Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Solo Week 2

{The computer Elder James was using wouldn't upload his pictures, so there are none this week.}

Hello again from Solo everyone!

First off, I am really sorry, once again, that I did not email on Monday. I'm sure a lot of you were expecting to hear about my great adventures, and then were devastated that there was no email! We had a Zone Conference yesterday, so preparation day was moved to Tuesday. Anyway, I am doing well here in Solo, and am slowly getting the hang of things. With time, I know I will come to love this city, and everything that it has to offer. Here is a little day-to-day description of what went on this past week:

Since we did not have time to email last Monday, we emailed on Tuesday. But it was still a regular working day, and we were able to do a few things. Elder M. was still fairly sick, so I stayed home with him for a time while my companion went out with the other Indonesian Missionary to learn the city a little better. Elder M. and I talked a bit, and it felt great to speak with another Missionary from America who is in the exact same place as me. It helps so much to discuss some of the trials and blessings from this Mission. Since I was home for a little while, I became more settled in to the house, and cleaned. 

Wednesday was a strange day to start working normally, and it made me feel like I have been in this city for a long time, even though I was brand new. After we were awake, we all got ready, which was much nicer here, because they have two bathrooms. One is Indonesian, with the squat toilet, and the other is a little more western, with an American toilet, but the process is not that much more western. We then had our regular study times, which went well. My companion and I went with the other Elders, because they know the city, and we sent some mail. We also bought a map at a bookstore, and while we were inside, it began to rain a ton! So we stayed in the bookstore for a little bit until it calmed down, but it was actually a great situation to contact people. Once the rain settled down, we went to our appointments. The first was a male investigator who has been looking into the Church for a very long time. We introduced ourselves, and followed up on what the last Missionaries taught him. He seemed very positive about the church, and I think we will have success with him. The only other appointment we had was teaching a little girl who is preparing for baptism. Her mother is a member, and she is very sweet. She will be baptized this Sunday.

Every area has some type of service, and in Solo, they clean up a park every Thursday. It was fun, because there are ten Missionaries here, with two Sisters, and we were all cleaning up. Many people wanted to talk to us, because they thought it was so strange that some white people were cleaning a park. We gave some pass-along cards, and talked with many people. It is incredible how simple service can bring so many blessings to others, and to the individual performing the service. After we were finished, we went to eat, and returned home. We washed up, and got ready for the day. As we were leaving the house, it began raining again! It rains so much here, especially with it being the wet season. The rain was not too hard, so we went out anyway. The appointment we had was fairly far away, but it was worth it. It was a Christian family who is interested in the church. They are fairly new investigators, and we introduced ourselves. They seemed to enjoy talking to us, and they have strong family values. I hope they will see how much this Church blesses families!

Friday was a normal day, but for our companionship study, all four of us Missionaries prepared for Zone Conference. Each District was given an assignment, and we each had to study different situations that are often difficult for Missionaries. We studied about how to work with the ward effectively, and it went very well. I am so impressed with how well all of us Missionaries can work together if we really focus, and work hard. Once we were finished, it was time for District Meeting. It is much different here in Solo, because there are so many Missionaries! There were eight Elders, two Sisters, and two Missionary Couples. It went much longer than I was used to, because there were so many things that had to be addressed. But it was very nice to talk to the Senior Couples. They also had a lot of food afterwards, so it was fun. My companion and I then went to a member's house again to prepare their daughter for baptism. She was very smart when it came to the gospel, and we were able to teach very simply about the blessings of baptism. For Dinner, all the Missionaries met at Pak Jon's, which is a place where Missionaries have been eating for years. He serves really good chicken, and loves the Missionaries. 

We started Saturday morning playing early morning basketball with all the Missionaries. We got up really early, so we didn't miss any time, so we were very tired. But we played hard anyway, and it was a lot of fun. Elder M. is about 6'4'', so everyone was laughing so hard at how easy it was for him to block us. Once we were finished, we headed back to the house, and Elder Miner and I got haircuts on the way. It was only a dollar, and the man washed our hair, gave us scalp massages, and a free drink. What a great deal! When we got home, we showered, and got ready for the day. After our study times, we all had interviews with President Groberg, since he was in town for Zone Conference. It was really nice to talk with him, and he was very helpful. I am so impressed with how hard he works to make sure all of us Missionaries are doing well. Once we were all finished, my Companion and I went to an investigator's house, but she was not there. We began looking for a new house, because President wants us to move. It is kind of interesting that I am house shopping in Indonesia! It began raining again, but we kept looking. We also were able to contact a few people, so it was not worthless. 

Sunday was a pretty long day, because we were at the Chapel for a very long time. In total, I was inside the church for eight and a half hours. The reason being, we went to both wards, one at eight, and the other at ten, and then all the classes and priesthood. It was also fast Sunday, which I think is tough for everyone! Even though it was very long and tiring, we were able to meet a lot of members, and they were very nice. I think that is the best part about Solo, is the amazing support and strength of the Members. After all the classes, we had the baptism for Senklee, the girl we helped teach. Many members attended, and it was a great, spiritual experience. My Companion and I were able to be the witnesses, and it was my first time. It was really cool to be a part of it. After the baptism, they had a lot of food, and it was nice to eat. Fasting is such a great experience, and it brings many blessings. When we returned home, we studied a little bit, and then four Missionaries from other cities in our Zone came to our house. They are staying over because the Zone Conference is in Solo. It was a lot of fun to have them over, and we talked for a long time. 

Zone Conference was on Monday, and it was very great. It was my first one, since they happen every three months. Before it began, many of us got some food to eat, and practiced singing for our group hymns. The conference began at nine, and President and Sister Groberg opened it. They announced a few things, and gave a short lesson. After they were finished, we began learning. This Zone Conference was focused on Characteristics of Christ. We each discussed characteristics that we have been focusing on in our studies, and we learned a lot. We also played a few games, and role-played different situations. One of the activities that I enjoyed was when we watched farewell videos from Missionaries who recently returned home. It made me think of when I get to that point, even though it seems so far away. I really hope I will fulfill this Mission in a way where I will look back on it and know that I did everything I could to bring others to Christ. I know if I continue to progress, and try my best, I will do great. After the Conference was finished, all of the Missionaries played foot-sol together. Almost twenty of us played, and it was a blast. I played keeper again, since I am much better with my hands than with my feet!

Well, there is a little bit of what happened here in Solo. Although I am quite descriptive of all that happens, nothing can really describe all that I see here. It also is impossible to describe all I feel and learn here. Really, the only way to know exactly what a Mission is like is to serve one! I hope all those that are reading this, and considering a Mission, know how great they are. I can promise that it will be hard, but the blessings that come are indescribable. The experiences and lessons learned will draw anyone so much closer to Christ. It is amazing! I hope everyone reading this is doing well, and I thank you all again for all your prayers, love and support. 

-Elder James

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