How are things going in Canada? I love all the blog posts Hansen! They are so cool and great photos of the trip. I feel like maybe I was there. That's cool that you got to go to the Cardston temple. I have always thought it looked pretty cool and would be a cool one to visit. It sounds like you have had one exciting trip so far, not nearly as exciting as living in Indonesia, but as close as you could get. The bears looked cool as did the rodeo. And isn't that the third time the Blake family has been to the mammoth place? That's crazy!! Well things here are going well. I realized this morning it was Alice's birthday which means one year left for me, which is kinda crazy. It has gone by pretty fast and I hadn't really noticed how much I have changed through out this experience until I said the sentence in the subject line with a straight, serious place. That's right I complemented someone on their tofu, because it was good. It was crazy!! But I guess I am beginning to like tofu. That being said, I am looking forward to a year when I do not have to eat it anymore. And I also imagine that this will happen again one day when Malan writes home from his mission telling us that he can now eat a potato without gagging. I don't know which will be more of a miracle!! I also ate chicken feet for the first time this week. It was really good and surprisingly tasted like chicken. Who would've thought?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALICE!!!!! HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!
Well don't worry I am not feeling too homesick because of the road trip because we went on a zone trip to Bromo, the volcano national park that is near Malang. It was absolutely beautiful. We got permission and left early so that we could watch the sunrise there. It was amazing!! I looked everywhere for a stamp so that I could start my own stamp book but they didn't have one. I did by a postcard so I am keeping Dad's legacy going. I tried to buy a magnet or keychain for y'all (sorry no spoon or cards or hats) but they were quite expensive, only because I was white though. The Indonesians tried to buy them also and the price was cut in half for them. Crazy!!! No but it felt like a real Blake vacation. Malan would've died on the way up the mountain. The roads were curvy and the incline was steep. He would not have made it. And I freaked out at each turn just like Mom would've done. And the driver kept assuring me that he was okay and knew what he was doing just like Dad would've done. It was a really fun trip and definitely a place that is prettier than anyplace in America. I felt very grateful to be in Indonesia and see that. Definitely a once in a life time experience.
The other exciting news was the baptisms this week. Ibu Hanawati and Ibu Sugriarti were baptized. It was amazing because they both have been investigators off and on for at least 4 years. And in their testimonies at the baptism they both talked about all the missionaries that have taught them, from the ones who found them to me and Sister Tukijan who were here when they got baptized. It was amazing to just realize and feel the everlasting effect that the simple acts of missionaries can have, even without us knowing it. I think it is especially true because so many investigators learn for a number of years before they are baptized, just because most of them are newly Christian and are still struggling with who Jesus Christ is and what the Bible teaches and then to add in the need for a restoration and the Book of Mormon is oftentimes overwhelming for them. But at the same time there are a few success stories and occasionally they do get baptized. But it was a great encouragement and testimony builder to me that even when I think that my actions aren't doing much, and probably I will have no idea, but I am doing some good for God's work.
Ibu Hanawati's kids, Vito and Floren, are still learning and are planning on getting baptized on the 31 of the month. They just still have a few hesitations with the word of wisdom and all the commandments. But they are trying and really have a desire to be baptized. They both do feel a sting of guilt for not staying with their father, who is a pastor in another church, but they know that it is right to be baptized and want to do it. We keep praying and asking for the softening of the father's heart to be more open and accepting of the faith.
Also planning on getting baptized on the 31 is a girl names Pamela. She is 15 and is definitely not the brightest bulb in the box and has been learning and coming to church for the past 6 months or so because her two best friends are members. She has been asking to be baptized for the past 6 months but missionaries have always postponed it because she hasn't understood anything about the church. It has been a long process but slowly and surely she has started to read and pray each day. She has stopped drinking tea and is living more of the commandments. She is doing good. We think the 31 will give us enough time to really make sure she is ready. She really wants to get baptized and one day she will when she really truly understands it is a covenant with God and not something you do because your friends did it. She also saw a picture of Malan and decided that she is going to learn English so that she can write you a letter. Don't be too flattered Malan that is just what Indonesians do!!
To answer your questions: Dad yes I do use my flashcards and they have really helped me. I would love some more. Mom the bathroom in this new house is actually pretty nice. It actually has a shower head, but no hot water. So rather we heat up water and take a scoop bath each day. It is pretty depressing to see the shower head and not be able to use it. But it is really cold water!!! I can't remember if there were anymore...
Funny story of the week: So we were walking down a street leading into a neighborhood and trying to talk and contact people on the street when a lady saw me and asked me to sit next to her. I asked her what she was doing and she said that she was stringing badminton rackets. That is really source of income. She offered to teach me so I could help her. I sat there are strung badminton rackets with her for like 15 minutes while I contacted her. She was Muslim and not interested at all, but she offered me an opportunity to be her assistant and do that for my job too. I said I think about it. I guess if BYU doesn't work out and I never get married I have a fall back plan. It is very comforting to know. And don't worry I took a picture with her and my racket.
This week has been a great one. I have had a lot of opportunities this week to share the gospel and what i believe to people on the street which is a rare opportunity seeing as how I can only tell people I am a spiritual builder and not a missionary. But it is always a great feeling to tell people what I believe and see their reactions. And while none of these contacts gave me their numbers or said I could come to their house, I hope and pray that they will read the pamphlets or church material I gave them and one day decide to learn more about Christ and His Gospel. Who knows maybe they will be baptized in 7 years or so. I know this Gospel is true and love it so much. I always feel so blessed and so loved when I think of this gospel and who it has allowed me to be. I love you and miss you!! Have a great rest of your trip. Keep Blogging Hansen!