Monday, July 29, 2013

Bekasi Week 11

Me with brother Lesmana
Hello Everyone!

I am so sorry that this is going to be short. We don't have a ton of time, and on top of that, this computer lost it's connection for a long time. But this week only has a few unique things, so that is okay! I hope you all had a good past week, and I hope that you know how much I miss you guys!

One funny thing that happened was that our AC broke a few days ago. It had a strange smell coming from it, and we knew something was wrong. The repairman that the Missionaries usually use is out of town, so we have been trying to call others to fix it. Sleeping at night is so hard! The mosquitoes are terrible, and the heat is crazy! We have so many fans inside the room, but it does not do very much. The guy will hopefully come to fix it tomorrow. I have been using the mosquito net that I brought though, so that helps a ton. 

On Saturday, we went to Jakarta for a Stake Priesthood meeting. One of the main topics that was discussed was how the Priesthood blesses families. I thought about my own experience with my family, and how much the Priesthood has blessed us. It really was a great meeting. I translated for a new member from England, who is becoming an English teacher here in Jakarta. It was nice to talk to him and meet his wife. I am so grateful for the Priesthood.

On Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting about the Priesthood as well. It seems that that is a common topic right now discussed in the Church. My talk went well, and there were a few investigators there, so I hope they felt the spirit. I also was able to get the package on Sunday, which I am very grateful for. Thank you to all who put the package together! I will be able to send some really good pictures soon, and I really like the new camera. 

Sorry once again that this is short. I look forward to talking to all of you next week! Thanks for everything.

-Elder James

A great name for a store-although they sold women's shoes!

Elder Mongan riding in an ascot
A really cool bridge that we walked over

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bekasi Week 10

A random money along the road, tied to a tree!
Hello Again Everyone!

This is my tenth week in Bekasi! It sure has gone by fast. It seems like yesterday that I moved here. It for sure has been a learning experience so far in many ways. It was a good move, because I got too used to everything in Central Java. But when things change, I make new goals, and have to learn new things. This week has not been too special, but there were still some cool things that happened. Here are a few of those cool things. 

Unfortunately, last Monday, we were not able to go to the place we planned, called 'Teman Mini', but we will hopefully go there another P-day. Instead, we just stayed home and relaxed until it was time to go out and work for a bit. That sounds pretty boring, but it was actually a great rest, and we got a lot done. 

One person we often visit is Brother Lesmana, who was recently baptized. He is such a great man, and I really enjoy visiting him. His testimony is very strong, and he is an example of what faith can do, no matter the amount. We go there almost every week, since he is still relatively new, but I mostly learn from him and his example. 

One of our goals in this companionship is to find some new investigators, which can be pretty hard sometimes, but this week we have made some good progress. There are a few people that we have met recently, and given the first lesson. They both have responded very well, and we will see how things go when we visit them again. One such appointment was at the church with just us and another potential investigator. He was very humble in admitting that he did not know very much about the scriptures or the history, but he knew that Christ is our savior. It really brought the spirit, and we had an excellent lesson. 

We have also been trying really hard to build relationships with the less active and non-active members in our area. This is something that Missionaries have always done, and I have seen some great success come from it. The most important thing we can do to help them is just be supportive and invite the spirit. 

Church this week was also really great, as usual, and I was able to see Brother and Sister Sugiyanto there. They were visiting the Bekasi 1st ward. They are so nice! We participated in choir practice after church. I did not really like singing before my Mission, and I am still not that great at it, but I like it a lot more now. We are practicing a version of 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief' for Stake Conference. It sounds really good!

Sorry that these few things are pretty regular to report. But I am doing very good, and am learning so much. Thank you all for the prayers and support as always. I really would not do as well here without it. I am out of time, so I will talk to you all next time!

-Elder James

The crowds during the evening because of Ramadan.
The unusual menu at our McDonalds
More crowds during Ramadan
Elder Mongan drinking behind a wall of coconuts.
No one can see you eat or drink during Ramadan in the daytime,
so all places that are open have to cover their customers.

I don't think they understand what Chicks can mean in English

My shirt has become very dirty-I guess I need to really scrub it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bekasi Week 9

Elder Collett
Hello once again!

This week was not the busiest one that we have had, but it still had some unique things. It is obviously impossible to have a completely 'normal' week, but some are just not as exciting as others. But as far as the work here in Bekasi, it has really improved. We have made some great new goals, and we have found a few more people that may want to learn. My companion and I have been working with the members lately as well, and it really has paid off. When the members support and help us, we are much more busy, and our investigators progress. Here are a few of our experiences this week.

One unique thing that has begun this week is Ramadan. It is one whole month in the Islam religion where they do not eat until the sun goes down. So when we leave for lunch, almost every single place is closed! 

My groceries this week
We have had to eat at home a lot more. But it is really cool to see how the streets are quiet during the day, and then at night, there are crowds of people eating and buying food. 

An amazing drink I found this week
There are many unique foods and drinks that are popular during this time, and I am learning a lot of new things. We can not eat or drink in public, because it is very disrespectful. If there is a restaurant that is open, all the windows must be covered so that no one can see the people eating. Pretty cool!

Eating and teaching at the Tandiman's home
On Tuesday, we were invited the the Tandiman Family's home along with one of our main investigators and a new member. They made a ton of food, and we visited with their family. Brother Tandiman was a Mission President here in Indonesia awhile back, so his family is great to Missionaries. We watched a few videos from the church, and explained some of them to our investigator. We also had a short lesson about our testimonies, and how we can know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was really spiritual, and everyone that gave a testimony had a great experience. What was cool was the fact that almost everyone received a testimony about Joseph Smith through different ways. It was a great thing, and I feel like it really helped our Investigator. 

Six of the Nine elders from the MTC group!

Elder W. Martoyo
This week was also Zone Conference, which only happens once every three months. This was my third, and it was a ton of fun. We were all able to meet the new Mission President, President Donald and his wife. They were great, and had some amazing advice for all of us. President Donald's testimony and conversion story was very spiritual, and it taught us that there are many people ready to receive the gospel, but they do not know where to find it. So we must listen to the Holy Ghost, and receive guidance from him as to where we should go. It really gave me confidence that I can help others here, and that there are people here in this city that want something more in their lives. 

My trainer - Elder S. Martoyo
After the Zone Conference, we played fotsol while President did interviews. My interview with him went really well, and I really felt a love and a trust for him. 

After we all were interviewed and tired from playing in the rain, we went to McDonald's to eat. It was great to see everyone from my group and talk to them. Also, every single companion that I have had in Indonesia was there, so it was cool to hear from them again. 

Other than those two things, the rest of the week was full of appointments, English class, and other activities. We have been doing great here, and on a personal level, I am growing a ton. I have gained such a stronger testimony about this gospel, and how it blesses the lives of all God's children. I thank you all for your love and support, and I will talk to you next week!

-Elder James

This Grand Mall is near our house and the church

Elder Mongan waling up the street

Playing with an English student's sword

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bekasi Week 8

Walking in traffic

Hello Everyone!

I am once again so sorry that this will be short. I only have about fifteen minutes to write this before we have to leave. But I will do my best to explain how our week went. To all my friends and family in Utah, the heat wave you are experiencing is such big news that it entered the newspapers here as well! I hope you are all handling the heat well! The humidity here makes things hotter, but it is still not as hot in terms of degrees! Here are a few experiences of the week.

One member family we visited this week was the Nggiku family. Their son is on a Mission right now in Bandung, and we had a great time visiting with them. Their house was very cool, with a little cabana built on top of a lake full of fish. We ate there, and it was really nice. We also gave a lesson on the temple, and it went really well. 

For Fourth of July, the four of us Missionaries went to Burger King and celebrated Independence day with Whoppers. It was a pretty good meal, and it tasted amazing. 

It reminded me a lot of America, which made me a little sad, but I know I am supposed to be here! After that, it started raining a ton, but we continued on with the day. That was the best way we could celebrate! I wanted to buy some fireworks, but we are not allowed for obvious reasons. I hope everyone else had a great celebration! 

On Saturday night, we were invited to an event celebrating a military general from Manado. 

We got there around six at night, but it was all the way in Jakarta, so it took a long time to get there. The event was cool, but they kept talking about politics, and the food was just sitting there. We waited until nine at night, but they did not start eating, so we had to go home. It was pretty sad not to eat all the good food that they had, but we still had a good time visiting with members.

Sorry that is all that I can give for this week! My time is up! But I am so grateful for modern technology, where we can communicate like this. It truly is a blessing! I hope you all know how much God loves us, and how we can all give back to him by serving others and following his son, Jesus Christ. It really is so simple. Thank you for all your support! Sampai minggu dapan!

-Elder James

Walking just outside our house

District Meeting

A guy making drinks out of sugar cane

A birthday party for a young member of our ward-we ate lots of food!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bekasi Week 7

One of the new elders, Elder Heiner, who spent some
time with us before their first area.
Hey Everyone,

I hope you all had a great week. Mine was pretty normal, but my companion and I still had a good time. Because we did not really do too many unique things, this email will be a little shorter than usual. But hopefully I will still be able to give all of you a small taste of what we are doing here in Indonesia! 

Heading into Jakarta with Elder McClearly,
another of the new elders that just arrived and is headed to Solo.

One thing that has changed the work here is that gas prices have been raised for all of Indonesia. So all public transportation had to adjust the prices. We take various forms of public transportation almost every day here in Bekasi, so our day-to-day expenses have become quite pricy! To save money, we have walked to many places, or walk part way, and then take an Angkot for the rest. It has also been very hot, so this can be very exhausting! But next month, the Mission should adjust our allowance, so it will not be that bad. It has been great exercise!

Elder Mongan and I enjoying coconut drinks
We have a few investigators here, but both of them have been learning for a long time, and they have not really been progressing. One really wants to be baptized, but he does not believe that Joseph Smith restored the church. The lessons are harder and harder to prepare for, because we don't know what will convince them. But the members have been really helpful, and we are going to teach the investigators with members present, and hopefully that helps. 

We have been in contact with a lady who met the Missionaries a long time ago, but never wanted to meet. She has a Book of Mormon, and reads it frequently. The only contact we had with her was through SMS messages, where she would ask us gospel-related questions. After answering many, I finally said that we could help her understand much more if we met at the church. She agreed, and so we met. The lesson went really well, and she had a list of great questions for us. When the lesson was over, she still did not think the Book of Mormon was the word of God. We committed her to continue reading and pray, but she did not seem too receptive. But just a few days ago, she texted us, and said that after reading a few verses and praying, she knew the Book of Mormon was the word of God. It was great! She came to church yesterday, but was reluctant to leave her church. Hopefully she will continue to gain a testimony!

We have continued to help with many English classes, and they have all been fun. At our regular one on Fridays, there are a few Christians that come, and they have started to ask questions about our church. They seem very curious, and we are trying to help them develop a desire to learn. There are so many ways to find new investigators! Just yesterday, we were asked to help with a lesson at church about finding people. Two of the ways we focused on were being an example and talking about families. I think both of these are connected in the way that our families can be a great example to others in how the gospel blesses us. I encourage all of you to continue being an example to others by living the gospel and serving others. There will surely be others around that will be curious as to why you are so happy. You then can explain that it is through the gospel of Jesus Christ and his true church. We are all part of this great work! 

My companion took this picture of me studying

Thank you all for everything you do. I love and respect all of you, and I can feel your support every day. Happy birthday to my Aunt, Leslie! I sent you a letter, and I hope you get it. I will talk to you all next week! 

-Elder James

Waiting on public transportation to Jakarta

Near our house in Bekasi

My dinner