Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Family,

Hello.  First off, I got the package!  Might be the best package yet.  I love all the granola bars, they're the perfect thing here.  That mix that you keep sending me is impossible to make pancakes with haha.  We end up just throwing it in the rice cooker and eating whatever comes out!  Elder Trotter likes to eat all the food too, and then acts like he doesn't need packages haha.

This week was packed with some deep lessons.  Because we wanted to find more people, we had originally blocked out everyday from 5-7 to go finding, but literally everday, something more important came up in the form of lessons!  I'll share a couple stories.  

Because the klang group is so small, we only have a few members.  THe members are super strong, but impossible to meet with (so busy) and because they have been in the church for a while, are impossible to get referrals from.  We had pretty much given up hope on getting any.  Anyway, the other day, we had an awkward 45 minute window between appointments, so we decided to go to the local pasar malam (night market) and get some food.  As we were riding back, we tried to find a short cut.  As we were going, we kind of got lost.  We went down a street with some pretty nice houses, and there was one where a bunch of kids started yelling at us and asking us if we were australian.  Elder Trotter hates stuff like that, so he went and sped off.  As I took a closer look, I saw a picture of Jesus above their door.  I also saw their mother watering some plants in the front.  I slammed on the brakes, and went and asked her for directions.  After a few minutes talking, we found out that she worked at an international school in Klang.  Not just any international school, but the SAME one that 3 sisters in the Klang group work at (a.k.a, the entire klang group relief society haha).  She is very good friends with them, and was interested in what we were doing in Malaysia.  She invited us in, and then invited us to come out to dinner on saturday so we could meet her husband.  The sisters in the Klang group were ecstatic!  We had never gotten any referrals out of them, but then yesterday, they came up to us and starting planning dinners for us to meet their other friends.  I'm so glad we finally "passed the test" with them.  

We went out to chinese food with this new family, and they are great.  THey're indian, and catholic, and a super strong family.  We shared with them the proclamation to the world, and they just ate it up, literally every part.  The father was very pleased.  We didn't go into anything really deep.  Just, we got to know their family.  It was very nice.  They were so.... normal!  We want to treat this family very carefully, because they have the potential to go places.  Anyway, they're great, and we love meeting with them.  They want us to come back.  That never happens, so we are pleased.

With our investigator Beh, there has also been huge progress.  We weren't sure, for a while, why he wanted to meet with us.  At first, we thought it was just for english, but now, we know it is something different.   Yesterday, he more or less bore his testimony to us.  It was not formal in anyway.  It was so simple, in his funny broken hokkien english.  He helped us teach another Hokkien investigator after church, and when we asked why he liked to help us, he said (more or less) that he could tell there was something different.  He says that there have been changes inside that he wished would have come into his life sooner, and that now he just wants to help other people know how they can avoid feeling the sad ways that he felt.  He said that although he is not finished learning, he knows he's on the right way.  Elder Trotter and I were speechless.  I didn't do it justice, but I don't think words really can.  

Update on the SDA's, we had a really strong lesson with them, and instead of trying to argue about little points here and there, we tried to keep it simple, and bring it back to the heart of our message, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the past week, we have taught many lessons on this, in many different ways.  I love going back to the basics like this, because it just reaffirms to me so much more about how important this all is.  Things that I took for granted about the book of mormon, the importance of it, all of it.  I wish people would take the time to see why the book of Mormon is so important to us, to take the time to really see why we think everyone should read it.  I think it is kind of amazing that a bunch of 19/20 year olds come into houses and teach about this. We are making some very bold claims.  And, at the end of the day, it all hinges on the book of mormon.  How many people can say that, and have no idea why?  NOT THIS GUY.  haha.  good experiences.  

I'll include some funny stuff now. 

In Katazan (from Sabah) culture, there is a word "anoh" which literally means nothing.  THere is no translation for it.  It is kind of what they say when they can't think of somehting else.... the problem is, they don't correct it.

"do you know that guy?  You know, the one from anoh?"  ... oh, the one frmo _____?  yes, i do know the guy from ___
"I think she's from anoh, right?"  You're probably right, she's from ______.  
this is one part of their culture that still blows my mind.  

Also, SMSing is a nightmare.  No one uses the word texting here.
I'm positive that Malaysians have this idea that they need to send cryptic messages.  Sometimes, we will get an SMS that takes 10 minutes to decipher.  It's not that we don't understand the Bahasa, it's that the random assortment of letters and symbols on our phone have almost zero connection to what you think they would.  It's super funny, but kind of ridiculous.  Because our phone is new to the mission, elder trotter likes to send prank SMS to new missionaries and see if they can figure out what it says.

Chinese New Year's is over!  Hooray.  We did pretty well for Ang Pao this year!  We feel kind of bad, because it's a lot, so we may just use it to buy stuff for the church.  I personally got over 130 RM haha.  

OH, and I do read your guys emails, but I don't know what you want me to say to them!  I'm not jealous you're going to Jamaica, I'm done with this whole heat thing.  I'm glad eric got into byu.  I hope Daniel gets feeling better, and Kaitlin does something for him (maybe cook something that's not shaped like a bird or takes 3495843 hours from a pinterest recipe ^___^)  I actually really liked the chick rolls and honey butter....

ok good bye
Elder RObinson

PS, tell GMA happy birthday

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Hello Family,

this was a good week.  

By the way, I got the package!  The nature valley bars are SO GOOD.  That's exactly the kind of stuff I wanted.  The little pepperonis were odd..... haha, haven't opened those yet.  And we'll probably just turn all the mixes you sent into pancakes..  thank you.  I also see that you bought a new calendar!  I miss those.

I guess I'll just start off with the stories!

So, on Tuesday, Elder Trotter woke up really itchy.  He is kind of a hypochondriac, so this one was REALLY bad haha.  Anyways, I didn't believe him until he took off his shirt and his entire back was scabbing from him clawing at it all night.  So he called Sister Mains, and she told him he should go to a doctor.  Well, lucky for us, we remembered that our District President (President Dass) is a dermatologist.  So, he told Sis. Mains we would just go see President Dass, since we had to go into Petaling Jaya for a district missionary meeting anyways.  We called President Dass, and he told us the directions to his place, and said it would "take a while" to get there.  

It took a LONG WHILE. 

It quite literally took us 3 hours to get there.  We thought he lived/worked in PJ, but he actually lives in a tiny town up in the mountains called Kuala Kubu Bharu.  The funny thing is that the KTM (the commuter train) has a stop in that town, and a stop in ours, so we didn't think it would be that long.  It literally took ALL day.  It was so pretty up there though.  Completely out of the city, up high in the mountains.  Cool temperatures, no garbage, no smells (other than trees).  It was so nice.  Well, we were in Dass' office for about 10 minutes.  Turns out Dass just gave Elder TRotter some benadryl and itch creme (I could have diagnosed that!)  We already had to cancel our appoitnments because ther ewas NO way we were getting back.  So President Dass son took us on a little tour of the town, which has a huge lake up in it.  (I uploaded some pictures of us there)  Up beyond the lake, there is an Orang Asli Kampong, which is like the aboriginal race of Malaysia.  They live in this little village up a canyon, and we went to the river and accidentally saw them all bathing O.o  oops.  Sister Dass made us some Cumin Capati and Pumpkin soup (yes, it was cold enough for soup) and then we took the 3 hour journey home.  Although we didn't get anything done that day, it was really cool.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni!  Yes, Chinese New Years was yesterday!  It was kind of anti-climatic.  We have heard SO much new year music, all the sales, all the red and gold, everything.  All Saturday-SUnday night there were red and gold fireworks all over the valley.  From our 9th floor window, you could literally see fireworks everywhere.  I think Malaysian fireworks are louder than normal.... or maybe it just seems that way.  Sleeping?  cannot.  Sister Sophie took us out for some Chinese food, and dropped a ton of money on these fancy Prawns that everyone tries to get during the new year.  They were really good.  I also had some of the best squid and tofu ever.  It was really funny, because we aren't allowed to ride in a car without other adult males, and sister sophie wanted to drive us to this restaurant, so she picked up some random guy and I think she paid him to sit in the car and go to dinner with us... just to obey the rule.  haha.  He felt really awkward, especially because we were eating pork and speaking english...  She also gave us ang pao!!!  I uploaded the picture of that too.  

Because it was chinese new years, EVERYBODY goes back to their hometown.  Church was scheduled to be only one hour, and we were wondering if any one would be there.  It turns out, that we had five investigators come to church yesterday!  Brother Wong and his family was there, and Dennis/Joanna, and the rest was people we were working with.  This week was kind of funny.  Let me tell you how church went.  I also want to preface this with, "I used to think I had a lot of responsibilities in the Ensign Peak Ward....".  We opened the church, turned on the air cons/lights, prepared the sacrament, got everybody to church, played the piano for the hymns, blessed the sacrament, gave talks, translated, and locked up.  We literally did everything.  haha.  Yet, yesterday, I didn't feel like I was running around with my head chopped off.  It was a really meeting.  I gave my talk in Bahasa, and it was about the reasons why we are given commandments.  Elder Trotter then followed up with a talk on obedience.  We were really surprised to see some of our investigators there.  A very pleasant surprise.

Over the past 10 days, we have given an intense lesson to almost everyone we meet with.  We didn't even realize until last night, when we were counting up totals from the week, that every person we met with had a 'turning point' lesson.  I don't think me writing about it could accurately describe what it was like.  It was definitely interesting, and I got a lot out of it.  I hope they did too.  Kind of at the base of it all was that if we want to see the results the gospel can bring, we have to kick start the cycle.  faith, actions, the spirit, blessings.  The cycle continues, continues upward.  

I think this week we're going to be spending a lot of time finding new people.  That's the hardest thing to do, especially because the results are very slim.  We don't have any other choice.... which makes it kind of difficult.  I would like to see the number of how many doors we pass until we find a non muslim one, and then the number of doors that aren't muslim that answer, and the number of doors that actually let us in.  It would be a really slim number, let me tell ya.  Yet, as we were counting up totals last night, we always seem to find new people.  Somewhere... behind some door....

Oh, and this is kind of a cool story.  So I always tell Elder Trotter that we should buy food so that on Sunday we don't starve.  He always replies, "God will prepare a way".... usually sarcastically because we never end up buying groceries . Well, on Saturday, we were jam packed with long appointments, so we literally had no chance to eat a legitimate meal.  I'm at the point where if I don't eat rice, I'm starving.  I have to have rice atleast before 2:00PM to make it through the day.  (today, I've already had rice).  well, saturday night, after our appoitnments, EVERYTHING was closed for the new years eve.  So, we went to bed with no rice in the tummy.  Sunday, with regards to hunger, was bad.   We were so hungry, and didn't have time in the apartment to eat.  Nor any real food to eat.  We taught Beh in Bandar (downtown Klang) at a KFC, and were SO tempted to buy some.
We thought that last night would be a good night to go contacting, because everyone is off from work.  So we went contacting, and it turned out that no one had work, so no one was wasting their off day at home :(  We were walking when we noticed a Malay (muslim) wedding.  We walked over to the wedding, and saw all the food and literlaly started drooling.  We went a spoke Malay with them, and then they told us to come eat.  AHHHHH.  Very good food... or I was just starving.  Either way, I guess God did prepare a way.  

No other big news.  Everything good here
I hope grandma gets feeling better, and that nothing severe happened.

Elder Robinson

> Hello Family,
> It sure has felt like a looooooonnnngggg week.
> First off, church yesterday was kind of disappointing.  The previous week, we had a ton of people come to the new Klang group.  The problem is, we have direct orders from the Asia Area Presidency that we have to combine with our mother branch on the first sunday of every month.  So yesterday, when we met in Petaling Jaya, we literally could not get ONE person, from the 19 we brought last week, to come to church.  We had our investigator Beh come, but none of the others.  It's just too far for them to travel, especially when it starts at 9:00AM.  So, church was disappointing in that regard, but it was nice being able to focus on one person, and get something out of church (as opposed to running around with our heads chopped off, which is how it normally feels).  It was also Branch conference, so we got to hear a lot of great talks from the District Presidency.  one of the speakers came up to us afterwards, and invited us to come to his office next monday for Pday.... oh, his office is in the Petronas Towers above the Bridge.  The Towers are by invitation only.  Literally.
> We also have been dealing with another large struggle: Chinese New Year.  Literally the entire world stops for the Chinese New Year.  For the past month, we've been hearing "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm just too busy with Chinese New Year coming up"..... you're not even chinese.... Anyways, the actual holiday is next Sunday.  They were considering canceling church, but decided it would be better to just have Sacrament Meeting only.  I don't think anyone will be there.  We've had a lot of investigators (chinese, and non-chinese alike) too busy with the Chinese New Year season to meet with us this week.  I guess this is their version of the Christmas season here.  You hear Chinese New Year music everywhere, and everyone is busy shopping, cooking, and getting caught up in whatever else they need to do.
> We had a surge of new investigators when things first got rolling, but as we are finding out, it's going to be a lot tougher than we initially thought.  Since there wasn't any missionary work before us, we have to literally start from scratch.  We have been spending soo much time contacting.  We've tried flats, terrace houses, apartmenst, everything.  It's just hard.  Especially because this week was abnormally hot.  We still were able to find a few people that weren't busy with the new year, I just don't know if it's the right kind of people yet.  Our goal is to do everything we can to find another family.  It's just hard.
> I don't want to be all negative this email, but there was one other disappointment.  In Malay, the phrase "kami ada hal" might be the worst of them all.  It literally translates to "we have a thing".  It is the universal excuse here.  It's hard when, as missionaries, we literally spend everyday trying to find people.  We spend everyday studying, finding, teaching, working, all in hopes of bringing people closer to Christ.  For us, getting people to church is, in a way, a confirmation of our work the previous week.  When after all you do, all that is keeping them back is a "hal" we get kind of frustrated.  a "hal"?, really?  I was thinking yesterday of all the "hal" that I have let stop me from getting the real benefit.  Elder Trotter and I were talking about the Savior, and how He put in the ultimate effort for all of us.  He literally gave everything He had so that we could take part of it, and become something more.  Even after all of that, sometimes we think we have a "hal".  I think about all the things that do "easily beset me", and realize that it's just a bunch of hal.  When we wake up, and see the big picture, these "hal" seem so insignificant compared to the things that are available to us.  no more hals.
> ok, for some better news.  Sister Sophie, a super member in Klang, knew we were having a tough time, so she has taken it upon herself to go above and beyond her normal above and beyond.  She makes us dinners and drops it off at our house.  She also took us out to breakfast last pday for Dim Sum and Bah Kut Teh (which is the chinese breakfast equivalent to Schwein Haxe).  And then, on Saturday, after several appointments fell through, she called and took us to get burgers from the "best place in KL to get burgers"  It made my day (as you can see in the picture I sent home).  And they were really good.
> We are kind of spoiled by the few members we have.  Again, the only way we can really repay them is to work harder.  That's what we plan on doing.
> Oh, the other day, we were told that there was a less active member, who lived in the Klang area.  We were super surprised, and decided we would go find him.  We were given his address, and looked on the map... thought it wasn't too far away, and decided to go to it.  THe neighborhood was called Kampong Jawa, which appeared to be a reasonable bike ride.  After an hour, we got there, (this is when it was boiling hot) and a group of malay men felt some pity for us and bought us some drinks.  We asked if they new were these flats were, and they said, "oh yeah, but you still have a long way to go!"  -____- So we kept going.  We ride for another hour (getting lost a bunch of times) and end up in the middle of no where in Shah Alam!  Shah Alam is the super Muslim part of the valley, like where all the Islamic regulatory stuff is, and everyone was giving us weird looks.  We finally get to these flats, go up to the room, knock on the door.  A couple of Nigerians answered the door, and had no idea who our member was.  We were super discouraged, after traveling so far, all for nothing.  We were on the 9th floor of the flats, and looked out over Shah Alam for a minute.  After a while, we decided to go back to our bikes.  As we were unlocking our bikes, we heard, "brothers!  Brothers!"  We looked up, and saw another Nigerian shouting to us from his car across the street.  We then said, "I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ!"  He ran out of his car up towards us.  He was so happy to see us.  No, he was NOT the man we were looking for.  It turns out, he was baptized in Puchong. a while ago, but then got moved out to Shah Alam, which is way too far away to go to church in the puchong area.  We told him about the new building in Klang, and he was so excited.  He told us that he had the Book of Mormon in English and Igboh, and still read.  We're going to meet him again tomorrow (kind of not excited for the bike ride... but atleast we know where we're going!).  It's crazy how, again, the window of time for us to cross paths with hims was EXTREMELY small.  We walked out of the flats at the same time that he happened to be driving by.  This happens way too much for it to be chance.
> I'm actually writing this email in Puchong.  We went to the Zone Leaders area to go bowling with them.  I ended up dominating all of them. ^__^  who knew I was such the bowler??
> Eric, good job at swimming.  Hope you do well at state.  I know you're probably sick of swimming at this point, but I'm dying to get into a pool!!!
> I have not gotten a package yet.  Although, I got a cord in the mail from Dad?  I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with it.  I think the package slip will come today (hopefully).
> We're still doign well here.  I just can't wait for chinese new year to be over.  Hopefully we get some ang pao, and let into some good parties.  Some of the members are having a party in Subang Jaya, so we might bring beh over to it.
> Ok, goodbye
> Elder RObinso