June 23, 2013
It is so good to hear from you!!! Thanks for your letters and encouragement!!! It is really so great to hear how you are all doing and what is going on!!!
Well, Indonesia is GREAT!!! It is so completely different from anywhere home, and anywhere I have ever really been before, even close by here! There are people everywhere, motorcycles everywhere, garbage everywhere, and it smells...different...
SO, sorry about the frantic phone call from the San Fran airport! There is more to the story than just the tight connection, but I don't really have time to write it all here, so I wrote it while on the plane and will be sending a letter home hopefully later today with a little bit more information and story in it!
But, we made it here safely and I am loving it! We spent the first day in the mission home. So the first day, we just went around Jakarta a little bit with the APs and all of us newbies. Then we came back, had dinner, and went to bed. The next day, we were supposed to head out to our temporary areas in the morning, but every single one of our bags got lost on the way here because of the connection in San Fran. So we were stuck waiting at the mission home all day hoping our bags would be delivered. So, we went out on a walk with Sister Groberg around the area by the house. Then we studied... By evening, our bags still hadn't come. So we left to our temporary areas. Elder Gil and I went to a city called Tangerang with two other companionships. A wealthy member picked us up at the mission home and drove us there. On the way, we stopped and got dinner at this expensive Chinese Restaurant and he paid for us all. I tried fried eel, squid, chicken brain, shrimp, and some other stuff. The eel was pretty good, and the other stuff isn't bad actually. But I didn't much care for the squid.
The next day, we each split up into two tripansionships and went out to start doing missionary work. The area is huge and we ride these little things called Angkots around. They are little old suzuki vans that have benches around them, and the whole van is probably the length of a Q5 but narrower, and the other day we were in one that had 16 people crammed into it...Crazy! But that is where we try to contact people since we cant proselyte. Most everyone is Muslim or doesn't care about the church, but they are all super nice and willing to talk, so I just start by asking if I can practice my Indonesian with them. I can get about that far, but I can never understand their response, so I just nod my head and my companions help me out.
We have only been able to teach one lesson in the last 3 days. Everyone always cancels at the last minute or forgets and stuff. It is difficult and frustrating, especially because I can't communicate or understand, and I don't know the area or the members or anything really. So the best I can really do right now is try to talk to as many people as I can in the Angkots. But last night (Sunday) on the way to dinner at the senior mission couple's home, I talked to a guy and gave him a Book of Mormon.
The members here in this area are super nice, but almost too nice. That guy that gave us a ride home the first night is our ward mission leader. He has taken us out to eat 3 of the 4 nights we have been here. It is nice because it is free food and it is good, but he thinks that because he is the mission leader he can break the rules for us. So he always keeps us out late, and it is kinda stressful! But he is a super nice guy and has probably spent like $250 U.S. on the six of us missionaries here since we got here. That is a ton, because for lunch we can eat an extremely filling meal for about 8000 rupia, or about 80 cents. And in other cheaper areas, you can be full off of a dollar a day. That is eating off of the little food carts on the street or in Wartegs. Fast food like McDonalds here is incredibly expensive for most normal people, and this Bro. Amron keeps taking us to sit down fancy restaurants.
The food here is really good! I really like how much good food you can get for so cheap on the sides of the street. But, it is really spicy and I end up sweating and burning my tongue off! It always has rice, and then you can add your options. I really like this stuff called tempe--it is fried fermented soybeans. I know it sounds gross, but it is delicious!
I got my first bout of diarrhea this morning... I have been lucky to avoid it for this long apparently...But, I lost about a kilo it 2 hours this morning! Luckily it has slowed down, but I still feel weak and a little sick to my stomach. It sounds like I need to just get used to 2 years of diarrhea :(
Everything is beautiful here! It is so green, and I am constantly amazed! I just keep thinking how much I want all of you to be able to come and see and experience some of this just because of how cool and different it is, and how much it has already changed my outlook on the world! S hopefully maybe someday!
Oh, suitcases. So, I was stuck wearing one long sleeve white shirt and my suit pants for three days straight while sweating like a dog! Finally, on Friday evening, Brother Amron delivered one of my suitcases to the house. Only one of mine has come so far, but the other one is still lost. So, I have shirts and pants and shoes and P-Day clothes and like 3 or 4 pairs of garments now, but I am still missing all my books, garments, deodorant, toothpaste, and a bunch of other stuff. Hopefully it comes soon! But if not, I at least have enough stuff that I can live off of and buy the stuff that hasn't come over time. I will just have to make the lost bag claim and get money from the airline. But it will all work out I hope.
So, now for my first real area! Tomorrow morning we go back to the mission home to get our Kitas (identity card required by Indonesia and the reason we haven't gone to our real areas yet). After that, I go to the airport and catch a plane to Yogyakarta (aka Jogjakarta). That will be my first area. It is in central Java. In that area, it will be me and my companion in a house, and then 4 sisters living across town. My companion and trainer will be Elder Wiradi. Apparently he doesn't speak English very well, and I don't speak much Indonesian, and we are the only 2 elders in the city. Should be interesting. Hopefully I will lean fast! But I am excited! I have heard he is a cool guy and a hard worker, and that that area is pretty successful! And I met his family yesterday because they are in our ward here!
Well, I'm about out of time here, so I will wrap things up. Im glad everyone was safe and still had fun on Ragnar. That is such a bummer about Kris's truck! I'm a little bummed you waited until right after I left to get the new car--I never got to see it, but whatever! Haha, just kidding, I don't really care right now, I am loving the work! I know I am missing a ton of stuff, and I apologize. Um yeah, thats about all I can think of for right now, though and I have to go, so write any questions you have and I will try to answer them.
Oh, the elders I have been with so far (Elder Coleman and Elder Marfosa) and living with elders Rogers and Suwarsid are all really cool! We have a good time together and I will be sad to leave them already!
I love you so much and appreciate your love and support too! I miss you, but in a good way! I haven't eaten dog...yet...so Rufus and Duke can still like me. I am glad that you are doing well, and love you so much!
Oh, and apparently mail works pretty well here. This is the address to send mail to if you ever want to:
Jalan Senopati No. 115, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan
Ok, I am not sure if that is the full address, but I know that I wrote it down for you somewhere before I left, and it is also in that blue and white missionary information book that came with my call, that I left at the house for you.
I love you and will talk to you later!
Love Elder Wood
|Elder Wood with President and Sister Groberg|
|Arriving at the airport in Jakarta|
|First meal in the mission home|
|Elder Wood an Elder Coleman and a sister in Tangerang|
|Fried eel, chicken brain and shrimp ... yum yum!|