Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week 77 - Lots of Great Blessings! Playing Piano in Church and Skyping with the Family!

Lots of great blessings this past week that really made one of my favorite weeks of the year a great one! Last P-day was my birthday so we went out and got ice cream at one of the biggest malls ever, that is all we bought because sometimes we are miskinaries.....if you speak Indonesian, you'll get that joke! Overall, it was a great day filled with lots of happiness.

On Tuesday, we made transfer calls with President as this week there will be moves in accordance with the wave of new missionaries that will be arriving on the 30th! Every time there is a transfer, it is a season of its own. We are a lot more busy in the office and have less time out in the streets yet I still feel we are incredibly blessed with great investigators. This past week at church there was very few people because everyone in the ward went back to their homes to be with their families, there was like a total of 4 families with a couple extra people. That being said, I was asked to play the piano in church. It was not too bad at all, could have gone way worse. After all these years, I never knew I would be called on to play the piano in church. For now, I am okay with that one time experience until I can practice more.

I'm 99.9% sure my companion thinks I'm crazy out of my mind. On Christmas Eve I just could not hold in my excitement for skyping the family and for Christmas day. I was yelling and dancing and singing. He may think I have a problem or something but I was just so excited. The Skype call with the family was just awesome! It was such a great time! 

As for investigators and other people we are working with, we were able to spend the 24th out and we visited some less-actives and sang Christmas songs with them and shared a Christmas message that lifted their spirits! We have a few new faces in our pool that are really excited to learn. Our goal for the new year is that every companionship get 5 baptisms in 12 months. I pray that I will be able to achieve that goal with the time that I have! 

On Christmas we still held our English class. Afterwards, we always share a spiritual message. There was only one student and then the other missionaries. I am the only missionary that is serving in our ward that is a native English speaker so I taught and then gave a spiritual thought that really hit me. We listened to Christmas music for our class and also for the spiritual thought, I picked a song by Josh Groban some of the lyrics go like this

" Somedays we forget to look around us. Somedays we can't see the joy that surrounds us. So caught up inside ourselves, we take when we should give....It's up to us to be the change....There's so much to be thankful for....Even with our differences, there is a place we're all connected, each of us can find each other's light"

These lyrics really hit me, especially that last part. Living in a different culture, with different people that are way different than I am, we are still connected. I hope Christmas was a good one and that the New Year will bring great blessings!

Elder Hayes

Cool Christmas

While out working we ran into this giant Islamic center so we stopped at walked around it for a little bit

I got attacked!  (In a good way)  :)

some of the rugs the people can pray on

Christmas at the mission home!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week 76 - Freezing in Air Conditioning, and Lots of Changes

Hello everybody! It has been another wonderful week down here in the spice islands! I will say the weather has been absolutely nice in Jakarta. It is for sure rainy season but when we go out to work we aren't sweating most of the time which makes things so nice. We probably have been floating around 75 degrees. I will say that every time that I walk into the AC I freeze....I never thought I would ever say that in my life! 

Just a quick update on the investigators. One of our investigators that we are working with knows that everything we say is true. He feels it, he knows it, just hasn't made the decision to be baptized. He has been learning for a year. We are working harder and harder for him to continue to feel the spirit so that one day he will just have a desire that he cannot deny to make the commitment. Other investigators are like hit or miss. Sometimes they come and sometimes they don't. When they come and can meet they text us and call us however when they don't come and can't meet it is like they never existed just poof! We are working with lots of people and they have tons of potential. One of which accepted a baptismal commitment yesterday after church! Lots of good things. We have a lot of success with less actives! 

Yesterday in church, one of the less actives that we have been working with received the Aaronic Priesthood. He went from not coming at all to now just super excited about everything. It was such a blessing to be a part of him coming back and seeing him receive the priesthood. I know that it will bless him as he progresses in the Gospel and continues to strengthen his testimony. This is a huge miracle for me.

Lots of changes have happened this past week! A huge group of missionaries finished their missions and headed home. That includes the Sisters from my MTC group and my beloved trainer Elder King. The very next day, we sent 7 new Indonesian missionaries off to the MTC. They should be arriving on the 30th of December as well as 6 from outside Indonesia if visas and all that is taken care of. Lots of great things coming! On Thursday, I myself got a new companion! Elder P transferred to Manado as the district leader and will do a great job. My new companion's name is Elder H. He is from Surabaya so I have already served in his branch and know his family! His dad is still Muslim but probably one of the nicest people I know. If you look back to when I was serving in Surabaya I think there should be a picture. We are with his parents and his dad is wearing a BYU shirt. We will work very well together. He has worked hard and is a great missionary! We will have a lot of fun together I think!

Saturday was the ward Christmas Party and we had some investigators show up and some less actives and it was a great success. As missionaries, we sang and we helped with the young single adult drama of the First vision. I was able to play the role of Joseph Smith, my companion was Yesus Kristus! Great day!

Miracles continue to happen in this city! Literally miracles on miracles!! This past week we were talking to people on the bus. One guy showed interest and expressed how he was Muslim but his older Brother is a member of the church in a different city. He said that his brother had never shared anything with him about the Gospel and he is actually interested! We gave him a Book of Mormon and will meet with him later. We made an appointment to meet with a 19-year old from England that we met on the street. He has heard of the church and is willing to meet, his parents work here and he actually goes to school here working on a computer science degree. Lots of miracles that happen. I almost think it comes from others seeing the Light of Christ in us but after we leave and all they just get confused and end up not wanting to meet, I'm not sure! The seeds have been planted and now a parable only found in Mark that teaches us that the seeds will grow we just know not how. Later someone will harvest them!! Good stuff!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! I am officially really old! The video was awesome! This past week I got a customs slip for the package so hopefully I will be able to get that today because I had to pay a small fee for it. The Sisters showed up at Senopati at 6:30 and sang Happy Birthday and brought me a cake and all! Later today we will be getting ice cream! I checked earlier, all the eggs have been eaten and there flour is all gone, miracle in itself!

Selamat Natal! Love you all!

Elder Hayes

My new companion! 

Christmas Pictures from the Ward

Christmas Pictures from the Ward
Elder King, my beloved 'Father' and Trainer went home...just a typical us face

Missionaries that went home

Christmas Pictures from the Ward

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week 75 - An Unforgettable Week!

Hello everybody!! I have not really been in Jakarta at all this past week! However, this past week was probably one of the most unique experiences of my whole mission! Elder and Sister Wong from the 70 came (you may know Elder Wong because he was one of the first people to give a general conference talk in his native language, cantonese) and also Elder and Sister Pon came who will become the 2nd counselor in the Asia area presidency! Talk about an amazing, super spiritual week!

We finished our preparations for the mission tour on Monday and Tuesday and got ready. Wednesday we had the first portion of the tour here in Jakarta. IT WAS AWESOME!! It was literally one of the craziest, most inspired things ever! The spirit was so strong and I learned so much and was just so busy writing things that the spirit was teaching me. Afterwards, we headed straight to the airport to head to Solo. There, we had a cool experience. We were sitting there waiting for the plane when I had an impression that we needed to talk to the Muslim lady in front of us. We opened our mouth and she opened right up and explained how she used to be Christian and actually has been wanting her family to learn about it. We were able to offer the Restoration pamflet and teach her a little bit right then and there! It was completely lead by the spirit and now she is a referral for the missionaries in Solo. Because we were talking to her the guy next to me started to talking to me but was not interested! I have experienced more miracles in this city more than ever! Later on, I know these things will be harvested!

We were in Solo on Thursday for that portion of the mission tour. It was a COMPLETELY different meeting. The spirit took that meeting to a whole different place!! I was also just writing spiritual impressions that came to me as we participated in this one as well! That night we hopped on a 4 hour train ride to Surabaya. My companion and I sat next to Elder and Sister Pon where we learned a few chinese characters and learned how to say "I am Elder Hayes" let me tell you, I spent the last few days trying to say that right and maybe have only gotten it once. That is for sure a hard language to speak and write!! We arrived in Surabaya and had a COMPLETELY different meeting there on Friday. It was just another spirit-lead meeting where we were learning a lot. We were able to go on splits with the ZL's there on Saturday and then on Sunday we attended the district conference there! We were the designated translators and had a great time! 

This truly has been a very special week! This is for sure a week I will not forget! December is by far my favorite month of the year for a number of reasons. One of which is the atmosphere of peace and excitement. The excitement for Christmas has always been there but when you can stop and realize that the Savior was born, our world changes.

"He came to pay a debt he didn't owe because we had a debt that we couldn't pay"

The church is true! Happy Holidays!

Elder Hayes

with Elder and Sister Pon

With Elder and Sister Wong
At the airport on the way home! Elder King goes home this week!

2 tired missionaries on the train

Caught President sleeping :)
Mission Tour in Surabaya

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 74 - The Force is Strong with this One! And Random Acts of Kindness.

It has been another wonderful week down here in the Spice Islands! This past week was busy and this upcoming week will be even busier! I am super excited for everything!

This past week, we had our MLC meeting and brought in the leaders of the mission and had a great days discussion with them and set some pretty high goals for the upcoming year! On Saturday, we passed our baptisms from last year and now have 147 when last year we were 142 and we still have time in this year! Next year, we are looking to increase that even more! This mission has never seen anything like this before! We are being lead by great leaders, President and Sister Donald! The leaders came in on Monday for P-day so we had some extra time to go to a few places. We went to one of the malls that is close to the house and found a countdown until the new Star Wars and also found lego R2D2 and a lego C3po! It was legit, however my countdown is a little longer.

On Wednesday, we were stuck in the office with lots to catch up on and ended up traveling to the outskirts of Jakarta to have a split in Tangerang! We had a great 2 days there! On the first day there, it started raining cats and dogs out of no where! These little kids that were following us quickly got us to a spot where we could stay dry. We had a great time with them as they played out in the rain. We had been sitting in this little guard post thing when someone across the street called us into their house! It was an act of kindness. As we started talking with them, we found out that they actually own one of the biggest mosques in the area. It was pretty crazy to see pictures of it. The rain had finally slowed after about an hour and before we left, they gave each of us a yellow towel to take with us to wipe our faces. That is how we got the yellow towels!  Friday night we came back and had English class. Saturday we were finally able to get out and work in our area. We had a couple lessons that went well and met lots of people on the bus that would be interested in learning.

Sunday was just an awesome day!! We had 2 investigators come to church both now with baptismal dates, probably around 5 less actives come which was just amazing to see and the Sisters had a baptism!! It was a great Sunday! 

This upcoming week we have the mission your with one Elder Wong and his wife as well as the Pongs. We start here in Jakarta on Wednesday, travel to Solo later that night, Thursday in Solo, travel to Surabaya, and then on Friday we will be in Surabaya. We will do splits in Surabaya for a few days and then return here just in time for a good group of missionaries to head home before Christmas! We will be super busy but everything will be awesome!

I know the church is true and the work continues on!

Elder Hayes

Lego Star Wars - The Force is True! :)

one of the family members of the family that let us in to stay dry, they like to call us our new family!

The Sister's baptism!!

Some of the best MTC group

Eatin' some pork belly

My comp holding the snake!!  

Our house Christmas Tree
Some district fun with our WML!!