Monday, December 10, 2012

Semarang Week 5

{This is the Christmas tree our family sent Elder James. We took pictures of all of his favorite family ornaments from our tree and cut them out. We also made some just for his companion.}
Greetings everyone!

I trust everything is great back in the U.S.A! I sure do miss a few things from home, but I am doing great here. We had a pretty eventful week, with a lot of fun things happening. This week went by really fast, and I hear from many other Missionaries that it keeps getting faster and faster! So I guess before I know it, my Mission will be over. Thank you to all who sent me letters. Especially to my family who sent me a whole package! The mail here does take a little bit to send, so it will take a long time for me to respond, but I will for sure!

My SWEET new sunglasses!
Visiting Lewang Sewu, which means "Thousand Doors" in Javanese. This is the "Standing Prison" where the Japanese would put up to six people in this cell, which was only about four feet by four feet. Pretty brutal!

Here is a day by day recap of what happened this past week:

After emailing last Monday, we went to the church to meet a member. He took us to Lewang Sewu, an apparently haunted building here in Semarang. Lewang Sewu is Javanese for "thousand doors". It is named this because it has many hallways and passages, which are told to have ghosts roaming around. It was pretty scary, but I did not see any ghosts. I saw many bats in the attic (see picture), which was crazy. We could not see them all, but by the sounds we heard, there must have been thousands! We also were able to go to the basement, which had about six inches of water all around it! So we had to put these boots on they had for us. It was really dark, and we saw where the Japanese imprisoned and killed many Indonesians. Elder Giolas and I also volunteered to stay down while everyone else went back upstairs. They then turned off the lights and it was pitch black! Still, no ghosts, but it was pretty spooky! It was my first cool trip on P-day, and it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday was a pretty adventurous day as well. Once we were 
ready, and finished our study times, we went outside and got our bikes ready. Right as we were about to go, it started to rain. But this was not just rain; this was the hardest rain I had ever seen in my life! We put our covers on, and prepared to go. We didn't go far, just to the church, but it was the craziest bike ride I have ever been on! The roads were starting to flood, so in some areas we were biking through about 8 inches of water. We finally made it to the church, and some people were meeting us there to be taught. The rain ended when we were done, but man, was it crazy! We then were able to travel to our other appointments, which went well. We taught Brother Bambam, which is always a lot of fun, and later on, we taught our regular English class.

Wednesday morning was pretty rough, because Elder Giolas and I became very ill. Our companions thought it was the Mie Aium we ate on Tuesday. It had meatballs in it that may not have been very safe to eat. But it was not horrible. We stayed home while Elder Martoyo and Mongan went on a split to some appointments. It was pretty boring for sure, as we just read and studied the entire day, but it was good. We were going to the bathroom quite a bit though! We also watched many of the church movies, which was fun. I went to bed early, and took some medicine, so I quickly became healthy. Our teachers in the MTC said that this would happen to every one of us at some point, but later our bodies would become much stronger and used to the food.

Thursday was a pretty normal day. After our study times, I made myself some noodles with a fried egg. The noodles here come in packages just like Top Ramen, but they are even cheaper, and they taste so much better! I have also been getting used to all the spicy food. I eat something spicy almost every day, and it sure is getting better! After lunch, we had our planning session, and I was much more involved during this one. I know the families and individuals we teach much more, and so planning is a better experience now. After our planning session, we went out for the day. We traveled a different way today, and because of the recent rain, many of the roads were flooded. I was very thankful for my amazing shoes from Spencer! They keep the water out so well. All of our appointments were there, except the Leo family, so we talked with some of their neighbors, and they were very kind to us. It is incredible how nice random people are here once you talk to them.

One of the spiders in our house
Friday was my 100th day on the mission! It was really crazy to think that I have been out so long. It seemed to go by slow, but it is going by fast for sure. For today, we had our Zone Conference, so we traveled by bus to Jokja, which was about four hours away. So we had to get up around 4:30 to leave. Once we arrived, I was able to see Elder Miner, a friend from our MTC group. The only bad thing was that he told me what kinds of spiders are all around our houses. They are Brown Recluses-so scary! They are all around the house! Anyway, it was really great to talk with him and hear some of his stories. The conference went well, and at the end they gave us our mail. It was unexpected, so it was a really great surprise! We visited with all the Elders and Sisters, and ate dinner with them. It was a lot of fun! The bus ride back was very pretty, and we were able to see much of the countryside, which is a lot more beautiful than the city.

This is the view from one of the investigator's house
Saturday began with an early morning English class at ACE Hardware. One of the employees comes to our English classes, so he told his boss, and he wanted us to come and help with conversation. The group was about 40 people, so it was fun! We helped with pronunciation, and just talked with them. Afterwards, we returned, and finished our study time. We then had our appointments for the day. Unfortunately, only one was there, so we visited with some members. We were able to talk to many of their friends, and they had many questions about the church. We obtained a few referrals from the visit, so it was definitely not a waste. I also started to learn many of the roads to different investigators and members. The city is becoming more and more familiar to me.

Sunday was also pretty normal. Sacrament meeting was good, and the members were very friendly as always. I was assigned to teach Gospel Principles, which was pretty hard, but it tested my vocabulary, so it was good practice. Afterwards the lunch was really good, and we ate like Kings! We visited some members with some sick kids later on, which was nice, and then we went to sleep!

It was a really good week, and I look forward to telling all of you about my new adventures! I hope everyone has a great Christmas!

-Elder James

Lewang Sewu
"A Thousand Doors"
The Semarang Elders at Lewang Sewu
Top floor was infested with bats 
We went through some of the tunnels in the basement
After the Japanese left, the place was a train station
The basement had 6 inches of water

1 comment: