Thursday, February 24, 2011

Flag of Indonesia


Terima Kasih- 2-24-11

Subject: Terima Kasih

Dear Family,
Termia Kasih or Thank you so much for the package!!! It was awesome and I loved the sweater. I wear it all the time especially since I probably won't take a white, long sleeve sweater to Indonesia so I should get all the uses in now that I can! Thanks so much!!! This week was another fast one. I feel like they all are and the day to leave for Indonesia is fast approaching. Kinda Scary. But this week I felt like I had a breakthrough with the language. We taught the first lesson again in Indo on Saturday and as I was teaching I noticed that I wasn't reciting memorized sentences but rather forming sentences and phrases and teaching what I wanted to say exactly. It is very exciting and encouraging as I continue. And then on Tuesday we had our first SYL-Speak Your Language-Day. We could only speak Indonesian to anyone till 4:00 PM. It was pretty hard and I felt like I was pretty quiet at some points, but I was amazed at how much I knew and how much I could speak the language. It was pretty exciting to see! But at the same time I continue to find thousands of words and phrases that I need to still find out what they say and integrate them into my Indonesian Vocabulary. It's kinda crazy to think that in less than 4 weeks I will be using this language all the time and my english only to write emails home.
In other news, we got another new elder join our district this week. In less than a week our district grew from 6 missionaries to 8. Our small classroom is suddenly becoming overcrowded. But, its fun and when you spend well over 10 hours a day with each other you grow to be friends pretty fast.
A normal schedule is pretty much wake up at 6:30, have personal study, eat breakfast, go to class, eat lunch, more class, eat dinner, even more class, and then go home at go to bed as fast as you can. So yeah, we have 3 class times a day, but usually we only have teachers there for 2 of them. The other one is spent doing MDT or Missionary Directed Time and I can choose how to spend that time. Usually I study vocabulary and flashcards, and I get frustrated with that I switch and study Preach My Gospel for 20 minutes and then I go back to vocabulary. It is a pretty good system. We get an hour of gym time 5 days a week which is really fun. We have two teachers and they are both white BYU students who went on their missions to Indonesia. So, no they aren't native, but there is a native Indonesian who lives in Provo and will come in and let us teach him. The last time we taught him he said that me and Sister Nicholes didn't sound like natives yet, but it did sound like we had been to Indonesia at least 3 times. I take that as a good sign. But other than that the days are slightly redundant and can get draining, but I've found when you work hard and do your best they go by really fast. That's my plan for the next 3 1/2 weeks. I am taking pictures Mom, don't worry. They aren't too exciting since we don't do much. I'm not sure if I can email them home. I might print some out and mail them home soon so you can see them.
Probably the biggest thing I have learned here at the MTC is how quickly the Lord answers prayers for His missionaries. I've had countless prayers answers while I've been here that my testimony has been really strengthened, but this past week my biggest prayer was answered. So... In gym time each day there are 6 basketball hoops to play basketball on, but sisters can only play in a game unless there is another sister to play and guard her during the game. It has been very frustrating these past few weeks because there hasn't been another sister who wanted to play with me. So usually during gym I just shoot around, practice my free throws, and practice spinning the ball on my finger (I'm getting really good at that). Not the most fun thing in the world so I've been praying for sisters to come to the MTC who will play basketball with me. It has taken awhile but last week 3 basketball playing sisters came in! It is awesome. So now each gym time I actually get to play games of basketball. I love it!!!! Probably one of the biggest blessings on my missionary service!! (So that story was slightly exaggerated, but my testimony on prayer is still true!)
Here is my joke of the week, Dad:
Q: What did the Polar Bear eat after the Dentist fixed his tooth?
A: The Dentist!!!
HA! Oh, so funny!
Sounds like all is well there at home. That is so cool that Bevan got to go to California! I'm just a little perplexed that no one sent me to Indonesia for a mission tour before I left! But that is still really awesome. Glad to hear BYU and the Mavs are doing well. And I would appreciate no more news about Mavericks Play-Off tickets for everyone else. That makes me a little sad... But that is still pretty awesome that y'all can go! I love you all and hope y'all have another great week. This church is true. I know it! I know that God lives and Jesus Christ is my Savior. I cannot wait to share this Gospel with the people of Indonesia. It is going to be such a blessing for all involved. I love you!!
Dengan Kasih,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How many people???

Indonesia's approximately 240.3 million people make it the world's fourth-most populous nation. The island of Java, roughly the size of New York State, is the most populous island in the world (124 million, 2005 est.) and one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Letter on Feb. 17, 2011

Hello Family!!!

That Subject is mainly for Malan. It means "It's the Best!" It is the only Nacho Libre quote that I have translated into Indonesia and I did it just for you! It is also in reference to the cookies y'all sent this week. Thanks Rebekah for telling Mom to do that. They were pretty darn delicious!!! I still have a couple left and am savoring them as much as I can! Thanks so much.

This week was a good, really fast week. It feels like just a couple days ago that I wrote y'all and I couldn't really come up with much news to tell. This week we started learning Tata Bahasa (grammar). It shows you how relatively easy Indonesian actually is that we can go 4 weeks without learning a single bit of grammar. It is cause there really isn't much, but we learned a lot of it this week. And it pretty much confused me immensely! Hopefully I can understand it all this next week. Starting on Monday we are pretty much only speaking Indonesian in the classroom. I'm sure it will be pretty quite most of the time for a while. But other than that the language is going good. I'm getting to the point with my prayers that I feel like I can pray for what I want to and not just for the same 5 things that I know how to say. That is really nice.

We did have some excitement in the District when we had a new elder join us this week. He started his mission 9 months ago. He was going to Malaysia speaking Malay which is very close to Indonesian. He made it 4 weeks and then had to go home because of some family issues he said. When it came time to reapply he put in his papers again. They reviewed them in Salt Lake on Monday and they realized that there was an Indonesian district in the MTC at the same point that he left. So they called him on Monday told him where he would be serving and then asked him to be at the MTC the next day. Crazy!! He had to pack and get all ready and say goodbye to everyone in one day. But he is pretty cool and a nice breath of fresh air in the district. So now I sit in the same room all day with 6 people instead of just 5. I did have to change desks because of it so I have a different view of the classroom now. It really is the little things here at the MTC that make is so much better.

Tuesday night we had a devotional and Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy came to speak to us. He gave one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard in my life. It was up there with Elder Holland's talk on the Book of Mormon that we saw that one conference. He talked about obedience and becoming a disciple of Christ. I'm pretty sure, myself included, that every missionary left the devotional never wanting to break another rule or slack off in the least. The spirit was so strong while he talked and it definitely testified to me once again that this mission is not about me at all but has everything to do with the Lord's work and the people of Indonesia. Elder Pearson strengthened my desire to continue working hard and learning all that I can so that I can be the best missionary possible. His talk was definitely one that I will remember my whole life.

We don't really get specified culture times yet. We will when we get closer to learning. But I have learned a few things about the culture just from talking to my teachers who both served there. The money there in Indonesia is like 10,000 rupiah to 1 US dollar. Meaning that while Bevan will be talking to millionaires on his mission I will actually be one. Probably the only time in my life when I can say that! The food is really spicy and they love to eat dog, horse, and snake. Members don't really cook for the missionaries there and the missionaries eat all their meals in restaurants for like 50 cents each. They really love white people over there, especially white women. However, really the only english they know is the word mister. So, I shouldn't be surprised if people follow me around yelling "Mister" at the top of their lungs. They also don't believe fat is a derogatory word, but rather just a statement of fact. So, I also shouldn't be surprised if the Branch President comes up to me at tells me I am looking fat that day. We have also learned a lot about the bathrooms over there. It's been our main concern. But I try not to think about it because it is not going to be good.

Sounds like y'all have had a great week at home. I'm jealous that y'all get to see Jimmer this weekend. Cheer for me please. Congrats to Simon and Annie!! I'm way stoked to finally get a nephew. I can't wait to bring home an Indonesian toy train or something for him. It is going to be awesome. That is crazy that Winnie lives in Bevan's mission. Hopefully he will get to see her sometimes. He should actually try to teach a lesson to The Donkeys. That way he can tell his kids he taught a rock band on his mission. That would be pretty awesome.

I love y'all and miss y'all very much!! Thanks for the prayers and the letters. Don't stop. I know this church is true and that God and Jesus Christ live. I know that President Monson is a prophet of God and the mouthpiece through which Christ and God speak to us today. I love this gospel and love the fact that I get to share it with the people of Indonesia. It is awesome. Have a great week. I love you all!!!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Landscape of Indonesia

Indonesia is blessed with the most diverse landscape, from fertile ricelands on Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to the savannah grasslands of the Nusatenggara islands to snow-capped peaks of West Papua.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Leah's Letter from the MTC, Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Family,

That means No problem or Don't worry about it. Sorry about the mix up last week. I did eventually get the letter that night but it was just shocking to not get any mail from yall. I couldn't come up with any scenario in my head where that would logically happen. Kinda funny. I am sad that I didn't get to see Mom's reaction when she realized I didn't get my letter. I bet it was even better than the time she forgot to write Simon. Maybe by Hansen's mission yall will get it down. But sending the letters the day before through DearElder sounds great. It will give me much more time to write.

CONGRATULATIONS BEVAN!!!! That is so awesome!!! I am so proud of you and know you will be a great missionary!! California suits you quite nicely. There are actually a couple sisters who live near me who are going there, but they are spanish speaking. I am pretty jealous that you will only be in the MTC for three weeks. But I bet you will have to get even more crazy shots that I did. California is much more exoctic that Indonesia! So where in California is that exactly? How big is the mission?

I had a fun week this week! Last Saturday Sister Nicholes and I taught our first lesson in Indonesian. It was quite short and simple and we had notes. Probably not the best, but we were still pretty proud of all that we had done. We are teaching again in Indonesian this Saturday and am hoping to do it with out notes. The language is coming along. It is pretty hard to sit and memorize word after word but I can definitley tell that it is paying off. We try to talk as much as we can in the language especially in class but we pretty much only know gospel related words and basic conversation stuff. So it is kinda hard to keep up a normal conversation between us outside of class. But maybe in a couple of weeks we can.

On Sunday I was asked to say the closing prayer at Mission Conference. There were about 2300 missionaries there in the conference and my face was on huge screens/projectors for everyone to see me very clearly. I wasn't too nervous, especially after they introduced me as Sister Leah Blake Carrollton from Texas. I figured no one would know it was me if I messed up. It went well and I have never been complemented so much on a prayer. Kinda Weird, but I just tell people I was practicing my whole life for that moment. (Yeah, I thought I was pretty clever when I thought of that one!)

Another funny moment was when me and my companion were at dinner Sunday night. It was fast Sunday so that cafeteria was going crazy so we couldn't sit next to the elders in our district/zone that we normally do. So we ended up sitting next to these two elders going to Portugal. As we started talking to them we realized they were both from the Dallas area and they both thought that they knew me. I had no idea who they were. But one ended up being Kyle Palmer who lived in the ward way back and the other was that random kid from Frisco who called the house when he got the call and no one had any idea who he was. His name was Elder Nicholas Hope, if that helps anyone. He claims he was really good friends with Bevan and spent the night at our house one youth conference. It was kinda funny especilly when I told Elder Palmer that I babysat him once or twice and it was funny that we were in the MTC together. He didn't find it quite as amusing. They both say hi to the family and were both anxious to hear where Bevan would get his call to.

I also finally met that Sister from Lewisville going to California. She actually lives two doors down from me in the Residence Hall and I had seen her quite a bit but I had no idea who she was until I prayed on Sunday and she figured out who I was. She says hi to you Dad and said you were one awesome stake president.

Last exciting thing was yesterday we challenged our first "investigator" to baptism. We teach these two progressive investigators a couple times a week and one is progressing quite nicely and committed to baptism yesterday. It is quite exciting until we think that it is our teacher and he is probably just going easy on us. But it is good experience and I have really come to love to teach these two fake charecters.

In answer to Dad's questions, we go to the temple on P-days and get to do a session. So that is every Thursday and is probably my favorite time of the week. I get to be reminded that there is an outside world and at the same time go to the temple. And then we go on a Temple Walk every Sunday where we get to walk up to the temple and spend some time outside of it. They are both pretty awesome times in the week.

I also haven't heard anything about my visa, but that is usually good news. I will get my travel plans to go to Indonesia about two weeks before I leave.

Sorry to hear about Aunt Shirley. She definitley lived a good, long life but is much happier now to be home with Uncle Don. I hope the funeral went well and that the Benjamin Cemetery was as beautiful as ever. I'm sure Grandma is happy to have her sister with her again. What a fun reunion that must have been!!

The weather in Texas the past week sounds amazing. That is absolutely ridiculous actually! I can't believe I missed it. I could definitley tell that school was out by the increase in letters I got from the kids and that school is back in since I haven't heard from anyone lately. Kinda funny.

Well thats about it for this week. I'm doing well and loving being a missionary. I'm very proud of Bevan and can't wait to be missionary siblings together. This is an amazing work and one that brings tremendous blessings. I absolutley love it!!! I love this gospel and know that it is true! I love you all!! Thanks so much for the prayers I feel them everyday!!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Bahasa Indonesia (the national language, a form of Malay) has spread throughout the archipelago and has become the language of most written communication, education, government, business, and media. Local languages are still important in many areas, however. English is the most widely spoken foreign language.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leah's Second Letter from the MTC

Hey Guys!!!
Nice to see that y'all have already forgotten about me! Maybe it is because you are having your snow days and are having too much fun! But I hope y'all are doing well! I see that the discovery of the week has been Pretty amazing huh? My companion and I loved the pie! It was actually really good. What else can y'all send me? All the letters you sent were printed out and sent right too me. So I got them all! Don't worry Malan and Hansen! I did enjoy your Psych quotes, Hansen! I am doing well! I am starting to really love it here and the time goes by pretty fast. Kinda crazy, I have been here two weeks already and only have 6 1/2 left. I leave on the 21 of March. I don't know what time or the itenerary at all, however. I won't know that untill a couple weeks before.

I do have a nametag, Mom. Sister in Indonesian is still Sister, but it is pronounced a little differently. I was kinda disappointed that it is not cooler, but the name of the church is. It's Gereja Yesus Kristus Dari Orang-Orang Suci Zaman Akhir. I'm getting pretty good at saying it really fast! The language is coming good. We have learned the whole first lesson in Indonesian and we teach it for the first time on Saturday. I'm kinda nervous but it will be good practice. My companion and I have two "investigators" which are really our teachers in disguise that we teach a couple times a week. They are really progresssing and should come to church with us on Sunday. It is pretty fun. Other than that my days usually consist of sitting in a classroom all day long except for three 45 minute meals and an hour of gym. It is my companion and I and 4 elders that make up my district and we are all going to Indonesia. We have all become pretty good friends and it makes the time go by pretty fast.

Sundays are the best! We get to have church with our branch and relief society with all the sisters in the MTC. They have had some pretty cool ladies come speak there, like the Primary General President. We get to go walk to the temple and enjoy that for a little bit. Then there is a fireside and then we get to watch a movie. It is a pretty relaxing, but at the same time very spiritual day. It always brightens my spirits and reminds me why I am here. Tuesday nights are devotional where they have a general authority come and talk to us. The past two have been Seventys but we should be up for an apostle soon. I'm hoping this next Tuesday that one comes. They are always really amazing with a great spirit. I love them! Other than that the days are pretty redundant. Lots of flashcards with vocabulary!
How are things at home. I don't know what happened but I didn't get a family letter from you. I heard about Alice's potty training triumph! Congrats!!! I'm glad you got to go to the doll store finally! How are Bevan's mission papers coming? When should you hear? I'm so excited for you Bevan! You'll do awesome!!! How is school going? How many days have you had off with this ice storm yall have had? I met a new elder yesterday who was from dallas area and he said it was pretty big. His flight was delayed and he didn't make it to the MTC on time. How is the basketball update? I didn't get that from dad so I'm kinda at a loss of what is going on at home? You could just send it to me through dearelder and i'll get it later. Any other news? When do Simon and Annie find out if they are having a boy or a girl? I'm still hoping a boy! I would love a nephew when I come home! What is going on with the Mavs? Is everyone getting excited for the All-Star game coming up? I guess there is probably more hype about the Super Bowl right now. Kinda crazy that I know pretty much nothing about sports at all... not usually like me. I did hear that Dwight Howard tweeted about Jimmer. One of my teachers told me. He will occasionally give me a sports update.
Well I hope y'all are doing well! I miss you and pray for you everyday. I love being a missionary. I am learning so much about the spirit and truly being guided by the spirit in everything i do. The church is true and I can't wait to go tell the people of Indonesia about it. I love y'all!