Monday, March 18, 2013

Solo Week 12

Hello from a sweaty, hot, tired Missionary!

My birthday dinner, a traditional Javanese dish of yellow rice and other things.
Luckily, in comparison to the past few weeks, this one was much less stressful. We did do some great things these past few weeks, but I am happy that things have now settled down. Solo is getting much hotter, since it is now the end of the rainy season. The hot one is about to begin, and I don't know if I am ready! But the longer I am here, the more I get to know the members and the city. I really enjoy it here, and I feel lucky to have been in central Java my entire Mission. Since this Mission is so huge, we Missionaries are able to experience many different cultures and differences. President often says it is like moving to different countries every five months or so. Anyway, here is my week-in-review:

Tuesday was the first full day we spent at the new house. However, we were not finished moving in. The owner wanted to fix the roof in the bedroom, so we could not sleep in there for a few days. 

It has AC in there, but we had to wait. The new house is really cool. There are a few things that bother me, but overall, it is a really good Missionary home. 

It is small, easy to clean, has AC, and a huge picture on the wall of ladies picking flowers. What more could a Missionary ask for? There are a few things that bug me, like the power shutting off when we use the microwave!

This is Danielle, the boy we often teach, wearing my missionary gear!
After our study time, we went to the church to teach Danielle. There was a huge Stake Relief Society meeting there, so we were able to score some free food and drinks. I also was able to see a few Sisters again from Semarang. It was really nice to see them again. After we were finished, we went and visited Agus. He was in his new house, and it was much better than his last. He said it was also much less hot, which I could definitely tell. Later, we did a little grocery shopping, since we had no time the previous days, and went to English class. No one came, so we went to eat at Pak John's. 

This is the whole group that attended my birthday meal! It is tradition for the one celebrating the birthday is the one who pays for the mean. I bought chicken, sides and drinks for everyone. With all of that, and my fancy birthday dish, it was a total of $13. I was so happy that I paid $15 since Pak Jon always gives the missionaries a discount.

It was my birthday celebration meal, so Pak John told me what to order. I got a huge thing of Nasi Kuning (Yellow rice) with chicken, vegetables, perkadel (sp?) and many other things. It was a fun, traditional celebration!

On Wednesday, I had a particularly great study time. I have been reading the Old Testament, which can be very difficult. However, I found a study guide for it, and it has helped a ton. I am learning lots about many parts of the Bible that I did not understand beforehand. What has stood out to me, is the fact that the Old Testament testifies of Christ. Many cannot see this, but it is true. Many stories, such as the story of Abraham and Isaac, are metaphors for the sacrifice Heavenly Father gave of his only begotten. Once you realize this, the Old Testament takes on such greater meaning. 

Movie night for me during my study time. I watched a new training video on
repentance and ate Nasi Goreng.

After I studied, my companion and I went to get our bikes serviced. There were a ton of problems, and they were a little busy, so we spent about two hours there. However, afterwards I was happy, because my bike ran perfectly. We headed out and taught an investigator, who has been coming to church lately. He has been doing very well. Later, I got a haircut, which I really needed. The rest of our appointments were not there with the exception of a part-member family. We had a good visit with them. 

Usually, Thursdays begin with a service project, and my favorite meal of the week. But President Groberg came, so we switched our schedule around to meet with him. He wanted to inspect our new house, so he came shortly after we ate lunch. Both President and Sister Groberg loved the house. Their daughter was also there visiting with her husband. So we had a good time visiting and getting to know them. At home, we had weekly planning, and then we went to the church to do interviews with the President. Mine went really well, and he gave some great advice. We planned on going to an appointment with him later, so we waited there at the church until he was done with all of the interviews. Sister Groberg brought some delicious cookies, and we had fun talking with everyone. Once President Groberg was done, he called a taxi, and we went with him to an investigator family. We taught about Family History, and President helped us a lot. After the lesson, he said that it was the first time he has seen a lesson taught on Family History. He said we did a great job, and he thinks it is a good thing to teach to certain investigators. He also said my companion and I worked very hard together. So it was a rewarding experience! 

President Groberg and his wife were still in Solo on Friday, so they came to our District Meeting. We held it earlier than usual so they could make their flight with plenty of time. Once we as a District were finished with all our business, President got up and gave us a great talk. An important thing he said was that we should not worry about the big picture in this life, because God will take care of it. What we should worry about it the work right now. If we work hard, and stay completely obedient, we will be blessed. I really liked this concept, and I know it will help a ton in this Mission and in life. We should always focus on the now! Once we were finished, we all ate together, and then split up. My companion and I visited Agus again, which was fun, and then we searched for a long time for non-active members. There are quite a few here in Solo, and we have a responsibility to find them and bring them back. We found a few of the addresses, but none of them were home. However, while we were looking, we were able to contact many people, which was a lot of fun. No one came to English class again, which was a little disappointing, since we invite so many. But the night ended on a good note with dinner at Pak John's. 

Saturday was a very hot day. I could already feel the weather changing from really hot to unbearably hot. In the morning, I had some extra time before studies, so I prepared a package to go home. I had bought a few great things for my family, and I think they will enjoy everything! I am going to send it very soon, along with some letters for many others. Once we were ready to head out for the day, we went to an investigator’s house. He is usually not home, but this day we were very lucky, because he was. We followed up on the previous lessons given, and he seemed to remember them all. He has not come to church yet, so we are really focusing on that. It will help him improve so much! 

Bishop Catur, who is a car salesman is in front of a Jaguar C-class, a car I would love!
After this, we took the long ride to the Bishop's house. But it was not that bad, because we stopped twice to get snacks, and visited his car dealership. He had a Jaguar, which I really liked, and I promised to buy it if I ever had a house in Solo. At his house, we watched the Joseph Smith movie with their family. It was a very spiritual experience, and it strengthened my testimony of our great prophet. They took us out to eat afterwards, and we had a great time with them. 

According to my journal, Sunday was my 200th day on the Mission! I guess it was also St. Patrick's Day! It is a good thing they do not celebrate that here, because I was not wearing green. When I realized it was my 200th day, I read my journal entry for the 1st and 100th day. Boy have I changed so much! Anyway, at church, we were very lucky, because an investigator came. He really needed to come, since he is struggling with a smoking addiction. He had a really good experience and was very involved in the Gospel Principles class. I hope he comes every week. Also, after church, we went over to the other church in Solo, where they had a baptism. It was a good experience, and also unique. The person being baptized kept lifting his foot up, and they had to do it four times before it was right! Later we visited a non-active family, and they were really nice to us. They offered so much food and drinks, and we were able to give a short message. I have loved working with non-active members, because it brings so much joy if they return to activity. The rest of the day was full of study and rest, which was very nice. We also had the bunk beds set up the day before, so the room was really cold! So cold, in fact, that I was freezing! This is a rare, and beautiful feeling here. 

I know I always say it, but thank you all again for all your support. I really would not be as prepared on this Mission if it was not for all the great examples I have been around. I have had such an amazing experience here, and I continue to grow in the gospel. My testimonies of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have specifically been strengthened. I was thinking the other day about those who think that Joseph Smith started this whole church and wrote the Book of Mormon on his own. With this belief, those people are admitting that he was a genius, and a perfect leader. This church has grown massively international over the years, the Book of Mormon is an incredible record of an ancient people, and the organization of this church is near perfect. If Joseph Smith brought all that by himself, I am deeply impressed. But I know that he did not. He saw God and Jesus Christ. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. He opened the last dispensation for the church of Jesus Christ until our Savior returns. I have a testimony of this, and I promise that it is true. I look forward to emailing you all again.

-Elder James

Today for our P-Day activity, we played futsol.
Wearing my new birthday shirt my parents sent- Elder Labron James!
The bedroom is so cold from the A/C and it feels great to finally be cold!
The Kitchen.
Both bathrooms have traditional, Indonesian squat toilets. 
Our backyard.

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