Hello from hot, humid & rainy, Indonesia!
Since today is the 25th, that means I am quarter done with my Mission! It has been about six months since I entered the MTC, and to be honest, it has gone by pretty slow. But actually, as I think back, it seems like yesterday when I entered the training center. Since I moved to Solo fairly early in my Mission, things have been going by fast here. Everyone always says that the first city is the longest, and I was only in Semarang for a month and a half! I am getting more and more familiar with Solo, which really helps the work here. I am much more involved in my companionship than I was earlier, and we are working very hard. I am having a great time, and I hope I will be able to do my best for the rest of the 18 months here! As always, here is a description of the notable events that occurred:
The only fun thing we did on preparation day last Monday was play futsol at the Church. A few members came and joined us, and we had a good time. We played in the church parking lot, because there is no charge! This was the time that I really saw my soccer skills improving. I seriously never thought I would become interested in soccer, but it is pretty fun here! Once it became dark, we got some fresh juice, and headed home. The rest of the night was spent relaxing and preparing for the next day.
|This is a car that Elder James thought was awesome--he really misses cars!|
On Tuesday, shortly after all of the Missionaries in our house were ready, we headed to the hospital. Sister Manalu, a Sister Missionary, entered the hospital the night before because of some sickness. It was nothing too serious, but she had to be treated. So we went and bought a fruit basket at a stand, and gave it to her. She seemed happy to see us, and she was recovering quickly. Because we went to the fruit stand, I bought a fruit I had never tried before. It is called Manggis, and it is super good and sweet! The other Missionaries told me it is President Groberg's favorite fruit. After the visit, my companion and I split off, and went to our appointments. The only one that was at home was Brother Agus. He was happy and bright as usual, and we had fun visiting with him.
Wednesday started out well, and I had a really productive personal study time. I have been reading in the Bible chronologically, because I have a goal to read all the standard works during my Mission. Right now I am in Leviticus, and I have loved reading all the stories I have learned about since I was little. After the rest of our studies, the Indonesian Elders worked on the contract for our new house. It has been a little stressful figuring everything out, but we made it. We will be moving to our new house on the March 4th. It will be really cool to be the first Missionaries in that home. Later on, while on the way to an appointment, I was hit by a scooter. It was super light, and I did not even fall off my bike. But the man who hit me felt so bad, because he bent my front rim. He immediately took my bike to be repaired, and paid for it all. He was a super nice, honest man! We made sure he had our number if he ever wanted to learn. We had a few appointments, and for dinner, we went to a member's house. They were very nice to us, and the food was Sate, which is one of my favorites. For those who don't know what it is, it is basically pieces of chicken on a stick, grilled over a fire. It is then served with rice normally, and a tasty peanut sauce is poured over it. I will miss that when I come home!
As we usually do on Thursdays, we picked up trash at a local park. However, this time it was not filled with dead trees! So it was a lot easier. We worked productively, and many people saw our efforts. We do this act for many reasons, one of which is to contact others. But we have contacted every person who ever goes to that park! So we have recently been looking for a new opportunity to serve. After the service, we ate at our regular place, and it was delicious. For those of you reading this that have been to Indonesia, we have Es Buah with our meal at this place, and it is the best I have ever had here! For those who don't know what it is, it is basically a drink with many different things inside. But it is impossible to describe fully without you trying it! When we returned home, we studied and got ready for the day. We also had our weekly planning session, and it went great. We had planned to visit a few people, but they called and said they could not make it.
As we were biking around, we saw some scooters racing in a nearby parking lot. It was super fun to see these tiny scooters tricked-out and built for racing. Later, we did have one appointment that was successful, so it was a rewarding day.
The Zone Leaders were at our house on Friday, which was nice. They followed other companionships, but I still had the chance to talk to them. They are in a very small city called Magelang, and only about twelve members are active! They said it is cool because it is like a small family here in Indonesia. This was also the day where the Assistants to the President were going to call, and tell us about the upcoming big move. I was not too worried about moving, since I have only been here for a month and a half. (Although that is what I said in Semarang!) But they called later in the night. After eating lunch, we went straight to the Church and conducted our District Meeting with the Zone Leaders. I gave the lesson, and I was a little nervous, but I think I did fine. There was a bigger group there because of the Zone Leaders. After the meeting, I was able to work with the Mission couple and scheduled Agus to come to church in a few weeks. He is paralyzed, so it will be nice to get him to come. We also went with a member to a non-active member, and the lesson was nice. The man liked us a lot, and invited us back again. No one came to English class, which was sad, but we went to Pak John's later. We also found out about the moves, and Elders Masangcay, Mendrofa, and Suwarsid are moving from Solo. They are great Missionaries, and I will miss them!
Saturday was a fun day. The first big event that happened was a service opportunity we had at a school. Representatives from the school met us at our house, and drove us there because it was very far away. They treated us like kings, with food and the highest respect. Once we got to the school, we spilt up into two classes, and taught conversation. I taught about some cool things about America, such as four seasons, the states, and the flag.
I was also asked to interview the students in groups of two, and start basic conversation. They did very well, and I had a good time teaching.
Afterwards, I felt like a celebrity because they all wanted my autograph and a bunch of pictures. I have never given that many signatures in my life! We all said goodbye, took some more pictures, and went back, by car, to our home.
My companion and I then went right to the Bishop's house, where he had a party planned for the youth. It was Valentine’s Day themed, and Brother and Sister Greenway (The senior couple) taught them how to dance. It was super fun to watch, because they taught them the Virginia Reel, and a few other old western dances.
I will never forget watching a bunch of Indonesian youth square dancing to country music. The food was great there, and we had fun.
Sunday was quite successful for us, because we had two investigators come to church. This is really rare, so it was a nice surprise. I really think they had a good experience, and I hope they will want to come back again! Thank you for everyone who has been praying to help us. It sure did work! There was also a baptism at the other church in Solo, so we attended. Elder Masangcay was the one baptizing, which was nice, because he would move to Surabaya the next day. The other cool thing about Sunday was that we ate with some members for dinner. Many who came were returned Missionaries, so we all shared experiences and fun stories.
Thank you all for all the support you give me! I am not in contact with many of you, but I can feel your prayers and I know they have helped me here. I am having an incredible experience, and I hope I will continue to have a great time. I will talk to all of you next Monday!