Monday, December 24, 2012

Semarang Week 7

Bagaimana Kabarnya semua orang?
{Reportedly how is everyone?}

A pretty river that we bike around.

I am sure glad that the world did not end on the 21st. I'm sure everyone else feels the same way! (Just to make sure you don't think I am serious-I am being sarcastic. Ha-ha!) Today is Christmas Eve, and it sure does not feel like Christmas time. Especially when it stays in the 90's with 100% humidity. Christmas is also not as big of a holiday here, but it still is a good time of year. This year will be a little different for me, but I think it will be one of the, if not most, memorable Christmas I have ever had. It is great to hear about how the Christmas season has gone for you guys so far. The ward here has a party on Christmas morning, with lots of food, so that will be fun. I will actually be Santa for the party, so I will be sure to get some pictures. 

But since it is not Christmas yet, here is a little about the adventures and experiences I have had this past week.

Monday was a pretty normal preparation day, with us teaching a few families after email time, and relaxing around the house. I was able to read a lot of the talks from General Conference, and it was great. I sure do appreciate all the great resources we as members have, and I think after my mission I will use them much more. I would encourage all the members reading this to do the same! So much can be learned and felt from all the Church leaders give.

Preparation day sure did pay off on Tuesday. We were able to teach a good amount of lessons, and we received two new Investigators who are very interested in the Church. To start off, we studied as normal, and ate lunch. We then traveled to the Church to meet a member who would teach someone with us. We try very often to teach with members, because they help us so much with making the Investigator feel comfortable. They are the third person that connects the message to the Investigator, and the message becomes very powerful. While we waited at the Church, a friend of a member unexpectedly walked in, and asked to be taught. He had been taught a little before, and wanted to know more. It was a great surprise! We taught him with a member, and he really liked the message. I think we will see great success with him. After, we went to a few more regular appointments, which all went well. Later on we had English class, which turned out to be just a social event. But it helps them, because they work on conversation.

It is the rainy season right now, so it rains every day. Sometimes it rains a ton! When the canals overflow in some places, the roads flood. But it is not too often. However just because it is the rainy season does not mean it is not hot! It still gets super hot and humid every day.
Wednesday was a very good day. During my personal study time in the morning, I felt the spirit very strong. I am reading now in Doctrine and Covenants, and there are some really great principles in it, especially about Missionary work. This study session gave me a very positive start to the day. For Lunch, we ate at the Church, and I was able to talk to President Budi, a member in the Stake Presidency. He is super classy, and very cool. It is a ton of fun to socialize with him, and he helps my language a lot. After, we visited with the famous Brother Bambang. He is so much fun to teach, and he always has the funniest things to say. We went straight to another Investigator pretty far away, and we taught her with a member. As I said before, it helps so much, and it sure did this time as well. We then went far to another Investigator, and the one thing I noticed was how much more I understand in the language. It is great! We had a few more people who were not home, but the day was still very productive.

On Thursday, we went to a member's house early in the morning, pushing back our study times. Their house was on top of a huge hill, which was very difficult to bike up! But we knew that coming down would be a ton of fun. They served us breakfast, and we gave a short message. They were very kind to us, and it was nice to get to know them a little better. We then went to the Church, met with some more members, and they took us to eat as well! I was already pretty full from the morning, but I still ate, which was brutal! But it got better over time. Next was our study time, and after we had the regular weekly planning session. It was much easier to plan for the week, because we had the two new Investigators! I then did some reading, and went right to bed!

Friday started off as they always do, with early morning service. It was very difficult to get up, but once I started riding my bike, I was wide awake. With the traffic here, you must stay very alert when biking. Not that it is dangerous, but we just have to be careful. After we returned home, we had our study times, and went to the Church for District Meeting. It went very well, and Elder Giolas and I are becoming much more involved. Lunch was already taken care of, since the family we help out in the morning gives us tons of food. So we ate all of it at the Church, and headed out for the day. Although our first appointment was not at home, the rest were all there. One of the appointments we teach is an older man who forgets pretty much everything we have taught. He remembers us, but never anything else. So the lessons are pretty simple, and we just try to socialize with him. It is very hard to understand him! But it helps with my listening of the language. Later was English class, which is always fun, and it marks the end of the day.

In the morning on Saturday, our street was bustling with activity. Our neighbors were preparing for a wedding, and it was to happen right on the street! We continued with our studying, and then left. Right as we went, our neighbors asked if they could use our front area for the wedding. We said they could, but we had no idea what they would do! Unfortunately, today we had little success with people being home, and we biked very far. But one was home, and the lesson was fairly good. He was a Minister, so it was a little different, and pretty difficult to teach. But he is a good person, and it was fun. This was pretty much the whole day, which although wasn't very busy, it was very tiring! So I went right to bed with no problem. But I had no idea what was coming the next day!

This is in front of our house where the wedding crowd was seated.

So on Sunday, because of the wedding, the family started the festivities at 4:00am, by playing loud, obnoxious music out of huge speakers that were in our front area! Obviously, I could not sleep with it going on, so I just laid in bed, and waited for the time to get ready. Luckily, I went to bed a little early the day before, so I wasn't too tired. We got dressed for Church, and headed over right as they were announcing everyone. Our front area was filled with chairs and speakers. 

They also put speakers up by our front doors!

Church was really good. I really love this ward, and I become closer to the members each day. Brother and Sister Sugianto also came to our ward, (The family we ate with in Bogor) and it was super nice to see them again. I talked for a long time with Sister Sugianto, and she gave us some chocolate for Christmas. 

We then went right home, knowing that the wedding would have food, and since it was on our street, we were invited. When we were meeting all the people, the wedding singer was having a show. However, right when he saw me, he stopped the music, and came right over to me. He asked a little about me, and was really excited to see a white person. He wanted me to sing a song, but I refused! But this did not stop him. He kept naming songs that I might know, but I didn't know any of them! But then he asked if I knew 'Unchained Melody', which I did. So in front of a crowd of laughing Indonesians, I sang that song. It was crazy. My companion and the other Missionaries were laughing up a storm. That was pretty much the most interesting thing that has happened this week!

Well, I better get going. I hope you all have a great Christmas, and a happy New Year!

-Elder James

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