Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 73 - Busy, Busy, Busy Moving this Marvelous Work Forward

To sum up this past week in one word I would have to say it was AMAZING!!! There were lots of miracles and cool things that happened!

In Kesa's email she mentioned that she really wants to feel an earthquake....She should visit here, I've felt so many that sometimes I don't know if it is an earthquake any more hahaha! These little islands have little earthquakes weekly all over the place, mostly tremors that just happen constantly but every once and a while it gets a little bigger! WOO The spice islands!! 

This past Tuesday was our District Leader's birthday and with the oh so famous Indonesian tradition we did break eggs on his head. This is a tradition that is fun to do however, not so fun to clean up :) A lot of Tuesday was spent in the office in preparation of ALL of the things coming up. We will be very busy in December. Tomorrow we have our MLC meeting, next week we have a mission tour with Elder Wong of the 70, the following week there are missionaries heading home (including the sisters from my MTC group), the next week is Christmas, and then the following week there will be about 13 new missionaries coming into the mission so there will have to be transfers. Boy, are we busy!! With that being excited, I am super excited for it all!!

Thursday was Thanksgiving! Obviously that is not a holiday that is celebrated by anybody except Americans but there just happens to be three mission couples serving here in the office from America!! They cooked a Thanksgiving lunch for everybody that works here in the church offices!! It was absolutely delicious! Living here at the office has perks too, all the leftovers are given to the two Elders to do a service and finish....needless to say, we have been eating pie for the past little while :) The turkey was switched out for some good ol' chicken. Plus, I learned that American food does not sit the same as Indonesian food. I am so grateful for the blessings in my life. Most of the time I am terrible at giving thanks and showing that I am thankful but deep down I really am! "there is so much to be thankful for." We had a lesson later that night. If you want to get a feel of Jakarta, it took us about 3 hours to get to this appointment and about 30 minutes to get home.....traffic!!

Friday was such a blessing!! The day started off normal just as any other day would. We had started our office work when we get a call from President, he told us that Elder Gong from the 70 and his wife had arrived and that he would like a video translated for stake conference. We got straight to work! We worked on translating this video ALL day. Everything was working really well except the very last step which was to convert it so that the Indonesian subtitles were converted into the video. Seriously, we were trying to do this for probably 2 hours! President Donald came upstairs and invited us to dinner with them and Elder and Sister Gong. It was awesome! What other missionary gets to eat dinner and get to know a member of the 70 and his wife?! They are such spiritual people and awesome! I didn't get a picture and now regret it :/ anyways back to the video, needless to say we got one to work it just wasn't how we wanted it to be. We said our prayers and tried again in the morning and we did the exact same step and it just worked! We caught Elder Gong heading out the door so that he could use it! I learned a lot from them the short time they were here!

On Saturday we had a former investigator text us and tell us that he wanted to apologize for what he had said to us earlier and that he had been put under peer pressure but now that he has had time to think about it he feels like this church is where he needs to be and has asked to learn again and basically asked us to baptize him... MIRACLE!!! Later on in the day we had an appointment with a former investigator from a different city but has now moved to Jakarta. We testified about the Book of Mormon, knelt down in prayer with him and right away he felt the spirit and told us that it is probably true. He received a baptismal date right then and there... MIRACLE!! The last miracle of the day was that video working out! the Lord truly just does this work through us that are here. 

Sunday was a great stake conference! The spirit was there and lots of great things were said!! My companion is taking an english exam today. I know he will do great, his english is already pretty good and he has prepared hard for it!

Sounds like things are going well! I have actually never met Levi and Wyatt, I have only seen pictures. I bet Puggers was having a blast. 

Well, I'm grateful for this Gospel and the hand of the Lord in this marvelous work. 

Elder Hayes

riding in a bemo to an appointment

selfie just for the record
good Indonesia tradition of breaking eggs on the head :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 72 - Season Greetings with a Miracle, and Making Boy Friends Jealous

Happy Thanksgiving!! It sounds like plans for Thanksgiving are set and they sound like a blast! We would like to celebrate a "full" Thanksgiving as missionaries here but to have the Turkey alone is equivalent to $800 UD. Turkey is very rare here, so it won't be a "full" Thanksgiving. We might settle for the regular chicken. :) I'm so grateful for the Gospel and the answers that can be learned from it. For example, if you want to become rich, read the book of Alma and it talks about people getting rich because of their care for the needy and their thoughts weren't on riches. Bam, the key to becoming rich. It is amazing to see how the Gospel can heal the temporal things of life and not a lot of people see that or understand that! 

This past week has just been wonderful. I will focus on a miracle that happened on Friday that I will never forget. We had our whole day planned out when suddenly early in the morning a member called and wanted to eat dinner with us before having English class. What missionary is going to turn down dinner? We called our appointment that lived about 2 hours away and asked if we could move the appointment to earlier in the day and he said yes. We made it to the appointment and taught him. He really needs the Gospel in his life as he has kind of hit a road block in life and feels the challenges piling up. Well, after the lesson, we sprinted onto the bus that was about to take off because we didn't want to get stuck at the bus stop waiting for 30 minutes +. There was a man sitting next to my companion and right away asked what the Book of Mormon was (we carry them in our hands for people to see). I saw that and felt inspired to talk to the guy on my left. Turns out he has just arrived to Jakarta and is from Bali. He is going to work on an Australian Cruise line. We were in the middle of a great conversation when all of a sudden on my right I hear, "I didn't know the Mormon church was in Indonesia." Startled by the clear English accent I turned and said, "as a matter of fact, it is throughout the whole world, where you from?" It so happened to be that he is from Chicago. He is here because he got married in a Catholic church here and is actually getting a divorce which is sad. This man, went on to explain how for a few years now has been questioning his beliefs with his brother. One of his friends in Chicago who was a member recommended that he meet with the missionaries. He had no time because he was coming to Indonesia for a little while and kind of put it off. He then mentioned he didn't know what happened but of all places is sitting next to a missionary from the church, on a bus in Indonesia! That is what we call The Lord WORKING MIRACLES!! He had only been here for a day and a half since that moment. His plan is to be here for a little while so he didn't have a phone but hopefully will soon. He gave his email and that is the Lord's hand moving our day around so that we could be on that bus!

Besides him as an American, I have met other Americans and a German this past week. Elder Panjaitan and I are seriously opening our mouths with everybody...including the westerners! We are seeing more and more people interested as we talk to more. I used to get disappointed when asking if they are interested and them rejecting. Now, it is just a testimony that it isn't time but that the seed is planted and later they will have their time. Missionary work is AWESOME!!

On Monday, we got a bunch of missionaries together and went paint-balling! It was legit! It was pouring rain and had to wait the storm out because at one point the bolts of lightning were not even separated from the crashes of Thunder....that was a heart racer. We were patient and had a great muddy battle!! On Tuesday, we went on splits with the Zone leaders here in Jakarta and had a great day of finding. I actually met an Islamic missionary who was very interested in our church and asked for the Book of Mormon. Another miracle!! On Thursday, we had an appointment with a referral from the church website. We met with him and his friend. Turns out he is a Pastor for the Baptist church. He was very open in talking and actually the one and only Pastor I have met that did not want to debate with us. It was a great lesson and he wants to actually learn more, he was impressed with what we had to say and how we delivered our message.

As a mission we got new Sister missionaries. Two of them are actually from Indonesia serving in California and Australia but they are waiting visas so they started to serve here in Indonesia. Here is a funny story for the week. We were sitting on the bus talking when I get a poke in the leg. I look over and this girl shows me her phone, I was confused. She had written out a message on the messenger thing in English that said, "Sir, can I take a pic with you later? I want to make my boyfriend jealous." I'm not gonna lie I lost it laughing. Out of all the things that could of happened, that is one. The picture didn't happen and I'm glad because that wouldn't be very Christ like. It was pretty dang funny! 

We are having great success with less-actives coming to church for the past two weeks. We are working on just building their testimony! This week happens to be stake conference so that should be exciting! I haven't been to a stake conference since exactly one year ago. 

Thanksgiving sounds like it will be fun with Mark and Nicole and everyone. I take it they are there for work or what brought them to move to the East? Sounds like all is well. The Lord works miracles!! 

Love you all!!

Elder Hayes

A Little Paintball Fun 
Lookin' Fierce
Caught him napping.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 71 - Epistles of the Lord, Friday the 13th, and Here Comes the Rain

Well, it has been another pretty dang good week! I don't know if I mentioned this in my last email but my companion and I had our first skype lesson and are looking forward to more. Basically the church is only in very select places here but we get media referrals from all over Indonesia. Basically any referral that cannot be visited by missionaries, we take. One of them wanted to meet on skype, turns out this person has learned before and was very receptive of the Restoration. Unfortunately, it is a little hard to baptize them because they would be baptized straight into inactivity just because there is no church in most of the areas. We have a couple other skype lessons lined up for this upcoming week and we are excited.

On Wednesday we had a split with the district leader here in Jakarta and it was a great day! We were able to meet with less-actives, taught an investigator, who knows that the Book of Mormon and the church is true, just scared to make the commitment to be baptized. We hope very shortly he will make that decision. We know he will because he already has the testimony. We also met a lot of crazy people together. I was also able to treat him to Chili's and I think he enjoyed that. 

Thursday rolled around and both my companion and myself fell by the wayside sick. :( We took care of some office work and just went to bed to get better. Well, my lesson on rest has grown because the next day we were in action. In the past, I have kind of forced myself and suffered for about 2 weeks but this was like insta-heal! The power of rest is powerful. Just a little hiccup in the week and straight back to work! 

We have been getting rain off and on. I think soon here we will fully enter into the rainy season where it will rain everyday. Here in Jakarta that means flooding. Friday night we had our English class at the church but it was raining which meant flooding. Well, we walked through the floods. It took us a little over 2 hours to get to the church because of traffic and I'm just gonna throw the little sick hiccup on Friday. Just a typical Friday the 13th. The myth is true.

Yesterday we visited a member who lives pretty far. I'm pretty sure we walked a marathon after the hour bus ride out there. On top of that the humidity after the rain is killer here!! Well, this member is pretty cool. He was baptized probably about 2.5 years ago. He was muslim and actually is the only Christian in his family. We were able to go to his house and sing with him and get to know a few of his family members. The faith of the members in this city is tremendous. Unless you live right across the street from the church, which nobody does, it takes about 1 hour+ give or take to get to church give or take a few.

This past week, in preparation for the upcoming mission tour in December with Elder Wong from the 70, who will be coming, we were given a talk that was given in the mission President seminar by Russell M. Nelson. It is titled "Epistles of the Lord," and I found the talk very inspiring. First I looked up the word Epistle in the Bible Dictionary and besides a letter, I found that it is "in its best sense more than a letter; it is a formal teaching instrument." That is very fitting for a missionary. He then gives the scripture reference in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 which says,
 " Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with
ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but infleshy tables of the heart."
This really hit me and just let me focus and ask myself if I truly have the countenance of the Lord in my eyes. He explains that just by what we look like and what we may say that the countenance of the Lord can be shown if we have the epistle of the Lord written in our hearts. That is what I strive for and hope to achieve. Hopefully all of us can learn from this.
Sounds like everything is going well, hope it stays that way!

Elder Hayes

 a picture of just a portion of our area

on top of the world!!

me and the comp

all of this for only 4 missionaries

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 70 - City Slickers, and Busy week = Blessings!

Assalamualaikum folks! (A greeting in Arabic)

It has just been a WONDERFUL week! My companion and I are putting our heads down and just getting to work and seeking the elect of God in this gigantic city. We have decided that we are the 'City Slickers.' With that little companionship nickname Heavenly Father has to bless us.....that and a lot of prayers and faith and planning and teaching and everything else.

Here is just a little run down of what the week consisted of. Monday was a great P-day, other mission leaders came in for preparation of our MLC meeting, we had a very successful family night. Our ward here is about 80% young single adults so they always ask to have family nights and what not so we invite our investigators and the less-actives and things are history from there. Tuesday was our MLC meeting which went very well. We focused on contacting people and to really just lose the fear and open our mouths with everyone. The spirit came and we made a little mission contacting challenge. As a companionship we have put a lot of focus on the members this past week and we have witnessed miracles with all of them. I will explain later. Thursday-Saturday we have just been out teaching and finding! I was asked to give a talk yesterday in church and I think it went very well. I pretty much just hyped myself up and was probably the happiest person in the world yesterday! :) Busy week = Blessings!

This past week we were able to visit 3 families that are already members. My companion and I prepared a little lesson to share with everyone that takes all but 10 minutes yet the spirit is out of this world strong. Family 1: Tuesday night we go to their house, open with a prayer, watch a little member missionary video with the background music of "I'll go where you want me to go," we then hand the family a piece of paper to write the names of people they know that are not yet members. We ask the head of the household to offer a kneeling prayer and to pray specifically for the names on the list. The prayer was awesome and when we sat back up we asked if there was a name that they felt needed something....there was a pause of silence and at the very same time, the husband and wife belted out the exact same name on the list. The family knew, we knew and Heavenly Father knew that this person needed something. We have challenged the family to start talking with this person, Miracle. Family 2: Saturday morning we go to their house, open with a prayer, watch that same video and hand them their piece of paper. This family wrote 18 names on the list. The head of the household offered the kneeling prayer and after the prayer, the wife felt like one of her own family members needed something. We challenged her to reach out to that specific family member. Family 3: Saturday night we go their house, open with a prayer, watch that same video and this time, we are impressed to have the 19-year old daughter offer the kneeling prayer. The prayer was so powerful, she started praying and when she got to a particular name she paused and was just overcome by the spirit! With tears just pouring she finished the prayer, praying specifically for two of the names. We sat back up and the whole family was in tears and at that moment they knew what they had to do as a family to help these people. We will be following up to see their progress. It was an awesome week just helping the members fulfill their missionary responsibilities!! Miracle, miracle, miracle!

It has FINALLY rained! Saturday morning we were on the bus, right when we got off, it just rained cats and dogs like you have never seen before! So much for the umbrella, it was raining sideways! We got to the train station (our area is so big that sometimes we have to travel by train) hopped in the train just soaked but it was raining so hard that the train itself started to flood!! Eventually the doors shut and off we went. It rained all day Saturday and Sunday it rained from the evening into the night. It has already helped with the smog and haze and the temperature. I think we may have finally dropped to around to 80's! It will be an interesting rainy season because it is starting later and Jakarta floods so we will see!!

We have been talking with everybody this week! With that we have met some interesting people! We have met a 6-fingered man, a man with dreads longer than long who lives on the street and super humble, a starting non-believer that we feel was put in our way to boost him up, and just so many different people!!

To answer the question about the people that are Muslim. We teach them but as of now, they have to be interviewed by the mission president for baptism because of various outcomes. We do not openly proselyte here, that is why we contact people when we travel. Everybody is more than willing to talk and share their religious beliefs. 

Well, it's been a good week. Love you all!

Elder Hayes 

 Imagine this just jam packed with people ALL day, EVERY day and that is where we meet people and teach 

just a little exhausted on the table

The shortest sister in the mission and me