Monday, April 21, 2014

Another round of exchanges

Dear Family,

This week we started another round of exchanges.  My desire to email is decreasing the longer I'm out here...

Last Preparation Day we went to the Dinosaur exhibit at the Marina Bay Sands museum.  It was a rip off.  Should have just waited to go to Thanksgiving Point...  But it's always fun to walk around the downtown parts of Singapore and see how, I guess you'll see how when you come here!  What's the budget for hotels....?  Because there are some waay cool places to stay in some of the cities we're visiting...

We started our first round of exchanges this past week, and had a really good time doing it!  We flew on Tuesday Morning to Sibu, Sarawak, and met up with the Zone Leaders there.  The one who replaced Elder Crum in Sibu is Elder Misa, who was trained by Elder Stahle.  We did our training with them, and got a lot of good ideas on how to work with some of the challenges the mission is facing.  For most of the exchange, it was Elder Plaizier's turn to follow the Zone Leaders while I went with another companionship (Elder Wilson and Elder Hobbs).  We had some great lessons, and were able to learn a lot about the importance of follow up.  I'm trying to think of funny things that happened..... oh, I accidentally threw their house keys on their roof, so that was interesting getting them down.

I'm trying to do the mission a favor by trying to save money on these exchanges.  The way my previous companion showed me how to schedule flights was costing a lot of money because when you pick multi-city trips, it doesn't give you the best deal.  So, it takes a little more time to search but we end up saving hundreds of dollars.  "Thinking smarter not harder"- Elder Stahle.  So, when I saw how much it cost to go from Sibu to Bintulu, I figured we probably could bus it and still be ok.

so, we bought bus tickets from Sibu to Bintulu, because I thought it would be cool to drive through the jungle.  Jungle looks the same during the first 10 minutes as it does for the rest of the 4 hours... so I was pretty bored.  The roads were too bumpy to read well.  Overall, good experience, and we only spent 50RM on tickets.  (after that experience, I decided we're not renting a car and driving between cities... not enough time).

Bintulu was one of the coolest exchanges we've had.  I followed the Zone Leaders (Elder Adams and Elder Wayment, both are in my MTC group).  It's interesting when we go on exchanges, because everyone expects you to be coming into the area with a solution, or crazy new ideas to fix a problem... which is kind of hard because we know so little about the full situation... second thought, that's usually a good thing.  When we arrived in Bintulu, the ZLs told us the district had planned an easter activity at the church.  When we got there, there really wasn't anything planned other than come to the church and bring food, so the members pushed it onto the missionaries.  So, as I was sitting in the congregation, I heard my name announced as one of the speakers talking about easter...
That night, we were talking about how the area was going, and they told me about the difficulties they're having getting members involved/motivated, and how the areas they've been working in aren't working.  We all decided we would make the exchange an experiment and try something completely new.  They had heard about a new development off of the map, that might be an interesting place to go check out, so we made the plan to do so.  They only had 2 bikes, but one has pegs on the back wheel, so since I was the biggest, I rode one while Elder Adams stood on the pegs and held onto my shoulders.  We rode to the river, took a ferry to the other side, and began riding in the middle of no where.  We rode for so long.  Long story short, we (after taking tons of wrong turns, snakes, bathroom runs, etc) ended up at this new housing development, where missionaries had never gone before.  Everyone had cars, and we were told that it was almost all christian.  It gave us all a boost of energy/motivation/excitement.  I just spoke with them today and they're very hopeful and excited for this new phase of the work.

I'm consistently impressed with how the Lord always provides while we're on exchanges.  Each time we go, I get nervous/stressed thinking how on earth are we supposed to help here?  Yet, the most "random" things happen, and miracles start popping up.  i think the Lord uses that to help us and them.

Ok I'm thoroughly done with writing.

I got the package!  Unfortunately, I'm on a running bet with the Chinese Elders that we won't eat sugar until Elder Black goes home (May 8).  It's the worst.  Saving it all for then!
Elder Robinson

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