Well, here I am, in Jogja!
I feel like an official missionary now, I'm going out and teaching lessons everyday. I still can't understand most of what anyone is saying, but my understanding is improving every day. The people are so nice here! They are always helpful and are so excited to be talking to a bule (like 'gringo'). The people here are so humble and are so happy, given the circumstances they live in. Many people's home's who I've visited only have concrete for a floor and are very small. Many people are very skinny, like the unhealthy kind of skinny. But they are so willing to feed you a lot of food and do anything to make you comfortable.
This is a field outside of the busy part of Jogja, we went to a less-active member's house there and there were so many rice fields, it was beautiful. We are always in the city, I've heard that you almost never go outside of the populated cities. There are so many people here, I can't believe it! We ride bikes on the streets here and I'm always afraid of running into other people, but haven't yet, and it's already been a week. I've almost ran into two vehicles, but they were stationary, so.. you know...
In Jakarta, these were the sisters in my area. Sister Ingersoll (left) and Sister Sarwono (right) are the current Sister Training Leaders, and they were so nice and helpful to me my first week in Indonesia. That was one of the hardest weeks of my life, but with their patience and love, I was able to feel loved and feel like I could actually do this mission thing. Sister Rondanuwu (not spelled correctly) will be going to California, but is waiting for her visa, so she is starting her mission in Indonesia. Watch out, Provo MTC, you're gonna get an amazing missionary in December!
This is my first glance at Jogja, they actually have a few mountains! When your in the city though, you can't seem them. Jogja is beautiful. I love the architecture and how the city is laid out. At first I was really confused about where I was going, but now that I've gone around town a couple times, it's starting to become familiar. I don't know if I'll ever know exactly where I'm going here, but I hope I can at least understand how the streets work. I'm used to a grid system, not all these curvy roads and roundabout things.
Every day we go and teach at least three or four lessons. Most of them are to less-active members. There are a lot of less-active members in Indonesia, I'm starting to find out. Most of the country is Muslim. Every few hours, the mosques loud-speaker their prayers, and it really reminds me how much of this country is Muslim. There are a lot of mosques around the city, so you can hear two or three going on at one time, wherever you are. I think hearing it is cool, but for other missionaries it bothers them, but for me, I love listening it and learning about the culture of Indonesia. It's so different than at home.
It rains every day here for at least an hour. I love the rain! But I don't like biking in the rain, it's a little stressful. But yeah, that's my life right now.. rain.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. We didn't celebrate it here at all, especially since I don't have any American companions. But that's all right. I only have to miss two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, and two Halloweens, and then I'll be home. And it's almost been two months since I left home! Waduh!
Good luck to all the missionaries heading out of the MTC, you'll survive the first weeks, don't worry!
Until next time!
HOLLEY STRINGHAM: Salt Lake City, born and raised; returned missionary from the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.; a simple folk aimed on changing the world