Indonesia, Jakarta Mission 3/13 - 3/15

Monday, April 27, 2015

Golf and a Great Zone Conference!

Golfing in Jakarta!!

Caddie Girls

President Donald puts one in
President Donald, Elder Barlow and Me

Hey!  Thanks for the Birthday Money!  I know it is not my birthday yet, but I already used a lot of it...  Today Elder Barlow and I had the awesome opportunity to go play 18 holes of golf with President!  So we got up at about 4:30 this morning and got ready and were out of the house by 5:15.  We got over and had a 6 am tee time.  And since we were all pretty rusty after not having played in so long, we played a game of skins--the winner of every hole gets "10,000 dollars," and if you tie the hole it carries over on jackpot to the next hole.  So it was pretty fun!  And amazingly I was still sort of able to hold my own on the golf course!  sort of... I didn't take last place!  And I kept it under 100 on 18 holes with rented clubs and not having played in almost 3 years!  But it was a blast!  It was just fun to be out on the course having fun together!  And it is pretty cool to say that I played a round of 18 holes on my mission in Jakarta, Indonesia.  And with my mission President!  President Donald is the coolest mission President ever!  It was fun to just hang out and relax and talk with him, too!  He is such a normal guy, but has so much wisdom and experience and it was just fun to get a round in.  Haha but it was pretty awkward, because at the course they make you have caddies, and they were young ladies.  And needless to say, seeing some young white guys, they were all over us.  So we were playing cat and mouse with the caddies trying to keep them at bay.  They were constantly grabbing our arms and whatnot.  And we were pretty awkward, cause we are missionaries...and President was having a good chuckle!  But they were useless as caddies...they didn't know much about golf or help out on advice much.  Mostly they were there as "self-confidence boosters" for guys who are into that sort of thing.  But just a distraction and annoyance to missionaries haha!  But it was funny!  But thanks for taking me to play and teaching me when I was younger so that I could have all these cool opportunities!  After golf we came back to the mission home and had some breakfast with President and Sister Donald, and now we are upstairs in the AP's office emailing.  I'm not so sure what we will do the rest of the day.  We're pretty tired haha!  But sleeping's no good either!  Too boring!

The rest of the week was pretty good, too!  We had Zone Conference all day Tuesday and Wednesday with President.  So that was fun!  Got to get our interviews in, play some basketball and futsal together, and have some meetings and learn lots of good things!  I am excited because I am still learning so many things that I can do to be a better missionary with the time I have left!  Sometimes I wish I had learned or applied it all earlier, but I guess it is all about building up and learning new things constantly!  But there were a lot of good things talked about, and stuff!  It makes me melancholy (oh man, that is a good word.  I sometimes feel really proud when I can remember good English words, because usually I can't remember anymore.  My vocabulary is terrible... don't make fun of me when I get home...) to go home so soon and stuff, but I am glad that I can still be learning and improving!  We learned more about how to work more effectively with members--like going over to their houses and just having them invite friends and neighbors over, and we go over and play the guitar and sing songs together and play games and whatnot, and then share a short spiritual message and showing the members and their friends that we are still humans and fun to be around.  That was something new, because up to this point we have focused a lot on being very serious and strict, but now President is encouraging us to try a bit of a more relaxed approach, and I think it will have a lot of potential for success, so I am excited to try it.  But I don't remember guitar much any more...luckily my companion can play a bit.  But sadly I can't sing well either haha!  But we will make it work and have fun!  

We have met with D a few more times this week, also.  He is still amazing!  Last night there was a baptism of a member child in the English ward, and they did it at a members home.  So we invited D to come and see it with us.  So he came, and he invited a friend--just some random girl that he met on the street a few weeks ago who he started to talk to about the gospel, and she was interested!  He is even actively doing missionary work, and is so excited about it!  I am constantly amazed by him and his love for and desire to share the gospel with those around him!  Even though he is not even baptized yet, I keep thinking he just needs a black name card with white lettering that says, "Elder S!" He is awesome!  The friend that he invited is a Christian from Papua, and now she is really interested in learning more about the church and stuff!  So cool!  And the baptismal service was awesome!  It was at the Prendergrast family home, where we have done several other ward activities and baptisms.  And every time we do it, there is just a really powerful spirit there!  It is one of those special places where you just feel at home and close to Heavenly Father.  It is one of those places where you really can feel that Home is a little part of Heaven on Earth.  It reminds me a lot of our home, too, because I felt that at home with how close our family is and how much love there is there!  So thank you all for being such a great family and creating that atmosphere!  I love you all!  I hope I can have a family and home like that someday!  But I know that it is something that comes from living and actively practicing the gospel together!

And Pak Ma has been coming to church again the last few weeks and we have really been hitting him hard with helping him understand that this is the one true and living church, and it seems to finally be sinking in.  So he has committed himself to date on the 10th this month.  So that is exciting.

And I, that member that may be coming to stay in Utah for a little while this summer, also brought a friend to church on Sunday who is also very interested in learning!  So there are a lot of good and exciting things going on right now!  

So this coming week hopefully we will stay pretty busy!  So that will be good! 

Glad to hear that Utah has been getting lots of water recently!  Sounds like it was much needed!  Ya, we get a lot of rain here!  But usually the storms only last for about 10 or 15 minutes of torrential downpour, and then it just immediately stops.  Hearing it on tin roofs literally sounds like a machine gun starting to fire and then stopping.  there is no slow buildup or stop.  Its just here and gone.  Its kinda crazy!  So sometimes it catches you unaware, but for the most part we avoid being out in it.  Probably a bit different than Leeds.  And definitely a lot hotter!

Haha thats pretty funny that the missionaries stopped by.  Have they been around our ward more lately?  cause I don't really remember ever seeing them around before the mission, except at dinner appointments once a year...  But that's pretty cool!  Hopefully some people will let them in!  Good job on opening the mouth!  Haha I think that's the hardest part usually!

Sounds like the house is coming along well!  Pretty big project!  But that will be exciting!  Our house here is also getting a bit of work done, cause it is falling apart.  Nothing too major, just repainting and fixing all the leaks in the roof and stuff.  But it is looking nicer!  But it is distracting doing study with a hammer pounding on the roof above you!  

I am excited to go to the temple all together!  That will be way exciting and such a cool opportunity!  That will be a busy first few days home haha!  Get home, temple, half marathon, homecoming!  So much for sleeping after I get home haha!  But it will be good!  I am excited for it all...except maybe the half marathon...I think I might collapse...but It will be good!   Oh, and thanks for getting me set up for the Lotoja, too.  BTW, when is that?  That will be fun, too!

Well, I gotta go for this week!  But I love you all!  Thanks for the emails!  And thanks for the support!  I know the church is true with all my heart, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share it with others!  Have a great week!

Love Elder Wood

Wood Realtors...back in business!

That is so cool, and I am so excited!  Thanks for the videos to be able to see it!  She definitely looked excited about it!  

So this has definitely been a very different week!  We worked super hard this week, and it was incredibly frustrating and discouraging at times!  But we finally accomplished our purpose...and literally at the very last second!

So you may be wondering why Wood Realtors is back in business...Well, this week we became real estate agents...  In order to obey the Law of Chastity, D sold his old apartment with plans that a friend would move into it after he moved out, and that he would move in with a different friend, and his girlfriend would move into a new apartment that we had found so that they could live separately.  Well, things did not work out as planned.  The apartment that we found for his girlfriend fell through last we had nowhere for his girlfriend to move into.  Then the friends that were going to move into D's old apartment decided not to, so he was going to be evicted soon.  So we spent the majority of 4 days this week going around with him and searching for an apartment for his girlfriend.  We had the limitations of a very limited budget and were actually faced with a lot of racism, many people not wanting a black person to live in their apartment complex.  So we were constantly getting turned down.  We thought it would be a simple process, but it turned out to be very difficult.  So, we felt more like real estate agents this week than missionaries.  But we were doing it to serve an investigator, because there was no way he could do it on his own because he doesn't speak the language or know how things work here.  And we couldn't get members to spend that much time looking because they had work, too.  So we helped him.  Luckily we were also able to proselyte a bit along the way and found some good future proselyting areas, and also got some good contacts and hopefully potential investigators.  But it was incredibly difficult, discouraging, and frustrating.  We had several deals fall through last minute for unclear reasons and whatnot.  And tonight was their last night at their old place... they get evicted today.  and yesterday we still did not have a place for them.  But finally last night a member told us about a place, and we went and checked it out, and it was perfect.  So we are moving them in today!  So, this week, Grandpa's business came back into business!  But luckily this week it is going back out of business, and we become Elder Wood and Elder Barlow again!  But we finally got things figured out.

We also got them an interview with President Donald for baptism.  But sadly, because they do not have legal visas here yet, they cannot yet be baptized.  We even tried to get permission from the area presidency.  But that is the church's policy, and it is probably for the best of the church, because we are walking on eggshells here.  So, they will have to wait a little longer for baptism.  But someday the Lord will prepare a way for them!  

That was most of our activities for the week--teaching, finding apartments, and proselyting.  But we are making progress and working hard.  Today we are moving, then we are going to go do some shopping, then working.  This week we have PLD!  So that is always exciting!  And ya, that is most of what is going on here!

Thanks for all the advice and whatnot!  I really am trying to finish strong, because I want no regrets!  The mission is awesome!  I don't want to regret anything from it.  And I am super excited Sabrina got her call!  That is so cool!  I am glad we have a good summer before she leaves, too!  That will be fun!

Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week!  

Love Elder Wood

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy Easter

Hey!  Looks like you all had a great Easter down in St. George!  Looks nice down there!  The weather here feels a lot like St. George weather, and we've had blue skies, so it feels the same, too!

Well, this week was a good one.  J got confirmed, D and R are progressing well and are awesome!  D even shared his testimony yesterday in church!  He said he used to be like a Lamanite, but then Ammon and Aaron (the missionaries) came to him and showed him the right way and he is so grateful!  Haha so cool!  He is reading the Book of Mormon enough to compare it with his own life!  He is awesome!

The rest of this week was really busy with appointments and splits to Bekasi and whatnot.  And there were the frustrations along the way and whatnot.  But things ended up happy!  And we had a good dinner of French toast and eggs and ham last night taht we cooked to finish off the week.  Then we started this week going to a nice ice cream place for lunch!  That was good!  And we were busy and a little late with traffic and stuff, so I am really short on email time.  So I really apologize that this week is going to be way lame!  My bad!  Next week will be better!

But things here are going well and I am loving it!  I am really sad that it is winding down so quickly!  But there is still a month to go and make the most of!  And we have a lot of good potential for the coming month!  So that is exciting!

I am glad that housing got worked out!  That will be fun!  Thank you for all your work on that!  You guys are the best!

Well, I really have to run right now, but I love you all and am really sorry this is so lame!  Have a great week!  

Love Elder Wood

April Fooled

Well, I got April Fooled pretty hard!  I can't believe you all did that to me!  You were all in on it, too!  I am at the mission home emailing today because I have to sign up for classes for next semester today!  And I saw that and I started freaking out!  I thought it was real!  I didn't even realize to scroll down because I thought it was real!  I told everyone!  President Donald thought it was cool!  Sister Donald was freaking out, and so were Elder Barlow and I!  And then I realized it was April Fools, and I felt like an idiot haha!  But it was definitely a good laugh!  That was probably the best I have ever been april foolsed!  I fell for it hook line, and sinker!  And I was confused out of my mind, because that just so doesn't seem like Sabrina!  So good one!  Now, what is the real story?!?

Well, this week was a pretty good one!  J got baptized on Sunday!  That was pretty awesome!  It was stressful getting the last bit of preparation done, and it almost didn't happen this week.  But we were able to get it all set up and it was an awesome day!  We actually had 4 baptisms in our ward yesterday!  The sisters had a family of a single mother and her 2 sons that got baptized, and we had Pak J!  So it was awesome!  A great day!

The rest of the week was pretty good, too.  D is awesome!  He has read all the way up to Alma in the Book of Mormon and he understands it all and is coming to church!  And he has found a new place to live, so we are just helping him sign the contract on it and get moved out in the next week or so!  So that is awesome!  And he has another friend that has been following the lessons with us lately.  His name is R.  We thought he was just another Christian, because he is so receptive and understands so much.  Well, this week he told us that he used to be Islam.  We asked how long he has been Christian, and he said, "For about 2 weeks...this is the first church I have been to, because D invited me."  Well, he loves it and feels the spirit and whatnot and wants to get baptized, too!  and the last few weeks, they have been getting to church really late.  But this Sunday, R is the one who called D at 6am to say, "wake up, lets get to church on time!"  And they came on time!  It is so awesome!  So we are thinking we will hopefully get them baptized in the next 2 or 3 weeks!

Sadly M is not really progressing right now.  He is not reading the Book of Mormon very much, and hasn't come to church the last 3 weeks.  He says he wants it all, but he doesn't do anything about it.  So we are going to visit him this week, and tell him that if he doesn't start acting, we are going to have to drop him for the time being.  That's kinda rough!

And Pak B is hard.  He can't really understand or remember much, and he has no support from his family on church or anything, and lives way to far away to come, and can't come alone.  So that is sad.  But hopefully a miracle will happen.  

Well, sorry, I can't write too much longer because I have spent so much time freaking out about a fake engagement, and now I have to sign up for classes.  So wish me luck!

I love you all!  Happy April Fools! 

Love Elder Wood

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Exhausting..Stressful...I'm loving it!!

Well, things here have been interesting this week.  On Monday we all went paintballing!  Even President Donald came!  That was pretty fun!  Haha and my team totally dominated!!!  So that was sweet!

On Tuesday we had Mission Leader Conference.  That is always awesome!  We talked a lot about Christ-like attributes and creating more unity in the mission.  So we taught about that at Zone Meeting on Friday.  On Tuesday after MLC, we had to go to the hospital because Elder Barlow had a major ingrown toenail, and we had to get it operated on.  So that pretty much killed our whole Tuesday because of how long it took to get to and from the clinic with traffic.  Wednesday was a pretty normal day and we had some good lessons.  We met with the guy from Malaysia again, which was cool.   Thursday was a long day of weekly planning and planning for ZTM.  But we were able to get some lessons in, too.  Friday we had ZTM, and that went well!  Then we had to go back to the hospital for a follow-up visit on Elder Barlow's toe.  Saturday, we had a few hours in the morning/early afternoon to go out and work.  But then we had to come to the church to set up for a fireside.  We threw a missionary fireside on Saturday evening for members and investigators.  We watched a part of Elder Bednar's "Come and See" talk, and a Mormon Message.  Then we had some cake and had some games set up -- like ping pong, badminton, futsal, and the "eat the donut on a string" game thing.  It was a ton of fun and we had a lot of people show up!  And most of them were investigators and new members.  It was great, because the investigators got fellowshipped well and everyone had a great time!  Everyone was telling us we need to do another one soon!  So that was cool!  That took us from the evening to the night, though.  But Sunday was good!  We had several investigators show up at church!  We had 2 random people just show up to the fireside last night, and they came to church on Sunday and we taught them!  So that was cool!  And we had a member visit with Sister Bombasi from the English ward.  That was fun!  And good food!  Oh, and we brought a new member named Ivan along with us!  He is like the best friend member with the missionaries!  He is the coolest guy ever!  He got baptized about 6 months ago, so just shortly before I got here.  He is indonesian but he speaks fluent English.  He is always going fellowshipping with us, and hanging out on P-Day, and he is way cool and way strong!  And, he has an aunt that lives in California.  Well, this summer he is coming to visit America for about 6 months to visit his aunt and stuff!  Elder Barrus and I have invited him to come spend a few weeks in Utah with us and all the other missionaries he knows, and he is super excited!  So we have been getting him started on Family History work recently so that we can take him to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for his family while he is there!  So we are super excited about that!  I hope it is Ok if I invite him to stay at our house with me for a few days while he is there.  I really want you guys to meet him!  He is so cool!

As for the rest of the work, as you can see we had to spend a lot of time out of our area this week, so we didn't get in as many teaching opportunities as I would have liked.  But we still had a good week.  Pak J is still preparing to be baptized next Sunday!  So that is super exciting!  He is awesome!  Sadly Pak M didn't come to church again yesterday, so he has to be delayed a week.  But we went to his house and taught him the Sabbath more in depth, and I think it helped him a lot, and he committed to for sure come next week, and wants to be baptized the beginning of April.  So that is good!  As for Pak B--ever since his stroke we haven't been able to get ahold of him, so that is a bummer!  D--our African friend--is doing awesome!  He is embracing the gospel and it is awesome!  He said the other day he was riding a train, and the Holy Ghost told him to testify to the blind guy next to him about Jesus Christ.  So he did, and the guy was Muslim, but said that D's testimony touched him, and he wants to meet with us now!  Haha so cool!

That is most of the report on what is going on over here!  It is a lot of good stuff!  I am loving it here!  It is exhausting!  And stressful at times!  But it is such an amazing opportunity!  

Well, I love hearing from you all!  Thanks for the letters and everything!  Haha sounds like things will be busy at home for the next few weeks!  Good--you guys can stay busy so you can stop being so trunky haha!!!  

But I hope you all have a great week!  Love you!

Love Elder Wood

Sunday, March 15, 2015

We Broke the Barrier

Hey, how's it going?  That is exciting that some snow finally fell!  Pretty late in the season haha!  But better late than never!  

That will be super cool for Grandma to seal Uncle Gene to her family!  So exciting!  And that will be cool to be able to go and see it!  That is pretty cool all the stuff he did!  I wish I could be there!  I miss the temple!  As far as people here going to the temple, it depends a lot on their economic status.  There are people that go maybe once a year, or once every two years, and there are people who have never been, and people who have been once in their lives.  So a lot of it just depends.  But there are quite a few who have been, which is cool!

Well, this week has been pretty good!  So, our mission standards of excellence are to get in 20 discussions a week.  I have done that in Solo and Manado and Tangerang.  But we have never been able to get it done in Jakarta, because we spend such long periods of time stuck in traffic getting anywhere, that it has been a struggle to get it all done.  The traffic is killer here!  We sometimes spend 3 hours in a crappy non-Air Conditioned bus that is falling apart as it idles down the road, but we don't go very far.  Haha it has been a major learning experience on patience.  And it has really slowed us down.  Until this week!  We finally broke the barrier here this week, and got 21 lessons in!  So that was awesome!  We were super excited!  And we had a lot of little miracles along the way!
Right now, we have Pak B, Pak M, F, and Pak J all on date for baptism this month.  And D and his friends K, N, and R (all from Africa) are still learning and progressing and came to church this week and we are just trying to find a time to meet with them and renew their date, because a few things came up and they weren't able to be baptized yet.  But they are all excited, too!  So there is a lot of good things going on!  Oh, and we got another new foreign investigator this week!  His name is C from Spain.  He speaks English well, luckily!  But it is fun, because now on my mission, I can say I have used English, Indonesian, French, and Spanish in teaching appointments.  But my Spanish is very limited at this point, and my French...I think I can say 5 words is all haha!  But it is still fun to try!  So we have a lot of awesome investigators at this point and a lot of potential going on!

We had a miracle to get Pak J on date.  Last week he pretty much rejected us, and we just sat there, took it, and then testified and challenged him to close with prayer.  We walked out feeling that we had lost him, but over the next 24 hours the Holy Ghost worked on him, and he called us back and wanted to meet! So we have met with him several times since, he came to church yesterday, and we taught him last night.  But at the end of the lesson he still wasn't sure about baptism, so we again challenged him to kneel and pray specifically about it, and during the prayer he got his answer.  He opened his eyes afterwards and asked who it is that baptizes him.  We told him it was up to him, but that we wanted him to commit to the 29th of this month, and he accepted!  So that was awesome!  The Holy Ghost came through and worked hard with him!  Prayers are powerful, and answered in the way of the Lord!  I know that much!

Other than that, this week Elder Tufaga, one of the Elders in our house, got Dengue Fever.  So he has been in the hospital since Friday afternoon.  We have been doing splits with him.  And Sunday was my turn, so I didn't get to go to church.  That felt way weird!  That was the first Sunday I have missed in a long time!  And it felt extra weird to not go as a missionary haha!  Made me realize how important church is!  But luckily Elder Tufaga is doing well and will probably get out in the next few days.  His isn't as bad as mine was, luckily!

Oh, and this week these guys came around our neighborhood with these smoke blower things that kill mosquitoes and cockroaches and stuff.  We asked them to spray inside our house, too, because we have a cockroach infestation.  Well, after they sprayed, I swept up about 50 or more dead cockroaches from off the floor around our house...It was pretty disgusting!  The smoke drove them out of all the cracks and they died in the middle of the floor!  Gross!  But at least they are gone for the most part now...

Well, I think that is mostly it for this week!  Thanks for the emails!  I love hearing from you! and I hope you all have a great week!  And get some rest!  Sounds like things are going crazy!  I love things here, though!  I am sad to see it going so fast, but there is still a lot of opportunities ahead the next few weeks!  Talk to you later!
Love you!

Love Elder Wood

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I'm Loving it!!

Hello!  Wow, I can't believe it is already March!  Time is flying by here!  But things are staying busy and interesting!  And I am loving it!  And glad that I still have time left here!  But it is going away too quickly!  Trying to make it all count!

Well, this week was a pretty good one.  We went on splits to Bekasi at the beginning of the week.  That was fun.  I got to work with Elder Canfield, and that was a lot of fun.  I lived in the same house with him in Tangerang for several months.  He is a great guy and an awesome missionary.  I learned a lot with him, and had a lot of fun and learned a lot of things bouncing ideas back and forth with him and talking about the work here and whatnot.  Fun to have a change of scenery every once in a while.  But splits are always a pain, too, because they take us out of our area for a day and a half, and so we lose a lot of opportunities to spend time proselyting and finding new investigators, because we are then trying to catch up on teaching appointments.  But it is good.

As far as this week goes, we had some cool experiences.  We have an investigator named J.  He promised us last week that he would come to church last Sunday, but then didn't come.  So on Monday we went to his house.  Well, he was totally trying to politely reject us and tell us he didn't need to change churches and whatnot.  But he just couldn't say it.  He was just beating around the bush, and we were just waiting for it.  But he never really got there.  So we just sat and listened and then answered his concerns the best we could, and had him close with prayer and ask God what he needs to do.  Well, during the lesson, we felt we were guided by the spirit, but his attitude wasn't really changing.  And we didn't feel the Holy Ghost during his closing prayer.  So we left thinking that he was gone.  But the next day he texted us and all of a sudden wanted to meet again.  So we met.  And since then, we have met him 3 times this week, and have had some awesome lessons with him, and he really wants to keep learning, and has promised to come to church next week, and almost has said he wants to be baptized.  He just said that after we left that first time, he was ready to put the Book of Mormon away, but he felt a desire and need in his heart to read it, and so he has been, and he has been feeling good about it, and is beginning to gain a testimony of the truth, despite how many people around him (pretty much everyone he knows) telling him that our church is evil and a cult and whatnot.  So that has been a really cool experience to see the Holy Ghost work on him and change his heart so much over such a short time!  A miracle!

We have been teaching D and his friends still, too.  And they are pretty cool.  D is still living with his girlfriend because he hasn't been able to find a place to live yet, but he is looking because he really wants to move out so that he can be baptized!  So he is awesome!  And he came to church this week!

Pak M has stopped drinking coffee and is pretty much all ready, so we are preparing him for the 15th of this month!  Pak B is still smoking just a little, but we visited him today and got him to give us his last pack of cigarettes and commit to stopping fully.  We were pretty blunt with him and his friend that was there, too.  I think his friend got a little offended, but Pak B is awesome and realizes that it really is the Lord wanting him to do it, and he wants to do it too!  So he took it really well!  These are really our most progressive investigators right now, and they seem to be doing well!

We had one guy that some other missionaries contacted show up at church, too, and we taught him afterwards, and he was pretty cool and wants to come back next week as well!  So that was pretty good!  Little miracles!

Today for P Day, we ran into President and Sister Donald when we were going to get lunch, and they invited Elder Barlow and I to go eat lunch with them.  they took us to a nice restaurant and paid for our lunch, and it was so delicious, and so fun to get to sit and talk with them!  They are the most amazing people!  

Well, I think that is most of it for this week!  Things here are awesome and I am loving it!   Mom--for your questions:  My companion is good, my health is good, the weather is hot and humid and the rainy season is ending, and I am good.  The house is pretty good, but they are in a bad habit of talking til way too late sometimes, so we are always tired haha!  We are trying to get a hold on that.

Thanks for all your letters!  I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Love Elder Wood