Monday, March 14, 2011

Tsunami and Explosions o sea "The Everlasting Email to Everyone"

Family and Friends,

Allow me to get a few minor points out of the way before I begin this everlasting email to everyone: 

The Decision

I extended my mission!!! We had another surprise meeting with the Mission President Wednesday and at the end of the meeting he pulled me aside 4 times to ask me questions. The 2nd time he pulled me aside to ask me something he said, "You are extending your mission?" It sounded more like a statement than a question. I frankly told him that I would love to serve longer. And it was done. I had extended. I called Elder Vuinovic (Mission Secretary) the next morning and told him to change my date in the computer so that I could extend my mission. As I hung up the phone... something didn´t feel right. I thought and thought and thought... and then I thought a little more. Nope. Everything was ok. I was going to stick to my decision. Serving in Ecuador has helped me out so much it would serve me more to serve more. -or so I thought-

The next few days were blurry. I could´t shake from my head that maybe I had to go home in May. I really didn´t know why. I know why I would like to go home in May... but maybe my reasons weren´t the right reasons. Elder Robinson (II) wrote me to say, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME! YOU SHOULD EXTEND YOUR MISSION!!!" Then, talking with another Elder in the Zone he told me, "Look, the Lord called you to serve in Ecuador for 24 months. Never go home before your time is done and don´t feel obligated to serve more time than you were called." Then Amy and a few other family members wrote, "We love and miss you!" My heart melted. My brain was confused. But I was still going to stick to my decision even though I didn´t feel good about it... until the Tsunami.

Friday at 8:30 in the morning the Zone Leaders called to inform us to prepare for an evacuation. We had no clue why an evacuation was necessary. I quickly made plans to move a baptismal interview forward by 7 hours and then met up with a few other missionaries in the Stake Center. The interview went well and afterwords it gave me time to talk to members and other Elders to figure out why the Elders were being evacuated. No one had any good answer. In the Chapel there were a few members cleaning in preparation for the Stake Conference. They were listening to the radio when the announcer said that Ecuador was being put on Tsunami Watch. We were moved further into Guayaquil to the Garcia Moreno Stake. There we met up with 100+ other missionaries. The Mission President pulled all the Elders out of Machala (Coastal City), Milagro (?), Santa Rosa (Semi-Coastal City), and Guayaquil (Far from the Ocean yet Coastal). The poor Elders in Galapagos were told to climb the volcano and sit it out.

Sitting with all the other missionaries President showed up and told us that we were going to sit things out by having a Mission Conference. For the next 5ish hours we studied Preach My Gospel and learned from the Mission President. During one of the breaks I had the chance to talk with Elder Vuinovic. I asked him if he had extended my mission or not. Vuinovic, with shock in his eyes, said, "OH! I forgot to do it Elder Robinson. It was on my "to do list." I will get it done tomorrow." Whew. I took my chance and said, "Don´t change the date. I am going home in May." Now, maybe I didn´t make the right decision. Yet I feel VERY comfortable with it. Maybe time will tell why I need to be home or maybe not. Maybe it was all just in my head. Maybe it is all still in my head. But nonetheless I will be flying home the 31st of May 2011. I just wish it doesn´t require tsunamis to make all the big decisions in my life.

Stake Conference

This week we had the privilege to listen to Elder Uceda from the 1st Quorum of the Seventy during Stake Conference. President Montalti was also present with his wife along with the Temple President and his wife. It was an amazing conference. We had 13 investigators present. I enjoyed Elder Uceda´s talk most. He spoke of how to listen to the Lord´s Voice and how to receive and recognize answers. It struck me over and over again how deaf I am when it comes to receiving answers from the Lord. I could really do better. Elder Uceda said we should be able to recognize his voice as easily as we recognize the voices of our friends or family members. I have a long ways to go.

We are preparing 4 baptisms at the moment. All 4 of them are excited to be baptised (or so they say) and I am excited to be teaching them. I finally gave out the Book of Mormon that the Primary gave me with the picture they sent. Surprise: the person that has that book and that picture will be baptised the 26th of this month. 

The Explosion

Cleaning the house this morning was far more interesting than normal. As I was washing the dishes Elder Calderon and I heard sirens outside of our house. From the window we could see that everyone (and I mean everyone) was running down the street. We decided to join the race. When we finally came to our end destination with everyone else... we were faced by a burning home and a wall of flames. The fire department showed up and put the fire out. Apparently the gas tank exploded. I don`t know if anyone was killed but I wouldn´t be surprised. We didn´t stay around long enough to find out. With the hoards of people present there was nothing we could do. But it did provide for an interesting morning.

I hope this email wasn´t as everlasting as it appears to be -however- more interesting than my emails normally are. Thanks for reading to this point. You are all in my prayers and thoughts.

I love you,

Elder Robinson

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