Monday, December 14, 2015

The Epitome of Bittersweet


I wish I knew how to tell you all the thoughts and feelings racing through me, but it would be impossible to relay them to you as keenly as I'm experiencing them. 

Naturally, this week I've thought deeply of what my mission has given me. This has by far been the hardest experience of my life, but I've never felt so happy or so free. There are too many gifts to count that I've received from my time here, but I will name a few. 

An understanding - a true understanding - and love for the Savior. I've caught a glimpse of His atonement again and again, along with all the healing, restoring, redeeming, enabling powers it offers.

A stronger, deeper appreciation and appetite for the scriptures. Diligent study has opened my eyes and enlightened me. I crave the peace they provide.

A witness of the reality of the Restoration through His servants on the Earth. I love, revere, and believe the words of the prophets and apostles. I know they are called of Him.

An eternal perspective of the Family. I know our families are specially catered to us, and that they are central to the Plan of Happiness.

A vision and understanding of how the church works. It is remarkable! What stunning organization, what beautiful members, what an inspired kingdom. Peace and safety and goodness are found here.

A deep sense of identity and purpose. My feeling and reverence for God as my Father has grown so significantly... I feel increased confidence and peace with myself as I've come to understand my relationship to him. 

An increased commitment to claim my gift of the Holy Ghost. I know what it is like to feel its influence govern my thoughts and decisions. Personal revelation through its power is one of my most cherished gifts in this life. 

A testimony of the Priesthood. I have seen it work in imperfect men to move the Lord's work forward. I believe in its authority and power, accessible according to the worthiness of the bearer. It makes sense to me. 

A greater grasp of eternal laws and principles - tithing, fasting, chastity, the word of wisdom, mercy, justice, agency, accountability. I have seen miracles wrought as a result of obedience to them.

A sincere love for people and relationships. I know He teaches and touches us through those He brings into our lives. I will carry the tender connections and relationships I've built here with me throughout the years to come. I feel as if I've caught a glimpse of true charity through these people here. 

Above all, I have gained a testimony and a deep conviction of God's love. It is so real. With that understanding, I am committed to do everything in my power to return to Him. 

Sister Reeves' words sum up much of how I feel:

"...I do not know why we have the many trials we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father,'Was that all that was required?' I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally."

I feel so equipped with perspective and understanding. I know the miracles I've seen here will continue to propel me forward in the days ahead. 

I love you! I have so much to share with you and I'm so excited to be with you again. 
See you soon :)

Sister Robinson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Spiritually renewed

Hi Family,

What a spiritually renewing week! I feel filled up. 

We went on a few exchanges this week - on one, a newer sister, Sister Thornock, came here with me. She has a crazy mission story so far... She was originally called to Tahiti, Tahitian and French speaking, and was in the MTC for 8 weeks when she unexpectedly got sick, and had to get a new state-side call. So she got called here, and came in the middle of a transfer a couple transfers ago. She's been in the field about 3 months, but on her mission for over 5. She's training this transfer, and I talked to her a lot about her feelings in the work. She reminds me so much of myself last September. As she spoke of the challenges and struggles she finds in the work, a wave of all the emotions that come with training and being a new missionary came back to me. I had almost forgotten what those days were like! We had a day of great lessons and contacts, and I felt the Spirit carry us through each hour. At the close of the exchange, I invited her to accept all the emotions that come with being a missionary - the awkward, the difficult, the trying, the disappointing, the discouraging, and especially the rich and the rewarding. All of those feelings are what make our mission experiences so sacred. The exchange was a sweet reminder to me of all the special lessons I've learned here. 

Our Halloween here was fun. The ward held a trunk-or-treat on Friday night - I always love eating up the chili and cornbread at those, haha! Sister Haycock and I get teased all the time that we don't have accents, being from Texas and Georgia, so we threw on the most Southern outfits we could find in our limited wardrobe and spoke with Southern accents for the night. Not sure if we passed off as Southern Belles or not, but it gave us a good laugh nonetheless! We also decided to switch name tags, so I introduced myself as Hermana Haycock from Atlanta, Georgia for the night, haha! Also (as a side-note), we made sure to record our voicemail at the beginning of the transfer speaking with our accents... we've gotten some good laughs from people who listen to it when we miss their calls! On Saturday for Halloween, all the missionaries gathered at the mission office so that we were all off the streets for the evening.  President surprised us with showing the movie "The Cokeville Miracle". Have you seen that? I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. It was so good. There was a tangible spirit there... I almost felt like we were all elevated to a different plane. It was incredible. That would be a great movie to watch for family home evening, if you haven't already seen it!   

Things are going so well here. This week we set 4 people with a baptismal date! Geoff finally accepted a date of December 26th - he wants to wait till after Christmas when his divorce has died down. He openly admits that his head isn't all into the lessons right now because he's so distracted with the trauma of the divorce, but he wants to keep meeting with us until that full focus comes. We also found a woman named Tracey who is a single mom with 2 young kids - Elizabeth (6) and Michael (4). She's a kindergarten teacher, and she doesn't have much religious background, but she's very obviously interested in gaining peace and stability in her life as a single parent. The father of her kids was really abusive and is no longer in the picture, and I think she carries a lot of anxiety over some things that have happened in the past. I don't think she grasps alot of what we teach at this point, but the Spirit is strong in the lessons, which I think was the biggest factor in her agreeing to baptism on December 5th. The ZL's got this new program from a man in their ward that he used as a missionary in the Ogden mission - it's called "Proselyting for the Elect", and it basically outlines little things we can do differently to be more effective and find more elect people to teach. One thing it suggests is called the "Holy Ghost Dialogue", where you explain the role, purpose, and power of the Holy Ghost before you even say the opening prayer when first meeting with someone. You explain that it is through the HG that they can understand our message and feel it is true for themselves. After explaining it, we ask: "When you receive these feelings throughout our visits, will you accept them as an answer from God?" So we did that with Tracey, and when we followed up with her the next visit about her prayers over Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon she said: "I did pray, and I got those feelings. It was in the morning. I felt peace and understanding." Ah! You can imagine our excitement. I feel like it's pretty rare that someone gets a direct answer after the first visit, at least it has been for me. Probably because I haven't been the best at explaining how to receive answers to prayers. So I'm thrilled about this "Proselyting for the Elect" thing! It has awesome ideas, especially for working with members. 

I feel like I've caught another wind, and I feel so energized and invested in my relationships here. Next week marks the start of my last transfer, and I still feel a deep love for what I'm doing. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. 

Have a happy week!

Love you forever,
Sister Robinson

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hey Family, 

The time is passing so quickly. September already! I'm grateful for the fall rolling in and the temperatures dropping... Oh how I enjoy these temps below 100! Sounds like school scheduling is coming in full swing. I was laughing with Sister Smith that the people who were freshman when I was a senior are now seniors! I guess that means I'm getting old haha! 

Kari's baptism on Tuesday was awesome. So many from the ward showed up! Before the service was over, she had her 6 mo old little one get blessed too. It was really special for Sister Smith, as she feels it may have been her last baptism. I wish I could send pictures, but the place we normally email is closed for Labor Day so I'm just writing from my iPad, and I only have the pictures on my camera. I also got to go back to Paradise for my investigator Harold's baptism. Remember him? We met him in one of our complexes back in December. Well, I guess I should say we actually met his girlfriend he was living with at the time, Angel. She's in her mid 50s and he's 70. It was the strangest situation because she is this sassy black lady and had so many health issues that it was impossible to teach her (she was on 20 different medications so her mind was never in a state to really grasp what we taught), and he's this gentle white old man who had a stroke a few years ago and no longer has control over the right side of his body. Not your typical couple. We initially started teaching her, but he sat in the lessons and kept all the commitments better than her. After the 2 transfers I spent there (December-February), he was ready to be baptized. The problem was that he was actually still married to a woman he'd separated from years before in Chicago, so he had to either get a divorce and marry Angel, or move out. But he couldn't live on his own given his health condition. So anyways, to make a long story short, I just got word a few weeks ago that he finally moved out and was ready for baptism. It was the best news ever. The baptism was small and held in one of the oldest chapels in the valley, but it was one of my favorites on my mission by far. Harold was so happy :)

Sorry for the short update this week. I don't have the time I wish I had! 

I love you, 
Sister Robinson

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Learning and Growing


Anthem is treating me well. I love being Sister Smith's companion - it is kind of like being Sister Emily Cook's companion again. Everything is so light-hearted and we are constantly laughing at something or other. It's kind of therapeutic (have you noticed how much I love that word lately?).

Mom asked for details of my apartment... sorry, no pictures, but it's a nice little place. Henderson is probably one of the safest places in the country - so I definitely feel a stark contrast in my surroundings here compared to Paradise and North, haha. I feel so safe here... almost like I'm in a little bubble. Our apartment is really little compared to some of my previous ones. We have one bedroom, one bathroom, and a little living room and kitchen. One missionary described it as "eclectic" - I think because it's filled with some nice furniture and happy canvases from the members here. One canvas reads: "This is your life now", and Sister Smith comments at least weekly that she isn't sure how she feels about that one (I think it brings out apprehension/fears of her mission ending in a month, haha!). It is a homey place, and it's been kept pretty clean and tidy, which I'm grateful for! We have a washer and dryer and good storage space for all the stuff we accumulate throughout the mission! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Preparing to meet God

Hey Fam,

Oh, it was a roller coaster week! I honestly felt like I experienced the full spectrum of emotions. Pday was busy - shopping and cleaning and packing and energy sessions and Pday sports and saying goodbye to people in my area. Thank goodness for Sister Montandon and her energy work... I went in for an hour and a half with her and she worked her magic. I walked out of her house feeling well-equipped emotionally, spiritually, and mentally to face transfers and head to Henderson. Transfer day was busy - I got into the area in Anthem with Sister Smith and got to work setting goals and making plans for the transfer. For the first few days, I was overwhelmed being there. It was like a sensory overload experience - everything felt so new and different! We are over the Inspirada ward, which is up in the mountainous/"hillcountry" part of Anthem stake... our geographic area isn't very big, but the ward has over 800 members. In sacrament meeting yesterday, we had nearly 450 people in attendance! The membership is HUGE! Half of them are primary-aged kids... we have 2 primaries and 2 nurseries. We have tons of young couples - many of them are just a few years older than me. Yesterday after sacrament, one couple came up to Sister Smith and me and introduced themselves. They just got married in March, and they both served missions - He in Uganda and she in France. "We just moved in - this is our firstSunday here - and we just wanted to let you know that we will be happy to go out with you anytime! Seriously, we know how it is, and we have a lot of spare time right now as we're looking for work and going to school, so call us any time!" So we invited them to come out with us that night, and it was so fun. They're only 21 and 22 - I felt like we'd been friends for years. Because I know that I soon will be in a similar stage in life, I think it will be a good experience for me to serve here and see how so many young couples, freshly returned from their missions, begin their lives together as member missionaries! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Stellar Week


This week was stellar. The first bit of good news is that OUR CAR GOT FIXED. Remember the video I sent of Sister Blanchard and I in the car with our doors roped shut? Well our passenger door had been broken since then - about a month! So with Sister Martin and me, one of us has had to sit in the back while one of us drives. I didn't realize how much of a strain it had been putting on our companionship until this week when I sat in the front seat beside her for the first time.... Ohhh my, it was a breath of fresh air! I could actually talk and laugh with her! It has put a whole new dynamic to our work and companionship this week, I could cry with relief! I realized that this month with one of us in front and the other behind has taught me an important life lesson (silly as it may seem) : in companionships (as a missionary, or a friendship, or a marriage), we have to work side-by-side. The relationship just won't work the way it's supposed to if one is ahead of or behind the other, not necessarily in a physical sense, but a spiritual, emotional, and mental one. Equal partnership is a powerful thing. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The sole focus of my mind, and the sole passion of my heart

July 13, 2015

Hello Family!

It was a good week. Sister Martin got in on Tuesday. She is so sweet and Christlike, and I am enjoying serving with her. She is teaching me a little Spanish too :) It is her first transfer as a sister training leader, so she is learning the ropes, but she is incredibly committed to being obedient and working hard and helping our investigators progress, so she's getting the hang of things quickly. We sat down on Thursday and set goals for the transfer - it was motivating and refreshing, as new transfers usually are. It is always like a breath of fresh air being in a companionship that is equally-yolked!

I have been feeling so much joy in finding and teaching people. There is a talk by Tad R. Callister called 'Becoming a Consecrated Missionary' that I have read countless times on my mission. This week these sentences stuck out to me: "In my day the white handbook contained this all-inclusive statement: 'Put out of your mind all thoughts of home, school, your girl and worldly things.' It was a powerful reminder that our mission was the sole focus of our mind and the sole passion of our heart. As hard as it may be, the consecrated missionary disciplines his passions. His eye is riveted on the work." That statement was daunting to me as a a greenie missionary. How was I ever going to possibly attain that level of commitment and dedication? I felt overwhelmed. But 13 months has done quite a bit for me, and I now feel the power of his words - this work truly is becoming the "sole passion of my heart".

We found some golden investigators this week - the Hall family and a single mother, Leticia. Add them to your prayer list! The Halls are a family of 7, with one on the way. Kenisha, he mom, lost her job is week, and we showed up at their doorstep at the perfect timing. Heavenly Father is the perfect orchestrator of such connections :) We taught them the message of the Restoration last night and it went so well. They have so much potential.

I love you and miss you.

Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Robinson

Monday, April 20, 2015


Letter from April 13, 2015

Dear Family,

It made me so happy to hear your voice this week! When I got the call from President about being a Sister Training Leader next transfer and he told me I could call my family to share the news, I was giddy. You sounded so good. 

This week was so good. Sister Morceli and I had so much fun just laughing and working together. She really has become like a sister to me. I'm so glad I'm staying in the zone with her here in North! We'll even still be in the same district, and we'll go on exchanges too, so I can come back to the area and visit our investigators! I am thrilled that I'll be serving with Sister Kraus. She is a powerhouse missionary. She turns 22 this week (so I may or may not be humming Taylor Swift throughout the day...), and has 3 transfers left on her mission. She's going back up to BYU Provo in the fall, so I'll see her around campus next winter semester :) I love having so many new friends for after the mission. Transfers are going to be super easy tomorrow, because I'm literally just moving across the road to the closest apartment complex nearby where we live. I am really looking forward to the rigor and work of this next phase of my mission! 

District picture! Sister Kraus (my new companion) is to the left of me!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Baptisms and investigators

Dear Family,

Oh, it was a great week! I love when this point in a transfer rolls around, because it's about the time that I start to feel settled and adjusted in an area, which seems to make everything go more smoothly. We had an awesome baptism on Saturday for Nancy Haase. She fell right into our laps about a week into the transfer. She'd been taught by elders in the West Mission beginning early December, and they had her set for baptism, but she was unable to meet her date because she had a male roommate (they weren't in a relationship, but that was her living situation at the time). So she moved just down the road, but right over into our mission, and she was pretty much all ready to be baptized! In our first meeting with her, we went over the baptismal interview questions, and set her for the following Saturday. It was kinda chaotic getting everything settled, introducing her to the ward, and planning the baptism on such short notice, but we finished teaching her the last few lessons, contacted the elders who'd taught her before (it was funny getting her teaching record from them, since we're not supposed to leave our mission... so we met them at a corner gas station that divided our areas and they passed it over to us, haha!), and made the arrangements for her baptism. It was a great service, and she was so excited to become a member! She is very outgoing and friendly, so she adjusted well in the ward. And Pelican Creek ward is a great ward for fellowshipping, so she's in good hands. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

This week was so good!

Dear Family,
Oh, this week was so good! Probably one of the best on my mission. Taking on Greenbriar Ward has kept us so busy and it has been so rewarding. I just collapse in exhaustion at the end of each night. It's a good feeling.
I love the Greenbriar ward already. It has been a busy week, trying to split our time between there and Villa Bonita. We're still trying to figure it all out, but we have a great ward helping us out. The members in GB have just poured over us... "Sisters?? OH, we are SO happy to have you here!!!' The reaction from all the members has been the same. They haven't had sisters in a few years, so they've just been overjoyed, haha! The area wasn't left in the best condition, so there is so much to do and so many new places to explore and contact in. I am really excited for this transfer!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A trip back to Havasu


Dear Family,
I got a text from the sisters assistants (we called them Mission Sister Training Leaders) yesterday that said: "Sister Robinson! Guess you came to sacrament today! The Skousen family! :) They say hi!" Of course I was confused and overjoyed... I texted back: "What??? What are they doing here?? Tell them that I love them!" Haha. Later that night at a fireside they told me that the Skousens were in town for Brynn's gymnastics meet and they'd decided to come to church at a nearby chapel - which just happened to be the location of the mission office and President's ward! They left some notes for me that I'm picking up later today. It made me so happy to hear that they were in town :)
Oh yes, and as for transfers... Sister Cook and I are staying here, but now we'll be covering TWO wards - Villa Bonita and Greenbriar. Sister Cook is a little overwhelmed, but I'm excited! We will be kept so busy, the time will just fly. I'm still wondering how it's all going to work out... double the meetings, double the members, double the investigators, double the area... we'll have to figure out how to balance it all but the challenge of it excites me. Please pray for us to be organized and efficient and successful!
This week we went on exchanges with the STL's in our zone - Sister Eager and Sister Blanchard. Sister Eager came out with Sister Lowry, who was my STL in Lake Havasu for 6 months. They go home tomorrow! I went into their area in the East stake with Sister Eager for her last exchange, and oh my, I loved it! I always enjoy serving in other sisters' areas for a day or so to gain perspective and insight on the work. Sister Eager made me feel like a million bucks with her showering of compliments and accolades, ha! She is a good leader. Though I haven't served around her for long, I'll really miss her. 
I also got to go back to Lake Havasu for a baptism this week. Sister Myers (our assistant ward mission leader's wife) was willing to drive me. "I was a missionary once, too," she said when I asked if she'd be willing to drive me all the way down there. "I know what it feels like to be anxious to get back for a baptism!" She was a lifesaver. We had to arrange for other ward members to go out with Sister Cook in our area for the day so we could make all our appointments, but it all worked out great. I don't know if you remember me writing about her, but Brittany (the young mom Sister Walton and I were teaching in Havasu) was the one getting baptized. I'd missed our investigator Megan's baptism right after I left for Paradise, which had been hard on me, so I was overjoyed that I could make it back for Brittany's.
This is what I wrote of the experience:
"Yesterday Sister Myers drove me out to Havasu for Brittany's baptism... oh, the joys of being back out there! We were 20 minutes late when we walked in and Sister Aston was speaking. I walked in the back doors of the Relief Society room and Sister Aston smiled, paused, and said: 'Sister Robinson just walked in.' Haha! I smiled and crept my way to the front and found a seat. After she spoke, Sister Walton gave a spiritual, powerful talk on the Holy Ghost. Bishop Hansen then got up (he was conducting) and, upon reaching the front, looked at me, smiled and waved, then said: 'Hi Sister Robinson' with his knowing, calm voice. I was already choked up from the spirit of it all and for Brittany, so through my watery eyes and cracked voice, I smiled back and chuckled: "Hi Bishop." We proceeded to the baptismal font in the Primary Room and I embraced everyone along the way... Sister Aston, Sister Sturgis, Sister Bayne, Sister Shepherd, Sister Abbott, Sister Cawthra and Tessa... Oh, it was so good to be there. The baptism was beautifl. Afterwards Sister Corry sang and we had refreshments. Megan and Adrian, the Haucks, the Derus, the Testas, "the Widows", the Hansens, and few others I didn't recognize were all there. I loved and caught up with Sister Walton. She kept saying: 'Oh, I've missed you so much! I have so much to tell you!' Sister Myers was so sweet to be my companion for the day and be surrounded by so many strangers.
We stuck around for a while and were one of the last ones to leave. We stopped by the restroom quickly and then as we headed out, I caught Bishop out of the corner of my eye fixing the stereo system in the gym for the stake dance that night. Naturally. He's always doing something with his hands. He saw me and turned up the country music and said: 'Texas! This is for you!' I laughed and acted like I was dosy-doeing around. I walked up to tell him goodbye and shake his hand. He said: 'Hey don't be too much of stranger around here - me a text or something every now and then!' I laughed and said I would. I saw Sister Aston again as we left the building and as I walked out, she called: 'We love you Sister Robinson! So much!" I was just overwhelmed with joy - it was brief and quick, but meant so much to me to be there."
I've been thinking quite a bit about the Book of Mormon this week. I reread the talk "Safety for the Soul" that Jeffrey R. Holland gave in 2009. Do you remember it? He gives the most powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith that I have yet to hear. I could quote the whole thing and share my thoughts - but while spoil the fun of it for you? Please read it this week. I remember when Zoie and I shared the first lesson with Samantha over Skype for our mission prep class up at BYU last year. Near the end of the lesson, Samantha asked the question: "Well, if the Book of Mormon teaches us just what the Bible does - why do we need it? What more can it do for us?" At the time I was honestly a little stumped by the question. All I had to offer then was that I knew the book taught us more of Jesus Christ - of His reality and divinity - and that I knew it was true through the powerful confirmations I'd received of it through the Holy Ghost. My understanding is much larger and deeper now. I understand now that the Book of Mormon is physical evidence that we can hold and look at and read for ourselves to know whether or not Joseph Smith really was a prophet - for if it is true, which we come to know by reading and praying about it, then he really did translate it by the power of God and the fullness of the Gospel really was restored to the Earth through him. I know that it is the "keystone of our religion" and that it gives us pure doctrine from prophets of old; that its been translated only once from sacred, ancients records, versus the Bible, which has been translated countless times and passed down through many hands. I know that it expounds on, clarifies, and enriches that which we're taught in the Bible. I know that it is evidence of God's love for all of His children the world over, in every time period and on every continent and in every land. I know that it is a "safety for the soul" - each soul, every soul.
"I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. I hope I have a few years left in my 'last days,' but whether I do or not, I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon Is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.
Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: 'Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived' - and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you. Of this I earnestly testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." (Jeffrey R. Holland)
I love you. Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Robinson

Last week of the transfer


Hello family!
This is our last week of the transfer... I can hardly believe that!
Our week went by so quickly. It was such a busy and productive week. On Saturday we had a blitz in our area with the elders in our district and our ward missionaries. I hadn't had a mini blitz like that before, and it went so well! I was reminded of the huge ward rescue we had in Crossman Peak back in August. Sister Cook and I made lists of potential investigators, less-actives, and former investigators for the missionaries and members to visit, and they all went out for 2 hours and contacted as many people as they could. I regularly think of and pray over how we, as the missionaries, can help our ward change their perspective and excite their enthusiasm about missionary work, and this was a perfect, though small-scale, answer to my prayers. Sister Cook and I brought out one of our ward missionaries, Sister Bess. She's this sweet little Filipino sister, about 60, whose lived in this ward for a few years. She and her husband, Brother Bess, got married less than 10 years ago, and are so strong and faithful in their testimonies... I have been inspired by their commitment and conversion to the Gospel. I enjoy being around Sister Bess - she's just a refreshing presence, and it always gives me a laugh trying to understand what she says through her thick Filipino accent. She's been out with us before to lessons, but never to just contact people. We made a few unsuccessful stops, then finally stopped at a member's home who we'd never met before. She readily invited us in and welcomed us into her living room. We shared a brief thought and prayer, and then were on our way, and as we walked out, she said: "Thank you so much for stopping by this morning. It's like 3 little angels just showed up on my doorstep!" As we climbed back into the car and headed back to the church, we thanks Sister Bess for coming out with us. "Oh no, thank YOU," she said. "This has given me so much perspective." I heard a tremor in her voice and realized that she'd begun to cry. "These people... they just don't understand how much work you two do for them and for the Lord. They just don't know. I am so grateful that I came out with you. I now understand what you do so much more." I was so touched by her words. Sometimes I get so caught in the routine of the work, that I lose perspective on just what a tough job we have out here. Sister Bess' simple and sincere appreciation for what we're doing gave me such a boost. That is exactly what we want; we want the members to really see how they can be personally and intimately involved in our work! We want them to see how rewarding it is.
It was also a melancholy week - there were so many deaths, it seemed. On Thursday Sister Cook and I attended a funeral for a young man in our ward who passed away in his sleep this week. He was only 25, and there really weren't any signs as to why he passed. It was completely out of the blue, and obviously devastating for his family. Going to his funeral service woke me up to the reality of death. I thought of what a natural step it is in our eternal progression. Because I have been fortunate enough to not have much personal experience with it, I think its become a far-away, distant thing in my mind. I was awoken this week to how quickly it can occur, how abruptly it can happen. I can imagine how crippling it could be if I didn't know about God's plan for us, and even more so if I did know and wasn't living my life in accordance with His will. I think of how important it is to be prepared today and everyday. I was reminded of Jorg Kleingat's talk from conference - "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence." Are we living in such a way right now that we'd be completely confident standing in front of our Heavenly Father if we were to pass today?
We also received word that our former mission president's wife - Rosie Neider - passed away from cancer this week. The night we got the news, I wrote this in my journal:
"Tonight we received word that President Neider's wife - Rosie - passed away this morning from cancer. It'd been a long, hard battle, I hear. I think of when I initially got to the mission and Sister Arnold spoke the WORLD of Sister Neider. 'She was the spiritual leader I needed,' Sister Arnold once told me. On another occasion, she said in district meeting that if she were to choose her dream companion, it would be Sister Neider. I'm sorrowed that I never had the opportunity to meet her. Her legend and impact in life and this mission is unmatched. I feel that without ever having personally known her." I am grateful for the influence she left here, and especially on Sister Arnold. Her strength and power will influence generations.
Sorry this is letter is short, but I'm out of time! 
I love you all!
With love,
Sister Lindsey    



Dear Family,
I feel like I have lots to say, so I'm sorry if this email is scattered and all over the place!
As for who we're teaching... Please pray for Rick (who I wrote about last week). He's still reading the book of Mormon, but something was really off in our lesson with him this week. We're not quite sure what it was. Also pray for Harold. He's our most solid investigator right now; he has come to church the past 4 weeks and we meet with him about 3 times a week, but he won't accept a baptismal date and is still skeptical of some things (for instance, the word of wisdom not allowing us to drink wine, when Jesus drank it in the New Testament). I know he sees truth here, he sees goodness and light, but he just believes he needs to know EVERYTHING before he's baptized. He's also trying too hard to intellectualize everything, when what he really needs is spiritual confirmations of what we teach.
We had a neat experience last night with some members. The Apos are a young family who moved into the ward in August from Logan, UT. Brother and Sister Apo both grew up in St. George, UT, so they haven't had much experience living in "the mission field". The got a dog a few weeks ago - a big, beautiful German shepherd - and had some dog trainers come over to teach them how to train him. One of the trainers, Michelle, noticed the pictures of the temple hanging on their walls and asked if they were LDS. That led into a long discussion of the church, and Sister Apo was finally like: "Hey, you know what, I actually know some sister missionaries who can answer all your questions. Why don't you just come over for dinner and I'll have them over too and we can talk all about this?" Haha! Perfect! So we went over last night and had a really great dinner with Michelle and her two young kids and her roommate Micah, who actually grew up going to church with her dad who is a member, but never actually got baptized. As we talked to them over dinner, they told us about their Christian backgrounds and how they'd wanted to start attending a really structured church, with good morals and values. They'd decided to start going to the LDS church to try it out (but AH, they live out of our area). They'd met with some elders before but were unimpressed and the lessons weren't really going anywhere... you can imagine Sister Cook and I'd frustration over that - Michelle and Michah are 2 of the most PREPARED people I've ever met and the elders in their area are really letting the ball drop with them. But they really enjoyed meeting with us and having us answer their questions.. "We weren't sure what to expect," they said. "We've never met sister missionaries before. We were thinking y'all would be kind of like nuns? We had no idea y'all would be so normal and stylish!" Haha. We had a long conversation about tithing, temples, missionary work, and the nature of God. Sister Apo was basically doing all the teaching, though. It was so refreshing to see members get so excited about missionary work. Brother and Sister Apo jumped on the opportunity to share their beliefs, and it was really rewarding to see as a missionary.
We had another experience I wanted to share from a few nights ago:
On Saturday night we didn't have any appointments after dark (which is really rough, especially in our area of Vegas).. we had some less-actives scheduled, but no one was answering their doors, so we were ahead of schedule and running out of names to go to. After going through our 6:30 names, I went ahead and grove to our first 7:00 name. I pulled up to the house and it was completely abandoned and boarded up. Sister Cook was on the phone arranging rides to church for our investigators, and we were 5 minutes ahead of schedule anyways, so I just sat and waited for Sister Cook to be done. I was wondering/debating whether or not we should even try the house. Sister Cook finished and we were about to say a prayer and get out oft he car when I noticed some people walking towards us in the dark and I thought: "Oh good! People to talk to!" They looked like they were struggling with something - groceries? We got out just as they were passing out car across the street and sure enough - it was a black family (a mom, 2 teenage girls, and a young boy about 10 slowly making their way home from Wal_mart on FOOT with more groceries than I've ever seen! 2 full carts worth and more in their arms.
"Do you need any help?" we asked anxiously.
They stopped and stared, then the little boy nearly shouted: "YES! Yes please!" I felt immediately that it was no coincidence that we were there at that time. This was divine intervention. We started to grab some bags from them and asked how much further they had to go.
"Oh, we've got a ways... down the street and across that road and back down that road..." said the older of the 2 girls.
We realized we had a problem: we could help them with their groceries, but then we'd have to walk all the way back to our car... by ourselves, in the dark. That was not going to work, but we couldn't just leave them to trudge home without SOME sort of assistance.
"Well, I'll tell you what. We can't give Y'ALL a ride, but we can drive your groceries to your apartment!"
"Okay!" While there was no hesitation from the kids, you could tell their poor Mom was skeptical, but how could she turn down the aid they so desperately needed? She consented and we loaded up their bags and bags of groceries into our trunk and back seat, then rode over to their apartment complex to meet them there. After about 10 minutes or so, they walked up and we helped them unload their endless bags of groceries. They were so appreciative and grateful and as we finished, the Mom said: "Do y'all have a card or something to your church?" Of course we jumped right on the opportunity and gave her our information, explained we weren't the missionaries over their area, but that we'd pass their information along to the elders. She explained that she'd just moved here from Chicago, and that she'd been looking for a church to attend with her family. (!!) We were bummed that they didn't live in our area, but we knew that our meeting them didn't occur by mere happenstance. I strongly believe in the power of service and what it does to others, and ourselves.
Have a wonderful week. I love you!
Love always,
Sister Robinson

Here comes the new year!


Dear Family,
This year was a very unique Christmas than any other Christmas I've had before, but it was still so good. I felt so blessed to be so well taken care of by the ward members and to have such advanced technology to be able to see your faces! The rest of my day after we Skyped was pretty low-key. We had dinner with the Martins, then we went caroling with the elders in our district. We went to some members/investigators in all our areas. It was fun.
I forgot to mention about something we'd been doing with the Douglas family in our ward. The last hour of the 3 nights leading up to Christmas, Sister Cook and I went over to their house so they could read "The Forgotten Carols" by Michael McLean with us. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn't before they introduced it to us, and I was so touched by the story and music in it. I couldn't believe I'd never known about it... But I was thinking we should start that tradition in our family - reading from the book every night the week before Christmas. It's really powerful.
We had a couple miracles this week that were just really amazing. First, we had a lesson with our investigator named Rick, and brought Brother Cox (a member of the bishopric) with us. Rick is in his 40s and is married with a few kids. He grew up in a home where his father was Mormon, his mother was Catholic, and they went to a Baptist church (crazy). So he's seen the whole spectrum of religions, and he's never been able to settle with one. He started meeting with the missionaries before I got here, but initially he was only interested in learning more facts about the Church. Last time we met with him, he hadn't read and he wasn't really progressing. We weren't really sure what to expect meeting with him again - we hadn't seen him in 2 weeks and hadn't been able to keep up much contact with him. As we sat down for the lesson, we asked about his Book of Mormon reading. Not only had he been reading everyday, he'd also downloaded it onto his phone so that he could LISTEN to it on the drive to work every morning! "It has been bringing me a lot of peace," he said. "And I've read parts of it before, but I started from the beginning this time, and it's all really making sense to me. It never made sense like this before, and for the first time I really feel like I'm on the right path." He then went on to share a story about how he has an LDS friend he works with that he went out to lunch with a few days before Christmas. They'd gotten into a long conversation about the church, and he didn't share many details about it, but he said it was really, really good for him and that he felt so good about pursuing this path further. We watched the Restoration video with him and he loved it. Afterwards, we asked him if he'd be baptized if he found out that it was true. "Yes! Absolutely," he said. "That's actually what I'd talked about with my friend at lunch. I've never been baptized before - its just never worked out - and I feel so good about this. I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life. I feel like you sister showed up at just the right time. I'm really ready to learn more, and I want my family to be in on it with me." Wow! It was a miracle. We are excited to continue teaching him, and he will be a really solid members when he joins. That experience was witness of how Heavenly Father gives us experiences to humble and prepare us to receive His truth. It's Rick's season to learn - it took time and years of thought and study, but he has now found the desire to really dive into the Gospel. He wasn't ready at other points in his life, but he is now. It's just so rewarding getting to be a part of his experience.
A similar experience happened yesterday. We've been teaching a woman named Mona since I got here - she's in her 30s with 8 year old twins. She lives in a really low-income apartment complex in our area. The whole place smells horribly of marijuana and smoke and many of the people there are humble, but really flakey and not really solid. We've taught some people in there, but it worries me that they may be meeting with us for the wrong reasons... a lot of the time, the Church is seen as a great welfare source because most of the time we're so willing to help anyone in need. But it gets complicated when people regularly turn to us looking to get something for nothing. We've seen that with a few people here. We have showered Mona with love - we've done her laundry, baked her cookies, arranged rides for her, given her giftcards for food, and we even gave her our small Christmas tree in our apartment because she didn't have one. Which we really don't mind doing! But I was worried that we were beginning to be seen as a source of temporal aid to anyone who needed it, rather than a source of spiritual help, which is what we're really here for.
We've met with Mona about 4 times since I've been here, and we still haven't really been able to get through the first lesson with her, so I was beginning to worry that she wasn't really grasping why we were there. She just loves talking to us and she goes off on tangents that make it hard to redirect the discussion. We saw some real progress in her last Sunday, though, when she came to a "Why I Believe" fireside (which are held every month. Recent converts to the church speak and give their conversion experiences. They are really powerful!). She loved it and seemed really touched by it. In the lesson yesterday, we asked her what her thoughts were about it and she said she'd felt the spirit and really began to understand that this was the real deal. She expressed how grateful she is that we've helped her out so much. Then SHE brought up baptism and said it's something she's really been thinking about and that she really wants to work towards that. Of course we were thrilled. And then, later that night we received this text from her (I'm typing it word for word from her, so excuse the grammatical errors):
"I just I just want to let you know that I appreciate everything you guys have done for me and my family I'm more than grateful for everything they put it on my shoulder still gotta try to figure out how to get some more food but what you guys did was amazing and I just want to say thank you thank you for coming into my life somewhere private event ever and I'm ready to learn more and really get my head into the church."
AH! A miracle. We are being so blessed.

I love you all,
Sister Robinson


December 22, 2014

Dear Family,
Well, another week bites the dust! 

I am still adjusting to the area here in Paradise. I think it's really starting to sink in that this is my new area - I'm not going back to Havasu! When I talked to one of the head Sister Training Leaders, Sister Luke (who filled Sister Arnold's shoes when she went home last transfer), on Thursday at our Christmas Conference, she asked how my new area is and then said, "Well I think you'll probably be there for a while!" So I'm anticipating being here for a few transfers, haha. There are a few major differences here:
1. Missionaries are everywhere! It feels like we have so much more interaction with other Elders and Sisters.
2. The ward feels like a totally different dynamic than I'm used to. 
3. Our area is busy and crazy and there are people everywhere, all the time! I know there are prepared people out there - we just have to find them.
On Saturday, Sister Cook and I got to go to the temple with a young couple in our ward, the Euteneiers. They're 25 and have only been married for a couple of years. They're also ward missionaries! Going to the temple with them was perfect. I love being there. I feel so much peace walking through those halls and sitting in those rooms. I'm reminded of Toni's words to me as we sat in the Phoenix Temple Dedication a few months ago: "It's like everything there is good. Everything is as it should be." How grateful I am for my membership in this church and my opportunity to attend the Lord's holy house. Afterwards, we went to Café Rio for lunch of course! It was a heavenly day. As we left Café Rio, we got caught in horrendous Christmas traffic. We were stuck in the parking lot for 30 minutes! But I enjoyed every minute laughing and visiting with them. I think Heavenly Father knows how much I need those families who wholeheartedly love and support us as missionaries, so he gives me people like the Mundys and the Euteneiers. I am so blessed!
That night we also got to go to President's house again. It was the same special kind of experience as last week... I love being there. I feel the Spirit very strongly just sitting in their living room. We sat around the fire and talked for a while. I asked President Snow how old the house was and he said its been through 4 mission presidents now, so about 10 years old. He named off the other presidents who have lived here. Working backwards, he said: him, President Neider, President Christianson, and President Callister. I had no idea that Tad R. Callister had been president of my mission! I felt a wave of gratitude to be serving here. President has also told us in the past that, from the mouth of L. Tom Perry, our mission is the highest performing mission in the Southwest region of North America. He has impressed upon us the privilege it is to serve here, now. I've felt a confirming witness that this really is where I need to be, and that I need to savor every minute here. As Sister Cook and President met, I sat in the living room, sipping hot chocolate and relaxing by the fire. I read through the January Ensign. I could have stayed there forever. I began receiving all kinds of revelation for myself as I sat there - revelation about what I want my life to be like, who I want to be, a vision for the rest of my mission and for the family I want someday. If I am gaining anything from being a missionary, it is a sacred, special vision for my life. I catch glimpses of my life ahead as I serve, as I work with members, as I teach investigators, as I study and pray and learn. It is so special being here.
This week at our Christmas Conference I also got to see my Sister Emily Cook!!! I hadn't seen her since the middle of September! I was so excited that I (unintentionally) made a big scene running up and embracing her. I was just overjoyed. She looks so good! I told her all about Havasu and we reminisced on our time there together. I just love her. I'm so lucky to serve with both Sister Cooks in the mission. Obviously I had to get a picture with both of them :)
I can't wait to see you on Christmas! It will be the best gift. 
I really enjoyed this quote from the Christmas Ensign:
"President Benson said that one of the greatest things about Christmastime is that it increases our sensitivity to things of God:
'It causes us to contemplate our relationship with our Father and the degree of devotion we have for God.
'It prompts us to be more tolerant and giving, more conscious of others, more generous and genuine, more filled withhope and charity and love—all Christlike attributes. No wonder the spirit of Christmas touches the hearts of people the worldover. … For at least a time, increased attention and devotion are turned toward our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.'2
This Christmas, as the spirit of the season permeates our hearts, let us do something that expresses our feelings in an outward way,showing that we understand that the babe born in Bethlehem is the real Redeemer. President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) gave some practical advice that helps us do that:
'This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a softanswer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Tryto understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express yourgratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your loveand then speak it again.'3
Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. Without Christ, there can be no fullness of joy. Without His birth and HisAtonement, we would have no Intercessor, no Advocate with the Father, and no Mediator who makes it possible for us to return tothe presence of our loving Heavenly Father and live together as eternal families."
And also this quote from President Uchtdorf:

“Sometimes the most precious and sacred things are right in front of us, in plain sight, but we cannot or will not see them. …
“I promise that if we unclutter our lives a little bit and in sincerity and humility seek the pure and gentle Christ with our hearts,we will see Him, we will find Him—on Christmas and throughout the year.”
The Savior is the most important gift, the ultimate gift. As we make our relationship with Him our highest priority, everything else falls into place. Stress is relieved, burdens are made lighter, our capacities to love are increased, our hearts are touched, and our natures changed. I am so thankful for Him.
Merry Christmas!

Talk to you soon, :)
Sister Robinson