Monday, May 13, 2013

Solo Week 20

Happy Mother's Day Everyone! 

I hope all you mothers who are reading this had a great day. I had the great opportunity this morning to video call my family at Elder and Sister Greenway's apartment. It was so nice to see and talk to them, and it reinforced the fact that I have such great support and love behind me. I also felt so grateful to have a wonderful, loving mother. She has always been leading me through the right paths, and helping me through my trials and concerns. I love her so much, as I do the rest of my family as well. Because of having the chance to call them, my email time will be a little shorter for today. But I will still express the cool experiences I have had this past week to all of you.

First off, our preparation day was changed to Thursday for a ward activity, so Monday was spent as a normal day with the exception of emailing. We have still been doing great with our few investigators, and we continue to work hard in bringing back non-active members. We also constantly fellowship and befriend the members here, and strive to strengthen the ward. But honestly, I learn way more from all these people than they possibly could learn from me. It is such a great experience! 

I had the chance to eat with Solo first ward's Mission Leader, Brother Tian. His family is infamous for over-feeding the Missionaries. They started out with a traditional Javanese dish, which could have been a meal by itself, and some Es Buah. I was already full after eating that, but they brought out more. The next plate was a huge serving of spaghetti. They said they would be offended in a joking way if we did not eat it all, so we all tried to do so. Elders Lee, Martoyo and I were successful, but Elder Lopis and the Sisters were not. But I think they were the smart ones, because I felt like I was going to burst after that meal! 

The activity on Thursday was for the Solo first ward, which is not mine, but my companion and I were invited anyway. We all met at the church, and then took buses to Jokjakarta. We went to a really cool Zoo there, which was a ton of fun. I saw many different kinds of animals from Indonesia, and they even had some that you could interact with! 

My favorite was the huge python they let me hold. It was really heavy, and kept trying to wrap around my neck! What was also crazy was the fact that they had very little separating the visitors from the animals. 

While in the Crocodile and Komodo Dragon section, there was only a 3-4 foot glass wall between you and the hungry reptiles. I could honestly have stuck my hand out to touch one of the twelve-foot crocs. 

After we were finished at the Zoo, we took a quick trip to a nearby beach. It was not as beautiful as the last ones I went to, but it was still a lot of fun. We ate a lot, and the members were very nice to us. 

Well, on Friday night, I received some sad news. It was from one of the assistants to the President, and he said that I will be moving to Bekasi (a sub-city of Jakarta) on Wednesday. I have already been in Solo for four and a half months, which is usually about the time to move. My companion will stay here a little longer and train the new Elder, who is Elder M. Johnson! He will absolutely love my area in Solo, and I am glad he is the one that will be replacing me. On Sunday, I gave my farewell talk, and I was pretty choked up. I have really built a strong love and respect for the members here, and it will be very sad to leave them. But I am looking forward to some great experiences in Bekasi. 

Thank you all again for all the support you give me. Thank you also for all of you that have given me letters recently; they really mean a lot. I am continuing to grow on this Mission, and I feel so lucky to be here. There are many hard times, and things that test my faith, but each one of these challenges have helped me become stronger. I look forward to emailing all of you again. Thank you! 

-Elder James

This is some Indonesians making Bakpia. They are these little treats that are so good!
It is really hard to describe them.

This is the cheap place I always talk about across from the church. I took this today, since
I would probably not eat there again. The woman you see is always very nice to us Missionaries.

Here is one of the places we went shopping today. You would love it there! It is a huge building full of places like this one that have tons of cheap, good quality fabric.

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