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!
Well, I'm here! After about 24 hours of travelling and losing a day of my life, I am good. Since we flew over the International Date Line, I officially did not live on Tuesday November 17, 2015. Ah!
The travel was great, well, not so great. The planes were freezing and the seats were uncomfortable, and the worst part of it was that on the back of every seat, there was a little TV screen where people could watch movies and TV shows. I saw that Inside Out, Ant Man, Mad Max, and random Chinese movies were playing. It was hard not to watch them, since missionaries don't watch movies. So I just slept, or tried to sleep, at least. That 15 and a half hour plane ride from LAX to Hong Kong was brutal though. It made me question if I really did want to travel a lot in the future. I have 17 months to decide, we'll see how I feel about flying again after I get home. Haha!
This is outside the airport at Hong Kong. The sun was just coming over the mountains, it was so beautiful! I got to see Elder Meachum off, waving goodbye to him as he got on the plane.
I flew to Indonesia alone and once I got off the plane, BAM wave of heat and humidity! It was awesome! I was so glad to get out of the cold and into the HEAT! PANAS! Since the seasons are changing from the dry season to the rainy season, it's not too hot right now, yeah, I'm sweating all the time, but it's not so hot that I'm uncomfortable. It's very humid, but I like it.
My mission president is President Donald. He's from Australia, and one of the first things he said to me was that I have a weird accent. :) I love Australian accents though, so it's ok. I was told that I would be staying in Jakarta or a week and then go to YOGYA (Jogja) Yaayy! That is where all the cool hindu and Buddhist temples are and where the king lives. I'm super excited to go there. I'm staying in Jakarta until tomorrow so that I can get my Kitas, it's like an Indonsian passport/visa thing. My companion/Sister Training Leader is Sister Ingersoll. She's coming home to Boise in just a few weeks. She's a good missionary and has taught me a lot. We've gone to investigator's and less-active member's homes to teach lessons and we've gone bus contacting.
This is me and Sister Ingersoll on the back of a Bemo. That was fun!
There are so many new sights, new smells (ah, the great smell by the mission home! (not good)), new people, and new things to hear. I can't understand anything anyone is saying. It's like, did I even go to the MTC, did I really learn this language? I can say the things that I want to say, I just can't understand a word anyone says. It's crazy. Sister Ingersoll said that she didn't start to really understand Indonesian until she was here for 6 months. Well.... ok. I just take a day at a time, everyday hopefully understanding a little bit more. I hope I can understand at some point.
They have Christmas lights here! Woop! It made my day! Outside of Jakarta, they don't really do Christmas, so there probably won't be any lights in Jogja.
This was Sunday dinner. After freezer-burnt tater tots, nasty cereal, and a burnt bag of popcorn, this is what we came up with. There wasn't a lot of food to work with, so this was the best route to go!
So in the MTC, we teach "investigators", which is really just our teachers personifying investigator they taught on their mission, and we practicing teaching them. The woman on the left in the green was one of these investigators. Her name is Lely, it was so cool to meet her!
Well, it's been a great week, but I can't wait to go to Jogja. My companions will be Sister Antonio and Sister Nainggolain. The first is from the Phillipines and the second is from Indonesia. It's going to be so cool!
Sampai jumpa lagi,
Well, this will be my last blog post from the USA. Woop!
So I have my flight plans, as of last Friday. I will be leaving the SLC airport in the evening, headed to LAX. I will be there for a 3.5ish hour layover and then head to Hong Kong. I will be there for another layover that's about 3 hours and then go to Jakarta!
I'm not sure how I'm feeling. At moments I feel nervous, at others I'm super excited, and at others I'm not feeling anything whatsoever. I have faith that everything will go well and that the Lord won't let me fail. I'm so nervous about understanding and teaching in the language, and if I'm a good teacher. I teach 2 lessons to pretend investigators every day and feeling like the practice is helping me be more confident in myself, but I still am not sure if I'm good at teaching people. Plus, it's hard not having a companion to teach with as well, it's just me. But, I know that if I try my best, I don't have to worry about how I sound or how well I understand the language. As long as I'm trying, there's nothing else I can do.
Nothing has really happened this week out of the ordinary. We said goodbye to the Finnish sisters, who were learning on our same floor. They left on Monday and were super nervous, but they're going to be great; it's crazy, that's going to be me in just a few days. Everyone is saying how much they're going to miss me. Except for me and Elder Meachum, everyone who entered the MTC on the same day are here for another 3 weeks (that are in my zone). I guess we got lucky. I love my zone. For those who don't know what that is, (like I was in the beginning), it is a group of missionaries going to the same place. Since there are no more than 5 of us speaking each language, there are 7 languages all in one zone. For all of our missions, the Church is pretty much nonexistent. We have Armenian, Georgian (the country), Lithuanian, Latvian, Malagasy (Madagascar), Malay, and Indonesian. We are pretty much the coolest zone in the MTC. We've all got each other's backs and are really close. I'm going to miss these missionaries.
There are 4 Elders and 2 Sisters coming to the MTC learning Indonesian on Wednesday. I'll just miss them. And there was a sister from Indonesia, coming to learn English, who came yesterday. I haven't found her yet, BUT I WILL!!! I'm so excited to meet her!
It's crazy how fast these last 5 weeks have gone. It doesn't even feel like I've been gone for a week. It's weird. 'Aneh', as the Indos would say. But, my time here has come to a close, goodbye, ice cream Wednesdays, you have given me hope in life, goodbye 17M and 10M (my residence hall and building where my classroom is), you have been all that I have seen for the last 5 weeks, goodbye Elders and Sisters, who have become like family and will forever be part of me, and goodbye guru-guru (teachers), you 3 have been the best support here, and I don't know what I'm going to do without you. Come to Indonesia with me, please!
I'll talk to ya'll in INDO, don't know when, though. My adventure is officially starting 4 days from now, and I'm praying everyday for the courage to do this. Never stop believing in yourselves, never give up, never lose hope, don't do drugs, don't drink a whole water bottle before going to sleep, and always hide plastic spiders for people to find! This is my best Sister Stringham-isms that you could hope for.
Go on a mission. If you don't feel like going on one, just get out there anyway.
-Elder Bagley quote of the day.
Sister Stringham, the coolest missionary you know
Selamat siang, semua orang!
I hope all is going well for everybody. I'm doing just fine, but as I type it is snowing. I do not like the snow, I do not enjoy the cold, but I think I'm all right that it's snowing right now. I won't see snow for 17 months, that's crazy!
So this week went by so fast! I feels like it was P Day just yesterday, it's weird how fast time flies now. I leave the MTC a week from Monday. I'm getting my flight plans tomorrow and a week from today I'm packing everything back into my suitcases. Waduh, has time flied! My companions keep saying how they're going to miss me and
I love my language. I love everything about Indonesia! For those who are learning another language, the MTC has a program called SYL (Speak your Language) where you try to say as much in your new language as you can. Mostly those who have been here for a while try out SYL, where they can't speak English at all. I told my teachers that I wanted to do this, so now I'm full blown SYL, I'm not allowed to speak Enlgish in class unless I ask permission. It's hard but helps me so much! It feels like I've always known Indonesian, like it's something that has been a part of me my entire life, it's that strangest feeling, but I know that I'm meant to be going there. Things wouldn't be this easy and feel so right if I wasn't where I'm supposed to be.
Halloween was great! Our zone dressed up as Harry Potter characters during the day (with what Hogwarts type clothing that we could muster up) and at night we went to other rooms and trick-or-treated. We had a great time. Sister Ahlstrom (going to Armenia) and I put boxes on our heads and decided we were box trolls. Sisters Hodson, Leydsman, and Hutchinson wrote 'book' on their face, so theat they could be 'facebook' and it was a wonderful sight. Later, we decided to put the fake mustaches that moms had mailed to us, it was pretty great. In class that day, Sister Sheffield, one of my gurus, gave me some Indonesian candy. IT WAS SO GOOD! I can't wait to get some more over there!
I'm trying to be a better servant of the Lord. I want to to all that He wants me to do, to say all that He wants me to say, and be all that He wants me to be. It's hard for me to trust that everything is going to be all right on my mission. I know I'm going to fall short at points and that difficult times are before me, but I know that the Lord won't let me fail in His work. I know that this mission isn't about me, it's about God and bringing people closer to Him, and I'm trying to let go of my fear and letting Him guide me to where I need to be. Over the past week, I've been thinking about the story of Enoch, and how Heavenly Father helps those who serve Him. I've been reading over and over again Moses 6:31-34 and 7:13.
Heavenly Father will help us become who we need to be if we let Him, if we have faith in Him and His work. We must always remember our purpose and attitude in which we go about living, and if we can trust in the Lord to lead us in the right direction, we trully can reach our potential.
So this week has been amazing! On Tuesday, our devotional speaker was Elder Anderson. He talked about sacrifice, opposition, and deliverance. It was broadcast to all of the MTC's in the world. Our zone (a group of missionaries that usually learn the same language, but we have 7 languages) got to choir practice super early so that we could be in the front row when we sung our song for the devotional, it was super cool. Nobody knew who it was going to be until he walked into the room, it was awesome seeing an apostle and being like 100 feet away from him and singing for him.
Yesterday I got to be a host, one of those people that help the incoming missionaries get settled in and get to their classes. I helped someone going into the Salt Lake City East mission, so that was cool, maybe she'll serve in the Fairmont ward! That was really fun.
I am also loving learning the language, it is so fun. I'm halfway through the MTC now, and I can understand probably 75% of what my teachers are saying and can get through a conversation pretty well. I've gone over my hour now, so Sampai Junta Lagi!
Hello everybody! I don't have super long, but I will try to fit in as much as I can.
So this week went by insanely fast. I can't believe it's already P Day again! Honestly, this week has been really hard for me, so if you don't mind, I would like to ask for your prayers and happy vibes because man, this week's been so hard for me.
For all you football fans out there, for our Sunday night devotional, Chad Lewis and his wife came and talked to us about overcoming challenges. Since he's a football player and a coach for BYU, he invited Taysom Hill and Steve Young's nephew (who's in the MTC right now) to bear their testimonies. It was kind of cool. On Tuesday, Erich W. Kipochske (spelled wrong, I'm pretty sure) talked to us and how the Atonement can help each of us in every situation of our lives. It was good, but rumors were going around that an apostle was going to speak that night, so I was kind of let down when it wasn't, but it was an amazing talk anyway.
I wish I could tell you guys of some amazing missionary experience or some awesome wisdom that I've learned, but I've just been chillin' the last two weeks, doing what? Studying, studying, and you guessed it, more studying.
The coolest thing I've done so far was play volleyball. On the field, they have beach volleyball and it's so nice to get out of the classroom. And just sayin', I rock the court. I LOVE playing volleyball! We probably don't have much more time to play it outside, since it's getting colder. I don't know about Salt Lake, but there was some snow on the mountains yesterday. It scared me.
I think I said this last week, but we teach pretend investigators (which is really just our teachers). I teach two lessons every day, and I'm feeling like I'm getting better at it. I don't have to use as many notes and I can have somewhat of a real conversation with them. I feel like I really need to work on my teaching skills. I don't know if they're tired or trying to teach me to be less boring, but when I teach them they start to fall asleep. I don't think that's a good thing... but it's hard to be enthusiastic when you have to take five minutes to put a sentence together! But it's good, I'm learning a lot every day and I'm growing every day (but I'm not getting taller ;) ).
Things are hard. If anyone every said going on a mission was easy, they're lying. But no matter what, I'm not giving up. No matter how hard it gets, I won't give up serving the people of Indonesia. They deserve the gospel and the happiness that it brings, they should know how much their Heavenly Father loves them and how much He helps and blesses their lives.
I will impart some wisdom on you: Don't ever forget who you are. No matter how hard the world beats you down and no matter how little you believe in yourself, always remember how awesome you are. Always remember that Heavenly Father will help you if you ask for it, and even if you don't believe in that stuff, know that you are never alone, there will always be people in your life that will strengthen and uplift you. Never forget how valuable you are and that you are important, you are special and you are loved. Nothing is too hard that you can't do.
Sampai Jumpa Lagi!
HOLLEY STRINGHAM: Salt Lake City, born and raised; returned missionary from the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.; a simple folk aimed on changing the world