Monday, March 17, 2014

Bandung Week 2

Trying to shoot a {Happy 21st Birthday} balloon off Elder Loudon's head.
Don't worry - he only had minor bleeding {I hope he's kidding}.
Hello Everyone,

My second week in Bandung was much better than my first, mainly because we stayed super busy. The work in this city is actually known for being difficult, but I think we did a good job. The hard thing is that many people we visit live very far away. We sometimes travel many hours to teach one lesson, so sometimes in an entire day, we will only have taught one person. But I love teaching and visiting people more than anything else, so as long as that happens, I am happy! Here are some highlights of the past week.

Since Sunday was my birthday, we went to Burger King on Monday. It was the best burger I have had in a very long time, and we all had a good time eating there. I really do not feel 21 years old. I feel at least 6 years younger than that, but time keeps passing by! Thank you so much to everyone who sent packages and cards and made my birthday special.

Zone Conference was the next day, in Jakarta, which was a lot of fun because I was able to see some new and old Missionaries from the area. I was able to meet with Elder Johnson, and also saw all the Missionaries that just barely came into Indonesia. It was hard to believe that Elder Johnson and I were the eldest Missionaries there. We all made some really great goals, and went home with confidence that we could accomplish much.

One person we visit on an almost weekly basis is Thomas, an investigator who lives in a city named Sukabumi. It is pretty far from Bandung, but ours is the closest church to him. His home is 5 hours away from Bandung by bus. It is that long mostly because of the poor roads and traffic. But it was well worth it because Thomas is amazing! He is so smart, and has such a desire to be baptized. The only problem is that he lives so far away from the nearest church, and he would have to stay overnight in order to come. He is a high-ranking police officer who trains other policemen. I think he will be the one that starts the church up in that city, since he shares what he has learned with many of his friends.

This is the train we often take in the city - it only costs 15 cents,
no matter how far you take it.
Even though that trip was nice, I did buy some crackers made out of dried cow skin that I usually like, but they made me super sick to the stomach. I was pretty miserable for the 5-hour journey home, just because I ate them. Usually I am okay with things like that, but this time, it was deadly! We finally made it home, and when I woke up the next morning, I was not sick anymore.

We were able to teach English at a school that the previous Missionaries served. It was all girls who are preparing to become secretaries. Their English was very good, and it was fun to get to know them. We felt like celebrities there!

On a spiritual note, I read an amazing scripture the other day in my personal studies that stood out to me. It is in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, and it speaks about how our trials and tribulations are only momentary, and will make us something great in the end, if we endure. I shared this with a member who is going through some hard times, and the spirit was so strong when I read it in Indonesian. I think the verse is much more beautiful in the Indonesian language. I have learned so much here, and I am so glad that God has given us the scriptures to comfort and help us. We sometimes take this for granted, and I think that we would be much more blessed and happy if we read more often.

Thank you all for your support, and I will talk to you next week!

-Elder James

A very cool shot of a lizard that Elder Hendro caught at the church
Bandung has a lot of cool stores; I purchased a blowdart gun and this bow & arrow
(a very popular missionary souvenir) for only $7.50!
A really funny Turkish guy that we met at an investigator's home

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