One thing of many things about being a missionary is that on any given day you are subject to anywhere between one to two surprises, at least a dozen emotions, countless mood swings, and the occasional death blow. The Gospel is not complicated, but inviting people to live it sure is. Within these last seven days I have been disappointed, elated, upset, humbled, refined, confused, whip-lashed, amazed, and enlightened. See also happy, grateful, tired. Most nights I sit down at my desk and just stare at my journal as the clock ticks away towards curfew. Stare. Stare. Blank. Nothing. No, not nothing. Everything. Anything. Too much. Not now. But when? If not now, when again? And to make matters more pressured, I've committed myself to journaling absolutely every single day for the month of November, my last month of mission, the month I have left.
Halloween was a smashing success. Entire angkot of kids showed up and we had a real laugh bobbing for apples and mummifying the lot of them with tissue paper. Worth the day we spent at the church linking paper chains and folding accordion circles out of newspaper, and the words of affirmation I received for the cider I stewed up was thanks enough. I really enjoy making people happy, plus watching a room full of seven year olds scream to high heaven when Meek hit the lights and Sugiyarto set to banging on the outside windows was just too, too good.
Sunday morning Elder and Sister Thompson arrived in Malang for a Entrepreneurship Workshop which, due to forces unforeseen, Meek and I ended up team-translating. The workshop was all afternoon, Meek and I switching off every 15 minutes up at the front to translate Elder Thompson's talk on self-sufficiency to some degree of understandability and surrender laughing to phrases like "micro enterprising funds" or "mutually exclusive capital." I love translating. Indonesian to English I'm not so good at—-akin to translating poetry into binary code, if you'll allow me the analogy—but turn the tables to English into Indonesian and I am in my zone.
Plus then Monday morning Sister Thompson stole me away to a batik boutique I had yet to hear of/see/enter which proved to be Malang's equivalent of Aladdin's Cave of Wonders. Good thing she's more of a tornado and tore right through the place like one; on my slow boat to China I could have been in that place hours on end.
Investigator news: (and I am not making this up) all five of our appointments last Saturday fell through, every single angkot we got on was empty (meaning not even a chance at contacts), and then just to really rub it all in every single window Nababan sat down next to was stuck shut. It was laughable, and so we laughed, but really? Actually at one appointment the investigator actually was there as planned, but her house is seriously kampung in the middle of about two hundred children under the age of seven, all of whom decided to come running and screaming in and out and around her house in exactly the hour we were there to teach. President says he sometimes wonders how we're ever able to teach with the Spirit when much [around us] is in no way conducive to inviting the Spirit in the first place. (When he said that I think my entire soul sighed in deepest solace because Thank Goodness I was beginning to think something was seriously wrong with me.) Yep . . . case in point. We couldn't even get to a prayer with that kind of distraction, so we made another appointment for next week in the early morning instead—hoping that the Indonesian school system will be good for something and at least keep the kids at bay long enough for us to bear testimony.
Then it was Sunday and there was a miracle. Maybe. Something I am still trying to understand and explain, and something that feels too much to share right now. Not really an email experience, if you'll forgive me. It would've been the spiritual part of my week's missive, but as I still haven't quite come to terms with it, we will go without. Give me a month.
Today is not actually our P-Day (that's another long story, file it under "whip-lashed" above) and so I have even less time than usual and if we're to beat the rumblings of a beginning storm, I really must be on my way. And next week I'll write you from Solo. Because according to the text I just received, that's where I'll be for Leadership Training. Role Plays. Put "panicked" up there with my ADD adjectives, will you?
Final Question and closing remarks: For next week, can I ask each of you to write me about specific blessings you felt you have received as direct result of obedience to a particular gospel principle? i.e., tithing, word of wisdom, law of chastity, follow the prophets etc., etc. Don't worry too much about it; it's not for anyone but me and I'd really just like to hear what you've experienced, what you believe and why you believe it. Thank you. I love you, truly dearly deeply madly—keep the faith. Remember the Shire. Hurrah for Israel.