Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dear Family, Sorry I'm emailing later than usual. We have had an insane day. We woke up this morning at 5:00AM and rode around the entire Penang island. We figured out just a few minutes ago that it was almost 90kilometers. It was so much fun, but the hills were killer. We probably won't be able to walk for a few days. We saw the Tokong Ular (snake temple), beautiful isolated beaches, jungle, spice farms, durian orchards, giant cliffs, batik shops, and melayu kampungs. It was awesome, and we felt so good doing it (except for the hills... which makes me a bit nervous for KK....hehe). It's shame you guys can't come up here, it's such a beautiful place! I sent you an email that I received from Malaysia Airlines saying that our flight from KL to Brunei has been rescheduled for an hour or two later. Haha I can't believe you skyped with the Moores, good for you. Yes, I would love to eat dinner at their house! They're some of my fav people in the mission, and they always cook the best food. I recently read a quote that read some people make a week out of a year, and some can make a year out of a week. I'm trying to apply that principle for this upcoming week. We fly out to Singapore on Wednesday for Zone conference until friday (I can't believe they're flying us out, only to fly us back down there a few days later!). Elder Mayo and Sister Lewis (in Penang) are singing a number in ZC and I'm accompanying them on the piano... feels like old times in the MTC when Elder Mayo and I performed at devotional there. It really feels like full circle serving with Elder Mayo again- he's a hoot. As far as what clothes to bring for me, maybe just a hoodie/sweatshirt would be nice, just in case. I'vve been meaning to buy one my entire mission.... and here we are.... you know that BYU under armour one I had? that would be fine. I bought a sim card the other day for Malaysia and can roam in Singapore. Here's the number +60109473312. Do you have what'sapp? that may be a good way to contact ont he 3rd. I'm not sure how that works. Elder Mayo, Elder Crum, and I may want to go to the airport anyway to say goodbye to the other elders that will be leaving early that morning anyway. But we may just end up somewhere else that night. Not sure yet. If you don't hear from me otherwise, just meet me at Tang Plaza @ orchard at 9:30AM for a light breakfast. have you talked to Sis. Sophie at all? I would like to go out to dinner with all the Klang members as well. I got a phone call the other day from another expat family in KL and they want to feed us too. I haven't had any time to figure out what we're actually going to do when you come. When I get a moment, we'll think about it. ENOUGH TALKING ABOUT THAT I just read Eric's email- sounds like he's having a blast. He wrote a novel. I guess I kind of did too today. Yesterday at church, we had an all star line up. We had President LeBlanc, the district president, President Lai, the Singapore Stake President, and Elder Woo, from the area 70. It was interesting having them in the little Butterworth branch. I was so grateful for how much they raised the spirituality of the meeting. Preparation and dedication really invite the spirit, and you could tell that everyone noticed- especially our investigators. I was happy to see that President Lai remembered me and was concerned with how I was doing. I love the Singapoer members- they mean business. It's so funny, but so good. I taught the gospel doctrine class from 2 Samuel 11-12, and was quite intimidated having them all there, but felt very satisfied when Elder Woo came up and thanked me for teaching by the spirit. In priesthood, he trained us on teaching and brought up sunday school several times. It;s nice, once in a while, to be ercognized for trying to help others have spiritually uplifting experiences at church. ok, hopefully I can email you next week! Sorry for the delay bai elder robinson

Friday, June 13, 2014

One month left!

Dear Family, I can't believe how fast the time is flying. This week was a good week, I can't think of what to write though.... so this is going to be scattered. Yesterday, after church, I got a really good SMS from Elder Plaizier down in Singapore that said, "you know it's a good day when Sheila gets baptized and RG and the Miller family come to church" It made me so happy to see that the people that I put time/energy into are doing well. Very happy for all of them, and hope they're doing ok. It's interesting how, on a mission, you get these little reminders that help you see that you're doing the right thing, and that your work is meaningful to someone. I hope you get to meet some of the Filipinos when we are in Singapore, they're such good people. I had an interesting insight the other day. I met a man, who when I asked what religion he followed, he said that he was an atheist, and only believed in himself. that last statement, the part about believing only in oneself stuck with me and bugged me all week. He had a nice car, nice house, studied/worked in America, had a nice family, good values, and a very kind personality. I thought about how he must be a hard worker, and must have done a lot of good work. Yet, at the end of the day, we can only trace our own efforts back so far. What I mean is that it seems like every good thing we ever accomplish on this earth all stems from a good idea, inspiration, motivation, some type of spark in our mind that comes out of our control. You know, when your sitting there, trying to think of something, and it feels as if you're waiting, hoping that something 'pops' into your mind? I think that 'pop' is one of the surest signs that there is a God out there. We take these good ideas, these inspirations, and run with them and accomplish great things. Even our most fundamental faculties, talents, and abilities are gifts that have come outside our control. It seems like a very dishonest form of plagiarism to try and take full credit for the good we can do in this world. I read Mosiah 4, and really liked how it talked about, "are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend on the same being, even God?" Ever since I've been thinking about this, I've been noticing every time one of these good ideas, or thoughts come into my mind- outside of my control. I've been trying to make a note of it, and give acknowledgement to God for giving me this direction, or even just the opportunity to fan that little ember into something bigger. Just an interesting thought, you should try taking note and acknowledging them... i've noticed it increases the amount we receive. Our branch president told us we all had to bear our testimony yesterday, so I shared the experience of meeting that man and this idea of giving credit for our inspiration we receive from God. Our branch president misunderstood what I had said, and thought that I meant we shouldn't teach wealthy people, so he spent the entire 3rd hour, which was combined, in teaching the missionaries the proper way to approach people who have nice things. At first, I was so annoyed, adn we all tried to explain what I meant, and then we just went with it. His intentions were good, it's just funny that he spent an hour lesson on a language misunderstanding. that's all I've got. See you soon Elder Robinson


Dear Family, I'm glad to hear that Eric's farewell was a success. It seems like just yesterday we were worrying about all that stuff for me. I'm sure he did a great job on his talk- he'll get lots of practice on his mission.... I wish I could have been there. This is one of the few times on my mission I have felt a little homesick. I've thought about calling President Mains and asking him if I can call home before Wednesday just for a few minutes. Still not sure though. This past week was very nice. On preparation day, we went out to Penang and toured an old Baba Nonya Mansion (Peranakan) which is what they call the strait chinese here (the chinese mixed malays, who got rich and built big mansions and developed their own culture). We also had some delicious, but very expensive, northern indian food. I'm trying to think of the good stories to tell. On Saturday, we had a branch activity at our condo. A BBQ on the top floor Sky Garden, planned by our Branch President. He told us that if we didn't bring a lot of investigators, he would personally throw us off the 30th floor. Naturally, the stress of the week was inviting investigators to come. We had a lot of cool experiences throughout the week of meeting new people on the streets. Cool Story: The elders before me had previously found a Tamil man named Surian, who, when I first met, was sure that he was mentally insane. I was confused as to why they were meeting with him. They had helped him drastically reduce his smoking problem, which led to his wife and kids moving back in with him. After that, nothing much. We had previously met his sister (who he stays with), but just on the street, and she told us she wasn't interested. Well, on Saturday, we went to their house to invite to the BBQ/tell him that we were going to stop visiting with him until he was more ready to make the gospel a part of his life. WHen we arrived, he wasn't there, but his Sister and her adult kids welcomed us into the home. We sat down, had something to drink, and began talking. The conversation quickly went to Surian, and it became evident that this family was extremely worried about him. It came to our attention that he has a lot of other challenges in his life. The Gospel naturally made its way into the conversation, and soon enough, we found ourselves making promises, that if they, as a family, were to learn and apply this message, they could see miracles in their lives and in the lives of those around them. This staunch Hindu family sat quiet, and then asked if we really thought this message could help their family. It was a uplifting experience to bear testimony of why we travel so far, for so long, to share this message. They scheduled an appointment for the next day [yesterday] to meet all together with Surian. Elder Moala and I were shocked that this family, Surian's wife, sisters, etc, who were previously so uninterested in why we were coming by, could have had such a change. [side note: they surprised us by coming to the BBQ, talking for hours with our solid indian family, and having a great time]. We went to their home yesterday, and had one of the most memorable lessons of my mission. We all sat around together, and you could just tell that there was a real love that was the motivation for bringing everyone there. We started off asking them what type of people they wanted to become. We taught about who God is, and explained who Jesus Christ was. They were all on the edges of their seats, and it was only then that I realized this was all new information to them. We pulled out a few copies of the Book of Mormon and read Alma 7:10-16 with them, explaining along the way. We even explained the analogy of the debtor and debts. I don't know how to articulate how it went! In one of the latter verses in that section, it talks about the covenant we make with God. We directly asked them if they would be willing to prepare to promise to God, to be what he wants us to be. They all humbly said that they wanted to. They all wanted to change, and to help each other change. We finished off by teaching them how to pray. It was powerful to testify of why we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. As I was describing what type of things we include in a prayer, I mentioned that we can ask God questions. I was immediately interrupted by Surian's wife asking me, "does God actually answer them?" asked in a really sincere way. It made me so happy to know that she was thinking, that she was absorbing this new invitation, and really trying to find out for herself. We answered with an emphatic YES. We made the expectations very clear, and they know where this is all heading. At the end of the lesson, Vali said, "if Jesus can help my family, I will surely do something great for Him". It was interesting to teach a family who prayed to so many diverse Gods, to pray to the one that we know and love. Although this was the first time they had heard all of these doctrines, it was clear that they were familiar with that loving God. It's also clear that everyone struggles in this world. The "diverse sins" are what separate us from eachother and from God, and it's the Doctrine of Christ, that unifies us and brings us together. There are millions of ways to mess up,.to feel sad, but there's just one way to come back. We had several families come to the BBQ, and it was a success. Just like ward parties back at home, enough food to feed twice as many people as come.... except it was all curry. I'm going to miss that. I'm going to a Indian wedding luncheon at noon, which I'm super excited about [already hungry], and then going to the top of Penang hill. With regards to KK, we can probably do that. Check with them and see what they think. We may need to make reservations quick!. bai, Elder Robinson