Monday, February 4, 2013

Solo Week 6

Hello once again everyone!

I am so sorry that my last email did not work. The emails are usually saved automatically, but there was a problem with the server. Hopefully I will make it up to you with this email, because some cool things have happened lately. 

I am getting more and more used to Solo, and seeing all it offers. The members here are great, and I have been really trying to get to know them personally. I am also getting used to the Indonesian culture, which means I will be a social nightmare when I return home! Anyway, here are some key events that have happened this week:

Tuesday started with a brutal workout with Elder Lee. He makes me work hard, and I sure hope I will gain some muscle soon. Even though I woke up early to exercise, I was not too tired and had a great study session. As far as the appointments went for the day, we met first with a member named Agus. He is handicapped, but can talk and learn still very well. He has a hard time making it to church, since someone has to push him in a wheelchair. So we Missionaries visit him quite often and share uplifting messages. But honestly, he is the one that lifts me up. He is such a faithful person, and he has no doubt that this gospel is true. The next appointment was not home, so we taught Danielle again at the church. 

Afterwards, no one showed up for English class, so we went straight to Pak John's to eat. I got twice the amount I usually get, because I was so hungry from the morning exercise!

I was with Elder Hasibuan on Wednesday, for District Leader exchanges. Exchanges are an interesting experience because you have the opportunity to see another Missionary work and his style of teaching. He followed me to my area, which meant I had to lead the way to every appointment! I barely know the area, but I tried really hard to remember where everyone lived, and it all went fine. There were a few times where I was pretty lost, but I can ask directions comfortably now. Our three visits with investigators went very smooth, and Elder Hasibuan and I worked very well together. We also had the chance to visit with the ward Family History representative, and learned more about how to enter names into the system. Elder Hasibuan's tree was not done, and so he got right to work! It was really cool to see. 

We had our normal service opportunity on Thursday, but once we arrived at the park, a man working there told us to go to a carnival to clean up. 

We biked there, and all that was left was a field covered in trash. There were some people working for the city cleaning up, and so we began to help them. It was honestly very gross. 

After we put all the trash into these big baskets, they would pile them up and burn it all right in the field. This made the job very stinky, but it really impressed people that we were cleaning up such a dirty area. After we ate, we went home and planned for the week like we always do. The session went well, and I learned a lot more about my area. We set some high goals because we want the work in Solo to progress. 

Later on, we went to the Bishop's house to share a message and teach Danielle. The Bishop showed us some of his toys, including his dirt bike and his  Kawasaki Ninja! We sat on them and took pictures, and when I was on the Ninja, he started it up, and let me rev it! Very cool. The Bishop and his family have been such a blessing for us Missionaries.

On Friday, later in the day, we set some time aside to go shopping, since our money for the month entered into our cards. We went to a big grocery store that sells things by bulk, so they are much cheaper. It was similar to Costco, but not nearly as nice. I bought a lot of food, and I sure hope it will last me a while! Anyway, when we got home, I was unpacking the groceries, and I grabbed a piece of bread to eat. As I was washing off a knife in the sink, I pulled my hand out, and an Indonesian Whiptail Scorpion was right on my hand! I freaked out, and threw the bread and the scorpion, thinking it was on the bread. I immediately spit out all the food in my mouth, and watched the scorpion perk up in an attack position. (Mom, find a picture of this thing on google images. Just search "Indonesian whiptail scorpion") 

{I would not recommend Googling pictures of Indonesian whiptail scorpion.
I will have nightmares for weeks!} 
I was so happy that it did not sting me! For the rest of the day I was super jittery! Later on Friday, we had our Zone conference, and everyone from Java Tengah (Centeral Java) came. It was nice to see everyone, and we all had a good time.

Saturday was one of the most physically challenging days by far. Especially with me exercising very intensely with Elder Lee in the mornings. After we studied, we were asked to go to a funeral for an elderly sister in the other Solo ward. We went, but it was a long bike ride, in very hot weather. We attended the service, and then got on our bikes and followed the casket to the burial site. The road there was very hilly, and it was terribly difficult. But it was nice to accompany the family, and offer support. I did not know the sister who passed away, but she seemed like a very strong member from what others said. Once the ceremonies were over, my companion and I went to our appointments. We have been focusing lately on less-active members, and how we can help them return to the church. One in particular was very kind to us, and I hope we will help him in any way we can. 

Sunday was pretty normal in that we stayed at the church for over seven hours. But I am actually getting used to it, and it is not that bad. It was fast Sunday, which is always difficult, especially for Missionaries, but we knew we would get a lot of food later from the members. After church, we met up with the Ward Mission Leader, and he seemed like he would help us a lot, especially with less active members. It is so important to build those relationships with the members in the ward. Without their help, we would not be nearly as busy! Later on, the Bishop threw a party nearby, where there was dinner. It felt great to eat, and we played some fun Indonesian games with the kids. At nighttime, there was also a Priesthood meeting, and many people spoke. It was very spiritual to see these men testify of their conversion and how much the church has blessed them in their lives. This day was also important because it marked the end of my twelve-week training program. This means that I am no longer considered a new Missionary, and I can train others! Pretty exciting, but with this, comes a greater responsibility with the work. No more excuses! 

Well, this week has been great. I thank you all for the love and support you give me, and especially for the letters. They mean so much to me, and I will try my best to write back if I can. I am so blessed to have a wonderful family and great friends. Thanks again, and I will talk to you all again soon!

-Elder James

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