Indonesia, Jakarta Mission 3/13 - 3/15

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 2 Yogyakarta

Hey Everyone!

Well, Indonesia is...different!  I am learning to love it here, but it is taking some time.  I won't lie and sugar coat it, these last 5 days since I arrived in Jogja have been one of the hardest 5 days of my entire life.  I have been homesick and miss you guys like crazy!  

My companion and I can communicate OK at times, but there is definitely a huge language barrier at times, and an even bigger cultural barrier, so we have a hard time sympathizing, talking about, or understanding certain things.  It is definitely very frustrating at times, but it is Ok.  I am getting over it and learning to love the place.

So, as of yet, I don't know the language, so in lessons I sit and nod my head but stay pretty quiet.  Then people will realize that I don't understand, so they will try to help but I often still can't understand, or sometimes after they simplify and repeat 4 or 5 times, I can get the general idea.  It doesn't help that here they also mix in some Javanese, which is a completely different language, so often times it is not even a language I know, mixed in with Indonesian, which makes things even harder!  But I think I am slowly beginning to understand more and more, though still very little.  But it will be a process and will take time.  I just need to accept that.

Also, everything here looks so different, so it is difficult for me to pick out landmarks to see to kind of know my way around.  So, basically I never know where we are or where we are going, so I feel quite lost and helpless.  But I think I might be able to make it from the church to our house now, which is about a half hour bike ride.  But, I don't trust myself for sure, so I won't try to do it without my companion ever!

The interesting.  We had this sweet jello stuff the other night that was not reallly jello.  It was thick 'slime' with i think fruit in it, and was covered with salted coconut milk.  It was a struggle to get the whole bowl down, but the members are so generous to give us so much food!  There is stuff here that is soooo good, though!  Like, there is one member who owns what is apparently one of the most famous little homestyle restaurants in INdonesia, and the other day when we were over there teaching her son, she gave us lunch of chicken and rice, but it was different from everywhere else and was incredibly good!  Then she invited all of us over for lunch again today!  She is so nice!

Oh, so riding bikes around here is pretty fun!  THe bikes are pretty decent, but I am so spoiled at home with a full suspension.  These have no shocks and the roads are pretty rough, so my backside is pretty sore by the end of the day, because none of our appointments are ever very close together.  But it is good.  We get to weave in and out of the Indonesian traffic, and can make it through crowded streets far faster than cars, and sometimes even the scooters--which are everywhere!  I will have to re-learn how to ride and drive like a sane person when I get home!  But hey, we haven't had any accidents, so it is good.  Traffic, crazy as it is here somehow all just works!  It is really cool to see!

The other day, unexpectedly, we got a call to visit a member at the hospital.  The other bed in the room had a family around it, and the people were Christian.  We got talking, and they gave us their address so that we could come share our message with them!  It was incredible, and helped me realize that there is far more than just me and my efforts going on here.

Then, a lady found the missionaries about a week or 2 ago, and we went and met with her this week.  She has lived in America before and so she can speak English.  She has been a member for like 40 years, but has been inactive for over 20 years.  She has investigated other churches, but never felt that one was as true as the Mormon church.  She knew the church was true, just not the people that went there for a while.  But 2 weeks ago she saw the missionaries, invited us to her house, and now we are teaching her son and niece, and she wants to come back to church.  It is a miracle, and they can speak and understand English, so I can understand them and help teach them!  Which is so helpful to me, because it is also someone to talk to and understand!

Just things like that help me keep going!

Today we all went and played futsol, and it was a ton of fun!  Then we went to lunch at that lady's house/restaurant I talked about earlier, and now are here emailing on the slowest internet in the world!  So I will try to send a few pictures, but I don't know if it will work.  Sorry.  I sent a letter on wednesday with like 10 printed pictures in it, so hopefully that gets to you within the next week or two.

Truly, I don't think you know how much I have been looking forward to reading your letters this week, so thank you!  And thanks for writing snail mail, too, because then I can hold onto it and read it whenever I need a quick pick-me-up!

Well, I am probably already over time, so I have to go, but I love you so much and miss you, but I know that I am doing the right thing here!
I love you!

Love, Elder Wood

Sunday, June 30, 2013

First report from Jakarta

June 23, 2013

Hey everyone!!!

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 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!