty well.

Here's some pictures from our hike on P-day!!!

Love you all!!!

Elder Robb

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 42

Fam and friends!

Another great week!  I'm getting the hang of biking; there's only a couple hills that I can't keep up with Elder Anderson on.  haha  I don't remember if I mentioned in last week's update that we were going to teach Z X and her daughter, but we went over Tuesday to drop off a Book of Mormon in Chinese and met her daughter E.  We taught them a little bit about it and then they both came to church this Sunday!  The ward members are just swarming them with love, it's been so awesome.  Tomorrow we're going to teach them with the member who teaches the Mandarin gospel principles class.
The missionaries here in Seattle used to refer to Mercer Island as "the rock."  This area has only baptized once in the last few years, but it's just booming right now.  M is getting baptized next month, V is getting closer and closer and has a real desire to get baptized, P is ready and wants to be baptized, Z X and E are loving the church and coming every week and we have other really great people that we're meeting with, too.  What's really cool is that none of these people are meeting with us because of our own efforts.  We work hard and do our best but these people are coming because God prepared them for the gospel and prepared a way for them to receive it.
I don't know what else to say about this week.  I lost 8 lbs. on a 3-day no carb diet with my companion.  Protein shake for breakfast, eggs for lunch, fish or turkey for dinner (we cooked and ate an entire turkey we found in the freezer over the weekend).  We had a fireside at the Seattle Stake Center last night, it was great to see old friends from that area.  Tonight we are going to the Ensign Symphony at Benaroya Hall in Downtown Seattle with V and M and a friend of theirs.  Good times!
This week I read Alma 15 and its become one of my favorite chapters.  Zeezrom literally had a scorching fever because "his many sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance."  Alma and Amulek were guided to the city that he was in and when they visited him, Alma took him by the hand and said, "Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?"  It got me thinking about grace and Christ's atonement.  We may believe in Christ, but do we believe Christ?  Do we believe that we can literally be cleansed through his atonement?  That even when we continue to slip up and fall short of doing our best, that His grace is enough?  The problem with a lot of members in this church is that they get discouraged and think of themselves as unworthy of God's grace.  They keep themselves out of heaven.  If you read the rest of Alma 15 you see that Zeezrom's faith heals him immediately.  All it takes is faith.  Something Sister Schofield always says is, "the first principle of the gospel is not faith.  It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Hope you all have an awesome week!
Elder Robb

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 41

Fam and friends!  What a great week on Mercer Island!  We did a lot of tracting with some minor successes.  Things really fell into place on Sunday though, so I'll give ya the highlights . . .

So we were tracting early last week when we ran into a Chinese lady who spoke zero English.  We're still working on learning Mandarin, so we just gave her a card with the church information on it and left.  Well, apparently she has an LDS friend in the stake, who she called and got more information about the church!  Her friend then told her she would come with her to our church and translate for her!  The best thing is, this week we jut started up a Mandarin Gospel Principles class for a couple other Chinese investigators we have and some of the members as well, so she felt right at home with all the members friend-shipping her.  Her name is Z X, and her daughter goes to school here and speaks English pretty well, so we set up a time that we're going to go over and give her a Mandarin Book of Mormon and her daughter will translate for us.  So sweet how it all worked out, and all from a pass-a-long card.

We're still teaching P (the teenager needing grandmother's approval for baptism) a good amount, we already taught him all the lessons and he's excited to be baptized.  While we wait for the signature, we are going through topics in the Strength of Youth pamphlet.  There's a lot of good stuff in there!  We've been helping V through some of her concerns, and we're about to go through the discussions with M, just to make sure she has a good understanding of everything.  They both love the church so much, and M's son-in-law is going to come up next month to perform her baptism.  The work is moving here on Mercer Island, we're just trying to find some more people to teach when we're not working with them!

This week my testimony of the power of the Priesthood really grew.  All I can say is I know that God cares about each of us and our situations, and he will take care of us if we just exercise faith in him.  If it matters to you, it matters to God.  I love this gospel, I love this church, there really is no way to describe the happiness that comes from living the commandments.  My favorite verse in the Book of Mormon comes from King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 2, "I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, thye are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true."

Have a great week!
Elder Robb
Taking Henry for a walk!


Me weekly planning while my comp eats cake.

Next 2 pictures:  A diet to live by.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 40 - Mercer Island

I'm livin' the island life!  Just got transferred to Mercer Island with Elder Anderson!  The same Elder Anderson who was my zone leader when I was a brand new missionary.  It's a bike area so my legs are getting sore, and my companion is whoopin' me into shape in morning workouts.  We'd be in perfect shape if the member here didn't spoil us with so much good food every time we stop by!  I've already had two steak dinners this transfer.  Life is great.
I never understood the elderly saying, "I used to walk to school uphill both ways!" until I got to the island.  No matter where we go we're climbing hills on the bikes.  Good workout!

The ward mission here is super supportive, the best I've ever seen on my mission.  They really care about us as missionaries and our testimonies and how we're doing, and they're really involved with our investigators too, it's pretty awesome.  They're also really beg on doing community service!  Twice a week we do four hours of service at the thrift shop.

Right now we're working with one teen who's super cool and goes to church every week.  He even wants to be baptized but needs his Grandma's permission.  We're just teaching him more and more until she feels he's ready.  We're also teaching a couple of other people who really want to get baptized.  Cool story, M and V were looking for a church to join, and M's daughter is a member of the church in California, so she told her friend, "I'll take you to the LDS church, but I won't join."  She made it really clear to the missionaries here that she was only going to give V a ride to church, but the elders would continue to invite her to sit in on lessons, and eventually she started reading the Book of Mormon and listening at church.  Now she's really excited to get baptized on Memorial Day weekend.  V is still working through some doctrines before she's ready, but even she has a great desire to get baptized.

Of course we spent a lot of time this weekend watching General Conference.  It was great, lots of great advice from our leaders.  I really loved Elder Holland's when he talked about not fearing tomorrow and continuing in faith.  I loved it when he encouraged us not to be discouraged when we might feel like we're so far off the mark of where we need to be.  He mentioned that what's really great about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that you get credit for trying.  It reminded me of a verse in 1 Timothy, about the reason that we even put forth the effort, "That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe."

Love you all!
Elder Robb