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!!