Hello Dear Family and Friends,
This was our first official week as missionaries in the field and it was great! The Grovers let us tag along to their assignments which we will take up when they leave in a month. Monday was spent getting our internet modem, looking for a sewing machine, etc. We did get the modem, but alas we are still looking for a very simple machine. We found a number of Singer Treadle machines (seriously!) but I think I'll hold out.
But Tuesday we were at U.N.E.S.R.I., one of the local universities, where we helped the Grovers teach english to a group of freshman. They were great. We had them ask questions to guess our professions. They are a bit shy, so they asked things like "What's your favorite food" "Do you like Indonesian food?" etc. I finally cheated and told them what to ask Elder Greenway or we still would be there. But then the Grovers had them divide into groups and they studied tongue twisters. It was so fun. The Indonesians do not use the "th" dipthong, nor do they use the letter "f", so many of the twisters contained those letters. Their "e" has many voices...long a, short i, but never e, i is long e. A is ah, i is long e, o is long o, and u is long ooo. So they have to also work on their vowels. We played a game where they rolled dice which numbers corresponded with the number assigned to the twister. Then each group had to stand and recite the twister. Number 5 was Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers. We all cheered and when one group did especially well I cheered, "Wadu!" (which is Wow!) They all laugh so hard. What ablsolute joy this was. But the best part was after when they want to have a picture with us. Seriously, this could go to your head. It's like being a movie star! Sis. Grover and I really stood there for a least 15 minutes while we had our picture taken with different members of the class. They do this with all American missionaries. The Elders have to be very careful because they have sent pictures over the internet of a girl with an Elder and it has had some interesting repercussions. Anyway, it was a great opportunity. The branches here have had a number of baptisms from young people becoming interested through the english classes. One we hope will be Fareeda.
I believe I told you about her last week. Well, she finally told her very devout Islam parents that she wanted to be baptized. At first they put her on house arrest. However the next day they told her that she had to give Islam another chance. She must have nothing to do with the Church for 2 weeks, she must study her Koran, and she must wear her Jilbab (Islamic head covering) again. She is 20 and a university student. But her reaction when she met the Grovers for lunch was that at least they had a discussion together as a family. She called it their first family home evening, something they had never done before. She is a courageous woman.
We have all come to love her.
Also this week we took a "little" trip to Magelang. We left Solo around jam 10 pagi (10 a.m.) and drove into the hills. Well, to be completely accurate, we drove between two volcanoes. One dormant, one very active. Last year the active one (Merapi) blew up and buried a bunch of homes and farms. The funny thing is it is very close to Solo (about 30 klm) but we had not seen it because of the humid haze. Finally one day the wind was blowing and there it was north and west of us, big as ever. Anyway, we drove up and around the base of it to deliver two new bikes to the Elders in Magelang. Bono our driver was amazing up and around the switch backs, past the tiered farms of mangos, tobacco, bannanas, hot peppers, rice, etc. We took the Elders out to lunch, then we headed back. The trip was 2 hrs. up and about 4 1/2 back because Bono wanted us to see Jogya (Yogyakarta) and so we went sightseeing. Hey! You go where the driver takes you. He was so proud to show us, so we were grateful he was happy.
We also attended District meeting on Friday morning with the awesome Elders and Sisters. Thursday,Sister Peters texted the score between she and the rats. Sis. Peters 3-rats 0! She just clobbers them! (really!) Then Friday she gives this fabulous lesson from Preach My Gospel about the Book of Mormon. What a Sister!
Saturday Elder Greenway and I went for a walk, grabbed some groceries, and walked home. We bought a cable along the way so that we can watch movies on the T.V. We watched "17 Miracles" a wonderful movie about Levi Savage and the Willie Handcart company that we had purchased while at the MTC. That was "P" day.
Then today we attend Branch Conference at the Tangah Branch where the wonderful youth sang. I think I have told you about them and their love for music. Well, they were so perfect. We all cried, and the Spirit...well, it was very strong. The District Pres. commented for about 5 minutes about their example. We then attended the Barat Branch and finally a baptism. They have had one each weekend so far. They do baptisms on Sunday because the people don't have to travel twice. President Groberg said that mission-wide we have had 16 this month, a big increase. Elder Grover believes that it is because President has expected the missionaries to be obedient to the mission rules, and they have taken the challenge. A great improvement during the past year.
Finally, we lost Andrew this week. He was one of our cicuks. We found him short a leg the other day. Poor Andrew. It makes you stop and wonder where he lost the leg. Hmmm.... What is bigger than a cicuk? But Dad found Winston sitting atop his sneaker Saturday. We probably ought to start checking our shoes.
Well, I'd better let the Elder in this family give his 2 cents. He is a very nice missionary companion. He even went to great expense and bought me a "memory foam" mattress for my arthritic left hip. Actually, it was the 3 inch pad that sits atop the pillow soft mattresses. Ahhhhhhhh, it is wonderful You do remember that Asians slept for hundreds of years on a board. Well, let's just say that their mattresses carry on that tradition.
I certainly do love you all and appreciate your communications with us. It is always nices to get news from home, where ever home is. I hope you all are keeping in touch. It was nice to wish Matt and happy birthday on Skype. He is a big 33! Take care of each other, of friends and family. Go see Juanita and give her a hug for us. Someone might give us the news about her, we worry for her.
Much, much, love