Ok, as I was writing the email, the power went out at the internet kedai, and we all had to leave. Turns out that entire part of town is out of power.... so we had to bike into town to email. ugh. Make that 3x now I'm starting this email (thankfully gmail saves it -- the computer place here just had a power surge... what is going on?)
Thank you for sending that recipe. For thanksgiving we went to that fried chicken place and ate a ton of mediocre (less than kfc) fried chicken! It was nice to get all together, and we all went around the table saying what we were thankful for. That was nice. But today, we're having our REAL thanksgiving dinner. We're all supposed to make something, and bring it to the Hodder's house at 4:00. The hodders are making chicken and gravy, the martins are making bread/sangria, the sisters are probably going to try to make a decent dessert, the chinese are making dessert, the Zone Leaders are making sweet potatoes, and putnam/bodhaine are making fajitas..... SO THERE IS NOTHING FOR ELDER MATHESON AND I TO MAKE. So we decided we would make that pumpkin pie bar stuff you sent, and then since no one offered to make a vegetable dish, I thought I could make that? They have cabbage here, but about nothing else. The food has been pretty good here since the fruit season is in full swing. On every street corner there are people selling durian. it's pretty expensive so we don't buy any.... just wait till the senior couples do! Just yesterday, we had investigators give us several Kilos of rambutan (which I swear is laichee, but everyone tells me it is somehow different. I uploaded a pic of some). We also were given a fresh pineapple from some investigators, and made a pina colada with ice cream/ice/and some smoothie flavor packets elder bodhain'es mom sent. We made breakfast burritos the other day with one of my mexican flavor packets.... SO GOOD. Yeah, I like getting the flavor packets, but don't send beef ones.... the beef here is awful. Chicken only please! Also, if there are other type of flavor packets/recipes that don' tcall for expensive vegetables, dairy products, or red meat... send them here!
I guess kind of the big news this week was that on Wednesday, Elder Matheson and I walked into the house to find everything turned over.. and we had been robbed. It turns out, for the 1 1/2 hours there wasn't any one in the house, someone busted through the back window and searched/stole everything they wanted. I freaked out and searched the whole house for everything. I labeled this email "thankful week" because we really had so much to be thankful for (atleast I did). The theif didn't steal any of our passports. Luckily, I had my camera in my bag with me, so that wasn't stolen, but that wasn't the same for the other elders. They did steal some things that are really making my life difficult, such as: my SHAVER, my extra battery charger for my camera, and one of my batteries, my glasses cleaning kit, and they stole about 40 Sing that I had in my drawer. They also went through that stationary you gave me and left it all over the place. How low budget is that? Bodhaine had several hundred USD stolen, and his ipod/speakers (no more mormon tab!). The most amazing thing is that we had all of our harddrives sitting in the main room, out in the open, and he didn't steal that. That has ALL our pictures. I would have hunted him down and destroyed him had he done that. So, although a lot was stolen, I am very thankful that the really important things were still there. The senior couples had the police come over and look things over. They dusted for fingerprints, which just left a huge mess ( in addition to the other mess we had to clean up from the robber), but all our neighbors told us the police are useless here and that we're not getting anything back. Our house is not very secure at all... .so now we have gone to great efforts making sure everything is triple locked and hidden.
As far as packages go, I have received 3. I just barely got the one with the toffee! It was SO GOOD. the V kind. I haven't opened the rest. I have a little nibble every day. Stuff like that is realy good. I'm kind sick of sugary candy like hi chews and swedish fish. peanut butter would be nice, or mixes too! I have not gotten the one with the bike stuff. When did you send that? That would be so useful because I have had 4 flats in the 2 months I've been here -_____-
Transfers are on the 10th of December, and there is always a chance that I could be moved, so don't send any packages until after I know for sure. You can send them to Singapore, but then I would have to carry them back.. which really isn't an issue.
I really kinda hope I stay. I have really gotten to like it here. We do have investigators, and they are great people. We have several baptisms scheduled for the end of December, so I would be really sad if I were not able to see those. We have been teaching a young family for quite some time now. The mom is already a member, and she is so great. She is so diligent (which is hard to come by here) and even though she has a hard time reading, she is so willing to do everything she can to understand (not just read) the scriptures. We have been focusing on her husband, who is one of my favorite people here. We just taught the Word of Wisdom, which unfortunately is a huge issue here. It was so disappointing, because we have had several significantly spiritual messages, and especially one on Saturday that I can't really explain, and then... on sunday morning, His wife came to church saying her husband had friends bring alcohol over and got too drunk to come to church now. I was so sad. All day yesterday. There is a point where you can do everything you can, and it is still completely up to them to live up to their commitments. It hurts me to see how he doesn't understand what he is doing. I feel guilty in that maybe we should have waited until he had a stronger grasp of the foundational topics before we gave him that. I just hope he can find the strength to do what he needs to do for his family.
I have never hated alcohol/cigarrettes more than since I've been here. The cigarette companies, and alcohol companies, have done a fine job at destroying a people. All of the island tribes here are PLAGUED, in every sense of the word, but alcohol and tobacco. Both of those substances severely limit their agency. It is so sad. Anyone who supports either of those industries should look at the world and see at the culture they are stomping on, and the lives they are ruining. You can literally see (like night and day) and Iban family that drinks, and one that doesn't. Completely different ways of life. Although it is a bit different in America, the principle is the same.
I do read your guys emails, it's just we don't have a lot of time to email (and I've essentially stopped emailing friends because now we have no time), and a lot of times I forget the questions as I'm typing this beast of an email. Lets see. Dad: we teach from the indonesian BoM. We hope the Malay one will be out soon. We use all the indonesian church tools. For the most part, they get the idea from it, but there are usually some common words that always stump them. Fruit is very expensive on a mission budget, so we usually eat rice/noodles. I refuse to pull out personal money for food here, because I think part of being a missionary is living on the mission budget (not everyone abides by that rule here). We are getting creative.
MOm: the relief society is... well it's getting started. There aren't many super strong sisters, but the relief society president spoke in church yesterday and gave a relaly good talk about the importance of doing your part, wherever you are. She said that we all have a duty to help the branch president, and the savior, watch over the sheep of his fold. If we don't do that, we aren't pulling our weight.
I am super excited for today's dinner and for singapore!! I hope you had a fun thanksgiving and enjoyed ALL of you PUMPKIN treats! I'm so happy whit wrote you!