Saturday, July 28, 2012

AJ's First Letter Home

Here is the first letter we received from AJ in the MTC:

Hi Mom and Dad,

Thank you for your letters this week-- it is nice to now that someone on the outside is thinking about me.  My companion gets tons of letters so it's nice to have some.  I also heard from Chelsea and Carly.

Things are very good down here.  At first I was really home sick, nervous, depressed, etc.  The task before us is really daunting.  I'll tell you a bit about our situation:

We have been called to preach in Malay, but there are no learning tools in Malay (Book of Mormon, Bible, TALL book, etc.), so we actually learn everything in Indonesian, and then have to teach ourselves (with the help of a tutor) Malay.  We are learning two languages, and the more I study them, the more I realize that they aren't as similar as I would like..... >:(  But the language is coming along.  I am amazed at how much I already know from only 6 days.  All of the elders and sisters in our district are mad because they think I'm super good at the language, but I feel like I'm struggling just as much as they are.  I end up answering almost as many questions as the teacher does.  It's nice to have a smart companion who also has a real desire to learn the language, otherwise I would be upset.

I hope you noticed the title of this email "praying to Allah", because that's exactly what we do.  Our language is closely tied with Islam, so our word for God is Allah.  I'm still getting used to addressing Him as Allah, although we are also allowed to use Tuhan (less common).  We are not allowed to preach to any Muslims while there, but they just made it able to wear name tags, so we will be able to do that!  I can't remember the last time I prayed in English (bahasa Inggeris), which is really cool because now I am very comfortable giving prayers in Malay and Indonesian.

I love my district.  The group of guys are the best.  We have so much fun together, and it's nice to have everyone ooh and ahh when they hear where we are going.

We have already taught three lessons to an investigator named Joneles.  It is amazing how much the spirit will help you when you have the right attitude, and a sincere desire to share the good news with the investigator.  We committed him to baptism, but he doesn't know enough yet, nor much about the commandments (perintah) so we're going to teach him that tomorrow.

Our P-day is on tuesday's, and I'm currently sweating on a computer in the hot laundry room while I wait for my clothes to be clean.  I'm very thankful for my comfortable shoes.

I have seen a ton of friends from BYU, and Jacob's french class room is right by my Malay room, so I get to see him a lot.

No news on when we fly off to Singapore, but we all have appointments tomorrow in the travel office.  The good news is that we are not going to be there on Visas, but rather we will just go off passports.  That does mean that we will have to travel to Singapore by plane every so often (I'm excited about that)

It's been hard being away, but the more I forget about why I'm sad, and focus on how much fun I am having, how much I love my companion, and the miraculous circumstances we are in, I find that this is exactly where I want to be.  I always add to my prayers "Saya mohon kedapa-Engkau memberkati keluarga saya", which means please bless my family, because I really miss you guys.

Elder Mayo and I decided to read the new testament together.  A guest speaker (who was a non-member) asked how we thought we could expect people to read the Book of mormon cover to cover, when we haven't read teh bible (Alkitab) cover to cover.  I don't want there to be any excuses, so I am reading it, and have found that it brings me closer to Christ.

I'm happy down here, but the more I think of it, the more it is like prison.  We all have to wear the same uniform, eat bland cafeteria food, and are in closed quarters with a wall around us, but I love it.

The thought of staying here another 8 weeks is.... interesting....  I feel like I've been here forever.  I just want to get to Singapore.

I have seen lots of friends from my classes and ward, and yesterday I was walking back to my residence hall and I heard "Ran Tian Ming!?!"  <- my chinese name.  I was startled and turned to see one of my chinese teachers!  She is going to oakland mandarin speaking-- we took a picture.

Ah, I forgot to bring my camera (which is locked up, by the way) here so I can't attach any pictures.

Tell Eric that a kid in my ward is an intensive gamer, and while discussing super smash bros, he used the term, and adamantly believes in, "move priority".  It is real.

I only have 5 minutes left on here......

I was the only missionary who took the whole "no logo, no flashy clothes/tie" thing seriously, so I kinda feel like a fool only bringing 6 ties when all the other guys in my room brought over 20.... and have nice normal p day clothes.....

Anyways, I kinda forget what I'm going to tell you now that I'm on a computer, so be sure to include questions you have.  AND, while I'm in the MTC, respond to my emails with<> messages, because they get here faster and then I don't have to spend my 30 minutes reading your emails, rather I can come prepared with what I want to say
2 minutes...

The food is 'bleh', it is literally the exact same as the cannon center... so I'm continually eating too much.  The singapore sister's parents sent us cookies, so we have been eating those ^__^.

We are in a branch of fijian, malagasi, indonesian, malay, tongan, marshalese, and english... so it's interesting......

Ok, 50 seconds,
so now I have to sign off,

selamat tinggal dan dengan sayang,
Elder Robinson

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