Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yogyakarta Week 6

Salam dari Yogyakarta!

This past week was by far one of the busiest on my Mission so far. We have had so many appointments, and have really been working hard. I really like being busy, because it helps me know that I am doing the right thing, and serving God to the best of my ability. It really is a great feeling! We had some fun experiences, and got to know a lot of members as well. It was an ideal week, and I hope the rest will be similar. Here are some highlights of the week.

On Monday, this past P-day, we went to a Zoo named 'Gembira Loka'. My camera was dead, but luckily the other Missionaries took lots of pictures. It was a lot of fun! Since we went there on a Monday, it was basically empty. We saw a lot of really cool animals, and got to ride an elephant. One funny thing was when we were looking at the tigers; there was a huge spider on the fence of the cage. We did not even realize it until we were super close to it. It was not an exhibit, and I was terrified. We had a really fun time.

The Sisters and us Elders go to a city called Klaten every week, which is two hours from Jogja. We have to take two buses, and then walk pretty far. There are a few members there, and they always give us referrals that live there. The Stake Presidency wants to build a Branch there, and we are helping them do that. The father of a member family was preparing for baptism, and so I interviewed him when I went there. We also taught their friend, who can barely hear, but wants to be baptized. The work is progressing there, and I am glad that I am part of it! Without the faithful members there, we could not do anything.

My bike has been having problems lately, and so I have slowly been improving it. The rear tire always goes flat, and it can be a real pain sometimes! The last time it happened, we had an appointment, and we were very far from the nearest repair station. So I hired a Becak to take the bike and me to the shop. It was worth it, because he went pretty fast. The bike was fixed, and we went on our way. The tire lasted about two more days before it went flat again, even though I bought a new inner tube.

We visited a lot of members this past week as well, and they were all so nice to us! Sometimes we go to one member, eat a ton, and then the very next appointment is a member with tons of food as well! I am glad that I ride bikes here, because if not, I would probably get very fat. I seriously eat so much food now. My companion and I are always hungry!

At the Birthday party of Sister Siska. The Zone Leaders were also here.

The Zone Leaders came twice this week, one time for exchanges, and another to sleep over since they were leaving on a plane to Jakarta from Yogyakarta. I went on exchanges with Elder Hasibuan, who I knew from Solo when he was the District Leader there. We had a good time, and they gave some good advice and help. They said we were basically leading the Mission in this city with our work and the Sister's work.

At Church, we had another Baptism for Kawit, the elderly father of a member. He is over 80 years old, but he really has a desire to come to church and become closer to God and his family. He has a hard time understanding a few things, but he does everything the Sisters teach him. The Sisters were so patient teaching him, and I think that is why he has progressed. I love being in a District with hard-working Sisters!

Well, that is about all for this week. I am having a great time here, and really learning about the Gospel and myself. It is so clear to me now how the Gospel blesses families. I hope the people we teach will feel the same way. I miss you all, and I will email again next week! Sampai jumpa!

-Elder James

Taking the sacrament to a member who takes care of her sick mother. (lady on the far right)
She had some problem with strokes I think.

The food at Sister Siska's restaurant. It is so good!
And we get it for free every time we visit.

Visiting a member who lives far away, so we drove with the Barnards.

A scorpion we found at the church.

We got bunk beds, and my fan would not fit anywhere, so I attached it to the frame!
 There is no AC here, so it gets really hot. Without a fan on full speed the entire night,
I get sweaty and mosquitoes eat me alive.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yogyakarta Week 5

Hello Everyone,

First off, I am so sorry that I did not get my last main email off. The computer was really poor, and it kept crashing. But now, I am at a better internet cafe, and the computer is really fast. I had a really good time here this past week, and I am so happy to be serving in Jogja. I hope I will be able to explain in detail all the great things that happened, but it is always pretty hard! Here are a few things that happened.

First, I would like to wish my mother a very happy Birthday. She is such an amazing mother, and I know I would not be on this Mission if it were not for her. I am so happy to be her son, and I am so proud of all that she does to serve others. She is an example to me of kindness and hard work. I love you Mom!

Sisters Manalu and Baantjer left on Wednesday, and the two new Sisters, Allred and Believe came the same day. They are both really nice, and I think they will really help the work here progress. 

One cool place that we Missionaries often go to is a place called Raminten. It is a really cool restaurant that serves traditional food, and great drinks. We go there sometimes, because it really is not expensive for the quality of the food. One of the cool things is how big the drinks are. You can order Jumbo size, and it is so big! The food is also really cool, and we love it there!

This is a restaurant called Raminten. It is really cool! 
There are huge traditional drinks.
I have gotten much closer to the members here, and they have helped us so much with many different things. I am still pretty bad with names, but eventually I will get all of them down. We have been pretty busy lately, so we have not had time to visit very many members at their homes, but hopefully we will get to do that soon.

Our District has really been doing well as far as lessons and baptisms go. Just this Sunday, an investigator of six years was baptized. I had the chance to conduct the interview for her on Saturday, and although I was nervous since it was my first time, it was amazing. I felt the spirit so strong, and I knew exactly what to say. She had many questions, but all of them were resolved. She will be a great, strong member here.

As far as my companionship, we are trying hard to find new investigators. We have had some good success in that manner, since we get referrals and contacts often. Hopefully many of them will have a true desire to learn and want to be baptized. We will work as hard as we can!

One funny thing that happened was on Sunday night. We did not have very much food at the house, and then I had a really dumb idea. I saw a very small lizard at the house, and I caught it. I always wanted to cook one and eat it, so I decided to try. I first boiled it, and then fried it. With a few Indonesian spices to help the flavor, I ate it whole. It honestly almost made me throw up, but it made a good story. My companion thought it was pretty dumb, and I have to agree with him.

Well, there are a few cool things that happened. Today, we are going to the local Zoo here in Jogja, and it should be really fun. I hope you all have a good week, and feel the incredible love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us. Thank you for the support!

-Elder James

This is an Italian place that is here in Yogyakarta! It is so rare here, but this is owned by an Italian guy! It was really good. A little expensive, but I was not the one who paid. :)

Real Italian Pizza!!

Elder Kusumarmanto's family visited Jogja, and they got to meet their son! 
It pays off to have your Dad as the Mission President's first counselor! 

A member's grandchild who was really cute.

Our District's formal picture before the two sisters left. 

Our realistic District photo!

My favorite fried rice here. It has lots of seafood in it. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Yogyakarta Week 4

Cooking at home
{Elder James wrote an entire letter this week and the computer he was using crashed, which caused him to lose everything. He was, however, able to send some pictures and he sent us a quick email to tell us that everything is going really well in Jokja. He said that they did a lot of great things this past week and hopefully he will get to write and tell us more next week.}

Me and my companion

New planner vs an old planner

Playing games at English class {Not sure what Elder James is doing!}

Eating with the Zone Leaders

Our Zone, minus Semarang

Service project at a pre-school

Our bikes' replacement

Cool picture at the church

A cool Becak painted at an art gallery

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yogyakarta Week 3

Hello Again!

Another week has passed here in Yogyakarta, and I like this city more and more! There really is so much to do here, and the work is progressing. I like all the Missionaries here, and we do some fun things while working hard. I am so happy when we are busy, and we have done our best to keep it that way!

We have a few investigators who are doing pretty well. The problem is that we have a hard time meeting with some. They often do not come to the appointments, and we wait for a long time. But I really want to start focusing on finding new investigators, and we have been biking around many areas looking for people to teach.

In one of those areas, I met my worse fear... SPIDERS!!! I looked up, and there were webs everywhere, with huge spiders everywhere I looked. It was the most I have seen naturally. I took a few pictures, and then biked out of there pretty quick. I have gotten over my fear for the most part, but sometimes those things really freak me out!

The Sisters here have been so nice to us. They help so much with finding the homes of members and other people. I really think it would be so much harder if we did not have their help. We often eat together, and discuss the progress here.

One funny thing that happened this week was what I did to my hair. I got it cut at a normal place, but when I got home, I realized they did not cut nearly enough off. I wanted to trim some of it, so I grabbed scissors and began cutting. The front honestly looked fine, but I realized the back would be unbalanced if I did not cut it too. So I started cutting, thinking it looked fine. My companion laughed when he saw me, and took a picture. I realized I have no talent whatsoever at cutting hair. I will not do that again!

The Zone Leaders came here on Sunday night and stayed over since they were flying to Jakarta the next day through Yogyakarta. We took them out to eat at a members house, but we only had two bikes. I should have taken a picture to help explain what we did. But Elder Watson rode with me, and the other two Elders rode together. It was super difficult, painful, and entertaining for others to watch. It was a lot of fun to have them over.

For P-day today, we learned how to make Soto from the uncle of my companion. He is a member, and has a cool place that serves the traditional food, Soto. We helped him make some, and then ate together. It was really good because it was fresh. I don't know if I can find all the ingredients at home, but I do know how to make it now!
My companion and I getting some root beers and 
relaxing after much biking. 
Well, there are a few cool things that happened this week. I really miss you all, and I will talk to you next week!

-Elder James

These are called 'cabe' and they are really spicy peppers here.
The red ones are super spicy! When I first came, I could barely eat the green ones.
Now I can eat them like crazy. I ate thirteen yesterday in a competition with Elder Watson. 

Elder Kusumarmanto and I sitting at Sister Siska's restaurant.
We teach her son there, and she always gives us a lot of food.