Monday, January 28, 2013

Best Week Ever #290348

Dear Family, 

Once again, this was the best week ever.  i don't know how I'm going to write half of it, but here goes nothing.  

I'll start with last Pday.  We got a random call from Elder Crum who said he was in KL, so of course we flew over there.  It turned out that he got to spend the day in KL on his way back from Singapore (he got transferred to Singapore this week, and is now living in a house with Elder Bodhaine-- very jealous, that would be the most fun house in the mission).  Anyways, we picked them up from the LRT and (once again) went to China town.  After a while, his companion wanted to see the National Mosque, so we decided to go over since it was so close.  It was a very cool experience.  We were able to walk around the giant mosque, and see al the stuff with it.  It was the first place in Malaysia I've felt comfortable walking with my shoes off.  After a little while of walking around, a man comes up to us and addresses us as missionaries.  It turns out this guy is some head guy of the Malaysian mosques, but used to live in Australia and went to stake dances (random).  Well, we start talking, and this guy gives us the private tour of the whole place.  It was really cool because we were able to openly ask him questions about the religion- questions and issues that we confront everyday- and he was really willing to give us straight answers.  I learned a lot about their church.  I feel like I better understand the majority of the population now.  He also gave us 234752 pamphletes about islam and us each our own English version of the Qur'an (which I'm not even sure if the mission allows us to have those..... oh well, cool souvenir).  Although I learned a lot from him, the more I learned, the more disappointed I was with the whole thing.  From the government, to the teachings, it just was disappointing.  I don't know how one can go in with an open mind, and not find it disappointing.  We then walked over to Merdeka Square and took pictures.  ( I posted a bunch of pictures on the home server)

Speaking of Islam, the Sultan of Selangor just issued a decree that the word "Allah" is now illegal to be used in any other faith in Malaysia except Islam.  We didn't think anything of it, until we went to the service center in KL and spoke with some of the office staff there.  They said that all church materials are going to be fined because of it now.  The Indonesian Book of Mormon uses Allah, so they're going to have to make sure the new Malay one uses "Tuhan" instead, which translates to "Lord".  The kind of obnoxious thing about this all is that Allah just means God.  Everyone here uses it.  Not exclusively Islam.  There was an incident that made national headlines a couple weeks ago of some Muslim college students in Penang receiving a bible.  National Headlines for that?  An ongoing investigation for that?  Wow.  

We spent a lot of the week worrying about the new building here, and getting it ready.  Pretty much all saturday night was spent cleaning the chapel.  All of the chairs the church bought had to be completely unscrewed to get the plastic off, so Elder Trotter and I spent a lot of time doing that with some of the members.  The chapel is in a 1200 sq. ft. shop lot, behind a gas station, sandwiched between 2 chinese restaurants.  You can smell fried rice in the building.  Plain white walls, blue carpets, a pulpit, and chairs.  We were so nervous about the whole thing.  We knew something was going to go wrong, we just couldn't figure out what it was going to be. 

So yesterday morning came, and it could not have been better!  We had 38 people show up!  For a GROUP!  19 (half of the congregation) only spoke Bahasa!  In Semenanjung, that is unheard of.  8 of those 19 were investigators.  There is a little bit of a miracle story for each one of those.  It was such a nice, humble meeting.  Elder Trotter and I blessed the Sacrament in Bahasa, one of the speakers was in English, and Elder Trotter did the other in Bahasa.  We then split into an English sunday school, and a Bahasa one, where Elder Trotter and I taught.  Everyone talked about how much they felt comfortable and at home at church.  Most of the bahasa speakers have felt uncomfortable traveling so far to go to church, in a language they don't understand, and with so many people that dont' really try to relate to them.  That's not the case in Klang.  We got the dream team as far as members are concerned.  The few members that we have here are some of the strongest in Malaysia, and that's why we got a group out here in the first place.  The first counselor in the Mission Presidency, President Chan, is in the group.  We have Dennis and Joanna ( a Chinese and Filipino couple) who are so great, graduated from BYUH, and literally built the chapel.  the Wongs, who are awesome.  And the Ramas as well.  We are all such a mix.  Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Penan, Sarawak, Sabahan, and the two white elders.  Even with all of the language confusion, EVERYONE was so willing to work together so that everybody could understand.  I don't think I've ever seen a church work so well together.  We have the english speakers wanting to help teach english, and wanting even more to learn Bahasa (also unheard of in Semenanjung).  

I really do think this group is going to get big quick.  Elder Trotter and I were talking about how this area is quite literally the best area in the mission.  We get to use Bahasa, we get to open a new area, we have smarter investigators (Semenanjung investigators), we are close to KL without being in it, we have (although a small group) the strongest members in Malaysia willing to help out at every turn, good food, and tons of cool cultural stuff to see.  We are so lucky.  In the missionary hand book is says that you are specifically assigned to serve in your respective areas.  I love it.  

I have written so much about it in my journal, and to President Mains, that I'm kind of burned out thinking about it as of right now.  Sorry this email is kind of dull.  

We only get half a pday today.  We have a service project later today, and spent the other half of our pday on saturday.  The whole KL district went to Batu Caves as saw the Thaipusam festival.  It was really cool, bizarre, and at points disturbing.  I posted a few pictures.  

I wish I could convey how happy we have felt that past 24 hours.  Although this place is the best, it is also a lot of work.  Finding the people is so hard, and finding the ones that will really last is even harder.  It seems like we will meet golden people, only to find that they are not truly prepared to receive it.  I think we come into the field thinking everyone will be just lining up to hear about this message, when the reality is that people are really prepared to hear and accept it.  I know I probably shouldn't write this, but after seeing a lot of the Islamic religious aspects on Monday, and the Hindu on Saturday, I am so thankful to know what I know.  I guarantee you someone somewhere will read this and accuse me of being some narrowminded, uncultured swine, but it is really true.  We are spoiled having this beautiful information laid before us.  It would be wasteful not to learn everything we can about it.  Don't believe me, try it out for yourself.  

Sorry this has been so scattered, hope you all have a good week!  
Elder Robinson

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