Monday, September 23, 2013

Dear Family,

Good week.  It feels like it flew by, and then again, last monday seems an eternity ago!  It was a busy and hectic week as always.  Once again, not sure where to start.

Months ago, one of the sisters in Klang roped me into getting missionaries from the Zone to do some skits (on how to be a good friend/neighbor missionary) at the next District Relief Society.  The Relief Society activity was last monday (our Preparation Day) so trying to get missionaries to do skits was similar to pulling teeth.  After blood, sweat, and tears, we got two skits (I had to be the star of one -___- ) ready for the activity.  It actually turned out to be one of the best Preparation days ever!  The activity was so fun.  The skits were funny, and everyone thought our skits were funny!  The theme was around the world, so there were performances put on by all the branches (except for KL branch )and they were soooo funny.  It was nice to see all the old faces from the other branches.  Everyone also brought food ^___^  we then went and took Zone pictures in front of KLCC.

OH!  I know Elder Lee really well!  He is so awesome!  I've been on exchanges with several times in Malacca- he was the one who took me on the run through the rice paddy fields in Malacca.  He's a lot of fun.  I'll give him a call later.  He's now serving in Ipoh, which is in the Zone to the north of us.

We had our Zone Meeting on tuesday, which was really good.  It was nice to get everyone on the same page with things- especially because there are so many new missionaries in the Zone. We had a mini devotional done by Sis. Moore afterwards at their condo about cleaning up the Branch Directory.  It was a nice day for everyone.  

We've been having a lot of new investigators cross paths with us.  So many cool people.  It seems like as long as you are doing what you know you should be doing, and giving it your all, the Lord provides in all things.  We find them in the strangest places, and they come from all corners of the earth.  The members have been doing such a good job and making sure people feel welcome.  There is an indonesian member from the PJ branch who gave us a referral ( i can't remember if i included this last week) and she is doing so well.  She has read up until Mosiah!  She had been reading a lot of anti-  material online, and we were afraid that was going to turn her off.  Her friend frmo the PJ branch helped her see that each person has the opportunity to find for themselves the truth of the message, and to see how it can affect their lives.  She took some faith, and has had several significant experiences with it.  She came to a baptism in PJ yesterday, and told us that she wants ot be next.  She preparing herself to be baptism on the first sunday of november. 

We had an almost exact opposite experience on Saturday.  We met with a 24 year old who is studying theology and christian philosophy at his University.  He was really excited to meet two mormon missionaries.  He had a lot of deep questions.  His hobbies are apologetic debates, mostly against atheism and Islam.  We talked to him for almost an hour, and it really was quite the experience.  He thought of things in a completely different light.  In learning and learning about Christianity, he has tried to use worldly evidence to eliminate any need for faith.  It was sad, and ironic, to see that a person so dedicated to the Lord, had removed faith from the whole equation.  He told us that he would never use the Bible to prove Jesus Christ in his debates.   He had a lot of different ideas.  He found it interesting/admirable that we stood for the Book of Mormon to such lengths.  He told us that in the world of debate, the Book of Mormon is a big claim, and that we need to be able to warrant such a claim.  I agree with him in that the message we share is a huge claim, and that if we plan on sharing it with others, we do need evidence to warrant us saying something so bold.  
We talked about this idea with a member yesterday.  About faith and rationale.  I'm beginning to learn that faith is such a fundamental element in the purpose of our life here on earth.  I know that God knows that, and that's why he has specifically withheld so many things that the world would see as necessary in order to validate 'our claim'.  As I compared our indonesian friend's experience to our scholar's experience, it was evident that the real difference was faith.  In looking for exact evidence, it seems our friend looked beyond the mark like the pharisees.  In looking for truth, and following what she knew to be true and good, Debora (indonesian) was able to find the truth in the message.

This is already so long.

President Mains was in town this past week, that was nice.l

Speaking of Presidents in town, President Obama will be in Kuala Lumpur in two weeks, so all the embassy workers in our branch are super busy/freaking out.  They're pretty much closing off ALL of downtown.  It's cool to hear about.

Ok Bai
Elder Robinson

Monday, September 16, 2013


Dear Family,

What an exciting/fast/busy week.  

This past Wednesday, we woke up at the crack of dawn to fly to Singapore.  Usually they fly us out of KLIA airport, but because they wanted to experiment saving costs, they flew us out of a smaller airport (with an ironic super big name: Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Airport haha).  We weren't sure how traffic would be, or if it would take a while, so we left our apartment in a taxi at 6:45 for a 9:50 flight.  We got there SO EARLY.  We checked our bags, and as we were looking for breakfast places, we realized that the airport was somewhat nearby Bandar Utama... where there just so happens to be a Cinnabon... We haven't ever had it here, so we were going to try it... but then we chickened out.... President Mains probably wouldn't have been too impressed if we missed MLC for a cinnamon roll... O.o

MLC was fantastic- as always.  There wasn't so much busy work to take care of, so a lot of it was training by President Mains to us.  We are getting so many missionaries in the mission.  When I came in, there were around 100.  By the end of December, we'll have almost 180.  They just split up the Singapore Zone into North and South, and called a second set of Training Sisters.  We always have the MLC in the Singapore High Council Room in the Stake Center (supposed to remind us of our goal to bring a stake to Malaysia), but there just isn't enough room anymore!  We were told that that was the last mission wide MLC, and that from now on, there will be East and West MLCs.  The mission is practically split in half, except for a second Mission President.  I would not be surprised if they make a new mission after President Mains.  It's very exciting.  Also sad that we will have no communication with the East missionaries unless we get transferred over to that side.

President Mains challenged us all to have an increase of faith and love in the work.  Very simple, but his explanations and analysis were so good.  I'm not going to try and retell it.  

We also had a Baptism this week!  Sister *****, or as we call her, Padmah!  She was so nervous for the interview, but she did fine.  We had the baptism on Saturday so that her favorite branch members could attend, and then confirmed her on Sunday.  She kept saying, "I feel like a baby, so pure!"  She was so happy to see everyone there.  What is really sad is that part of her family couldn't be there, and can't be with her, because they are legally Muslim.  Sister Padmah was so excited at church yesterday, and was talking to everybody.  Our Branch President, President Woodford, is soooo good at making sure they are taken care of.  He is awesome.  

It's sad, a really strong couple in the branch (that helped Padmah a lot) are moving to Baku, Azerbaijan next month... :(  They're expats working in oil, and got a new job offer.  Supposedly it's really nice there?  

What else?

For Padmah's baptismal interview, Elder Scott took Elder Stahle (our district Leader) and I took Elder Misa 'alefua on exchanges.  He is my "grandson" in the mission, and he is super funny.  Really good guy, with a ton of drive and willingness to work hard.  He told me all of the college offers to play football he turned down to come on a mission.  He is Eric's age O.o

I got your package in Singapore!  haha I don't know what I'm going to do with the jello molds!  And about those books... we're not supposed to read anything except for the approved list.  I'll hold onto them for post mission.  I think there's another transfer on the 10 of October, and I think we could be affected by it.  Companionships are NEVER together for over 3 months... and here we are...

The Elders from Malacca are coming up tonight to stay over at our house, so we're excited for that.  

I can't think of anything else.  Bai!
Elder Robinson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dear Family,

Very nice week!  Quite busy (as usual) and full of fun times.  Today is also transfer day, and I found out that neither Elder Scott nor I will be leaving KL as Zone Leaders.  I'm really grateful for that.  It's been a super fast companionship- atleast it has felt that way.  It is super unusual for president mains to keep companionships together for longer than 12 weeks... but I guess he wants us to stay together!  I'm fine with it.  It's a little funny because he made a big deal to everyone about how he was going to be transferred out of KL ^___^

We had the assistants come to KL on Wednesday, as well as two other chinese Elders who had a long layover in KL stay over the night on their way to Sitiawan.  There were 8 elders in our little apartment.... nightmare... but it actually turned out really fun.  We woke up early that morning, and some of us ran to the Petronas Towers.  It was nice to run outside when the sun hadn't completely come up yet.  

I think rainy season is approaching, because it has been super stormy.  KL usually has storm clouds around it, but it has been exceptionally dark and cooler.  I prefer it that way :) it makes walking around the city much more bearable!! 

We spent some time looking for addresses of members that no one in the branch knows about.  It's sad how many people are on the Branch list and NO ONE knows who they are.  A big problem in the past was people baptizing illegal foreigners, and then their sketchy history catches up with them, and then they just disappear.  There are 8 steps that we have to take before we can take them off the KL record, and send them to Salt Lake.  One of which is to find their addresses.  I secretly like playing detective, trying to find them, but it's always a struggle trying to find them.  We went to one this week that is now a muslim Melayu restaurant.  We were running late to an appointment, so we tried to take a short cut by walking alongside of the river.  Bad idea.  We ended up climbing over mountains of garbage, trying to cross rivers (plural) and cutting down small trees.... in KL... haha.

One of our members, on his way to church last week, invited his taxi driver to follow him in.  He had a good experience at church, and gave us his phone number.  We were walking around a random part of town, trying to get home from meeting with an investigator, when a taxi pulled up next to us.  Taxis in KL see white people and have a field day with their horns and lights, so I just looked the other way and shook my hand.  He wouldn't leave, so we looked into the window and it was the same guy that Bro. Lim brought to church the other day!  He gave us a free ride, and asked some great questions about the Book of Mormon.  He came to church yesterday as well.

Sis. Padmah is going to be baptized this Saturday.  She has come  a long way, and it has been great to see the Book of Mormon in her life.  She has a son who recently was talked into converting to islam, and now all her grandkids are islam.  Her son, and his wife, have made some bad life choices as well, and Padmah has been so worried about the well being of her grandkids. We didn't know the full details of just how worried she really was.  On thursday, while we were waiting for our member to show up, I flipped open randomly to 3 Nephi 17:20-25.  As we began to talk with her, I got a prompting to share this scripture with her, that she needed it.  As she read the passage, she cried and cried.  She said that it has been the Lord and His word that has carried her through these hard times.  She said she felt the Lord say the grand kids will be alright.  She then shared with us some other experiences she has had with the Book of Mormon.  It's very humbling to see the power of God's love, as manifested in the Book of Mormon, lighten others' loads and help them find peace.  It leads people to Jesus Christ.

I will be in Singapore on Wednesday for MLC.  I'm excited, as always, to see everyone and hear from President Mains.  It's always a nice time.

Ok good bai!
Elder Robinson

Monday, September 2, 2013

Much Better Week

Dear Family,
It was good to hear from you all.  This week was a very nice week, with lots of cool experiences.  I'll start off with the more secular/funny experiences first
This past Saturday was Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) for Malaysia.  56 years of being independent of Great Britain.  There was a big parade and festivities downtown, especially around Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square).  The funny part about it is that they do fireworks at Midnight the day before... so technically the first minute of Independence Day.  We're on one side of downtown, and the fireworks put on by the city were over at Masjid Jamek, which is on the other side of downtown, so we stayed up and could see a bit of them from our apartment.  The funniest part was that after those fireworks stopped.... the REAL fireworks began.  Even though we live in a nice area (around all the embassies) there is a sketchy set of flats right behind our apartment complex.  All of the tenants their brought their own fireworks.  I've never seen such big fireworks, at such a rapid speed, so close in my life.  It was kind of frightening... some were hitting windows of our apartment haha.  There was so much smoke that our entire complex was covered in a cloud for 10 minutes.  It went on for about 30 minutes.  Definitely illegal in the states.
Elder Scott and I also had an assignment from President Mains as a part of the job with Elder Gong, so we got to travel down to Johor Bahru to deliver some documents.  It was cool to go down there, and we did exchanges with the Melaka Elders on the way back.  The funniest thing happened.  The buses, for long trips like that, usually make two small stops and one 30 min stop.  During the first small stop.... in the middle of nowhere... we were at a small place with one bathroom a ways off, and a small street vendor.  Of course, Elder Scott had to use the restroom.  So we went, and I had to call Elder Stahle, so I was on the phone with him for the duration of Elder Scotts long bathroom visit.  He took a while.  Well, when we leave the bathroom, I looked and..... our bus had left without us!  We quickly tried calling the hotline for the bus company, when all of a sudden, the street vendor says, "why don't you just call the driver?".... -_____- like I have his number... but then she pulls out her phone, and calls him!  He pulls over, wherever he is, and she tells us to start running down the highway.  We did.  It was embarrassing, and uber hot.  As we were running, someone pulled over... and was very confused.... offered us a ride to find the bus.  Long story short, we finally found it, and made it safely to JB. 
We're waiting to hear news about the project that we were working on with the Asia President.  We were supposed to meet him at a fancy hotel on wednesday, and go to dinner with him and a Senator from Washington, but their taxi driver messed things up.  Instead, the senator sent one of his assistants to meet us and gave us $20 US dollars :) after we exchanged it, we got 66 ringgit out of it!
The KL branch is so good.  Everybody.  The investigators, the members, the leadership.... everybody.  I was amazed at how nice church was... despite the crazy things that happened.  I won't explain those, but let's just say fast and testimony meeting was uncensored.. O.o President Woodford handled it very well.  President Woodford also confirmed Alice yesterday during Sacrament meeting.  It was so nice for her.  We met with Padmah last night, and two members of the branch (unexpectedly) showed up with dinner for her.  Talk about people going above and beyond.  I was particularly amazed after church yesterday how everyone, not just the friends and cliques, were talking with each other.  Everyone is helping everyone in so many ways.  One member's son is turning 2 today, and what was supposed to be a small gathering has turned into a branch activity at his house today.  Everyone is so ready to reach out.  It's not even a label of doing missionary work... it's just being Christlike!  That's one of the issues... when people think of it as "I'm just helping the Elders" or "that's the ELder's friend" then nothing happens.  THe KL branch got the memo and thinks about helping their brothers and sisters, and becoming friends with them.

I'm glad to hear you are helping the missionaries where you can.  It's always nice to get free food.  The best help you can give is to always welcome people at church, let them feel at home, and go out of your way to help them/understand where they're coming from. 
We have quite the tricky situations with one of our investigators.  He had a consulting firm in Pakistan, but was forced to close it because of threats from a Muslim Gang.  Supposedly this happens often in Pakistan, but they approached him and told him to convert or shut down his office.  He chose the latter.  He is a very smart man, got his masters degree in Denmark, and thought he could set up something better for his family here.  He stood up in church yesterday and shared his testimony of all the changes the gospel has already made in his life, in only 4 weeks, and how the Book of Mormon, and his power, is keeping him through this hard time.  We honestly don't know what will happen with him.  We are praying that his visa extension goes through. 
It was a very nice week.  I can't think of anything else... I will be in Singapore on September 11, so If you're sending a package... I hope it gets there by then! 
Elder Robinson