Jordan's Mission Apartments

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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.

Mission Field Pictures