Wednesday, 8 October 2014

General Conf Weekend and Baptism date set.

Heilbronn, Germany is still home to Elder Robertson and he is loving his time there.

He's had some great experiences serving in Germany.

I received emails with photos included on Sunday of him from a member in the ward there in Heilbronn.  He is looking very happy and confident.  This really makes me happy.

Preparing Maultasche. 

Looking pleased with the results!
Monday is still my favourite day so I can hear from him via email.  I love to 'hear' how he is, the challenges he faces and how he deals with that and how much growth he makes from week to week.  Here's a snippet from this weeks email.

 I cannot believe how fast the time is escaping us!!

Conference weekend has been great. We've all had to stay in the one apartment as a district for travel convieniences this weekend and so its been very spiritual and enjoyable. My favourite parts cannot all be include in this email... I must have taken 20+ pages of notes in a 24 hour period, either for personal worth or useful doctrines. My favourite topics that were touched upon were the overlapping themes of gaining a personal testimony and relationship with God, and the fact that no personal beliefs or opinions can affect the truth. It is the greatest truth that truth stands alone and self supported in existence, unalterable by any being, that even God has his perfect sphere of following these unanimous truths that govern us all, and knows that we must do the same to enjoy that what he now enjoys.

With the  Zanders we made what's called "Maultaschen", a Schwäbisch delicacy... though a simple staple meal here in south Germany. We also grilled sausages on a grill last night on the apartment balcony after General Conference and I was the grill master and took one for the team. So I have been cooking some stuff and getting somewhat confident in the kitchen. I still make mom's bolognase every now and again, but have also got a little creative with changing it slightly which also tastes very good. I am a lot more open to many more foods and certain foods I'll no longer avoid out of personal choice. I even eat eggs and mushrooms of my own choice now... sometimes.
I'm doing very well health wise. I haven't had any problems since my shoulder, and I feel that I had done that by sleeping funny. I'm keeping myself safe and well fed and I'm retaining a weight of about 75kg which is notably 5kg more than what I left as. I'm trying to get into a better training program for my morning sport in preparation for the last 6 months which helps missonaries get back in shape before they go home. We'll see how that goes.

We are excited to have set this baptismal date. It's been a long time since this man was found and taught, trying to fit everything in and helping this man get ready for setting a baptismal date. Now is the tense part though, as you may well know; we have to make sure that everything he is doing is in line with the guidelines set by Christ through the bretheren as explained in Preach My Gospel and D&C 20:37, and its now time to move onto the commandments. So, its crack down time but we're really excited for the progress that has taken place. It has to be indebted to the Lord though and His influence has been evident in our work with J. Everything has fallen into place and this last appointment was more or less what we were banking on. We were aiming for the result that we had at the end of the lesson and it came from J himself. I really do feel as though the spirit is key to this work and if we feel like one way of doing things is how it is supposed to be done, than we have forgotten the principle of unique identity in the creation.
Besides that, the work is going well. There's still plenty of things to do and plenty of areas to work on to get the ball rolling faster. We have been working with a few new people and there is a definite change of heart in many of our less-actives with whom we are working. For example, I was meeting with Br. E on exchange with Elder G to accompany me. The Spirit was there and we shared Alma 32:27 with him which completely touhed his situation and opened his heart to pondering and he even thanked us for the visit after I had thanked him for letting us come visit with him.  

I am so happy that Tom will be getting baptised soon and I'm positive that we were all sent to be in this family because exactly that would be provided for us to make the correct choices, should we wish to, to become the people God intends us to become, even like Him. It is going to be a great opportunity to get people to come to church and learn more about our beliefs, especially priesthood power, revelation, the restoration.  

I'm sure the other boys have been doing well and that they are keeping up the good work. Heber seems to be doing great with Pien.  
You're all brilliant, and I pray that this week you can all keep who you are in your rememberence, learn of our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ, and thereby learn more of our relationship with them as to who we really are and our purpose here on Earth.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Heilbronn with Elder Bartholomew

With an extended stay in the UK and school just back today ... I have sadly neglected Elder Robertson's blog.  So much has happened too!

The last blog post way back in {cringe} JUNE, shows that Elder Robertson had just been transferred to Bern.  Sadly he was only there for one transfer (6 weeks ish) and was transferred to Heilbronn, Germany.  His new companion is Elder Bartholomew who is from the US.  They are getting along really well.  Both of them will be attending BYU together next year! =)

Labouring in the Lord's Vineyard of Heilbronn, Germany

I happened upon Elder Bartholomew's blog yesterday and he gave a great description on how these two met up on transfer day so I will share his account of that ...

"we had to wait all day in Stuttgart for our new companions to get there- then Elder Robertson came! i feel bad for the guy- he spent 8 hours in a train coming up from Bern! but we got home to apartment, threw his bags inside, and ran straight back out the door for our first appointment! it was a great way to start our comp! hit the ground running! 
Elder Robertson is from Birmingham, England- but his dad works for the church in Frankfurt, so he has been living there since 2008. Its weird because his house is like an hour and a half away from here..... but we dont let that distract us! he is also taller than me- that doesnt happen too often! He is a man of many talents- drawing, singing, soccer (football as the euros call it...) and that kinda of stuff. hes a way funny guy. not goofy... more... devious. its pretty fun."

SINGING??? He definitely gets that deviousness from his mother!! haha  A LOT more information than I received from Elder R himself.  

Elder Robertson has been talking about their main investigator 'N'.  She's from Thailand.  N would like to be baptised, but they are taking things at her pace and making sure she understands things that are taught.  Appointments have been a little difficult the last week or so but this one experience they had with her is really special.  N came to church and really loved it.  Members picked her up and she quickly made friends with lots of the members.  She fit in really well, especially with the JAE (YSA).  She had a great experience with a non member friend of hers who was having some challenges with relationships and school.  N prayed about how she could help him.  Then she went and visited him, taught him how to pray and they then prayed together that he could pass his test.  She has a testimony of prayer!! =)  She has invited him to learn more about the gospel and will hopefully come to church with her.

Eventually Elder Robertson received his birthday package.  I was very grateful to Pres Kohler who helped dig out the package that had been mislaid in the mission office.  Elder Robertson says it like this ...

Thank you ever so much for all of my stuff!! Despite your best efforts not to spoil me I did get both packages in a week. I hadn't heard anything from the office except that which you had said in your last email. I also got my apple charger. I guess that at time things just get misplaced with all the post that actually arrives there. We had a funny experience that day when the package arrived. A delivery man walked past our window (we live on the ground floor) and was carrying a large package. I caught a glimpse of the package and barely made out the family name on the side of the white box. I excitedly said to ELder Bartholomew, "That package has got my name on it", though remained somewhat skeptical in case I had just wishingly misread it. He on the other hand, didn't believe me in the slightest, telling me that it "wasn't my package". After a little difficulty finding the last name on the bells, the delivery man must have got inside and found my full name on the postbox. After he had delivered it, Elder Bartholomew was taken aback that I had actually seen my name on the package.

My shoes, that you sent me, are exactly the same as the ones which I threw out, except that they're brown. I just thought it somewhat comical that they were the same style as the last. Thank you for getting me those. I've finally picked up the hem on one pair of my suit trousers from the suit that you got me last Christmas so I'll be able to put the shoes to use now!!

Celebrating his birthday a month late ... it's all part of the mission experience.

If you would like to learn more about what Elder Robertson is teaching whilst serving as a full-time missionary, please ask or click on the links on the right hand side.  There you will find information on our beliefs and you can also order a free copy of 'Das Buch Mormon' (The Book of Mormon).

Das Buch Mormon - The Book of Mormon is another testimony of Jesus Christ

Monday, 23 June 2014

First week in Bern 2

Elder Robertson's first few days in Bern.  Bern is good. It's a beautiful city. It's been a slower start than expected though. 

Transfers went well, Elder Martin and I missed our train,  but we made the most of the extra time together and had a good laugh in the train and still got there in good time. We always meet up with all the others that are transferring in Zürich and then meet our new comps and head off to our areas after a good chat and catchup with a few friendly faces.
Elder Schiffer seems like an honest and hardworking guy. He's vegetarian. My German is pretty good and Elder Schiffer can only speak german so it's bound to get a lot better.
The teaching pool in Bern was pretty good. When I was told that there was a lot of work to be done, I didn't quite grasp that it would be pretty much the same as most of the areas I'd been in. We have a couple of investigators that we aren't able to reach at the moment and a lot of people that need contacting again. The ward is also small, and eating appointments are thin on the ground. So there's lots of work to be done, and lots of progress to be made. I hope to be able to make it better like in Luzern.
I am missing Elder Martin, It was a lot of fun with him. The zone leaders are also in our area, but in a different apartment, which is good seeing them quite often. The apartment is quiet and gives you a lot more time to think and get things done without another two missionaries around then having to coordinate things constantly such as simplicities as a showering rota.
We have eight missionaries in the district. Sister Gilmore is not in the district though her area borders ours. Elder Martin is actually in her district, so he's not too far away either. We're probably going to end up planning having some cool P-days together.  We have six elders and two sisters in the district. We have four in Bern, two in Interlaken and the two sisters from Thun (which is German for Tuna; they actually named a place after a fish :D)
Anyway, it's another fresh new start and there's lots to be done...
We're emailing from the JAE (YSA) center. There's some fantastic equipment, pool table, football table and tabletennis stuff, but the senior couple have banned us from using it.  But it would be a great missionary tool too. I am also a "JAE missionary" here like I was in Basel. They probably want to be safer than sorry. They're a really nice couple though from America and have been here for quite a while I believe.  I don't know their names yet, I'll meet them tomorrow for the first time.
I don't think we're doing much today... just settling in and getting things sorted. Maybe we'll look around the city. Everything is really close to us here though. The church is a couple of houses down the street (we don't have our own building here) and the food shop (Denner) is next door.. its very similar to Penny in Germany.

I'll end up taking some pictures. The apartment is relatively clean. I just need to clean my desk and one or two other bits. 

I'm looking forward to sending his 9 months to go package this week!! =) 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Surprise Transfer to Bern

I was expecting Elder Robertson's companion in Basel, Elder Martin, to transfer this transfer: but I was really surprised to hear that Elder Robertson would be transferring TOO!

He's off to Bern serving in Bern 2.  He will have a German companion, Elder Schiffer.

Here's some news from Elder Robertson ...

This week has been a good week. Transfer calls have been a bit of a shock though. Due to the dropping number of missionaries in the field (though they are expected to pick up again in summer) that they've started having to close four man areas, and Basel has been elected for the next to be reduced. This has then resulted in me and Elder Martin leaving Basel and going to new areas. He's headed off to Biel 1 and I'm off to Bern 2. I was just about getting used to Basel and it's weird leaving after only 3 months time. I'll be working with another German, Elder Schiffer. It will give me another opportunity to improve my German too!!

Church was strange. Its normally odd when you leave but the news hadn't quite gotten round to everyone yet and so we weren't asked to give our testimonies and didn't really have too many people to say goodbye to. We also had an investigator turn up to church that had stopped meeting with us (before I'd arrived). All of a sudden, now we're leaving, she came to church with him. We handed her straight over to the other Basel elders as we're in closing down mode. These next couple of days are basically us trying to sort everything out before we leave.

The funniest thing that has happened this week was Elder Martin's surprise B-day party that the members wanted to throw for him, because he was leaving, though his birthday is this coming Sunday. I've had to keep it a secret for about 2-3 weeks, then atop it all, people were running late for the party so I had to delay Elder Martin in the apartment and then he suggested we go see some members in an apartment block not too far away who just so happened to be at the party, so I threw a strop to get him to stay there until the call came to get him to the chapel and then despite a few signs, he still didn't catch on and was definitely surprised. Finally everything clicked and he realised I wasn't annoyed with him and why I'd refused to do something we'd normally just do.

It is weird getting so close to the change over with President and Sister Miles soon to leave and President and Sister Kohler to arrive in 10 days now. President Miles has only ever spoken good things about President Kohler so I think the missionaries in general are looking forward to his arrival, anxious to see the differences in his approach to leadership here and the potential changes that may be made. 


Monday, 16 June 2014

Highest point

This is from last Tuesday 10th June.

On Monday I got a quick message saying they would be emailing on Tuesday due to the holiday.  It was getting rather late on the Tuesday and I was wondering if the email would come, seemed as though I had just resigned myself to thinking it wouldn't, and at least I knew he was fit and well from the few sentences the day before, when it finally arrived ... and I have photos!! =)

It's been a good and interesting week this week. Its also been very hot here too. The shorts are saving me a lot as its been stiflingly hot the past weekend reaching up to 37 degrees here in Basel. 

I did get my package, thanks. There was a lot more in there than I expected!! It was a great motivator and a good end to the weekend. The Heinigers are the Senior Missionaries in our area. They're responsible for running the YSA center here in Basel and try to do what missionary work they can with the YSA.  Elder Heiniger is a good man and does his best to contribute and participate where he can and Sister Heiniger is lovely always looking out for everyone she can. They prepare the food at Institute and make sandwiches for us Elders at our District Meetings.  They are doing a great job!

Zone Conference was also very good. It was also the leaving conference of President and Sister Miles. They gave us a disk full of photos from the mission that Sister Miles had taken throughout their time here. Elder Martin has started looking through it, though there doesn't seem to be much of them from Switzerland. I'll have to look through it to see if there's any of me and send them to you. It was a very good meeting but also a little weird thinking that this would be the last time we'd see President and Sister Miles at a meeting with us. It was also good seeing a lot of missionaries again after a long time.

This week I also had an exchange with Elder Pugh. It was fun working with a good friend and being in an area that we both knew as I went to Reinach to work with him. We went to visit a family that had enjoyed having me around for their family home evenings and we did that again with them. It was funny to see the kids again after a year and how similar it was to when I had been there myself. It was a very strange feeling being back and experiencing that again. 

P-Day with their Ward Mission Leader (GML) 

Höchster Punkt des Kantons Basel-Landschaft

This is what we ended up doing with him yesterday: we went on a really long hike that he'd invited us to do. We got to the highest point within the state or kanton in German and then saw a waterfall on the way down. 

In a cable car ...  I thought he said HIKE! haha  I miss this handsome face!! 

Elder Robertson was also able to have a couple of mins to email his little brother.  Here's a snippet ..

Love the special bonds our boys have.  

I am waiting for this weeks!!

Bis Später!!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Sunday, the most wierdest, miracle packed day!

Nothing makes my Monday like getting email from Elder Robertson.  I've really missed him this week, so I've been extra keen to hear from him. The past few weeks he's spoken of how well he & Elder Martin get on and work together, but how hard it is trying to build a teaching pool in this area.

Here's a few lines from today's email ....

I haven't got my package yet. I've been informed this morning that Stephan has my package, and I've asked the other two to pick it up or me if that's possible. I've been really craving my shorts since the last package, haha!!

I'm doing well. Elder Martin is also doing well. The work here is picking up. Our Sunday was the weirdest but most miracle packed day we had together here in Basel. So there's this man that has been declared clinically insane by the Swiss authorities or something who was a former investigator here in Basel. Anyway, he stands up in the middle of the testimony meeting and declares that he's been made prisoner here in Switzerland. Me and Elder Martin then also have to prevent what Elder Martin suspected to become a fight and this guy starts complaining about his life that he has no money and can't find a job and that besides other things, but then also asks us about the war in Iraq and claimed to be some guy that would open the book of life at judgement day. He's also claimed to be Christ and Elder Martin has had disturbing experiences in previous appointments. We ended up teaching him a lesson anyway, but thanks to the commotion and having him go outside and talking to him there, we found a man named G who had a bunch of questions which we were then able to answer and set up a return appointment for this Thursday. So I guess that these things happened for a reason and that obviously the Lord wanted to have contact with this man and perhaps needed to provide us with a bit of drama to simply go outside to a few benches to where this man was sitting. It was also the most spiritual Sunday I've had in Basel so far which does concern me seeing as though it was so irregular 
for a Sabbath day.

Saturday was good. Wes didn't show up although I was expecting him to. The Elders from Pratteln also come to this activity and they had an investigator come and play with us. We're still working on it, trying to get some more of the YSA to come out and bring their friends. We got a good number of people telling us that they would come this last Saturday but then they never showed up which was fairly disappointing.

It's hard getting referrals from members here in Switzerland. Not sure exactly why the reason is, but even suggesting family mission plans to some families [is difficult] and they explain how they've "done this before" and it didn't work. Goal setting isn't a one time decision with a one time effort with the expectation for immediate results. It's setting personal standards and desired achievements and trying over a set period of time to achieve them with constant reassessments of our personal progress.

 I think this is also key to our own personal salvation, setting the goals and striving for them to acquire the attributes and regulations that we need to attain our exaltation and come back to our Heavenly Father. I believe that the ability to decide for ourselves the way that our lives will lead is the greatest sign of His infinite love as he supports us in making our personal choices.

We were thinking about going to the temple this weekend, but I'm not sure exactly when with the other appointments we have scheduled. I'm also wondering if with the taking place of stake conference whether we will be in Zollikofen on the Saturday to attend the priesthood session. I know that the main meeting is broadcast for us in the Pratteln Ward.

I love you loads and hope that you have a great week.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Mother's Day Skype ... 2014

Mother's Day Skype 2014

.... Our family portrait until Christmas time!!! I LOVED this Skype.  Elder Robertson was so relaxed and happy.  It was so wonderful to see how much he is enjoying being a missionary and all of the trials and blessings that come from serving.

We also got to see his companion, Elder Martin.  They are really good friends. I loved seeing how they interacted with each other.

This is the screen shot I got when I asked them to pose.  They have their conference ties on.

Here they are in their Conference Ties.

When I expressed that I was worried about not being able to set up Skype time and my fear of him not worrying about it as his comp has skyped home in March for the British Mother's Day, he reassured me that he would not think like that.  I think he loves me!! haha  It seems like just yesterday that we said our goodbyes, but years since he's been home.  It is such an unusual feeling.  I can report there were no tears shed this time. I was just so happy seeing him so happy!!  I really must share time with the others at Christmas. I always plan to walk away, but it seems physically impossible at the time!!

Well the time was not long enough, and I could have spoken to him all day.  I couldn't hang up either, and so left that to his youngest brother, Thomas to do!!

Just 8 months until Christmas Skype, which will actually be our last missionary Skype with Elder Robertson.  That seems like his mission has just gone by soooo fast!!

His email on the Monday was brief as not much had happened over night, thankfully!

Here's parts of it ...

Obviously after our long chat yesterday, I don't have much news either. Skyping doesn't make me that homesick. It does make me realise how much it means to me to have such a great family and how much I really do miss you, but not homesick.  

Today, we'll be going out with Stephan Schmidt and "Elder" Nakken and his family. I'll have to nip home to get my camera as I forgot to bring it. I do however have my other SD card with me with my photos on, so don't worry... you'll get a couple today. Other than that, I'm doing well as you've seen. Having lots of fun and working hard.

The picture is me and elder meyer with the GML or ward mission leader ("Gemeinde Missions Leiter" auf deutsch). I'll send you a couple more photos in other emails!! 

Anyway, I hope you're all doing well, Iove you all loads and miss you!!

I told him no packages until I get photos, I guess it worked!! haha

These are from his last area in Luzern, enjoy the pics!!!

Luzern, Switzerland

Elder Robertson and 'C' who was recently baptised!  They are such close friends.

Elder Meyers, C and Elder Robertson after the baptism