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

Mission Field Pictures