Monday, July 26, 2010

With my dreams to believe in...

Family and Friends!

Shout Out: Elder, Christy. 

Um... the poem was really crappy. And I cant even type or read in English anymore. I try to sound things out like they are in Spanish. But know that I spent 5 minutes trying to write for you a poem that Hyrum could write. But his would probably be better seeing as he is your child and I am just that *Elder* that lives in Ecuador. Love you lots Christy!

My Week: Here in Ecuador we are in our Winter Season. I never have felt like I have left my eternal summer... but this week I got cold. We had a few days that the sun did not shine like it usually does. And the chilly morning air got to me... I pulled the sheet out of my suitcase... and I turned the night fan off... and then I got sick. I got what everyone calls the *flu* which means I just had a sore throat and the sniffles. I dont wish to think about what will happen to my body when I am back in the states and have to endure snow and ice for months at a time!

The work here in Independecia is slowing down. Not that we have stopped working or that we had 2 sick days this week... but because we just cant find people to teach. Well. I should refresh that statement. We can find lots of people to teach... we cant find people that want to be baptized or follow through with commitments. We were planning 2 baptisms for this week, Kevin and Yulexy Lino, but Yulexy didnt go to church... so only Kevin will be baptized. He is a great kid and will be a great addition to the ward and example for his family. 

Elder Vuinovic and I are getting along great. The transition from Man to Missionary for Elder Vuinovic has not been the easiest. We are still working on controlling our emotions in public... putting on the Spock face and not dancing in the street or yelling at young children. Usually it is all very comical. But I fear we could scare away some potential investigators if we dont look 100% like missionaries 100% of the time. 

The Ward has been such a blessing for me. The members that are active are SUPER strong in the Faith. I would publicly like to give appreciation for the following individuals:

Bishop Solano: Super forgetful but always willing the help the missionaries when we stop by his house. His love for the church and for our investigators is unmatched and he is such a great example of trust and devotion.

Hna Ofelia: There is no recent convert in the world like her. Her testimony is so strong and she is always so happy to see the missionaries. It seems like every reference that she gives us ends up getting baptized. If all recent converts were like unto her...

Jose Albuja: I worked super hard for 3 months to get this character reactive in the church. He now has a calling, helped us baptize his niece, gives us lunch on Sunday, leaves with us to teach lessons, and will be one of my best friends until the end of my life. Its great friends like this that make the mission worth it.

Familia Baqui: This family lives in a cave(ish) place. Super poor. But they do the following: our laundry, feed us (2x every week), give us hot chocolate and bread, help us with lessons EVERY day, make jokes with us, give us references... everything. Without Familia Baqui... the work would cease to exist. No jokes. Only the truth. 

Here in Independencia that is about it. Everyone helps out in their own way... but these people help out more than others.

Always there is a shout out for my converts. All of them here in this sector are absolutely amazing and I am so proud of every single one of them. I can only imagine how pleased the Lord is every time that one of his children accepts His Gospel and is baptized in his name. The chance that a missionary has to work in the Lords work for 2 years is a super sacred responsibility and I dont know why he put it into the hands of 19 year old boys. But I am sure glad he did and called me to work here in Ecuador.

It is nice to take time and realize just where in the world I am. I am always hearing about disasters, wars, and crazy things in all parts of the world. And I think to myself... *Why does that never happen where I am?* Then I think... YOU ARE IN ECAUDOR! Now I am satisfied. But to help myself realize just what Ecuador is... we go to the water a lot to look out over the rainforest and watch the boats go past. As we were waiting for a bus today I noticed that there was a turtle in the middle of the road dead. It was HUGE. It wasnt run over... it was just dead. Things you will only ever see here in Ecuador. 

That sums up my life. Working hard. Fighting off crazy jungle diseases. And missing home. Maybe I will change Sectors in 2 weeks. But you never know anymore.

...I could write my Book of Days.

Elder Robinson

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One note more...

Family and Friends,

My sister: Christy, sent me this quote from my Aunt. I love all of my Aunts and Uncles and have often drawn strength from their amazing testimonies.

I usually talk to my companion telling him how amazing my time in Naranjito was. How it was a perfect place for me and the work was absolutely amazing. I often tell him that I want to go back there to work. To return to a "season" in my life that I cant currently enjoy inside of the city of Guayaquil. My sister sent me this:

"Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he created the world.  Everything has balance.  A tree drops its leaves at the end of a season not because they weren't beautiful or good, but because in the next season, if it tried to hold onto all those things, when storms came, the tree would break.  So it is with life, sometimes we set good things aside for a season so we can do better things, or so we can prepare for another season, or so our lives can have balance.  Some of those same good things can come back during another season in our lives."

Aunt Alice

It is so true. Just thought I would share my Aunts amazing insights with everyone. It is something that I needed to hear.

Best wishes.

Love you all,

Elder Robinson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecador

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a really great week. I was pleased with the work we got done even though the 2 baptisms we were planning didn´t go through.

Outline for this email:
1. Kevin y Yulexy Lino
2. Ana Bermeo Discurso
3. Interviews
4. 1 Year in Ecuador
5. Gun Fight
6. Rejection of the Truth
7. Grey Hair

1. Kevin y Yulexy Lino are our two kids that we are currently preparing for Baptism. We have tried to baptise them for the last 2 weeks now but they have not been going to church. We will try agian this week... and if they can´t be baptised by next week... we will have to drop them. Their family is being kicked out of their apartment and we have spent a little bit of time trying to find a new one for them (1 room for under $70 each month). We did find an apartment but they found a better one. Good news: they will still be living in my sector and we can still teach them and their mom.

2. Ana Bermeo is my amazing convert from 4 weeks back. She is 15 and only needed to hear the first lesson to know that what we were saying was the truth. She is absolutely amazing. The bishop gave her the assignment to talk in church this week. I wasn´t scared that she would do bad but I was definitely ready to tell her that it was a great talk no matter what she said. I was absolutely blown away with what she did. (this is the once gothic-girl that had a lip ring and all black clothing).

She read an entire article in the Liahona and then she prepared her talk taking a few points from that which was written. She added a few personal experiences and then shared her testimony at the end and declared her desire to see all of her family in the church in the upcomming years. It was as if she had been a member for years. She finished off by describing why she wants to be married in the temple. She gave a better talk than most members here can give after 15 years of membership. It was steller! Now I can honestly say that if I came to Ecuador and ONLY baptised Ana Bermeo it would have all been worth it. Just knowing that I baptised: Ana Bermeo.

3. We had interviews with President Montalti this week. They were super unexptected... but that is what we are getting used to here: the unexpected. The interviews were surprisingly fast. President Montalti was funny and brief with each missionary. My interview was about the food here in Ecuador and if the stake I was working in was going to become a District. I really didn´t have answers to either of his questions. O´well, it was a good interview. As I understand it the next one will be in October.

4. Tomorrow, Tuesday, I will have one official year here in Ecuador. Such a beatiful country and such an amazing experience that I have had here. I really can´t believe that one year has flown by this fast. If the next year flies by as fast as this one has... I will be seeing you all in what will fill like... tomorrow.

5. My companion and I were planning yesterday when we heard: Pow. Pow! Gunshots. Hmmm... nothing new. Pow! Pow! Pow! We both decided to get up an run to the window to see what was going on. Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! What! We couldn´t see a thing. It was around the corner from us. We waited a minute... thought about it... and decided to go outside to see who was being shot. We were on our way out the final door when we heard: Pow! POW! Since we were already outside, but inside of our fence, and the fight was still raging... we decided to go back inside and sit the excitement out. About 10 minutes later we went out and found that a man had been shot (only in the leg) and that the fight had been between him and the police. I don´t know why it took the cops so long to hit him ONLY in the leg. The problem: it was done next to 10ish children. Fortunately none of them were hurt. I love my sector!

6. My companion and I were looking for people to teach the other day when we came across a guy. I forgot his name so we will call him Xavier (Javier en Español). Xavier invited us into his house and told us that he was from Columbia visiting Ecuador to put on Religious Shows for teenagers. To show them what Crist wants them to do. We told him that we did something simmilar... without the "show." We shared a super powerful lesson 1 with him. He had questions but he accepted everything that we said. The spirit was so strong... you could feel it tangibly in the air. He told us it was obvious that no church was guided by a prophet and that a prophet would be needed to guide the true church. He accepted everything we said... then we pulled out the Book of Mormon. We explained it. He asked a few questions... and we asked him if he would read it. He looked me in the eye and bluntly told me, "I hope you don´t take this the right way... but no." ! ! ! Um... We reexplained the Book of Mormon. And again he refused to read it... or accept it as a free gift. We tried again... the spirit testified... everything was working for him... and he told us he could never accept any other book as scripture if it was not the Bible and that he was not going to be fooled. Hm... We reminded him to ask God. And he still denied it. The entire time the Spirit was SO strong. I don´t know what was going on in his head. We ended the lesson and I left the Book on the table. As we were walking out my companion gave him a hug. We were just out the door when he came running to us to tell us that we had forgotten the Book. We never accept Book of Mormons once we have given them out. We told him to give it to some kid. 

My companion and I felt amazing about the entire experience. We felt at peace. Even though he rejected the message... we knew we had done everything in our power. The spirit was so strong. But that is how everything is in this life... after all you can do you can rest from your labors and rejoice in your efforts... but only after all that you do.

7. After a year and countless experiences... it should be known to all that I have my first grey hair. It is growing on the front where everyone can see it. It is a happy hair. It likes where it is... Thanks to my dad... I am already going grey. 

Have a great day everyone! 

Elder Robinson

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Familia y Amigos!

Shout Out: Temples! I was at the temple of Guayaquil today. Time of my life. Something about putting everything back into perspective is what every missionary needs every few months.

My Week: We are working hard to get Kevin and his sister Yulexy Lino baptised NEXT WEEK. We had thier baptism programed for this week but they didn´t go to church. This is what happens when you try to work with kids... they don´t have a ton of say and they have to leave town when thier parents decide to take them with. Todavía they are reading the Book of Mormon and saying thier prayers... I think everything will turn out right.

We are working a lot with José Albuja. He is/was a less active member that we activated recently. With his help we baptized his niece and the other day he took us over to his friends house. His friend and his wife were SUPER interested in the message. It feels really good to have an entire family back into the program. I personally think they can progress and WILL progress. How could I think otherwise. As Preach My Gopel teaches... we* should always work closely with the Recent Converts and the Less Actives because they are often a source of MANY references. I can testify of that. (*Note: "We" refers to missionaries. All of YOU should work with people so that they NEVER become Inactive.)

My companion and I are working hard to finish ALL of Preach my Gospel before our time together runs out. This is a fun activity... because we don´t know how much time we have left together. We are studying every page, every quote, every prinicple, scripture, doctrine, theme, etc etc... I am learning a lot. I thought that I had read Preach My Gospel enough times... but that is where I had error. 

I also studied a lot about Prayer this week. I was reading in True to the Faith on the importance of prayer and how we can make our own prayers more personal. I am trying to put in practice everything I learned. I personally think my prayers have gotten a whole lot better, I feel greatly strengthened after each one, and I understand more about what Father wants me to be doing with my time here in Independencia. 

Funny Stories:

1. So my companion is the most unlucky Elder I have ever met. I can´t tell you how many stupid things just happen to him: stepping in dog poop, staining his shirt, getting food on his shirt, having a cake blown into his tie, loosing money, tripping, breaking our fan as we were putting it together, getting sick, throwing up, eating to much hot sause, asking questions you should not ask (though in this culture you can talk about things you CANNOT talk about in the US culture)... the list goes on and on... and every single item on the list is an individual story that would take far to many of my 30 mintues (oops, I meant to say UNLIMITED TIME- Sorry Elder Robinson (II)) on the computer to tell. So in short... my companion is a series of unfortunate events.

2. We have started working in the "dangerous" part of our sector. I don´t know if you can get any more dangerous from the average "dangerous" that you find walking around our streets... but in spanish it is: PELIGROSISIMO! We had received a reference to go visit one Jesica Mina. We found her and started a lovely conversation. She was interested in what we had to say and was surprised that we, as Americans, would willingly walk around her street. She asked us what we do when we get robbed, or if we had ever been robbed. My companion. In his all infinite wisdom. Boldly anounced to her, and her family, and the next door neighbors that were listening in, that we give out money when we are robbed and that we will never fight back.

 I bit my toungue.

Speaking in English I told him: Don´t say that.

The blood drained from his face as he realized what he had just said. The conversation and the neighborhood went oddly silent. We practically ran home and I don´t know when we will be going back there... hopefully when people forget that the two "Mormon Missionaries" give out free money when attacked... and they don´t fight back. We laughed about it... and then I told my companion to think before he talks.

So if you think that any part of this letter was interesting... way to go. Because more than this... everything is the same thing every single day. But that is what I love about missionary work. 

I love you all.

Keep up the faith, 

Elder Robinson

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Independencia... :)

Family and Friends,
Shout Out: President Johns. The Best Mission President I ever had. He will definitely be missed here in the mission and I am looking forward to contacting him after the mission. I and many other missionaries looked up to him for EVERYTHING and he was always super personal and concerned about our sectors, work, and families. He and Sister Johns will always be remembered here.
My Week: We had a change of Mission President. President Montalti is the new president of Mission Ecuador Guayaquil Sur. He is a private buisness owner from Venesuela. He will be a great president it will take some time to get used to the changes he is making with the mission though.
I made my companion throw up this week. He wasn´t feeling good and he wanted to get the food we had eaten for lunch out of his stomach. He told me he was just going to stick his finger down his esophogus... I decided there would be a better way. I put a TON of salt in a glass, put a little bit of water in... and told him to drink. Here is the experience:
E.V. = Elder Vuinovic
E.R. = Elder Robinson
E.V. This is TERRIBLE (After first Swallow)
E.R. You need to drink it all!
E.V. Really! Really! ALL!!! It doesn´t even go down!
E.R. (Laughing) Elder!!! DRINK IT!!!
E.V. (Swallow) Elder... it burns! My mouth... I am dry... It hurts!
E.R. (Now scared for his companion) Um... Make yourself throw up then!
E.V. (unable to speak... I thought he was choaking)
E.V. (small voice) I Can´t... it burns...
E.R. Um...
We both laughed about it for about an hour. I read in a book somewhere, years ago, that if you need to throw up... drink super salty water. I CAN TESTIFY THAT IT WORKS! My companion felt better afterwords. Apperently it is not a very fun process and it makes your mouth burn.
My spritiual experiences from this week come from some studying I did from a talk called "Remember Lot´s Wife." It was given by Jeffery R. Holland the 13th of January 2009 at BYU. I would suggest everyone read it on . There was a lot of things that I needed to read and hear and study especially now as we are changing mission presidents.
I am still alive. Kicking. More like it. But nothing new to report. After 6 months in Independencia... "Smile and wave boys... smile and wave..."

Elder Robinson

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