Thursday, December 26, 2013
Our Christmas Skype
This is Mom-Sharon. We were able to skype with Seth last night. He told us that they spent Christmas Day in Jakarta at the mission home, so that was nice. Then he and his companion got up early and went to the "warnet", which is an internet cafe. It took us about 40 minutes to set up the call. First he had to find one that was skype accessible, then he had to find a computer where the the video worked (he could see us but we couldn't see or hear him), then he found one where we could hear and see him, and he could see us, but he couldn't hear us, but he finally found one where we could all hear and see each other.
We set up a group skype call with Brooke (his sister) and Eric in Portland, Brandon (his brother) and Mandi in Idaho, and Becca (his sister) in Provo, so there were 5 of us. (Well actually there were 17 of us--just 5 groups.) The quality of the sound and video were great, so we really enjoyed the call. About halfway through the call, the internet at the warnet went out, so we just waited and he came back on about 30 minutes later. Everyone took a turn talking and we even got to talk to his companion, who has pretty good English. We really liked his companion--very animated, and funny, and charming.
I asked him what his favorite thing about his mission was so far. He said, "The people". He loves the people they meet and just really enjoys working with them and talking to them. When I asked him what the hardest thing has been so far, he thought for a few minutes, then said, "Being transferred so much." It's really had to learn how to get around the different cities--it takes about a month until you feel comfortable finding things, so just when he's feeling like he can get where he needs to go, he's been transferred.
He told us that his mission president talked to him on Christmas about his transfer, and that he hadn't planned on transferring him at all, but as he and his assistants were working on transfers, they all felt impressed to transfer him and his companion to Tangerang. So, he feels more positve about going to Tangerang. He said Tangerang is a beautiful city, but that the people are well off (every home has a toilet, for example), and as a result, they are less receptive to listen to them. But he is still determined to work hard and find those the Lord has prepared to receive the restored gospel.
He told us he'd been sick last week--upper respiratory stuff. Elder Heiner thought it might be all the pollution in Tangerang, but then his companion got the same thing this week, so it's probably a virus. And he told us he didn't play the piano much in the MTC or in his first area, Surabaya, but that he played it all the time in Medan and now that he's gone and Sister Hutchinson has gone home, there is no one to play up there. He said there are several members in Tangerang that play, so he hasn't played there so far.
He also said that Elder Murphy had shared his peanut butter with him and that he hasn't bought any so far in Tangerang. (We put extra money in his account so he could go buy some.) We also told him that one of his uncles had put $30 in his account for Christmas and he said, "Wow! That's a lot of money here!" He said they get more money in Tangerang than in Medan, because it's more expensive to live in Tangerang. They rode their bikes in Medan, but in Tangerang they walk or ride angkots (minivans turned taxis) because the distances they travel to teach and go to church are much farther. And he really misses a particular dish they make in Medan--he hasn't been able to find it in Tangerang.
All in all, it was really great to see him and hear him. I'm sure it made him homesick. When he could hear and see us, but we couldn't hear him, he emailed me and said, "This is fun! I can see you but my webcam isn't working. You guys look great!"