Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013

Dear Everyone,

This week has been good.  On Tuesday, we did splits, Elder Gil with Elder Barlow, Elder Martoyo with Elder Wiradi, and Elder Hobbs with me.  It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from Elder Hobbs.  It was different to be completely in charge with someone who doesn't really know how to get anywhere.  I learned a lot.  

On Wednesday, Elder Gil and I took the new Elders back to Senopati (the mission home) so that they could sign for their Kitas.  One of the things that President Donald is doing is to have all trainers come in for a meeting before they meet their trainees, and then they'll fly back to their areas together.  And so I met up with Elder Suryono again.  That was way cool.  He's training Elder Barlow in Surabaya.  Lucky Elder Barlow.  

The rest of the week was good.  Quick.  I'm really learning to love Bekasi, something I thought it was going to be hard to do.  Once you look past the dirty and the smelly and the crowded, it's a good place.  The people are good, and I love working with the members.  It's so different than Malang, but I'm really enjoying it.  

Elder Martoyo goes home tomorrow.  And because there's not another missionary, Elder Gil is joining our companionship.  Did I ever tell you Elder Gil is from Puerto Rico?  We're becoming a threesome over the two wards.  Elder Wiradi goes home in a month, so then we don't know what will happen.  It might happen that Elder Gil and I are the only ones in Bekasi.  Or we could get two brand new Indonesians, if there are new Indonesians to be had.  Or who knows.  It's still way far away.  

We teach our English class in the church, and we just tell everyone about it in hopes of getting people there.  We have some students that like to bring their friends, which is good advertisement too.   Some weeks, we'll have 4 people show up. And then the next week, one of the regulars is a lecturer, so he'll tell his students that we're teaching about jobs or something and that they should all show up.  Then he tells us that he told his students that we're teaching about jobs...  then 40 people show up and, yeah, we teach about jobs. It's pretty dysfunctional, as far as curriculum goes, but lots of fun.

We went fishing.  Elder Martoyo made fishing rods out of an old broom at our house, and that was fun.  It was at a pond.  One of the members owns a fish hatchery-ish so that made for quick fishing.  And we got to keep some of the fish, which we then...  I can't think of the English word…  "Bakar" translates to burn, but that's not exactly what we did.  We had a fire and put the fish on a grate over it until it was cooked.  Whatever you call that, that's what we did.  
Yep, Indonesia's just as exciting as ever.  I'm still healthy and happy,
Love,  Elder Heiner

I caught a fish!
"Sop Buah" or fruit soup.  It sounds weird but it is delicious.
It's like fruit salad with sweetened condensed milk
and ice mixed in.
Me in an Indonesian phone booth.
Me and a giant monkey... at the toy store.
This is Jakarta traffic.  Only one way though.
I couldn't get both sides of the street.

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

Dear Everyone,

So this week has been exciting.  It was moving along until Friday, and then it was gone...  

We had a zone conference.  In Indonesia, there are two kinds of zone conference.  There's a zone conference every month.  Two out of three months are ZTM, which is about two hours.  All the missionaries from the zone come, and it is similar to a really a big district meeting.  We have announcements, discuss investigators, have a lesson, say hello to anyone who wasn't here last time and say goodbye to anyone who's going home, it ends and we go and eat.  PLD is bigger and happens on the third month.  The president and the AP's come (but the AP's are in our zone, so they come to ZTM too).  PLD is all day, starts at 9 and goes until 4, people give talks and testimonies, President Donald gives a lesson, all the mission couples attend, we spend the night before, we play futsol after, and eat like four meals together.  Too much background?  This one was ZTM, PLD's on the 29th of October.  But this ZTM was unique because we had 10 brand new missionaries show up, and then we got to take one home while they wait for their papers.  So we've had six missionaries in our house, all of us plus Elder Hobbs and Elder Barlow.  They're way cool, and I've enjoyed talking with Elder Hobbs in angkots and stuff.   He's going to Solo on Wednesday, which is cool.  He's a way good missionary, really brave, really direct, and he's really helped me to realize how much better my language has gotten since I arrived here.  

Well, time's up but lots of other stuff happened this week.  We visited some members, taught an investigator, looked for people, and rode the train to Jakarta. Yep.  It's been fun.
Love you.

Elder Heiner
Me in front of our house.
Me, Elder Blaser, and Elder Gil at zone conference.
Elder Wood, Elder McCleary, and the Sisters are the
only ones from our MTC group I haven't seen since we split. 
About half of our English class (see me in the back)
We have a lot of people show up to our classes here.
The washing machine.
We don't have a dryer so we just hang everything up.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Dear everyone,

I'm doing well, and I can't complain.  Things are good in Bekasi, albeit slow.  It's hard to predict when people are home.  We call to set up an appointment, and ask when we can come over, and we get "kapan-kapan" which means "when-when" or whenever.  So we pick a time, and get there and then they're all like, "Oh, I'm just leaving" or their uncle who lives with them says that she went to hang out with her sister, or whatever.  And then if you teach a lesson, it takes an hour to get there, and hour to teach the lesson, and an hour to get back to the terminal, where you can go somewhere else.  So it takes three hours for a lesson, and two hours if they aren't there.  In Malang, we'd have a backup plan, if someone wasn't home, we could go to someone else's house, and if it was far, that's not a big deal because we can bike there.  Here, there's not really space for back up plans.  If something falls through, the time is already spent.  I wish there was a better way to go about things.  We gotta think outside the box.  

It seems like we didn't do much this week, even though every day was full.  Lots of riding angkots.  Lots of trying to talk to people who really don't want to talk to you.  It's kind of funny, I'll talk to someone, ask them where they're going, or what the name of this mall is, or something like that, and then they'll be all surprised because I can speak Indonesian with some degree of coherency, and then they'll answer and ask, "ngpain?" which is the coolest word because it means "What the heck are you doing?" In context, it means "what are you doing in Indonesia", and then I say that I'm church service, and they ask what church, and then I say "Gereja Yesus Kristus dari Orang-Orang Suci Zaman Akhir," and they go, "ohhhhhhh" and the conversation's over.  I can tell they want to talk to the white guy, but they don't want to talk to the white guy who's happy to be a Christian.  So we sit there awkwardly, (like we sit way close to each other because angkots are tiny) until they get off and then I can try with someone else.  Sometimes they're a little interested and I give away a pass-along card, but like 90% of the time, it's just like that.  It really is fun.  

I'm loving the food in this country.  Strangest lately, biawak.  I later found out it is a big lizard, known as a monitor lizard in the US.  I try to never eat American food, but the Lisks (a mission couple) came over for an apartment inspection and we had Pizza Hut.  That was good.  The only American food here seems to all be fast food, it's never as good as real American food, and it's expensive.  Sometimes we eat soft serve ice cream from McDonalds, because it's close and the 4oz cone is 35 cents.  So it's really more like often we get that.

I'm enjoying being in a house with three other Elders.  It's fun to have other people to talk to. Elder Gil is fun to talk to, too.  Makes me want to see how Elder Wood (my MTC comp) is doing.  He's in Solo right now.  Elder Wiradi has a bunch of pictures of him (he was Elder Wood's companion before this), and so it was cool to see what they were up to over there.  He got Dengae Fever, so that's no good.  But he's all better now.  Crazy.  Do you realize that I've been on a mission for a little over four months?  It does not seem like it's been nearly half that long, and yet, to quote Joseph Smith, "but strange or not, so it was," (JSH 1:23).

Today we are going into Jakarta to play futsol with the missionaries there.  It's MLC (Mission Leader Conference) so the zone leaders are going to be there, and I get to see Elder Blaser for the first time in a while.
Thanks for everything, and hopefully you're all doing well. And I'm healthy.
Elder Heiner

A shirt that was in my closet when I got here.  It's like the poems
you read in English class where the meaning is highly symbolic.  
Our Street
In Indonesia, it is super cool to give someone
a picture of you with them when you see them
a second time.  This picture was given to me
by the guy in the picture from when I was in
Basaki for a week when I first arrived in
Indonesia.  This is Elder James, Elder McCleary,
Elder Johnson, the guy, his sister, and
her daughter.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013

Dear Everyone,

Sorry for being so short yesterweek, time was short.  But this week is a little different. OK, no, I still don't have as much time as I want, but maybe I can tell you a little more about how things are going here.  

Last Thursday, Elder Wiradi accepted a one month extension, so we will be companions until the 1st of November, which is the date that new Indonesian missionaries enter the mission.  Elder Martoyo did not accept the extension, so we might be a threesome for a month, or something, or maybe we don't know and we just like to speculate.

Bekasi is good, it’s about as different as you can get from Malang.   It's hot, about 20 degrees hotter than Malang, all the time.  I just sweat all the time.  We have a couple of people to visit, which is nice, but with both of us only being here a few days, we really don't know how to get anywhere, or where their houses are, so that's a rough situation.  But we're working with it, and we already know how to get to maybe four or five of their houses.  That said, it takes about an hour to get to any one of them, and Indonesian people don't like making appointments, so that doesn't mean we've met with all five of them.  And we have to take angkots to get anywhere, so that's a hassle.  Angkots are like public transportation minivans.  They're expensive and hot and small.  It costs somewhere around 13,000 rupia to visit anyone (round trip).  Which is more than it costs to eat a meal, so we have to be careful or we'll run out of time and money.  The record is 20 people riding in one at the same time (that I’ve been on, who knows the real record).  Driver, three sitting shotgun, eight on the left bench, five on the right bench, two on the bench by the door that faces backwards, and one standing in the doorway holding on to the roof.  I thought that people would start getting off, but it was just people getting on, and then more get on, and more get on, and then you sit and are squished.  Not particularly fun, and being that close to someone makes it difficult to talk to them.  

I'm really enjoying living in a house with four elders.  It's different, and a lot of fun.  I feel like my language skills are getting better, too, because we talk a lot more.  Elder Suryono is a fairly quiet person, and Elder Wiradi and Elder Martoyo are good friends, this is the third time they've lived in the same house, so they talk about Manado and Semarang, and investigators and stuff, and just by trying to listen I think my language is getting better.  

I don't know what else to say about Beksai.  I'm enjoying myself.  I'm a little sick but I think it's from the heavy pollution.  But things are good and I'm still functional.  
Elder Heiner

Elder Wiradi and me about to walk out the door to go email.
I don't know how this found it's way to Indonesia
but I am glad to see one of our investigators in Bakasi
is a Jayhawk fan.

Pictures from Malang

Here are some pictures that I couldn't send last week.
The Young Women from the Malang branch, the
branch president, and the branch mission leader.
The YW are my English class that I teach after
church.  The YM were invited to but they're lazy.
Brother Meek, one of our MTC teachers, introduced this
family to the church.  It was pretty cool to meet them.
Brother Auyb's family