Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dear Family,

I am SO happy that it is Monday.  The past few days have been so stressful, also soooo good though.  Unfortunately our preparation day will be cut in half because we have to make Baptismal programs and go with a member from another branch to meet his friend in a kind of obscure part of KL.  woof.  

So.... From Wednesday onwards was so busy.  The Assistants were doing their routine exchanges with us, so naturally we were a bit stressed.  It doesn't matter who it is, if there is someone following you, it takes more energy because for some reason you feel the need to be extra alert.  I really like the Assistants, so it's not nearly as bad as I'm making it sound.  In fact, Elder Harper and I pillow talked a ton about all the fun we'll have at BYU in the Rumah Panjang (the team singapore house).  So if having the Assistants here wasn't enough, we had President and Sister Mains in town, AND a General Authority.  This week was the Kuala Lumpur District Conference, and Elder and Sister Funk from Hong Kong came down to preside over the Conference.  Lots of cool experiences.  It was stressful trying to get all the missionaries there on time and with their suit coats.  Naturally, something would go terribly wrong, as in, one of the ELders from Malacca suit jacket was stolen, so I had to do some last minute arranging with the Expat members from our branch!  I didn't realize that the two people were completely different sizes, so he looked very funny in the little suit!  

Cool experiences with District Conference:
1.  The entire focus of the conference was getting the members involved in the missionary work.  So many of the speakers gave cool stories of how they were converted, and how critical other members were in their conversion.  It's interesting because here, almost everybody is a convert.  There are very few exceptions where families have multiple generations in the church.  
2.  On Saturday Morning, President Mains had my companion and me come to the church to meet with President Dass (district President) and Elder Funk.  It was really cool to talk to him.  He just finished being a mission president in India before he was called as a general authority.  He's in the seventy, spoke at the latest general conference, and is in the Asia Area Presidency.  On the Saturday evening session of conference, several members went up to the Funks and told them how good the work was doing in the KL branch, so he took us and the sisters aside and talked.  It was really cool. 
3.  President Mains headed a meeting after District Conference for investigators and new members.  It was so good.  President Mains did such a good job of encouraging investigators to continue on the path of living the gospel.  We have 4 investigators there and 2 recent converts, and all of them were so impressed with President Mains.  All of them want to be baptized. 
5.  After the investigator meeting, Elder Funk wanted to spend some time with the missionaries.  He served his mission in the Singapore Mission wayyyy long ago!  He told us how in 1969 (?) President Ezra T. Benson visited South East Asia, and dedicated/created the South East Asia Mission, which would be headquartered in Singapore, where it remains today :)  He was sent to Jawa, Indonesia (areas around Jakarta and stuff) where the church was so small.  He and his companions were the group that replaced the first elders in Indonesia, and he learned how to speak Bahasa Indon! So cool to talk to an older american in bahasa.... He mentioned how at the time, he and his companion opened up areas, and now, there are 3 stakes in Indonesia!  It was very inspiring.  He told us he was proud of what we were doing in KL (which makes the zone leaders feel good ^__^), and that in our lifetime, we will see the growth that he has seen in his own mission.  He talked about how influential his mission was in setting up his life, and how on his way home, he stopped in Hong Kong, and thought "what a beautiful place, I could bring my wife back here" and now he and his wife live in Hong Kong!  So cool.  

Sis. Deborah (our investigator from Bali) came to district conference, and I was frantically looking for her... and then I found her, sitting between two members of the KL Branch!  One was American, and the other Indian.  I was so happy.  John, our other investigator, showed up in a shirt and tie!  Deva who called before and said he probably wasn't coming since he was still recovering from his fever, came!  So hectic trying to talk to everybody, but so awesome to see and be able to talk to everybody.  Deborah passed her baptismal interview, and will be baptized after church this sunday.

I went to Klang on exchanges last week and things were interesting.  The work has slowed down so much there, and the Elders were super discouraged.  It was disappointing for me, because I had served there for so long and know what the area is capable of, to see the Elders not doing as much and telling me, upfront, that they were just waiting until transfers next week.  Not the kind of things I like to hear.  They took me to see some of the recent converts there, and then we had the first ever English class in Klang.  They planned the first one to be the day I came (without telling me), and wanted me to lead it.... all of this was told to me one hour before.  The senior couple was there, and we had 7 members come and 2 non members!  It was so cool.  It inspired me to start english classes in KL branch.  We have lots of Americans that would be such good resources to people who want to perfect/improve their English.  most people in our area speak english, but as I was contacting people on the train this week, it seemed like all people would be interested in a free class at the church, taught by americans.  We thought it would be a great way to get the Expat members involved in meeting new people, serving the community, and being a part of missionary work.  We're meeting with the Branch President tonight to plan it.

Transfers are next week.  The assistants told me that I was for sure leaving KL.  It will be a sad day.  Especially because we have 4 people planning on being baptized in the next 6 weeks.  Oh well, on to my next favorite area. 

Oh!  Sis Sophie took us to dinner while we were in Klang- Bak Kut Teh, pork in herbal stew... so good.  She also brought Beef Rendang and Lebanese rice for us at district conference!  Yum

Ok Bai!
Elder Robinson

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Family,

This week was very long, and full of interesting experiences.  
We had more people cancel on us, not answer their phones, or not show up to appointments than I have ever had on my mission. :(
         There were two times when we had members following us to appointments and when we arrived there, then the investigator informed
         us that they wouldn't be able to meet.  Thankfully, we have really awesome members who understand how the work goes.  

This past week, all of our solid investigators told us they wouldn't be able to meet except for on Sunday at church, so we were a little
        disappointed we weren't going to be able to see them, but I would rather have them be able to come to church on sundays, and
        not be able to meet us, than the other way around.  
We tried to get creative in the ways we used time wisely (<- or attempted to).  We decided to try contacting in some
        neighbourhoods near member's homes that we hadn't tried before.  So, we find one neighbourhood around a member's home
       that we recently visited, and decided to go there.  Well, when we got on a bus bound for the place, we overshot it a bit, and
       decided to just go out contacting there.  There were a ton of empty houses from the 70's, and as we walked deeper into
      the place, it all of a sudden turned into the Beverly Hills of KL, all giant mansions with tons of fancy cars.... so no one wanted
       to talk to us... and there wasn't anyone to talk to... too many fancy gates.  I was feeling very down (as I now do when there
       isn't anyone to talk to... besides the comp).  We randomly appeared at the city park, Titiwangsa, so we decided to walk by
      the lake.  It was full of melayu muslims, so we were feeling even more disappointed.  Then, out of the blue, we hear
      "wanagarm" and an indian man grinning at us.  I responded in the 10 tamil words I know, haha, and then he starts flying at
       me in tamil.  I told him we only spoke english and bahasa, and he told me he had met missionaries in the past that spoke tamil.
        We sat down on a bench with him, and shared a brief message with him.  He kept saying how happy he was to see us
       and talk.  He wasn't interested in meeting again, but he really appreciated us lifting his spirits.  It lifted ours too.  

Super cool experience.

I was sitting on a train near the Putra World Trade Center, when this guy about my age comes and sits across from me.
         He looked European, so I asked where he was from.  He was from Paris, and was doing a study abroad here at a
        malaysian university.  He saw a Book of Mormon in my hands, and asked if I was a mormon.  It turns out that he did a
       foreign exchange in Colorado, and his host family were church members.  He remembered how nice they were to him,
      and told us he was really impressed with them.  I invited him to come to the YSA activity (yesterday), and he seemed
      really excited to come.  \
       *fast forward to Sunday** Antoine and 3 of his friends frmo France came to the YSA Thanksgiving
      dinner at the Moore's house, and had such a good time.  We had copies of the Book of Mormon in French for them.
        They were shocked at how there were so many ysa people coming together from so many different races and backgrounds,
        and that we would invite them/give them copies in French.  They were so cool.  One of them is interested in coming to a
        Sunday service.  I was able to sit by them and talk about our beliefs with them, and they were thankful that they knew
        more now.  It's the little things like that, our efforts in bringing the message 'forth out of obscurity' that make this work so cool.  
So this whole week was super difficult/trying, but Sunday made it ALL worth it.  I have a quote on my desk that says,
        "believe with all your heart that how you live your life makes a difference".

        There were so many times I wanted to give
       up, and was tempted to just take the easy way out, but we kept remembering this quote, and that there was a reason
       why we had to always stay faithful.  It's interesting that there is definitely an opposition in all things, good and bad, so
      that we can fully appreciate the miracles that happen in our life.  I know that was the case for this past week.  The whole
      week preceding Sunday was very trying, but when Sunday came, it was such a stark contrast that the 6 days before
      sunday seem pale in comparison!  

What happened sunday?
We had 4 people come to church, and each person had a member with them to explain things, to answer questions during
        classes, and each were invited to come over to their home.  All four of the people repeatedly told us that they are for sure
        getting baptized.  The members were so great for all of them.  The members take so much initiative- calling investigators and
        inviting them over/to church independent of the missionaries!  Bringing food/treats for them too!  I love it.  
After church we had the YSA activity at the Moores.  The Moores are some of the greatest people on earth.  We actually
        went over to help make some of the food on Saturday with one of the people we're meeting with, and it turned out to be
        much more than we had expected.  haha.  Sister Moore has a very specific (extremely efficient and high quality) way of
        doing things, and she expects everyone who is contributing to the final product to follow the same way.  Power to her.
         haha we were so afraid of cutting the vegetables the wrong way!  In the end, everything turned out so nice.  The best
        part of it all was that we had 6 people there, four of which were our friends frmo France.  One of our investigators, John,
        had such a good time.  It was so great to see the YSA welcome him in.  It was also good to see a lot of familiar faces from
        around the district.  

After the activity, we had Beh (from Klang) follow us to Padmah's house, to have an appointment with Deborah.
        It was so great to be with all of them- all of them are people that I have helped prepare for baptism.  Deborah was
        so appreciative of the gospel in her life, and her decision to be baptized in 2 weeks.  Padmah also said how proud she
       was of her church, the gospel, and her big family of friends.  

I know I'm missing a lot... long story short, it was a good week.  We go to Singapore on Thanksgiving for MLC.  

Ok bai\
Elder Robinson
here, four of which were our friends frmo France.  One of our investigators, John, had such a good time.
         around the district.  

After the activity, we had Beh (from Klang) follow us to Padmah's house, to have an appointment with
        Deborah.  It was so great to be with all of them- all of them are people that I have helped prepare for
          baptism.  Deborah was so appreciative of the gospel in her life, and her decision to be baptized in
        2 weeks.  Padmah also said how proud she was of her church, the gospel, and her big family of friends.  

I know I'm missing a lot... long story short, it was a good week.  We go to Singapore on Thanksgiving for MLC.  

Ok bai\
Elder Robinson

Dear Family,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crazy Week

Dear Family,
> Sorry I didn't write you guys last week... if it's any consolation, I didn't write anyone!

 We landed in Singapore late and had a lot of eating to fit in before the conference started- in fact,
 I just sat at a random computer and sent a quick picture to one of the Assistants.  Singapore was really nice, 
this Zone Conference was just West Malaysia and Sabah Zones.  It is always good to see people that used to
 serve here.  There were lots of really good talks given at the Zone Conference.  President Mains related the 
example of the old way people used to harvest wheat, using a sickle and taking a long time and many hands 
to get just a little product.  He then showed us a video of the combines used now to harvest and thresh wheat.
  He related the large wheels out front to the now 15 million members of the church, and that the missionaries 
were the tools in back that threshed the tares which the large wheels (the members) had already brought in. 
 We've also been studying a case study from the Boston Mission Cambridge area, about how missionaries and
 the ward came together and transformed the area into a super productive one.  We're trying to implement
 the same into the KL branch.
> One of the Assistants, Elder Harper (who I'm living with when I get back), gave a really good talk about
how we're not just here to gain experiences, and prepare ourselves for the future.  Not just getting
 "spiritual muscles".  He said how the scriptures say the field is white already to harvest, and that we should
 be moving the work forward, not just ourselves.  This actually is a big problem I think among missionaries, 
that they do missionarythings well, but they forget that we're trying to do something much bigger.
  Elder Harper said it much more eloquently.
> Oh!  I think it's fantastic that Eric met the Woodford's daughter.  They've been asking me about
 Eric recently.  You'll have to invite her to dinner or something, because the Woodford's do so
 much down here.  In fact, just yesterday we brought one of our most progressive investigators to
 their house to talk about her baptism.  Her name is Deborah, and she is from Bali Indonesia.  She 
was an accountant at a hotel in Bali that was attacked in the Bali Bombings.  She was left with nothing. 
 One day, while contemplating what she should do, she saw a pastor on a tv sharing a scripture from the 
bible.  She said that it touched her, and brought peace- something she hadn't felt in a long time.  She decided
 to learn more, and 6 months later was baptized into a methodist church in Indonesia.  (she was previously 
Muslim, and her family essentially disowned her for it)  She decided to move to Malaysia 7 years ago, and I
 actually met her at a member's christmas party last year!  A different member introduced us to her a few
 months ago.  After reading the Book of Mormon (already in Mosiah), and meeting, she has decided that 
she wants to join.  She told us yesterday how impressed she was with the Woodfords, and how humble they
 were.  This branch is so cool.  Her baptism is scheduled for Dec. 1.
> Transfers are on Dec. 5, and I'm afraid I'm going to be sent out.  It's sad that it's right before Christmas
(  Oh, i probably should ask for some new clothes... mine don't look so good.  My belt is completely ruined
 (yet barely wearable ^__^) and my white shirts are few and getting kind of dingy.  Also some more clothes for
> I got the package in Singapore!  Unfortunately, I opened it in the hotel room when we had almost all the
 elders in the Zone jumping on my bed, so most of the food has already been consumed.  I loved the nuts.
 I didn't share those with anyone hehe.
> There are so many cool things about to happen in this branch, and you can literally feel that the opposition
 is getting more intense.  It seems like whenever something really good is about happen, or could happen, the efforts
 against it double.  It reminds me of the Brigham Young quote that talks about the bells in hell ringing when the saints try
 to build a temple, and he responds, let em ring!  Let's just say the bells having been ringing loud and clear recently, and
 we've been saying the same!  I love being in this branch, I'm going to be really sad if I leave.  The work here is picking up,
 and the members are too.
> OH!  I almost forgot!  The coolest thing happened to me while I was going to Singapore!  So, the whole Zone
 boardst he plane and then a ton of Melayus get on, wearing these fancy nike shirts with a yellow badge.  They had an air
 aboutthem that told us they were athletes.  We all suspected they were someone big, but everyone was too chicken to
 ask them.
 Finally, when we're walking through immigration, I go up and ask them, and it turns out they're the Malaysian
 national Soccer team, Harimau Malaya, and I asked the head coach if I could get their picture.  So I lined up with
 the whole team, while the Zone sat and watched, at the last minute, my comp jumped in the pic.  so cool.

> We've been so busy this past week.  I don't even know where the time goes.  This sounds so cliche,
 but it's really funny just how much you get attached to the work.  The other day, we were on the
 train coming home late, and I started talking to an indian woman wearing a cross.  She accepted a
 pamphlete, and as I got off the train, i looked through the window and saw her reading it.  Such a
 small thing, but I remember feeling so excited that she was reading it, that something stood out
 to her about it, and that maybe, just maybe, that seed would be planted.  I had that same

excitement when a potential investigator came to a service project!  It also has the reverse effect
 when disappointments happen.... which is unfortunately frequent.  I'm so happy that we're busy.
  Busy pushing the work forward.  You can feel the difference between missionaries that aren't
 busy, those that are busy, and those that are busy fulfilling their purpose and calling.  Always striving for the latter.
> Ok goodbye
> Elder Robinson
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