Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nov. 30, 2011 Selamat Ulang Tahun kepadaku!!! (Happy Birthday to Me!!)

Hello Family and Friends,

How are things going there in Texas and everywhere else that you may be? I don't know if you can tell from my writing or anything but I am officially writing to y'all as a 22 year old. I woke up today with a few gray hairs... actually that is true and it is only because I woke up to my companion throwing flour in my face. An Indonesian tradition that I'm not quite sure about, but it is better than a raw egg broken on the top of the head which is more traditional. I was thankful that that didn't happen. Actually I have had a wonderful birthday ... with a few pictures to show you. But first I am glad that everyone had a great thanksgiving. I was fun to see all of your pictures, thanks for blogging. And Deborah... Your hair is so long. I'm shocked!!! And I can not even express my jealousy over y'all seeing the NBA championship trophy. That is ridiculous!!! I hope I get the Christmas card with the photo.

Well, as for my birthday, like I said I woke up with flour thrown in my face, but that was ok. Then we quickly got dressed and I opened my presents from y'all. Thanks for all the vera bradley!!! What would a birthday be like without some vera. The pictures were awesome and I love the necklace. Thanks for everything!!! It made today very special. Then we quickly went out and were off to celebrate as a zone at Taman Safari, a zoo here were you drive through the zoo and the animals are just walking around. We got pretty close to lions, zebras, hippos, camels, and lots of other animals. But the fun part was the baby zoo where you could pay one whole dollar and get pictures taken with baby animals. See pictures one and two to see me with a 2 month old baby orangutan, Claudia, and me with a 5 month old lion, Java. It was a pretty surreal experience. And pretty much Claudia loved me. I got lots of pictures... Java was not too pleased and kinda scared me. The baby tiger was not chained up and scratched someone before me so I chickened out on that one... actually I couldn't fork over another dollar, but that is 4 angkot rides!!! The zoo was awesome and definitely was a once in a lifetime experience. Then as we were leaving we came upon this picturesque view... see picture 3. Can you find that anywhere in America???? And then let me tell you how much I love senior couples... they found out it was my birthday and made me cookies. They brought them to the zoo with some candles so I could blow some out and make a wish. It was a great to be sung to in English. My birthday has turned out to be a great day. Thanks for all the emails and blog posts too!! What an awesome family!!!

Well this week continued to be a little frustrating. We have been able to make contact with a few former investigators who seem interested in learning again so we are glad about that and are hoping things go well there. Ibu Tinawati is still our only stable investigator and she continues to read the Book of Mormon but it is going to be hard for her to come to church, she works Sunday morning selling at the market and apparently Sunday is her busiest day. It definitely will be a step of faith for her to come to church, but slowly we see that faith growing in her. We love her and keep working with her. But the most exciting part of these week was on Sunday when two less active ladies we have been working with for a long time came to church. We were so excited!!!! It pretty much felt like a baptism. They both seemed to have a good experience and hopefully they can keep coming and become active again.

Well thanks so much for all the birthday wishes, presents, and packages. I was probably most excited about the advent that you sent me. My companion thought it was strange, but when I explained it to her... she still thought it was strange. But I love it!! I can't wait to start that along with the scriptures tomorrow. Thanks so much for being a wonderful family. I love you all and miss you all!!! Oh and I ate Thanksgiving dinner last week at Pizza Hut. A supreme pizza never tasted so good. Have a great week. I'm on the look out for a nativity mom, but I haven't succeeded yet. I just saw my first Christmas tree so maybe I'm close. Pray!!! I know this church is true and I love you all!!!


PS... For calling, yeah I figure I could call at like 5 o'clock am on Christmas and all things would be ok. No really, maybe like 7 am there. Is that 8 pm here right? With the time changes ya? Umm... I will probably be calling since I don't know anyone with skype here. I figure just buy a calling card. I will try and figure that one out this week. Thanks!! Can't wait!!! Love you all!!!

I forgot

Hey so Sister Groberg told me that y'all had emailed asking if you could do anything for the Indonesian missionaries for Christmas. She said that she felt that it might just be a little too hard to get things for all of them here to Indonesia especially with no guarantee that it will actually get here. But she asked what I thought and I really feel that maybe if you could just write a note for all the sister missionaries in the mission. There are only 11, and 5 are American, so only 6 native. However, they probably wouldn't like it if they felt singled out or felt sorry for, so probably better to send something to all of the sisters. Probably just a letter with some stickers or picture of Christ of the temple. Something that could just fit in an envelope. I think they would all really enjoy it. And all the native sisters speak fairly good English so you could write the note in English.

The names are:
Sister Suryono, my current comp
Sister Nababan, my trainer
Sister Tukijan, my old comp
Sister Sari, I actually have only met her once, but she is the only member in her Muslim family
Sister Pontoan, she has been out for almost 6 months and we are teaching her mom her in Malang
Sister Tandiman, she is really new and her dad is an old mission president here in Indonesia. I hear she is awesome.
Sister Langi, about to go home in February from SLC
Sister Collins, from Layton, UT
Sister Peters, from Idaho
Sister Nicholes, my MTC comp
Sister Blake, me

I don't know if y'all will have time to do this, but if y'all still feel it is good I think they would all really like it. Thanks for being so awesome and giving. A great example to me!!! Love you lots!!

Nov. 23, 2011 Foto-foto(Photos)

Hey Family,

Hello from the other side of the world!! How are things going? I am glad to hear that Mom's surgery went well and that she has successfully managed to learn how to blog from her iPhone ... I don't know which one I was more worried about this week. All the blog posts were a great to look at today. It sounds like everyone had a great week and is now enjoying their Thanksgiving Break. I have yet to see one thing that has reminded me of Thanksgiving in the least, but technically we are P-daying tomorrow to celebrate and are going to go eat lunch at an actual restaurant. I might actually get to eat with silverware!!! I don't think I will ever be more thankful!! I hope everyone has a wonderful day and I am pretty sure Bevan isn't really serving a mission in the least when he gets hand-delivered packages and gets to eat Thanksgiving with the Browns. Pssh!!!

Well as promised from a few weeks ago, here are a few pictures from the happenings of the past few weeks. I hope that you all enjoy ... and please notice how short my hair is!! It is so curly too. The ringlets are impressive. The first photo is me eating dog!! We usually eat at night at home so that is why I am in my pajamas. The dog was pretty delicious. I don't know why we don't eat dog for Thanksgiving and not turkey, maybe I will start that tradition when I come home. And yes we do have silverware in our house, but I opt to use my hands instead.

The second picture is from a wedding that we attended. The bride is a member of the Malang Branch and her mom is Ibu Tinawati that we have been teaching lately. The groom is a member from Solo. It was a pretty low-key wedding but a great experience. I think the whole church celebrates A LOT when two members of the church get married. It unfortunately doesn't happen as much as it should, but when it does it is so fun to see. And yes, the groom is wearing make-up on his face to look more white. Kinda weird, but that is what they do.

This is a picture of me trying to sneak a Book of Mormon into the drawer at the hotel we stayed at. I just didn't think the Al'Koran and the selected portions from the New Testament were enough. My companion didn't think it would be a good idea so I took it with me and then gave it to a nun on the bus ride home to Malang later that night. I don't know if she ever read it, but hopefully.

And which one of these people are not like the other ... yes that is right I am the lone white person here. Actually one of the elders is from California but he is Hispanic and so no one ever thinks he is American, but rather just assume that he is Indonesian until he talks and people realize he can't speak at all... he's only been here two months. But, this is a picture of the missionaries here in Malang with our Branch Mission Leader and his wife. We were enjoying FHE with them. They are both returned missionaries and just a fun couple. Some of my favorite people I've met in Malang.

Well this week still didn't bring too much good news investigator wise. Ibu Tinawati is still learning but she is still far from really believing. She has a lot of doubts but she is still willing to learn and find out. It is a slow process, but we love her and want to help her so we are doing all that we can do to help. Her daughter on her mission frequently writes and bears her testimony so with that we are pretty sure she is feeling the spirit. Slowly but surely!!

But other then that our rejection record is getting pretty impressive. And people keep getting more and more creative with their rejection tactics. It is a little hard to take at times, but I have been able to see how hard Satan is working to try and discourage us, so we must be getting close to finding someone awesome. We have a few good contacts/referrals that we are hoping to contact this next week so hopefully things will turn out soon.

Well even though I won't be eating any turkey or stuffing or pie tomorrow I have decided that it won't stop me from being so grateful for all of the things that I have in my life. These past 10 months on my mission have really shown me all of the blessings I really have and how much the Gospel really does bring into my life. This mission has changed my life and I will always be grateful for the experiences that I have had, even the really, REALLY hard ones that leave me questioning if I am really doing any good. I know that this church is true and I know that we are lead by a prophet of God.I know the Book of Mormon is true and I learn something from it each and every day that I read it's pages. Thank you so much for being a wonderful family. I love you all and miss you!!!! Please eat some pie for me tomorrow and drink some eggnog!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!


P,S. I am also grateful for Justin Beiber who has given me numerous opportunities to explain to people what mistletoe is. I haven't heard this new Christmas song, but I already do not like it! Love you all!!!

Nov. 16, 2011 Sakit, Anjing, dan Seorang Ibu yang Berusia 100 tahun (Sick, Dog, and a 100 year old woman)

Hello Family,

It looks like things are going well there at home and all things are going well. Welcome to the world James! You are quite the cute little baby. You are lucky you are so handsome, because I don't just share my birth month with just anyone, but with you I am more than happy too. I will be excited to meet you in 8 months!! I am glad that Hannah is doing well and Avery and Sarah have adjusted to the new addition. Quite an exciting time. I am also glad that Mom will be able to to have her surgery this week and I will pray that all will be well. And I really, really hope that your chapstick works Bevan. That just sounds awful!! How are you able to survive? It is a good thing that you have a car to help you cope. I will be having a special fast for you this week to make sure that you fully heal.

Well this week has been full with crazy events. Sorry, I don't have time to attach pictures. Next week, promise!! Well this week actually didn't start out very fun. It started out with me being sick in bed last Thursday and Friday. Apparently I ate a kind of food last Wednesday night that is a 'killer of white people' from what I learned afterwards. And believe me the food tried hard to kill me. It was not too fun and made me pretty homesick at times, but after about 48 hours of straight sleep I was able to make it through. And then my lips got chapped and that was just awful! Actually not really, but it was a rough few days, but I felt pretty darn skinny at the end of it!!

Saturday I was back to normal and could work again and ended the day with really testing my stomach... that is right. I ate dog!!! It looked pretty gross, but I just couldn't give up the opportunity. But I am here to report that dog is delicious!! YUM!!! My poor companion was pretty disgusted by the whole thing and would not even come close to trying, but she made it through. I even ate the dog with my hands. So whatever etiquette you learned at that mission conference last week Malan and Hansen pretty much goes out the window in Indonesia. But just beware Zoie when I come home, if you even try and lick me I will be willing to eat you!!!

But the highlight of the week, and my classic Girl Scout moment, was when we helped a semi-active elderly woman in the Branch move. This Sister lives with her 100 year old mother, who is probably my favorite person in Indonesia. And this 100 year old woman is still as fit as a fiddle. But while helping them move, part of the process was helping this 100 year old woman cross the street. Pretty Awesome. The process was my companion going out and completely stopping traffic and then me and her walking across one side of the street. We then rested in the middle of the street for about 10 minutes and then crossed to the other side. I then realized how much I really am being watched over, when once we made it to the other side, no sooner than 5 minutes after that there was a pretty big accident with 6 motorcyclists falling on top of one another. Kinda scary, but in classic Indonesian fashion, no one was hurt and they all just stood up, brushed off, got back on their bikes and kept going. I was flabbergasted!! But it was still a pretty cool moment of my mission.

Well beside from these events the rest of the week has been pretty disappointing with every single investigator, except one, deciding to reject us. It has been pretty hard to take and watch as people have decided to not listen and learn. We don't really know where to go from all this and what we need to do, but we aren't letting this get us down. We still have one investigator, Ibu Tinawati, and are pretty much putting all our efforts into helping her. But if she rejects us, I just don't know what we will do!! This week, hopefully will bring some new investigators. Hopefully!! But I've learned a lot about how much Satan works and doesn't want us to succeed. I know that he really doesn't like to see us working and helping people to receive this gospel. But I am glad that we have been blessed with the knowledge that we win in the end!! Just gotta keep an eternal perspective!!!

Well I love you all so much and miss you all. Good luck Mom with everything this week. I will be praying for you!!! Post more pictures on the Blog, especially of the new additions in the family. Have a great week, and remember, 2 weeks till my birthday!!! I know this church is true and love sharing it with other people, even though they don't want to listen. It blesses my life so much and I just hope other people can have these same blessings. I love you all!!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nov. 9, 2011 Musim Hujan (Rainy Season)

Dear Family,

Hello from Malang, Indonesian!! How are things going over there are on the other side of the world? I'm glad that everyone survived the earthquake. That is pretty crazy, in fact I'm a little sceptical. Maybe y'all are all making it up so you can feel like you live in Indonesia... Who knows? It sounds like you had a great week, filled with a trip to San Fran. That is pretty fun. I'm glad was able to stay out of the hospital while you were there. Did you at least take a ride to see the old Catholic hospital to relive the old times? Was Wicked there to go see? I'm pretty excited for Hannah and Chris tomorrow. I'm a little sad that I have to wait a whole week to see the pictures, but I guess that is ok. I'm sure I will survive. Good luck this weekend at state, Malan. I hope all goes well and that y'all win. I think if you did it would be the first time I'm a little bit proud to have graduated from Smith and if you loose, well that would just be typical Smith.

Well I am writing to tell you that it is officially Rainy Season in the country of Indonesia. This past week it has rained 5 days out of 7, with the other two days very, very close to rain. Let's just say that my umbrella is my new best friend and I'm glad that I have one from America, because my companion has gone through 2 in the past 2 weeks. You would think that the umbrellas in Indonesia would be a little more reliable. It rains or threatening rain pretty much all day. If Heavenly Father really loves me, it starts raining when we go into an appointment and stops when we leave, but sometimes it doesn't always happen that way. And there is no drizzle here either... if it rains, it is always raining HARD!!! And since it is a 3rd World Country the drainage system isn't too good so there is the occasional flooding. My shoes so far have been holding up. So far it hasn't been too bad, but to think that this will go on till next May is a little ridiculous to think about especially since my tan was FINALLY starting to come and now the sun isn't even here. So it is going to go away. I'm pretty sad... 7 months of hard work and my tan is pretty pathetic. And I just don't understand why it can't rain at night or during the morning while we are studying, but it never does. It just doesn't make sense to me.

OK, Mom the international mail system decided to be really, really efficient. I got my Christmas package this week. I was pretty shocked. But the fact that I have to look at it for the next month and a half is not too funny. But it is sitting next to my Birthday Package just waiting to be opened. And I just have a favor to ask of anyone... Will someone send me some mail that I can open right when I get it? Please. I would greatly appreciate it!! For my birthday package is it one where I should open on my birthday or like a week before or what? I need some instruction!

OK, Dad I have a question. During your time in Iran did you ever live through the Muslim holiday, the day of Sacrifice? I'm just wondering... if you did, did it scar you as much as it did to me? And if you didn't, be grateful. Gross!! I'll explain the rest when I come home.

Well this week, investigator wise, was ok. There was still a lot of rejection, but that is to be expected. Indonesians aren't too good at just telling us that they aren't interested so they get pretty creative with their ways of avoiding us. We just laugh at them and tell them they are missing out on something awesome. We did find a girl named Meike and her mother and gave them a Book of Mormon and they seemed pretty interested. The Dad is pretty sick and always wants us to sing to him to comfort him. Since he is sick they can't really go anywhere and so I think they are pretty excited to have company. We told them the Book of Mormon is the best cure for loneliness ever. Hopefully it will give them some encouragement.

We are also starting to teach Yusi again, who we taught about 2 months ago, but was learning really just for her mom, who is a member in Hong Kong, and not really for her. She seems more ready to accept this gospel now and hopefully that is true.

The work keeps going here. It is slow, but that is ok. We know we will win in the end. In the mean time I teach English for free to anyone who wants to learn, so that keeps me busy. And I'm learning that I pretty much know nothing about English grammar. I hate the question, "But why do you use that verb tense?" Ms Harris and Ms Morgan would be ashamed.

Well I miss you guys a lot. Sorry there wasn't to much to report in this letter. I didn't score any more goals in soccer. I'll try an make this next week more interesting. If not I'll send some pictures home next week. I'm sure mom would love that. Well I miss you all so much and love you lots too!!! I'm glad everyone is doing well. Enjoy the new addition to the family. I will be excited to see pictures next week. Take lots of them. Good luck Hannah and Chris!! And Good luck Malan!!! Have a great week!! I know this Church is true and love it with all my heart!!


Oct . 26, 2011 Pengalaman-Pengalaman yang Luar Biasa! (Amazing Experiences!)

Dear Family,

It sounds like everyone is having a great week and all things are going well. I am a little disappointed that the Rangers didn't sweep the World Series because now I have to wait a whole other week to find out what happened. Not everyone can be serving in a ward with native Texans living in it and have to luxury of having an in on the Texas Sports. Ridiculous!!! Bevan is spoiled! And I haven't eaten on Halloween Pillsbury cookie all October. That is so fun that you had a baby shower for Melissa. I actually just got the birth announcement she sent me last week. She is quite a cute little baby! And Melissa looked pretty skinny. You must be on the Indonesian Rice diet. Is everyone going trick-or-treating this week? Are you even going to hand out candy? Maybe I'll go trick-or-treating... I will actually get to knock on a door. HA! (I thought it was funny...) Is Malan almost done with his BYU application? Where are you going to live? What class are we going to take together next fall Malan? Let's make it more exciting than the geology class me and Bevan took!

Well this week has been a pretty great one. I'm enjoying my new companion and we keep working hard, hopefully something will come from it. But this week there have been two pretty cool, sweet experiences that would've had Dad crying if he were there. I thought I would share them with you. First, was this last Sunday when it was the Malang Branch's Primary Program. The 11 kids that are in the Primary did quite an amazing job and it was the best Primary Program I've seen in a long time. But I was honored to take part in it. The kids sung Armies of Helaman and they asked the 4 missionaries serving in the Branch to take part and sing with them. It was a very powerful experience that had more than a few people in the congregation with tears in their eyes. I was very humbled and grateful for this experience to serve my mission in Indonesia and strengthen the church here and help bring people to the light of the Gospel. It was just a cool moment and one where my testimony was strengthened even more. And it was probably the one time in my life that I enjoyed participating in a primary program.

The second one happened yesterday, we went to go visit on of the pioneer members of the Branch here. His name is Brother Boiman and his granddaughter loves going out with us to teach. This Brother, about 80 years old, has been a member for a little over 30 years, has always been active and strong in the church, and has brought and helped some of this children and grandchildren into the church. His wife, who was also a member, died last year and they as a couple were never able to go to the temple. Yesterday when we were there, he told us how he had just found out on Sunday that in January he will have to opportunity to go to the Philippians to go to the temple. He said it was a miracle and that he had pretty much given up hope and thought he would never be able to make it. There were tears of joy and gratitude in his eyes, and maybe in my and my comp's eyes, as he told us this. His smile on his face was indescribable when he said that he finally would be able to be sealed to his wife. It was an amazing experience that made me so grateful for the blessings of the temple and how close we have one in Dallas. No doubt a blessing oftentimes taken for granted. I hope, after talking to Brother Boiman, I never take it for granted again.

Well this week, finally Floren will get baptized. It has been on long experience teaching her, but well worth it at the same time. I've learned a lot from her and love her a lot. She is a great 16 year old girl and has a great testimony. She is a great example to her family and her friends. I'm really looking forward to this experience. It should be wonderful.

As for other investigators... It actually isn't too hard to find people to listen to us once, but that want to let us come back is the trick. We have taught a lady Ibu Pontoan, who has two daughters who are members, and she has been taught off and on for the past few years. We are hoping to focus on her to help her and help her gain a testimony like her daughters. She is a very nice lady, who cooks really good, but that is besides the point. Hopefully good things come from it. Hopefully we can get some more investigators that are eager to hear this great gospel.

Well I love you all and miss you all. I am happy I got to share these great experiences with you. I know that this church is true and that it is the greatest blessing in our lives. I am so very grateful for it each and every day. Have a great week. Keep for those Rangers for me!!! I believe in them, all the way in Indonesia!!! And I will be anxiously waiting news to know if they won or not. Love you all!!!


Oct. 18, 2011 Minggu Ini Gila Sekali!! (This week was Crazy!!!)

Hello Family,

Well I am glad that you officially didn't forget about me. That makes me happy, but it was kinda hard having one full week to wonder. We will see in 9 months if your story is really true and I have an email in my old inbox. But it was good to hear from you and get two emails this week. Sounds like you have had a few exciting weeks. I am so happy for the Rangers that is awesome. I hope I get a shirt again when they win the world series. I'm cheering for them in Indonesia, when I remember, but most of the time I don't. Hopefully they can when this time. Sorry Mom to hear that your foot is not getting much better. I hope the doctors can help and you can start feeling better. Just be grateful that you aren't in Indonesia, because what I have seen of the health care here it is not too good and most things are done with rubbing some oil on yourself, or using herbs, basically crazy things Dad would just roll his eyes at.

Well this week has been quite the crazy, emotional one. Many things have happened and I couldn't possibly fit it into one whole email, but I will give you the highlights. First, I don't know if you heard about the earthquake in Bali last Thursday. I guess it was pretty big, at least big enough for it to be felt in Malang. yep, I felt my first earthquake. It wasn't big at all. I was just sitting on my bed studying language and all of a sudden it just started swaying. It stayed for only about 15 seconds and never got big, but it was still pretty cool. Most people in Malang didn't even feel it, but now I can say I've lived through an earthquake. And thankfully I was wearing my earthquake-proof clothing Sis Whitley told me to bring so I was completely safe. Thanks.

The next news was my change in companionship. Yep, yesterday Sister Tukijan moved to Jakarta and I got a new companion, Sister Suryono. She is from Bandung which is near Jakarta on the west side of the island and she has only about 4 months left of her mission. She is really good and I know I am going to learn allot from her. It was pretty sad to see my companion of 4 months leave though. I'll miss her a lot. The mission is in the process of getting about 30 new missionaries so there are a lot of changes going on right now. It is kinda crazy.

And through all this I've been a little sick. I accidentally drank a little bit of the water when I was brushing my teeth and I have learned that even a little bit is not good. I have not felt too good all week. I've always been able to work but haven't been at my best. Thankfully I am feeling better now and have learned my lesson. Do not drink the water.

And the most exciting news is that I have reached my 1/2 way point. In fact it is today. I'm pretty excited about it, but in all reality it still feels the same. The past nine months have gone by fast and I've learned a lot, but when I think I still have 9 more left it still feels like a long time, so I still can't really think about home at all. But yes, happy hump day to me!!!!

As far as investigators go, Floren is still good. She wasn't able to get baptized this week and she and her family has had some drama and sad things happen this week, so we are probably going to wait a few weeks until things calm down for her to get baptized. We can really see Satan working to not let her get baptized, but I'm confident things will all work out. We are just doing our best.

Ibu Hermin is still good. Last week, the girl who rented a room in her house moved out so now she lives all alone. She seems really sad and lonely when we last saw her. Hopefully she will turn to the Book of Mormon, which she still enjoys reading, to give her the needed comfort. We still love her.

We have made some good contacts this week, of which we are hoping and praying that good things come from it. We will see.

As for Christmas presents, I would really just love more photos of the family and the nieces and nephew. This week I had a really strong craving for granola bars, so I would enjoy those. If you can find a portable, hot shower that you could send I would love that. Just kidding. Umm... yeah that is about it. I don't know. Honestly, it doesn't feel at all like the holidays are coming up since there pretty much is no Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas here so my brain isn't quite in the thinking of gifts mood. Whatever you send will be great. Oh, question? Was the phone mom washed my old cell phone? Does that mean I get an iPhone when I come home?

Well I love you all. Thanks for never forgetting me!! It means a lot. I hope everyone has a great week. I pray for y'all everyday! I know this church is true. I love serving my Heavenly Father. I know He loves us and blesses us when we keep the commandments. I love you all. Have a great week!!