Well, it sounds like my last few letters must have been pretty negative, because all of you have told me to be more positive. Sorry about that, I will be sure to put in the awesome experiences more, because the mission really is awesome! Yeah, I won't lie, it is hard and frustrating at times, but it really is an amazing experience and a blessing, and I really do love it. And, about the hard experiences, I heard a good analogy the other day. It is like making gold. To make gold, they burn the impurities off, and the more it is burned, the more pure it becomes. So that is the good thing about all these experiences, is that they help make us become better, and I know that I can start to see improvements and see myself growing!
So, this week. This week has been a ton of fun! I love the new house I am living in and the Elders that I am living with! We have so much fun together and get along really well, and it is awesome! Study, planning, exercise, it is all so much fun now because we do it together and laugh and make jokes and all sorts of stuff! Oh, and I think the 4 or 5 Disney songs I have have been played at least 100 times or more this week! Haha who would have thought that Disney and church music would be so entertaining, but we love it, and it is on constantly in the mornings and evenings at the house! We are all working on memorizing "Lets get down to business" from Mulan right now, which is pretty funny!
So, this week has also been pretty funny with eating situation. We were all pretty poor because it was the end of the month and we were pretty much all out of our monthly budget because of zone trips, transfers, bike repairs, and other expenses on top of normal monthly expenses. So, we ended up living a whole week on about 5 dollars or so, and made it through. We luckily had a few groceries in the fridge. So, we did a lot of white rice or fried rice, and there is a restaurant by the church where we can get a plate and stack it with as much rice and vegetables as we want for only about fifty cents, so we ate there a lot! Food here is so cheap, and now McDonalds seems ridiculously expensive! But the food here is so good, too!
So, we had some funny crazy turn of events with our housing situation that we have not yet really figured out completely. But our landlord came over the other day and told us that we need to move next door so that they can renovate our house. But the house next door is much smaller and we are not sure if we can fit all our stuff in it and make it work. Plus we have some trust issues with the landlord because one of his 3 houses gets robbed every 2 months, and ours got robbed about 3 months ago I guess. Plus stories between the landlord and the contractor finishing the house next door don't match up, and its just all weird. So, because my comp is the District leader, we have had to spend some time trying to figure out what to do--if we can cancel the contract and move, and if so, to where. But we don't really know yet, but it has been fun and interesting, and confusing, to try and figure it all out!
As far as investigators and stuff go here. They had a baptism just a week or two before I got here, which is awesome! But, now we don't have any progressing investigators. So, we have been working through the former investigators list in the area book, but are almost completely finished with it, so we are running out of people to contact and to teach, so I think this week will likely involve a lot of finding efforts and stuff, because we don't really have anyone to teach right now. So that will be good. Finding here is pretty hard, but it can also be fun because you often meet some pretty funny people. Like the other night we were proselyting at the mall while waiting for the other elders to meet us there to go grocery shopping on Saturday when we finally got our money and stopped being so poor haha, some guy walked up to us. He knew we were Mormon missionaries, and wanted to talk about church stuff. Except he didn't really want to hear our message. Haha, he was so funny because he was so excited to share what he believed. The only problem was how lost he was. But, it was one of those cases where, and I am going to butcher this quote, so sorry in advance, "they are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." He was convinced that the Holy Ghost is a she and that it is the heavenly mother. The interesting thing, is that we got the same question in a lesson the very next day from an inactive member about who Heavenly Mother is. So, that may be something we need to figure out an answer for, because I know the answer, but I don't know if there is any doctrine or scriptures to support it anywhere, so if you have any help that would be awesome! But we were able to get this guy's information, so hopefully he can become an investigator!
Haha so it is pretty funny. In my new ward, our bishop is apparently absolutely loaded! he is a car dealer, and owns several car dealerships. But he is awesome and takes great care of the missionaries from what I hear! But, the funny part is he looks like a car dealer too! Hard to explain, but it just is that way. And we are going to his house tonight to do Family NIght, so that should be a lot of fun, because his family is awesome too!
SO, things here are a lot of fun, and they were a lot of fun in Jogja, too. It is a little bit hard to leave behind all my friends, contacts, and investigators in Jogja and come here and start over, but it is also a great opportunity! Everyone is really nice, and it is a great chance to practice my language and my introduction skills. And it helps me force myself to be social and not shy, because nobody here likes shy, quiet missionaries, and I want the members and people to like me so that I can get help and referrals from them, because that is the best way to be successful missionaries--working through the members!
Well, I think that's most of it for this week, and I can't wait for next week! We already have a few appointments with some investigators scheduled, which is awesome! Oh, And I have a cool experience to share. So there is a guy that was a progressing investigator a few months ago, before Elder Kester even got here. But they have not been able to make contact or get an appointment with him, despite trying for over 2 months now. His phone has not been working and his address is not in the area book. But, the other night, we were proselyting at the mall again, and we were also doing a little shopping for some supplies we needed for our work, this guy walks up to us and asks if we are the friends of an Elder that lived here about 3 months ago or so. We told him we were. Well, it turns out it is this guy that we have been trying to contact and meet with for over 2 months without success. He found us at a store in the mall! It was a little (or biggish) miracle, and is so cool! And now we have his full information and an appointment to go and teach him again next week! So AWESOME!
Well, now that is most of it for this week! I guess now I will try to answer your questions/requests.
What I love about my mission: How much I personally have grown--my testimony, knowledge, and most importantly my own conversion. I also love the food here, the people, and seeing others begin to have a desire to change their lives and come closer to Christ. The part about loving my personal growth, though, I don't so much love the physical growth--for a while I got up to nearly 170 pounds, but now I am eating better and exercising more, so I am back down a long ways haha!
Some quirky experiences: The guy at the mall the other day telling us his beliefs was definitely pretty funny, and the way he was telling us it made it hard not to laugh.
The enjoyment we get out of Disney songs and other church youth songs is pretty funny when we look back at ourselves. Its always like, "man, 5 months ago I hated this music and never would have listened to it. Now I can't get enough of it!"
We were running at a stadium last P-Day and my magnet badge fell off, and I couldn't find it. Some kids yelled "Elder Wood" at us, so we chased them, but they denied having it. So, now I no longer have a magnet tag for P-days :(
We have the whole housing situation that, while stressful, is also a little entertaining just because of how ridiculous the whole situation is.
And I got measured for having a suit custom made. Oh, to have a suit custom made cost about $30 here for the tailoring, and about $30 more or so for the fabric, depending on what kind of fabric you get. So, dad, if you want a custom made suit, tell me what color and have yourself measured (in centimeters if possible) and I can get you a custom suit for probably like $70. I think I might have one made if that is OK. Let me know what you think, I will wait to here what you have to say before I get it made.
Also, mom, we have been kind of craving pancakes this week because we found some maple syrup at the store. So I was wondering if you could find a simple pancake from scratch recipe and email it to me. Preferably one that uses the least ingredients and the cheapest ingredients possible--we are on a tight budget haha. Thanks!
Oh, I was also wondering if you could send a picture of me wake boarding in the suit before I left. Email is fine for that. Thanks!
Well, that's about it for now! Thanks for sending the package! I am so excited to get it! I love you guys so much!
Love Elder Wood
P.S. we are emailing from the church and are not allowed to send pics from here. But, I finally bought a micro sd card, so I will transfer all my pictures from this far (about 5 gigs or so) onto it and send it home in the next week or 2! Then you can go through and look at all my pictures!