Monday, February 10, 2014


Dear Family,

Another week has flown by.  I was trying to think back at what happened last week and was shocked that it had only been one week since all that stuff happened- it seems like a month ago!  This was a very nice week, and now I'm trying to think of why....

Last Pday we were trying to go to the River Safari, but because it was a public holiday for New Years, it was packed... so we ended up just going to the zoo.  The zoo was reallly cool.  Much better than the Hogle Zoo... they brag that the Singapore Zoo is the best in the world- they also say that about the airport.  They like to advertise a lot about what they're best at.  

The beginning of the week was nice in that we were in Singapore, and able to visit some of the members from the 3rd Ward.  Almost every member in our ward is working here to support family members back in the Philippines, so almost everyone rents rooms in flats throughout the island.  We decided to go up North on Wednesday to an area called Sembawang, and visit the members around the area.  One of the people we dropped by and visited was the 1st counselor in the bishopric.  He was shocked and surprised to see us, and said that he had never had missionaries come and visit him in the whole 3 years he's been in Singapore.  He appreciated the scriptures we shared with him and the invitation to help teach one of our investigators.  That experience ties into one that we had earlier that day.  Every week, we have a sit down reporting session with President Mains, where we discuss what happened in the previous week and what needs to happen in the week to come.  After several hours of that, right when we were finished, he asked if there was anything he could do for us.  It was a simple request, but very genuine.  I really appreciated it.  It seems like we get a cut of everyone's problems, but there really isn't anyone seemingly concerned with collecting our own problems.  I wonder if that 1st counselor in the bishopric felt the same way when we came over and offered our assistance- however small it may be.

We spent the second half of the week in Kuching, Sarawak.  Eric asked if there were any areas that we bused to.... the answer is no, we fly everywhere.  I just got my MalaysiaAirlines frequent flier card as well as my SingaporeAirlines frequent flier card.  Anyway, we arrived in Kuching and had our zone leader training in their awesome new building which they call the KDC (Kuching District Center).  It was massive, and was built in  preparation for a stake.  It looks and feels like an American chapel!  Elder Toney followed the Zone Leaders this time, and I followed the Chinese Elders and another companionship a little outside of town.  While I was with the Chinese Elders, we visited a man who had a really cool story. The Allens (senior couple in KK) were in Kuching during December on a humanitarian assignment.  While there, they contacted a tour guide that they met and sent his number to the Chinese Elders there.  The Chinese Elders have been meeting with him, and he is on date to be baptized. It turns out that he had seen elders, years before, and approached them... expecting them to talk to him, so he kept getting closer and closer to them, but they never talked to him.  He waited year later until Elder Allen opened his mouth to him.  After leaving the appointment, I told the Elders that they should give the Allens a call, and that they would be excited to hear about that.  The Allens happened to be in Kuching that night, and were so excited to hear the news.  

The next day I was out of the town a bit in a place called Kota Sentosa.  It was nice to follow these Elders who I had never met.  It was a real throw back to be in Sarawak again, sitting on the floors of small wooden houses eating a seemingly endless flow of crackers and syrupy drinks.  I was so stuffed of saltine crackers by the end of the night that it made me sick!  (I don't miss that)  I was reminded of how nice these people are, and how pure their desires seem to be.  I compare it with one of our investigators here who could not get past the fact that the Book of Mormon claims that Jeremiah was imprisoned before Jerusalem was sacked by Babylon... or something to that effect.  It seems like too much intellect and understanding can diminish ones ability to actually learn and understand if they aren't careful.  I've grown to appreciate the principle of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

We flew back into Singapore late Saturday afternoon and had to rush back to the Stake Center to catch the fireside.  It was Glen Rawson (I can't recall if I mentioned this last week... but he is the guy who does the Joseph Smith Papers).  Anyway, he put on a devotional for us.  It was really interesting.  At first, it seemed like he was rambling a lot of trivial details at us, but as the night went on, I really started to enjoy it.  He told us the story of Joseph Smith's life from birth until he received the Gold plates, but filled with tons of little facts and accounts that aren't well known.  I really appreciated how personable it made Joseph seem.  Bro. Rawson reminded us that Joseph was just a man, but who rose to the great calling given to him.  He kept mentioning the thought, to what end are we raised?  It was very insightful.  He reminded us of our pioneer heritage, and not to forget it, because too much has been sacrificed for the cause to not remember.  I'd appreciate it if you included a couple family history stories in each email- that would be something worth knowing and reading.  Get grandma involved too!

This next week is going to be really busy for us.  RIght after meeting with president tomorrow, we fly to Bintulu, Sarawak for a few days, then fly back on thursday for MLC.  The next morning, friday, we will be flying out to Sibu for the rest of the week.  Hopefully we get back before church on sunday morning.  I'm getting better at talking to people on the plane.  

can't wait to see where Eric gets called to.  I thought about asking President Mains to send an email to Elder Evans (head of missionary department) in Salt Lake.  haha.  

ok bai
Elder Robinson

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gong Xi Cai

This week was a better week, very busy though.  We started off pday by waking up at 6 so that we could go on a jog around our part of town, and then be in the office by 7:30 ready to report.  It takes a lot of time to report, I just finished.  It's really good to hear from all the zone leaders.  We then went to play a GIANT game of ultimate frisbee in a park on one end of the island- it was so much fun.  I'd never played frisbee before, but I was instantly hooked.  I embarrassingly got a little too into it, and dove (and caught) a frisbee which ended up ripping pants and cutting me up pretty badly.  I was so sore afterwards.  We then had an appointment with a member, where we could ask how we could help them.

It was a busy week of exchanges, we flew out on tuesday to Kuala Lumpur and had such a good time.  I had a really interesting experience on the airplane.  We typically fly Malaysia Airlines or SilkAir (which is part of the Singapore Airlines company).  Well, when we got to the airport, we found that they had upgraded us to a Singapore Airlines flight, which is super fancy.  A business man sat down next to me, and immediately fell asleep.  Throughout the flight, I kept having this feeling that I should talk to him.  After some refreshments were passed out, he woke up and started acting fidgety.  I jumped on the opportunity and asked him if he was going to KL on business.  He responded yes, in a thick French accent.  I asked what he did, and he said he was in the luxury goods business.  After a few minutes, I found out that he was from Paris, lives in Hong Kong with his family, and is the President of Louis Vuitton Asia.  haha.  He then went on to point out every piece of Louis Vuitton he was wearing (everything).  We had a good conversation for the rest of the flight, and talked about all sorts of things: missionary work, job advice, families, God, and prayer.  By the end of the flight he was so happy that I had talked with him.  He said how grateful he was for flights, where we have to turn off our phone for an hour and listen!  I committed him to say a prayer that night, and to visit  I really hope that he prayed that night.

It was so nice to be back in KL.  I was able to see a lot of old friends from the branch.  One of the people that Elder Rasmussen and I found was baptized last week and confirmed yesterday, so we had dinner at President Woodford's house with charles (the one who was just baptized).  The Woodford's are so great.  I also just heard that a man named Leong, who Elder Stahle and I found, who was doing so well then suddenly moved North after a sudden divorce, found the Elders in Puchong, went to church, and is on target again towards being baptized.  We visited sis Alice, and taught a brief lesson with her daughter, who is now on date and reading the book of mormon as well.   I was so happy to find KL doing so well.  Also (side note) KFC in east malaysia is terrible, and I missed west malaysia KFC, so for lunch we went all out and got a ton of fried chicken with their thai chili sauce.  ^_____^  OH BEFORE I FORGET: I made western family macaroni and cheese yesterday for dinner- it was so good.  I took a picture for GMa

After two nights in KL, we woke up super early to go to the airport to fly to Penang.  I used my smart phone to set an alarm, but the phone froze, so we woke up late (still super early though) and rushed down to our taxi, who was a crazy guy (as usual).  Penang was so nice!  I was so impressed with it.  It felt a lot more like California- a lot less tropical, a bit dryer, and cooler temperatures.  The church is in a great location- right next to the Penang Polo club and the turf club in a nice bungalow house.  The chinese have a majority on the island, which gives it a much different feel- almost like Singapore.  We were there for Chinese New Year's which was awesome to see all the decorations as well as for food (or so we thought).  We had a famous Penang Nasi Kandar lunch (where I ate more curry than any person should eat in a 2 week period), and then for dinner we went to a part member family's house and had hot pot.  It turned out to be mountains of processed fish balls.  They insisted on us eating atleast 5 bowls of it.  I got to about half way through the 5th bowl and a piece of artificial crab caught my gag reflex.  I'll have to attach a picture.  The highlight of that trip was when, at this dinner, the family (after we shared a message) went around and bore their testimonies.  It was so cool to hear, because this family has recently been reactivated.  It was great to see how each testimony linked to one another, and how they built off each other.  Very uplifting.  

The next day we flew back into Singapore to go on exchanges with the Singapore North Zone Leaders.  We had just enough time to drop off one suitcase at the apartment, shower, and grab the other bag to head off to their house.  The house next to our condo was throwing a very fancy new year's party, and the whole street was packed with porsches, maseratis, bentleys, and rolls royces, with little chinese business men walking around.  They had a private dragon and lion dance on our street which was cool to briefly see.  My camera was out of batteries, and I have misplaced the charger, so i didn't get good pictures (i just found out yesterday that the charger to our Sony smart phones also works with my sony camera!)

It was super fun to be with the north zone leaders- they're chinese elders, so we were able to meet with a lot of chinese speakers.  They deal mostly with chinese nationalists, so they have awesome chinese.  We had a dinner in a little sketchy chinese restaurant (super delicious) but made me feel like I'd been hit by a train all night.  

cool story:
One of the Elders in our mission is from a town north of KL called Ipoh.  He is serving just across the border of singapore in Johor, Malaysia.  Well, his little brother came down to singapore to get set apart before heading off to Alaska for his mission, and for 24 hours, President Mains let the two Loke brothers be companions in Johor.  Last night, we had little Elder Loke spend the night with us.  He was so excited- literally bouncing off the walls.  It lifted all of our tired spirits.  We sent him to the airport at 3:00AM this morning.  I hope Eric gets called to the Singapore mission- maybe we could go on exchanges!

ok, I'll send this and talk about the housing

Elder Robinson