Hey, Hey, Hey!
First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZA!!!! I hope it was awesome and that you did some super cool stuff! I hope that this gets to you while it is still your birthday, but if not, you can read it Monday morning and your birthday can last a day longer! But know that I love you and am sad I can't be there in person to wish you a happy birthday or anything, but I wish you a happy birthday from here and hope that you had a great day!
Ok, well everyone else now haha. Glad to hear everything is going OK at home! Glad that grandma is doing ok and recovering well it sounds like! Tell her to get well soon for me and that I love her!
That is crazy that it has already started snowing! Hopefully it is an awesome winter for you guys--then you can take some pictures or videos of getting some face shots over in sunshine bowl or out on sisters or something and send them to me. I don't think I will be seeing any snow here for a long time...but I have started to see some rain! And man does it rain here! It is really actually pretty cool to see and kind of enjoyable! But I think it might get old kinda quick, because it makes it a little hard to go out, and everything just gets ruined...But I'm glad I brought a dry bag--it has saved my stuff a few times!
Oh, and sorry about last weeks email being so lame! I promise I will try not to do that any more!
So, I am a trainer now and I have a new companion. His name is Elder Wintolo, and he is actually originally from here in Solo, and actually from the ward we are serving in. In fact, he is even cousins with the bishop's family. Crazy, huh! But his family moved to Jakarta about 2 or 3 years ago. His mom is LDS and has been since birth, but his dad is Muslim. Elder Wintolo was Muslim with his dad until about 2 years ago, and then converted to the church, which is pretty cool! He is awesome too! He is funny and patient and wants to really work hard, and he can already speak the language! Haha so that helps a lot! We work well and get along well together, so that is awesome! I am excited to work with him!
So this week has been pretty good! Monday was P-day and we went to the Bishop's house to hang out and eat food and stuff. They took us to this really cool restaurant with like floating bamboo huts on a lake-pond thing, and it was really cool and scenic!
Tuesday: So, this morning was a little bit of a fiasco. We started having a problem with our plumbing yesterday where our kitchen sink won't drain...the whole pipe is clogged up. So, we had a plumber come over and take a look at it this morning, and he said it is a big problem...Well, we can't get ahold of our landlady to get her to take care of it, so we had to spend the whole morning trying to figure out how to get it taken care of, meeting with the mission couple and all people involved in our housing situation here. Luckily we got together and figured out a plan and how we would get it taken care of. Then we taught P. D. He is a fairly new investigator. He is really hard to teach because he always asks hard questions that aren't very important to anything, and that I really sometimes don't know the answer to, or don't know how to explain it clearly. So we are having to try to work through that and get in the lessons that we need to teach, and tailor them to help him so that he understands and so that they help him. And we found a member that lives close to him that has started coming to all the lessons to fellowship and whatnot, and that has been helping a lot, too! So, we will continue working with them and hopefully help him come to understand the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel. So, he lives a little ways away. Like a half hour bike ride from the church. And just after we left his house, it started pouring rain! And we had to get to the church for a meeting with the Zone Leaders...So we rode on. Well, by the time we got to the church, I don't think I possibly could have been any wetter...I was dripping wet and dumped a cup or more of water out of each of my shoes...and all the missionaries from the whole zone were there...so that was funny. everyone else there was dry and my comp and I were dripping wet. But we had a good meeting to discuss a little about zone conference tomorrow. Then we had a meeting with Piaga, a newer member. After that we had English class. It was good because we had a lot of people come, all of whom are non-members but who we are slowly introducing to the gospel. So that is awesome! Then after English class, we went home because we had to meet with some people to discuss how to take care of the situation with our house...Luckily we were able to get ahold of the landlady and she is coming over on Thursday morning to have a look and get it taken care of. But, I was still soaking wet and getting cold. Which is weird, because it was still at least 75 or 80 degrees outside. I must just be getting used to the heat...I am going to be in trouble the winter after I come home...But, I really was freezing, and actually made a cup of hot chocolate. Well, Milo, that stuff that grandma and grandpa hated in Malaysia. I actually like it, and can see why Mike Tribe still imports it. Its pretty good stuff if you make it right!
Wednesday: Today we had Zone Meeting. And it was a special one, because President Gong of the 70, who is also the President of the whole Asia Area of the Church came. So that was pretty cool. We talked a lot about the Atonement and how to teach it quickly and powerfully to our investigators, because here it is really so important to help people, especially those without a Christian background, see why the Savior is so important in their lives. So that was really good! Afterwards, President Gong picked a few people to interview, and I was one of them. That was cool to have a few minutes to sit down just one on one with a General Authority! So zone conference was awesome! Afterwards we went and tried to visit a new investigator. She is Christian of a different religion and we contacted her and taught the Restoration the other day. Sadly, though, she rejected us and told us that she is "scared of God." We tried to understand why and asked if she had read and prayed, but she didn't really answer. She was nice enough, but just not interested, and thinks we are wrong. So that was a bummer. That was the first time I have been outright rejected like that. Usually people here just ignore us or always say they are busy. I actually like getting outright rejected better, though, because we can stop wasting time trying to contact someone that will never accept us. Ya its a bummer, but we did our part the best that we could, and we still left her with the Book of Mormon and a seed, and who knows, maybe that seed will grow someday and she will accept our message. But we did our best. Then we had another meeting with an inactive member. He is frustrating because he always accepts us well, but he never acts on what we ask him to do. He accepts our invitation to come to church every week, but then never comes. So that is a bummer, and I am running out of ideas on how to help him.
Thursday: Well, today was totally lame. We had to hang out at the house all day long while we met with the landlady and then while the plumber fixed the problem. The underground pipes from the sink were going to be hard to fix. So, they did it a different way. It is pretty funny, but would never fly back at home haha. They made a new route for the sink water to drain into the gutter (that is where all sewage here goes--straight into the gutter, not an underground sewage system...). SO, they ran pvc pipe from the sink, along the floor of the house against the wall, then knocked a little hole in the wall, ran the pipe though that, along the ground, and out into the gutter...haha it is pretty funny. It is by far the cheapest and worst plumbing job I have ever seen! But hey, it gets the job done I guess... so that is good. Well, we just had to hang at the house all day waiting for that to get done, so we did our weekly planning and a lot of study. It was pretty boring, but oh well!
Friday: Today was really good! We had a lesson with Sister A. this morning. She is still progressing really well and wants to get baptized so bad! The only problem is that she hasn't been able to get permission from her husband yet. But she said that she is convinced that she will be baptized with her daughter before the end of this year! So we will keep working with her and hopefully her husband too eventually! Then we had district meeting. Those are always good and motivating! Especially the end part when the mission couple brings homemade brownies for us to eat! That is one of the best parts of the week haha! After district meeting we went and taught P.D. again. This time the lesson went fairly well! We were able to get the information we needed to out, and he seemed to understand pretty well. And his questions are getting much better--they are actually related to important things now, so I think that is a sign that he is learning and progressing which is awesome! After that, we tried to do a little bit of proselyting with a little bit of success. Then we had English class. There is a guy who has been coming for a few times now. He is Muslim, but says that when he is in the church building at English class he feels peaceful and happy! The Spirit is working on him. So, we invited him to come to Sacrament Meeting, and he said that he wants to come next week. He can't this week, but he will next week! So cool! And, after English Class he took us out to dinner! He is a super cool guy and we are building a good relationship with him! Hopefully we can keep it going!
Saturday was another solid day! Today we rode out to M.I.'s house. He lives about 45 minutes away by bike. We haven't been able to contact him for 2 weeks, and didn't want to lose him because he wants to be baptized and has had some really cool spiritual experiences already! So we went straight there hoping to at least get some information about him. Luckily he was there when we got there! So we were able to teach him again. He has forgotten a lot of what we have taught, but still remembers the feelings that he felt and the desire he has to be baptized! So we are going to try to keep working with him! He wants to be baptized before Christmas, so we are going to do all that we can to help him reach that goal! Then we met with a member who took us to a long-time inactive members' house. She wants to come back to activity, and her son is 9 years old and has not yet been baptized, and wants to be! So we had a fun time playing games with the kids and building a relationship there too! And we got a little lesson in and a return visit! So awesome! Then later that evening we got in a lesson with another inactive member. It was a good lesson, and he promised to come to church tomorrow! Well, all our appointments were really far apart, so that was all the way until night, but each of our 3 appointments today was super effective and awesome! Such an awesome day!
Sunday: Well today was fast Sunday, and there is never a shortage of things to fast for as a missionary haha! But it definitely makes fasting a lot easier when you have a good purpose for it! But today was awesome! We had 5 investigators come to Sacrament, including Sister A., her 2 daughters (one of which has never met with us yet, but is just becoming interested in the church), P.D., and the inactive sister and her 9 year old son! Plus the inactive brother that we met with last night came, AND he brought a friend who is not a member! So awesome! So that was super exciting because Sacrament meeting is where we begin to see the fruits of our labors! And because of this success from our hard work, we are gaining the trust of members and beginning to receive referrals, which is awesome! After church we had study time, then a Priesthood meeting, then we went and taught an inactive sister, who just asked to get Sunday off from work so that she could come back to church, and got it, so she will hopefully come next week! So cool!
Today: Today we cleaned the house this morning. Then we went to an appointment with a member who took us to meet a friend and introduce him to the gospel--those referrals I mentioned. The meeting went well, but the guy is a pretty serious Christian in his own religion and thinks the Bible is it. We did our best to explain the Book of Mormon, and to encourage him to read and pray about it. He said he would, which is great! That is all we can do up to this point. Now the rest is up to him! Then I got a haircut, we did some work on the bikes, and now we are emailing.
Well, sorry, time is about up. But I love you all and will pray for your missionary work! Just a suggestion, never underestimate the power of inviting someone to family night and inviting the missionaries too if you want to. Family nights are one of my favorite things to go to here, and it is so exciting when the people have invited friends. There is such a strong spirit there when it is a family and a close friend, because there is a spirit of love and togetherness. Even if the missionaries can't come, just have people over for family night--snacks, games, and a quick lesson or message. They are awesome!
I love you all and love hearing from you each week! Stay awesome! And Eliza, HAPPY BIRTHDAY again!
I love you!
Love Elder Wood
(p.s. tell Suz and Mae sorry the pictures haven't come yet, my card reader is broken so I need to buy a new one and I will try to send some good pictures next week, thanks)