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 food...is 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