Monday, December 3, 2012

Semarang Week 4

This is the sweet family that took us in when it was pouring rain

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all had a great week! I sure have been getting used to things here in Semarang. It gets better and better every day that I am here! I am loving the people more, the food, and just the Indonesian culture. It sure has desensitized me to things that would really bother me in the U.S., such as bugs, heat, and a bunch of other things. I find that as I live as an American, I am not happy, but if I try to live exactly like they do, I do pretty well! Anyway, here is a day-to-day outlook on this past week!

A birthday celebration for the Bishop's daughter
Shortly after I emailed last week, on Monday, we traveled to the Bishop's house. It was far, so we traveled by bus. It took about an hour on the bus, so I wonder how long it would have taken us on bikes! His daughter was having a birthday, and so we joined for the party. It was a lot of fun! Many members of the ward were there, and we were able to get to know them much better. There was also a ton of food there! Foods like Sate, Soto, and many other great foods. I was really full by the time the party ended. A member drove us home, which was nice, and we had a nice evening.

Food at the birthday party
On Tuesday, Elder Mongon, who is Elder Giolas' companion, became very sick. He and Elder Giolas stayed home all day, but he is better now. My companion and I went to the Church to eat, as usual, and then we went to our appointments. Our first appointment was a investigator who really is not progressing. We are trying really hard to help her, but she just loves the support group she has in her church. I wish she knew how much love and support she could have in our ward! She is a really nice lady, and she always gives us a ton of food. Our next appointment is an investigator who really likes the gospel. The only thing that is keeping him from going to church is that he is in a wheelchair. There really is no way that we can help him get to church, so it is pretty sad. Everyone here rides scooters, and very few people have cars. I hope he will continue to have faith! Our last appointment fell through, so we went shopping a bit. I got some really cool food! {see pictures below}

Wednesday was a day with a lot of lessons planned, but every one save two fell through! It is so hard to schedule appointments, and then have no one be home! However, one of the planned appointments was at a new member's house. We taught her about the importance of prophets, and it went really well. I was able to be involved in this lesson, so it was fun. I realized that the language is coming along quite well! Especially when I am able to teach and understand the investigator's concerns. 

Haircut in Semerang
After this lesson, we went to go get haircuts. The place we went to was where all the Missionaries have gone, and the guy was very nice. It was, however, much different. They use the same instruments for everyone, without cleaning them after each person. They also do not sweep the hair off the floor, so there was hair everywhere! It was pretty interesting and unsanitary, but it got the job done! 

Our favorite Nasi Goreng {Fried Rice} spot

We then got Nasi Goreng at our favorite spot, which is always a great ending to a day. Every Wednesday I weigh myself, and each week here I have lost an average of 4 pounds per week! Since the MTC, I have lost 20 pounds! It is pretty crazy, and my clothes are starting to get bigger. Luckily everything is so cheap here!

Thursday was the 29th, which meant it has been three months already since I entered the MTC. It went by pretty slow, but as I look back, it felt like only yesterday that I entered the MTC. Anyway, we had our weekly planning session, and I was able to be much more involved in the process. Since I now know the Investigators and members better, I am able to see their needs, and what we should teach. It really makes the work more meaningful. Afterwards, we went to our few appointments. They all went very well, and after our last appointment, we were very far away from our home, and it began to rain super hard. We started putting on our raincoats, and then we saw this boy yelling for us to come inside his home. We accepted, and went inside. It was a very small house with a family inside. They were very nice to us! They offered us coffee and tea, but when we said we couldn't have both, the mother made us some hot chocolate. We visited with them for a while until the rain became less intense. It truly was a blessing! We invited the teenager to English class, and we would have offered to teach the family, but they were Muslim, so we were not able. When I got home, I got a letter from my family with pictures! It was a great surprise.

As usual, we had our early morning service on Friday. It was very fun this time, and the food is always good. They also sent us off with a lot of food, and so we had lunch covered. After we returned home, we had our regular study times, and then we had District Meeting at the church. At the meeting, I realized that the week went by really fast. I remember thinking that if this week went by fast, I can't imagine how fast this Mission will go in just a few months! After this meeting, we went out for the day. We stopped by this traditional market, and looked around. It was really crazy and busy, and I was stared at more than ever in my life. The attention bugs me for sure sometimes, but I am getting used to it. After a few appointments, we went to one with an older man. We have been teaching him for a while, but he has not accepted many of our messages, and just wants to Bible bash. But this time was different. We were able to teach him about the nature of the Godhead, and he took the lesson very well. The spirit was very strong, and it was by far the best lesson I have ever given. The language just flowed, and it felt great. I really hope he becomes baptized! He said he wanted to at the end of the lesson. The last thing we had was our regular English class, but it rained, so only one person came. But he was a very nice man from Libya, and we taught him a lot.

This was a cute little boy at an investigator's house
Saturday was December the first, and right that morning I thought of the poem our family says after every night in December. This Christmas will be the first one where I am away from my family, which is sad, but I know I am doing the right thing here. I sure hope I will be able to make a difference in the lives of others. Anyway, this morning started out pretty normal, but my companion became very ill. We went out to get some medicine, and when he was buying it, I realized he bought Amoxicillin! He didn't even go to the doctor, or get a prescription. He just walked to the worker, asked for it, and she gave it to him. Only about 2$ for 8 pills too. It was insane! It shows how much different it is here. He rested for a bit, and felt better pretty fast, so we went on with the day. After lunch, we bought a few parts for each of our bikes that needed replacing. We rode around for awhile finding the best place, and it was kind of fun, because I was in a part of the city that I had not seen before. After we fixed our bikes, we went to our appointments. Luckily, all of them were there, and we gave great lessons. When I returned, before I went to bed, I recited that poem my family always does. It was pretty cool!

Night time in Semerang
Sundays are always good, because we aren't biking so much! We are able to stay at the church for about four hours (including lunch) and it is always a good time. After Church, we had our study times, and I read a lot about the General Conference addresses. It was really good to read them after I listened to them last month. I would really encourage everyone to read the talks after you hear them, because you can find more meaning when you ponder it through reading. It seemed like every talk applied to Missionary work, but I think that is just because I am a Missionary! Later on, we had a few appointments, and our last one gave us a really great meal. I was able to talk with them a lot, and they were a really nice family. They were pretty far away, but my companion challenged me to lead us home. I was fairly sure that I knew the way, and I did! I made it home. I was pretty happy, because I am finally learning this city!

Today has been pretty good so far, but it has rained a ton! We spent a lot of time cleaning, and we bought some new supplies for the house. Later today we are going to an abandoned prison, which is apparently haunted. Should be a lot of fun!

Well, I am doing great here, and I am becoming more engaged in the work. I hope the best for all of you, and be sure to become involved in your own wards with Missionary work, if you are a member. The best people we teach have almost always come from members. I will talk to all of you again soon!

-Elder James

1 comment:

  1. It is truly remarkable to see the Missionary spirit as evidenced by Elder James' weekly emails. He is growing while he is shrinking (20 lbs in 4 weeks?????? WOW!) I am very proud that he is my nephew and is doing amazing work with God's children far across the world!