Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013

Well, a lot happened this week, and we'll see if I get past the big news:
I got transferred!

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Really?
A: Yes
Q: Weren't you only in Malang for 2 months?
A: To the day.
Q: And you moved before Elder Suryono?
A: Yes, yes I did.
Q: When did you find out? 
A: Friday morning, during companionship study with Elder Rondonwu, one of the zone leader.  They were here for exchanges.
Q: Is that why all your emails were a day late this week?
A: Yes.
Q: Wait, where'd you move to?
A: Bekasi 2nd ward
Q: Who's your companion?
A: Elder Wiradi, from Tanggarang
Q: How long's he been in Bekasi?
A: Less than a day, same as me.  He moved from Jogya yesterday.
Q: Have the Elders in Bekasi 1st ward been helpful?
A: Yes.  Elder S Martoyo has been here and healthy enough to leave the house for 3 days, and Elder Gil moved in with Elder Wiradi and me.
Q: So all four elders are new?
A: Yep.
Q: How long has your companion been in the mission?
A: Two years minus 32 days.  
Q: How's Bekasi so far?
A: Hot.  Really hot.  
Q: You still safe and healthy?
A: Yes.

Well, my time's up, and that's that.  Hello from Bekasi, and I hope you're all doing well.  
Elder Heiner

PS Sorry, no pictures.  We're emailing from the church and we're not allowed to plug in external devices for virus reasons.  Next week?

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Well, this week has been pretty normal, as far as I know what normal is.  Except Monday and Tuesday people still weren't back from Liburan.  We did service with the DKP sweeping the roundabout in front of the city building.  I think I've sent pictures of both of those; the roundabout has the fountain with the weird pointy thing in the center.  I'm really not sure how effective sweeping  is because the wind will blow and leaves will go everywhere.  But then "No Effort Is Wasted", right?  Hopefully people will see us and be interested.  That's how Andre (our first investigator who moved to Bekasi) came in contact with the church.

We had an Independence Day party with the branch, and that was pretty cool.  It was just like every ward party I've ever been to.  The real activities didn't start until about two hours after the said start time, but everyone was happy to just talk, and then we had a water balloon toss, a couple of relay races, we ate food, played volleyball, just like in America.  The church culture is the same everywhere, I guess.

We taught a great lesson last night, it was to a less active family who are really starting to become active.  They had two sick kids, about Luke's age and Amanda's age.  So we gave them blessings, and then gave a lesson about hope.  It was way good.  They really want to go to the temple, and they've been saving a little money here and there so that they can go.  It's going to be a long time, though.  Trying to save $200/person at $0.05 a day takes a long time.  Also, the dad picked his smoking and drinking coffee habits back up, so we made some goals to help him quit again.  It was a really great lesson, and they're a fantastic family.  They're going to be fine. 

Also, I realized this week that the people in the training videos are nothing like the people in real life.  It's nice and all, to see that there are people who read their homework and think of good questions and don't have problems, but the people we teach are not like that.  I’ll tell you about some of them.  Like, we have one investigator who likes to learn and he has good questions, but he has a bad leg which prevents him from getting to church.  Plus, he can't read, so we can't give him assignments.  We teach a seventh-day Adventist that loves the church, believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is true, and the whole nine yards.  But he can't get over the fact that the Sabbath isn't Saturday.  We have an investigator who visited with missionaries before us, stopped lessons with them, and told them that he'd come to church when he finished reading the Book of Mormon.  He showed up to church a couple of weeks ago, and we haven't been able to get a lesson with him because he left right after Sacrament meeting and we don't know his contact information.  We teach a young man who wants to be baptized but if he gets baptized, his grandmother will quit paying for his college.  And another young man in a similar situation, but his parents will disown him.  That's hard for a 15 year old.  And another man who really reads what we give him and has great questions, but is reluctant to pray for knowledge because he feels like the Lord didn't hear his prayer for a wife.  He's 25 and unmarried.  Then there is a really strong Christian woman that doesn't really like the Book of Mormon, but she's referred us to about six of her friends, and we don't know why, but it's not worth questioning...  We are glad to have people to teach.
Interesting fact I haven’t written about…  We don’t ever drink water from the tap.  We buy water in the 19 liter containers that you see in office water coolers.  It's about $1.30 to get three of them delivered on command, so maybe once every two weeks, or week and a half, we call in and the water guy shows up.  No one drinks the water from the tap here.  Even if you're dirt poor, you buy water.  Anyway, I had a headache for a couple of days.  That's the first sickness I've had in this mission, so no complaints.
Elder Heiner

Me with a half eaten chicken foot.
Very delicious, once you get over the fact
that it's a chicken foot.
The obligatory picture with me in it at the
branch Independence Day party.

Our Branch President has swag.
My police escort van lego set.
Reminds me of Luke.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

This week has been pretty quiet.  We didn't lose anything, and so that's good.  Also, Ramadan ended this week, so there were a bunch of fireworks Wednesday, and that was way cool.  But the tradition in Indonesia is that once Ramadan ends, Lebaran starts.  Lebaran is when everyone and their dog get the day off, and the next day, and the next day and they all go and visit their families.  So no one is home, and everyone here isn't from Malang, so it's been fun seeing new people.  Lots of trying to contact people, finding out that they're from another city that doesn't have missionaries, and then telling them to come to church if they're ever in a place with the church...  Yeah, that part has been a little difficult.  But we're still working hard, and this week will be better because everyone comes home today or tomorrow.
Sunday was the birthday of Arema, which is the Indonesian soccer team based in Malang.  So the whole day was like a procession everywhere.  Everyone was wearing Arema shirts and scarves, which I don't understand because it was way hot, and driving slow and singing the theme song, and playing music really loud.  It was way interesting during church and challenging whenever we tried to get anywhere.  Indonesia, it's a crazy place.

And then Independence Day is on Saturday, so that's exciting, too.  Everything here is red and white, painted or has a flag or something.  We'll bike through a neighborhood, and all the trees have been painted white from about one foot off the ground until five or six feet off the ground, which is kind of different.  I'm hoping there are more fireworks.  After Ramadan ended, that night there were fireworks everywhere.  The big kind you see when you go somewhere to see fireworks.  They're huge and right over your head, or off in the distance, or you see like four people lighting them off at a time, and it was way cool.  I'm hoping it happens again.  And then the next day, during the afternoon, people kept lighting them off, so that was strange.  I feel like if you can't see them, why light them off?  But they did.  It was just loud, and not nearly as cool as at night.  

I don't know what else to tell you, just that I'm doing well, and I'm healthy, and I'm enjoying Indonesia.  I couldn't ask for a better place to serve the Lord.  I've been reading the Doctrine and Covenants, and that's been fun.  There are so many other mission calls, and mission advice, and cool stuff in there.  I'm really enjoying it.  Enjoy the pictures.
Love you all,

Elder Heiner

Me in front of the government building,
all decked out for the 17th of August.
Rickety old bridge
Way sketch.
We went to another waterfall.
It was pretty cool.
An apple farm.
A sweet old temple thing.
Supposedly they did animal sacrifices where we
were standing, so that's cool.
I have no idea what this is
but I find it kind of creepy.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

This week, I have two stories to tell.  They're both about why you should always follow the Spirit, but one is a "Why You Should Always Follow the Spirit Because Good Things Happen When You Do" kind of story, and the other is a "Why You Should Always Follow the Spirit Because Bad Things Happen When You Don't" kind of story.  We'll start with the good one, because the bad one's more exciting.

Sister Allred and Sister Hunt (one of the sister training leaders whose here while Sister Believe's in the MTC.  Yeah, sometimes Indonesian missionaries serve for up to four months before going to the MTC, it's kind of strange, but people more inspired than me made the decision) contacted a guy on an ankot, and gave his number to us.  I think as a joke they were like, "will you commit to contacting this referral before 9:00 tonight" and we were all like "whatever" and then they were like "no seriously do it," so we were all like "OK, sure, we will."  Then our plans fell through and our back up plans fell through, so we just went home to eat and plan and study.  Then we remembered the referral and thought, maybe we should just do it in the morning, but because the sisters made us commit, we did it.  Turns out he was leaving for 2 weeks the next morning, so we just biked over there and taught him some basic stuff about the church.  The sisters already gave him a Book of Mormon, so we started there.  He had really good questions, and I hope we can meet with him again.

Now for the bad story:
Monday night, we got home from biking around like normal, and it was really a normal day.  At maybe 10:25, some guy came to the gate and played the guitar terribly, like people here do, so I got up and gave him the equivalent of a nickel so that he would go away.  While I was up, I thought, "you should check the bikes” and then, "you need to finish your journal, and it's already almost time to go to bed, you always lock them, whatever."  So I just went to bed.  Meanwhile, Elder Suryono got way hungry.  He was laying in bed, and thought, "alright, let's go get nasi goreng."  and then "well, it's late, it's the end of the month, so I don't have any money, and if I eat now, I'll still be hungry."  So he stayed in bed.  Tuesday morning, 6:30, we get up, like normal, and in Indonesia, once you're awake, you open the door and the curtains to let light in.  And then we realized, our bikes were gone.  Someone must have jumped our fence, handed our bikes over the fence, and jumped back and rode away in the middle of the night.  So yeah, always follow the Spirit.  We bought new bikes on Friday, Elder Williams paid and then he'll get reimbursed by the Church, and we'll have to pay some, I'm not sure how much yet, out of pocket, and the rest comes out of our monthly allowance for the next ten months or something.  Yep, that's fun.  But my new bike is way nice.  It's a 26" hard tail Polygon, which is the standard, Indonesian made missionary bike.  It's way better than my old bike, but I would have rather not have had my bike stolen.  

Things are still good out here.  I'm loving it.  It's been cold, and I'm becoming a pansy because I'm getting uncomfortable when it hits around 70.  It's just too cold.  Which is funny because I'd be wearing shorts in America...

Elder Heiner

We helped the Williams move this week.
Sitting in the back of the Williams car.
It's kind of cramped.
Seminary Graduation.
I thought you might want to see what some of the kids
from the branch look like.
Railroad tracks going through town.
This is right in the middle of the city on our way to one
of our inactives.  It is so strange to be walking and all of a
sudden - Rice Field.