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.