Monday, August 31, 2009


Making Pupusas

Me and my two companions having a pizza party my last night in the mission with our neighbor, Janet.

Miguel Paz' baptism.

Water balloon volleyball with Hermana Lott

City of Molino, the area and just minutes before I injured my knees.

Cleaning the font for my first baptism.


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Last week I didn't post Whitney's email letter home. The best way to describe it is that Adam and I were in shock at what news we received from her and I guess you can say that we were in a state of being totally numb. Since our email from Whitney last Monday (Aug 24th) she has returned home for surgery due to a double knee injury sustained while walking down a flight of stairs. Here is what happened:

On Tuesday the 18th, Whitney and her two companions were walking down a flight of deep stairs on a mountain side when her right knee popped and locked, and then pain shot from her knee up through her thigh. She met with a Guatemalan Orthopedic Surgeon that day and he quickly examined her knee and consulted with her for about five minutes (no x-rays or MRI). He told her that she has Patella Femoral Syndrome and if her knees lock up or swells with fluid then she'll have to have surgery, but for now she can take IB Profrin and continue to work…So she did. Two days later both knees locked and she couldn't bend them and the pain got worse. Sister Torres told her last Sunday night that they’ve seen this same knee condition several times in the mission and just recently sent someone home for the same reason and that Whitney will probably be going home and to prepare herself emotionally. She also told her that she was to go only to the really important appointments that she had for the week. Whit had a baptism on Saturday and had to get him interviewed and make baptismal arrangements, which she did, the rest of the time her and her companions just sat in their apartment. President Torres spoke with this Gua Orthopedic Surgeon and a doctor in Salt Lake. They all agreed that Whitney was to go home to have surgery and that she will not be allowed to return to Guatemala since it is a walking mission, but that she could go back out and serve in the U.S. Monday morning of this week Whitney emailed us and informed us of what was happening. President Torres called Whitney Monday afternoon and told her she was leaving at 5am the next morning to go home. We then got a call from Pres Torres giving us her flight info. Twenty four hours later Whitney was home and released as a missionary that evening.

I’ve been on the phone and Internet daily searching for good referrals of an excellent Orthopedic Surgeon in our area. I had made several consultation appointments when a member of our Bishopric called and told me that he had reconstructive knee surgery this week by a surgeon in Valencia, CA who does the surgeries on the pro football and basketball players. So I looked him up on SCOI.COM (Dr. Karzel) and read up on him. He sounds like the right one, so I made an appt for Wednesday of next week. From what we are told from the Dr in Guatemala Whitney will need two surgeries and it will take a good eight months including rehab. We are hoping that this Guatemalan doctor is wrong and that she’ll only need some physical therapy, but we’ll find out on Wed for sure.

Right now she’s in culture shock not knowing what to do with her time. So I try to take her places each day to get her out of the house. She can’t go out of the house on her own as she needs someone to help her with her wheelchair. She sits in her room much of the day listening to her mission tapes and reads the scriptures. Our Stake President counseled her to keep up on her Spanish and her spiritual growth so that she can return to the mission field if she chooses to once she’s all recovered. Whitney met with our Bishop yesterday during church and he advised her to carry on with her life by going to the singles ward.

It greatly saddens all of us that she will not be returning to Guatemala as we know how much she loved her mission call to Gua; teaching the Gua people and learning Spanish. She was just becoming comfortable there now that she had two great companions and understanding most of the conversation in Spanish. Whitney seems to be accepting her reality pretty well now; at least I don’t signs of her crying. She says that she cried a lot while she was in Guatemala her last week sitting in her apartment knowing that she was going to be going home and trying to accept it all. She’s come to the conclusion that it’s what the Lord wants of her and she’ll now just wait to see if the Lord wants her to return to the mission field once she’s recovered, or see if he has something else in store for her. She was asked to give a homecoming talk in Sacrament and she'll be presented with her missionary plaque as well.

Me however, I’m still trying to accept that her mission has been cut short by fourteen months, but I too have to believe that this is happening for a reason and that someday we will understand what that reason is. For now I have to concentrate on getting her the medical care she needs, and try to help her stay on her current spiritual plane and adjust to normal life at the same time. Yesterday while we were out getting Whitney’s haircut we missed a phone call that came in from Guatemala. Whit’s two companions and one of their investigators were calling to check on her. Unfortunately she did not leave a phone number so that Whit could call her back. We wish she were home to receive the call, and we know that this phone call was very costly for her to make. The Guatemalan’s are amazing people!

I belong to a Missionary Mom Email Group where I email with other moms who also have sons & daughter's in one of the Central American Missions. What a blessing it's been to have all of the Missionary Mom’s whom I've gotten to know and have gotten to know me and Whitney through our emails, pictures, and blogs that we've shared with each other and have been a source of moral support to our family. I truly appreciate the MM's putting our names in the temple prayer roll, for all their prayers, tears, and words of encouragement and even generous offers to come stay in their home while we seek medical treatment in their state of Utah and Colorado. They are all truly amazing and I’m grateful to them all!!!! We are also grateful for all the love and support we have received from family and friends. We will keep you post of her medical progress.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Returned with Honor

SO this has been a crazy and very quick week. I was walking down the side of a mountain in my area and there were some steep stairs and i ended up injuring my right knee at first. I stepped down the step and it popped and then locked up. I ended up seeing a orthopedic surgeon and he told me to keep working and so i did. to make a long story short i worked on it and i was putting all the weight on my other leg and then the same thing happened to the other knee, it popped and locked up so i couldnt bend it. I ended up laying in bed for 5 days and putting ice and heat and taking ibprofen and it still hurt and i couldnt hardly walk at all. I called my president and it all went so fast, he called my doctor and he said ill need a MRI and surgery on both knees. So my president called Salt Lake and then they made the decision that I needed to go home for knee surgery. Monday morning my President called me and said that i needed to pack my bags he called my bishop and stake pres. and Salt Lake and I was going to go home and be released as a missionary right when i get home. I cried for ever and packed up and flew home all yesterday. Im able to walk a bit but I have been in a wheel chair when we go places. I will try and post updates on my surgery. But as for returning to Guatemala I most likely will be serving in the states in a car mission if the Lord will have me serve again. I am looking forward with every blessing i have received and greatful for the atonement and that the Lord knows how i feel.I am having a pretty hard culture shock and I was released last night as a full time missionary but I returned with honor and I have learned that as long as we have faith in the Lord things will work out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"This is Satan giving you doubts"

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Hola Familia,

So this week has been great. I had a Baptism on Saturday.

Julio Claviria, he is the last of his family to be baptized. He has 3 children and has been investigating for over a year. We had his date set and he was shaky about it so I did what you did mom on your mission and I did the prayer circle and we all knelt and prayed one by one and the spirit was strong and then after we talked about how we felt and about baptism and then he said he wanted one more month. The lord was working on me and I just shouted out… "this is just Satan giving you doubts. This is a family that the lord wants to be eternal and the devil is working hard to keep you from being baptized." I didn’t realize how blunt I was until after when his wife started crying and bearing her testimony about how I was exactly right and her husband needs to be baptized. A few minutes later he finally said ok ya this is the right thing to do, I need to be baptized, this was on Thursday.

Friday we had his interview and Saturday was his baptism. The spirit was so strong; I had never felt that way at a baptism before. I was so overwhelmed with the Lord´s love and I wasn’t even getting baptized. I sang the musical number nearer my god to thee. This man in the ward has the talent to just play melodies of music to all the hymns. He can’t read music and so he just plays and I sang a beautiful rendition of the song along with 6 other hymns because everyone wanted me to keep singing. It was amazing how strong the spirit works. I’m sure that’s why I was able to sing so well. Then his family bore their testimonies and it was just amazing.

I got your packages and loved the tape; I already used up one tape and I’m starting another. I didn’t realize how much I really talk, I talked a whole side to just Brooke, ha, but thank you so very much for the packages I got both on the same day. My comp says hey dad where is my Lakers shirt, lol, but golly it was so awesome, thanks so much its exactly what I love, it’s amazing how well you know me mom. I love the chalk idea I know exactly who to use it with and I still want the peds, yes! Oh jerk Brooke I was thinking about applying for BYU I when I get home, ha we can be roommates. Happy Birthday to you Brooke, I hope you got my card in the mail by now.

Some random stuff: A guy I knew from school has returned home from his mission and I'm told that he's still mean to people like before his mission. A talk I heard from Jeffery R Holland has to do with that and how you need to change on the mission, and if you change back when you get home, it was a waste. So I got a water burn on my hand from washing my clothes by hand if that’s even possible, lol, ya but everything else is great and I can’t really think of more to say about what’s going on.

Love you all and I am glad you’re treating the missionaries so well!


Questions & Answer...

From MOM:
Q: So how is it going with your comps?
A: It’s going awesome and I love them more and more every day.
Q: Is Hna Oremundo still helping you out a lot?
A: Yes they both help me out.
Q: Is her name Oreomundo or Oreamuno?
A: It’s Oreamuno; they spelt it wrong on her plaque.
Q: There’s a picture of a Hna Oreamuno on the Torres blog standing with Pres and wife, is she your companion?
A: Ya, that picture is of Hna Oreamuno and in the middle is Hna Torres and Presidente.
Q: How long has your other companion, Hna Castillo, been out in the mission?
A: Hna Castillo has been out 13 months in the mission and is awesome.
Q: Who is senior companion?
A: Hna Castillo is because Hna Oreamuno and I entered the mission at the same time.
Q: What is your apartment like?
A: It’s the nicest apartment in the mission right now. Its 3 rooms a bathroom and kitchen. I took photos I'll send them home.
Q: Do your companions email family at home too?
A: Ya, and Hna Oreamuno gets to call home like once a month too, lucky!
Q: So what American meals have you cooked for them? Did they like it?
A: I have been making my own food for myself, but tonight we have a FHE and are doing a food around the world with our investigator neighbor and so I have to figure out what to make. They don’t use ovens here so I don’t know what I can make, we will see.
Q: Are you becoming accustomed now with the differences and feeling more comfortable with your surrounding?
A: Ya, I have adapted well and gotten used to the dirt floors and make shift homes.
Q: Have you had to do any Karate chops to any men in the neck yet, ha?
A: I haven’t quite had to chop off heads, but gotten close to a slap in the face of one man who grabbed my butt on the bus. Presidente says your chastity is lost when you get on the bus because you have to be so close to everyone, it’s funny and so true.

From DAD:
Q: Do you get a chance to relax or is it mostly shopping, laundry, and letters ?
A: All of the above ha we can’t play basketball and soccer anymore because of too many fights with elders and too much contact, sad I know. But ya we go to the mall and go shopping for food, that’s where they have food…Funny I know.
Q: Do you hear much from my family, Grandma, Robin, Scott?
A: No. I hear more from mom’s mom and Uncle Scott, and I have gotten one letter from Uncle Paul. But I hear from Scott the most. While I was in the MTC I got like 5 or 6 letters from Scott. I’d like to email him now instead of sending hand written letters.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coban, Senahu, El Estor, & Rio Dulce Zones Celebrate Pioneer Day with a BBQ Cook-Out on July 19, 2009

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President "Chef" Torres flips burgers

Hermana Allen and Hall dress as Pioneer woman

Herman Lott wears PJ's

R-L: Hna Lott, Whitney, Elder White, Elder?, Hna Hall, Hna Allen, others?

And their off; Whitney is loosing but having fun!
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Monday, August 10, 2009

"My New Companion's Rock"

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Monday, August 10, 2009
Hey, Hey, Hey!

Q: Do you have warm showers there too?
A: Yes

Q: Are you living in an apt or with members?
A: No, we live alone in an apartment, I’ll send pictures.
Q: So what is your new area like?
A: It’s the smallest area in the mission and the picture’s you sent me are of my area, ha, the last one was down from my house I live in 75c, I don’t know the street but it’s in colonia molina or molino I don’t know which it is lol but ya zone 6.
Q: How are the members there?
A: I miss the members from my previous area, but they are awesome here too.
Q: What kind of people have you found the Guatemalan people to be?
A: Some are hard hearted and some are very humble. They are loving people once they know you and they are very heartfelt and will do anything for you.
Q: How are your living conditions now and are you getting along well with your companion's?
A: I love my comps they are great. (Moms note: She now has two comps; one older sister who has two children, and one who is 21, both are Latino and speak no English).
Q: Since you have to cook now, who does the cooking?
A: We all cook separately and I cook both types of food; from the U.S. and Guatemalan.
Q: Do you have a Kitchen?
A: Yes, it’s small though.
Q: Is your apartment better than the last one?
A: Yes, its an actual apartment not a garage.
Q: Are you able to go back to your old area for the baptism?
A: No, but I think it went well.
Q: How far away did you get transferred?
A: I’m about 30 minutes away from the last area.

Okay, wow this week has been insane! I live in the smallest part of the mission right now which covers 6 streets and that’s it. I have 2 amazing companions and I’m actually teaching them English its awesome, I love them so much. I have been getting better at my Spanish. It’s good to hear everything is good at home. How is Heidi Porter’s dad Chuck doing, and the Latham’s too? NO, I didn’t get my packages. They are starting a new thing where we only get our packages at zone conferences so I have to wait till next week. I know it sucks ha! I am excited for them though. It’s so awesome that the family is doing well. Here there was a parade yesterday for all the Catholics, it’s so weird.

I’ll write more next week in detail. It’s so hard to think when I’m forced to cram my thoughts. Hna Lott was moved back to Jr companion and moved to the jungle, and not to train anymore. But my new companion's rock.

Love you,

Whitney purchased this "Tree of Life" plaque

The Castillo Family

and Whitney and Hermana Lott withthe family that they taught and was baptized.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Transferred to Molina

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Monday, August 3, 2009
Hey fam,

This week has been super crazy. I got changed today to Molina. I’m not sure what zone it is but it’s in the city. I’m companions with actually 2 people. I have an older women as a comp, she is from Costa Rica, her name is Hna Oreomundo, she has 2 kids and she is super sweet always trying to help me out. My other comp is 23, she is from el Salvador. Her name is Hna Castillo. I’m terrified lol they don’t speak English, lol, but my Spanish is progressing well. Some days it’s so hard and others I can socialize just fine. I have a small area; I guess it’s only 5 streets, but I’m not sure as it’s only my first day.

I’m glad you liked your package, the ties are cool huh. I will make sure I get a wrap around skirt so you can adjust the size, lol. I laughed so hard when your letter said “quiero eso” (I want that) lol, it actually made sense. The pictures on my camera of the elders are funny, yes that is Elder White, that stinker is funny, he was always stealing my camera and taking random pictures, you should see the ones I have now of him they are classic; Elder Fetters mom would love them I’m sure. How is Elder Fetters? Tell him not to slack (ha) and write Elder White.
I fasted for the Latham’s. I’m glad they are doing well. I’m glad the ward is doing well and that Andrew looks good. I haven’t heard from them at all. Pouch is no longer working through Salt Lake and we are only getting our packages like every week so, I won’t get it for a while I think, I don’t know. Bryce thanks for writing me, I sent you and Brooke mail today with an elder who is going home he lives in the valley. I’m super excited for my packages from everyone. I think I need to buy stamps from here now since pouch doesn’t work but I don’t know.

Oh so one cool experience I had was I was bearing my testimony to a family and while I was talking the spirit was so strong like it wasn’t me speaking. I was just crying and speaking Spanish it was awesome.

I love you all and wish me luck with this area and week. I will be cooking for myself so we will see how it goes; I don’t have a cook anymore. Oh, I learned how to make tortillas it was cool.
Love you all,
Hna- Robbins
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New pictures! To see more pics; click on "MY MISSION PHOTO ALBUM" in right column

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Provo MTC Lobby

Whit with her cousin, Brent Dubin. Brent is called to serve in the Philippines. They were in the Provo MTC at the same time.

Comp's lurking around the Guatemala CCM (MTC) grounds.

Whit with her two companion's and their Provo MTC Teacher.


The Gua CCM Gym

Sister's (Hermana's) in the Gua CCM District. Whit with her two gringo comp's and Latino roommates.

Pday in the jungle

Leaving the CCM to the Guatemala City North mission field

Whitney's first mission apt is a member's garage! City streets in her first area

The Latino's are very good at playing soccer. This elder runs circles around the gringo's.

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