Last night after his mission reunion we talked about going to Africa someday. I told him I plan to take an extra suitcase full of deflated soccer balls and bicycle hand pumps so I can give every little kid I see over there a ball. Do you know that having a ball is kind of a status symbol for those kids? They make their own balls out of plastic grocery sacks all wrapped together. Sam made one to show for a Primary thing. It is a very hard ball! More than anything the kids want to have a ball to play with. Sam has even kicked the idea around of an Eagle project to send balls over to Zambia, where he served. He said if the missionaries had balls to hand out to the kids they would get so many people listening to them. Not that they are finding that extremely hard - Zimbabwe was the highest baptizing mission in 2011 - over 3000 baptisms in Zimbabwe alone! Liz Lemon Swindle has a series of paintings she is doing of African children with Christ. I have this one - so far it's my favorite:
Click on the picture to read the story behind this picture - it is so sweet!
Hello to all friends and familyWe had an interesting activity on Sunday. I don't know how many of you have heard of mother's without Borders. It is a program that runs an orphanage over here but is run by a member from Utah. Every year they bring over three separate groups of volunteers to help with different things. It is an amazing thing. This is now the third group this year and in it are two very important people. They always come to our branch so it is a bit weird to see so many white people around. Last sunday as we were greeting people there were several college age BYU girls that kind of is strange to see, but in the mix were a few older couples. Then coming along was a man in his mid thirties who had shoulder length hair and a full beard. That is not a popular picture in the church anywhere and thus I was a bit taken back. During priesthood he sat in front of me and I was unnerved. Oh well I brushed it off. This week we found out that there was going to be a district fireside by a woman named Liz Swindle. She had come over on the trip for some special reason. As we sat down and she started to speak I noticed the same long haired man sitting on the stand. As she began to speak I learned that she is a popular artist in Utah. She specializes in pictures of the Savior. She is also involved in a project with Kenneth Cope. It will come out to be about 60 pictures. The one she is working on now and the reason she is here in Zambia is to do a painting of the Savior with African children. Lo and behold the long haired man turned out to be her model for the Savior, and the one who would be painted. What an idiot I felt like. To have judged prematurely on something that I didn't know. It just goes to show that you can never see what is in a persons heart. It taught me a very important lesson. I am looking forward to see the actual painting. It should be done in December. Well love to all.Elder Robbins
I have this picture now and every time I see it I am reminded of not judging people - and that someday I want to go to Zambia and meet children like these boys - and take balls to them. It is a someday dream. There is no way I could afford it right now - and maybe not for years. But it is a dream I keep in my heart for someday.
The main someday dream I have is to serve a mission. I grew up certain I would serve a mission. I grew nearly angry when people would tell me I didn't have to go - because I always wanted to go. With 4 brothers younger than me our FHE lessons would often include, "When the boys go on their missions..." and I would always add that I was going too. I didn't like hearing that I didn't need to serve a mission. I would do it! When I received my Patriarchal blessing the Patriarch said I could even serve a full time mission - and he sounded shocked. I kind of laughed thinking I would definitely serve a mission! The year I turned 19 I was so lonely - so many of my best friends were out on missions and I still had 2 full years to wait! It was a hard summer. And I kept preparing.
And then Sam came home from his mission and suddenly I realized there was a different mission in mind me for me. Despite my desires to serve a full-time mission there was something else in the works for my life. It wasn't easy to change my desires. When Sam asked me to marry him I nearly cried when I told him that if we got married I wouldn't be able to serve a mission right now. Then I told him, "If I marry you now you HAVE to promise to take me on a mission someday." He looked a little bit stunned (I had already said yes to the proposal though - this was the next day) and said, "of course!" I think he suddenly realized how set my heart had been on serving a mission. But it was a turning point for me. It wasn't that I wasn't getting to serve a mission - it was serving a different kind of mission. My new mission was a family.
And what an amazing mission these last (nearly) 5 years have been!
There have been trials. There have been ups. There have been downs. There have been chances to restore my testimony. There have been times I wonder if my testimony exists at all. It is a life long mission. I have the opportunity to share the gospel with those around me. I am not knocking on doors finding people to convert. But there are some people in my home who don't understand much about the gospel yet...my two boys. I'm sure they came down with some of that heavenly knowledge - but by now they don't remember all of it. They don't know how things work in the church. They don't know how to form their own testimonies. There is so much they don't know.
And I am the missionary sent to teach them. I have a fantastic missionary companion who also helps me teach great lessons. We get to teach about eternal families. We get to teach about being kind. We get to teach stories from the scriptures. We are missionaries! I never imagined some of the lessons we would teach....recently there was a lesson about getting married in the temple that included that you couldn't marry your brother. We don't wear name badges - but we are called by special names, "Mom" and "Dad" and we are missionaries!
I can't describe how my heart sings when my 3 year old prays at every blessing on the food "Bless that we all get mission calls and go on missions." Oh yes, I laugh a little too because he has at least 15 years to wait on that one and I'll have years more than that - but what a great someday dream! I have been thinking recently how my grandma would have especially loved my 3 year old - with his random chatter and matter-of-fact conversations and his dreams of serving a mission. He talks about serving a mission like he talks about his next birthday. He wears a Future Missionary tag to church every Sunday - and he does so very proudly. Grandma would have loved all of these things about him! Every time I see Senior Couples who are serving/have served a mission I think of my grandma. She loved missionary work with all her heart! She served 7 missions in her lifetime - not including her life's mission and family.
The mission reunion last night reminded me of my someday dream of serving a full-time mission. Oh and wouldn't it be great to be in Zambia on a mission!?! Not to mention hundreds of wonderful other places around the world. Someday I will serve a full-time mission! And for now - I will serve a full-time family mission. I spend all my time teaching the gospel to my two boys. My example is the best way I teach them. I am a missionary! I look forward to that day when I can be called on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I anticipate reading that letter that says "Dear Elder and Sister Robbins you are here-by called to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..." It is going to be an amazing day! I also anticipate the days I will be hearing my boys read their mission calls aloud. We are a missionary oriented family. I saw a quote once that said "In this family we do missions!" I need to find/make something with that quote to hang in my home. Because we do missions! This is a family mission and our goal is to have each member of our family ready to return to our Heavenly Father so we can all sit around the dinner table in heaven with no empty seats. It is a lofty goal, indeed. But it is our someday dream. And that's why I am a missionary now - I am a missionary to my family. What a wonderful mission!