Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Elder

Family, Friends, and soon to be friends,
     Yesterday we had a meeting in the Temple at 6 pm. The Assistants called us the night before to tell us that the meeting had been changed to 6:15 (like it was going to make a change in our travel plans...). We showed up at the Temple at 6 and one of the office missionaries was waiting for us (Elder Sanchez, Cominsario). He was not too terribly pleased with us and informed us that the Meeting had been changed to the Kennedy Stake Center, because the new group is HUGE and the Temple can fit them all. We were told that our house phone should have received a message... and we reminded him that he gave us a new phone, 3 weeks before, that cannot receive message. We quickly grabbed a taxi and made it to the Kennedy Stake Center at 6:10... whew! Traffic!
     President Johns had a meeting with all of us Trainers and told us a little about who we would be training. I have been assigned to train Elder Dyer from Ogden Utah. When we finally got the chance to meet our trainees President Johns started reading off the names of the Trainers and then the Trainees. Elder Dyer is a super tall missionary, basketball player, football, super beast. I was knocked over when President Johns read his name and he came to meet me in the center of the room with a hug.
      I am looking forward to this change. We are going to have a lot of fun! Elder Dyer is a super powerful missionary and his Spanish is already great. (Lucky for those that take advantage of Spanish in Jr. High and High School).
Love you all. Have a great week!
Elder Robinson

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Training, Robbing, and Such Things

Family and Friends: or Future Friends,
Shout Out:
     Otra vez voy a dar mis saludos a Elderes Taza, Ludeña, y Dardon. Tres de mis compañeros mejores! Ellos tres se van esta semaña para sus propias piases y hay un gran oportunidad que no les veré otra vez durante mi vida. Puedo decir que quiero llorar... pero no puedo... es un momento de felicidad quando un misionero regrese a casa honorable (como ellos tres). Disfrutaré siempre los memorias que tengo de éllos.
Ádios mis queridos amigos!
My Week:
     We have ended yet another change here in Guayaquil Ecuador South Mission. As such here is the list of my works for the past 6 weeks:
Lessons Taught: 131
New Investigators: 73
People in Sacrament Meeting: 25
Baptisms: 1
     So this change was not as powerful as all the other changes that I have had, but I can honestly say that I don´t think I will have another sector quite like Independencia. It is a SUPER hard sector, but the members are great, the work is good, and we have fun trying to figure out if we will be robbed or not.
     I am learning a lot more about the City of Guayaquil. I always had in my mind the image of this city that was built on the sea shore. But as it turns out it is a city that is built on the banks of the great river Guayas (which empties into the sea). The city is really long, but in a North-South manner, and it is not all that wide. My sector is not in any manner related to the river. We live on this peninsula that was created by an inlet of the real ocean... though I still have yet to see the ocean, there is an island blocking my view of the ocean: though I do have the chance to see BIG boats go by as they make their way inland to TriniPuerto (a port on Trinity Island that is right next to us) (Odd note: Trinity Island is an Island that is Inland... but seeing as how it is surrounded by water, and has a port... it is so called: Isla Trinitaria).
     Anyway, I am absolutely fasinated by the city but I really cant travel around the city on my own free will. I have to wait until Mondays, and then I have a billion other things to do as well. So I learn as I go and I go as often as I get the chance.
     Seeing as how this was the last week with Elder Taza we spent a lot of time saying goodbye to some amazing members. Elder Taza has some amazing friends here in Ecuador and I believe him when he says that these two years have been "the best two years of my life." The members from another ward he served in came to visit us at church Sunday. I was calmly reading the Liahona (not listening to the Priesthood Lesson, seeing as how they love to argue about Blessing Procedure) and when I looked up I noticed my companion was gone... hm... I went looking for him: and found him in another room surrounded by members and converts from another ward. (we also had a dinner party with them and ate a ton of Crab the night before).
     When it comes to our investigators: All of them are progressing nicely. We received a reference this week from the Sister Missionaries (or I think it was from them) and the next day the reference was at our house WAITING FOR US! She told us that she always went to the movie nights that Sister Chamberlain has and that she was really interested in the church. She is the most golden investigator I have ever seen and is always super excited to learn about the church, the book of Mormon, and prophets. A great blessing it is to have her apart of our program.
     Thursday night we were leaving the house of a member and when I stepped outside I thought: "It´s dark, I should probably take my watch off (my cool watch that I had from before the mission has already been lost, so this is my cool watch that I bought in the Bahia). Even though we were in a super safe part of our sector I thought it was odd I had this thought... and I decided not to follow the prompting. I made it a full 5 steps from the members house when I saw a man watching us. I instinctively moved myself away from him and kept walking. My companion was not so lucky. The man grabbed his shirt, ripping it, and pulled out a "muerto chancho" (it is the knife that they use to kill pigs, about 1 foot long) and demanded that my companion give him his money and watch. Then the guy tried to cut the watch off my companion and my companion just ripped it off and handed it to him. We then calmly walked to our next appointment. Maybe we should not make these robbings a casual thing.
     Elder Taza left this morning. We were an hour late to the terminal and when we got there we could not find the Assistants. When we finally called them they informed us that they were only a floor below us. Elder Taza left with Elder Quispitera to go to the office, he should leave Ecuador tomorrow at 5. The Assistants then told me that I would be training and that my companion will arrive from the MTC today or tomorrow and that I have a meeting in the Temple with President Johns (with all the other trainers) tomorrow night at 6! I am super excited. It will be fun to show a new elder around. I really don´t know what I am supposed to do... keep the rules, teach, find, baptise... but all with a new companion. I think it sounds exciting! We will see who he is tomorrow, if he is brown or white, Gringo or Latino. I personally hope he is Latino... I don´t want to loose the ability I have going with Spanish.
What a great week it has been. I will write tomorrow or Wednesday to inform you all who is my trainee (I need to give him the opportunity to write home to his family to tell them that he arrived OK).
Love you all,
Elder Robinson

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Whichi Whachi Woo

Family and Friends,
The time has come (for better things, for cabbages and kings)! This is the last week of the change. We are ready to end this series of the mission with a bang!
Shout Out: Elder Taza. Elder Taza is my amazing companion from Peru. He is a convert to the church (as it seems many of my companions are). But what makes him a little different: He ends the mission this week and he will celebrate his 3rd year as a member in May. (I don't know how he entered the mission before he had a year as a member and neither does he...) He is 26 and a super powerful example to me. I have often wondered: Why am I still Jr. Companion when it seems like everyone in my group is either in the Office, Training, or District Leader? And then I realize... because I have the worlds coolest companions and everyone else... nope. Anyway, I have learned a ton from him and will be sad to see him go. Also leaving with Elder Taza are Elders Ludeña and Dardon. Two of my other companions. Elder Ludeña from Peru and Elder Dardon from Guatemala.
My Week: So I was SUPER trunky this week. My companion is getting everything ready to go home... and I was thinking about home. A fun combination. And then to make it all worse, we were in the house of a member and the member was watching a gardening show. I thought to myself, "HM, the plants they are using sure do look a lot like the plants we have in Utah." Then the camera went into panoramic view... the gardening show was filmed in Utah Valley at Thanksgiving Point. OH... stab to the heart, bleeding all over the floor. Timpanogos, Cascade, Y Mountains... What a great place Utah is. I definitely plan to go back there. (one day, maybe next year, around the 24th of May).
When it comes to "New News" I really don't have any. We successfully did not get robbed this week, hear gunshots, or have any baptisms. We did have tons of investigators at church and we did find a really cool new family: Family Mariño.
Family Mariño is probably one of the coolest investigating families I have had in the mission. The family is run by twins, both being 19 years old. Both of the twins have a wife (not married) and they both have kids. Alvaro has 2 and Agustine has 1. The wife of Agustine is 13! Anyway, seeing as how there are some obvious problems they are listening to us. The cool part is that they are all so excited to hear our message. Every night they want us to visit and teach them a little bit more. We taught the Plan of Salvation the other day and when we finished we asked, "What are you ready to do so that you can inherit the Celestial Kingdom?" Alvaro and Agustine both said, "I will repent of everything I have done wrong!" Super cool. But sometimes there are lots of people that say that. The real test is if they go to church or not. So the next day we stopped by at 7:30 in the morning to see if they would come with us to church. Unfortunately they were all sleeping. After yelling "ha ver" (it means, to see, or have to see, its like using a doorbell with your voice) we finally got someone to come to the door. He went to go wake up Alvaro and about two minutes later we heard Agustine yelling "Get up! Get up! The missionaries are here! We are late for Church! Hey! Get dressed!" Funny funny funny. They all came to church with us. Yes, we were quite late... but this is a process. I don't think they have ever woken up before 11 in their lives.
Andres Ordoñez, the boy that was baptised last week, is doing great. He is a much stronger member than his brother and he even stopped by our house this morning to ask us some doctrinal questions. As of yet, I don't have a picture that I can attach to this email... but just you wait, later today I will attach some cool photos of his baptism and bats.
Everything is going great here in Ecuador. My companion thinks that I will train next change (like a greene missionary) but I really have no clue and am just fine doing what I am doing, just as long as I don't change sectors again.
Love you all,
Elder Robinson
PS: "Whichi Whachi Woo" is what the members think English is. When they want me to speak English they say, "Habla en "Whichi Whatchi Woo!" "

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Pictures: Bats, Baptisms, and other such things...

Family and Friends,
Hey! Pictures!
Picture 1: Inch Worm... Ecuador Style!
Picture 2: Bat... but it died. My companion smashed it with his hand a couple of times, and then smothered it with his pillow.
Picture 3: Andres Ordoñez. He does not have a ton of family support, his mom was actually opposed to his baptism (but she signed the paperwork) but he will be ok. Super smart kid. I believe he is about to start the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.
Picture 4: This is one of my two tracking shoes. It feel apart in Naranjito when I was riding my bike one day and hit a rock. I was just fine... the shoe died. This made life unpleasant seeing as we were in rainy season and Naranjito= Mud. My other shoe fell apart due to natural causes (water, dirt, wear and tear) three months later.
Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoyed! More pictures to come as this mission progresses!
Elder Robinson

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Baptisms and Bats

Family and Friends!

What a great opportunity it is for me to write you all today to tell you all about my crazy adventures this past week!

Shout Out: Spencer Robinson! Manti Temple! Way to go! Awesome! Europa! Wow! Indian Reservations! Georgia (ok, not as cool as all the other things... but it is YOUR MISSION!) AWESOME! Freak, I am so excited that you are my brother!

My Week: This week was another really cool week here in Ecuador. My companion and I finally had a baptism here in Independencia. I was going to send a photo of Andres, our convert, but my camera just died, wait until next week. He is such a cool kid, and he was a little more than upset when he found out that he has to wait 5 years until he can go on a mission. Funny kid.

So we were not robbed this week! HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT! We were actually on our way to teach Andres when a guy walked up to us and started talking to us. I saw that there was an odd lump under his shirt and decided it was time to go. (This was during an interchange with my district leader, Elder Balcon (Argentina)). Anyway, we made it to Andres´s house, with the guy following us, and we knocked and had to wait to enter. The guy kept talking to us and by the way the "thing" under his shirt was moving, I knew it was a knife. So I decided to shake his hand. HA! Now I had his hand and I was NOT about to let go. I held onto his hand for like 3 minutes until Fabian showed up and answered the door. I curtly asked, "Can we come in?" He said yes, and let us AND the guy who wanted to rob us in. Anyway, we walked in the house and the guy followed us in. I was so...lost, I had not a clue of what to do (that rhymes!) Anyway, Elder Balcon, freaking pansy, hid behind me. The member was confused, and the other member that was with us decided to stay outside. Hm... this left me to deal with this guy. So I started talking to him, asking him TONS of questions... just so he could not think about robbing us (Who is your grandma, where does she live? Is your sister a pastor? How many brothers do you have? How long have you lived in Guayaquil? Do you know someone we can visit?) I am happy to say that his poorly drugged mind could not keep up with my questions and he was really really confused. I then told him "Nos Vemos!" (Good bye, see you later) and he yelled, "NO NOS VEMOS! I WANT TO ROB YOU!" That is when he actually flashed the knife... and man, was it a HUGE knife. I am talking about those kitchen knives that we used, the foot longs ones... yikes! Ok, now what? I finally convinced him that he could rob us, he would just have to wait until we were done with our appointment. He agreed, told us where he lived, and we promised (ok, sometimes we HAVE to lie) that we would swing by his house in 5 minutes... not that we ever did. Anyway, that was my almost being robbed story of the week.

That night, after the interchanged ended, I had a fun time telling my companion the story. We all went to bed. At about 2 in the morning I woke up because the lights were on... and my companion was gone. I got out of bed, really confused and went looking for him. I found him in the kitchen drinking water. No problem, I went back to bed. He came back into the room and started talking to me about strange things. Apparently he had been sleeping (he sleeps on the floor) when a giant spider decided to climb on his leg, so he swatted it off and it hit the wall. The little beast then crawled across his mattress and hopped onto the floor. Bless his soul he smashed it with his bellow and started pounding it with his fist. When he heard bones crack he decided that was an odd sound and removed his pillow to see what this spider was... and found out that it was a BAT! He then started pounding it with his fist until it fluttered under my bed. He put a pan over it and closed it all with a weight and went and got a drink (he takes everything so calmly), that is when I woke up. As he was telling me this at 2 in the morning, I did not catch onto the fact that it was a bat... then I asked, "Wait, does it have wings?" "Yeah! DO YOU WANT TO SEE IT!" I waited until morning. Needless to say I have some really cool pictures of the bat that was in our house that my companion killed under my bed. Wait until next week, I will send the photos then.

I love you all! Hope that my mission stories are not TOO crazy and if there is anyone out there that does not want me coming home with bullet holes... don´t worry, I wouldn´t do ANYTHING to damage our relationship.


Elder Robinson
of Ecuador Guayaquil South

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Independencia...esa movda loco!

Family and Friends,

First: As you can see my email is a little different, if you need to contact me please use this address: it is our new email powered by google. Which rocks because it comes with SpellCheck! For sure by the year 2012 everything will be powered by Google and when Google collapses December 23, 2012 the world will end. (see, even I can predict the future!)

Shout Out: President Johns. I think this is the 2 or 3rd time I have actually given him a shout out. O´well. President Johns is my amazing mission president that does 50,000 things every day and I don´t know how he gets it ALL done. We just had Stake Conference here, in the Isla Trinitaria, and one of the Area 70 was present. This means that the Temple President, and President Johns were also in attendance. It was a super cool conference and the talks were great. President Johns spoke about his conversion to the gospel (he is a convert) through the help of members. It really motivated me to work with the members a lot more. The Temple President talked a lot about Christ, The Family, and the Sacerdocio (Priesthood). Super great talks.

About President Johns, So every chance I get to see him I feel super special. He quite literally could control our lives but yet he chooses not to and he controls the mission with rules and guidelines of love and understanding rather than tyranny or fear. It will be sad to see him go in 3 months. In the MTC they taught us that there are 2 people that will influence our missions more than ourselves, the first: Our Mission President. Second: Our Trainer. So, in the MTC I started praying for them both. As it turned out, I was blessed with the best trainer ever, Elder Benavides and the coolest Mission President, President and Hermana Johns. But seeing as how the months are rapidly flying by... it is time to start praying for the next president. But I will always look to President Johns for amazing council and guidance.

My Week: So we were only robbed 2x this week. I think we can improve on this front as the weeks progress. Seeing as how being robbed is often more comical than scary I will relate one of the two robbings here:

My companion and I were walking near the edge of our sector, near the "Salado" (they call it this because it is the sea... but only a finger of it that reaches inland, my sector is surrounded by 3) when we came near unto one of the 2 bridges that connect my sector with others. As we approached the bridge I remembered something my companion told me "under the bridges is SUPER dangerous, we are never going there." Well, this was the first time we were actually near this bridge so I was a little curious as to why they were dangerous. As we passed I could see that there were many people doing drugs and selling drugs and... well... drugs. Stupid things. Anyway, I was just about to report to my companion about how accurate his statement was when a man approached us. Me, being the friendly missionary, opened my body up to shake his hand. He shook my hand and that is when I saw the knife. I quickly took 3 steps back... I don´t want to get robbed with a knife. The member that was with us also stepped back with me. This just left my companion... the man with the knife lifted his hand, in the act (I thought) to stab my companion in the back, I yelled to my companion... but too late, his arm was already around my companion and his knife was at the kidney of my companion. My companion gave the guy a whooping $0.50 and the guy left. My heart was pounding so hard, I thought I was going to watch my companion get slaughtered! (so did the member). What makes the story funny: MY COMPANION NEVER SAW THE KNIFE. He thought we were joking when we told him about the knife. Wow, and just think, if my companion decided NOT to give the guy money... well, I would be starting change 7 with companion number 8. This is why we laugh when these things happen. :)

Our investigators are doing great. The family that was to be baptised this week fell through. The father is a Jehovah's Witness and they are quite hesitant to progress. Though, this Saturday we will be baptising Andres Ordonez, a super smart kid who is reading the entire Book of Mormon and is currently in the Book of 2 Nephi. He always asks us questions like, "What does "Fruit of the Loins mean?" or "Why did Nephi not want to be king?" or "What did the dream represent that Lehi had?" SUPER COOL KID. He is super interested in the gospel and will do his family wonders when he is baptised. (not to mention he lives in the dump).

Anyway, I am going to attach some cool pictures so that you can all see that I am working. Both of my shoes are worn out and I need to send some pictures home of them so that mom can get me some new ones at MR. Mac for free.  (I have another pair I have not worn, so don´t send me any shoes PLEASE!)

Pict 1 Best District Ever! We baptised more than any other district in the mission.
2 the rat we killed in Naranjito. Not that is died under our stove.
3 Cool blue tie! Me with Elder Bradshaw
4 After Baptism party with Hna Loor
5 Soaked to the bone with Elder Taza
6 Soaked to the bone alone!

Love you all,

Elder Robinson

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Quakes, rain, and "Is one week too soon?"

Dear Family and Friends,

Shout Out: Wow! Another week has flown by here in the loving city of Guayaquil. I am finnally used to all the crazy things that happen here and am not even surprised when nothing goes to plan, busses are late, investigatores dump us, people get robbed, or are super drunk, or ... yeah, crazy city. I LOVE IT!

This week I have decided to give an update on my group from the MTC. If you can all remember those wonderful days that I spent in that blessed place... there were 6 of us: Elders Griswold, Robinson (me), Johnson, Thayne, Peterson, and Sawyer. Where are we now?

Robinson: I am here in Guayaquil. I have had 6 companions and 3 sectors (Pasaje- Santa Rosa, Naranjito- Milagro, and Independecia- Cinse). My companion will end his mission in 4 weeks and I will be starting change 7 with my 7th companion. Maybe President Johns will be gracious enough to let me have a companion for more than 6 weeks!

Griswold: This amazing missionary, my companion from the MTC, I have just been told is District Leader in Machala. AMAZING. He trained at his 4th change and is District Leader in his 6th. He should be AP by his 9th. Haven´t talk to him since I left Santa Rosa, but I would not mind being his companion again.

Sawyer: I talked to him for the first time durring the mission in the Terminal 2 weeks ago. It was a sad conversations seeing as he was sent home for medical reasons. He was a great missionary, will get better and then serve a great mission in the states. I always thought he was going to end up in the office.

Thayne: Is Secretary to President Johns. Amazing missionary as well. Don´t know much about his mission. I have talked to him once since I arrived.

Johnson: Is training. Amazing missionary. I bet he will be District Leader next change. His trainee is Elder Guerrero from California? They make a cool team. Elder Johnson was in Loja Zamora and it is cool to see him every now and again (we are in the same zone).

Peterson: This is the guy that I really want to see again. But he is in Cuenca. I hear he is super and President Johns told me that he loves to talk to EVERYONE and share the gospel. I believe it, if you have ever heard his testimony you would know that there is something special with our message.

My Week: Well, it rained a TON! We had an Earthquake, and we have an AMAZING investigator.

Rain: My sector is exactly, not lying, 1.5 feet above sea level. My sector is surrounded on 3 sides by water and I can walk to all 3 sides in 10 minutes if I so desire. When it rains... the streets flood. The other night a kind member gave us her umbrellas so that we could return home dry. We were just out of sight from her house when the first umbrella broke (wind and rain) and we were forced to take an alternate route that actually led us through a swimming pool. Needless to say my shoes didn´t dry for 3 days.

Quake: Everyone thinks that the end of the world will be in 2012. This is only reenforced, in the minds of many, with the Earthquakes in Haiti (Ati) and Chile. But, we had our own little quake.

The day after the Earthquake in Chile, at 5:20 AM Sunday morning, my companion awoke to the rude shaking of our house. He sleeps on the floor, so no surprise. I sleep in a bunk bed and didn´t feel a thing, I actually woke up afterwords but seeing nothing wrong went back to bed. Everyone was talking about it the next day and from looking at how things moved on my desk... yep, earthquake. No fears, nothing was damaged and I only have the words of my companion and investigatores to go on that it even happened.

Amazing Investigator: We are teaching Familia Olmeda. WOW! We have not been able to contact them for 2 weeks. When we finally did contact them we had a really long lesson about their doubts and worries. Needless to say at the end of the lesson we asked them if they wanted to be baptised, both of them (sisters) said, "Is one week too soon to be baptised, or do we need more time?" Usually one week is WAY to fast... but we made some things work and they will be baptised Sunday after Stake Conference! Powerhouse Investigatores.

Anway, nothing SUPER COOL to report this week. Just the normal drunk people pretending to shoot you (then laughing), telling you they have a gun (then laughing), blocking your way in the street (then laughing), or throughing water on you (then laughing). Ha! Read Ether 12 "Fools, mock, but they shall weep!"

Love you all!

Elder Robinson

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