Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Speaking in Sint Niklass Ward

December 30, 2012 we spoke in Sint Niklaas Ward in Belgium.  What an outstanding ward.  We were invited to their monthly missionary meeting.  This is where the bishopric, the full time missionaries and the Ward Mission Leader meet together to discuss the ward mission plan, member missionary efforts, ward missionary efforts, and needs of investigators and newly baptized members.  

After church we were guests at a truly Belgium dinner with Bro. Jo and Sis. Linda Buijsse.  Bro. Buijsse is the Stake Patriarch.  Their daughter, Anuschka and her fiancĂ©, Johan, also had dinner with us.  These are special people whose greatest desire is to serve the Lord and bring the Gospel to others.  President and I enjoyed our visit with them about family, gospel, missionary work, and teaching.  Sis.Buijsse is an elementary teacher, now a Principal. Anuschka is also an elementary teacher.  These two women both that what I call a "teacher's heart", people who are born loving to teach and knowing it is a 'calling' in their life.  Ik oog! We are kindred spirits!  

Johan, Anuschka, Linda, Jo and President Robinson

Johan, Anuschka, Linda, Jo and Sister Robinson

 Thank you so very much for a wonderful day in Sint Niklaas!  And a great Belgium meal!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Goodbye to Elder Culkins and Elder Guanuna

  Elder Culkins and Elder Guanuna are two Elders I wish we could have kept until we go home in 2015. They were among the first Elders we met when we came in July.  

Elder Culkins was serving as the legality Elder in the Mission office and he was so key in helping us get our feet under us as a 'greenie' Mission President.  He was always kind, patient and excited to serve.  He later served as a Zone Leader in Apeldoor and did a fantastic job.  Thank you, Elder Culkins!  The morning we left for the airport was the day before Zone Leaders Council at the Mission Home, so Elder Culkins wrote a personal message on post it's and put one on every chair for his fellow Zone Leaders the next day.  Elder Culkins--not one note was left behind when the Elders departed on Friday.  They love you and missed you--wij oog!  

Elder Guanuna was serving as a Zone Leader in Den Haag when we arrived with Elder Bickham.  President was so anxious to get to work, we called these Zone Leaders and asked to go on joint teach the second day we were here.  And, sure enough, we not only joined them for that evening, we went on several joint teaches with them.  I remember one day with Elder Guanuna doing look up and knocking doors in Den Haag and Scheveningen.  Elder Guanuna is absolute one of the best when it comes to street contacting and finding.  I marveled at how at ease he was and how much he enjoyed it.  Many missionaries find this difficult, not Elder Guanuna.  And he always had a smile to go with his charm!  We will miss that smile.  We love you.

 Elder Guanuna, President Robinson, Sister Robinson, Elder Culkins

 Elder Guanuna, Elder Culkins, Sister Robinson, President Robinson

Elders, we love you and know your future will be just as successful as was your mission experience. Remember, the mission was only 'training wheels' and they are now off.  Now the real deal, on to life!!  Make your future bright and, as President says, "Be Men"!

Another New Missionary

On January 15, 2013, we woke up to one of the biggest snowfalls our missionaries have experienced while here.  Of course, it was the day to drive to Schiphol Airport to pick up Elder Endicott coming in from the Provo MTC.  We were very relieved when we found out that his flight would be 70 minutes later than scheduled.  That gave us time to navigate through snow and traffic to get there in time to meet him.  It was a late arrival, but all was well.


Thank you Elder K. Hansen for shoveling my sidewalk this morning!

 Elder Endicott, President Robinson, Sister Robinson

And, of course, after President's interview, and the legal and paperwork are completed, off for pannie kooken at Oude Leiden.

 Elder Schulte, Elder Endicott

 Elder Cundick, Elder Moscon

 Elder Pankratz and Elder van Rij

Elder Andrews, President Robinson, who decided
 to have soup today because of the cold and snow!

 It is true, he is here in the land of canals and windmills.

 Elder Endicott and Elder Stoddard.  Elder Stoddard will be training and they will be serving in Assen, Netherlands.

Welcome Elder Endicott.  We love you and look forward to the coming months to serve with you as we all serve the Lord!

A "Naderlander" Missionary

On January 8, 2013, we greeted our newest Missionary, Elder Rosendaal, into the Mission.  Elder Rosendaal is from Almere, Den Haag Stake.  We are very pleased to have him serving in his country and in Belgium.  He spent three weeks in the MTC in Provo for English and Preach My Gospel Training before arriving for full time service.  

Sister Robinson, Elder Rosendaal, President Robinson
Elder Rosendaal is literally just as happy and excited as he is in this picture!

 Off to eat pannie kooken.  Elder Burgess and Elder Rosendaal.  Elder Burgess will be training Elder Rosendaal and both will be working in Leuven, Belgium.

 Elder Cundick, Elder Mower (Elder Mower will be a third companion with Elder Burgess and Elder Rosendaal until transfers on January 16)

 Elder Moscon, our new office Elder for legality, and Elder Andrews, our office Financial Elder

President and his all time favorite, Ciersen pannie kooken.

Elder Rosendaal was serving a mini-mission for two week in the Belgium Netherlands  Mission when we first arrived.  He knows the work and is excited to be part of it.  His goal is to double baptisms!

President's Weekly Letter #19

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission



We talked about some doctrinal points of 1 Nephi 12, 13 and 14 at Zone Conference in December 2012.  These chapters contain a continuation of the vision Nephi received as interpretation of his father’s dream of the tree of life.  We frequently forget that the vision of the tree of life is much more than a tree, fruit, rod, river spacious building, path, etc.  These items are also symbolic representations of events in the days from Nephi to and including future events.  Nephi literally saw our day and into the future to the judgment similar to John, Enoch and others.

This is particularly relevant to us because we are engaged in bringing forth the marvelous work and wonder spoken of by the Lord in the last days and we are armed with righteousness and the power of God.  We can learn of our destiny and duty from these verses.

Nephi speaks of the 12 Disciples of Christ and three generations after Christ that had white garments (1 Nephi 12:10-11).  White is a symbol for cleanliness, righteousness and holiness.  White garments symbolize a person who is clothed in purity.  Whiteness in a garment means that purity is a characteristic of the garment (individual) not just a superficial attribute of the garment.  Such cleanliness is made possible only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in which His blood was shed for our sins.

Such cleanliness is difficult to attain by being a member of the Church in name only without internalizing purity in ones way of life. There is a difference between going through the motions of membership compared to having pure hearts, pure consciences, fearing God and keeping his commandments.

The mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil.  His temptations have two effects:  they blind the eyes or harden the heart.  This may be all he has power to do but that power is enough to lead people into broad roads to perish. (1Nephi13:17)

Nephi prophecies about the great and abominable church.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie offers the following description of the meaning of this church:

“The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all churches or organizations of whatever name or nature—whether political, philosophical, educational, economic, social, fraternal, civic, or religious—which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 137–38).

The great and abominable church is a symbol of apostasy in all its forms.  Actually, no single church or organization meets all the requirements for the great and abominable church which requirements are:

·      It must have formed among the Gentiles 13:4;
·      It must have edited and controlled the distribution of the scriptures 13:26-27;
·      It must have slain the Saints of God, including the Apostles and prophets 13:5;
·      It must be in league with civil governments and use their police power to enforce its religious views 13:2-5
·      It must have dominion over all the earth 14:11;
·      It must pursue great wealth and sexual immorality 13:8;
·      It must last until close to the end of the world 14:17.

A harlot (1Nephi 13:7) is a symbol of Satan and impurity.  When people are unfaithful to covenants they are as a faithless woman who sold herself to immorality and sin and prostitutes all that is noble and good.

Regarding the discovery of America (1 Nephi 13:12), consider a quote from Christopher Columbus’s diary:

“Our Lord, unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed.  Those who heard of my enterprise called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed.  But, who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?”

Without divine intervention, it is impossible to conceive that the pathetic Continental Army could win the Revolutionary War against the strongest army that existed on earth at that point in history. (1 Nephi 13:13-19)  Establishing the kingdom of God with no religious freedom under other monarchal governments of the world at that time would have also seemed impossible. The Lord began to establish his great kingdoms on earth just fourteen years after the Bill of Rights on December 23, 1805 when Joseph Smith was born.

The Lord knew that the great and abominable church would try to destroy the word of God in the Bible. (1Nephi 13:20-29)  The angel talking to Nephi makes it clear that he is not talking about subtle accidents of hand and eye, resulting in a few misplaced letters or words.  The changes were the planned editorial work of designing men.

The Lord said he will in the latter days do a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting and our numbers will be few because of the wickedness of the great whore.  The whore shall gather together multitudes to fight against the Lamb of God.  Clearly, today, the fight is against Christianity, not against any one Christian church.  The covenant people of the Lord will be armed with righteousness and with the power of God. (1Nephi 14:7, 12-14)  As a side note, the Lord told Enoch, who saw the same vision of the last days that righteousness and truth will sweep the earth to gather his elect. (Moses 7:62)

Finally, the covenant people will prevail.  In Enoch’s vision the Lord said, “…but my people will I preserve…” (Moses 7:61)  The wrath of God will be poured out upon the abominable church.  There will be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it. (1Nephi 14:3, 15, 17) 
President Robinson

President's Weekly Letter #18

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission



A towel, a small cloth.  It can wipe a dish, dry hands, or clean away crumbs.  It can clean up a spill, mess or accident.  It can mop up a floor or dust a table.  Perhaps it could clean a window, or shine a pair of shoes.   Maybe it could wipe a bike seat dry or keep a head dry and warm in the rain.  You see, a towel is very versatile.  

Perhaps it could dry a tear of a broken heart.  Perhaps it could warm a loaf of bread, a plate of cookies or a bowl of soup until safely delivered to someone needing a gentle touch of God’s love.  Just maybe it could clean a small corner of a home in need of a visit, or a little support, or the opportunity to feel the Spirit of our Father in Heaven.

It was a small cloth that wrapped and swaddled the Baby Jesus.  I often contemplate what I might have done on the spring night when the Angels heralded the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem.  Might I have gone to worship the infant ‘wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger’? (see Luke 2:12) Or might I have held back, lacking faith to believe the message given: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:14) therefore, missing out on one of the greatest events this world will know.  I believe you and I were there at that sacred event.  I believe we knew the Gift wrapped in that small piece of swaddling cloth.   I believe that because we are here serving the ‘Babe of Bethlehem’ in these quaint countries, so I believe we were present that long ago night.

The Savior himself used a small cloth to teach a powerful lesson about love and service.  John 13: 4-5, 12-17:  ‘He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’

Perhaps this towel can perform miracles. We believe it can. We all pray for miracles to happen every day and they do.  This Christmas Season, follow the example given by the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Do as He has done, find a way to ‘wash one another’s feet’.  Find a way to serve, to love, to lift, to sustain, to encourage those around you every day.  Use this small cloth to perform miracles. 

We love you from the depth of our heart.  We cherish you and honor you for who you are and what you are accomplishing in your life.  If we then, can love you so sincerely, how much more your Heavenly Father and Savior love you.  Merry Christmas. 
President and Sister Robinson