Monday, May 26, 2014

Bandung Week 12

Hello Again!

A lot of changes are happening in the Mission right now, which is what makes it more interesting. It is really nice to get along with all the other Missionaries, and learn from each one of them. Personal progress is an underlying theme for my Mission, because I experience change and progress almost every day. If that alone were all I experienced here, the entire Mission would already be well worth it. Here are a few highlights of this past week.

The beginning of the week was important for Elder Mangum, since he wanted to enjoy his last few days here in Bandung—his first city. We were able to visit a descent amount of investigators and members, but there were a few that we were not able to visit because they were too busy. But the few that we were able to visit were very grateful for Elder Mangum and his service here.

Thursday was pretty crazy because we had to get up at 3am. Elder Mangum took an airport shuttle to the Jakarta airport at 4am, which left me alone for a bit. I got my stuff, and took a 'travel', or big van to Jakarta around 6am. It was so strange to be alone for that entire time, but it was not for very long. I made it to the Mission Home, and was able to meet a lot of the Missionaries who were moving. More than half of the Mission was moving it seemed. Those of us who were training new Missionaries had a special meeting with President, which went very well. I picked up my new companion, Elder Panjaitan, from Medan. He is a great Elder, and I am really excited to work with him.

This was the last time we went to the Secretary school to teach English.
They have a long break/internship, so not many came. We had a fun time.

After coming back from Jakarta, we went right to bed. The next day was Elder Panjaitan's first day, and I really tried to make a good plan so that he had a positive outlook. We had District Meeting, and then taught an English class at the Secretary school for the last time. After that, we tried to visit an investigator, who said she could not meet because of being sick. We still had some plans, so we got going, but it started raining super hard. My companion did not have an umbrella, so we waited for a long time under a nearby restaurant until it calmed down. By that time, we had no time to go anywhere, since English class was about to start at the church. It went well, but I was a little sad that we were not able to teach on his first day.

The missionaries from my MTC group that were at Stake Conference
The next day, we had to go back to Jakarta because of Stake Conference. Saturday night was the adult session, and Sunday morning was the main session. It was really nice to see all the members from around the stake, and investigators as well. 

Elder Sadiyono and his aunt & uncle. He is now serving in Bogor.
It is so funny that he gets to see his entire family at Stake Conference!
We stayed at the Mission home on Saturday night, along with the Elders from Bogor. I was able to see Elder Sadiyono again, since he stayed in Jakarta as well. 

An amazing investigator of the Elders in Jakarta.
He is such a nice guy and one of the best investigators I've ever met!
He knew me from reading my blog.
The Sunday Morning session the next day was really good, and we were so happy to see Lauren, our investigator come. He had to leave his house at 2:30am in order to get to the church on Sunday morning for the bus to Jakarta. He even participated in the choir with us, which went very well. President met with him, and was very happy. After taking pictures with other Missionaries and members, we took a bus home with the rest of the members from Bandung. It was a lot of fun.

I am very happy to be serving here in Bandung, and I am glad to be training Elder Panjaitan. He really will help me stay focused and work hard until the end of my Mission. I will learn a lot from him. Thank you for all your support! Talk to you next week!

-Elder James

Me and the two Missionaries that I have trained or am currently training.
In the Mission, we call them our 'children' and we are their 'father'.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bandung Week 11


This past week was really great. We stayed quite busy and were able to see the progression of the work here. Elder Mangum will be transferring to Solo this week, so he is doing the best he can here before moving. We were also able to have some fun experiences, and some funny ones as well. Here are a few notable things that happened.

To start off, the Zone Leaders were able to visit us in Bandung this past week, and we had a great time with all of them. While we were messing around at the house, Elder Johnson fell into our standing fan, breaking it. The next day, we tried to attach the top part to the wall with tape. We used a whole roll of tape, but it only stayed on for about 7 hours. It fell down at 5:30am, waking us up and scaring us to death! 

We bought rope and attached the fan to the wall with nails. It has stayed up since then, and I hope it will stay that way.

We were able to visit Thomas in Sukabumi, and also got to teach his wife. She has made a lot of progress, and is learning more each time we go there. At first, she did not really want to learn, but now she is close with us, and very enthusiastic. We are focusing on his family, so that they can be baptized all together. I hope they will be able to come to church soon, since it will help them so much.

After more than a month of planning for, and inviting people to our Bible class, we held it on Saturday. We planned on many people coming, since we invited all the members, and asked them to bring their friends. We also invited all our investigators, and anyone that we thought would be interested. We decorated the room in the church really well, and had some great lessons planned. 

When the time came for it to start, nobody showed up. One guy eventually came later on, but he just wanted to debate with us. We didn't even get to teach the lessons we had prepared.

Our investigator, Laurent, has been making some amazing progress. He came to church yesterday, which was the first time an investigator has come to the church in Bandung for almost a year. The members were great with him, and he felt right at home. We taught him about the word of wisdom, which he accepted right away. He has a date to be baptized on the 15th of June. He is amazing! I am so glad that I contacted him on the train, and gave him our number, or all this would have never happened. It is so important for Missionaries to always talk to everyone.

Elder and Sister Lucherini came to Bandung this week, and they invited us to go to Kawa Putih, a Volcano/crater lake near Bandung. It was a lot of fun, and a really pretty drive. The crater smelled really bad, but it was very interesting. The water was really green, and smoke was coming up from random places. I am so grateful that they invited us there.

Thank you all for the support and love you give me. I am doing great, and I can't wait to see you all again.

-Elder James

Elders Loudon & Mangum in the car with Brother Edi's son -
on the way to Kawa Putih

A cave near the lake/volcano 

This is Jerry, the sweet elderly man we visit every week 
Elder Mangum and I wearing our 'sarongs' (men's skirts).
We look pretty good!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bandung Week 10

Happy Mother's day!

To start off, I am happy to announce that I was able to speak with my family through Skype on Mother’s Day. It was so nice to see everyone, and talk about their lives and my service here. It is crazy to think that the next time I talk directly to them will be when I am already home. This Mission has gone by so fast, and I know it will continue to do so. Before I know it, I will be home. I hope I will be able to do all the things that God desires of me in my last few months here in Indonesia. Unfortunately, my camera has been having problems, and it is being serviced now. So there are no pictures from this past week. But there are a few interesting events that happened.

Elder H. is feeling a lot better now, and after some help from President Donald and others, he has been able to work like normal again. He and Elder Loudon have had a lot of success recently, especially in comparison to the situation when they first arrived. I am very happy with how much they help this city progress as far as the work goes.

We were able to find a few new investigators this week, and they are both really good. One was a contact of mine a long time ago that was always too busy to meet. He then suddenly sent us a text message, wanting to meet at the church. We met him there, and he apologized that he could not come to our previous appointments. We taught him the first lesson, and he accepted everything we had to say. Before we even asked him if he would be baptized, he asked us that very question. We will be helping him prepare to be baptized sometime in June if he continues to progress.

With the work getting better in this city, it really helps the morale of us Missionaries. We are much more confidant in finding people, even though there is a good amount of things that sometimes prevent us from working hard. But we have really had a good time here, and we will continue to work hard.

Sorry this is short, but our time was cut because of the Mother's day call. Thank you all for all the support, and I will see you later!

-Elder James

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

{My Mother's Day call with Elder James was wonderful! He Skyped about 9 pm and it was the perfect ending to a great day. Here are a couple of pictures (the quality wasn't great) and a quick video I took while he was telling us something in Indonesian so we could hear him speak the language. -Ellen}

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bandung Week 9

Hello Everyone,

Well, this week was not too interesting, and we did not do too much. But it sure did go by quickly, and I am in disbelief that the time is going by this fast. Elder Mangum and I continue to get along great, and we work really hard together. I have seen him improve a lot while I have been here, especially with his language and teaching skills. Hopefully we will continue to work hard before he moves! Here are a few cool experiences from this past week.

The main reason that we did not do too much this past week was because of Elder H. being really sick. He gets a strange pain in his head, so President Donald told us to go to the Hospital. I went with him, and they checked him out, finding nothing wrong, so they prescribed some stronger pain medication to help. So this week we have been taking turns with who stays at home with him, and then the other two go out and work. So I only really worked a few days this week, but there were still some good appointments. Hopefully he gets better soon.

One of the appointments I went to was with Elder Loudon, visiting Samba, a young member. He is a really cool 14-year-old guy, and even though his family is not yet members, they fully support him in being active in the church. While at his house, we visited a lot with his father, who is a great guy. He was very smart, and we had a wonderful discussion and lesson with all of them there. They were even nice enough to take us home with their car, instead of us having to take public transportation home.

I am really getting closer to the members here in Bandung. Since there are not that many, it feels more like a family than a branch. After church yesterday, they had some food, and we all had choir practice. I’m still not that great at singing, but I do enjoy it more than I used to. Our Branch will be singing for Stake conference in Jakarta, and I think it will be good.

One cool thing that I was able to accomplish this week was finishing the Bible. I had made a goal when I was in the MTC to read all standard works of the church during my Mission. And not just read it, but ponder, mark and understand more fully with the help of study guides and such. Now, that goal has been completed. It has taken my entire Mission, with me finishing the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price while I was in Solo, and starting the Old Testament more than a year and four months ago. It has been a great experience, and I am so glad that I feel a love for the scriptures. If I can do it, you all can for sure as well. As I was finishing yesterday, reading in the book of Revelation, I really like the description of the happiness we will feel from what God has prepared for us. Especially in Chapter 21, verses 3-4. I know if we work hard and endure to the end, we will receive this rest and joy at the last day.

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

-Elder James

This is hard to see, but it is a police riot group getting ready after the elections.
People get crazy here with politics, and it is mixed with religion a lot.
The elections for their representatives just finished
and later this year the president will be elected.
But, don't worry - I didn't see any serious riots, just protesters.
The police were just being careful.
Elder Mangum sleeping with his bible on his side
and a bouncy-ball on his stomach. He is so funny!