So, I will start off with a HUGE positive. My companion and I are friends now!!! Holy cow, how great this is! We talk and tell stories and laugh and work together. We (usually) do daily planning and companionship study and stuff now, too! It is so great and I am so glad that my prayers have finally been answered! Things are so much better! Still not perfect, and we still waste more time than I would like, but I think that slowly and surely we can start to improve that and begin to fill our time with meaningful work while maintaining a good relationship! I just am worried about how hard to push--about what is the right balance to work hard and feel effective while still being able to maintain a positive relationship. But it is getting better.
This week has been really frustrating as far as the work goes, though. It is Lebaran and Idul Fitri this week--the end of the Muslim Fasting month and I think some of the biggest if not the very biggest holidays in all of Indonesia. Literally, it is so big that everything has been shut down since last Wednesday or Thursday, and is still just starting to open back up. It is traditional for everyone to travel to wherever in Indonesia their family is and meet with them for a few days. So, everyone is either out of town or busy with family stuff and can't meet, or only wants us to come eat but is not interested in hearing a gospel message at the time. So making appointments and teaching lessons has been really hard this week. And contacting is hard, too, for a few reasons. One, my comp hates contacting, and I still struggle with it, and it is something that I have to be careful with suggesting because I don't want it to ruin our relationship. And two, the town squares and places we usually go to to contact are full of parades and Muslim holiday celebrations, and we have to be careful and respectful, and I don't feel great about trying to contact them at their own religious celebrations and events. So, for these reasons, the week has been frustratingly slow, but because the holidays are over now and people are beginning to return home, hopefully this week will pick back up and we can do some good work!
And we have another frustrating and scary situation going on as well. Our 14 year old boy investigator has a date to be baptized this Sunday. His mom and dad are divorced and he lives with his mom and step-dad. His mom is a member. His real dad is not, and is apparently not a very great guy. So, for the holidays, his dad came and picked him up and took him to his house for a few days. But, the kid hates his dad, so a few days ago he and his friend ran away in the middle of the night. But, he has not yet returned home to either parents' house, and we don't know where he is. So that is quite scary. I am not quite sure on all of the details of the situation because the language to discuss that sort of stuff is still way over my head. But we are not sure when he is coming home, and it does not look like he will be able to be ready in time to be baptized this Sunday at this point, which is a bummer, too. I am mostly worried about his safety, though, but I think it must be ok because nobody else seems too extremely concerned about that at this point, so I think there are still some situations that are going on that I just am not clear on yet, but I guess, or hope and pray, that he is safe!
Oh, this week we met with an apparently world famous artist! That inactive sister that I told you about earlier invited us over to her friend's house to meet, and when we got there it was an art studio. We talked with the people, but they were not interested in hearing our message and are Muslim, so we cannot teach or even try unless they want to learn. But they were still really nice and fed us, and we took pictures with this artist. His artist name is Gono--sorry, I forgot his real name, but you will have to look him up and tell me what you find out about him if you can! We felt pretty cool about it!
Oh, there was another funny, but inconvenient event that happened this week. On Thursday morning--the very beginning of Lebaran when all shops and most restaurants have already closed--the back tire on my bike popped. The sidewall is a little torn, so it is not a quick easy fix either because it needs a whole new tire. The only problem is that because of Lebaran, literally every single bike shop in Jogja is closed! So there was no way to get it fixed. So, all of Thursday, Friday, and much of Saturday, we had two Elders on one bike. So, the first time we tried it, Elder Wiradi sat side-saddle on the down-tube of the bike and I kind of straddled him and pedaled and steered. But that was a pain, and my legs were were rubbing raw. So, we figured out that having him sit on the handlebars worked best. So, for two full days I rode with him on the handlebars, with my chin resting on his shoulder so I could see where we were going. It was pretty funny to see all the looks people were giving us and we got a lot of laughs! And we laughed at ourselves a lot too. It was a good workout, though, which I could use! The food here is so good and I eat too much! But, it really got tiring, because we live about a half hour ride from the church, and we have to go there pretty much every day, and our appointments spread from there. So it was a lot of biking with him on the bars. It was a pain for both of us--I got tired and he got numb-bum. But it was funny. Finally on Saturday morning, we were both so tired of it that we hitch-hiked in the back of an empty pickup truck for a little ways with the bike. And we finally found a member with an extra bike that we could borrow. So, it is much better now. And hopefully tomorrow morning we can get my bike in to get fixed. Man, I need to stop breaking things!
Well, that's mostly it for this week! A great improvement in some areas, but still a lot of work and improvement to go! But hey, that is what this life is all about--constantly growing and getting better. And I apologize, my camera battery died, and so it is charging today, and I forgot to pull the memory card out to send pictures home. My bad! But, I just filled the first 4 gig card, so I am going to buy a microSD and copy the pics onto that and send it home in a letter hopefully in the next few days or weeks. Then you can have all the pics from the first 3 months or so!
On the package from Scott and Lisa--it has not yet come, but apparently that is normal. It just always depends as far as how long packages take. I have heard it can be anywhere from 2 weeks at the very fastest to up to 3 or 4 months. It just depends. But, from what I have heard from everyone, the US postal Service is by far the cheapest and best way to send packages here. And I will let you know when the one comes from Scott and Lisa--I am so excited to see what is in it. So if you know, don't tell me. It is a good surprise that I am excited for! And please tell them thank you so much for it from me!
And I'm glad that Lake Powell was fun! THough bummer that it had some problems and whatnot--seems about like par for the course, though!
So, since I can't send pictures right now, I'll try to answer your questions.
I rarely cook my own meals other than breakfast. For breakfast I usually do instant oatmeal with some powdered strawberry flavoring, and sometimes I cook scrambled eggs with sauteed onion and green pepper if I'm feeling fancy! But for pretty much every other meal we eat out--for several reasons. 1. Our house is so far from anywhere we work that it is a pain to go home, cook and eat, and then ride back. 2. It is far more expensive to cook than to eat out. Lets put it this way--a $6 meal at KFC is by far the most expensive thing I have bought since here. Usually I eat lunch and dinner for about $1.60 ish, and that is a filling meal of white rice, a piece of fried chicken, a fried egg, and two tempe squares. So here, McDonalds or western fast food is a ridiculously expensive delicacy. And when we only have about $125-$150 to live on a month, including bills, we have to budget carefully and eat cheap. Good thing street food is so cheap and good here!
I do my own laundry at the house--we have a little washing machine that does a pretty good job.
No, we do not have air conditioning in this house. So, it is pretty hot. But, we have a stand fan that we leave blowing on us all night.
It has only rained once or twice since I got here. It is the dry season right now.
The shoes are great
Showering is interesting, as is going to the bathroom. So, there is no water pressure here, at least in most houses, ours included. So there is no pressurized normal shower. There is a big bucket that drip fills in the bathroom with cold water--we don't have hot water either--and a smaller bucket that you fill and dump on yourself to clean. It feels good sometimes, but other times it is pretty cold!
Going to the bathroom. Well, the sewers here can't handle toilet paper. So for the solution, you dump a bucket of water down your backside, and, if there is anything left to take care of.....let's just say it is incredibly impolite to use your left hand to do much of anything here! And there is no flushing mechanism on the toilet either, so you just use the bucket and dump water down the bowl until it is all clear! Kind of gross, but you get used to it. Sort of. Ok, not really, but it is what it is.
Well, I am out of time right now, but I will write again next week! And I will try to include some pictures!
I love you so much, and love your letters and emails!
You are awesome!!!
PS--Sabrina, good luck with your Patriarchal Blessing--that is so cool and it will be such a great blessing in your life! I love reading mine!
Love you all!
Love Elder Jacob Thomas Wood