Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30, 2013

Hey everyone,

Well, I'm in Malang.  And it's definitely not cold.  It's pretty much just as hot as everywhere else.  The only time I feel cold is in the mornings and evenings when I shower.  Because we sweat so much, we shower twice a day.  And the water has just been sitting there all day, so it's freezing.   Sometimes, it takes me a solid five minutes to work up the courage to dump it on my head.  Crazy.  

The work is pretty good here, and it's nice that we don't have to take ankots everywhere.  Those take a long time.  Instead, we bike everywhere.  Which is pretty scary, because it's pretty much rush hour traffic all the time here.  But I've been safe so far, so that's good.  I also haven't been sick yet.  Which is strange because everyone I talk to has been sick.  Not that I'm complaining.  I like being healthy.

The work is good here in Malang.  We teach two or three lessons a day at this point, but we've only got two progressing investigators.  People like to invite us in because we're unique and I'm white, but they really don't have any interest in changing their lives.  So you know, whatever.  We'll still teach.  And it's good because teaching helps my language.  My companion, Elder Suryono, speaks more English than I was led to believe, but he still speaks very little.  So my language skills are improving rapidly.  It's nice.
Also, the computer here is set to Indonesian, so it thinks I'm spelling every word wrong.  It's really disconcerting to see every single word underlined in red.  Or green.  I can never remember which one means misspelled and which one means bad grammar, not that I could tell...
We get to go to Surabaya on Wednesday and spend the night there for Zone Conference on Thursday.  We get to meet the new mission president and so that's exciting.  I also hear that it's way hot there.  Like 40 degrees Celsius.  Crazy.  

We have an investigator who we're going to invite to be baptized later this week.  He’s a really cool man.  He's about 25, I think, and he's been to church a bunch of times, and he has great questions.  Hopefully he's ready to make covenants, but if not, then we'll keep teaching him.  We have a sports night every Saturday where we play basketball and volleyball and chess, and he comes to that, too.  He really likes the whole social aspect of our church, and he has a testimony of the gospel, so hopefully he accepts it into his life.

Well, my time's up.  This past hour of emailing has cost me a whole 35 cents.  Things are so cheap here.  Enjoy the pics from the past 2 weeks.

Elder Heiner

Flying into Jakarta

Stacked.  $40 American, my money for 2 weeks.

Arjuno.  There are statues like this all over.

The first meal I bought in Indonesia.
It's Tofu, Tempe, Goringan, veggies, and rice.
 And it cost something like $1.20.
All my meals look like this, more or less.

This is me in front of our house.
Just for you, Mom.
My Bike.  No, it doesn't have a name.
But the brakes are backward.
Right hand to the front wheel and left to the back.
Apparently it's an Indonesian thing.

Our house, most of it.
If the doorways look short, it's because they are.
 I have to duck or I hit my head.  It's the worst.

Our bathroom.
That tub thing is the sink, toilet paper,
flushing mechanism, and shower.
We're all about 

Typical alley with houses and stuff.
Also, Elder Suryono texting our next appointment
to make sure they're still there.

Lizards.  They're everywhere.  Like on the ceiling 
 Elder Suryono thinks it's so funny that I got excited
 and took a picture of one

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A letter from President and Sister Groberg

Dear family of Elder Heiner, June 2013

Greetings from Indonesia!

We are thrilled to welcome Elder Heiner to the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.  Upon his initial arrival, we enjoyed a welcome dinner and getting acquainted. Elder Heiner was then temporarily assigned in the Jakarta area until his group goes to immigration to obtain a KITAS (a card that gives approval to reside temporarily in Indonesia). He and his group were all good sports when their luggage was several days late arriving.  Tuesday he will begin in his first area, Malang in East Java with Elder Suryono who will be a wonderful trainer and companion.

Indonesia is a challenging mission and can be quite an adjustment at the first but we know that Elder Heiner will rise to the challenge. Already we can see that he is enthusiastic and obedient. We love these missionaries and will do all we can to keep them safe, healthy and happy in their service to the Lord here.

Missionaries are encouraged to write their families every week. On preparation day (Monday) they have one hour to email the mission president and their family and friends. All postal mail can be sent to the mission office and will be distributed.

We encourage families to write each week too. Letters are such a lift and a wonderful source of encouragement for the missionaries.

Elder Heiner is already using the language studied in the MTC.  He will be a blessing to the mission. Thank you for preparing and sharing a faithful son.

Sincerely, President and Sister Groberg

Enjoy the pictures:
1-airport arrival
2-with President and Sister Groberg on arrival day
3- first Indonesian lunch

Indonesia Jakarta Mission
Jln. Senopati # 115, Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta 12190, Indonesia

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013

Guess what?  I'm in Indonesia.  We had a layover in Taiwan for 2 hours, about, and half of that was going through security and getting to the gate.  So we listened to some music and tried to talk to people in Indonesian, which kind of worked.  Because our luggage missed our flight, I got my luggage on Friday, so I wore the same long sleeved white shirt and everything else since Monday.  But we ran laundry every night, so they were "clean" at that point.  I had no expectations for Jakarta, so of course it's different.  It's so big, and so busy.  Right now, I'm in the city of Bekasi, which is a suburb of Jakarta.  Not that you can tell, they really just run into each other.  And you just take public transportation to get everywhere.  We take so much public transportation.  I'll sign for my ID card tomorrow, and then on Wednesday, I hop on a flight to Malang, a city that's on the complete opposite side of Java.  My trainer will be Elder Suryono, who is a native Indonesian and speaks no English.  We're the only two elders in the city, so it's going to be crazy.  My language skills should grow rather quickly.  Which is needed.  I hardly understand anyone.  There are four sisters and a mission couple in Malang, so that's cool, too.  I keep asking people about it, and all I ever hear is that it's dingin, which is cold, and they have apl yang baik, which is good apples.  I'm pretty sure that Indonesian cold and American cold are completely different, so it's still going to be way warm.

But I'm sure you want to hear about Bekasi, yeah?  The first thing I ever asked a missionary was "what's the weirdest thing you ever ate?"  So far, it's cobra.  We went to this member's restaurant, and for ten bucks, he grabs a cobra, chops it's head off, drains the blood into a cup, cuts the liver open over the cup, and then cooks the cobra.  Apparently the blood has super good health benefits, so you drink it right away.  It's super bitter.  More bitter than anything I've ever tasted.  He gives you orange juice to drink after to wash out the taste.  That was nice.  Then he makes about half the cobra into sate, which is like a kebab, and the other half into goringan, which is fried.  The sate was better, in my opinion, because the goringan had a ton of bones.  He just takes a section about an inch long and fries it.  So it was good, but it was hard to eat.  He also gave us python soup, which was super good.  And super spicy.  There are six of us in the Bekasi house, Elder McCleary (from my MTC group, he's headed to Solo tomorrow), Elder James and Elder Mogot (or something like that.  Elder McCleary is with them so I don't talk to them very much), Elder B. Johnson (there were four Johnsons in the mission when he got here, so there's a first initial on his name tag) and Elder Muryono, who I'm following until I go to Malang.  Elder James had already eaten the snake, so he ordered monkey.  They don't kill it there, so it wasn't as cool.  I tried that one, too, and it was pretty good.  There's so much crazy food here.  I also had avocado juice because so many people told me it was their favorite.  I thought it was OK, so maybe I'll try it again in a month or so and see if it gets any better.  Everything's so cheap here.  The snake was $10, and it was about 9 times more than I paid for any meal previous.  I get full on $0.70 or $1.20 every meal.  It's the best.  Also, meat is super expensive; it pretty much doubles the price of the meal, so I just have tempe or tofu with every meal.  It's all fried, so it's not like a weird health food.  For a normal street meal, you get some veggies, two pieces of tempe of tofu, some sambil, and a whole ton of rice.  It's really smart how they eat rice to fill them up instead of the main dish stuff to fill them up.  Sambil is the spiciest stuff I've ever had.    Everything here is served with sambil, unless you specificaly ask for it not to be.  I always ask for stenga sambil, which is half.  It's made of ground cabe (cha-bay) peppers, and you get about a teaspoon if you get a full serving.  And it's not like salsa, your tongue doesn't burn, it's fine.  But your lips burn, your throat and stomach burn, your eyes water, and you sweat everywhere.  It just makes you sweat all over, it's so spicy.  I'm trying to get used to it.  I'm not sure if it's working.

We ride public transportation everywhere.  Buses and Ankots, all day.  Except it's not like America where there's set stops and stuff, the bus just drives, and if you put your hand out, it slows down; you hop on really quickly, and sit down.  When you want to get off, you hit the roof and say "Kiri" which is "left" since you get off on the left.  Then it slows again, you hop off and pay the driver.  Somehow everyone knows how much the transportation costs, but I never know.  It's based on how far you go, and it's between $0.20 and $0.50.  Super cheap, again.  Ankots are the same, they're just smaller.  Imagine a minivan.  Now squish it so it's only two seats wide instead of three.  Now replace the seats with benches that run long ways, raise the floor about a foot so the benches are only a foot off the floor, the floor is metal and crappy, you cut the sliding door off so there's just a hole where people jump on and off, it's about 100 degrees in the back because there are two windows and 12 people in the back, the guy across from you is smoking, the driver is yelling, honking his horn, and also smoking, and you put two people sitting shotgun.  Ankots are the worst.  But you can get from anywhere to anywhere if you know which ones to ride.  It's really effective, they're just unpleasant.  So I guess it's smart.  But in traffic, sometimes it takes hours to get where you're going.  We had dinner at a member's house last night, and it was two hours to get there, we had to take two ankots, and then it was an hour and a half back in the same two ankots.  Traffic in Bekasi and in Jakarta is terrible.  But we're biking in Malang, so that'll be nice. 

Things are good here.  It's crazy.  It's different than I ever imagined.  I get so tired and almost fall asleep every day at 7:30.  I'm not sure if that's jet lag or if I'm just not used to sweating all day long.  I haven't gotten sick yet, but it's only been six days, so we'll see how that turns out.  We've taught three lessons so far, and those are cool, when I understand what's going on.  The language barrier is pretty strong.  We also taught an English class, and that was pretty funny.  I'm really enjoying Indonesia, and its great here.

Love you all,

Elder Heiner
Dinner time

Brother Aguswanto,
the member who owns the snake shop/restaurant.

Out front
I ate one of these.
Snake Sate

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 19, 2013

Hey, I don't have much time, but President and Sister Groberg wanted us to tell you we're OK, so I'm doing just that.  We made it to Indonesia safely.  I'm sorry for not calling in the San Francisco Airport, but we were in the airport for literally 15 minutes, and most of it was spent running.  It's a miracle we made it on the plane, but the luck didn't extend to our baggage, so that's coming tomorrow, I guess.  

We spent a little time in the city today.  We rode the bus and went to the biggest mall I've ever seen.  It was six stories and had everything you can imagine.  It's a crazy place, this Indonesia.
Love you all,
Elder Heiner

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 13, 2013

Well, there's four days left of hot water, four days left of toilet paper, four days left of knowing exactly what I am eating, four days left of being in a country that I know the culture, and four days left of knowing that I can revert back to English and have my companion know what I'm saying.  I'm pretty excited.  I originally thought leaving 3 weeks early wasn't going to be enough time, but I feel like I'm prepared, and what I don't know I'll learn faster in Indonesia anyway.  We leave from the MTC West Campus at 5:00 on Monday evening.  We take the frontrunner to the airport, and we have a 9:51 flight to San Francisco.  Then, at 1:30 am, we fly to Taiwan.  And then from there, we go to Jakarta.  We arrive in Jakarta at 1:00 pm, Wednesday afternoon.  So we arrive there in what feels like 44 hours, but we are only actually traveling for 30.  Only being a relative term. 

That's the excitement for this week.  Other than that, it doesn't seem like much has happened.  Things are pretty much always the same, here at the MTC.  We got haircuts today, which was nice.  I've felt like I needed one for a while.  And we dropped our suits off to get dry cleaned yesterday.  We got our second Japanese En-sif-ill-ite-us (I don't know how to spell it, so just sound it out) shot last Friday, so it's nice to know that I won't catch a disease that has a 25% mortality rate, and a 50% brain damage rate. 

We got new missionaries into our zone yesterday, four of them, and they're going to Greece.  Two elders and two sisters.  The elders are from Scotland and South London, and the sisters are from Italy and Finland.  They all have super cool accents.  And Elder Wood and I get to "train" them (or just show them around, kind of, and make sure they understand things).  It's been fun, the last couple of days. 

We had our last gym time yesterday, which was kind of sad.  We have to skip our last scheduled gym time to pack, and tomorrow's "in-field orientation," so we don't get gym.  We look forward to gym a lot more than we probably should, but it's really the only time we get to get out and blow off some steam.  We always play sand volleyball.  It's a blast because there are only a couple of people that are really good, so the rest of us can just be bad together.  It works out nicely. 

And dad, no, I've eaten no authentic food since I got here to the MTC.  I don't even know if it's authentic American food sometimes.  But Brother Rawle, a teacher they hired two weeks ago, was telling us about all this great food and I can't wait to eat it.  I guess it's so cheap to eat there that he only cooked on Sundays when he couldn't buy food.  So maybe I won't walk away knowing how to cook.  I hear the fruit Durian is really good.  It stinks, but all of my teachers like it. 

More later.  Love, Elder Heiner

In case you wonder how we really spend our day, here is the weekly
schedule we follow, with all our classes and places we have to be.
Our flight plan
Tacky Tie Tuesday
Ties provided by Elder Wood's family

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013

This week has been pretty ordinary.  Except that they realized that our district fell through the scheduling cracks (which we could tell from day one when they gave us two conflicting schedules), and they decided that we should be here for six weeks instead of nine.  Which means we're leaving the 17th.  Probably.  They already set up our bank accounts for our mission funds, and I have 452,646 rupia in a bank account to pay for my first two weeks in Indonesia.  That translates to $46.  Yeah...  Things are expensive over there.  We should be getting our travel plans here today or tomorrow, which is exciting, and then I'll know when I'll be leaving and where we'll be flying to, and if we're traveling with the 12 Malaysian Elders who are leaving the same day, too...  We'll just have to see.  But that's given us a lot of motivation to study harder and work longer. 

That kind of eclipses all other news around here...  MTC West is still pretty great.  I weighed myself today, and I've gained about 10 pounds.  But that'll probably be gone in the next three weeks, seeing as I'll be in Indonesia before you know it.  Both of the "investigators" we teach committed to be baptized.  June 30th is the day.  They turned the sprinklers on the other night, and so when we went to go play volleyball for gym time, we found the sand all flooded.  So naturally, we did the mature, missionary-like thing and played volleyball in the mud.  That was exciting, and somewhat messy.  It's a good thing today was laundry day.  I honestly can't think of anything else that happened this week.  We didn't get new missionaries into the zone, we get new Greeks on Tuesday, though, and they're all international, so that's going to be an adventure.  I hope they all speak English, because otherwise it's going be really hard.  One of the Greeks from last transfer, Elder Martinez, didn't speak English when he got here.  But it was really good by the time we showed up, so you learn quickly.  His Greek wasn't half bad either, I hear.

The language is going well, I like Indonesian a lot.  I don't think that many people would call it a pretty language, but I really like the sound of it.  I'm not very good at speaking fast, and I don't know how to express myself very eloquently, but I can teach the gospel principles.  Also, my vocabulary is limited to gospel things.  I don't know how to say much at all outside of a teaching setting.  I learned that you shouldn't mix up iblis and istri during a lesson, thanks to Elder Barrus.  (that's devil and wife, if you were wondering.  Don't tell your investigator that they can live forever with their devil in heaven...)  Also, neraka and mereka and meraka are very close.  Which translate to hell, them, and peacock.  Indonesian is a fun language.

We did do some contacting exercises.  We had to get the "contact's" number in a minute or less, which is super hard.  We pretended to be on an ankot, which is public transportation for four people, and you sit right next to someone and right across from someone.  It's kind of rude to ask how someone is in Indonesian culture, like we'd say "what's up" or "how's it going," but that's considered personal, so you just say "mau ke mana?" which literally means "want to where?" or "where are you going?" and that's perfectly OK.  It's a little strange, though, thinking that you sit down next to a stranger, and the first thing you say is "where are you going?"  I'm sure it'll be super familiar within a couple of months, but it just seems weird.  Also, Indonesians have phone numbers that are really long, like 10 digits, and they like to leave off the first syllable, like "lapan" instead of "delapan" for 8, which makes it really confusing when they rattle off a string of numbers.  So we just have them write their number.  Also, a cell phone is called the "HP," short for "Hand phone."  It's not even Indonesian...  But whatever. 

Things are good, I'm learning a lot, and I'm enjoying myself.  We haven't done anything stupid.  Except maybe playing mud volleyball.  That was kind of dumb. 

Elder Heiner

Our District and the Mangums from our Branch Presidency

Indonesian Ministerial Card