Dear People not in Indonesia!
We are in beautiful Solo Indonesia. The President sent us to find a place to live. We flew down yesterday and met the Grovers a senior couple who have been here 15 months, and their driver, Bono, who has been driving senior couples for many years. There are a million taxis, many mini-mini-vans (purchased by people and rented then driven by hired drivers), and a gadzillion motor scooters. They have lines painted on the roads, but I don’t think that anyone can see them. There is a reason they will not let us drive. However, Indonesian drivers are very polite, everyone just moves around and helps other to get where they are going.
Most homes here have one room that is used as a “kitchen” (that means a sink, but you can’t drink the water, a propane hot plate, and a teeny fridge), an eating area, and a sitting area. There is also a bedroom (the Grovers has A.C.) and a “bathroom” with a squat hole and a deep basin from which you dip water to pour over you. Grover’s actually has a toilet you can flush. Most of the rooms have decorative cut outs on the walls that go outside(with screens over them) and that is your A.C. We weren’t able to see many apts. because the Sister Missionaries were having a problem with the rats in their apt. So, Brother Greenway and Brother Grover put a drain cover in the kitchen, and two in the bathroom to keep the rats out. I thought of Emily in Equador and I wondered if Sis. Peter’s mother in Twin Falls Idaho had any idea that her daughter was killing rats. However, Sis. Peters is dreading going home in a few months. She and her native companion bike all over Solo in all that crazy traffic.
Late yesterday afternoon we sat in on a discussion with the Elders and Fareeda a 20 year old Muslim girl who wants to be baptized. Her parents are devout Muslim. She has not yet told them of her desire, however the Elders think that they already know. We are praying for her. The Elders in Solo wear batik shirts. Last week there was a suicide bomber that blew himself up about a block from one of our buildings. So our leaders went to the police and asked what we could do to help keep the peace. They said that the white shirts called attention to our Elders. So they now wear the bright and beautiful batik shirts typical of Indonesia, only with their name tags clipped on.
Speaking of Elders, last Friday the Indonesian wards and branches sent out 19 new missionaries to the MTC in Manila. We fed them at the mission home before they left. They were wonderful! They are the future of the Church in Indonesia. Now back to Fareeda! She asked me if Pennsylvania was close to Conn. I said yes. She asked me if Conn. was scary. “???!”, I said. She told me she heard that people rise up out of their graves in Conn. I said no, but that there were many old graveyards, and many old houses. She said that she heard the houses were all haunted! Only in the movies said I. This was all said in her bad English and my bad Indonesian. Wadu! (that means wow!)
Soon after the Fareeda conversation I went to hear the YW & YM practice singing for their Branch Conf. taking place in 3 weeks. They are singing “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” (in parts Sis. Kellis!). It was amazing!!! Indonesian people LOVE to sing and sing well. I think they are related to the Welch. Most of their young people know how to lead music well, too. I told them we had a hard time getting our young people to sing. They were shocked. We had so much fun. They had a hard time pronouncing the English “th”. So they kept asking to do it again and again.
We will be back in Jakarta tonight and stay there until we get out Kitas, (sort of an internal visa). Then we will be off to Solo to live when we are not hopping around the country. We attended two branches today and were asked to introduce ourselves during testimony meeting. General Conf. runs a week late here. Everyone wants to help you with the language. We loved it.
President and Sister Groberg are delightful. We have loved staying here and getting to know them. They have some tremendous responsibilities. We have almost been here a week now. It is amazing how far we’ve come. We hope all is well with you. Keep us posted about your lives. We miss you and love you all so much. We haven’t had time to look at the family blog. I hope tomorrow… We will also try to download some pictures. Well, it is late. I will see you next week. Be happy!!!
Kami doa bagi kami, terimakasih kekal keluarga…