Monday, April 28, 2014

Bandung Week 8

Hello again,

Thank you first off, for all your prayers and support on my behalf. I really need the support, and I feel it every day I am out here. It encourages me to move forward, and to work hard, even when times are difficult. I have had a pretty good week, and we have been really busy here. We didn’t do many cool things this week, but there were still some unique experiences, and I learned a lot.

First off, as I said in my last letter, we went to Jakarta for Zone Conference from Monday until Wednesday. It was a long time there, and we had a lot of fun with the other Missionaries. The best things about staying at the Mission home are the Air-Conditioner, and the hot showers. I keep forgetting how nice it is to have hot showers. On Tuesday, we played foot sol while President did interviews with everyone. It was strange to do the interview in exercise clothing, but it was a great interview, and fun to play with the other Elders. It began raining hard while we were playing, but we stayed out. It was really fun, but we were all drenched!

Elders Johnson, Costner and I are trying to show what we looked like in the MTC
The Zone Conference was on Wednesday, and the theme was attributes of Jesus Christ, and finding people to teach. I learned a lot, especially since I had to translate, which kept me alert and awake. President Donald sure does have a lot of faith in all of us, and we all do our best to follow his council. I am very grateful for him and his service. The other three Elders and I went back to Bandung that evening, and got home at night, tired, but ready to get back to work.

Reading Book of Mormon Stories with Matthew, Sister Agnes' son
Since we were gone those three days, we had a lot to catch up on with all the people we had not yet visited. We worked hard for the rest of the week, and I was very impressed at how much we got done with so little time. It feels so good to work hard, and know that God is happy with our work. I really hope that the work here will continue to progress.

Unfortunately, I have been really sick these past few days, due to something I ate most likely. But I am getting better, and will hopefully recover quickly. It was hard to do everything yesterday while this sickness was hindering me, but I endured, and did not get really sick during appointments. I know that when I focus on other people, and their trials, mine do not seem so big. This is what is required of Missionaries to be effective.

I hope you all have a great week!

-Elder James

Elder Hasibuan and his little sister, who are serving in the same zone
Elder Hobbs from New Zealand is really funny 
This is a text I sent in the middle of the night. I already was aware that I
sleep talk and sleep walk, but now apparently I sleep text!
I found this in the morning and laughed my head off.
The guy I sent it to was really confused.
A durian dessert that was so good 
A picture of my hot wheel car {I think Elder James misses cars!}

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bandung Week 7

Hello Everyone,

I am sorry this is short, I am emailing from the Mission home in Jakarta because we are here for PLD. It is really late to email, and I need to get situated here and prepare for tomorrow. It sure is much hotter here in Jakarta in comparison to Bandung. I don't know if I could ever get used to the heat here. Even though this will be brief, here are a few cool things that happened this week.

When we finished teaching a new investigator in a small sub-city of Bandung, we did some exploring while contacting people, waiting for the next train to come. We talked to some great people, and found an ancient Hindu temple that is still used for worship services. It was apparently built in 78AD, and was really cool looking. It is so amazing to randomly find things like that.

It was Elder Loudon's birthday this past week, and just like Elder Mangum, he took us out to eat at 'Karnivore'. Instead of getting the huge burger, he got the huge steak. It was 1 Kilogram of meat, and was incredible. He ate it all! We also got deep fried oreos and our own meals. That is by far our favorite place to eat now!

We were able to teach a lot this week, and I am really happy when that happens. These past few weeks have been some of the best with the work that Bandung has ever experienced. I am so happy when the work goes well. One person we met with is over 70, and very lonely at home. He did not understand all that we said to him, but was very happy that we came. When we were about to leave, he started to cry, and begged us to come back. It was really sad to see how lonely he is. People take care of him, but he has no contact with any of his family. We will for sure visit him again.

For Easter, the ward had a party at the church, but since there are very little members here, it was nothing too fancy. It was mainly focused on the little Primary kids, which was good. 

The missionaries and the other adults (I don't know if I feel good calling myself an adult) played ping-pong which was a blast. There was also a great deal of food.

For Church, I gave a talk since the other speakers did not show up, and was told that I would do so 20 minutes before the meeting started. I quickly prepared a lesson on a 'great change of heart' as written in the scriptures, and how it relates to Christ's Atonement and Resurrection. It was a good 15-minute talk for having had little time to prepare. I guess Missionaries have to be able to do that!

Well, I hope you all had a great week. I also hope you continue to feel the love the Savior and our Heavenly Father have for us all. They are always ready to help us in time of need, and they wait for us to come to them. Thank you for all your support.

-Elder James

The suit I had custom - made for $70 US
The gorgeous view outside the train window on the drive between Jakarta & Bandung.
I really wish the windows weren't so dirty.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bandung Week 6

Our district outside a University where we teach English
Selamat siang!

Well, this week has had some crazy occurrences. It has been quite tiring as well and we haven’t been able to do much teaching. But every week is different, which keeps things interesting for sure. I really hope that I will help this city progress in relation to the work here. Here are a few cool things that happened this week.

On Monday we did not do anything really exciting, but we got the house cleaner than ever. We filled a huge cardboard box with trash and old things that were broken around the house. It feels so much better to be in a clean house! We were able to relax and hang out as a District, and that was fun enough.

We also visited Thomas in Sukabumi again this week, and I am so impressed with the amount of progress he is making. We taught him about the different parts and organizations in the church, which is a fairly complicated thing, and he understood it perfectly. He said that as a policeman, he understands the importance of organization and leadership. I know he will become a great leader in the Church someday. Whenever Missionaries are stationed in Sukabumi, they will have a great member family to support them!

The other days of the week were not too successful in lessons taught and people found, but we were able to visit a descent amount of non-active members. One of which was describing the various trials he has had since becoming a member of this church, but testified that he does not regret it. I read D&C 121 with him, and it really touched him and his wife. I know that section is not just for Joseph Smith, but also for all of us when we are going through any kind of trial. It will all be for our good in the end.

Our Zone after Zone Training Meeting
Our Zone met together in Jakarta on Friday, and we had a good meeting discussing the progress of all of our investigators. It was good to see all the Missionaries again, and eat together. The meeting was pushed back, due to a few Elders being sick, so we had to rearrange our travel plans. We tried to reserve tickets by phone to take a small van home, but they were all full for that day. We tried other methods, but none worked. I knew there was a train leaving later, so we decided to try that. We took a 2-hour taxi ride through Jakarta traffic to the train Station, and made it before the departure. But, it was completely full. It was already fairly late at night, so we had to travel to the Mission home and stay there with no clothes or anything. We bought train tickets for 5am the next day. After going to sleep around 2:30am, we woke up at 3:30am and left by taxi at 4am. We made the train, and finally were back in Bandung. All of us were dead tired, but had to move on with the day.

We had a surprise when we arrived home—water was coming out the bottom of the door of our house. When we opened the door, there was about 2 inches of water all over the bottom floor. We had left the water running, and it flooded the entire house. This was not a good sight, since we had to clean up as much as we could instead of relaxing before Conference. We had to leave before it was even gone. But now it is fine, and not too many important things got wet. On the bright side, the floors are really clean now!

Saturday Conference was great, and I was able to stay awake which was a miracle considering the little amount of sleep I got. We had downloaded it in English, so Elders Mangum, Loudon, and I all watched it together. All the talks were great, and I am excited to read them later. 

After the sessions were over, we went with Pak Hendri, a long-time friend of the Missionaries, and helped him with his college English class that he teaches. It was a good experience, and there were many questions about our beliefs. He took us to his house, and we ate delicious Teriyaki Steak and other food. He is a great guy.

Sunday Conference was even better, since we got a good night sleep the day before. (After cleaning up all the water on the floor.) I especially liked Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk on the resurrection of Christ, and how it relates to the Restoration of the Gospel. He is such a good speaker, as are the rest of the Apostles and Prophets. President Monson's last remarks were also noteworthy, that we should take the talks into our lives, and become better because of them. I, for one, will try to do a little better while I am on this Mission, and do my best to use my time wisely. We can all improve, and if we continually do so, God is for sure happy with us.

Thank you all for your support, and I hope you have a good week!

-Elder James

This is my shirt collar. There are white collar workers, blue collar workers,
and then there are missionaries - brown collar workers!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bandung Week 5


This week was drastically different from last week. We were very busy, and we had a lot of success with our investigators, and also in finding new people to teach. I really enjoyed the city, the people, and the work this week, which was awesome. We also had some fun times, and went to a few cool places. I wish I could describe everything perfectly, but that is just not possible!

After I emailed last week, we went to the local Zoo as a district. One of the main reasons was to ride elephants, since Elder Loudon has not done it yet. As we were looking around at all the cool animals, making our way to the elephants, it began raining really hard. The Zoo basically shut down, and even though we ran to the elephants, they had already begun putting them away. I felt so bad for Elder Loudon! Hopefully he will be able to ride them one day.

The Zone Leaders came this past week to do exchanges and interview us. It was really fun to see Elder Matthew Johnson again, and we were able to work together. We rode the bus to Sukabumi to teach Thomas. We taught about Baptism and Confirmation, and it was honestly one of the best lessons I have ever taught. Thomas was great, and even though he is not sure when he is able to be baptized, because of his work, but he accepted the commitment to be baptized sometime. The bus ride was really long home, but it gave Elder Johnson and I a chance to get caught up.

Elder Mangum celebrated his 19th birthday on the 2nd, and we went to a special place to eat called 'Karnivor'. It was a steak place, that had some incredible food. I got a T-bone steak, and it was the best steak I have had in Indonesia. I was so confused when the waiter asked me how I would like the steak cooked, since I have never been asked that here. Elder Mangum got a huge, 5 patty burger that he barely finished. It was a blast!

Yesterday, we were invited to the wedding of an English student of ours, Rudi. It was very far away, so right when we were done with Church, we took the train to his area, and then an angkot to his neighborhood. It was a really pretty area, right next to huge rice fields and big mountains. The wedding was interesting, since we were the distinguished guests. People wanted pictures with us more than the bride and groom! We walked around the house, and took some very cool pictures. They were all so kind to us, and treated us like royalty.

Well, we are not really doing anything fun today, except getting haircuts and cleaning the house (it is quite dirty). I really hope that next week will be just like this one! I have been learning so much, and I hope that I will continue to work as hard as I can during these last times of my Mission. I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

-Elder James

This is a big monument in the middle of the city
A close-up shot of an eagle at the zoo
Everything you see on the ground is trash & peanuts that people throw to the bears.
It was really sad to see the conditions.
The district at the zoo
Elder Mangum with Sister Agnes' son Matthew
Me and my T-bone steak - the first good steak I've had here!
It was awesome but expensive - $6 for the steak!
Elders Loudon and Hendro
A spider we found in the rice fields.
I had to get really close to take this picture!