Seasons Greetings Dear Family and Friends!
We know that every missionary has a week that is almost totally disappointing. Well, we just had our first. We had some major cancellations come in late, which really put a chink in our plans, and because we don't have a car, we can't just take off and do something else in place of the cancellation. We have also found out that knowing the City is not a prerequisite to being hired as a Taxi driver. More often than not, we end up telling the cab how to get to a location, and that is with limited language, & time spent here in Solo. So, frustration was the name of the game. BUT, we made it and there were a few highlights that became tender mercies! First of all, Adam and John had birthdays, and Emily had an anniversary, so we did some wonderful skyping. Wait 'til January when half of our family was born.
The week began with our planning our two big Christmas activities. One, the Christmas Turkey Dinner for the Elders and Sisters, and two, the Christmas YSA Taco Soup and Movie night. We really got organized on Mon. with food list, shopping list, turkey moved from freezer to 'fridge, and battle plan. Then, UNS called (the civil engineering students) and canceled our Mon. night class time. Tues. we found out that our Zone Leaders that are heading home, and the whole reason we were having the Christmas dinner a week early, had to go to Samarang Thurs. and Friday, so no Friday dinner. We were so glad we had not gone shopping for that dinner!!!!! Then it rained very hard Tues. so no Tues. evening piano lessons because understandably they do not ride their scooters (they call them motors) in the rain.
Joy of Joys! Wed. brought our weekly trip to UNISRI to teach the English Students, and because we never know which class we will have, we always prepare 2 lessons. We're sure you remember that last week we did "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and had sooooo much fun! So that lesson went in the bag, but just in case it was the same class we had to prepare a 2nd lesson. I had found "Twas the Night Before Christmas" in printable story form, on-line. I printed that (already in color!) and mounted the separate pages so that 9 groups could each practice and then read a stanza. I also found "The Little Match Girl", but it was not in color and only had 2 pictures. But... I really like that story, so I printed the story and pictures...edited the story into 10 sections, and using the 2 pictures, drew 8 more. Now, in case you think I am an artist, I will assure you that I held the originals up to the window and traced some things, and then just threw the rest together. But, I now have severely worn my only box of crayons way down, and I wished I had listened better when we had Judy Shiffler come and teach the Activity Day girls about drawing, and shading. By the way, crayons are comparatively expensive here, over a dollar for a tiny box that you can get for free at Red Robin. It took a while to draw, color, and then type up the edited story, plus retype the 12 days of Christmas from last week, because I was not smart enough to save it!. I finally crawled in bed at about 1 a.m Wed. morning.
Since we have not had a car, the University has been sending a car to fetch us. So when we got to UNISRI at 8 a.m., the driver took us to a completely different building, into a room that was padded...(okay all of you that know me stop snickering right now! Even I was a little nervous.) and we just followed blindly, (we do that a lot here), and stayed where we were told. Soon, our usual liaison, Upik (Oopick) arrived. She is the nicest person you have ever met and we have met a gadzillion nice people here. The reason for our reassignment had nothing to do with padded, sound stage rooms, but that they were taking pictures for the yearbook and needed our other room. She also told us that the group we had that day was the lowest level of English students, and that we might have a problem with teaching them. WRONG! We did the 12 days lesson and they were just as much fun, just as eager and able, as the 5th level students we had the week before. Plus! they came and took us all outside for pictures, so now we will be in the yearbook. Amazing...
That night was the usual Soepomo piano lessons, and another new student arrived. Her name is Ari, and she wants to do piano, plus she wants us to help her with the T0EFL test, which is an English Lang. test you must pass to get into BYU - Hawaii. She is from Jakarta, and has moved here to live with her sister, and get ready to take the test. We would like to see a number of the young people from Solo attending BYUH. It is a wonderful opportunity, but there is some cost innvolved getting there, and PEF does not pay for BYUH. Speaking of PEF, it is finally starting to move along in force here in Central Java. Elder Greenway has had the Branch Clerks print off all of the young people 18 - 30 from the 4 branches here. The PEF Committee, is working to get the Workshop Teachers called, and then we will have a huge fireside inviting all of those listed that they can find. From that fireside, those who desire will commit to taking the workshops, and those who successfully complete the 4 weeks of workshop, will apply for PEF. It is a process, but it does help to find those who are truly committed.
As we have discussed, the Missionary Christmas Dinner was postponed until Friday the 23rd, and today Elders Ward and Brown left for the Mission Home, to depart for SLC on Monday. The remaining Elders and Sisters were a bit trunky seeing them leave. So it will be a good thing to have the dinner, seems like things always work out for the best. On my new Butterfly (made in China brand) sewing machine, We made about 30 Christmas stockings for piano students and Missionaries. I sewed and Elder turned and clipped. We gave Ward and Brown their socks with stuff for the plane ride home inside. They said they were going to stay up all night tonight, so they will sleep on the plane. Yea, right. Anyway, The YSA Taco Soup and Movie Night was NOT CANCELED. So last night we had about 24 YSA's from 4 branches come. Friday night sweet Elder G. helped make a boat load of homemade tortilla chips, because you can't get them here. Then at about 2:30 p.m. Sat. we headed to Kepatihan. Now Aster had promised us that there was "gas" for the stove. There wasn't. And on top of that, there was no water at all in the building. So, while Elder G. and Elders Garnett and Dalilis got the movie ready to show.... I panicked! I had thought I should make the soup ahead, but I did not. So, we did what we always do when there is nothing else we can do.... We called Bono! We had already invited him to come with his wife Dia, but he came zooming in with a small gas canister, and stayed and helped set up, and then went back to get Dia. In the mean time the usual Super-people showed up from the branch to fix the water, Bro. Sukros (?), Aster, Aster's mom and dad, Pres. Awi and wife Endah, etc. etc. etc. And soon things were hopping. We invited them all to stay for soup, and then we watch "SCROOGE" a wonderful musical adaptation of "Christmas Carol" that came out in the '70's, starring Albert Finney. We were a bit worried because of the British and Cockney accents, and the "old" English, but we put up the English subtitles, like the Grover's told us to, and they really loved the story and the music. Today, our sweet Widap came up to us singing the beginning of one of the songs, "Thank You Very Much"! These are amazing youth. As soon as the movie was over, they cleaned up and set up the chairs for Sunday Sacrament Services without any prodding. Some of the youth don't attend in that building, but they stayed. We love them dearly.
So you can see that all-in-all it was a good week. We made it through, and we enjoyed everything accomplished. We are (not so patiently) waiting to find out about a car. We mentioned to Bono that it had been suggested that we take trains and buses. He laughed and said no, no, no! I guess it is an unreliable, very crowded and shaky was to go shorter distances. We will see..... Thank you for your emails, notes, e-cards, and for just being wonderful people. We love to hear from you, and if anyone has pictures from "Great's" Christmas party they would like to send, along with a play by play, WE WOULD LOVE THEM! Have a jolly week, take time to love, and serve, and remember the "least of these".
Take care of Christmas, and each other, with great love.
Elder and Sister, (alias Dad and Mom)
What I didn't want to tell everyone is...YOUR FATHER BROKE THE MISSION RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On Tuesday, well really early Wednesday morning at 1:00 a.m. Sister Peters called and she had just thrown - up. She wanted a blessing. Now, you have to understand, as stated in the earlier post, that the taxi's here do not know where they are going. So to venture out in one in the middle of the night, to go to where the Sisters live, down a minor road, off to a smaller road, then down an alley, would have been dumb. We told her that, so then she wanted to call the full time Elders! No way! So Elder G. did what we always do in a pinch..... yup!!! called Bono, who zipped in on his scooter, and DAD HOPPED ON THE BACK! Bono, WHO KNOWS THE RULES, said "On the motor Elder?!?!" Dad said yup! So, wearing Dia's helmet, they zoomed over to the Sisters. (by the way, Bono knows where EVERYTHING is in Solo and most of the rest of Indonesia). As President Groberg stated, just last weekend, scooters would be handy if they were'nt so strictly "forbodden" (with a german accent!). Just thought you might want to know for future amunition!?!
What a guy... such a rebel.
p.p.s. When Sister Groberg found out that Sister Peters called because she threw up, she told her never to call in the middle of the night unless "you have to go to the hospital!" Poor Sister Peters. (They don't know about the scooter ride.)