Jordan's Mission Apartments

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Banglaseshi Messes

Dear Family,

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it was awesome to get to see and talk to everybody. Whitney has matured a lot, and Seth can talk! It was fun. It didn't feel like I haven't talked to yall in 7 months. This Christmas was killer. I loved it. Hopefully I'll be there next year with at least my fiance (don't know if that's spelled correctly)... just kidding Mom. Kinda.

So there was some wild stuff that went down this week. I can't really tell you all the details, but it had to do with 5 men from Bangladesh who all really wanted to be baptized before they went back. Their story is that they've had the Book of Mormon for about 10 years now and finally are here to be baptized. Yeah, we've done some research about one of them and it's pretty fishy. In fact it reeks... I'll tell you all about it in a few months.

Right now I'm sitting in KL on an exchange. I lived in the apartment here for the first 6 days of my mission. Since that time, I've only been back to that apartment once, and that was when I got transferred from Klang to Sibu last October. Being there brings back a lot of feelings and memories. I'd forgotten how it felt to be a brand new missionary, but being back in that same environment now has brought some of those sensations back.

I don't miss that first month or so. The combination of culture shock, not knowing anyone around you (including your companion), and being completely lost halfway around the world is not a very pleasant thing to experience for the first little bit. I got over it fairly quickly, but for some it is really difficult. As my mission is getting closer to the end, I'm realizing that it's going to be much of the same sensations when I go home, just in reverse. I don't especially like change.

Highlights of the week:

1. Our mission has a goal to have 1000 baptisms a year. We shoot for 20 baptisms a week throughout the mission, but of course some weeks are better than others. For the first 8 months of this year, I don't know what happened but the mission was taking a beating and there were many weeks that were below 10. However, since President Clark has been here (especially in the last 3 months) things have lit back on fire. We averaged more than 100 baptisms per month for the last 3 months and this last week was the biggest highlight because we had 52 baptisms in the mission! That is crazy! Things are really rolling now, but the challenge is to keep things rolling.

2. We're going to be going around giving a training in the next month to try and keep everybody fired up and working their hardest while doing it effectively.
On Wednesday night we'll be going up to Penang to do exchanges there, and then we'll be back in Singapore for almost a week before Elder Kent D. Watson of the Seventy comes on his tour of the mission. That will last for about a week, and then Elder Stone and I will be going around the mission again giving a training which will be about 2 weeks. Directly following that is Elder Nelson's mission tour, so we're going to be pretty swamped for the next 3 months or so.

Dad asked about my language study. I've never been very good at studying it. The way I learned Malay was 80% just trying to speak it and if I didn't understand a word, I would write it down and figure it out later. Grammar books and language learning books never really did it for me, so my "language study" time in the mornings wasn't ever very effective. I feel like that is the better way to learn it anyway.

There are very few things that bother me more about missionary work than missionaries who focus too much on what words they are using and trying to have perfect grammar instead of the message they're sharing and how sincere they are. The language of the spirit is far more important than anything else you can use, and some missionaries get too distracted by other things, like trying to use deep profound language that is completely unnecessary. Simplicity is many times much more powerful. Maybe I just say that because I don't know very many big words (even in English), but that's how I feel.

Did I mention that I'm uber-excited for this trip Dad? It is going to blow your mind! I'm happy that you've got something to record it on now. It will be sweet! I hope that I'll have time to work all of it out though... no worries, I'll get it done.

Anywho, yall are the bomb. Thanks for all of the support and prayers.

I love you all,

Elder Troxel

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Exchanges with the Easties

Dear Family,

Right now I sit in a very familiar internet cafe in Bintulu. We are on an exchange cycle this week with the zone leaders in East Malaysia. It's been really fun. We started on Friday last week in Kuching. We went there with President and Sister Clark for the District Conference there. It was AWESOME. Elder Perkins of the Seventy and President of the Asia Area presidency was the presiding authority. We got to go out with him, President Clark, and the district president. That was crazy sweet. I was pretty nervous, but Elder Perkins was extremely nice and it was a good experience to be around him for a couple of days. It made it even better that I got to see a few more recent converts sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. SWEET!

After the conference on Sunday, we flew to Sibu. I got to go on exchanges there with Elder Pace. He is a hoot. The highlight of that trip was helping this family move. The final two things that they needed moved were a fridge and a washing machine. their car was too small to bring any of them, and they were only moving down the street (about 100 yards), so Elder Pace and I just decided to carry them.

He grabbed the washing machine, and I had a second guy help me load the fridge onto my shoulders and I took that one. Well, I got about 30 yards and realized that wow, this thing is pretty darn heavy. However, there wasn't going to be any letting that thing down easy, so I quickly surveyed the surroundings and saw that off to my right was a narrow strip of grass between the road the the flooding river. I used what strength I had left to lunge in that direction. I landed the fridge on the grass, and when it almost tipped over into the river I had to dig my knees (as I was kneeling) into the muddy ground and stop it. PS, it was pouring rain. I rested for a few seconds, and then I decided that it was only because I had a bad grip on it that I had to set it down.

So, I got a better grip with one hand on the bottom and one on the side and began, once again to carry that beast down the street. Well, the bottom of that fridge had a fairly sharp edge on it, and I quickly realized that this wasn't going to work either because I could feel it starting to break skin. Finally, Elder Pace came to the rescue and we got it down the street the rest of the way. It's ok though, the bruises on my shoulder from the immense weight, not the cuts on my fingers hurt as much as my pride from not being able to carry the thing down the street.

Right now we're in Bintulu. We did our exchange yesterday and we'll be taking off to KK today. Anywho, in answer to your questions:

1. (Do you want us to scan the letter from R.D.?) To be perfectly honest, I don't really want it (sorry to be brutal)... However, if you've got any of Chelsie's letters hanging around, I wouldn't mind :) Whitney can read it if she wants, but no need to send it here.

2. (Can we talk about Elder Nelson coming?) Yes, the secrets out. You can tell people.

3. (What should Dad plan on bringing to wear while he's there?) Well, he'll want at least a short-sleeve white shirt, slacks and a tie for church and my outgoing dinner perhaps, but other than that he can wear anything (shorts are perfectly fine)

4. (What are the plans for our Christmas phone call?) I like that plan. I will skype you from Sister Clark's computer (hopefully, but I haven't asked her yet) at 9 my time which according to your estimate would be 6 at night Christmas eve there.

5. (How does Elder Stone remember you?) He's got a pretty good memory. He remembered holding my blocks once while I was in my speed-suit.

6. (Where is Elder Watkins from & is he coming to school here?) Elder Watkins (Cody now) is from Layton. He's not going to BYU yet, but I think he eventually wants to. He'll be going to Weber State for at least a semester though. I don't exactly know how you could get a hold of him, but I'm sure he'd like to meet you. oh yeah, here is his email address: .

Things are going great here. I'm staying busy (and trunky). Just kidding about the trunky part though...ish. At least I'm honest though, right?

Anywho, I love you all. Have a wonderful day!

Elder Troxel

Jordan's current release date is March 8, 2010. With our planning to travel with him in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, that puts him home on March 18, 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Black Parade

Dear Family,

This week has been exciting, but sad at the same time. We went to KK on Monday for our second-to-last zone conference stop. That was way fun because I got to see a ton of people who I developed very strong friendships with, even though I was only there for a month. I was greeted there with amazing news: Kelvin's mission papers are officially in! Him, and two others in that branch will be leaving (hopefully) in March. I'll just miss him, but he is going to be one heck of a missionary.

You asked about how to help him, and I would say that the best way would probably be just to make donations to the general missionary fund. I'm not exactly sure how all of that works out, but I'm sure President and the mission will take care of it.

On Wednesday we took off for KL, which was also way sweet because I got to see quite a few of my recent converts. In fact, two of them got sustained in the district conference on Sunday to get the Melchezidek priesthood! I have no idea why on earth it has taken this long but they will finally after more than a year of activity be getting it. That was pretty sweet to see.

The bad part about that trip was that Elder Gulbrandsen didn't come back with us. His parents picked him up there and I came back with my new companion, Elder Stone. It's extremely sad to lose Elder Gul, he's been a real asset to the mission. I'm excited to be with Elder Stone though. He's a really nice guy. He's from Salem, UT and went to Spanish Fork high school. His mom just had her 11th child this last week! WOW!

The really sad part of this last week happened yesterday. Elder Watkins had his going out dinner last night and flew out this morning. He's in the air as I type. That's sad for me, mostly because I was good friends with him and we were companions for 7 months, but a little bit because it reminds me how short I have. I think there's only 7 more missionaries that go home before me left in the mission.

Anywho, as far as the coming home business goes, I am for sure going home on March 10th. Not February 10th, not February 24th, not March 8th, but March 10th. Officially. Finally. No more changes, that is when I will finish.

I got an email from Scott that included pictures of his house and the kids. My heavens! Seth is HUGE! As is Aubrey! Man, when I left, Seth couldn't really even speak yet! That's funny.

Well, I'm super hungry, and seeing as I have the freedom to go eat whenever I want, I'm going now.

I love you all!
Elder Troxel

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Dear Family,

The coolest part by far about being an assistant is that you get to travel around to all the different parts of the mission. Right now we're in my old area, Kota Kinabalu. I love this place so much. I was only here for a couple of months, but it was one of my favorite areas. We left singapore yesterday at around noon and got here at 5:15 after a short lay-over in Kuching.

We have the all-day P-day today and tomorrow is the actual conference. We did the whole interview thing this morning at the church where I also got to meet up with some good friends that I haven't seen for awhile. We then went to eat at my favorite food-court and just got finished bowling. I LOVE THIS PLACE! But you know what I love more? Teaching! It's a bit tough being in the office, because you don't really get a chance to go out while you're there. It's been really fun to give trainings though, because it's still teaching, but instead of investigators, we just teach the teachers. It's pretty cool.

This week is Elder Gulbrandsen's last. We will go from here to KL tomorrow for zone conference there, and his parents will meet him there on Friday. My new companion's name is Elder Stone. He's really awesome. He used to be in my zone when I was here in KK. I can't remember where he's from, but I ran against him in track. He remembers that well, because he had the unfortunate opportunity to hold my blocks when I was wearing my speed suit. It will be fun to be his companion.

I'm a little bit nervous (a lot a bit actually) about becoming the senior assistant because I've only had a month to learn the ropes and now I'm pretty much in the driver's seat. I do appreciate your support and prayers though. You have no idea how much of a strength they are to me. Thank you.

I'm sorry to say, but I'm still not exactly sure of the day that I'm going to finish. It still hasn't been confirmed, so we'll just have to wait and see. Best case scenario is that my last tour will be on February 20 as expected, we travel until Wednesday the 24th and Dad meets me in Singapore that same day. That would be awesome, but I'm waiting for everything to be confirmed before I talk with President about going home on the 24th. I'd be going home by myself and he doesn't really like to do that, but I may be able to sway him. We'll see. If not, I'll be finishing on March 10. Still ok, but I'd rather get home as soon as possible. That is the absolute latest I can stay without getting approval from the missionary committee. That's the look of things for right now, but I will shoot you an email as soon as we know that it's really going to happen.

I totally forgot that BYU and Utah were playing this week until Sunday. In the ward I'm in now, most of the people graduated from BYU and are huge fans. A few of them got to watch the first half before church and recorded the second half to watch after. We had Sister Clark look up the final score after church. The most surprising thing about the whole game was Max Hall's comment at the end. Wow, no class. That made me wish that BYU had lost. He's not a good enough quarterback to be talking smack like that. I'm still glad we won though.

Cool story. I don't know if you remember or not, maybe I never mentioned it, but when I was still training in Klang, we taught a guy named Eddy. We had some of the most powerful lessons I ever have been involved in with him, and yet, he still chose to reject even though he knew that he'd felt the spirit testify to him that it was true. However, the wonderful news that I just heard yesterday, is that after almost 2years he met up with the Elders there again and now he is on date to be baptized! I could not believe it! It may have been the happiest that I have ever felt. I still am on cloud nine knowing that he's gotten a second chance and is willing to accept in now. YES! I'm so happy!

Anywho, we'll be gone this entire week and then we get back to Singapore on Sunday night. We'll be there for a couple weeks with no interruptions and then we start our exchange cycle and will be gone for a couple more weeks. Then mission tour comes around and then (hopefully) I'll go home! As long as I can get past the next two weeks when we don't have anything, I'm home free.

I love you all! And I'll inform you as soon as I know what's going on.

Elder Troxel

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This email is lame!

Dear family,

Another week gone. I thought time would go a lot slower once I got to the office, but I was wrong. I've been here for almost a month already. Ayoh. The last two weeks have been filled with traveling to and from zone conferences, giving trainings, and quite a bit of futsol. We've got this week off (not really, but we don't have any zone conferences) and we finish off this ZC cycle next week. Elder Gulbrandsen will be finishing his mission on Friday of next week, and then I will get my final companion.

Anywho, good to hear that Timpview is still rolling. I was a bit worried earlier this season when you told me that they'd already lost two games. This week will be a trial for me because I would give just about anything to be at that BYU-Utah game this week. It's ok though, I guess I can survive until next season.
I got an email from Beau today! I was pretty excited.

Um... Everything is going well here. I'm working hard and hanging in there. Sorry that this email is really lame, but they probably aren't going to get much better. But hey, I love you all. Have a wonderful day!

Elder Troxel

ps- I haven't received any packages yet, but I'll tell you when I do.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


dear family,

i'm sorry that my emails have been a little bit sporadic lately, but for the rest of my mission i'll be in the office for a total of maybe 3 weeks and the rest of the time i'll be out and about, which means who knows when i'll get chances to email. right now we're in sibu and just halfway through this zone conference cycle. last week was singapore and sarawak north zone conferences, and this week was kuching and sibu zone conferences. it's pretty intense, but it's really fun. i got to see some very close friends from kuching while we were there. i'm going to go see a lot of people here in sibu on friday. life is crazy!

i had president fill out my ecclesiastical thing the other day and i mailed it on tuesday from kuching. all i have to do is finish the other part and my application is done.

i had a dirty trick played on me the other day. we went into the office in the morning, and there on my desk was a flight ticket. who put it there? sister carpenter, the office couple! she did it just to get me trunky! which it did for a bit. i don't know exactly what trunkiness means, but if it means being excited to get on with your life, i think i fall into that category. i've still got a solid 3 months of work left in me though. my work is different now though, i'm more of a coach than a player. i tell people what to do, but i don't get to do it myself. it's fun though, and a good experience.

beau came over! that is crazy. i don't think he would have ever just come over by himself before his mission! i was hoping to have an email or something from him... but nope. last i heard, his girlfriend was still around and waiting patiently for his return. that was about 6 months ago though, so i don't know. i just hope he waits until we can all be roommates together for at least a year before he gets married.

i've got a free week this next week, so i'll try and get some travel arrangements made. i think i only want to go to obviously singapore, but kuching, sibu, bintulu, and KL. i'll try and find some hotels and make travel arrangements if possible. i don't know how much flights cost, but i'll try and remember to find out for you. or you can just call the mission office and ask sister carpenter yourself. either way is fine. i'll ask her about it too.

well, i think that's pretty much it. i get zero time to do any kind of work outs, so i'm getting pretty scrawny, but i'm hoping it will come back fast. by the way, i'm thinking that i may want to go to medical school, but if this socialized medicine poop passes i'll be saying goodbye to that dream.

anywho, i love you all.

elder troxel

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Time

dear family,

i'm writing this letter on tuesday night because tomorrow at noon we're flying to miri for zone conference. this week has been pretty sweet. really different, but way fun at the same time. when i last emailed you, i was trying to get versed in the "new missionary orientation," because we had 10 new missionaries come in on thursday. that was really fun. we went to pick them up at the airport with president and sister clark. their plane was more than an hour late, but they finally arrived.

i was especially excited for this group because i knew that there was an elder from timpview coming in. his name is elder christensen. i didn't know him all that well, but i knew his sister sarah. yeah, he's grown a lot. when i last saw him, i swear he was only maybe 5'10" and probably could have sung high tenor, but he's about 6'5" now and is a solid bass. it was fun to see him though. we brought the greenies to do some fun stuff, like eat indian food off banana leaf and other things that i can't really recall. but on friday we put them through orientation and watched a movie with them at night.

we sent them off on saturday and turned our attentions towards other fun things like branch splits. i can't tell you anything about it though, because last time i said something about secret information, i was quoted on "LDS", and it hadn't even happened yet. it's fun stuff though.

we had our first zone conference in this cycle yesterday and today. we got to play some awesome futsol. we gave our training this afternoon. it was a bit sketchy because i didn't write really any of this training, it was already done before i got in. it stinks to have to give someone elses training, but it wasn't too bad. what is really strange is that i only have one more zone conference before i go home!
i can't really give you a regular day schedule because it changes every day. we're usually in the office, but we're always doing different things.

i got the picture of the back yard! i didn't think that would ever happen! it actually looks like a yard! apuh! i'm going to write my essays this week mom, and i will ask president clark to do my ecclesiastical thing. sorry it taken so long, but i really have no free time from 8:00 in the morning to 9:30 at night (except for right now).

tell beau hello for me and slap him for not ever emailing me.

elder troxel

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Going to Get Fat...

dear family,

so there i was on wednesday night after planning, just talking with elder watkins, when we get a phone call. i answered and said, "hello, this is elder troxel." i didn't hear anybody, so i said it again. this time i got the response, "hello elder troxel, this is president clark." after some short chit-chat, he told me the reason for which he was calling. "i've been looking at your weekly report, and you checked the box that said your area book isn't updated." (i'm horrible at keeping the area book updated). i responded with, "yeah, we've just got a couple records we haven't created yet, but will get on it." he then said, "well, try and get it updated quickly because you'll be coming in as the next assistant on sunday."

so here i am in the mission office. i got here on sunday night with elder watkins. there was a zone leader conference in singapore on monday, and then i just stayed here. i must admit that i feel very out of place here. i've gone from riding my bike through sweet jungle villages every day, to sitting in a nice air-conditioned office all day. i was eating rice for every meal, and yesterday i ate carl's jr for lunch and had fajitas for dinner. yeah, it's a little bit different than what i'm used to. but it's been fun.

yesterday we did all of our reporting with the zone leaders and eventually reported with president. then last night we went to a farewell dinner for some missionaries going home. i won't have very many chances to do much teaching anymore though, which is really sad, but i'm excited to serve in this new capacity and i hope that the lord will help me to know what i'm doing... because right now i don't :)

my last few days in bintulu were pretty normal. i tried to make the transition as smooth as possible for elder watkins, so i just kinda slipped out the back door. nobody really knew (meaning members) that i was leaving until sunday at church.

thanks for getting everything ready for my application mom. i'll try to get my essays done in these next couple weeks.

so... i go home in three months... i don't know if anybody realized that.

i don't really have much else to say. if you have any questions, just let me know. thanks for all your prayers and support.

Love, Elder Troxel

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Whole Years

dear family,

this week has been pretty intense. one of the highlights was definitely being able to watch conference. it takes a little bit longer to get them here, and even longer when people get confused and send us the wrong dvd's. that was a bit frustrating, but it was worth the wait. i would have to agree with dad and his favorite talks. the one that blew me away was Jeffrey R. Holland's talk. i know how he feels. here we face a lot of anties, and i've had the chance many times to be able to testify more or less the same way that i know that the book of mormon is true. I may not do it in front of as many bodies, but i once read a quote that when we testify, there is a lot more people there watching than you can see. i really felt like i related to that talk.

i heard about the walloping that BYU took. i was hoping that harvey at least had a good game, which it sounds like he did. i was also happy to hear that timpview continues to pound provo. it will be a sad sad day when they eventually lose.

it's really a toss up right now if i'll be emailing you next week from bintulu or not. there are a lot of new people coming in this next week, and there is a zone leader and an assistant going home, which means that there will be some shifts in zone leaders. word on the street is that i'm leaving, but it's not confirmed yet. who knows where i could be next week. the pity is that i'll probably find out tomorrow, and then have to wait a week before i can tell you. oh well, patience is a virtue, right?

whoa, two whole years since i opened my mission call... thinking about it, it actually seems like a lot longer than that. time flies, but when i think about before my mission, it's like trying to remember the pre-earth life. i can't really remember much. sometimes i'll see or smell something and have a weird flash back though. for instance, i smelled perfume the other day (it's not a common occurrence here) and it must've been the same perfume that chelsie wore... yeah, that was my trunky moment for the week :)

if possible mom, i think i would like to try and go to byu in the spring. i still haven't written my essay, but just tell me when you need me to do it, and i'll write it up in a jiffy. in speaking of things that i need, i think i'll need one more shipment of deodorant. you don't have to send three of them, because one more would probably be enough to finish off the mish.

ah! Beau comes home on the 11th! freak, i miss that guy. i used to email him all the time, but he never would answer my emails! when you see him, send him my regards.

we were hoping to be able to have 6 baptisms this week, but two do or die ones didn't come to church that would have be eligible had they come, but we'll still have 4 this week. as a zone we should have 19! yippee! kita berpesta! oh man, i'll miss this area so much if i get transferred next week :(

i think that's pretty much it... it was good to hear from michael again. i hope everybody is healthy and happy. thank you for all your prayers and support.

elder troxel

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We are the Champions!!

Dear family,

you have no idea how much i wish i could have played in that flag football game. rack up another championship. it's also good to hear that BYU is still ranked and that timpview is doing well. i'm just sad that i will miss this entire season and have to wait 7 or eight more months to see anymore football. oh well, life goes on i suppose.

i got a super funny email from whitney. it was all about how she's being tracked by an RM. i don't know if she's told everybody about it, but if she hasn't, she should because it is hilarious.

this week in the work has been excellent. we did end up having 17 baptisms in the zone! that is phenomenal. everybody is working really hard and things are rolling. i can't remember if i told you or not, but elder watkins and i designed some zone shirts for everybody and we just barely got them last night. they're pretty sweet.

anywho, cool experience. a few weeks ago, elder watkins and i were leaving the couple's house, and when we got to the end of the street (where we would usually turn left) we decided that we should turn right and just see what was down there. we rode down the street as far as it went, and on the last street, elder watkins saw an iban woman walking. he rode over there and taught her. anywho, turns out she's the aunt of a member and she's gold! not only is she epic, but her husband has been waiting for us for a long time. we taught the husband for the second time on monday and he very willingly accepted a baptism date. when we told them we wanted to come back on thursday, his response was something to the affect of "why can't you come back earlier?" i hope i can see them baptized.

we just got back from exchanges in Miri. it was a fun exchange. one of my recent converts named edwin moved from kuching to miri and he was able to help us teach some investigators yesterday. the best news was that he was able to receive the melchezidek priesthood a few weeks ago and is counting down the months until he can take his wife to the temple. i can't remember if i told you or not, but we made a bet (edwin and i) that if i get married in the temple before he does, then he has to send me a package of malaysian goodies, but if he gets married first, i have to send him a package of american goodies. he only has about 7 months left until he's eligible to go though, and i'm thinking that four months home is not enough time to find a girl who would be willing to date me, much less marry me. i love that guy though, he's such a stud. he'll be a branch president one day for sure.

i haven't really heard anything about michael lately. what's he up to?i still can not believe that whitney is in college. apa hal? welp, i thing that is really all that i have to say. i'm doing well and i've lost a lot of weight (i'm down to 174!). i hope all is well at home. i'll see you in just over 3 months!

elder troxel

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


dear family,

i forgot to tell dad happy birthday last week, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! wow, 50 years old... you are officially over the hill! it's ok, that just means your that much closer to exaltation than the rest of us. the glider ride sounded way fun, but i was thinking sky diving when i get back... how does that sound?

this last week was a really good one, but there has been some wild stuff happening around here. i remember Scott once telling a story about his mission and casting out an evil spirit, and i always wondered what that would be like... well i found out this last week. not once, but TWICE. i won't tell you what exactly happened, but it was pretty wild... and scary. i learned a lot, and i don't have any desire to ever do it again.

along with that, we had 12 baptisms as a zone, and elder watkins and i had 2. we'll have 4 this week, and the zone should have a whopping 17 all together. the four that are getting baptized from our area are all so awesome. we've only known 3 of them for 3 weeks. we met them on a saturday, they came to church the next day, and now three weeks later they are getting baptized. yeah, they were ready for the gospel. i wish it was that easy with everybody. after this week, we'll be over thirty baptisms as a zone for this month (more than twice the number of baptisms that we had in all of september) and well on our way towards reaching our goal of 50 for the month. it's so fun when things are going well. i've seen a lot of changes in this area and this zone in my time here. the Lord has truly answered our prayers and helped us to turn things around.

i talked to sister carpenter in the office about dad coming to pick me up, and she told me quite a few options. unfortunately, i can't really remember anything she said because i didn't write any of it down, but i'll be going to singapore at the first of november and she'll help me when i get there. she also said that she would email you and tell you what you need to do and who to talk to.

i'm pumped for dad to get to see borneo! it will blow his mind. there is no place more beautiful on this earth, i am convinced (given i haven't been everywhere on this earth, but i can't imagine any place being better). i think the celestial kingdom will just be borneo.

i don't really have any other really big news updates, except for the fact that i'm down under 175! holy moley! i'm a shrimp now. i've been running every morningish and not eating after eight o clock, and i'm starting to not be fat! but i still am, just not as fat as before.

i think that's it though. i'm alive. time flies. "yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery, but today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."

i love you all,
elder troxel

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nadai (Nothing)

keluargaku yang kukasihi (family that I love),

aku ka' jalai ba' tandas laban aku bisi cirit-birit (something to do with having bowel troubles). it was good to hear from everyone, even scott (almost), this week. in answer to your question, no, i didn't feel the earthquake. it was pretty big news here too. if any news about anything makes it to us here in bintulu, it has to be pretty big news. but we're ok, and the only thing close to a natural disaster that we face here is bad diarrhea (i bet dad can't wait). just kidding, i haven't had to deal with that for a long time... i'm pretty well adjusted to the food here.

this last week was another good week. our zone is doing quite well and we are expecting 13 baptisms this week (as a zone). we were supposed to have 18, but we found out that one of the families in Miri is still drinking tea, so they'll have to wait. we've got a goal to have 50 baptisms as a zone this month. that would be huge, because the most that this zone has had this year has be 39. elder watkins and i should have about 10ish, and if everyone else could pull in about the same we would have well over 50. i hope that we can make it.

so what's the deal with max hall? i've heard that he is leading the nation in interceptions? get Covey in there man! Elder Budge (the senior couple in our area) used to be a professor at Utah State, so he was pretty sad to hear that the Aggies couldn't pull it off. if we'd have lost to Utah State, i think i would have disowned BYU all together though.

i got a really nice email from grandma and grandpa Owen. tell them hello for me and that i appreciate it a lot.

i don't really have much new news... i'm healthy and just lovin' life... oh yeah, i got a package this last week! elder semana brought it back from singapore. i got it on thursday... the twinkies were the first to go, followed by the kitkats, then the jerky, and all that is left are some of the M&M's. they were delicious though. thank you so much!that's really all i've got to say today... keep on keepin' on.

i love you all,
Elder Troxel

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wake Up Time!

dear family,

the song "wake me up when september ends" describes how fast time is flying; it all just seems like a dream. oh man, what to do? i decided that i was going to try and do some sprint workouts, and i tried it for the first time on monday. it's now wednesday and i can still hardly walk. but hopefully i will have the will power to keep it up and by the time i get back, who knows, perhaps i'll be able to run a 40 in under 10 minutes.

as you know, i spent all of last week in Miri on exchanges. the exchange was really fun. elder hart pulled through and we were able to do some good work there. i also got to meet the new chinese speaking elder who has just gotten into the field and is now serving with elder Lam in Miri. his name is elder Ngo and he went to school at Harvard. yeah, he's pretty smart. anywho, i got back from exchanges on saturday morning and we were able to meet a few new people that elder watkins contacted while i was gone.

we had planned to have a baptism at 7:30, but as we were on our way to the church at about 7:00, we realized that we had forgotten to fill up the font! that is a huge problem, since it takes about 5-6 hours to fill completely. we put two hoses into the font, and had all the other faucets running with buckets under them. when 7:30 roled around, we only had a couple of inches of water in the bottom, and realized that the baptism probably wasn't going to happen that night. i got on the phone to call the guy getting baptized (Amus), and the bugger was asleep! i guess it's a good thing we forgot to fill up the font.

church was good. elder watkins and i had 13 investigators come. that's a start, but we're hoping to have 17-20 this week. things are finally starting to move a little bit. we've got a lot of really solid people who will be baptized in the next month or so, i just hope i'll be here to see some of them get dunked... draw your own conclusions as to what that means :)

about the letter mom, if you are trying to find a seminary teacher to write one for me, brother Martin, Sister Anthony, or Sister Kunz would all be willing to probably... none of the other ones would probably remember me. just let me know what i need to do. when should i write my essay? i can't remember if you already answered that question or not, but just tell me when i i'll whip one up lickidy split.

sounds like things for the trip are coming along nicely. i remember scott saying that he wanted to come. is that still a possibility?

dang, i'm almost out of time, but thank you all for your support. tell aunt Lezlie and all of the Wright family that they're in my prayers, and to remember D&C 122:5-8.

i love you all,
elder troxel

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Broken Harts

dear family,

Selamat Hari Raya! Hari Raya is the holiday that they celebrate at the end of the muslim fasting month of Ramadan. it's three days long and it ends today (i think). it hasn't been a huge deal, but it's been pretty fun. our islamic neighbors are awesome and they invited us over for a meal yesterday... unfortunately, i wasn't able to attend because i'm on a week long exchange in Miri, but i'll tell you all about that later. the holiday started on sunday night and we were invited by our branch president to go with him to some of his muslim relatives' houses and celebrate. most people just make tons of food and open their doors for anyone who wants to come. it was really fun, and everyone was very hospitable.

here i am in Miri on exchanges with elder Hart. i hopped on a bus early yesterday morning and made the 3 and a half hour trip here. unfortunately, when i arrived here i found elder hart deathly ill in bed. we got the couple to take him to the doctor and i went out with another elder for the afternoon. he's feeling a little better today, so i'm hoping that we can get some work done in his area tonight. i'll be here until saturday morning, when i'll go back to bintulu just in time for the baptism (in theory).

we had zone conference last week. it was really good. my interview with president was interesting. he said that he appreciates my leadership and that he wants to try and "wear me out." Oh boy. i don't know what that means, but i guess that's why i'm here, to be worn out. i can take whatever he throws at me... but i don't think my clothes will be able to take any more wearing out.

i never really get to think about how long i've been out or how close i am to going home until i email. in two weeks i'll be over my 20 month mark! it was just a couple months ago when i was super stoked that i had less than 20 months left i thought! i don't know where september is running off to. i don't think my watch is right, i'm sure that it's skipping days. president clark says that it won't ever slow down either, even after the mission. aduh.

as far as dad's travel plans go, i was thinking basically the same thing. i will finish my mission on wednesday, but they always fly us in on monday and give us a couple days to do what we need to do before we head home on wednesday, so if you want to come in on monday or tuesday, that would also be fine. from there we can go to Kuching on thursday, sibu thurday night or friday morning, bintulu on saturday, and then if you want we can even go to KK (which i would love for you to see). we could even do church there. if we do KL on monday or tuesday that would give us plenty of time there, and we could be off. i can get ahold of some people who can make some arrangements for some really fun things to do. i think the hong kong temple would be incredible. i'm all for it. i haven't been to the temple in an uber-long time, so the sooner the better. i'm pumped!

it was good to hear a chelsie update. i haven't heard anything about her for awhile. she dropped me a short email a couple weeks ago, but with the new hour limit, i really only have time to write to the fam. i figured she was super busy with school or marriage or something... but i'm glad that it's not the latter.

i hope everyone is doing well. i agree that michael should be singing professionally. just look at david archeletta man! he's an amature compared to you. anywho, take care, be good, choose wisely!

elder troxel

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Short on Time

dear family,

this week i'm running a little bit short on time, so this might be a little short. man, this new one hour rule is killing me! plus we have to email president during that hour for our weekly report, so it really cuts us back.

anywho... go cougs! oh man, and craig knocks some people and gets a pick! yeah, it's too bad that i won't be there to see any of this season... but it's ok. i'm not is the zone conference all day p-day! we played football this morning, because we've got our interviews tonight. it was a blast, as always. and we even got elder semana and elder kumar (our two natives) to play with us! it was hilarious. i didn't want to stop, but everybody else bummed out on me.

this last week was pretty good, but we had some difficulties too. we were able to get our members going a little bit and we contacted 11 member referrals and pulled in 18 new investigators. our teaching pool was getting pretty stale, so it is nice to get some really good new people, and i have no doubt that all of those referrals will be baptized. the work is super easy when you don't have to do the finding. i hope that i'm going to be a sweet member when i get home and give lots of referrals with the missionaries. the bad news is that we had all 11 of those referrals poop out on us at church.

we still managed to get a couple of other investigators there, but it was a disappointing day. that is another thing i am looking forward to when i get home. nice, restful sabbath days when i don't have to stress out about how many investigators, recent converts, and less active members are there. it will be nice.

well, i've now been with elder watkins for nearly a quarter of my mission. he's hilarious. it's nice to have a good companion who makes the work fun. i've been fortunate to have a lot of excellent companions... some of whom i wouldn't ever want to live with again, but i'll still be good friends with them for a long time.

so time is just about up. sorry that this email is kinda lame, but you should write a complaint letter to president clark so he'll change the rule back and i can have more time to write better emails.

elder troxel

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bat Guano

Dear family,

right now i'm sitting in an internet cafe. i'm super sweaty, i stink to high heaven, and i'm covered in dirt and bat guano from head to toe. why? because i just had the sweetest p-day of my mission, that's why. i'll tell you all about it a bit later in the email. first things first.

i received a phone call from elder Gulbrandsen on sunday night. he, if you remember, is serving as the assistant in singapore. he said to me, "there are benefits to being in the expat ward" (basically the ward for foreign workers in singapore). he then told me some of the most amazing news i've heard in a long time. that the Cougs upset #3 Oklahoma 14-13! i won't lie, i was pretty trunky for a few minutes there. i called Elder Budge (the senior missionary in our branch) and had him print me out the article so i could read it on p-day. it sounded like quite the game.

there were a few amazing things that happened on sunday, football being only the second incredible. we've been working with a big family for about a month now (i think i told you about them last week), and this last week was their do or die week. elder watkins and i put a lot of prayer and preparation into the three lessons we had with them. anywho, it all came down to saturday night. up till that point, they'd still been a bit wishy washy on whether or not they were actually going to come to church or not. we brought our branch president along and he did wonders! the wife and kids had committed already to be baptized, but it wasn't a very solid commitment if we didn't have the dad. after talking with President Mambang, he committed to be baptized along with the rest of his family and they all came to church on sunday! it was great.

so on to today. for the last few weeks, elder watkins and i have been planning out a zone activity. it's nearly impossible to do, because our zone is in two different cities that are about 3 hours apart. however, there are some caves right in between the two called Niah Caves, and they are rumored to be some of the biggest caves in the world. president skelton wouldn't let missionaries go there, but we got president clark to approve them. we got everything worked out with transport, and all the missionaries met at the caves at about 9:00 this morning. the walk from the parking lot to the caves is probably about 3 miles, but it's on a really cool board walk through the jungle, so it's not a very grueling walk. when we finally came around the corner and saw the entrance to the caves, i could not believe how ginormous it was. i've never seen anything like it. we got to go into some really cool caverns and some places where we got to crawl around on our bellies and get all dirty. it was mind blowing! i think i want to bring dad there when he comes. i also got some excellent pictures, but i forgot to bring my camera chord, so i'll send some next week. i loved it!

so whitney is done with dance? that is kinda weird, but it's ok. there is a time and a season for everything, and that season has ended. now it's time to get on with your life and do all that fun stuff. i'm proud of you girl, you're awesome.

i think that's just everyting. time is going way to fast. i'm under 5 months left now. apuh! thanks for all of your support and prayers. i can't express how much i appreciate it.

elder troxel
ps- go cougs!

Here is a link for the caves that Jordan was talking about

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thirty-three Double-go Zero

Dear family,

this week was fantastic. we left for singapore last thursday morning, and didn't get back until saturday night. it was an excellent trip though. the zone leader conference was awesome. president clark is really shaking things up and changing a lot of stuff. it's all good though, and i think it will really help the work. the last six months or so, the mission has really slowed down a ton, but everybody is really excited about the changes and i think it will really help.

not too long ago, we got a referral from a member in a different branch for a family of seven. we met them for the first time about three weeks ago on a friday, and they all came to church the first sunday. however, after that they kind of backed off and i was really worried that we were going to lose them, especially with all the time that we've been spending out of our area. when we got home on saturday night, we jumped on our bikes and made the ride out there to try and get one last push and get them to church. we had a member meet us there so that she could help us teach and bear testimony to try and give this family the best possible chance we could.

one of the big problems is that the dad in this family is always working, and it's super hard to meet with him, but he happened to be there that night, even though he told us he wouldn't be. we sat down with them and started to teach them about the gospel. we taught about faith and repentance, and then i felt like we should throw out the church invitation then, so we did, and they said that they couldn't come. we talked for awhile longer and finally got down to what his real concern was- he is afraid to leave his old church because he converted most of his family into that church, and it would be hard to leave. then, out of nowhere, our member slaps them in the face with an amazing testimony and her conversion story. he still wouldn't budge, but we went back on monday night to teach them again, and brought the same member and her daughter.

it was so awesome. the dad hadn't read the chapter we gave him from the book of mormon (3 nephi 27), so we threw out the original lesson plan and read that chapter with them. after we read it together, the conversation split into three different parts. our member (Ulat) started talking with the mom in the family, i started trying to resolve the dads concerns more, and elder watkins talked with the kids. i didn't make too much progress with the dad, but he budged a bit. the mom was completely won over by sister Ulat, and when we got up to leave, she told us to sit down so she could talk more with Ulat. it was awesome. we tried to set and appointment for friday, but they requested that we come back sooner than that, so we're going back there tonight. yeah, they're baptized...

while i was in singapore, i got a chance to talk a bit with president clark about what i should do with the end of my mission. i told him that i've felt for awhile like i wanted to extend a month, but that i also really wanted to try and walk on and play football. i asked him for advice, and he told me that i should look at the pros and cons. first off, he told me that i'm under no obligation to extend my mission. in fact, if i made the decision that i wanted to play football, i would even be able to come home a couple weeks early. then he talked to me about what could happen. what happens if i make a huge effort to go home (possibly even early) and get back in shape, and then don't make the team? what a waste, especially when i could have had more time serving the Lord. Or, what if i do make it, and then i just get injured? that could screw up a lot of things for a long time.

then he asked me, "will playing football be helping you in your career path?"... not really, no. he also asked me, "who would you be playing for- you, or the Lord?" of course, me. football would not help me at all in getting back to the celestial kingdom. he also threw in there, "is that the kind of environment and friends you want to be around?" typically no, but at BYU i think it would be a lot better. anywho, he really made me think about a lot of things. if i were to try and play, it wouldn't be bad, but there are a lot better things that i could be doing.

does that mean that i don't want to play anymore? absolutely not, i still really want to play football, but it does mean that i'll be finishing my mission on February 10th, no earlier, and no later. then dad and i can jalan-jalan for a few days, and i'll be back. with enough time, if i really want it, to get into as good of shape as possible before i try-out... but just in case i do, i've already gotten in touch with coach clark and asked him to help me with a work out program that i can do in the mornings and at nights to try and come home in some kind of decent shape =)

by the way, happy birthday to Jackson, Mandy, and TJ! or, as they say in Malay, "selamat hari jadi"

good luck in college whitney. tell me how it is.

oh yeah, i did draw out money from my account a couple weeks ago while i was in singapore last time. you may want to check the dates. i think i did the withdrawals on the 11th and 13th of august, or around there. if it happened just in the last couple days, it wasn't me. i haven't touched it since the 13th.

i think that's everything. things are starting to get moving in our area, and things in the zone are going really well. thank you for your support and prayers.

love you all,
elder Troxel

Note from Dad: Jordan sent a few pictures home in this email. There was no explanation or description in the letter on when or where the picture were taken. It appears that Jordan has been taking lessons from Michael on how to pose for pictures.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is Trunking Me Out of My Mind!

dear family,

oh my heavens! i'm so pumped for football i can't stand it! that's so awesome to hear about Craig and how well he is doing. starting against Oklahoma?! geez louise! i played with that guy! i'm sure the fire will die down, but right now i want to go back and play so bad. we'll just give it a week or so, and see how getting up and running every morning feels. i've been trying to get back into some sort of shape, and i've formulated an awesome workout plan, including diet, which (in theory) if done the right way, would help me to at least get a head start for when i get back. but it's nearly impossible to diet here, and it's just as difficult to stay motivated every day to get up early and do an intense enough work-out to actually help get in shape, rather than just keep the fat from overtaking me. we'll see though. that email gave me a good vision. i want to play.

so back to the missionary work. this last week, to be completely honest, was horrific. i won't go into details why, but it will suffice to say that this is the hardest area i've been in yet. fortunately, i've got elder watkins as my companion, and for whatever reason, we work fantastically together. we were able to see amazing things happen while we were together in sibu (which, for your information, has gone from being one branch when i first got there to just becoming it's own district. incredible), and we're starting to see some good things happen here.

it makes it even more difficult that we've got all of our zone leader duties that we have to take care of on top of having a hard area. for instance, we're going to singapore again tomorrow for a zone leader conference and will be out of our area for 3 days. aduh, that is the last thing we need right now. but i have high hopes, and i know that this area has the same amount of potential that sibu had. the people of bintulu just really need a lot of prayers. PLEASE pray for them.

we did have a few baptisms this last week though. Tony, Ledis Stella, and Wiwik all got baptized on saturday. i love them. all three of them are top notch. our next baptism won't be until next week, but we should have at least a few more.

as far as my health goes, i'm holding up pretty well (which is more than i can say for any of my clothes). bintulu is NOT a sanitary place, and a lot of missionaries get really sick here. i'm just a little sick right now, but i still have yet to be sick enough to stay inside. we try our best to take care of ourselves, so don't worry. malaysia does begin to wear on ones body after two years though.

jackson is already one?! oh man, i don't even know him! how are my other anakbuah-anakbuah (nephews and nieces)? has michael had any kids yet? so about this extension, i'm still not sure if i'm going to do it. if you could try and find out for me when walk-ons are, that would be easier to make a decision. maybe you could get me coach wong's email and i could email him about it. if i decide that i am going to play football, i'll be coming home in february, but if i decide to pass it up, then i'll extend. i'll pray about it, and i'll talk to president clark while i'm in singapore this week.

oh yeah, is it pretty sure that dad is coming? because i've already told most of my recent converts that i'll be coming to visit them with my dad in february or march...when do you want me to write the essay for my BYU application?

anywho, i think that's it. thank you for all of your support and all the prayers... and keep them coming!

elder troxel

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back in Nam...


whoa, this is the first week i can remember that I've only gotten one email! that just means that there is no more missionary forwards to send because they are all home! apuh! that makes me feel really weird. is Andrew any fatter? i hope so... i don't want to be the only obese one when i get home. just kidding, i can't imagine Andrew being fat.

so Whitney finally got a job! that is fantastic! when does BYU start? is Whitney just going to live at home for the first while? what is she studying? oh man, she'll have to help me out a lot with school and stuff. just tell her to stay away from returned missionaries... they are bahaya (dangerous). in speaking of schools, I'd also like to apply to UVU probably, just in case i can't get into BYU, and i still have a lot of interest in going to a military academy. I'll hold off on trying to do that until after i get home though. i don't know what other schools to apply to... i don't think i could get in really anywhere but BYU or UVU. if i want to play football (which i really want to do right now, but it might be too time consuming), i will try and walk on at the Y. I've thought about Snow or SUU, but I'm not going to do that. maybe U of U...

anywho, this week has been really busy as always. we got back from Singapore on Thursday night. we got a couple of good days of work in and managed to bring a decent amount of investigators to church. my goal before the time i leave here is to consistently have 20 investigators at church. anyway, we had to get our zone training done by Monday, because we went down to Miri to do it there yesterday. it went really well, so hopefully we'll be able to see some improvements in how things are going there.

i got to go on exchanges with elder lam and my son elder kartchner yesterday. it was a really fun exchange for a few reasons:

1. i got to see my son who i haven't seen in almost a year.

2. i got to ride this awesome girls bike the whole day. it was super small and my knees pretty much hit my chest every time i pedaled.

3. i got to eat a ton of super delicious Vietnamese food!

that's actually a really cool story. elder lam is an American born Vietnamese elder. he speaks Vietnamese fluently, so he was really surprised when he got called to this mission Chinese speaking. of course, he accepted the call gladly, but he always felt a strong desire to teach vietnamese people. anywho, he's in Miri Sarawak (which is just about the last place in the world you would ever think to find anyone from really anywhere) when one day they get a flat tire at night. they didn't want to just go home, so they decided to knock on some doors near their apartment. they knocked on a wealthier house and started to have a nice little chat with this man. he wasn't really interested at all... until elder lam asked where he was from. I'm sure that elder lam wet himself when the guy said he was from Vietnam. they invited him back another day for a traditional Vietnamese meal, and i got to go! i didn't understand anything that was going on, but i ate a TON.

during the appointment (i didn't understand what was being said) but elder lam asked some question, and when the guy answered, elder lam got super excited. it was pretty funny, so i asked him what had been said. i guess the guy had just told elder lam that there was 5 other Vietnamese families in the area that would be interested in meeting him and learning. it was really fun to see.

well, i had a lot of things that i wanted to tell you, but i can't remember all of them. i hate it when that happens. i hope everybody is still healthy and happy. keep on keepin' on.

elder troxel

Note from Dad: Jordan sent the following images home. I believe them to be from his last visa run to Singapore, but there was no explanation attached to the email. We always like pictures, they are a real treat no matter when they were taken.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Double Western Bacon Burger

Dear family,

prayers answered! whitney got some interviews! hopefully she gets one of the jobs... and i cannot believe that progress has been made in the back yard! all i imagine when i think about our backyard is dirt and weeds. i didn't think anything would actually come of it. it'll be fun to come back and see.

so right now i am on a visa run in singapore. it's been fun so far for a few reasons. i'm here with some really awesome missionaries. elder watkins is with me, along with elder pace (who was with me in the MTC and in sibu), elder campbell (who i always have a lot to talk about with because he replaced me in sibu), elder bickmore (who i'm just good friends with) and elder Parker (who is a stud and was with me in sibu). i've gotten to meet a couple new missionaries that i haven't met before. it's funny, because more and more new missionaries, when they meet me ask, "hey, are you the one with the blog?" that was a pretty good idea.

anywho, the way visa runs usually work is that you will go and do splits with one of the other missionaries serving there, but there have been some pretty big changes lately. they've taken almost all of the missionaries out of singapore, so when you get a big group of visa runners that come in now, there aren't enough missionaries serving there to split with. so the new policy is that we just get an all day p-day. so the day is ours to do whatever we want in singapore, and you know what the first thing i'm going to do is??? get myself a Double Western Bacon burger at Carl's Jr! oh baby, it has been 5 long months since i've had one of those!

i'm really excited about our area though, so this visa run is really more of just an unneeded disruption (except it is kinda needed, otherwise my visa would have expired). it's been a little bit rough the last few weeks. when i got there, the area had just had a lot of baptisms, and was on the end of the wave, with not really very many others to work with. so elder Gulbrandsen and i worked extremely hard with the members to get them giving us more referrals, but while i was with him, we didn't get to see many results from it. however, we are seeing them now. we have gotten some really excellent referrals in the last week, including a couple absolutely golden families (knock on wood). the i'm a tad bit concerned about us being gone out of our area for these three days, because there is a huge problem in bintulu with people getting anti-ed. we've had so many golden referrals go down the drain because their poopy anti neighbors got to them before we could sit down and help them build their testimonies. it's hard to help someone get answers to prayers when they won't let you in. the reason everybody is anti is that they've heard about the word of wisdom, and drinking is a HUGE part of Iban culture...but i really hope these "golden investigators" won't have lost any luster by the time we see them again.

so andrew should be home now... wow. i cannot believe it. i don't believe it actually. i'm still only 3 months out! nick morely will be home soon also! then beau, then rittmanic! then everybody will be married. oh no! why do we have to get old?

you mentioned about applying to BYU. yeah, i guess we could start doing that sometime soon. if you could get most of the stuff ready, that would be great... and i wouldn't complain if mom wrote the little essay thing at the end either... i'm not exactly 100% sure about what's going to happen when i get back (i'm actually not even probably 10% sure), but when i get to the point of being only about 4 months left, i will start to think and pray about it. but like dad said, i still have a LOT of time left, so no worries.

i will definitely remember Lincoln in my fast. as far a mission fast goes, we really aren't supposed to involve a lot of other missionaries in fasts for things back home, just like we're not supposed to involve you in our fasts for people here, but i will talk with the people in my district and we might be able to do something like that. i'm sure they would be happy to do anything to help. in the mean time, tell him hello for me. tell him not to worry and that he's not doing this alone. there are a lot of people praying for him, and as much pain and sorrow he might go through, he's not doing it alone. if i recall, someone has already "born our griefs, carried our sorrows, and with HIS stripes, we are healed." just tell him to hang in there.

i'm still toying with the idea of extending. i can't really see any reason not to. i won't make a definite decision until probably octoberish, but if there's any big reasons not to, let me know. i don't think it's a big deal though, it's only a month after all.

anywho, say hello to everybody for me. i hope everybody is healthy and happy. keep the commandments and have a wonderful week!

elder troxel

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm All Out of Snazzy Subject Lines!

dear family,

whoa, dad is retired! that is crazy. but, at the same time, really awesome. now you can go after all those other dreams like getting your pilots licence or the new corvette... good work though dad, i'm proud of you. you've always been such a good example for me.

so this week was pretty exciting. i'm companions with elder watkins again! it's pretty fun. usually when you get a new companion it's kinda awkward for awhile before you get used to each other, but when elder watkins got in on monday, we just picked right up where we left off without a hitch. i love elder watkins, he's a stud. anywho, we had zone conference this last week. it was president clark's first, so nobody really knew what to expect. it was phenomenal! his training was amazing and it was exactly what everybody needed to hear. the mission has been doing really well lately, but after president's training, things will explode for sure.

one of the fun things about being out for this long is you get to know a lot of people really well. i've now been companions with both of the current assistants, so i get to talk to them a lot about all kinds of things. one of the coolest things that i learned from talking with them over this last zone conference is that there are going to be two new cities opened up to missionaries here in east malaysia! there has been whispers of a place called Sri Aman opening up since i've been in the mission, and it's finally happening! that's so exciting! i would kill someone for the chance to open up an area like that. there is also another city called Muka that will be opening very soon. wonderful things are happening.

so i'm not sure, but there is a slight possibility that i might be extending a month. nothing is for sure yet, and i probably won't find out for a few more months, but just so you are aware. hopefully that won't mess up any travel plans or anything.

well lets see... mom asked me for some specifics on how the work is going here. when i was getting ready to leave, i had the impression in my mind that my mission would be more of a service mission and not very much teaching. that's what i had heard, and what with malaysia being a muslim country, it made sense. but my mission has turned out to be completely different from what i thought it would be. our mission right now only has about 80 missionaries, but we had more than 1000 baptisms last year as a mission. the work is EXPLODING here! it's such an adventure, because we're on the last frontier of the church.

there are tons of people being baptized, but the big problem we run into here is leadership- there just isn't enough experienced melchezedek priesthood holders to fill all of the leadership positions. anywho, i don't really think that was what mom was looking for, but i've grown a lot too. i don't think i've changed at all, just grown a lot (unfortunately, mostly my girth). i don't really know what you want me to say though... probably the biggest difference is that i used to just think that i knew, but now i know that i know.

the shoes fit great! they gave me some wicked blisters the first couple times that i wore them, but now they're really nice. i've still got some twinkies left, but all of the ding dongs are gone. i'm not going to lie, i finished most of the stuff pretty fast.

so do you know when andrew gets home? he's been on his mission for more that two years! oh man, what happened?anywho, i think that's it. i hope you all have a wonderful week!

elder troxel

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Walk the Line

dear family,

thank you for the email. that is pretty ridiculous to hear about dad's job. but dad is right not to worry, you have always strived to follow the commandments, so the Lord will provide. hakuna matata.

right now I'm sitting here in the internet cafe, sippin' some "air sejuk" in my brand new eccos! yay! i got three packages today! today and tomorrow is zone conference, so that's why you are getting this email a day late (sorry about that). when the assistants came from Singapore, they brought both shoe packages AND my Easter package! it's been a solid year at least since i have seen a twinkie, so those were a blessed sight. the shoes are really nice. not quite as nice as the other ones were when i bought them, but it's ok. you should see those shoes now. I've continued to wear them, and they are completely thrashed now! I'm excited for you to get to see them in February. thank you very much for getting that together for me, they were desperately needed.

wow Whitney... reno? that's crazy. ya know, i once shot a man in reno, just to watch him die...

so Liz is married, huh? that's pretty wild. if you see her, wish her the best from me... and tell her to tell her husband that if he doesn't take her to the temple, he had better jaga diri. I'm happy for her though. i remember back in the day when we used to always tell everybody that we were brother and sister. good times, good times.

there are some pretty wild things going on here. we found out for sure this last week that elder gulbrandsen is going to the office as assistant on Sunday... and elder Watkins is going to be my companion again! that'll be so fun. i love elder watkins. it's going to be nuts, because i've actually only had about seven days to work in my area, because we've been so busy with exchanges and zone conference and stuff. but it'll be really good. elder watkins and i had a ton of success together, so i have no doubt that we will be able to turn it on again in this area.

i got to burn a pair of pants last night for my 18 month mark. i actually haven't quite gotten there yet, but elder sederholm and elder hart just hit one year, and since they were here for zone conference, we just did our burning together last night. we're into the home stretch! 4th quarter! bahagian keempat!

i got a really nice letter from Chelsie yesterday. have you heard anything from her? is she back from her trip in Europe yet? if you do get to see her, tell her i'm uber sorry that i haven't written in such a long time, but i will without a doubt write her next week. we've just been so crazy busy lately that i never even have a chance to sit-down. it's just huru-hara here.

anywho, since it's zone conference, football is calling my name... and i must obey.

i love you all.
elder troxel

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tears in Heaven

dear family,

this week has been so crazy! i can't believe it's already wednesday. with trying to get to know our investigators, members, area, and going on exchanges, my brain is pretty fried... but it's a blast and i love it. we just barely got back from doing exchanges in Miri, which is a 3 and a half hour bus ride from here. we've gotten up at 5:15 for the last two days! i'm grateful that i was able to sleep on the bus.

first of all though, it's good to hear that everything is good to go with dad's new job at the county. what will you be doing exactly? what does a deputy sheriff do? and i like the car, but it's kinda soccer-mom-ish don't you think? i thought you were going to get a corvette after you retired... what happened to that plan?

tell whitney not to worry, things will work out. cobaan saja. search like it all depends on you, and pray like it all depends on the Lord. it'll happen.

so mahonri isn't Elder Stewart's brother, he's actually his uncle. he told me that mayor stewart was his dad, but he's actually his grandpa. my bad, still the same family though.

anywho, you asked about my area. it's not the biggest area i've had, but it's pretty big. we have a place called RPR, which is just a ton of what they call rumah batu's. they are the more upper scale housing for poor people. then there is a giant kampung called sebatang. it is awesome. it's just hundreds and hundreds of little wooden shacks in the jungle. that is my favorite part about our area. there isn't electricity there, so they either have to use generators, or when it gets dark just candles. it's pretty awesome to teach someone at night by candle light in the middle of the jungle. we've been working with some really good members to give us referrals, and it's been paying off. we contacted six member referrals last week, and we received a lot more.

things are looking promising here. it's awesome to be with elder gulbrandsen. i've learned a lot from him. he and i are a lot alike. he's been blessed with the gift of gab in abundance. me, not so much, but i can keep up.

like i said, we just got back from exchanges in miri. i got to go with elder watkins! oh man, he is so funny. it was a good exchange. plus, i got to see what's going on with the work there and what can and needs to be done. this zone consists of two cities- bintulu and miri. bintulu has been doing really well lately, but miri is still lagging a bit. they've got 633 members in that city, but the activity is less than 25% there. we gave them some pointers on how they can improve, and we left there feeling confident that things are going to start to change there.

in speaking of changes, i probably won't be with elder gulbrandsen for too much longer. he'll for sure be the next assistant, and he should be leaving in just a couple of weeks. i think they'll actually move elder watkins here to replace him, but none of that is for sure yet... just 98% right now :)

i got an email from elder kunioka today saying that he was going back to SUU for school. he'll be playing baseball there. but he has a lot of family in the provo-orem area, so he will occasionally go up there. you should write him an email and see when he'll get a chance to come up so you can invite him over for dinner or something. he's a stud.

i've discovered that i'm an old missionary. when we went to get on the bus to go to miri, i set my bag down on the seat, and as i did that, i heard a tear. all the seams on the left shoulder of my shirt just decided to explode. i guess they'd had enough. as if i didn't already look raggedy enough, as i stood up, my pants hooked on something and once again, burst about 4 inches of seam. it was a rough bus ride. every time i get a hole, i sew it up, and then another one pops up. i can't wait for you to see how awesome my sewing jobs are.

welp, i think that's pretty much it. this is my address here:

no. 44 taman bamboo
Bintulu 97000
sarawak, east malaysia

think i'll probably be here until november or so... but it's never sure. i hopefully will get some packages brought to me at zone conference next week. i'm crossing my fingers that there will be some shoes in there :)

anywho, i love you all.
love, elder troxel

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Love MyLDSMail!

dear family,

myldsmail leaves me speechless. anywho, i did get to read your email before it kicked me out, so i was lucky today. oh man, i have a lot to tell you. you asked a lot about president clark. well, apparently some time ago he decided that he wanted to go around and meet all the elders in his first week, but because it's nearly impossible to get to every place in the mission, the assistants planned for him just to go to the big cities, and to bring all the elders to him. i guess he didn't like that idea at all, and so he for all of week travelled to every single missionary house in the mission! i don't think president skelton ever saw most of the missionary apartments the whole time he was here.

he also met with the leadership of every single branch and district in the mission. he got to Kuching on thursday night, and met with all of the leadership in the district here. that won him some HUGE brownie points. then he came and met with each missionary in their apartment on friday morning. he is really cool and a lot more up beat than president skelton was. we didn't get much time to talk with him because he had to catch a flight to sibu, but i quite enjoyed the visit with him. i think dad was right though, there will probably be some pretty big changes.

in speaking of changes, we found out some crazy news. elder palfreyman's group goes home today, and there was an elder named elder Romney who was serving here in kuching that is going home as well. we were excited to hear who would be replacing him. we always find out about transfers on thursdays, so when the assistants called on thursday morning, i knew what it was about. we did our mid-week reporting with them, and then they told us that they had some news. this is how the conversation went:

elder richards: "...we've got some transfer news for your zone. elder Wall will be coming to replace elder romney."

i was really excited to hear that, because i'm pretty tight with elder Wall and i haven't seen him forever...

but then he continued, "elder griffin will also be leaving kuching 3rd branch."

"oh really?" i said. "where to?"

"He'll be replacing you, because you are going to Bintulu on monday."

ADUH! transferred again. i now sit in an Internet cafe in Bintulu, Sarawak. i guess they really like me here in east malaysia. honestly though, after the shock of hearing that i was leaving again after not even 3 months, i was really excited to come to bintulu for many reasons. first, i'm companions with elder Gulbrandsen. i don't know if you remember me ever mentioning him, but he's probably the most successful (numbers wise) missionary in the mission. he really knows how to get things done. plus, we're good friends, which makes things even more fun. second, bintulu is famous for being the craziest jungley place in the mission. and it's true! i fell like i'm in the jungle book right now. it's so awesome! third, i freaking love ibans! fourth, i'm back in the same house with elder semana! i love that guy!

oh yeah, that reminds me... apa hal lah?! how come he got whitney's senior picture before me? no, but it's super fun being back together with all of these elders. elder semana is now training an elder named elder Stewart. apparently his dad used to be mayor of provo or something... i dont' know, that's what he said. he's really green (really green), but he's also pretty cool. the only bad news about all of these changes is that elder gulbrandsen is going to be leaving in august to be assistant (SHHH, don't tell him. he doesn't know), so i'll have to learn the ins and outs of the area pretty fast.

it's good to hear that everybody is doing well. i got to read beau's email to his family. he sounds like he's doing really well. do you know when andrew gets home?

so, i haven't gotten any packages since christmas i think. oh, just kidding, i did get the deodorant one in kuching (thank heavens). i think it's only because i've gotten moved around so much. i hear that a couple of them have arrived in singapore from other areas though, so i think that one day i might get them. it may be when i go home, but i guess that's better than nothing...
i cant' really think of much else. i'm doing well here in my new area, i'm still fat (but i did go running yesterday), and i still love borneo. i think that's it. i love you all!

elder troxel

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Good News, I Saw a Dog Today

dear family,

it was great to hear from you once again. your emails are great. it's good to hear that the backyard might actually have grass when i get home. actually, i'm hoping that there will be a lot of snow on top of that grass in february. but your right mom, that will be really beautiful when it's done, i'm sure. it's a bummer that whitney doesn't have a job yet, but i told her not to give up hope, because something will come along soon, i can feel it.

i'm happy/surprised to hear that i got that announcement from Robert (fromerly Elder) Houston. i love that guy! i remember telling you a little bit about him. i lived with him the first week of my mission in KL. he was my zone leader when i got there. he was later the assistant. i'd heard that he was getting married, but he's only been home from his mission since december. to be honest though, i'm surprised it took him so long. what a stud.

oh man, i'm so excited to hear about the new shoes! i'm definitely going to keep these ones though, just so that i can remember.

this week in Kuching has been really good. we had a baptism on saturday for a sister named Lussy. she's 22, and she's the wife of one of our other recent converts (of only 3 weeks) Meringai. the baptism was amazing. Lussy was the 10th member baptized in her immediate family alone! it was really special, because you could just feel that those two are going to make it to the temple. it's been incredible to see the change in them both. when i first met Meringai, he was the biggest bum. he was a good guy, and i saw a lot of potential in him, but he was from a Bahai religious background, and i've never had much success with them. Bahai's believe everything is true, and therefore really don't believe in anything. but he was always just a disruption in our lessons (and lussy wasn't any better)... until one day, elder tuckfield and i felt prompted to teach a lesson about eternal families to that family.

we got there, and Meringai came and sat down along with everybody else (lussy wasn't there at this time). as we started to teach, we were prompted to turn the lesson towards Meringai. we had just taught about the sealing power, and so i asked him if he loved his wife. he answered very sincerely, "more than anything" (roughly translated). i then asked him if he wanted to live with her forever. you could see the spirit work as he sat there silent for a moment. he looked up and answered, "Mahu" (which means 'want'). anywho, the rest was history, and he got baptized three weeks ago. Lussy saw the changes in him, and decided that she wanted to get serious too, and finally entered the waters on saturday. meringai, after his baptism was told to cut his hair by the branch president so that he could receive a calling. meringai had hair down past his shoulders and he loved it. it was really hard for him, and he kept putting it off. i didn't think he was going to do it, but he showed up to Lussy's baptism clean cut. it was great. Oh man, i love it here so much. there are literally hundreds of stories i could tell you just like that, but that will have to wait for another time.

so, elder ogden and i hit our 17 month mark a couple of days ago... what? how on earth? i don't know, but less than one month from now we're into the forth quarter. it's a good thing that i've been so well conditioned by coach clark, because i feel like i'm still just in the first. i'm good to go for another four if they would let me.

it's so good to hear that greg is turning in his papers. if you see him, tell him i'm proud of him. when you think about football compared to the salvation that could come to somebody because of his sacrifice, it's worth it. anywho, i'm pretty healthy now, and things are going great. tell everybody hello for me. stay safe ya'll.

elder troxel

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Take Luck!

dear family,

the emails were really good this week, thank you. michaels was so funny. oh man, it's true, it is almost time that i need to be thinking about applications and things! i actually have thought a little bit about what i want to do with the rest of my life, but i'm not really sure. and i was thinking of going somewhere else other than BYU, but with 50% off tuition, i think that makes the decision for me. i really have no idea what i want to do anymore, but when i get to only 6 months left, i'll start making it more of a matter of prayer.

so i think i'm almost over whatever bug i had. it didn't keep me in at all, but it wasn't very much fun. i still wake up not feeling so well, but my cough is gone and i feel a lot better... except for the fact that i didn't do any exercise (running, push ups, sit-ups, you know) in the mornings or evenings for an entire week, so i am feeling pretty chubby. i'm back up to almost 190, and it's not muscle. that's a bummer that TJ's sick too. tell him to stop it.

so what're all of your plans for the 4th? i guess by the time you write back, it will have already happened... so what did you do for the 4th? we're planning another barbeque. it should be really good because we've got 2 elders in our zone who are pandai masak (rough translation: really good at cooking); one is from alabama, so he makes good pies and southern food and stuff, and the other is a sri lankan (from australia) and i've never had better indian food than his. so we'll have a malaysian 4th of july with a little bit of an indian twist. i freaking love curry.

so president skelton is officially released from his calling today, and president clark is the new mission president. today also marks 2009 being half way over! lots of crazy things are happening. there's been a lot of rumors flying around about what is going to happen in august when a huge group of elders goes home, including 4 zone leaders and an assistant, but we'll just have to wait and see. i'm sure president clark will change a lot of things.

this last week was pretty good. we had a baptism for a really awesome couple whose names are Anthoney and Emalice. they are so good. they LOVE to feed us. but their baptism was great and Emalice bore a really sincere testimony. things like that make all the getting drenched in the rain, sweat, dogs, and having to deal with drunk ibans, and ridiculous missionaries, all worth it.

we're having our fifth straight week with a baptism this week. it would be cool if we could keep it going the whole time i'm here, but that is very unimportant. the important thing is that each one of these numbers is actually a life that is changed. it would kill me to find out that any of these people some day down the road goes inactive. we just have to prepare them well for the promise they make. our teaching pool took a bit of a punch in the face last week, but i'm sure that the Lord will place more people in our path who are ready. He always does.

so any news on the shoes yet? i can probably go a couple more months on these ones, but not much longer than that.

tell chelsie not to worry, i wasn't worried... just a bit concerned ;) main-main sahaja (just kidding). but thanks for passing on that message mom.

i'm still plugging along, slowly but surely. take care ya'll.

elder troxel

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jadilah Babi Yang Bijak

Note from Dad: I was able to translate the word for the title but it must be a common phrase or expression, because the translated word don't make sense in English as far as I can tell it means "the pig who was made smart/intelligent". Not all things translate well.

dear keluarga,

whoa, disneyland sounds like it was a blast! next to the temple, it really is the happiest place on earth i think. i hope there is disneyland in the celestial kingdom... but i'm glad you all enjoyed yourselves. we'll have to go again when i get home.

this week in malaysia has been a sick one... literally, i've been sick all week. not enough to keep me in, but it's just really annoying because i have a really persistent cough. we had some plans to go see some of elder ogden's recent converts today that live pretty far away, but i really just need to rest and get over this whateveritis so i can be 100 percent again. but despite being sick, we still had a good week. we had the most investigators at sacrament meeting this last week since i've been here, and there was a ton more who promised to come, but for whatever reason couldn't make it. so we should have more this week. my goal before i leave this area is to have an average of 20 investigators attending sacrament meeting every week. it's very possible, and we're getting there, but it'll take a lot of work. i'm really pumped to have elder ogden here. we're a lot more on the same page than other companions i've had. but we had a chance to talk about our goals for the area and what we wanted to see happen.

we decided that we needed to meet with our branch president and get him really excited about the vision that we have. it worked and he held another meeting last night with other leaders in the branch to get things moving. i won't tell you all of what we're planning on doing, because it's quite extensive, but if it works it will be so good for the work here in kuching. we'll be doing a lot of things to promote missionary work in the branch, but the end goal of all the things we'll be doing is to have 220 people attending sacrament meeting before the end of the year, and to have 90 convert baptisms (elder ogden and i originally set the goal at 60 convert baptisms, but our branch president didn't think that was very optimistic, so he changed it to 90. i love that man).

anywho, i hope jackson is ok. did aubrey and seth have the swine flu? what is the deal with this thing? i thought it wasn't a very big deal, but everyone here is under the impression that it's worse than the black plague. i hope everybody recovers though. i'm sure everybody will be fine.

well, i'm sorry this email is really lame sauce, but i can't really think of anything else important to say. i do want to thank everyone for all of their support and prayers. i can't express how much i appreciate and need them. you all are also in my prayers also. keep on truckin' yal.

elder troxel

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

dear family,

so this week has been pretty intense, but i think things will start to get back to normal this week, now that the transfer is almost over. i'm sitting here with my new companion... and my old companion. elder tuckfield will be leaving for singapore this afternoon, and then it will just be me and... elder Ogden! I got news that elder ogden was coming here last thursday, and he got here on monday. just in case you don't remember me ever talking about elder Ogden, he is Beau's cousin who i roomed with in the MTC. we were good friends in the MTC and i'm way excited to be companions with him. the two pictures i attached are him and me in the internet cafe. I hadn't seen him for almost 16 months before he got here on monday. it's interesting to see how people change. he's still the same, but he's a lot more mature now. i hope i've gotten more mature... but i doubt it :)

anywho, there was a big hubbub this week with the chinese elders in our zone (who we happened to live with). the church owns 3 apartments in the condo where we live; one was an old couple's apartment, one is really big and nice and had four elders in it, and the one in which i live is really small and nasty and also had four elders in it (us and the chinese elders). anywho, a couple weeks ago, they took one of the companionship's out of the zone and closed their area, which meant that there were only two companionship's living in that really big luxurious apartment, and there was four in ours. now, obviously the smartest thing to do is to move one of the companionship's from ours to the other one. anywho, i wanted to move to the other apartment, but the assistants insisted that the chinese elders move. we told them they had to move to the other one, but they were not happy and wanted to talk to president themselves about it. anywho, they stalled and stalled for almost two weeks without doing anything, until elder tuckfield and i just had to tell that they had to move the next day because elder ogden was coming and there was going to be 5 people in this tiny apartment with only two in the huge one. anywho, to make and even longer story short, they threw a huge fit and they still aren't very happy with us. apa boleh buat? (what can you do?) sometimes missionaries can be extremely ridiculous.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHITNEY! whoa, you are 18 years old! how does it feel? you can buy dry ice now! yippee! i'm happy to hear that your recital went well. i wish i could've been there. so what did you do for your birthday? was the alfredo delicious? what did you get?

we also went on exchanges twice this last week. i got to go with my grandson! his name is elder johnson. he is my grandson because he was trained by my trainee (elder Kartchner). i took him to the house of these investigators who were supposed to be getting baptized this week and they fed us a ton of curry and rice. i guess it didn't really agree with his stomach, because the whole next day he stayed in sick. we started the exchange at 4:30 on thursday and finished at about 4:30 on friday, but i had to stay in with him until we switched back on friday. oh man, i was going crazy. that was the longest i've ever had to stay in my house on my mission. i was SO antsy! i hope i never get sick, because i wouldn't be able to stand it. i did manage to sew some things though.

anywho, i love you all. i hope everything is still going well. stay safe and don't get swine flu.

love,elder troxel

Mission Field Pictures