Monday, January 21, 2013

Solo Week 4

Hello Everyone,

I am finally emailing on Monday! It sure feels nice to have a normal Preparation day! We have been getting a lot of things done, and our house is so much better when it is clean! It was a little more difficult to clean, since we only had three Elders, but we got the job done nonetheless. Since Elder M. left, I have been in a companionship with both Indonesian Elders, Elder Hasibuan, and Elder Martoyo. We should be receiving another Elder soon. Because of this, the three of us are covering both the Solo one and two wards. This means a lot of biking, and a lot of appointments far away from each other. Which made this past week a little crazy! So here is a brief description about it.

Tuesday was the first day of being with two other Elders. After my last email, which was written in the evening, we still had a busy schedule ahead of us. We went right home, and got ready for the day. We had a few appointments, but none of them were home. This is always pretty disappointing, but we got busy looking for houses. A few seemed like they would work, but one of the ones we found was right across the street from a school. Which is fine, but I think the kids would freak out with having white people right across the street! We would probably be invaded. 

While we were looking, we stopped by a railroad track and took some pictures. It was very pretty, and we had some fun. Later that night was English class, but it just was not the same without Elder M.! He did such a great job teaching. But it went well nonetheless. 

The next day, Wednesday, was a very busy one. It started out with the regular study times, which was a little different, because during companionship study, we had three people. But it was very nice to get help and advice from two experienced Missionaries. We then ate at one of my favorite places, which is right across the street from the church. The food is very good, and super cheap! I got some sort of soup with rice and vegetables, three pieces of Gorengan, (fried things) a glass of water, and a piece of chicken all for around 50 cents! It is crazy that I am still losing weight with all the cheap, delicious food that is around. Once we were finished, we dropped some mail off, and went out. Since we are covering two areas, we had three appointments in one area, and one in the other. Luckily, they were all home. The last appointment was at the Bishop's house. It was far away, but well worth it. His family is great, and their house is incredible. 

We taught a young member boy there, and helped him prepare for baptism. We then ate with the family, and they gave us Durian fruit. It was the first time I have ever tried it, and to be honest, it was really gross at first. But they say it gets better over time. I had a great night talking to everyone there. 

The regular service project on Thursday was a little different. Once we arrived at the park, a man met us, and said he wanted to send us somewhere else. He led us to a nearby carnival, and asked us to pick up trash. It was disgusting! There was a ton of trash, and it was a very dirty park. People were everywhere, and they looked so surprised when they saw a few white people picking up trash: Pretty humbling. 

But after, we washed up, and ate together with all the Missionaries in Solo. This is one of my favorite activities of each week. The weather is nice, the food is great, and talking with everyone is fun. Once we were finished, we studied, planned for the week, and went out for the day. We first visited with an investigator who has had a problem smoking. He smokes about three times a day, and says he cannot afford to come to church. In a nice way, we showed him that if he stopped smoking, he would be able to pay for gas. It was pretty funny, and I think he will come this week. He is always making progress, and it is inspiring to see. We had a few more appointments planned, but they fell through. However, it was a successful day in my opinion. 

Friday was pretty normal as far as Fridays go. After our regular scheduled morning routine, we went to the church for District Meeting. This is really fun, because all the Missionaries from Solo, including the Sisters, and the Senior Couples join. This is one of the great things about Solo: all the Missionaries! After the meeting, I remember I talked for a long time with the Greenways (Senior Couple). They were very nice to me, and we had a great conversation. Sister Greenway brought brownies, but after only two hours of sitting on the counter, ants had invaded. They are pretty small, and they get on open food super quick. This may be a big deal other places, but this is Indonesia! We shook the brownies off, getting as many ants as we could, and then ate them. I must have eaten a lot of ants, but no big deal, just more protein! We had a few appointments later on, and they all went well. It is different teaching with three Elders for sure. Later that night was English class, and dinner at Pak John's as usual. He gave us all Durian this time, and since it was my second time eating it, it was much more tasty! 

Saturday started out with a service project for a member in my ward. She was going to have a ward party, and wanted us Missionaries to help her prepare her house. So early in the morning, all of us Missionaries met at the bus station, and we headed over to her house together. It was pretty far away, but the area she lived in was very beautiful. When we got there, we gave a short message to her, and visited the gravesite of her father, and her daughter. Her daughter was only fifteen when she died, and it happened about three years ago. She spoke a little bit at the gravesite about the Plan of Salvation and how wonderful it is that we can be together with our families forever. The spirit was very strong, and it was a great experience. We helped a little bit with her yard work, and then returned home. After we prepared for the day, we went to a new member's house, named Lina. She was very sweet, and her son was hilarious. We taught her some of the important points of organization in the church. After this, we went to an investigator family, and taught about the Book of Mormon. The lesson went well, and I believe we will find success with them. With families, the gospel has such great meaning. 

It was another long day at the church on Sunday. But it was actually a lot of fun. We went to both wards, and there was an older returned Missionary with his family who attended. They visit Indonesia from time to time, and learn about the culture and food. He spoke in both wards, and talked about the progress that he has seen. It was very cool to hear about his experience, and how much the church has grown here. After church, I was able to talk with him personally, and he was very nice. He gave some good words of encouragement, and made me feel very important. After church, we planned on visiting a less-active member, but they were in a rather prominent Muslim neighborhood. To be respectful, I went with the other Elders in Solo, while my companions went to his house. It was really cool to be with the other Missionaries for a while, and see their area. It was quite a bit different from mine, and their house was very cool. We went to one of their Bishop's house for dinner. He was really funny, and we had a great time socializing and trying on monkey masks (see picture). I then returned home, and went right to bed!

There is a small portion of the great experiences I have had this past week. Although it was busy, and a little stressful, I had a good time. When the work is like this, I become lost in the work, and I feel very blessed. I hope everyone back home is doing great, and I wish you could all experience all the things I have been through! I will talk to all of you next week!

-Elder James 

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