Saturday, January 25, 2014

First Week in Singapore

Dear Family,

Greetings from Singapore.  It has been quite the week, full of ups and downs.  It has been one of the most hard and discouraging weeks of my mission, but also filled with feelings of assurance and strengthening experiences.  

It seems like the moment I landed in Singapore, the adversary played off every weakness/doubt that I thought imaginable.  I've been feeling a bit discouraged, inadequate, and under prepared, and it's been trickier than I thought to work through these.  And then there has been the small, very small, but powerful assurances that this is where I'm supposed to be.  

The moment I landed in Singapore, we had to make preparations for the group of missionaries going back home, and preparations for the incoming group of missionaries from the MTC.  It was very hectic, but here are some highlights.
We had the departing devotional and departing dinner at the Mains' home in Singapore.  It was a cool experience to be in their home (very rare) and to see all of my friends from that group get ready to go home.  My previous companion, Elder Johnson, was in that group, so it was cool to be there with him.  
The next morning, we woke up and headed off to the airport to pick up the new missionaries from Changi Airport.  It was very refreshing to see all the new Elders.  They had such an awesome spirit of excitement about them, it made everyone feel excited to be a missionary.  They were so tired, I couldn't believe it!  I guess I was like that about 17 months ago.  It was great talking to them/escorting them to the Stake Center, and watching them trying to contact people on the train.  The poor guys, they then had a welcome orientation until 6 o clock, and by the time it was 6:00PM, they were zombies.  I had to give several trainings (I was very concerned about when I was supposed to have time to prepare anything, it seemed like we just hit the ground running... and no real time to prepare, I guess I'll have to learn how to fit it in when we have time).  
We then had a training for all the trainers for the new missionaries.  It was really interesting sitting up on the stand for that one, and seeing all the familiar faces getting ready to go out and train.  Elder Mayo was one of them, he just stepped down from ZL and is going to be training in Butterworth (On the coast from Penang).  We did that until about 9, and then had dinner with our roommates at the apartment, then went back to the mission office to prepare for the next days activities, slideshows, etc.  We got home around 12.  AP= long nights and early mornings.
The next day was full of trainings and making sure everything was all perfect for the new missionaries- including making sure they got back to the airport for their flight.  It was nice to eat lunch with them and get to know them.  They're a great bunch of people.

Some other interesting events that have happened:
The Klang elders, the day after they got back from singapre (one is a new missionary), had a guy pull a machete on them and take their wallets, cameras, and passports.  It has been a bit of an ordeal (a late night ordeal >.<) to get copies of the passports to them, file police reports, and contacting the US Embassy in KL.  Thankfully we have some members over there that can help us out.  
A member in KL (puchong Branch) that I got to know a bit through YSA activities and conferences just left to serve a mission in Paris, France.  He spent the night with us in our apartment, it was great to catch up and feel his excitement/desire to serve.  We all woke up at 3 in the morning as he made sure to get into his taxi on time (terrible flight time).   
We are assigned to the Singapore 3rd Ward, which happens to be the Filipino ward.  haha.  It's a lot of fun, and everyone is so friendly and awesome.  We have 2 sister missionaries also assigned to our ward, and they keep things fun.  We spend a lot of time in the office, but it says we're not supposed to be office elders.  I think that's one of the things that i want to change here.... a lot of time working on projects and tasks that aren't that pressing, or not even that necessary most of the time.  Some of the highlights of this week have been visiting the filipino members and hearing their testimonies, and offering our service.  

Singapore has it's perks.  I get my own smart phone, and have my own computer and desk in our office in the mission office.  The mission office is right behind the stake center, and our apartment is in the adjacent building to the stake center, so everything is so conveniently close.  The food is really good.  Really good.  And you end up paying for it.  I ate at a thai restaurant for lunch the other day and had a fantastic green curry, and had indonesian BBQ on friday.  I think we're going to China town for lunch today and to buy stuff for Chinese new years.  I went to the grocery store the other day to buy some shampoo, body wash, and razors, and when I saw the total add up to 40Sing, I went and put all of it back and am just going to wait until tomorrow when I fly to malaysia- I'll just buy it there where it will be half as much!!  Yes, we get to travel around a bit.  On tuesday, we'll be flying to Miri Sarawak for a day or two, and then from there we fly to Labuan, and then to Kota Kinabalu.  We get back in Singapore on Saturday... I think.  We go on exchanges with all the zone leaders once every 6 weeks.  It will be cool because I have served in both Miri, and KK, so i hope to see some familiar faces.  Next week we'll be in Kuala Lumpur for a day or two, and then up in Penang on Chinese New Years to visit the zone leaders there.  I'm not adjusted to the Singapore air con.  I've been afraid I'm going to catch a cold because EVERYWHERE is refrigerated.  Including our really nice apartment.  I think I'm going to have to pull out some personal money and buy a sweatshirt.  

That's all I can think of for now.  Hope everything is good in SLC
happy belated Birthday, Kaitlin.

Elder Robinson  

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