Dearest Family and Friends,
I am starting this letter on Friday. We will be leaving for Malang (Mahlang, with emphasis on Mah) Sunday morning at 12:30 a.m., riding the train for 7 hrs. going to Church there, meeting with the District Presidency about PEF for about 45 minutes and then leaving at 3:30 p.m. and riding the train back to Solo. I am thinking that I may not want to write the whole letter when I get home, so I'll add the train trip later.
We've had a happy birthday week in the Greenway Clan. Nate (Adam and Amy's oldest), William (John and Lynn's oldest) and Rebekah (Joel's wife) all had birthdays. We were so glad to be able to skype and see everyone. William is bored with the whole skype thing but it was fun to see him. Well what we saw was a miniature Darth Vader, but he was thrilled to look like his hero. He has always liked Darth Vader better than Luke. We love them, all. We also got lots of pictures from Disney World where the Richins family spent the week, found out that Matt had a job offer in Afghanistan (just Matt, no family), got my favorite Christmas candle scent in the mail from the Shoemakers, and found out Logan (Joel's baby) is trying to walk. So, it was a great week for family.
It was a great week for piano lessons, too. Cute Sister Collins, one of the full time missionaries and a piano performance major, had it announced in Benjasari Branch that she and I would love to teach piano every Tuesday. I heard the announcement, but since my Bahasa is limited, I didn't hear much except piano, Sister Collins and Greenway. She showed up at 3 (come to find out the announcement said 4) and went home because no one was there. I showed up at 3:45 and there were 13 people. Two were adult men, about 4 were teens, and the rest were below 12. So, I grabbed one adult, Elder Gilbert who plays a tiny bit, grabbed the other adult, and I hooked up the only 2 pianos I brought, which gave me 3 in one room. I sat one teen on the other piano, and sent all the Children out to play for a moment. I spent 20 min. with Bro. Coki (Chokee) and Elder Gilbert spent about 45 min. with Bro. Butros (Bootros). Then I grabbed all 13 for a lesson on rhythm, and note times (quarter, half, etc), and we clapped and had fun counting out songs. Thank heavens for Elders Prasetyo and Dalilis who translated for me and helped with the clapping. Then I taught Kiki, and Luki, (Lala was sick), 3 little boys that I did not know (found out one was an investigator's son), we learned about finger numbers and they played songs, and then finally I taught Ezra for a while. We worked on tetra-chords, triads, and intervals. All this time Bro. Butros sat taking it all in. It was amazing. Anyway, we finished about 7:15, and I was soooooo grateful for Elder Gilbert who stayed with me the whole time! I can't remember who called us a cab, (when we call a cab the dispatcher starts asking questions in Bahasa, and if you don't answer him quickly, he hangs up on you), but I laughed all the way home. Oh! and Elder Greenway??? What did he do the whole time this bedlam was going on, he sat in the back having an intelligent conversation with Elder Garnett! So, I am wondering what to do this week. Sis. Collins said that the Branch Pres. misunderstood her, she just wanted one person to teach each week because she doesn't have time for more that one, and she doesn't! That's not her calling. However, I think the cat's out of the bag so to speak, so I will just have to get organized.
Wednesday we found out that Bono's (our valiant driver and friend) father-in-law passed away. He told us Monday that Diah's father had had a stroke on Sunday, and that he was very weak. So we went to the funeral on Thursday. This fine Brother was just 67 when he died. We found out much more about him at the funeral. He has been a Branch Pres., a District Pres., and many other wonderful accomplishments. We also found out that our District President's wife and Diah, Bono's wife are sisters. Now that doesn't mean anything to most of you, but we are always THRILLED when we can put families together. We found out a few other relations while at the funeral, so it was an eventful afternoon. Because we don't have a car yet, we had to find a way to the cemetery. Now, this isn't like the USA where cemeteries are pretty much well known, there are about a gadzillion cemeteries and we don't know where any of them are, so we found a ride with Ricko (Reeko 18) and Widap, in his zippy little red car. And that would have been great, except he'd forgotten to get gas, so we had to stop, and then no one knew how to get to the cemetery and the procession was long gone in 4 o'clock traffic. So, the two of them came back to our apartment, where Elder helped Ricko, who finally got his Visa material to go on his mission to SLC, and I worked with Widap on her English prep. to get into the BYU-H. They also ate about a dozen cookies that we had made for D.D.M. and had a barbecued chicken sandwich before they left. We plan to apologize to Bono when we see him tomorrow. Oh, and we had to bake more cookies Thursday night to have enough for the missionaries at today's meeting. (Sis. Grover we made your Snicker Doodles. The burnt-ish ones are Ricko's favorite!) Right now, Elder is at Supoemo helping Ricko with his English and Preach My Gospel.
Well, now for the big news. We are buying a car. We can't wait any longer for the Church to make up it's mind what to do with Asia. Pres. Groberg said he would support us in anything we did (except a "motor" (scooter)). So we are having the money wired to us, and Pres. Catur (Barat Branch Pres. and a used car dealer) said he would find us a car that would 1) retain it's value, 2) hold a couple of bicycles, 3) carry at least 7 people, and 4) that Bono approves. He also said he would buy it back if suddenly the Church said it would buy some cars, or buy it back when we are finished in a couple of years.
Bono just wants one that will climb mountains, because that's what it has to do with the water projects. We should probably have one by this time next week. It will be wonderful to be able to do what we were sent here to do. Most of you know Elder Greenway well, and parting with money isn't one of his strong points, but he is the one who finally said, "ENOUGH!" !!!
We will never drive this car.
Okay, I am stopping here until after the train ride. I hope you get this some day.....
We're Baaaaccckkk! Well, it was a marathon. We left for the train station at 11:00 p.m. Saturday, and arrived home at 11:00 p.m. Sunday. Our train was supposed to leave at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. It left at 1:30 a.m. so we arrived in Malang about 8: 15 a.m and met the Sister missionaries. It was great, because the Church was only a 10 minute walk from the train station. It is a lovely building. The wood used on the inside was gorgeous, I'm sure it was native to Indonesia, none of this plastic looking stuff. It was hard and rich looking and the entire building was well kept. In Solo they have what they call "service project", which is everyone come and help clean the building. They sweep and mop and do the windows, just as we do, but many people come. I found out in Malang, they have the old U.S. problem of STP. The same ten people are doing most of the work, especially where the building is concerned. The R.S. President brought it up in her lesson during R.S. She gave a great lesson! Anyway, the Sieters came from Surabaya to spend the day with us. They are the couple who came out with us on the plane. Wonderful people who are on their 3rd mission. They are the one's who were about blown up while serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So yesterday was a reunion so to speak. There were 3 great talks in Sacrament Mtg. about staying "true to the faith", all different but all important.
After Church, Elder Greenway did his presentation concerning PEF. The Sieters went to inspect the Elders apt., and to look into companion disagreement there. The Pres. had contacted Elder Greenway and Elder Sieters to let them know there were some problems with the companionship, and could the two of them get to the bottom of it. Elder Greenway lucked out, because our time was so short in Malang. So he presented PEF, and the Sieters went to see the Elders. Elder Greenway did a super job, the District Presidency and the 4 Cabangs Pres. (Branch Presidents) got very excited, and asked a boat load of questions. When the Sieters returned, about 2:15, we ate the lunch she had packed for all, which was wonderful because all we had eaten since supper the night before was a PB&J sandwich for breakfast while on the train. At 3:30 we hopped on the train, and came home. The train ride there went by so fast because we slept much of the way. The train ride home was an endurance test.... But all in all, it was a very successful trip! Oh by the way, we went Executive Class (which means you have air conditioning) which was $85 for the two of us for a 331 km trip.
So starts the new week. We are so grateful for this opportunity. Today Elder Greenway will be helping Ricko with his Visa again. We are so anxious to get him on this mission to SLC. These young people are so unique. We are so blessed to know and love the people of Solo. The Members here remind us of another time in Church History. Solo has members who would have been the best of the best in Kirtland. They are valiant people who dearly love the Lord, and who are committed members with absolutely amazing testimonies. We feel honored to be among them. We are also grateful for all of you. We know we have been blessed abundantly with dear family and friends who have added a richness to our lives.
Thank you, and take care of each other!
Mom and Dad G.