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.

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