Hello Dear Friends and Family!
It is already week 10! Amazing!!!! Time is flying by I'm sure for you, as well as for us. We are finding ourselves getting more involved in the workings of the branches (Cabangs (pronounced chabong) and in the lives of the members here. We love them more every day, and they are kind and dear to us - cheerful and friendly, and we are delighted to know them.
On Tuesday I taught piano for Sister Grover, and started my very first student. Sis. Grover has been teaching YW (young women) and YSA ( young single adult) piano students. I suggested to the Jebres branch that we get them started earlier. So I have Lala, who is 8-½ years old. Her sister Kiki, has been taking lessons from Sis. Grover, but I found out that there are 13 children in this family. I also found out Tuesday that Lala has not been baptized. So, before lessons the Missionary Sister asked if I would go in while they gave her the Baptism lessons. She had her brother Luki with her so he had the lessons, too. He is 6 years old. They asked her if she would be baptized on Dec 4 and at first she said no. Then she nodded yes. But she went out after and told one of the Sisters in the branch that she was terrified of the water. So the Sister told me. We asked Lala if Elder Greenway baptized her would she be baptized? (Her father is not a member). She smiled a big smile and said yes, so Elder Greenway is baptizing Lala on Dec. 4.
Today her mother asked if I would play the piano at the baptism. At least that is what I thought she said - she speaks zip "Ingris", but that was later confirmed. We are very excited. Oh, and besides that, she has been paying attention during her sister's piano lessons, because she went through about 4 pages of lessons without a hitch, and, Luki played too! I am now waiting for the electric pianos to come from the Harmon Foundation in UItah. They have been shipped, so they should be here soon. Then I can go at this in full swing. Also, on Tuesday, our sweet Emily went to the nursing home about 9 a.m. and Skyped us on her fancy phone so that we could talk to Juanita Williams. What a glorious idea from Emily. There were a bunch of tears shed, but it was good to see her, and let her know how much we love her. Emily has been copying these letters and taking them to her, but this was face to face, so it was marvelous. We hope the best for her. She needs a new home, she cannot manage in the apt. she is in, but she needs to get well first. Hooray for Emily! It was great!!!!!
Wednesday we taught our first English class all by ourselves. We talked about words of description... adjectives, adverbs, and unlikely words that describe, like "they get along like cats and dogs" or "bread and butter" etc. Then we played a game using adverbs and words that go together and describe. They were great. However, while they grow peanuts here, they do not eat peanut butter. You can buy Skippy, but it is pricey, so they don't eat it. So, words like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, shirt and tie, etc. are quite foreign, but we went ahead and let them figure it out. They will be dealing with more and more English as they grow older and get into the business world. They did just fine.
On Wed. the Soepomo building gave Bro. and Sis. Grover a going away party. It was just as much a treat as the weddings and funerals, and water project ceremonies. They had an "opening exercises" for want of a better term, where people could talk about the Grovers, and they had the Grovers speak. They even had an opening song....BUT THEN it turned into karaoke night!
They had hired a "group" (a electric piano-synthesizer dude), and he brought 2 singers dressed to the nines in sequins and satin, and they sang a bit until the ward members took over and everyone, including the Elders, sang and rocked out and boogied on down. You have never seen such a party! Usually Indonesians go to bed with the chickens, literally, because they get up with the chickens. (Hey, this sounds like Bishop Kellis). Every morning about 4:30 the Muslim guy [imam] starts to sing over his loud speaker from the Mosque. Well, there are about 900 Mosques in Solo, so it gets people up and moving. Then he sings at noon, and then at dusk. ANYWAY! So parties and activities around here usually get over early. This party lasted until 9:45!!!!! Whatever happened to civility! But it was a great party. Oh and I forgot about the food. Lots of it, Indonesian-style (fried bananas, etc)!
Thursday we took Bono (our driver) and his wife, Dia, and the Grovers out to "Layar" a very nice restaurant here to thank them all for their guidance. We had grilled fish, chicken grilled in a butter sauce, an egg dish that has a red, clear sauce with capers over it, a vegetables dish with sauce, and of course rice. Now we share all this plus our own fresh stroberi, or guava, or jus juruk icies (mmmm) all for about $170,000 rupiahs, or $17.00 dollars. For those of you who know Ron, this is a delight! Oh! and speaking of Elder Greenway, he has been working very hard on a presentation for the District Pres. about the "Rescue Effort." They don't do a lot of visiting teaching or home teaching here because transportation is so terrible. But we have had strong feelings that they could do the Rescue Program that the Church has provided. There is an excellent on-line program, but it does not come in Bahasa, so he is trying to find a transcript and then we will have it translated to present to Pres. Agus. This has been a major effort along with PEF, and other projects he is working on.
Now, just so you realize that this mission isn't just one party after another, Friday was Missionary District Meeting for all in our district. It was very spiritual, with all of these young Elders and Sisters, who teach and testify daily about the Savior, reporting their week, and teaching from Preach my Gospel. Then that night we returned to Joko's with the Sisters to teach him and his family about the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit there was very strong, and he had very good questions, especially about God, the Father and His Son being 2 separate beings. But he was very moved, and then we gave him a copy of the words to "I Am a Child of God" in bahasa and sang it for him in his own tongue. It is so lovely and powerful to sit there and just bask in that Spirit. This little home is so poor, but so lovely in that Light. We will be going back to see him next Sunday.
Finally, other than being our sweet daughter (in law) Lynn's Birthday, Sat. was a practice for 2 Primary programs that I played for today. The one branch went through their program 3 times. Can you imagine getting that done in your ward on a Saturday?! Then, you guessed it, we went to a party for the YSA of the four branches. It was pizza and movies night. YES! THEY DO HAVE PIZZA, AND IT IS CALLED PAPA RONS. That is not a typo, it is Papa Rons. They also have Pizza Hut. It is a little different here, they serve rice and spaghetti at McDonald's here, but it is do-able.
You are all so great to listen to my rantings! It's just that everything and everyone are so interesting. When you hear the children of these branches sing with such force and volume "We are as the armies of Helaman!" and to hear just three 11 year old boys belt out "I Want to Be a Missionary Now" all in bahasa it stirs your soul, and you know they mean it. It was an honor to play for them.
We know our Father in Heaven has great things in store for the people of Indonesia! You can just feel it. They are so valiant, and they want to learn and be like the "people of Salt Lake City". They want their programs to be perfect, and to shine. I hope you will let them be your example. They are mine. They are cheerful and they have so little, they shine when they have to struggle just to have food and clothing, they would probably fit the criteria of the "least of these" but they don't know it or act the part. They are happy and valiant, and they TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER!!! They are an example to us all.
Be happy, and take care of each other,
love you all... mom