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!

2011 holidays-nothing about June 5

• 01 January : New Year's Day.
• 02 January : Shared Holiday by Government Decree.
• 03 February : Chinese New Year (Imlek) 2562.
• 15 February : Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
• 05 March : Day of Silence (Nyepi) – Hindu New Year 1933.
• 22 April : Good Friday.
• 17 May : Waisak 2555.
• 02 June : The Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven.
• 29 June : Isra Mi'raj, Celebrating the Ascension of The Prophet Muhammad SAW.
• 17 August : Indonesian National Independence Day.
• 29 August : Shared Holiday by Government Decree.
• 30 – 31 August : Idul Fitri 1432 H.
• 01 – 02 September : Shared Holiday by Government Decree.
• 06 November : Idul Adha 1432 H.
• 27 November : Islamic New Year 1433 H (1 Muharram).
• 25 December : Christmas Day.
• 26 December : Shared Holiday by Government Decree.

Selamat Paskah!! (Happy Easter!!)

Hello Family!!

Welcome to another letter from the Indonesian Missionary!! I know it is your favorite part of your week... at least until you get a Californian Missionary then I will have someone to compete with, but I know my letters will be a bit wittier. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! As for me, I think one thing I will have to get used to with living in a mainly Muslim country is that Christian Holidays are not that big of deal, actually no deal at all. Even for the members (The sacrament meeting talks in the Indonesian Branch I went to were on Prophets). Pretty much I would've had no idea it was Easter if I didn't go to the English Branch and hear them tell me Happy Easter. Still it wasn't too big of deal, which was a little sad to me and made me miss home a little, but I got over it and just kept going.

In answer to the question about Mother's Day. I've arranged with a Senior Missionary couple that are here in Jakarta to use their skype to call home. I'm very excited to be able to see and talk to y’all. I'm planning on calling about 7:30 at night our time on Mother's Day which is 7:30 in the morning Texas time, Sunday morning. I hope that is ok and that I am worth getting up a little bit early to talk to me. But that's what happens when I live on the other side of the world. Is that ok? I hope so or I don't know what else to do. Umm... the couple's name is Elder and Sister Meredith and their Skype name is melvinmuriel. They should be emailing you more specific information about their skype so that y'all can become contacts before Mother's Day. Now the trick is that y’all are online and ready at that time so that I can call you. No sleeping in!!!

I am glad that everyone had a great week in Atlanta and I hope that things go even better in Houston this weekend. I'm sad I won't be there with you Bevan but will pray for you and know that I am there in Spirit. We can go to the temple in a little over two years as returned missionaries... Deal?

Well the highlight of this week was another baptism. It is pretty rare for a companionship to get two baptisms here in Indonesia, let alone right in a row. So I've been warned not to get too used to it, but it is has definitely been a blessing for me to witness here so far. Pak Jusuf was baptized and was so excited to become a member of this church. It was a wonderful baptism and the spirit was quite strong during it. He was baptized by the Branch President who told us that his son, who is a missionary here in Indonesia, also was baptizing an investigator on that day. He was so pleased to baptize someone on the same day as his son. I think Dad and Bevan should make that a goal during Bevan's mission. It would just me too adorable!!

Pak Jusuf and I both are hoping and continue to work with his wife, Ibu Yana, and children Gama and Hiskia (who the elders are teaching) will follow suit. Ibu Yana would love to be baptized, but is still not ready for keep the Sabbath Day Holy and change her work schedule or just quit her job altogether. We as missionaries are fasting for her on Sunday, I know I don't even have to ask, but it would be great if y’all would join in also and help increase her faith.

Riyanti decided to get baptized this week. We asked her to commit to a date in the middle of May, but she wanted to push it back to June 5. The reason she gave is that June 5 is a much more memorable date and she wants to be sure she always remembers it. I guess that makes sense, but I hope that really is the only answer. She is doing great and really is ready to be baptized.

Allena is still struggling a little. She was able to find another job this week, which is great but made her even more busy so she can't meet with us too much now. She has tried to stop smoking but hasn't been too successful yet, but she came with us to a relief society party on Friday and was able to make friends and meet a lot of women in the church. It was fun to see that.

This week we started teaching Ibu Sri, she is the housekeeper for Elder Subandryo, who is the area 70 here in Indonesia, which is kind of cool. She is a cute, shriveled old Indonesian lady (all of those are meant as compliments) who has come to church the past two weeks and feels great love in the church and told us she definitely feels different when she comes to this church. Let's hope that she continues to progress and have the desire to learn.

Saturday was fun because two of the church historians came to Indonesia and gave two firesides, one just to the missionaries and another for all the members, about church history. We got to ask questions about church history and hear some cool stories. It was really fun to attend and learn. The funniest is that I guess here in Indonesia a documentary just came out about Warren Jeffs, Polygamy, and the FLDS church which put the real LDS church in a bad light. During the general session there were quite a bit of questions on polygamy and what was going on with that church. I felt like I was back in high school when all of this was really going on answering all those questions.

My funny story of the week: So we teach English to little kids a couple times a week. It is definitely one of my favorite times of the week. So this week while we were teaching about numbers a little girl raises her hand and says: "Sister Blake, you look just like Harry Potter." Of course that was in Indonesian and at first I thought I didn't hear her right, because I'm still learning, but my companion confirmed that that is what she said. I'm still quite perplexed and don't understand, but apparently I look like Harry Potter!!!!

Thanks for being a wonderful family and supporting me so much during this adventure of mine. It is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and there are times when I don't know how I can go on, but the Lord is always there to strengthen me and help me and keep me going. I owe Him so much and am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it helps my life. I love you all!! Have a marvelous week and time at the temple.



Rainfall in Jakarta