Thursday, September 29, 2011

July 6, 2011 PLD di Surabaya (Zone Conference in Surabaya)

Dear Family,

Hello everyone! How are things going in South Dakota or Kansas or where ever y'all are? It sounds like y'all have had quite the fun trip so far. I'll be excited to hear all about it. Not to be outdone, I went on my own summer (or I guess winter) vacation this past week. It was zone conference so we got to go to Surabaya, which is the second biggest city in Indonesia and is about 2 hours north of Malang. So, me and my comp and the 3 elders here in Malang got to ride in a stinky bus for 2 hours on Sunday after church with probably the least amount of leg room known to man. But it was all made up for when we checked into our hotel. Since there are no sisters serving in Surabaya, my comp and I got to stay in a hotel and since it is vacation from school right now and all the other hotels were booked, the hotel we stayed at was nicer than any Hilton we've ever stayed at. Boy, it was nice. Really, I just loved the fact that it had a shower with hot water. I took two! And the dinner that we ate there with our mission president and mission mom was pretty nice. I ate Gado-Gado, which is an Indonesian dish that I can buy here in Malang for about 4000 Rupiah (40 cents) but at the restaurant in the hotel it was about 30000 Rupiah which is still only about $3 but still pretty darn expensive. It was quite the fun experience. However the sign on the TV in the hotel room that advertised the American channels it carried including ESPN was pretty hard to handle. But don't worry I overcame that temptation! Zone Conference was also pretty good. It was all about unity and working with the branch and ward leaders which is definitely a challenge here in Indonesia, but hopefully we can make it a little better. After two hours of playing indoor soccer and then eating at A&W Root Beer we were back on the road to Malang, which decided to have crazy traffic which made us not get home till midnight. I was quite tired the next day to say the least, but it was a great trip all together.

Other than that, Malang continues to be great. Me and Sister Tukijan work really well together and we pretty much never speak English which is nice. We have 4 baptisms planned for this Sunday but aren't too confident they will all pan out. Ibu Hanawati is positively getting baptized this week. She has been looking forward to it for a long time and can't wait. It is exciting to see how excited she is about the Gospel. Her two kids, Vito and Floren, also are planning to get baptized. They really want to and have a lot of good friends here in the branch, but how much they know about the gospel and the commandments is a little iffy. I think the social aspect is what draws them a little bit more to the church. Their baptism might get postponed a couple of weeks. We will see. Also Ibu Sugriarti also is planning on getting baptized. She is ready and prepared and has a good strong testimony. Scheduling an interview is just the problem. She is really busy and also who is interviewing her is really busy. It might be proposted another week just because of that. But I know it is worth the wait so that's ok.

Our other investigator Ibu Wahyu is doing good. She didn't come to church this past Sunday and we don't know why but she said that she has started to read a little bit in the Book of Mormon which is exciting. I learned this week that I guess her daughters who are members aren't the most active so she will only come when her daughters come. I think we might change our focus a little and work with her daughters at the same time and see if we can't strengthen them all at the same time. It is a great family that I love and I hope that she continues to progress and all become really strong in this gospel.

There aren't as many investigators here so we spend a lot of time visiting less active members. There are a lot here! And they are have different reasons for why they aren't active but they all come back to the fact that they feel like they don't have friends or feel accepted in the branch. It is sad to see, but I've gained a strong testimony of why we have home and visiting teaching. It isn't too prevalent here and I think if it was a lot of people would come back to church. But we had a couple come to church on Sunday which was exciting to see.

I'm glad that Elder and Sister Merideth emailed you. That District Meeting I taught to 22 missionaries including my mission president and mission mom. A little nerve-wracking but I think it went good. And I was wearing a new shirt. I've bought two here and a pair of plastic shoes to wear when it rains. So not too much. It was all really expensive in Jakarta but here in Malang it is not so much. One P-Day might just be spent buying batik. It is like the Vera Bradley here in Indonesia! Mom would love it. Yes Mom the necklaces were still in the box. It didn't seem like anything was taken from it. The next package just send to the mission home in Jakarta and they will get it to me. My comps first name right now is Tri (pronounced Tree).

I'm glad everything is going so well on your trip. That salt mine looked pretty fun, but I don't think I could have handled the elevator. Good thing I'm in Indonesia. And that bathroom looked a lot cleaner than some of the ones I have seen here. At least it was a toilet! I'm sad though that I am missing the Medora Musical, a priceless treasure from my childhood!! Keep having fun and be safe!!

Funny Story of the week: So on Saturday we went to a wedding of the daughter of our landlord, who has been taught the gospel off and on for a couple of years. It was a pretty nice, fancy wedding. The outfits were pretty traditional, including a flower head dress for the bride and a skirt, slippers and sword for the groom. The food was amazing and delicious and it seemed like nothing was overlooked and the price was not thought about. So what would the give as the hostess gift for all the guests? That's right you guessed it: Fingernail Clippers!!! I'm still confused!!

Thanks for all the love and prayers!! I pray for you each day too. I know this church is true and love being a missionary sharing the gospel. It is such a great blessing in our lives!! I love you and miss you!!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saya Sangat Suka Malang!! (I really like Malang!!)

Hey Family,

How are things going over there in the USA? As for things in East Java they are pretty good. Everything went smoothly with my transfer on Saturday. There was no hitchhiking involved, just one airplane ride from Jakarta to Malang. It was pretty exciting, even though the lady next to me had no interest in talking to me at all. But the nice thing was that even though my luggage was about 3 kilos overweight I didn't have to pay a single rupiah because I'm white. I think airlines in America should adopt that policy. It would make flying for me quite a bit easier. Even though it was a little stressful having to show my proof that I was actually allowed in this country to every single person, but I made it safe and sound and am now enjoying Malang. Yes, I got my package last Thursday. I loved it as did Sister Nababan. She was really touched that yall would think of her. I especially LOVED the Mavs shirt, and even though the box got searched by the mail people and I had to pay a $20 tax on the shirt I still wear it with pride. Maybe the Mavs champion shirt should just stay at home for the next year... just don't let anyone wear it.

Malang is great. It is situated in between three volcanos and we have to sweep each morning so our tile doesn't darken from the volcanic ash that is just in the air. It was nice to see that the sky was still blue and that clouds can be white... I had forgotten those two facts during my time in Jakarta. It definitely can get pretty chilly at night when the wind blows, but I would not say it is cold. I imagine that it is just a lot like Southern California. Just in Indonesia!! My compaion is Sister Tukijan and she is actually from about 2 hours outside of Malang. So she is pretty close to home. But she has a similar story with Sister Nababan. She joined the church about 10 years ago when she was 20 years old while living in Hong Kong. She has quite the amazing conversion story which all started with one pass along card. She converted from Islam and told the missionaries when she first met with them that she had no interest in learning about Jesus Christ, but she only wanted to know how Families can be together Forever. Kinda Funny. But she also has pretty much no family support since her family is all still Islam. But she is a great missionary and a hard worker. She also loves to cook and I think I'm going to gain back all the weight I lost in Jakarta while I'm with her. It is also nice because she forces us to speak Indonesian all the time. She can speak English enough that when I get stuck she can help me, but I'm pretty much in Indonesian mode. Hopefully it will help me learn a lot more and pretty fast.

As for investigators, we have a few that have baptisamal dates for July 10 which is pretty exciting. Ibu Sugiarto has been learning for while and has always wanted to get baptized but has always waited because she hoped that her kids would join her, but she decided to stop waiting and just get baptized. I actually haven't met her yet since she has been out of town, but I hear that she is great.

Another is Ibu Hanawati. She has been learning for about 6 years but her husband is a preacher in another church in town and he has never let her get baptized. But through a series of miraculous events, which included her getting cancer and branch members here donating blood when she needed it, her husband's heart was softened and gave permission to get baptized. He even asked for a book of mormon so he could see what's inside. Her two kids are also learning and what to get baptized but still have a little longer to go.

We also teach Ibu Wahyu (which actually is Indonesian for Revelation) she has three kids that were baptized a couple of years ago and she has recently started coming to church with them. We taught her yesterday and challenged her to read the Book of Mormon, she said she would. It is amazing to see how her kids have set such a good example for her that she has been given the desire to learn. Hopefully she keeps going on that path.

That's about it. The work is definitley a little slower here in Malang. The branch is pretty small with only about 50 or 60 members that come on a regular basis. We spend a lot of time looking for less active members and talking to people that way. You most definitley meet some crazy people that way, but it is great.

Here's a funny story, so I've definitley gotten a little tanner over the past three months being here, but I didn't think too much until I met a man in the branch and he asked where I was from. I said Texas and she said that he thought I was from Mexico because I looked like I was a latino. Either he has never really seen a latino ever or I've gotten pretty tan. I would say the first. But it was still kinda funny.

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers this week. I have definitley felt them this week. I always feel your love with me and I am always grateful for it. I know this church is true and am so grateful for it in my life. I love you all and miss you! Have a great week!


P.S. I know you are reading this Melissa... I hope that you had a wonderful birthday last week!!!!!!! I also hope things are going well with your pregancy with your little girl. I still don't know what you are naming her so I'm still assuming Leah Palmer! Awesome!! Love ya!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Dear Family,

When I thought of all the sacrifices I would be making when I decided to go on a mission, I really, really hoped that the Mavs winning an NBA Championship and me missing it wouldn't be one of them, but nevertheless, even though I didn't see I single bit of the playoffs, this is probably one of the most exciting things of my life!!!! And I am trying really, really, really hard not to think that I missed a chance to actually go to one of the games in the Finals. But still that is so awesome!!! I got really, really excited when I found out when one of the elders told me at FHE at a members house, the members did not understand what was going on, neither did my companion. This whole time she thought it was a cricket team that I was rooting for. Kinda funny. Well I hope that I get a NBA champions shirt, maybe two since I didn't go to the game, and possibly a hat or something, or maybe a hand written letter from Dirk Nowitzki telling me that he his sad that his most trusted fan missed the playoffs. I am so proud of my Mavs!!! I hope they know it is all a blessing from my service as a missionary!!!

This week hasn't been too bad, not as much teaching as usual, but still a good one. The most exciting thing was that this week was the first ward conference ever in Indonesia in the Indonesian branch I serve in. Everyone in the ward was so nervous they were all in their seats about 30 minutes early. But the funny thing is that I think the stake president was more nervous than anyone else because it was his first experience doing this too. But it all went off without a hitch and the bishop gave a great talk about his goal and desire to get every worthy adult member of his ward endowed in the temple. Last year they had a record 53 adults go to the temple for the first time and he wants to repeat that. It made me very grateful for the temple that we have so close by in Dallas and also very impressed with the faith and dedication of the saints here in Jakarta. It was a great Ward Conference!

This Sunday I get the exciting adventure of giving a talk... in Indonesian!! Needless to say I am quite nervous and anxious. I'm pretty sure it will be a lot of quotes from conference talks that are already translated and then my testimony. But who would've thought that after 5 months of learning this language I could give a talk in it. Pretty incredible, but still... Pray for me!

Oh, Happy Birthday Maren!!!!!!! I can't believe you are going to be 3 this week! But I hope that you have a wonderful day!! And Happy Father's Day Dad! I'm sorry I won't get to call you for your day, but I love you and am so very, very grateful for your support and love for me as I serve! (Are you impressed that I actually remembered? Do you think Bevan will?)

So, where in Indiana are Deborah and Jon moving to? That was quite the surprise for me, yet everyone in their letters said it so nonchalantly, so I guess this isn't huge news to everyone else, but it is quite big news to me! That's crazy!! What are Mom and Dad going to do without any grandchildren near by? They might go nuts! I think with all of them away and me and Bevan on missions all Mom is going to be doing is mailing off packages. Speaking of, I got the package from Sister Whitley this week. I loved it and have enjoyed it all and the thank you note is already in the mail. You taught me well Mom!! I hope all goes well at Girls Camp this week Mom and that you don't die of heat exhaustion. Sometimes I feel like I should still be going to girls camp but that's ok. You just be sure to tell those girls that you never know where life could take you. In a few short years you could be serving a mission in Indonesia like me!!

Our investigators have been doing well... I think. At least the one's we have been able to visit are well. Riyanti and Ibu Linda have both been sick so we haven't been able to visit them. But Riyanti keeps asking us to tell her different chapters in the Book of Mormon to read so that's comforting to now. Raz, the investigator who is pretty much a member but just can't get baptized, is going to Australia for 3 months in a few days. Kinda sad, but she has already looked up the church nearest to where she will be and knows where to go for that. So that's good. And none of our other investigators want to come to church. So this week we have spent a lot of time visiting less-active members. There are a lot of them here so we do that which always allows us time to talk to people on buses and on the street and hopefully get some referrals. Sometimes it works and a lot of times it doesn't. A lot of people just say that they have no Christian friends. But hopefully our investigators return to health soon and we can start teaching them again.

I also hope that Bevan made it to California safely and is enjoying his home for the next two years. I'll be excited to read his first letter next week. Be sure to send it to me.

My funny story of the week: So, a little cultural background information, Indonesians do not like sweet foods at all. They much prefer spicy foods. All the cakes and sweets that they do have here I don't think contains any sugar as to make is as bland as possible. It's crazy, I don't understand. But last week when we were teaching our English class to kids about the ages of 7 to 11, I was teaching them basic adjectives. Two of the ones that came up were rich and sweet. Just as a FYI note for them I told them that something that was really, really, really sweet could be described as rich also. I asked one of the boys what was the sweetest thing he could think of, he thought about it for about 30 seconds and then replied, "Ketchup!!" Oh dear, these Indonesians!!

Well it sounds like everyone's summer is off to a roaring success! Don't forget about me, Hansen and Rebekah, as you play. Keep writing me! When and where are yall going on your summer vacation? No one has ever told me since Alaska fell through. I feel like it is really, really good and yall don't want to tell me because you feel bad I'm missing it... But anyways, keep having fun. I love you all! I know this church is true. I feel so blessed each and everyday that I have the gospel in my life and I am a little more determined to share it with those around me each day. Always remember to be a good example to those around you and be a good missionary in all that you do. I love you all!! Miss you too!


Thursday, June 9, 2011


Leah mentioned angkots in her blog this week. Here are a couple of pictures of them from the internet. They hold up to 12 people, including the driver, ten in the back and one in the passenger seat up front. Sometimes there are even an additional passenger or two that squeeze in the back or hang onto the open doorframe. Hmmm.

Terima Kasih, Ya? (Thank You, Ya?)

Dear Family,

Hello everyone!! So one of the first things that I noticed when I arrived in Indonesia was their love of the word 'ya'. They use it after pretty much every single sentence ... thank you, ya? excuse me, ya? sorry, ya? how much, ya? I like to equate it with the canadians and eh, but when I first arrived I thought it was weird, because they always, including the men say it with a high pitched voice and it is just odd to hear, but I vowed that I would never say it and that was one thing of the Indonesian culture that I would not emulate. Well, I'm sorry to report that I have started saying ya. It was shocking the first time I did it and my companion just laughed because I have made fun of it for so long. It is ridiculous!! I just know that by the time I come home I will be saying it all the time annoying everyone at home all the time with my incessant yas! But it was a cool moment of I guess something has rubbed off on me here and I guess I am adjusting at last to the Indonesian culture. What a slow process it has been!!

Lets see Mom asked for something that I ate that was Indonesian... Probably the best thing here is called Martabak Manis. It is like a pancake from Heaven with enough calories to last a life time!! But it is so good. I'm pretty sure that the only time that missionaries gain weight here in Indonesia is when they eat Martabak Manis in excess. It is basically like a think crepe smothered in butter, chocolate, nuts and if you want cheese. Yumm... it is just so good. It is also the thing that Indonesians know that Americans love and so a lot of investigators and members will buy it for us when we come over. And then my companion doesn't really like it so I eat it. It is getting dangerous!! But so good!! Mom, you should try and find a recipe for it online and we can eat it when I come home!

Don't worry everyone, I am back to being healthy. My voice didn't really come back until Friday or Saturday which was pretty annoying and I am pretty much back to normal except for a little cough that has lingered. I don't know how much of it is from being sick or just living in one of the most polluted cities in the world... probably a little bit of both. I am very glad to have my health back it was quite boring/not fun at all to be sick. Hopefully I stay that way for awhile!!

This week has been good with investigators, except for the fact that Ibu Sri officially moved to another city. Thankfully missionaries are there and so she is continuing to be taught and learning about the church, but it is sad to not be teaching her anymore. But I continue to pray for her and hope that she can fully accept the gospel.

Riyanti is doing good. She continues to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, and pray, but she feels that she hasn't received a for sure answer to her prayers, but she really has a desire to learn and receive that answer. It has been a little frustrating since her boyfriend has gotten a little impatient and pressuring her but we continue to tell her that we are patient and will keep teaching her as long as she is trying. Hopefully she gets her answer soon and will be ready to be baptized.

So last week I told you about the crazy Ibu Linda, well apparently she isn't too crazy. She has read all the way through 2nd Nephi and came to church this week. It is kinda remarkable. She has been too busy this week so we haven't been able to teach her this week and continue but hopefully soon we can teach her and help her. She still is quite the character!!

My funny story for this week is another one that involves just being a white person here in this country!! We got on an angkot (which is another type of transportation that mom can google and freak out about!) the other day and I sat next to this woman who honestly didn't seem quite all the way there, but nevertheless I tried to start a conversation with her and all she would do is giggle. She stared and giggled at me all while saying who beautiful I was with my white skin. And each time I would say something she would giggle louder since I knew Indonesian. This went on for like 10 minutes. It was a little awkward since there were quite a few people on the angkot. Finally I asked her were she gets off and she said that she should've gotten off like 8 minutes before but she wanted to sit next to a white person for awhile. Oh dear! Sometimes I wonder what some of these people would do if they actually went to America and saw lots of white people. Some might die of shock I'm sure!!!

I hope the Mavs are doing good. I continue to cheer from Indonesia! I hope they can hear it!!! No, I have yet to receive a package from anyone, but I will definitely be on the look out since I know some are coming. How exciting!!! I'm glad Viola is doing so well and such a fun and glorious baby!! It's sad not to be there... like what Annie is feeling times about 100,000!! But I continue to pray for her! I love you all and know that the Gospel is true. I love it and how it blesses our lives. I hope you have a wonderful week!!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Selamat Datang ke Dunia, Viola!!! (Welcome to the World Viola!!!)

Hey Family,

Sounds like it was quite the exciting week to be apart of at home with lots of things happening. Don't worry it didn't make me too homesick, probably because the weekly letter Dad sent me this week was from February and talked about BYU Basketball ... I don't quite know how that one happened but kind of funny. So really I have no idea what happened this week. Except for the fact that Viola was born!!! YAY!!!!!! You look quite adorable Viola and sorry I can't be there to hold you but I'm doing something kind of important on the other side of the world. I hope you forgive me and still think of me as your favorite aunt!! She looks a lot like me so that's good. She is one lucky girl!!! I can't wait to meet you in who knows how many months!! But what exactly is her birthday? June 1 or May 31 because with the time change and everything I do not quite know... I know will never be able to get it right her whole life. Sorry Viola!!

In other news... WAY TO GO MAVS!!!! I just am trying REALLY hard not to think about it and how many people there are in Carrollton, TX who are laughing at the fact that the Mavs are going to the finals right after I start my mission. I am sure there are quite a number of them. Ridiculous. You better TVo each and every game for me. I wonder if I could go the whole rest of my mission not knowing who wins so it could be a surprise when I come home... hmm... Also I want a Western Conference Champions Shirt please!!!!

In other news from Indonesia ... I have a question... What is more useless than a missionary who cannot talk? NOTHING!! Yep, I've been a bit under the weather this past week and have completely lost my voice!!! It is just not there and hasn't been for like 4 days. My mission president told me to just stop talking! I do not know how to spread the good news of the gospel without talking. Maybe I will just start acting out first vision story on the side of the road without words. An interesting new finding technique. I've spent two days sleeping all day in the mission home while Sister Nababan went out with my mission mom. Very exciting, but I am getting better. I am getting more energy and able to work, but still can't talk at all, kind of frustrating. But don't worry too much mom. I will be healthy again in no time.

Other than that... because I've been sick I really don't know if anything else is going on. Our investigators are still doing well. Riyanti is still doing well and has opened up about some of her main concerns and hesitations about the church and have been able to help her with those. She is still reading the Book of Mormon and praying so hopefully soon she will feel ready enough to set another baptismal date.

Ibu Sri's mom got sick this past week and has gone back to another city to take care of her. It is kind of sad because we were all ready to commit her to a date to baptism but then she left. But hopefully she will come back soon within the next couple of weeks and we can pick up where we left off.

Umm... We don't have too many other progressing investigators just ones who like to discuss with us about the Bible. But my funny story for the week is that we started teaching a "famous" Indonesian soup opera actress. She is "famous" because she believes in her own head that she is famous. She spent about 3 hours with us just showing us all the things in her house, her self-portraits, her photos from her childhood, and telling us all these ridiculous stories that I don't think had an ounce of truth. I honestly was sitting there and kept thinking ... oh I wish Bevan and Malan were her with me because they could make SO many jokes out of this. It was awesome. We left thinking that there would be no way that she would read or pray, but she did! So there will be even more great stories from Linda the Indonesian Actress!

Well... I'm glad everyone had a great week and that mom survived her first week as a mother of two missionaries. That's good!! You can do it Mom!! Keep cheering those Mavs for me, because I have literally sacrificed my voice for the cause of the Gospel I cannot cheer right now. I expect that you all do it for me! I love you all and know that this gospel is true!! I love being a missionary despite the fact that I can't talk right now, it is still good. I love and miss you! Have a great week!!



Thursday, May 26, 2011

History of the church in Indonesia

Another exciting event took place on June 3, 1976, when Brother and Sister Prodjomoertjito were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. They were the first Indonesian couple to receive this ordinance. They tried to sell their home to get the money to come to the United States, but then they were unexpectedly given tickets to Canada. From Canada they could get to Salt Lake City without selling their house.

“It is a miracle to us,” they say joyfully. The Saints in Indonesia are delighted for the Prodjomoertjitos, and they are praying that someday they too may be sealed to their families in the temple.

Ada Pasak di Indonesia!!! (There's a Stake in Indonesia!!)

Dear Family!!!

Well, this week was quite the amazing one! One that will never be forgotten!! I can't even possibly describe all the things I learned and all the things that I felt. It started on Friday with the whole mission getting together and having an all day training including a 3 hour meeting with Elder Bednar. It was so fun to see all my friends from the MTC again and see how we are changing and improving. The meeting with Elder Bednar was so cool. We took a whole group picture with him and I sat right at his feet. Pretty awesome!! In the meeting with him we learned all about the role of the Spirit in our teaching but we learned it through him asking us questions and us asking him questions. We told some pretty amazing stories about being an apostle, working with President Monson, times when he was a missionary. Hopefully I can remember all of them to tell you when I come home. It was definitely an unique experience to have in my mission and one I will be truly grateful for.

The most exciting news was the creation of the new stake in Indonesia. It is the Jakarta Indonesia stake and includes the wards in Jakarta and the surrounding cities, 9 in all. Most of the branches were turned into wards, but not all. The new stake president was actually the first counselor in the mission presidency ... don't worry he is not anymore. So I know him and he will do awesome. The new stake executive secretary is a single, 24 year old returned missionary. He works in the mission office as the driver for the Merideths and I told him to get a good phone with lots of minutes. From seeing this process happen twice at home, I know that the executive secretary is really the one who works the hardest, sorry dad! The english branch got made into a ward and the new bishop is a young father of 3 who just moved to Jakarta about 5 or 6 months ago from America. He looked scared out of his mind!! When I saw him I just thought that Dad and Mom could relate to him a lot. It was most definitely such a unique experience and time in church history I felt so honored to be apart of. Who would've thought I would be in attendance when the first stake in Indonesia was formed! Crazy!!! Elder Bednar gave another wonderful talk about the importance of the Atonement in our lives not only for sin and pain but also for feeling inadequate. He related it to himself being called as an apostle and then to the new stake president but I felt my testimony grow as I have seen myself use that power of the Atonement the last 4 months as I feel so inadequate here in Indonesia as a missionary. It has truly been the Lord's Atonement that has kept me going.

Bevan, I am so excited for you!!!! This is the beginning of a great, crazy, tiring, but absolutely amazing two years of your life. Enjoy the MTC, have fun, and make friends, but also work hard. In less than a month you will be knocking on doors, riding your bike through the streets of California!! And when you feel like you don't know if you can do it for 2 years, like it is way too long, just remember you have a lot longer than I do and I still have a LONG time on my mission too!!! Just remember that!! Good Luck! I love you lots!! I am really, really proud of you! Knock them dead! (Not literally! Please don't kill any investigators!)

Well, this week with everything with Elder Bednar we had a hard time teaching all our investigators. We were busy doing other things. But here are a couple updates:

Riyanti postponed her baptism. We don't know when yet. She still wants to keep learning but I think she realized she wasn't as sure as she thought she was. So we have been getting back to the basics and making sure she knows Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and prayer are all true. She continues to pray, but doesn't feel like she has received an answer yet.

Ibu Yani, the wife of Pak Jusuf, is still hesitating. Well, she actually is trying to get her husband to go back to their old church. He still knows that our church is true and wants to go to our church but doesn't want to upset his wife. It's been a little heartbreaking, but we keep working with her one on one and seeing if we can find out if there are really other issues or doubts that she has. We love that family so much and want them all to be baptized but there is something stopping them and we can't figure it out.

I am so happy the Mavericks are doing so awesome!!!!! This is quite amazing!! You have to start tvoing all the games and saving them for me to watch when I come home. Sometimes I just have to say that it is only for my Heavenly Father would I miss this exciting Mavericks time in history. Keep going Mavs! When you are at the next game try to meet Dirk and see if he will write me a letter!!

Mom, I did think of something that I would appreciate in the box you are sending ... church cds, efy, mo tab, anything. Indonesians love to listen to music and we are limited in our options. Any you send would be much appreciated. Thanks so much!!!

Well, I am glad everyone is doing so well. Once again, Good luck Bevan!!!!! I miss you a lot!! Good luck too Deborah if you have Viola this week!!! (And yes you can send pictures on the email!) I miss you all and know this church is true! Have a wonderful week!!



Generally Indonesian does not make use of grammatical gender, and there are only selected words that use natural gender. For instance, the same word is used for he and she (dia/ia) or for his and her (dia/ia/-nya). No real distinction is made between "girlfriend" and "boyfriend", both pacar (although more colloquial terms as cewek girl/girlfriend and cowok guy/boyfriend can also be found). A majority of Indonesian words that refer to people generally have a form that does not distinguish between the sexes. However, unlike English, distinction is made between older or younger (a characteristic quite common to many Asian languages). For example, adik refers to a younger sibling of either gender and kakak refers to an older sibling, again, either male or female. In order to specify the natural gender of a noun, an adjective must be added. Thus, adik laki-laki corresponds to "younger brother" but really means "male younger sibling".

There are some words that are gendered, for instance putri means "daughter", and putra means "son" and also pramugara means "air steward" (male flight attendant) and pramugari meaning "air stewardess" (female flight attendant). Another example would be olahragawan, which equates to "sportsman", and olahragawati, meaning sportswoman. Often, words like these (or certain suffixes such as "-a" and "-i" or "-wan" and "wati") are absorbed from other languages (in these cases, from Sanskrit through the Old Javanese language). In some regions of Indonesia such as Sumatera and Jakarta, abang (a gender-specific term meaning "older brother") is commonly used as a form of address for older siblings/ males, whilst kakak (a non-gender specific term (meaning "older sibling") is often used to mean "older sister". Similarly, more direct influences from dialects such as Javanese and Chinese languages have also seen further use of other gendered words in Indonesian. For example: Mas (Jav. = older brother), M'bak (Jav. = older sister),Koko (older brother) and Cici (older sister).

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning!!!)

Hello Family!!!!
Good Morning!!! Ya' know how in America we have Good Morning and then at noon we switch to Good Afternoon, and then maybe occasionally we say Good Evening ... well in Indonesia they make is even more confusing. They have good morning but that ends at 10, good day from 10 to about 3, and then a good evening or good later day from 3 to 8, and then good night after 8. It is very confusing for me to keep it straight, because indonesians love to greet each other with these things and then they make fun of you if you get it wrong. I guess I still have 14 months to perfect it and then I will be all sorts of confused again when I get back to America! Crazy!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Malan and Dad!!!! I hope y'all have a wonderful day!! I can't believe Malan will be 17! That's insane! And Dad, I hope you don't have too many meetings tomorrow. Maybe take a little rest. But, really did you realize that your birthday is my 4 month mark of being a missionary. Kinda crazy! When I look at it that way the time really does seem to be going a little faster. Everyone says that once you learn the language well the time shoots by ... but who knows how long it will take!! It is definitely really hard to learn!!

I can't believe that there is one week left until Bevan goes to the MTC! That is so exciting!! Here's a few tips Bevan on surviving the MTC: First, do not waste your gym time. In fact treasure it!! It is the only time you can run around and play. All the other times you sit in a desk and study! And you don't want to get fat!! Second, take any opportunity to serve the sisters. And if you have sisters in your district, be nice to them. It will make you happier and your future wife will get a little bit prettier each time you do it! Third, the best seats for Devotionals and Firesides is the very, very last row. You might seem like a slacker, but you have the best leg room and comfy seats. Believe me! It took me about 4 weeks to figure that one out. Fourth, go to room 7M 123 and meet the missionaries going to Indonesia. I hear one is from Texas, so that's cool. But those are the coolest missionaries in the MTC so be their friend!! Good luck Bevan! I know you will be an awesome missionary!! Oh, so one of my friends at BYU went his whole mission wearing a different tie each day of his whole mission. He brought a bunch and then always borrowed his companions ties and spend many p-days at good will buying some. I challenge you Bevan to do that!!!

Mom, I would love a box!! Letters have taken about 2-3 weeks to get here and I hear packages only take a little bit longer, and are pretty reliable in arriving. But I guess we won't truly know until we try it. Anything you send I would love. I can't think of anything dire that I need, and my companion said she would love anything you would send her. I'm sure the box will be great. Thanks!

Well, this week was one where I definitely felt the disappointments of being a missionary. We had a lot of appointments fall through and people stand us up. Investigators that were doing well didn't come to church or do their reading assignments. It was mighty frustrating, but things have started to look up again and do a little bit better. Which is nice, but it was kinda sketchy there for a couple of days.

Riyanti spent this last week really deciding whether she was getting baptized for herself or for her boyfriend, which is good, she needs to know for herself, but that involved her not coming to church and standing us up for an appointment. We were kinda scared there for a couple of days, but we talked to her yesterday and she said she wants to keep learning. We were very excited. She still isn't certain about it all yet, so we continue to pray for her and her growing testimony.

Ibu Sri is still doing good. Her eyes are really bad so she has a hard time reading the Book of Mormon, so she usually reads about one verse a day. She told us the last time that we taught her that she definitely feels differently when she comes to our church rather than other churches and she thinks that means that this one is better. She said she wanted to get baptized but she wanted to learn more and read more of the Book of Mormon before she does. My worry, is that she isn't too young and at the rate of one verse per day ... well... But we keep teaching her and hopefully her desire to get baptized will continue to increase.

I don't know if I have ever told you about Raz, she is our member investigator, in that most of the members can't believe that she isn't a member. She attends church every Sunday, and is basically a member, but she just can't get baptized because she will be cut off from her family and she is still in school. Her goal is next January to be baptized after she graduates. She has an amazing testimony and usually when we teach her I learn more than she does because she ends up teaching me. It is sad the situation that she is in, because she wants so desperately to get baptized, but she must continue to be patient.

I don't know if I have a funny story this week. There was a lot more frustration than laughter this week, but I am getting very excited to hear from Elder Bednar on Friday and Sunday and witness the new stake in Indonesia. It will be pretty amazing and feel very blessed for this opportunity. It should be a great weekend. I'll be sure to report on it next week!! I am so proud to be a missionary for my Heavenly Father. It is an amazing blessing! One that will bless my life forever. I love this gospel. Sometimes I feel so blessed as I have been here. I don't know what I did to be blessed with a wonderful family, wonderful opportunities in life, and this wonderful gospel. I have never been more grateful! I love you all!!! Have a great week!!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Some history of the church in Indonesia-

Most Saints, however, had no contact with the gospel until after 1969, when Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve and Elder Bruce R. McConkie, then of the First Council of the Seventy, visited Indonesia. On a small hill in western Java, Elder Benson dedicated the land for the preaching of the gospel. The first six missionaries arrived in 1970 and began teaching in three cities: Jakarta (the capital), Bogor, and Bandung.

Soon strong branches were established in each city, and missionary efforts expanded to other cities. Now there are branches in the cities of Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, and most recently in Malang. So far, missionary work has been confined to the island of Java. When proselyting began on Java, Indonesia was a part of the Southeast Asia Mission, later named the Singapore Mission. Missionaries sent there learned Bahasa Indonesia in the field. Not until 1974 was Indonesian taught in the Language Training Mission.

Saya Masih Marah Dengan Elder Oaks! (I am still mad at Elder Oaks!)

Hey Family!!!

It was so wonderful to see you on Sunday and to feel like I was in the family room again. Everyone looked so good and I think Hansen looked like he had already aged about two years since I left. I can't imagine what he will be like when I come home. There is not many times when I can legitimately say that I am mad at an apostle, but I still can't believe that he stole my thunder! Ridiculous!!! I told my mission president about it and he laughed and laughed because he has known for about six months and for most of that time he couldn't even tell his wife. He said if he knew that apostles were over in America just blabbing the news around he wouldn't have worked so hard to keep the secret. Nevertheless, it is still a wonderful announcement and it will be very exciting to be apart of history of the church in Indonesia. It was pretty funny when they made the announcement in the Indonesian Branch on Sunday only about 5 people made a reaction. So many people here don't even know the significance of having a stake here, because they are so new in the church and haven't seen how the church runs elsewhere. But I am very excited for it, and very excited to meet and hear from Elder Bednar. The missionaries get a 3-hour meeting with him next Friday. All the missionaries from all over Indonesia are coming into town. It will be quite the event. I am getting very excited.

In other news... I don't know if there is much other news. I did just talk to ya'll on Sunday and all the weeks are starting to blend together. I've been here 7 weeks now so technically am not a greenie anymore, however, I am still with my trainer, still in the same area, and still don't know the language so I think I am going to hold on to that title as long as I can.

Sounds like life in pretty exciting at home. I am so proud of the Mavericks!!! I can't believe that they swept the Lakers! That is awesome. I try not to think about the Mavs and how they are doing too often, part of the sacrifice, I guess. To think that when I left they were on a 4 game losing streak. Not too shabby. And I am glad Bevan is getting all ready to go. Only 2 more weeks. That is so exciting!!! Are you going up to Utah to drop him off Mom? Or do you just do that for your daughters? And congrats on the yard of the month. I am quite shocked and don't know if I believe it. I guess I will never know. I am still searching for a yard in Indonesia at all. I'm convinced that there has to be at least one, but I have yet to find one. It is one of my mission goals!!!

The investigators are doing well. Riyanti is proving to be one of the easiest investigators known to man. We thought that maybe she was just pulling our leg and not really that easy but just trying to get baptized for her boyfriend so we asked her about her testimony this week and how here life has changed since she started learning. She gave one of the sweetest testimonies that I have ever heard. She is definitely ready to be baptized; we are just waiting for the most memorable date.

Ibu Yani is doing well. We were able to get back to the basics with her this week and help develop her testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, but she still can't give up her job. It is a little frustrating, but at the same time, she has her agency. We just keep teaching and helping her and praying that soon she will make that commitment and be baptized. Her sons are also doing well and we hope to commit them to baptism tonight.

We have started teaching a new family, Ibu Yanti and her husband, whose name I can't even pronounce let alone spell, (I will work on that for next week). We have taught them for a while but they never made too many commitments and finally we went there to give them an ultimatum kind of thing, and they had read parts of the book of Mormon and were finally doing a little better. I really love teaching this family, not only because they have air conditioning, furniture, and two of the cutest kids known to man, but rather because I have such a desire to help that family be sealed in the temple and maintain those covenants. It is such an amazing feeling to have and one that I think of often as I struggle to keep going sometimes. I have definitely learned how important family and the gospel are in this life. I have survived about 4 months without seeing a basketball game, but I never would've survived this without my Heavenly Father and the support that I have at home.

Now that mom is crying... or at least Deborah, I think I will share my funny story. So I get lots of reactions from people when I sit next to them in the bus or on the streets. Depending on what part of town we are in you don't see many white people or Bolehs, as they are called here. Well this one time I sat down next to this old guy and as I as getting out my money to pay for riding the bus he turned to me and told me how beautiful I was and that I must be rich American and asked if I would marry his son. Needless to say I as surprised, and not only because I could understand all that he was saying to me, but I politely declined and said that I had a boyfriend back in America (which my mission president said we could lie and say to people). He then told me he didn't' think I understood Indonesian and was very embarrassed. It was kind of funny.

Well I miss you all. I really do, but I know this is where Heavenly Father wants me to be. I am determined to serve Him till the end, till Alice turns 5, even though this is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I know this church is true. If it weren’t true I definitely wouldn't be here. I am so glad that we have a prophet on the earth today. I love you all!! Write again next week!



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Newspaper article this week in Jakata

Security beefed up in Bali

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Benoa, Bali | Wed, 05/04/2011 12:29 PM | Headlines
A | A | A |

Security check: Police officers stop a truck in Cipinang Muara, East Jakarta, and check its contents for contraband such as drugs and firearms. Police throughout Indonesia have beefed up security in anticipation of possible terror attacks in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death in Pakistan. JP/P.J. LeoSecurity check: Police officers stop a truck in Cipinang Muara, East Jakarta, and check its contents for contraband such as drugs and firearms. Police throughout Indonesia have beefed up security in anticipation of possible terror attacks in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death in Pakistan. JP/P.J. Leo

Security in Bali has been heightened for the visit by the US warship USS Guardian at Benoa Harbor on Tuesday to thwart possible retaliation by al-Qaeda followers after the death of Osama bin Laden.

Three Balinese dancers welcomed ship commander Lt. Kenneth Brown and his 84-strong crew with the traditional Penyembrahma dance under the close watch of the Indonesian Navy and police.

Capt. Adrian J. Jansen, Naval Attache at the US Embassy in Jakarta, said the five-day visit was part of a diplomatic journey across Indonesia. Last April, the Guardian docked in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

“After we finish our visit in Bali, the ship will go to Surabaya for training exercises with the Indonesian Navy,” Jansen said.

He added that while in Bali, the ship’s crew would conduct various outreach programs.

“We may visit a few high schools in Bali and talk to Indonesian students about life in America, and answer any question they may have,” Jansen said.

The crew, he added, would also get to enjoy Bali. “It is a chance to see how beautiful the island is, and a chance to meet some of the great people here in Bali,” he added.

Col. I Wayan Suarjaya, the Indonesian Navy commander in Bali, said he expected the arrival of the US Navy vessel would mark stronger relations between the US Navy and its Indonesian counterpart. However, he was quick to add that the visit was not related to efforts to counter terrorist threats on the island.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika earlier ordered security be increased at key entry points to the island, tourist destinations, hotels, entertainment centers and other public places in anticipation of possible terrorist attacks following the news of the death of Bin Laden on Sunday.

“Bali has always been a target for terrorist threats as thousands of foreign and local visitors holiday here,” Pastika said.

Bali Police deployed 8,000 officers to safeguard the island since the Easter holidays.

“We are still on very high alert,” police spokesman Sr. Com Sri Harmiti said.

In Jakarta on Tuesday, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said that “in the context of universal security we have to guarantee the safety of the community, not necessarily in response to [the death of Bin Laden]”.

“Security officers are conducting their duty well to safeguard public places or other locations considered to be prone to terrorist attacks,” he added.

In Yogyakarta, police have also been on high alert to anticipate any possible retaliation by al-Qaeda followers. Two-thirds of the police force in the city have been deployed to safeguard areas such as tourist sites.

Saya Koboi!!! (I am a cowboy!)

Hey Family!!
So... not many Indonesians know to much about America. They know it is there and Obama is the president, which they are very proud of, and that is where a lot of white people live, but besides that the only thing they really know is that in Texas there are a lot of cowboys. I do not know how they know that or why that sticks in their head so much, but pretty much every person I talk to and tell them I am from Texas assumes that I am a cowboy. Now, honestly, I think I am probably the farthest away from a cowboy possible, but I'm polite and tell them that yes I am a cowboy. So I guess when I come home I better start learning how to really ride a horse to make that not so much of a lie. It is kinda funny! I have also been told about 7 times so far that I look like one of the Charlie's Angles. They can never tell me which one, but apparently I look like one of them. Interesting...

I am very excited for Sunday. I can't wait to talk to yall and see you. It will be kinda sad because I don't think at Christmas or Mother's day I will be able to skype since I probably won't be in Jakarta so we shouldn't get to used to this, but it will be great to talk and see yall. Yeah, just work through Elder and Sister Merideth to make sure that yall are contacts on Skype and just make sure that y'all are online at 7:30 am on Sunday Morning so that I can call you. Make sure you are all up and wide awake!!! It's going to be the first of about 5 Mother's Days for mom with a missionary phone call! How exciting!!!

I'm glad to hear that everything went so well with Bevan's temple trip and all went great. That is fun that yall made so many connections there in the temple. But is doesn't suprise me since I met someone this week that Grandpa Ladd gave him his patriarchal blessing. Yep, that's right!! I totally felt like Grandma! So, in the english branch here most of the Americans living here are either here for the government or oil companies. And the ones from the oil company usually have some ties toTexas. So talking to one man and his family and he said that he grew up in South Houston and I said my parents did too and were in the Maplewood Ward and he said it was the same stake and asked the names. I said blake and simons. He said, "Simons... as in Ladd Simons the old patriarch? He gave me my patriarchal blessing." I was floored!! Three years at BYU and I only met one person who grandpa gave him his blessing and I am in Jakarta for 6 weeks and I meet someone. Kinda crazy!!! But unlike Grandma I forgot his name and got no family information from him. Sorry.

Well, this week nothing much changed with out investigators. We do teach quite a bit here in Jakarta, but that is unlike the rest of the mission. The other cities don't have quite as many oppurtunities to teach just because here there are more Christians and more oppurtunities to talk to people. So other missionaries have told me not to get to used to it. But I'm enjoying it while I can. The news of Osama his been kinda big. We are a little more restricted in where we can go now and can't go to big public places, but other than that I haven't noticed any big change. A couple people on the bus have told me to be careful because of it, but I am just being obedient and confident that if something happens the Lord will take care of me. So don't worry at all!!

So, investigator wise... Riyanti is doing great. We taught her the Word of Wisdom yesterday and asked her to keep this commandment and she said her boyfriend taught her that a couple months ago and she hasn't drunk coffee or alcohol or tea since. It was kinda amazing, especially because that never happens in general, let alone in Indonesia!!

Ibu Yani (I think I wrote Ibu Yana last week who is a less active sister we are working with... yep confusing) is still struggling a little. She did tell us this week that she has a doubt about Joseph Smith and that is why she is hestitating to changes jobs, so we are trying to work with her more on that. She is really sweet, but just very hesitant. It will definitley a situation that when she is ready she will fully make her commitment but it will be on her terms.

Allena has dissapeared. We haven't been able to reach or get in contact with her for about a week now. It is kinda strange and a little worrisome, so hopefully we can get in contact with her again soon and keep working with her.

Ibu Sri is doing good. She has trouble reading the Book of Mormon because her eyes are pretty bad, but she tries and she has quite the desire to learn and just be accepted into a church family. The safety and friendship the church has offered her has definitely been a great draw for her.

I'm glad the Mavs are doing well and were able to progress. Did the series go to game 7? I hope they beat the Lakers, that would be awesome!! Sports report here... A lot of people play badmitton in the streets, without a net, just hitting the birdie to and from each other. It is pretty funny.

I do have a question... What generation member am I? Apparently, what number generation member you are is a big deal. Members ask me a lot. I say 5 because that seems safe, but I wanna be sure. I can find out of Sunday!!! YEAH!!

That's cool that you got to meet and have lunch with Elder Oaks. I'm quite impressed. And I'm glad you got to talk about me!!

Well, that's about all. My funny story was the one about grandpa... not funny but definitley cool. I miss you and love you! I can't wait to talk to yall on Sunday! I know this church is true and that God lives and loves us! I feel that love so much everyday as I go about the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia and marvel at the fact that that is where I am living. I know He is taking care of me and watching over me! I will see you on Sunday!