Jordan's Mission Apartments

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home again, All

Notes from Dad:

My attempts to keep you all informed on our progress was thwarted by the lack of technology. Once we left Kuching we continued our trip to Sibu, Bintulu, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. Each of the nights spent in these other areas were met with frustration with our laptop and a lack of compatibility with the available internet connections. Our only other alternative was to go to an internet cafe and try to spend time updating the blog. This was not possible as we did not have time to spend in the internet cafe. Now that it is a week after our return home we are sifting through our picture and trying to decide which to post. I hope in the next couple of weeks we will be able to wrap up the blog with some final thoughts from Jordan.

The trip to pick him up was well worth the time and effort. The country and people of Malaysia are delightful and very hospitable. I felt very welcomed and will have fond memories of my time in that part of the world.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goodbyes in Kuching

Notes From Dad:

I have to apologize for the lack of name of the people we are visiting, but since I type most of this while Jordan is sleeping we will have to do some final editing when we get home. The schedule is very full and the only time I have to add some thoughts is at the beginning of each day while Jordan is sleeping. I am usually up between 5:30-6:00 AM and the mission here does not get up until 7 AM.

Our second and last day in Kuching was a combination of wonderful visits with people that Jordan baptized and something like a split with the Sis Missionaries (split is not the right word) to visits to great cultural sites. In the morning Pres Teo took us to his kampung (village). It is located several miles to the north in pretty thick jungle. We were hoping to go to the orangutan sanctuary but we missed the feeding time. So we continue onto the kampung. The roads are very narrow and winding and Pres Teo is like Mario Andretti.

There are six different distinct tribes or groups in Malaysia and each use a form of long house, but each are very different. We went to a Malaysian cultural village in the afternoon that had examples of each kind of housing. The following pictures are from Pres Teo's kampung.

Long house court yard

Walkways between buildings

Jordan does not quite fit

Not all tribes are head hunters but all keep the heads of their enemies as a warning

After visiting Pres Teo's compone we went to the Malaysian Cultural Center. It is very similar to the Polynesian Center in Hawaii that is put on by the Church. There were different villages to visit and a show with many of the dances of the different tribes. Jordan was selected to participate in the finale. I have videos of all of the dances in their entirety and when I get time I will load a dance or two.

Jordan dancing like a native

We ended the day with a visit to a family that Jordan taught the Beliang's. While we were there the Sis Missionaries brought by a couple of investigators to watch a church video on the restoration, Sis Seve and Sis Wing. It was cool to watch Jordan participate in the discussion with the Sisters. The interesting part was seeing the change of body language as the lesson continued. The one brother was very guarded until Bro Beliang participated by sharing his testimony and I watched as the Brother went from guarded to intently listening. It was a great example of the impact the local church members have on the work.

Lesson at the Beliang Family home.

Today we fly out of Kuching to Sibu.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On to East Malaysia

Notes from Dad:

We left the Senior couple housing at about 7:30 AM. It was raining bad enough that we needed to find a taxi to get to the subway that would take us to the airport. The subway also known as the MRT was a great ride. It was a little crowded as the morning commuters were out in force. The crowd grew as we headed for the center of town and dwindled as we started out towards the airport. We will do the same when we return on Wednesday from KL.

We flew Asia Air and that is where I started to see the first effects of Malaysia. On the flight the service cart came up the isles and I asked for some ice water. The flight attendant looked at me a little funny and then poured me the water and added several cubes of ice, each piece individually with very small tongs. When the cup was handed to me I realized that the water had been scalding hot. The only cold water from here on out is what we will put in the refrigerator in bottles. Jordan had warned me that the only drinks served from here on out would be scalding hot or sweet corn flavored mixtures. We arrived in Kuching after a one hour and twenty minute flight,

We were met at the airport by the Branch President and taken to our hotel. The weather continued to look very threatening and by the time we arrived at the hotel it had started to rain here as well. We had time to check out the hotel internet connection and soon hooked up with Scott, and later TJ, Kimberly and Whitney. You have to love Google video chat. The cool part was taking the computer to the window and scanning the horizon so they could see what we were seeing.

Jordan had set up appointments to meet with families each day that he had been involved in teaching. So everyday we will have a little time for site seeing and then to visit with the people in their homes. We had a little time to check out the waterfront part of town. The rain was coming down but Jordan hoped that it would abate a little as rain storms tend to be short. The shops across the water front look like something out of Casa Blanca. The walkways in front of the store are brick or concrete or covered by tin roof or tarps. I can see that this is necessary in this part of the world or there would be no way or going from one store to the other without getting soaked.

The rain did not abate and instead grew in intensity, but it was ok as the only time we were exposed were while crossing an alleys or streets. Then it was a mad dash. I can tell Jordan has climatized as he was complaining that with the rain it felt a little cool. I felt like I was in a warm shower and found it quite comfortable. It was a drenching rain and we had to change or iron things to dry out. The shops run along both sides of most streets with the exception of where they front the river. They seem to go on for ever and there was no way to get to them all.

Our first appointment was at 6:00 PM. Jordan warned me that there was a chance that we would be fed at each appointment. He had mentioned this before and so I had only had a Mcgriddle at the airport before flying out (yes in Singapore there are most comforts of home). This was the home of one of the counselors of the branch presidency that he worked with. The food was great, Malaysian chicken curry, rice, cooked veggies and a salad like mixture of cooked shrimp, mushrooms, and beans. It was great to find cold soft drinks, as that seems to be more the exception than the rule.

Jordan taught them in Malay from 2 Nep 32 about enduring to the end. It was interesting to watch him changing from Malay and then to English to explain to me what was being discussed. The Malaysian people read their scriptures in the Indonesian language and are looking forward to having them in Malay soon. I was not sure how well Jordan was acquainted with the language as he had been sent on an English speaking mission. He was sent to East Malaysia after 7 months and had to learn the language while in country. You can see how the Lord blesses his servants. He told me that he is not always aware when he changes from English to Malay. The highlight of the visit was when they sang "God be with you till we meet again" in English as a going away present.

The next family was of much more humble means. The compone or village is upscale by local standards as the roads are paved. The houses were simple, built on stilts, with no interior sheeting on the walls, exposed wiring and a single light bulb for the room. We sat on the floor which was only covered in a material similar to shelving paper/covering. It was plastic in nature but very thin and appeared to be stuck to the plywood underneath. The roof was simple framing with a tin cover. Again no interior sheeting. In this weather it is good for keeping out rain but must be like living in an oven during the day and a speaker box in the rain. The father of the home is quite a singer and guitar player. He played a number and sang for Jordan and then Jordan reciprocated.

The last family was a lady that Jordan baptized and said that she cried when she found out that he was being transferred. They had food prepared and we ate again. A meal of fried chicken and pork with fried rice and a spicy sauce that looked a lot like teriyaki but with a much more potent kick. The drink was something called Milo, and is like hot chocolate, served scalding. At each meeting Jordan taught them the importance of enduring to the end and committed them to continue in the gospel.

My impression are of a humble people who can be just as distracted by the world as any other. It does not matter where you live, or how much money you make, each of us has to decide whether or not we are going to be obedient. We each can be distracted by trivial matters. The people in this part of the world have to guard against complacency just like we do. I also saw a great love of the people for those that serve them and of the love that missionaries have for them. It is hard to describe the feelings that I observed, but can only put them in the category of sacred.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Exit Interview

Notes from Dad:

I was not there so I am not going to tell you what was said, but Tuesday was mostly waiting in the office for Jordan's exit interview. Pres Clark was delayed with other matters so I tried to make myself useful by helping the Elder and Sis Carpenter move luggage and mattresses from one apartment to either the storage area or the senior couple quarters. There are 7 newbies, as they are called here, scheduled to arrive Wednesday at 1:30 PM. So as was quoted by three dead missionaries all day that it is taking 7 to replace the 3 (Oh the glory of the mind). It is an odd feeling to be around as the three missionaries prepare to leave, signing each every ones journals, and giving last hugs and saying goodbyes.

We were then treated to a going away dinner and devotional at Pres and Sis Clark's residence. It is a beautiful condo and the food was prepared by some of the missionaries (some of the best food I have ever eaten). It was a traditional Indian meal that was followed by a devotional and testimony meeting. I could see the emotion of the Clark's as they said their goodbyes and bore their testimonies and allowed the missionaries to do the same. There was talk of doing the same thing the next night for the seven new missionaries only this time it will be a welcome dinner and an opportunity to learn to love seven new young men. It was interesting to be able to be there and witness the cycle of a missionary's lives. Sending them home and then starting all over with someone new.

I was impressed with the love and devotion of the Pres and Sis Clark and it somewhat reminded me of home and serving with BYU students. They come to school, you get to know them and then they move on. I would say the the Clark's experience is a little more intense, but I could empathize with them. Goodbyes and hugs took sometime with just the three of them, I imagine that it takes all night with a group of 6-8. I will leave to Jordan to share his thoughts about going through the cycle, I only offer my observations. I can say "what a group of good men" serve in this part of the world, and it is repeated many times more in other missions. This cycle goes on week after week all over the world, and I have only seen a glimpse of it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Joyous Reunion

Notes from Dad:

The weather in Singapore starts out hot and humid and gets hotter and more humid as the day goes on. The day started with a 2-3 mile walk before sunrise. It was 80 degrees and the moisture is everywhere. Oh, so you are not reading this blog for the weather report. If you need that it is located to the right along with the current time.

At about 9:00 AM, I went with Elder and Sis Carpenter to the Mission Office. I have not seen a picture of this building and I don[t think that Jordan had sent one home. The Carpenters made a call upstairs and told Jordan that they had a package to large for them to handle and requested his help carrying it upstairs. I don't think Jordan was fooled but he came down with many other missionaries who wanted to see a father and sun hug. I think that all missionaries get a little thrill watching a family reunion and think to their time and turn. Non the less there are no pictures of the moment only memories of that first hug. Yes, LuAnn I gave him an extra squeeze for you.

We then went upstairs to meet with the rest of the office help and that is where Pres. Clark took the first pictures. I was introduce to several elders and Sis Clark who also sends her best wishes to the mother of a great missionary. There were more missionaries than usual in the office due to transfers and visa runs.

Jordan and a proud pappy

While Jordan has not been released we did get to go around and visit several places in Singapore. Jordan finished up some travel plans for KL and then we went to little India. There are location in Singapore that are primarily one ethnic group. Jordan wanted to do some shopping. We then met up with the Pres Clark and Sis Clark for lunch. Many of the office Elders came along and the restaurant is one of their favorites. Any guesses why? Of course it is a buffet. In this case a seafood buffet and Jordan was in his element.

Jordan has been concerned in his letters home that he has become fat and weak. While he has lost some of his football upper body he looked to be in pretty good health. I think that he has grown an inch or two. My guess is that he is pretty close to 6'3" in his shoes as you can tell from the above photo, he was not quite that tall when he left.

Welcome lunch

We spent the rest of the day going to places that Jordan had not been able to go to before or wanted to see again. We first went to the Singapore National Museum. It is a beautiful colonial building with many different exhibits. We went to the portion about Singapore's history. I wish there had been more about the pirate history, but from the official record it appears that was pretty short lived, and there was no information about Jack Sparrow.

We then finished our day at the Singapore Zoo. They have a very unique zoo attraction called the Night Safari. It is completely dark with only some minor path lighting. It is a cool way to see the zoo including sugar glider, flying squires, tigers, bats and many other animals, most who are nocturnal anyways.

I did shoot many videos but I may have to wait until I get home to get them loaded. The processor on the laptop is struggling with the HD format. So I will try to shoot stills along with the video from here on. We finished the day at his apartment. It is used for the stay over place for those on transfers, visa runs and dead missionaries. Needless to say there was quite a crowd there last night. My impression of the apartment was that it was quite large and probably was not inspected by Elder Nelson when he was in town (hint hint). I was thirsty and was offered a drink from a clean bowl.

Today is Jordan's exit interview. That will happen around 10:00 AM and then we are off to see some more of Singapore. Singapore is very modern, clean and pretty easy to get around. There is a tube transport called the MRT that makes it very quick to get from one station to another. There is every convenience known to man and most conveyances also. If the weather was a little more moderate it would be a paradise, but that is left to Hawaii.

I am looking towards meeting up with Jordan again and from here on out we will be companions. He will not be going back to his apartment again, unless he forgot to pack something, and that is a pretty big likelihood.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Beginning of the End

Notes from Dad:

Yesterday was a travel day. I know that other family members have travelled great distances before but this was my first trip outside the United States, except for a couple of trips into Canada years ago, and that used to be like traveling to another State. I left Salt Lake City after work on Friday at 7:10 PM to fly to San Fransisco to catch a red eye to Hong Kong. I arrived in Hong Kong at about 4:00 PM Saturday Salt Lake time. I then caught a connecting flight to Singapore and arrive about 4 hours later.

Since it was Elder Troxel's last official day of split and missionary work he was not able to meet with me. He had given me instructions on how to get to the senior missionary quarters and I took a taxi. The building is a combined church and missionary housing. there is a photo of the building already on the blog. It is the one with Jordan sticking out his back side in front of a colonial white building (I mean British colonial). I met Elder and Sis Carpenter and two other senior missionary couples. They shared a meal with me and we chatted about children and families until my eyes started to fall out of my head, which was about 6:00 PM Sunday Singapore time and 3:00 AM Sunday morning Salt Lake time.

All together other than some short cat naps on the plane I had been up for about 46 hours with out a good rest. I have stayed up for marathons like this before with my police work and I am used to switching my sleep around because of working graves. After a good nights rest I feel ready to tackle the day and meet up with Jordan. I talked to him on the phone and he was having to do the hardest thing for a missionary and that is "packing day". Missionaries think about going home, but it is not real to them until they have to pack. The realization was hitting Jordan last evening.

This morning, Monday, at about 9:00 AM, I will get to meet with Jordan and he will still be a missionary, but he will not have any official duties left. We will spend the next two days traveling around Singapore as tourist. On Wednesday we will travel to Kuching, Friday to Sibu, Saturday to Bintulu where we will attend church and Sunday afternoon to Kuala Lumpur. We will stay in KL until Wednesday morning when we fly back to Singapore and then onto Hong Kong. We will stay in Hong Kong until Thursday evening so we can attend the Hong Kong Temple Thursday morning. Due to the international date line we will be back in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening.

Thoughts on the flight: The flight was smooth from San Fransisco to Hong Kong, about 15 hours. Economy class was very cramped. I flew on a 747 and it was the first plane that I had been on where the seat does not recline, but the seat portion slides forward cutting into your leg, especially your knee room. I was not able to get an isle seat which would have been a big help. It was it was a pain to have to ask two people to move so I could get up and walk around, so all I could do was flex in my seat. By the time I went to bed last evening, my ankles were twice their normal size. I had not noticed until I took a shower. After sleeping all night they are back to normal. I am going to try to get an isle seat on the way back.

View from the Hong Kong airport of the Harbor looking Northwest

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

Keluargaku yang kukasihi,

This is it. The next contact I'll have with you is when I see Dad in Singapore. It really hasn't hit me yet. Right now I'm in Bintulu on an exchange. It was a good idea to schedule exchanges this week, because if I was just sitting in Singapore I'd have a lot more time to think about it. I won't get back to Singapore until Saturday afternoon, and by that time I'll need to start packing and getting things together.

I got to go to KK for the last time on Saturday and we stayed for church on Sunday. That was so sad. I had to say goodbye to a lot of people because we're not going to have a chance to go there when I go around with Dad. Angelo (formerly Elder Semana) met me at church on Sunday and then he came out with us teaching that night. It ripped my heart out to have to say goodbye to him. He's been with me pretty much my entire mission. Dad mentioned doing the "interview" with him, but we're unfortunately not going to get a chance to meet him ;(

The whole trip is pretty much planned out. I've made reservations and set up all of our travel in all the areas (except for KL, but I'll do that on Saturday when I get back). It's going to be SO sweet. I'm pumped... but I'm kinda dreading it at the same time because I know how hard it's going to be to leave.

When you get to Singapore, you should probably take a taxi to the Church/Carpenter's abode on 233 Pasir Panjang Road (next to the Redwood Condominium). I'm probably not going to be able to meet you till Monday morning, but that will work out nicely because you'll be able to just come into the office with the Carpenters Monday morning. I'm likely not going to be able to email again before I get back to Singapore, and by that time you'll already be in the air, but you have the office number and here is my cell number in case you get lost in between the airport and the Carpenters: +65 9837 3063.

I think that's pretty much it. It's been an awesome 25 months. I'm super nervous to go home. Will I be an awkward RM? Only time will tell...but probably.

Thank you all so much for the love, support, and prayers. You have made all the difference.

I love you all,
Elder Troxel (for the last time)

Note from Dad: We would like to thank all of you who have been following along. We have had fun posting Jordan's letters and experiences. While this may be Jordan's last official letter home, we are looking forward to having him post some last thoughts once he gets home. We will also use the blog to post some of our comments and thoughts while I am there in Singapore and Malaysia with him. We have loved sharing this experience with all of you. It has been a great blessing for our family to share our Missionaries experiences over the years. We are doubly sad that this part of our lives may be coming to a close for a while.

Over the last ten years we have enjoyed having our sons serve in Salvador Brazil, Guatemala City Guatemala, Washington D. C., and now Singapore/Malaysia. We have all grown through the examples set by our children, and we wouldn't change a minute of their time in the mission field for all of the gold in the earth. We are excited that Jordan is coming home, but we are also sad at the realization that this great opportunity is drawing to a close. My testimony of Jesus Christ has been strengthen by hearing from my sons as they have shared the gospel with the people of the earth. I am a better person for their efforts, and all I can say is "Thank You and I Love You" to each of them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All the Small Things

Dear family,

Yeah, this week was pretty normal. Not much really happened. I did some missionary stuff, rode on some airplanes, hung out with an Apostle, ya know, the usual. WOW. Words really cannot express how amazing this week has been. I'll try to recreate it, but I definitely will not be able to do justice to the experience.

President and Sister Clark, Elder Stone and I flew to Miri on Thursday afternoon to make sure everything was in for Elder Nelson's visit. Elder and Sister Nelson along with Elder and Sister Watson were going to arrive on Friday afternoon, but we weren't going to get to see them until Saturday. Anywho, President Clark (bless him) invited us to the airport on Friday to meet them and there wasn't any way on this earth that I was going to pass up an invitation like that, so we went.

There to greet him was the Miri District President and his first counselor and their wives, Elder McKellar (the senior couple in Miri), President and Sister Clark, and the two of us. We were there pretty early, so we waited for what seemed like ages for the plane to arrive and the passengers to come out. We stood in the arrival hall, looking through the glass doors down the hallway where all the passengers were coming from. All of the passengers came out and left the hall all but empty.

Then, all of a sudden something hit me (I came to find out late that it wasn't only me that felt it) that felt almost like a wave. The inside of me burned, and I knew that something of great significance was about to happen. That was when they came around the corner and we saw the first Apostle to ever set foot on the island of Borneo (at least in this dispensation). That feeling hasn't left me for the last 6 days. I got to briefly meet and shake hands with Elder and Sister Nelson, and then they went to their hotel for some rest.

The next day started the Miri District conference. President Clark (bless him) asked if we could sit in on the meetings with the District Presidency and Elder Nelson allowed us to do so. I have never felt so small in my life. There I sat, in a room no bigger than our living room, with an Apostle, a 70, a mission president, the second counselor in the mission presidency, and the district presidency... and then there was Elder Stone and me. What and incredible opportunity.

Later that evening was the Priesthood leadership session (which was excellent) and then the Saturday night adult session. It was cool because I got to see quite a few members from Bintulu there, and it was equally as cool that we got to sit right behind Elder and Sister Nelson on the stand. I could go on and on about what happened in Miri because it was so amazing, but the highlight of the experience happened in the Missionary meeting on Monday.

Elder Nelson, near the end of his address to us, told us all that he wanted us to write down the numbers of the District as they are right now (total membership, Melchizedek PH, etc.) so that we could show them to our children and grandchildren and they would laugh to think that the church in Miri was ever that small. He then went on to say that there will be Stakes (in the plural) in Miri, and that we should "take it as prophecy."

AH! I heard a prophet prophesy! He has also left an Apostolic blessing on the people and the missionaries in every place that we have travelled and visited. I won't go into any more of the specific things that he said, but I have heard things in the last week that I will never forget. It's been a life changing experience.

We went from Miri to KL, and left KL this morning for Singapore. We just barely finished our missionary meeting here in Singapore, and we're getting ready to go to the member meeting tonight. Elder and Sister Nelson will leave tomorrow for Indonesia.

Sister Nelson is such a sweetheart. She is also pretty mind blowing. She pulled me off to the side in KL with Elder Nelson and asked me if my Mom's name was LuAnn. I said yes, and then she got excited and asked if they could get a picture with me so she could send it to her sister that works with Mom. That was pretty cool. Thanks Mom, you're famous! She said that she emailed you and that you responded. Wow! How cool is that?!

I did get to make a make an official two year extension request to the Asia area President (Elder Perkins) and Elder Nelson today if they would send me to Kalimantan, which is the Indonesian part of Borneo that isn't opened yet. They rejected it, but Elder Nelson did imply that I would get another chance to serve in this part of the world at a different time. I don't know when that will be, but I hope it's before I'm too old to do anything.

So when I got back to Singapore, the first thing that was said to me was, "I can't believe you only have 12 days left Elder Troxel." Join the club, I didn't know it was that short. I'll only be in Singapore for 3 of those days, because I'm going back to Malaysia on Saturday for my last week of Zone Leader exchanges. It'll keep me busy for the last little bit.

So Dad, did the hotel info help at all? Do you want me to book them, or did you already do that? If you could let me know before Saturday, then I can do whatever I need to do. I'm way excited. Malaysia is the greatest place in the world, and I'm pumped for you to get to experience it.

I love you all! Only one more email!

Elder Troxel

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Weeks at the Mission Office are Tough

Dear Family,

Don't feel bad about the email being short Mom (even though it wasn't), because mine is also going to be short. Not so much because of lack of time, but mostly because not much happened this week. We had an entire week in Singapore! Those are always horrible. From the first few days that I had in the office, I knew that by the time I finished my time I would be ready to leave it. I love the mission and what I'm doing so much, but the office kills me sometimes.

Most of what I've been doing for the last week or so has been preparations for the mission tour and taking care of a lot of other small things that we haven't had time to deal with for the last 3 months. I'm super pumped about Elder Nelson. We leave for Miri tomorrow and we'll meet him on Friday! It'll be awesome. Anywho, since I don't really have that much to share about this last week, I'll fill some space with some awesome pictures.

Dang, I've already forgotten the order that I attached them, but I'm pretty sure the first one is of me, Elder Pace, and Elder Stone right before Elder Pace died last month. May he rest in peace. (He's really not dead, he's just Bro. Pace somewhere else).

I think the second one was a picture of me with Elder and Sister Watson when they came on their mission tour last month. They are so awesome.

The third one is how they serve chicken in this part of the world. Mmmm... get ready Dad. That is actually a really nice place, so it's not even bad looking. But don't you worry, we'll be eating A LOT of crazy stuff in a few weeks.

The fourth one is a picture of me with a chicken. I couldn't believe this. The chickens were on sale for only 8 Ringgit! That's a little over 2 dollars! If it weren't a mission rule that we can't have pets, I totally would have bought one.

That's just a few pictures. I've got some way awesome ones, and Dad and I will get some pretty stellar ones too, I'm sure. Anywho, I'm alive and still kickin'. Elder Stone even said to me last night that he hasn't sensed any "negative trunkiness" in me. Awww, thanks Stoney!

I took a look at some hotels and stuff Dad. The ones in Kuching that are looking the best are the Harbour View Hotel or the Four Points Hotel. In Sibu it's either the RH Hotel or the Premier Hotel. Park City Hotel in Bintulu is pretty nice, but I didn't really look into Bintulu at all yet. In KL we can stay pretty much anywhere because there are tons of hotels. Just book something that's not too expensive.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week! See you soon.

Elder Troxel

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Nice to stop saying goodbyes and saying hellos"

Dear Family,

So there I was, sitting in a sacrament meeting hall as a bunch of frazzled looking missionaries filed in and sat down. The last few moments with my family and my girlfriend ran through my mind as I thought to myself, "Wow, two years is going to be a long time." Now here I am, officially more than two years later thinking to myself, "wow, where did the time go?" and also "how did I get so fat?"

Anywho, this last week was pretty cool. We got back from our tour on Saturday afternoon and we've spent the last few days getting together our training for the Zone Leader Council that will go down tomorrow. We just barely put the finishing touches on our powerpoint this morning. That means that I don't have to prepare any more on my mission! YES! We'll give the training tomorrow, and that will what be last training I'll give. I feel like I did the month before I came on my mission. I'm starting to get into the "lasts". The last time I'll give a training, the last time I'll go to Miri, the last time I'll be sick on my mission (which I am right now).

Six of the Elders in my group came into Singapore yesterday. Elders Shipp, Muffler, Hall, Semana, Etable, and Limpahan. They all had their exit interviews today and we'll have the going out dinner tonight with all of them at President's house. It's pretty dang weird, I'm not gunna lie. It hasn't really hit me yet. The strangest part of the whole deal is Elder Semana dying (leaving the mission). I can't believe that. It's going to be pretty tough for me I think. Who knows when I'll be able to see the native missionaries again? But I'm hangin in there.

One of the strangest moments of my mission happened on Sunday. Elder Stone and I were in our office working on our training, when Elder Chua knocks on the door and tells me that I've got a visitor. I opened it and saw a bald guy with a goatee standing in the office lobby. I knew that I knew him from somewhere, but I could not for the life of me remember who he was.

As he walked closer, I remembered that I was somehow related to him, and when we shook hands, it all came back to me. "UNCLE WAYNE!" I was so surprised. Biggest shock I've had in a long time. I couldn't believe it. We talked for 15 or so minutes, and made a breakfast appointment for the next morning because he didn't have any other time when we could meet up. So I got to have breakfast with Uncle Wayne yesterday! And I've got the picture to prove it :)

Well, I've gotta run. I love you all! See you soon!

-Elder Troxel

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

728 Days

Dear Family,

I'm now sitting in a familiar internet cafe in KL! We're now on the second half of our training tour around the mission, and we've only have 3 more stops until we finish! That will be a relief. It's been really fun so far and we've had a really good response from the training, but I have never been so exhausted in my entire life. I know how you feel, Mom.

We got back from East Malaysia last week on Wednesday night and spent the rest of the week preparing our training for the upcoming zone leader council. We spent ALL DAY on Friday in our little 8x12 office trying to get it finished. I wanted to kill myself by the end of the day. I could never have a career working all day in an office like that. It destroys my soul. But the good news is that we almost got it finished and what we didn't finish we'll have some time on Sunday and Monday to get it done.

On Monday we got to sit in on the Mission Presidency meeting. It was really cool to see. Being an Assistant has a lot of Pros and Cons, but one of the big pros is the awesome training that we get from being able to be around President all the time. I do like that part of it.

We had to leave the meeting early though because we took off to Johor Bahru for exchanges and to give our training. It's just across the border from Singapore, so we just taxied there, but when we were nearly to the border, Elder Stone realized that he had forgotten his passport, so we had to go back, then we had to taxi out again, go through the immigration checkpoints, and do all that nonsense. By the time we met up with the JB Elders, it was 7:30... yeah, we were supposed to be there at 4:00. Ouch.

But the exchange went well, as did the training and then we flew out to KL yesterday. We taxied to the PJ Elders' house from the airport, and when we got up to their apartment, I realized that I didn't have my wallet! I hate that panicky feeling when you know you've lost something important. But I fortunately had the taxi driver's phone number and he was able to return it to me. Talk about TENDER MERCIES! Oh man, that was scary.

We just finished giving our training to the Elders and Sisters serving in the KL/PJ area, and from here we'll jump on a bus that will take us to Melaka. Tomorrow we'll bus to Ipoh, then to Butterworth, and we'll fly back to Singapore on Saturday.

It's strange to me that my two year mark is on Friday... it's pretty funny though that my two year mark will come and go, and yet I still remain. Everyone else in my group (except for Elder Ogden who also extended) are in their last week. Were I just sitting around in the office all day, it would be a little bit tough, but I don't really have time to think about it while I'm out and about. I'm very glad that I extended though. When else will I get a chance in my life to do this? Maybe never again. Definitely not in the same capacity, so it is worth it.

Anywho, I'm still alive and kickin'. The mission is doing awesome right now! I'm way excited about it. I love you all!

Elder Troxel

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chelsie Rose

Dear Family,

I really can't believe that January is already nearly finished. This last week and a half FLEW by. We started off on a training tour last Tuesday that took us through yesterday. We went first to Kuching where we did some fun exchanges and had a really awesome training. All of the exchanges we got to do this time were way fun because we usually will only go on exchanges with the zone leaders, but this time we picked out some specific Elders that we wanted to see work. I thought it was excellent because it really helped us to see much better what is going on in the mission.

We went from Kuching to Sibu, where I spent my birthday. I got to go over to the awesome recent converts' house (known around Sibu as "The Big House") and they threw me a party. It was incredible! It's actually the same place where I spent my birthday last year! I've attached a picture of Chelsie Rose. She has gotten so big in the past year! She's now about 13 months old. The other picture that's attached is the family. Best birthday ever.
Chelsie Rose

Chelsie Rose and her family

From Sibu we took off to give our training and do exchanges in Bintulu, Miri, Tawau, KK, and Sandakan. Wow, it was a very exhausting trip. I still haven't quite recovered. In speaking of KK, I found out this week that Kelvin got his mission call to the London South Mission! He's way nervous because he feels that his English isn't good enough, but he'll be amazing.

Next week we'll be leaving Monday evening to go all through West Malaysia for another week-long tour. It'll be fun. I feel kinda like a zombie though and I don't know if I'll ever really be able to catch up on the amount of sleep I've lost since I've been in the office. I'm thinking that I might not want to go to school in the Spring after all so that I can just hibernate over the summer and start in the fall. Just kidding.

But about this whole school thing, February 1st has really snuck up on me and I haven't even really thought about what classes I want to take. Chelsie offered to help, and because she's been at it for awhile and knows what professors are good and which ones aren't, I'm thinking I'll just let her take care of most of it.

Awesome story of the week... So while we were in Miri, I was on exchanges with an Elder named Elder Pingle. He's a stud and it was a way fun exchange, but unfortunately as an Assistant I get the opportunity to ride all of the worst spare bikes in the mission for exchanges. Miri's spare was an awesome old Sister's bike. I looked pretty funny, but that's not really part of the story.

Anywho, we were riding down the street, and I was just jabbering away, not really paying attention to what was in front of me, when all of a sudden a spider-web gets me in the face. As a pedaled a few more times, I realized that it wasn't a spider-web, but some kind of string stretched across the road because it kept getting tighter and tighter as I pedaled. Turns out, there was a kid's kite that was stuck in the tree, and he was standing across the street trying to pull it out of the tree. I hit the string (which was actually fishing line) with my face, but as I kept going, it got tighter and tighter and kept pulling me farther and farther backwards. Then it slipped around my neck and I thought "wrugh ough!", so I busted out this sweet matrix move on my bike and the line finally broke free of my face, but it did leave a nice little gash on my neck. The moral of this story is that if you don't like looking stupid, a mission is not the place for you.

I'll be in touch over the next few days because I'm getting the list of hotels from Sister Carpenter tomorrow. I'll also see if we can get a morning flight to Sibu on that day when we were going to take the boat. You're right dad, the boat would take way too long, but I'm not exactly sure if there's a better flight.

Welp, I've gotta run, but I hope everybody is hanging in there. I love you all.

Elder Troxel

Sunday, January 24, 2010

21 is the age you said I could buy a motorcycle, right?

Note from Dad: sorry this is so late, We have been busy with remodeling the family room, before Jordan gets home. I will not let it happen again.

Dear Family,

This last week has been one of the rare weeks when I've spent all my time in Singapore. We're taking off for Malaysia later this morning and we'll be on the run for 10 days without coming back. I'm pretty much a nomad. I have no home. But it's really fun to get out and see everybody (I miss Elder Chua). I say that because I know that he reads the blog.

We're going around everywhere to give my last training! Dun dun dun! It's a good one though. We've already given it to the Singapore zone and I hope it was motivating for them. I don't know when/if I'll have time to email in the next ten days, but this might be it until then.

I've attached a calendar of all my activities up through March. In the month of March I've gone through and laid out some rough plans of what we'll do for that week. I've included flight numbers, but here is a more detailed list:

March 10: Singapore to Kuching- Air Asia flight AK 6674 at 10:40am. Cost = 78.00 SGD (USD 59.00)
March 12: Express boat from Kuching to Sibu at 8:30am (we'll buy tickets there)
March 13: Sibu to Bintulu- Malaysia Airlines flight MH3240 at 8:15am. Cost = MYR 270.00 (USD 80.92)
March 14: Bintulu to KL- Malaysia Airlines flight MH2743 at 2:30pm. Cost = MYR 724.00 (USD 216.00)
March 17: KL to Singapore- Malaysia Airlines flight MH611 at 9:25am. Cost = MYR 396.00 (USD 118.68)

Dad will need to get on to the Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia websites to reserve and pay for those tickets. If that won't work, let me know and we can figure something else out... And if Dad doesn't want to take the 4 hour express boat (which would be AWESOME) then we can fly to Sibu.

On the Malaysia Airlines website it'll probably have a spot to type in an "Enrich" number. It's for frequent flier miles. I don't really know what to do with the miles that I've racked up (it's not all that many) but maybe it can get us some discounts or something.

When we get to KL, I'd like to go to this place called Genting Highlands. It's a big theme park. I've never been there, but it sounds pretty sweet. You can check it out online and see if you're interested. As far as hotels go, I totally forgot about those. I'm not going to have time to get that worked out until the latter part of next week, but if we need it done ASAP you can probably just call Sister Carpenter.

It's going to be a blast. I'm really excited for Dad to get to see everything and everybody. Oh yeah, Kelvin got his mission call, but he's out of town so he hasn't opened it yet. I hope he comes to this mission, but the other two guys that just got their mission calls from his branch are both going out of the country. In fact, one of them is going to Washington DC. But it's south, not north. He's going to the Provo MTC in May, so I'm going to meet up with him when he gets into Salt Lake before he goes into the MTC.

The mission is doing extremely well right now. It's really exciting and I'm grateful to be able to see it and play a small role in this stellar work. It's epic.
Anywho, I've gotta run. Tell everybody that they're in my prayers (especially TJ and Kimberly). I love you all!

Elder Troxel

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Woah Eye Knee

Dear Family,

What a week! It's been stellar! I believe the last time I wrote you we had just begun our mission tour with Elder Watson. That was EPIC! It was so cool to be able to be around him pretty much 24/7 for five or so days. Being around a General Authority just makes you realize how far away you are from perfection.

They live in Hong Kong though, so I told them I was going to be going there to the temple in March, and Sister Watson gave me some good information on Hotels and stuff. They couldn't remember off the top of their heads if they were going to be in town or not at that time, but if they are we might be able to see them. She's going to email the hotel info to Sister Clark, but she also said that you could email her. Just say that you are Elder Troxel's parents and you are wondering if had any tips on places to stay in Hong Kong.

On the tour, we had training meetings here is Singapore, KL, Sibu, and Miri. All of them were excellent, but Sibu's especially because we got to be there for the first ever Sibu district conference. Just on my mission, Sibu has gone from 1 branch to a district with 3 branches and 2 groups. That's so sweet. The church is growing so fast in East Malaysia! The conference that we had in Miri was with Sarawak North and Sabah zones. Both of those are close to my heart because I was a zone leader in both of them.

We have a tradition in our mission that all of the missionaries bear a "last testimony" at the end of their last zone conference. Well, I had mine there. It's funny, because every time you see somebody bear their last testimony, you think "man, that day will never come for me." But mine has come and past. It was cool, because I got to see all the missionaries who came out with me bear their last testimonies too as we went around.

In speaking of the church growing like crazy, the branch in Miri just split from one branch to two with a Chinese speaking group. I didn't even think to ask President Clark about the new leadership, but I just got an email from a man named Edwin telling me that he was called to be the new Branch President. I taught and baptized that guy about 8 months ago in Kuching! That's so sweet! Wow, I never would've thunk that he'd be a Branch President by now. That's such good news though.

He and I have a bet that I can't remember if I told you about or not; he has a goal to get sealed in the temple to his wife as soon as possible after he hits his one year mark, so I bet him that I would get married in the temple before he did. If I lose, then I owe him a package from America. I don't think I'm going to win this one, but you never know right?

Before I forget, Dad had some questions:

1. No, I don't have any adapters anymore... I haven't the foggiest as to where mine went, but you'll probably need to bring one.

2. You might want to bring a small amount of something like that, because the chances of getting the "cirit-birit" (diarrhea) are fairly high. It might get taken away by Malaysian customs though, but I'm not sure.

So yeah, looks like I'm going to BYU! I'm pretty pumped. I'd love to take a class with both Whitney and Chelsie, but I'm afraid they are both way to intelligent for my level. I was planning on starting slow with something like "Cursive 101" or "Times Tables for Dummies" classes. I haven't really looked closely at the details, but I hear that you can start registering for classes the first of February. Should I do it from here? I don't know, I'm new to this College nonsense.

Anywho, I've gotta run, but I love you all!

Elder Troxel

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Warp Speed

Dear family of mine,

I will apologize now because this email is going to be really short. I'm now entering a time warp that will bring me to the end of my mission. For the last 4 days we have worked tirelessly (just kidding, I'm really tired) to try and get mission tour all organized.

Elder Watson got here today and we'll have the first training meeting tomorrow in Singapore, then to KL on Friday, Sibu on Saturday, then Miri on Monday. Then next week we'll have a couple days to finish our other training before Elder Stone and I take off for our two week training tour.

When that's all over, we've got another training that we'll have to give at the zone leader counsel the second week of February. That gives us just enough time to prepare for our visiting authorities tour. AH! Then I'm done.

It's been a strange week for me. I got to go on exchanges will my MTC companion Elder Shipp. He is a funny guy. We were with him for new years, which actually turned out to be pretty wild.

We got to that area at about 2:30 in the morning of Dec 31st. We went to the zone leaders' apartment at 3am. When we got there, Elder Stone realized that he left his luggage on the bus! the next day, he called the driver, and the driver told him that it was still on the bus, but that he wouldn't be back in town until 2:30 the next morning! So we stayed up all night, celebrating the new year and reminiscing, then we took the ferry across the river to get his baggage at the bus station. Pretty crazy.

Elder Pace, a very close friend of mine from the MTC, went home today. He decided to go home a month early for school, and I'm extending a month, so now we've got a two month gap. It was weird though. He's gone! Another one bites the dust!

Thanks for all of your prayers. I'll need them for the next couple months. I'm in a sprint to the finish, however, if you recall, I've never been a strong finisher in a race... Lets just hope that's just a problem with physical stamina and that I'll be able to push through to the finish line.

I love you all.

-Elder Troxel

Mission Field Pictures