Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 26 - A Spiritual Zone Conference & Fireside, Giving Blessings, and Hacking at Trees with a Machete

Selamat Siang!!!!!

This past few weeks have been very very busy and there is lots to talk about. I'll try to describe them in order so you can kind of get a feel of how the past two weeks have gone.

Elder Funk and his wife came to Indonesia. He is the Area seventy in Asia and was doing a mission tour. Elder Funk served his mission here quite a few years ago. The spirit was so strong in the meeting. One thing that was very powerful was he invited a family that he baptized when he opened a new area. They stood up front as Elder Funk told the story. It was a very powerful story. This family was very high up in another church and when he learned about Priesthood Authority he told his church that he didn't have the authority to be doing what he was doing. At that time it was hard for his family but they endured. Elder Funk had received news from someone that this man would become the first patriarch in Jawa Tengah. Not to long ago this man was called as the first patriarch of Jawa Tengah. This husband and wife shared their testimonies and with tears in their eyes told us to not care about anything at this point except finding the people who are ready and sharing the Gospel.

Later that night we had English class. All of the other missionaries had appointments so it was just Elder B and I. About a month ago a man whose name is H started coming to class. His english is already really good. He arrived and when I was helping other smaller kids with their english just opened up to me about his past. He said that he has waited so long to tell someone who would understand everything. This is someone who is ready to receive the Gospel. I gave him a Book of Mormon and I asked him to read a chapter. When the other Elders met with him, because he actually lives in the other ward, he had already read his homework. He has come to church the past two weeks and came to the Christmas party for his ward. Even though he is in the other ward I was very happy to help him out and happy to still have the opportunity to talk to him weekly.

All the missionaries had a service project in Solo. A less-active member had a lot of trees that they wanted to cut down. If you can imagine Elders and a couple Sisters hacking at trees with a machete until they fell down, that's what happened. It was actually a lot of fun!! 

We held a fireside as missionaries that was a success because investigators came and the spirit was strong and it also strengthened the members as they talked about it for the next few days. 

A new member in our ward that was baptized a few weeks ago was in the hospital. He asked us for a priesthood blessing but of course, the adversary is at work. We left the house with plenty of time to visit him between the visiting hours. However, right away problems started. Our bikes broke far away from a place where we could get them fixed. We walked to get them fixed and the guy said that it would be a long time. We just left our bikes on the side of the road at this place and tried to flag down taxis. Every taxi that went by said no they wouldn't take us. The time to visit this member was shrinking. We finally found a Becok and he took us to the hospital, we were able to give the blessing with 5 minutes left to visit him. He was able to return home 8 PM Christmas Eve. 

There is so much but so little time, here is a quick summary of the rest:

-my birthday and the birthday traditions here with flour and egg
- a meeting for a member that passed away 100 days ago
- sharing American Christmas music with primary kids that we visit
-skyping the family on Christmas day
-getting spoiled with gifts here as missionaries from the ward and other people
-meeting Elder Boenari's Grandpa as it is common for Indonesian Elders to meet parts of their families on their mission.

One more story before I end this email. One day we were proselyting and we weren't having a lot of success. We decided to talk to one more person and then we would go to the church. We talked to people on the street and they directed us to this ladies house. She let us in and we got to know her. Her husband passed away a couple years ago at the age of 54 in an accident with a train. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and with the questions she asked, I'm sure she knows more about the Plan of Salvation than some members. She is AWESOME and her questions are equally as good. When we asked for her number and try to call her phone she jumped off the couch and ran to get her phone. It caught both of us by surprise but truly a miracle.

SELAMAT TAHUN BARU to you all. I think they celebrate it here almost the same with fireworks and staying out late, but for us missionaries, it will be just a normal day.

I'm grateful for this time of year and all that has happened. Hopefuly great things to you all!!!

AWESOME CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!!! You all look great! I have not seen a nativity here though.

Miss you all! 

Elder Hayes

I may have to get me a hat like this


One of our English Classes

Fire Steak for my birthday

The backroads

a hill we hate so very much, a picture doesn't do any justice 
Missionaries dancing at the Ward Christmas Party

Had to get a picture with the brand new baby

MERRRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! where it's 90 degrees and humid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some Happy Missionaries at Zone Conference

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Week 25 - Christmas Eve Chat with Spencer

We had a great chat with Spencer on Christmas Eve. We were able to record the conversation and put just a bit of it here on the blog so people can hear a little bit more about his mission, and things he is experiencing. He also shared his testimony in Indonesian and that was cool to hear!

Our Family Picture.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 25 - A Few Pictures & Getting Ready for Christmas

Spencer with Elder & Sister Funk (2nd Quorum of the Seventy) - He was our Stake President when we first moved to Colorado.

Becok Selfie

Primary Singing at the Mall

Got the Traditional Flour and Egg treatment for my Birthday!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 24 - Jingle Bell Rock, Impromptu Sacrament Meeting Talk, and Lots of Rain.

Hello Family!!!!!

I have to start out with the bad news that next week I do not get to email, I only get to skype mom, dad, and the others at the house! But I'm sure that my dad can update you all! 

Things this week have been HOT!!! As for some of your questions with the rain, it had been raining pretty hard. When it rains it's basically like when there is a Hurricane passing Virginia! In solo, there hasn't been any major issues thank goodness. A lot of the flooding happens in the bigger cities!!! It would not surprise me if there is a lot of landslides. 

I did get the package and we had fun going through that. Hopefully later today I can get my package sent off and who knows when it will get there. There hasn't been any nativity sets, not even in the malls. A lot of people ask about the traditions here. Basically every church has their own parties and make invitations and all that good stuff but as for Christmas only the malls are decorated and the insides of houses. Other than that you will not find a whole lot of Christmas here. Last week we went to the mall and they have Christmas music playing. Not that a lot of people understand it, they love it!

Yesterday, I did meet the Shefield family. Sister Shefield finished her mission about three weeks ago and came back with her parents. They seem to loving it here!!! 

The story yesterday goes like this. On Friday we had a meeting with the ward mission leader and he got a phone call and he said that the youth speaker for Sunday won't be there so he asked if I could give a talk. I agreed to and asked what the topic was. He said that he didn't remember and would text me the topic. Well, Sunday came around and I hadn't gotten a topic so I texted him and didn't get a response. I showed up at church and asked am I still giving a talk and he said yes! I was like oh crap!!! I asked what the topic was and he gave it to me and in sacrament I was able to prepare and thank goodness the topic was pretty easy, Jesus Christ. However, it shows to go how far I have come with my language. The fact that I was able to give a talk in Indonesian with little preparation is the spirit at work right there.

The missionaries are given responsibility to sing at the ward Christmas party which will happen on Christmas Day! The Indonesian Elders heard Jingle Bell Rock and that is like their favorite song now and that is what we are singing next week. It is fun to teach them how we do things in America and they love to hear and learn about it because here it is just different. Elder B really was grateful for his birthday card and says thank you and hello!

As far as lessons go this week it was average. We went to one of our investigators house and their pendata was there (I forgot pendata in English, you'll have to translate) and I was like oh crap he is going to want to just thrash the church. But after a while of just talking I just had like a strong sense of courage and faith and asked if we could share our message with him. He told us that he had to leave and that he didn't have time. Well, maybe 20 minutes later we left together and he didn't want to hear any message. It is sad to hear some of the things people say and then just not even want to listen. I didn't care that he went to school we wanted to teach. Elder Boenari and I think he was scared! :)) 

Well, I better go, I hope everything is going well for you and I can't wait to talk to you all soon!

Elder Hayes

An Indonesian Birthday tradition - Flour and Egg on the head!

The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree that we sent. 

Week 24 - A Sunday Morning Suprise

This morning we awoke to a wonderful surprise from the Sheffield family who is visiting Indonesia with their daughter who came home last month. They ran into Spencer in Solo and sent us this e-mail:

"We were visiting Solo today with our daughter who just got home last month and ran into you son.  He looks so happy and did a great job taking in sacrament meeting about Jesus Christ.  He said he just got his Christmas package and loved it and looks forward to talking with you at Christmas.The Sheffield Family"
 Now we got to look forward to our evening letter from Spencer! -- A Double Bonus day!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 23 - Finished the Doctrine & Covenants, Ward Baptism, and Introducing Indonesians to American Christmas Music

Selamat Siang semuanya!! 

This week has been a little long! Well, Saturday and Sunday were long. It rained like crazy those two days and when we tried to visit people, not a single person let us in or they didn't want to meet. It was just a long day. However, I think there are a couple things that could have gone worse HAHA!!! 

In answer to some or your questions about the holidays here: Only the malls or the insides of houses are decorated for Christmas, that's it and a lot of the time the people don't even have enough money to have decorations or a tree. As for us [Elders] we have started to decorate our house a little bit. There will have to be a picture in the future. I think for the Christian families Christmas is almost the same but 90% of this country is Muslim so it isn't advertised or anything. The ward Christmas party is on Christmas day. I think it will be fun and hopefully we can get non-members or less-actives there because this is the only ward activity they've had since I have been here. If you have sent anything, I haven't got it. Maybe this week because on Wednesday there is a zone meeting.

As for Elder K. B's birthday (I have to add the K because there are actually 2 Elder B's in the mission) it was good. There was a mountain of food for him at a place called Pak Jon's where we eat every Tuesday and Friday after English class. Yes, the food is good enough to eat twice a week every week! :) The birthday tradition here is to throw eggs and dump flour on them and water!! That's always fun to do!!

As for the skype call, I don't know any details yet. I would imagine there will be instruction on Wednesday in our zone meeting on how we as missionaries are supposed to go about doing that. 

In our house we have been singing and listening to Christmas music and it's awesome. The Indonesian Elders haven't heard a few of the songs so when they hear one they get excited and really like it!

It's good to hear about Kiersten and Zach in their sports. And congratulations to Noah Reimers. He works hard at everything he does. 

The national Christmas tree sounds like a blast and of course our name gets called when I'm gone! HAHAHA and of course Zach asks for a snowboard and XBOX one!! Maybe he'll get one of those...... who knows??! 

This week in my personal study, I finished the Doctrine and Covenants which I wanted to read again because last time I really studied it was freshman year in high school. It is truly scripture that can be applied to every aspect of anybody's life at this day in age. It's a book of scripture that causes me to really think and ponder about the future and also the early saints and how blessed we are to live in this time period where things are different. 

Yesterday, the Sisters in our ward had a baptism. It was really good for the ward and the people who were involved with that. Before he entered the font they were practicing how it ws going to go and it was just funny to watch because outside of the water and inside of the water are two different places. But they only had to baptize him one time so that was good. Plus it was fast Sunday, so we opened our fast as a ward and had a mini feast! Our ward eats together every week after church. 

I hope things continue to be great for you all!  I miss you all!!!

Elder Hayes