Monday, July 7, 2014

Bandung Week 18

Hello Everyone!

This week was nice, with some great things happening, but we were not able to get a ton of lessons in. That happens sometimes, which means we are confused at what to do, since proselyting here is difficult. But we still worked hard, and had some cool experiences. Here are a few interesting things that occurred.

To start with some great news, my camera is fixed (partially)! After more than a month at the camera shop, the workers finally fixed the problem with the lens. Unfortunately, in the process they created another problem with the buttons. All the buttons besides the ones on top (shutter, zoom, and power button) do not work. So I can still take pictures on the General setting, but I cannot change flash, any other settings, take videos, or even review my pictures. But since they caused this problem, the service was free. I am just grateful that I can take pictures with my great camera!

One appointment that is always fun was at Sister Ellen's house. We take a train to the area, and then walk up a hill to her house. It is a really beautiful area, and I took a lot of pictures this time. She lives so far from Church, yet still comes almost every week with three kids and no help from her husband, who travels a lot and is not a member. She also has to take care of her Father, Brother Edi, who is suffering from the after-effects of a serious stroke. She truly is dedicated!

With the fasting month going on, it has been really hard to find food. We have been forced to cook a lot at home, which is fine, but I am too lazy to cook complicated dishes. So I have been surviving on pasta, instant noodles, and other easy-to-make foods. But it is really cool to see everyone break their fast at around 6pm when the sun starts to go down. People sell food everywhere, and there are some really cool traditional foods that are usually only present during this time.

After more than a month, we finally were able to visit Thomas and his family again. He had been really busy with his police duties, but now is much more free. We were so happy to go there again, and it was even better than usual because his entire family was there. (Usually his daughter is at school in Bandung.) We visited for a while, ate a ton, and gave a lesson. We really focused on the rest of the family, since Thomas is already ready to become a member. We invited them all to learn and pray by themselves, so that they will get an answer from God if it is all true. They accepted, and also said they would try and come to church. It was a great time there.

Friday, July 4th, was Zone Training Meeting in Jakarta. I was already a little tired of being on a bus for 10 hours the day before, and travelling there did not help. But the meeting went well, and it really gave me a desire to work hard until the end. They really focused on those in my group, who will be going home in a little bit, and not to start packing our bags now, but do our best right up until the moment we go home. After the meeting, we went to Burger King to celebrate Independence day. It was nice to be with a lot of other Americans to celebrate.

When Sunday came around, my companion and I fasted and prayed that Thomas and our other investigators would come to church. To our surprise, Thomas and his entire family came! It was the first time any of them had ever been to church. I was with Thomas the entire time, and I know it was a great experience for him. He participated in class, and even bore his Testimony during Sacrament Meeting. I love their family so much, and was so grateful that they are progressing as a family. Hopefully they will continue to come as much as possible, even though it is far away.

For P-day today we went to Tangkuban Perahu, a volcano to the north of Bandung. We were able to take public transportation there, even though some of the guys really ripped us off since we are foreign. The volcano was really cool, and we took some good pictures. It was surrounded by forest, so we did some hiking and exploring, finding a cave and sulfur deposits. People were selling souvenirs left and right, and the temptation to buy a lot of stuff was strong. I bought a few things such as a snake-skin belt, and a few other items. It was a really fun activity.

Well, that is about it for this week. I thank you all once again for the support and love that you always give me. I hope your week goes well! See you soon!

-Elder James

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