This week has been a bit hectic, but in the end it worked out well. Sorry I haven't written in a while, there hasn't been much time. Today we went to a place called Tawangmangu for P Day with the Solo 1 Ward. Fun tidbit of the day, I ate rabbit on a stick today. Not one of my favorites but I'm still alive! This will be the last time I see most of the members for a while because we will be moving to a new ward on Wednesday! After 6 and a half months I'm leaving Solo to move to... Solo again- a ward called Solo Banjarsari, just on the other side of our area. At first I thought that it was a mistake, because I've been here for so long and haven't had much of "success" that I had looked forward to when I got here, but now I'm really excited. It'll be fun. We will be whitewashing, or in other words, me and my companion will be completely new to the area, so we won't know any of the investigators or members when we get there. I've worked with the Solo Banjarsari sisters before, so I know a little bit about the area, so we should be able to get along all right.
This experience has lead me to ponder why Heavenly Father wants from me, why He wants me to be in this same area for so long. I've been in Central Java my whole mission. And now He's sent me to the same city! The other missionaries say I'm serving in the Indonesia Central Java Mission. Haha. I still haven't received any answer as to why I've been here this entire time. But as one very wise Senior missionary told me, "Sometimes we don't need to know why" Sometimes we just go and do and it will all work out. I didn't know why I was sent to Solo when I was called here, but looking back on the last few months, I know. And I know that there is a purpose for staying here longer, even if I don't yet know the "why". If there's one thing I've learned, it's that things always work out in the end. We can't see the big picture until we've found every piece of the puzzle. So, I'll let you know what happens next week. Wish me luck!
Hi everybody, today will be short but I feel bad not writing anything at all because this has been a great week. Last Monday we carved the one pumpkin we could find with the other Solo sisters. It was fun! I also bought a Snickers for Halloween. They don't celebrate Halloween here so ya gotta do what ya gotta do. On Thursday we started PLD, a two day Zone Conference with President Rowley. For the first day the Solo missionaries worked all day except for those who were leaders or trainers, who had a meeting at night. It was really cool because the time that we were working that day there were so many miracles. We asked directions from someone on the street and it turned out she used to learn with the Elders maybe 10 years ago. She said that we could visit her again. We also got a referral from one a less active member to go visit another less active family, and we also started teaching a new family and they were very happy to have us over. On Friday we had some really good discussions about working with members and finding people who will build up the kingdom, finding families who will strengthen the church here. It really got me excited again, because I've been a little low these last few days. On Saturday was Stake Conference. I and another elder were asked to help translate for the English speakers who would be attending. I didn't translate much but was able to hear some good talks. Now, yesterday was pretty cool! It was Stake Conference in Novotel, a cool hotel, because we don't have a stake center in Indonesia yet. We got to sing in the choir and I also got to translate a talk for the two people that came that didn't speak Indonesian. Even though it was only one talk, 10 minutes, for two people, I know I still made a difference and was able to do something amazing. Who knew 2 years ago that I would be translating Indonesian to English in a stake in Central Java? I can barely speak English but I know that through God all things are possible.
Don't ever forget that God will always help you do amazing things, even impossible things, if you allow Him to lead you, even if you don't know what will happen. So many times in my life I have learned that when we just say YES to the things He asks of us, or new opportunities that arise, He will lead the way and bring us and strengthen us to do things we never thought we could do.
Thanks for always being there for me!
This week was pretty normal, we worked hard to teach those we see regularly and all is well. As Sister Prayitno will agree, I am already into the Christmas Spirit. Tomorrow is the 2 month countdown, I've decided. I'm still a little bit sick so we haven't gone out too much, but that's okay, life is good in the Indonesian hood.
These past few weeks I have been studying and reflecting upon the covenants, or promises, we make upon baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It has brought me many blessings to have made a covenant with God to follow Christ, but never have I fully understood what I really promised when I was baptized. I wish to share what I have learned these past few days and throughout my mission.
In the sacrament prayer, we learn of the main purpose of our baptismal covenant: always remember Him (Jesus Christ), take His name upon us, and to always keep His commandments. But what does that mean? We take the sacrament every week and hear these same things every time we partake of the bread and water. Yet do we fully understand and live those three very important things? Let's take a look at each promise.
ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM: We promise that we will remember our Savior at all times, in all things, in all places. We cannot be a 'Sunday Christian' and leave all those things we profess to be at the door of the church, but must actively search Christ in every aspect of our lives so that we may be guided in all things, so that we may have that hope, peace, and strength that God promises to those that follow Him. Are we seeking Christ in everything we do, every single day?
TAKE HIS NAME UPON US: This one is a little trickier than the first, and something I didn't quite understand until I came on my mission. To take Christ's name upon ourselves literally means to do everything we do in the name of the Savior, or in other words every action and thought is a reflection of Jesus Christ. From personal experience know that this is a lot harder than it sounds. But God does not forsake us, He will cheer us on and strengthen us as we strive to be true disciples of His Beloved Son. We will never be perfect in this life, but that doesn't mean we don't keep trying. To say that we take Christ's name upon ourselves means we will give our all to represent Him and reflect His life in our own. It also means we will face those same challenges He faced, such as criticism, loneliness, and persecution. But we do not need to be alone, He will be by our side every step of the way. Are we reflection Christ in everything we do? Are we truly His disciples?
KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: From every prophet, Adam until this day, the principle of obedience has been preached. Why? Why does God even care if we go or don't go to church every week or be honest or serve others? What I've found is that God loves us more than we can ever know, He is our Father and we are His children, and that relationship is very much the same as a parent and child on earth. Every child complains of the responsibilities and rules placed upon him. Why do they have to do their homework, why do they have to go to bed early, why must they babysit their younger siblings while their parents are out? The reasoning is the same, because the parents love their children, and know that if their little ones will obey, they will grow to be amazing people that are a blessing to their community. They know these rules will keep them safe and will help them reach their potential. The same is with the commandments, only on a much larger and grander scale. God knows that through the commands He gives, He allows us to grow into what He intends each of us to be. You may have found it takes a little bit of sacrifice to follow the commandments. From a talk given in the MTC I learned that God will never be in debt to you. Meaning, His blessings will always be of more value than any sacrifice you give. As a missionary, I have learned time and time again, sacrifice and obedience brings miracles. We just have to take that leap of faith first and then we will truly fly. Follow Alma's advice: Do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way...The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever (Alma 37:46). We already know the way and we know why we must follow God's commandments. Let us live each day without fear, laziness, or hopelessness in living His plan for us. He has promised repeatedly that He will bless us IF we obey, so let us obey.
Love you all!
This week was pretty great. We had it themed "Minggu Nabi" or Prophet Week, since we were preparing for General Conference. We were focusing every lesson on prophets and what their role is in our lives and why we need one right now. It didn't go quite as well as we planned but it still got us excited for General Conference. By the end of the week I was feeling pretty stressed, because not one person said that they were going to come to conference. I know that God still speaks to us and I know He still calls a prophet in these days, and it brings me much peace and understanding to know this. I just wanted to help someone feel this amazing feeling too. But lesson after lesson we were rejected. By Conference, we prayed that just someone, anyone, even a less active member would just come to conference, but Saturday came and went, and nobody came. The Sunday morning session ended and no sign of an investigator. Finally the Sunday afternoon session started. We were hoping and praying so hard. But nobody was there. Before it had started we had called one of our investigators and she said that she was going to come but she would be late, because the afternoon session was starting 30 minutes before schedule. I was worrying because she might not be able to get to the church by the time conference ended. During the Congregational hymn in the middle of the session, we went out to see if she had come yet, no sign. But, we found one of our former investigators sitting in one of the back rows of the chapel! Wow! But wait, there's more! As the went out at the end of the conference to meet this investigator, we found 2 other former investigators and the one current investigator coming out of the church as well! Miracles do happen! God sometimes doesn't answer our prayers in the ways that we expect, but He always hears our prayers and will answer them, sometimes just not in the way we want or expect. God will never leave us alone.
See you next week!
Selamat siang semuanya! Good afternoon everybody! But it's actually nighttime for all you in America right now, so selamat malam too! This week has been a bit hectic. I've been worrying about this area, because this has been a time where all of our investigators and people just kind of stopped happening. Everything good that had happened the last month had just kind of disappeared, with all of our potential investigators and less active members wanting to come to church. It was making me a little stressed. So... the beginning of this week was terrible. we went all around solo and were trying to meet our investigators and less active members and trying to contact and just nothing was working out. I have to admit I almost gave up hope on this area. But I decided to stay true to my personal motto: things are always going to work out if we keep trying, no matter how bad it gets. So, we kept trying, and by the end of this week we found 3 new investigators, gave away 4 Books of Mormon, and got a whole bunch of referrals. My motto has never failed me yet! Maybe things have ended up differently than what I thought they were going to when I came to Solo, but things always work out for our good and the good of those around us. God has a plan for each of us, we just have to keep moving forward so He can shape us into the person we need to be, so we can experience the things we need to experience. If we keep a hold of our strong foundations nothing can keep us from rising above the ashes of heartache, loss, loneliness and unfairness. Just keep doing what you know is right and don't ever give up hope.
Question for all of you: What is hope, exactly? I'm interested in hearing what you all think...
Sip! Terima kasih! Thanks for always being there for me this past year. You know, it will be my year mark one week from this Friday. Can you believe it? I definitely can't. This last year has been packed with so many experiences and lessons, but it's by far been the fastest year of my life. Weird.
This week has been a little bit crazy. On Monday we went Antique shopping, on Tuesday we went all around Solo trying to look for someone to teach, on Wednesday we worked in the Solo Jebres/Banjarsari area, on Thrusday while the Jebres Sisters did Weekly Planning while I read their Liahonas and I also picked up my 'child' Sister Prayitno, on Friday we went to Zone Meeting in Jogja and rode on a bus for maybe 6 hours that day, on Saturday was did Weekly Planning and Sister Prayitno taught her very first lesson to an awesome Part Member Family, and on Sunday I played the piano in sacrament meeting for the first time EVER and pretty much died, but I did pretty good for a first time. Another lesson: Even if you're not perfect at something or don't feel good enough, as long as you serve people out of love and use your talents to serve them, you WILL be a blessing in other people's lives.
Lesson learned this week: At the super market if you buy a certain brand of detergent you get a free plate. (what the connection is, not quite sure) As we finished checking out the lady didn't give us the free plate, but only after Sister Prayitno asked for it. I decided to make an analogy of it. We are often promised blessings form God, but sometimes wonder why we never receive it, (we might say "it's written on the front of the package, for heaven's sake!") but sometimes we have to ask for it first, and it will immediately be given to us, God is just waiting for us to ask. That was my wahyu this week. You're welcome.
Okay, don't have any more time. Have a wonderful week ya?
Hello! Happy Sacrifice Day! Today in Indonesia they celebrate a day where they animal sacrifice, usually a goat or a cow to remember Abraham's sacrifice. Kinda cool! This last week I have been... alone. Because Sister Solomon moved to Tangerang on Wednesday and my trainee comes this Wednesday. She's still in the MTC! So I've been working with the two other sisters in Solo, Sister McGillis and Sister Rizkiana, and also been working with the members because there's an extra bike they can use. It's been crazy. I'm not sure where to go from now with this area, but I'm sure it'll all work out. I know God will guide my service here in Solo 1&2. He has already helped me and strengthened me so far, and I know He'll help me the rest of the way. D&C 28:15 is really true! "From the time that thou shalt depart to the time you shall return, I will be with you" or something like that. Another fun fact... I'm already 11 months on my mission, I'm already an old lady in the mission! hehe. I still feel brand new. I remember the words of a missionary who was going home a few weeks I got into the field. "Did I really go on a mission? The time's gone by so fast"
On Tuesday it was my birthday. I'm officially 20 years old! As a tradition in the Indonesia Jakarta Mission, I was egged and floured at our house. Oh man!
I've been with the Solo Jebres sisters these past few days. It 's been pretty crazy because my area is flat, and their's is all up hill, so I died a few times when I was working in their area.
Another picture from my birthday. And one of my last pictuers with Sister Solomon :(
I also went on splits with a lot of the members this week. It was really fun to help them learn what it's like to be a missionary and the impact they can have when they share the gospel. This is Erica. She's getting ready to serve a mission, she's just waiting for her call!
I love this country and all of the amazing people here. It's crazy, it's almost been a year. The time goes by fast when your working hard. I know this work is making a difference in the lives of the people I've taught so far. This gospel can really help us no matter what problem or heartache we have, there is a peace and hope that comes from living the gospel, where all the worldly solutions can't help. This gospel has helped me so much and I'm so thankful it is in my life. No matter what happens I know I can rely on my Savior and His teachings to get me through it. I know it can help you too.
See you next week! Anda semua hebat sekali!
Sorry, no photos this week, can't use the USB here.
This week we were visited by Elder Evans of the 70. Something I really got from the conference was to keep moving forward, don't stay where you're at or get lazy or give up where you are right now. WE've got to keep moving forward our whole missions, our whole lives, we can't just stop progressing, we can't forget our purpose here. It was good. I've been feeling really worn out from everything we've been doing lately, we've been working really hard, but this was just what I needed, a nice refresher. Elder Evans will be here in NOvember for a mIssion tour, so I'm excited to get some more guidance for how I can make my mission even better.
We've seen a lot of miracles this week. Someone from Madagascar just stopped us on the street and wanted to come to our English class, turns out he's been meeting with the other missionaries on the other side of Solo. He then went to our Ward Night activity and went to church. So cool! We also go to the track every morning. One of the athletes there just said "Hey, I'm coming to your church this week ya" and he came! Amazing Amazingness! Our one Ibu that wants to get baptized is progressing really well and she's totally ready to get baptized next month. The Elders have each baptized someone in the last week. We've met some awesome people on the street and many of our investigators are doing really well, they truly want to learn. There have also been some challenges this week, both for us and those we teach, but we won't focus on those. Let's just remember that the Lord will help us in our work. Whether that's as a missionary or a parent or a student or worker. No matter what we do, as long as we're striving to bless the lives of those around us, we will be blessed, and we will see the hand of God in our lives and see others blessed through our efforts.
Okay, you're all awesome! So out there and be hebat!
Hi everybody! This was a great week! The most amazing thing is we have 3 people with a baptismal date for September! And we have a couple about ready to accept the invitation as well, we just haven't seen them in a while. So we have 2 kids about 9 years old who will be baptized in a couple weeks if everything goes well, and a woman a week later. Her husband wants to be baptized too but he wasn't home when we visited them. Everything's just awesome here in Solo! I truly know when we work for a good cause and don't give up, we will be blessed and usually we will see the affect of our efforts. It reminds me of a scripture.
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying a foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
I know for all of you, when you go out and share your light and go about doing good, whatever it may be, you are making a difference. Sometimes you may not see it for a while, but everything you do can become a great blessing in the lives of others. Don't give up!
We headed to Tawang Mangu on Wedneday for Independence Day with Solo 2 Ward. You could say it's kind of like the Park City of Indonesia. We rode a bus there and we went up into the mountains! I actually got a little bit chilled. Kinda weird here. But once the sun broke through of the clouds, it got so hot! It was really pretty there. I even brought Yechbar Vahl to hang out with us.
This is my panorama of the mountains. Pretty cool ya?
At the park there, there was this ride thing. I'm still dizzy from riding it! WE had a lot of fun with the members there. We played games and ate together and we got to know the members a little better. We even had an investigator come and brought her family as well! The coolest thing was the members all made the family feel welcome and loved, even though they didn't know them. I love the members in Indonesia!
On our way home, we stopped by the pasar, the market, I have to admit I bought 2 more cacti. We also bought some ronde, that drink Sister Solomon is holding. It's a gingery drink with peanuts and jelly stuff and weird ball things, plus the most important part... GULA JAWA (Javanese Sugar). You have not lived until you have eaten gula Jawa.
Okay, that's all I have to say this week. Stay awesome and don't forget the difference you can make in the world!
This week was an amazing week! We worked hard and got to teach a lot of people. Normally we're scrambling to find someone who is home or isn't busy when we go to their house, but this week we were blessed to be received into many homes. Sometimes I wonder why we do this work, we go out all day, every day, just to get rejected or to have someone who doesn't really care or isn't willing to make that extra step, but when we do everything with all of our might, mind, heart, and strength, it all works out in the end. Eventually there's that person who really wants to turn their life around or who actually wants to learn the Gospel or needs the message we bring. The key to it all it patience and hope. If we don't have a hope, that drive that keeps us going because we know it'll get better soon, we won't have the willpower to endure. We'll eventually just give up, allow that hole of despair in our hearts grow and grow until we have nothing to hold on to anymore. We also need patience, to keep that hope for as long as it takes, to not let a speed bump takes us off the track. And when those two things combine and become our foundation, I have a firm testimony that everything works out. There's always a brighter view beyond the horizon no matter how dark it gets. After 3 months of being in Solo we're finally seeing our work progress. People have been even finding us or are already ready to learn by the time we find them. We've gotten a couple new investigators and a couple already on the road to baptism. They're so awesome, I'm so glad I can see the affect that the gospel has in their lives. There are some that love reading the Book of Mormon or love hearing our lessons. I'm so grateful to be a part of this work, even if it's a little bit difficult.
We got to see a great view of the city when we visited the hospital to visit a member there. The awesome thing was it was one of the only cloudy days I've seen here, it wasn't hot and it was pretty awesome. I love that there are so many trees and that we could get out of the loud city noise for a while, it was a nice refresher.
When going to visit one of our investigators, we didn't have a lot of space to put our bikes, so they told us to just put our bikes in the house that was being built across the street. That works, hehe.
This is us being gross and stinky after exercising today. Also, an exclusive look inside our house.
This was the sunset from that cloudy day. I always love seeing the sunsets here, they're so beautiful. That building is one of the only tall buildings in Solo, usually they're only a few stories high at the most, but this one's pretty tall. It's a hotel and quite fancy.
The other day I also had a really cool experience. We were just finishing splits with the other sisters in Solo and had stopped by the grocery store to get some food for Sunday. As we were about to leave the store, I noticed there was a woman with a cross necklace and she was waiting with her family. I thought, 'O cool, she's a Christian', but then I got a strong impression that I needed to talk to her. I doubted a little bit, but I kept getting this very strong feeling that I need to talk to her. But, all the other three missionaries were heading towards our bikes. So I just said, "Okay, Heavenly Father, if you really need me to talk to this woman, you need to give me a way to talk to her" so as we were walking through the parking lot, we were stopped by a backing up car. I looked back but they were still at the front of the store. And then, behind that car another car backed out of their space. I looked back again and saw they were making their way through the parking lot. I quietly said a prayer of thanks for giving me a second chance to go up and talk to her. And then, as they were getting our their motor bike, which was actually right by our bikes, I just started talking to them. She was actually interested in talking and we had a good conversation. I gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and asked for her phone number so we could come visit her, but sadly, she said she had her own religion and didn't want to meet with us. But you know what, that's okay, because I know that God loves this woman and her family, and I know He has a plan for her, and whether or not she accept our message or not, I know she will be blessed because some bule from America had a feeling she needed to contact her. I know God places people in our paths so that our light and testimony can bless them, whether or not we see the effects of it. I invite all of you to see others in your lives that you can bless with a compliment or a smile or some friendly advice. I promise you are blessing to those around you as you strive to be a light to the world. Never forget the path that you set, others do see and follow. Everyone, have a great week! Tuhan memberkati! Sampai kelak kita bertemu!
HOLLEY STRINGHAM: Salt Lake City, born and raised; returned missionary from the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.; a simple folk aimed on changing the world