Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week 24

Good Morning to you all! (or should I say good-night?)

We are starting this letter on Saturday early morning because for the next 4 days we have only a little wiggle time. We will add as we go along. However, we do want the world to know that on Wednesday, Feb. 22, Anna Marie Greenway came into the world as part of John and Lynn's little family. She is a little round bundle (7 lbs. 4 oz., 18 or so " long) with dark hair and is beautiful to behold. That same day we had the opportunity to Skype with our Granddaughter Madelynne's kindergarten class. Last week one of their spelling words happened to be Web cam, so the teacher arranged with Tanya (our daughter-in-law) to have us visit the class via the web cam. We had a momentous Wednesday!

I believe I mentioned in the past about one of our branches having gone through a 3-year drought with baptisms. It just so happens that our driver Bono attends that branch, the Tangah Branch. So, we have been centering our attention there by visiting members, both active and less active. We are going out with the Elders assigned there, Elders Johnson (from Park City, Utah) and Mortoya (from Surabaya, Indo.). We are also going out with Bono. He knows everyone, and translates for us. This week we visited with:
  • Heru, an elderly active widow who lives alone and who never had the opportunity to go to school, so does not read or write. The Branch takes care of her, they give her rice and vegetables, and they cemented the dirt floor of the tiny "shack" she lives in.
  • Listari, who lives with her sister. Listari fell as a child and severely damaged her hip, but her parents were afraid of hospitals so she did not receive care. She has a severe limp, but is active and busy in her life.
  • Sukiarto who is less active, but has a daughter, Puspah, who is very involved with YW. He is very proud of her, and we encouraged him to come to church with her, and let him know how much the branch needed him.
  • Sadimin is another active member who had polio as a toddler and has a very crippled right leg and is blind in one eye. He fixes motor scooters, bicycles, and tires for a living from his curb side business. He literally just sets up in a tiny alcove; his sign is painted on an old car tire and was recently featured in the local newspaper for his fortitude in life. We told him he was famous!
  • Sister Wardoyo is a cute little lady, 84 years old. She helps her family run a little cart on one of the back streets near the church. They insisted we sit, and they gave us "strobedi", (a weak strawberry flavored drink), and rujak (a "salad" of pineapple, white beets, mango, chilies, papaya that is mashed with a stone) and eaten quickly so as not to burn your lips off. They told me that they made it less spicy for me, and it was absolutely delicious as it burned on down my throat. But the best part of this visit was how smitten Sis. Wardoyo was with Elder Greenway.

    For those of you who don't know...Elder Greenway has a way with little old ladies. It comes from years of elderly care with his Therapy practice. I can't tell you how many plates of cookies, how many crocheted dish towels, how many little notes he brought home over the years. Well, all I can say is he hasn't lost his touch. Sis. Wardoyo kept patting his back, putting her head on his shoulder, and pushing down on his shoulders so he wouldn't stand to leave. It was so sweet. We also met her neighbor who is not a member, that we think would let the Elders come and teach. He sat and visited with us with pretty good English.
This was all on Wednesday.

On Friday we went with the Elders and visited Sis. Sukiarto, who lives about 5 miles from the church. She is also elderly and a widow. But she and her late husband were two of the pioneering members in Solo. She is extremely active and a big part of the growth here. Now, she can't get to church. Her children married outside the church, and she doesn't dare cross the busy road to get on the bus, and transfer twice, to get to church. She is out there alone. We need to find out what can be done to keep her in the loop, and get the sacrament to her as often as possible. We think the branch owes her that much.

We also visited Sisters Sutarmin and her daughter Nooni. Both are active, and both are married to members who are not active. The Elders shared a lesson, and we visited, and as we were about to leave, Nooni just looked at us and began to bare her testimony. She cried, and soon we all cried. Everyone can understand the words of the Spirit. We have some work to do there.

One of our busy activities we have today is a celebration lunch. Sis Suryano is heading home tomorrow from her mission. She is an "angel missionary". She makes us wish we had more sons. We are also celebrating the fact that TANGAH ELDERS HAVE A BAPTISM TOMORROW!!!!! This investigator has taken his time, has attended well, and is ready. Now I didn't mention it above, because I didn't want you to think it had anything to do with our visits. This was absolutely the hard work of the Tangah Elders, and so we are taking all the missionaries out for Papa Rons. The 3-year drought is over, and they have 2 more committed for the first week in March. We'll pray hard for that to happen! These Elders and Sisters are really diligent. They teach English, sometimes 3 times a week, find less actives, go out searching, street contact, provide weekly service to the community, and they do that all on bikes (at the peril of their lives on these streets). We feel like proud parents!

On Tuesday we attended the "farewell" for Ricko, the young man heading to SLC. It was quite a shin-dig. The family had it at their new home, and they had a videographer, and TVs, a sound system and catered food. The best part of the evening was the special musical number. All of the young full time missionaries and all return missionaries stood and sang a song together. It was amazing to see all of the members who had served missions. Most attending were from the two branches that meet at the Sopomo building. So there were many who were not there.

We kept thinking of what the Church will be like in ten years. We told the full time missionaries that it is no accident that they are here at this time. Solo is to become the 2nd Stake in Indonesia!!!!!!!!!!!! and we will all be here. The Lord knows them and he knows who he wants to be here to push this District over the edge to the Stake level. We told them that the day will come when they will tell first their children, then their grand children, that they were here when the 2nd Stake in Indonesia was organized, and then there will be 3 stakes and then a temple, and then two temples. And they will have been a part of that. There is a reason it is these particular missionaries, the Lord has faith in them, they need to honor that faith. We know it is true of us, we know it is true of them.

Tonight we head off to Kaptihan to practice with the YW of both branches. They love to sing and they love to practice to sing. Then it is off to Ayam Bakar, the barbecue chicken place for the traditional see you off dinner for Sis. Suryano. Tomorrow we will attend church at Kapatihan at 8 & 10 to play for the performances of the YW, then head to the Sopomo building at 11 for the baptism, Tangah Branch Council, take Sis. Suryano to the airport, and later pick up Sis. Nichols and Elder and Sis. Meridith from the airport and try to go to the encore performance of "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". The members loved it so much they asked to see it again. So I will try to get back to you. If not, know that we love you, are anxiously engaged in the work, and are thrilled to be a part of His work in this particular vineyard.

Keep in touch with us, but also keep in touch with each other! To receive love, you need to share love…

Elder and Sister Greenway

p.s. If you can't get a hold of us for the next couple of days, we are headed to Jogja to meet up with the Russells. He is the ophthalmologist the church sent to train Doctors in Indonesia. We will stay in Jogja Monday night and return Tuesday evening. They will be going with Elder Greenway and I, the Meridiths (humanitarian missionaries for Indonesia) and Bono to inspect the MCKs at the Muslim Boarding Schools, etc.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 23 Photos 3

We went to a wedding on Valentine's Day!  It was for Rudy and Femmy - active young single adults.  They are going to the temple later this year. First they were married by the branch president in the Kapatihan Chapel.

Jawanese traditional garb including dagger.

Then we piled all of the Elders into our car to go to the reception.  10 Elders, plus Elder & Sister Greenway and Bono.  No air bags...just air heads !!!!  Oh and this is OK with Indonesian polici !  Hey, this is a place where school kids are transported in trucks!

This is now the traditional part.  Processional.

Part of the tradition, he pours rice and she collects it.

Half of the guests.  The red stuff is strawberry drink.  This was followed by an appetizer of sorts, then soup (vegetable broth).  No dessert at this wedding.  The guy in the white with a microphone was the MC.  We haven't the slightest idea what he was saying because it was all Jawanese.

Week 23 Photos 2

I don't remember if I noted it before, but with this project we are retrofitting the old, original system with 10 MCKs and adding an additional 12 MCKs to the expanded system.  There are four villages that will benefit or about 30,000 people.  Here is an MCK (gray structure to the left) being set by a village mosque.

Starting the septic tank.

These two ladies feed the 32 crew members lunch every day.

MCK by a village soccer pitch (futsal field).  You can see one of the storage/pressure reduction tanks in the distance.

This MCK in in the middle of one village.  We are just about done with the septic tank.

Setting block for the septic tank.

MCK by a village community center.

The bamboo poles are their "ladders."

Week 23 Photos 1

Here is the reservoir that was pictured when we had the Opening Ceremony.  Remember, everything is manual labor - the digging, the bending of re-bar, surveying, squaring.  They are amazing.  We also decided to run new PVC lines from the water source about 3 Km away.

Pressure reduction and distribution.

Ismun - crew leader for the 100 cubic meter reservoir tank.  He's Muslim and he's wearing his LDS Charities T-shirt!  He's really a friendly fellow and laughs at our attempts at Jawanese.  (Different than Indonesian.)

Hand weaving the re-bar.

Week 23

To our Wonderful family, and kind friends,

It has been good to hear from some of you. We DO love to get emails and hear the news from home. For a number of years we wrote a weekly letter to our missionary children, and now we are writing as missionary parents. Hmmm... there is something missing here. Thanks to those who keep us in the loop! Thanks to those who read and answer our sometimes lengthy epistles. As usual it was quite a week.

We have been visiting the LDS Charities Boyalali Water Project every 2 weeks. The progress is outstanding. We have told you all about it. Tuesday we went to the "reservoir" and were amazed at the progress. On our way up the mountain we found the roads blocked due to a funeral. (Remember they block off the roads and set up chairs in front of the family home). So dear Bono had to find an alternate route. It was a little tight now and then, (narrow farm lanes) but he got us there.

Elder Greenway has pictures of the reservoir, and some MCKs. Remember that when this is finished it will provide clean water to 30,000 people, including 7 Muslim boarding schools. But the news is that on the way down the mountain BONO GOT LOST! That will mean nothing to any of you except the Grovers who Bono drove all over central Indonesia for 18 months. We call him the human GPS. So this was a first. He kept giggling and having to turn around in spots that were crazy tight. He is the kindest, most humble, dearest person. I doubt if it will ever happen again.

Wednesday was a RED LETTER DAY FOR PEF. The FIRST PEF FIRESIDE IN CENTRAL JAVA was held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, and we were here and participated. We had wonderful attendance from the YSA, and most were very excited about taking advantage of the opportunity to go to school. Elder Kusamarmantos and his wife, and Bro. Tandiman (a past President of the Indonesian Mission) all from Jakarta came to present the fireside. Elder Greenway also took part. Then Thursday we all headed to Jogja in our car (Yogjakarta - 2 hrs. distance) for the second PEF Fireside, which was also well attended and well received. We also visited the 4 Sister missionaries there, inspected their apartment, gave parental advice, and Elder Greenway gave one of the sisters a blessing. These are amazing times to be in Indonesia.

We feel blessed every day to be here. During the firesides I kept thinking about President Hinckley and his vision for PEF. I thought of how proud he would be to see these stalwart young people standing to be counted as participants in a Program designed by the Lord. Their goodness and attitude are overwhelming, and I am usually brought to tears when I see them working together. We also received some new assignments concerning PEF & Employment Resource work. We are to buy a computer, and use the office (it's good we cleaned it) for program support services.

We received word Wed. that President Groberg and Sister Groberg were coming Friday morning to spend Fri. and Sat. going out with the Elders and Sisters to teach. They attended DDM, (weekly district missionary mtg.) with all, and then set out with the missionaries. We had dinner with them that night and spent a couple of hours going over a few things. Rumor has it that they will make Solo (Surakarta) a stake in April. When I type those words I just cry. It will be the 2nd Stake in the entire nation... the answer to years of hard work and prayers from countless missionaries and members. We get to be a part of this... Oh the joy! But... there is work to do, and that was the two hours of discussion.

Then today we had District (like Stake) Council, and received some new assignments from the District Pres. He would like Elder Greenway to continue to advise the Branch Councils concerning the Rescue Effort. It is doing what the Lord intended it to do - bringing in the lost sheep. But the second assignment took my breath away. You know, you wonder from time to time why you received THIS call, to THIS place. Why things work out the way they do, how our assignment changed from the first weeks here, and how things have evolved. President Agus asked Elder to be an adviser to the Presidency (whoever they may be) and to the Council as we change from District to Stake. He wants to make sure it is done correctly from the beginning. I thought of the years that Dad has spent on the High Council, the many assignments, his knowledge and appreciation concerning the government of the Church. The Spirit bore witness to me at that moment that we are here by revelation to those who made that decision months ago.

We also are part of a committee formed to put together a Day of Service for the entire District. The idea was formed in the mind of Elder Johnson, our District Leader. He then ran it by me, and you know how I love a good community project! So, President Agus gave us the nod, and we had our first meeting right after Council today.

During this week, we also called on Dr. Susianto, an ophthalmologist, who we are hoping will get on board for the LDS Charities healthy eyes program. LDS Charities will pay for everything if the surgeon will donate his services for 100 Cataract surgeries. He seemed interested, so maybe... Add to that, our dear Ricko, the young man heading to SLC on his mission attended his last home Sacrament meeting and shared his strong and emotional testimony. So, as you can see, it has indeed been quite a week.

We know this is where we are to be. We are grateful for your encouragement, and your love. We are delighted to be a part of the greatest work in the world. There are such great blessings that come from being here, some that are even a marvelous work and a wonder, (like we sleep through each other’s snoring!) And we encourage you all to take part (the work, not the snoring).

Love one another,
Melanie and Ron

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Magelang Branch

Welcome to the Magelang Branch! We visited the Branch for the first time on Sunday which is now possible with our car. We have been to the city once in October to visit the Elders, but it was on a week-day so we needed to meet the Branch. This is the front. The panels are security doors which most store fronts have. Swing these to the side and you see the front door and the sign, "Gereja Yesu Kristus dari Orang-orang Suci Zaman Akhir."
Say hello to the Branch. That is President Dadang Supriyadi top row left and his wife Suwartini, bottom left with the flowered scarf. His counselor is to his left and that is the president's son, Dedi, next in line - he is the "organist." You can also see Bono and to his left is a visiting member from the High Council. The sister in front of the buleh elder, Elder Townsend (companion is Elder Marijanto), is the RS President and the three girls are her daughters.
This is to to give you a better idea of the size of the chapel. You enter the front of the building and there are two classrooms on the right as you walk toward the back of the building. At the back is an alcove with a cupboard, a sink, and a table with a water dispenser, and the entrance to the bathroom which extends under the stairs. Passing the "kitchen" you proceed up the stairs to the second floor where the chapel is located - that's the entry way on the right. You can see two of the five rows of pews. At the back of the chapel is the Branch President/Clerk's office (which looks out over the entrance).

Week 22

Happy Valentine's Day to the People We Love and Adore!

This is an important week. Today, Feb. 12,  marks two years since Great (Grandma Hansen) passed away. TWO YEARS!! I'm sure everyone agrees she will ever be missed. Then there is Valentine Day! The perfect time to tell you all how much we care about you and your families. We are blessed to have been loved and befriended by so many good, good, people. We miss you all tremendously, but we are also very grateful for our Indonesian friends who also bless our lives.

Well, speaking of Valentine Day. Agus and Yos, both 16, came to me and asked if I had a duet "love song" they could play on the piano for the seminary Valentine Party. Yos is a pretty good pianist, Agus has not been playing as long. But, I think there is something to Agus wanting to catch up, because he will work on things that are above his level, and he usually pulls through. Working with the two of them is pure joy. They work hard, we laugh a lot, and I push them along. Well, they are willingly pushed! By the time Agus goes on a mission, he will be able to play the hymns (which is the goal for all these students).

Oh, and I must tell you that I had student number 20 walk in the door last Tuesday. It is so funny, they just come and stand inside the door and wait for me to ask if they are there for lessons, then we put them on a piano. Elder Gilbert has been saving my life each week by helping with the newest students. I have added Arum, and Pungky, two little girls who are the same age. Most of the students are from the Kapatihan building, and I added Devara, Dandi, and Didi to the Sopomo list. You can tell the last three are from one family.

Now, I will tell you that when the Church talks about member support missionaries, they are talking about piano lessons. Those members support me! Not with money, but with joy and love. We have so much fun getting to know these young people and their families. I know I continue to bore you with all this, but it is truly a fellowshipping wonder, and I don't know why we don't do it in the Wards at home. Giving free lessons at the church to those who are willing to come each week and work through the Keyboard Course book. Adults, Youth, Children, the Church certainly needs more pianists.

We having been using our wheels for more than piano. We have been visiting the less active, or part member families with the Elders every chance we get. The Elders are very patient with our lack of language skills – they translate for us. We told you about the "Recipe for Eternal Life" lesson last letter. Elder Johnson liked the lesson and asked us to go with them Friday to two families. First of all, (and all of the missionaries who read this that served in struggling nations will know exactly what we mean) the majority of people in Indonesia live in the most humble of circumstances. You cannot know if you have not seen it. BUT, they are loving and happy and smiling and caring, and we love to be with them. We have visited four families this week and have been praying that the Spirit will touch their hearts.

The last family we visited on Friday concerned us. Sister Subeno hardly smiled the entire time we were there. I watched her as we presented the message and as Elder Greenway and the Elders spoke to her. Elder G. (through our translators) reminded them that as missionaries, we come and go; but, the real strength of the Tangah Branch will always be its members. The Branch needs each member, with all their talents and strengths. Then I asked her when she was baptized and what helped her to make that decision. She told me it was the Book of Mormon! So I told her that the Book of Mormon will never change. That it can still bring us joy and lead us to eternal life. She just nodded. But as we were leaving, she touched my arm and smiled a big smile at me. So I hugged her, and whispered, "Tolong datang." Please come. But then...

We attended church in Magelang today (about 2 hrs. away) and poor Bono had to drive home in the POURING rain, passed the steamy volcano, through the mountain passes, dodging new waterfalls spilling out onto the highway. He's a wonder. We left at 6 a.m. and got home just before 5 p.m. This is a very tiny branch, in the smallest town in the mission with Elders assigned to it. (We found out about that today). But, wow! did we enjoy the time there and the people of the branch. Pres. Dadang is a very dear, spiritual man that we came to love very quickly. He and his wife, Suwartini, and 15 year old son, Dedi, live about an hour from the tiny, tiny building that houses the branch. The son plays the piano for the meetings, (quite well) and I recognized the wife from District leadership meetings. They need so much – more members, more support, more guidance, more recognition for their sacrifice.
When we arrived here in Solo, we found out that one of the missionaries in Magelang came from northern Idaho. His name is Elder Townsend, AND HE IS STILL THERE. He came from the US. and was sent right to Magelang with a native companion, to serve this teeny branch. Oh, the culture shock! But, as we all know, you can either sink or swim, and he choose to swim. He is a very strong and dedicated Elder, and you can tell the members of the branch love him, and look up to him. It made me realize that in this world of instant communication, there is an enormous responsibility that all missionaries take on to remain an example even after many years. I thought of the damage that could be done to a branch if someone like Elder Townsend ever fell away.

We were also delighted to attend Branch Council, and watch the Rescue Program utilized at its best. These wonderful, wonderful Indonesian leaders.

Finally, last night we had a Banana Bread Bake-off, and Movie night with the YSAs from the 4 Solo Branches. We had about 20 there by the end. There is Mormon Standard Time, and then there is Indonesian Mormon Standard Time. However, in the beginning we divided them into 3 groups and we made Amy's Banana Bread recipe because it uses oil. There are entire grocery aisles dedicated to oil here because nearly everything is fried, so it is cheap. It was so fun, most of them have never baked because they don't have ovens. We took my easy bake oven just in case, and that was a good thing because the Kapatihan oven wouldn't start. We made 12 small loaves, and I could fit 6 in my oven at a time. So, we started "The Secret Garden", and after about 30 minutes they all had some warm banana bread. Farrida, and Francesca (her investigator friend) were there. Also, Rudi who was there for the last time because he will be married to Femi this Tuesday. Also, Widap, Yuli, Ricko, Frisca, Bayu, Tian and a number of others. We tell you their names because we want you to know that these terrific young people really exist, really are part of this wonderful vineyard.

Elder Greenway said I should add that one of the most exciting things that happened this week was to find out that you can get Diet Coke... in a cup...WITH ICE at Papa Ron's Pizza! I can't imagine why he wanted me to add that, other than my dancing for joy in front of the missionaries when I found out, (just kidding Pres. Giles & Bishop Kellis). Some things never change.

With great love for you all,
Elder and Sister G.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Missionaries and a Baptism

The FTM in the Solo area are constantly looking for areas where they can provide service. This seems to be somewhat of a misunderstood concept. They have approached orphanages - to be turned down because we weren't going to give them money. They didn't seem to realized the benefit of just haveing someone in to help and play and care for the kids for a day. Oh well. They did get noticed this particular day earlier this week. You'll have to use Google Translate.
At DDM this week we had all the missionaries group-up. They are a terrific bunch of Elders and Sister and they represent the Lord. I'm so proud of who they are and what they desire to accomplish as they do the work of the Lord.
On Sunday, Bangasari Branch had a baptism of Tomas and his big brother. They had been less active for a very long time. These are the YM mentioned in the letter.

Photos from Week 21

Well, these are the wheels that we got. Its a 2005 Toyota Innova. It's an 8 passenger, standard and is really clean. It has 72,000 Km which isn't too bad for a 6-7 yo vehicle and the best part is that President Catur promises to buy it back when we're finished with minimal depreciation. Bono was beside himself with this new car. I think we mentioned that we have kept him on retainer and he has come with us a few times when we needed a guide and translator. Well, from his perspective he's back to work - for real. He kept looking around and touching the inside of the car and he say to Sister Greenway, "Sister, what do you think?" Anyway we've been really using it. See letter.
On our way to the Water Project we passed this MCK under construction. This is just up the road from the construction office which was added onto the village office. What is important to notice is that it is being built by....

The local mosque.
Here we are at the reservoir tank. This was hand dug and the concrete was all hand mixed and carried and poured. The re-bar is hand bent and set. Here you can see Sutarno on the right with Margono (he is the local supervisor to the workers- he is Muslim and wears LDS Charities shirts and hats) to his left.
Another view of the excavation. This has got to accommodate a holding tank 100 Cubic meters in volume. Right now they are putting in the upright supports.
Remember this is all done by hand.
Well, while we were there as is common for this time of year, it started to rain - rather vigorously. Sister Greenway has already mentioned that Indonesians do not like to get wet. Bono even told me the cold rain hitting his head gives him a headache. Well, they were prepared so we waited out the rain and had some language training with all of the crew.
Finally, this is Kowo. He took us by another MCK in progress.. He is a member of the church but we aren't sure where he resides.

Week 21

To the Greatest Family and Friends,

I hope this letter finds everyone well and happy. We miss you all, we love the pictures, news of family, and any news about the ward and Stake. You are all dear to us, and we like to keep track of you.

Well, it's a done deal. We now have a car. If you can hear strains from the Hallelujah Chorus playing in the background, it comes from us. The day we picked it up we spent 9 hours in it just trying to catch up a bit. The next day about the same, and the next we visited one of our water projects. YaHooeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

We will be going with the missionaries twice a week to visit part-member families and less active people in the branches here. The day we got the car we went to see Irianti and her children, Agung and Novi. Agung is a very tall 14-year-old girl with long legs - just as unusual in Indonesia as it is in my family. Novi is almost 12 and could be a deacon, but they are not coming. I think it has to do with the cost of transportation. The Elders have never seen a father about, but Irianti doesn't offer information. She works in the home taking just spun and dyed cotton thread which comes to her in long loops of hundreds of threads, then she separates the strands onto a wooden loom that rotates and re-strands the thread ready for making Javanese sarongs. She is a pretty lady, and as usual her children are beautiful.

That morning in the shower (for some of you that has meaning) 2 Nephi 31:20 popped into my head. I have an emergency lesson prepared (so if I am asked to teach Sunday School or Senior Primary) using that scripture. I call it "The Recipe for Eternal Life". So, with the Elders translating for us, we asked Irianti how she makes Nasi Goreng (fried rice). She told us, and then we asked what would happen if you didn't have hot peppers? "No Good", she said. Then what if you didn't have onions, egg, ayam (chicken), or even rice! Then we compared it to the scripture, what if we are not steadfast in Christ, or fail to feast upon His word, what if we don't have hope, or help others, or endure to the end. "No Good"! We told her how the Sisters in the branch need her, how we are working hard to become a Stake. We asked her to come back, to be our friend, to put the recipe for eternal life back together.

We repeated this lesson to Bro. Suryono. He is the father of Yua. He was a Branch President in the early '90s. His wife died, and he remarried, but his wife is not a member. Yua is 20, but now he has a son with his 2nd wife that is three years old. He was very cordial, and when we asked if we could leave a blessing on his home he was happy. But as always, time will tell.

We have been asked to check on the progress on the Water Projects at least every two weeks. The current water projects are near Boyalali, a village and surrounding (county) area at the base of Merbabu. It takes about an hour to get to the village, and then on up the mountain. Unlike poor Grovers who were asked to check on the water source at Merapi, we are only checking on the progress of the new additions to an old project. Grovers hiked, or should I say climbed, straight up for 6 hours to get to that source. Now Bono tells me that to get to this project's source is worse. "No piece of cake," said Bono. Let's hope that the source is NOT in need of observation. We are checking on the construction of a large reservoir tank, and eventually 22 MCKs. Currently, there are 5 under construction.

It is so fun to go and talk to the men working on all this. Sutarno, a member, is the contractor. Koko, a professor of engineering, an architect, and a member, helps Sutarno. Kowo, a member whose young wife died 3 months ago from a stroke, is the project manager. Margono is a Muslim fellow who helps Kowo, and their crew. While we were there this week it started to rain. Indonesians hate to get wet. So we all sat under a blue tarp they have set up for rainy days, and Sutarno worked on my Indonesian. I found out he has an older daughter that I didn't know existed, and that he had a child die years ago. We have talked often of his son Moko in my letters. He is on a mission in Australia. Sutarno also has a gorgeous daughter, Astrit. Koko is an accomplished pianist. He taught many of the members who play. While the Church is doing amazing things for the Indonesian people, the Indonesian people are themselves pretty amazing.

We took pictures (surprise!) going up, etc. The clouds were very low that day, so we were driving around in them. On the way home Bono took us for what he calls "Indonesian Fast Food". I had curried chicken in coconut milk. Elder Greenway and Bono had food that burns your lips off. Outside the little place were Javanese musicians. I loved the music. It was different than any I have heard so far. Ukulele, guitars, voices plus talent... Wow!!!

While we were running around the mountains, the Elders and Sisters were cleaning a portion of Slamet Riadyi, the main east-west thoroughfare running through Solo. Four local papers did an article, including the "Java Post", with a picture and everything. The headline on the picture we will download, basically states that "Organization (or practice) Cleans In The Style of White Person". In the article there are many quotes from "Bule" Sister Collins, but it also quotes Elder Dalilis a Philapino. Crazy! I think I told you in the last letter that they intend to do this kind of service often.

We lost Elder Wirardi this week, and are losing Sister Collins tomorrow. They are headed to Jakarta. Sister Collins won't be replaced because she was part of a threesome. Elder Wirardi was replaced by Elder Hendro. When we met him at Friday's DDM, he had just begun his 3rd day of his mission in the field. He looks a little stunned, but he'll get it soon. He is a native from Surabaya.

While Elder Greenway and I work on our Indonesian, many of the Indonesians we work with are working on their English. Some of the native Elders are really trying. Elder Mortoya, a super missionary, works on his English every night with Elder Johnson. We are working with Widap twice a week to prepare her to take the TOEFL test. Sometimes it gets downright humorous. She and I are constantly texting one another. So I throw in a little English nonsense like "okey dokey smokey", or "Wazup!?". She calls me Gramma, so I find little terms of endearment. The other day I called her 'Snucklefritz'. Now I used a "u" instead of an "oo" because the Indo. "u" is pronounced "oo". But, 1st of all she read it in English, (good girl), and then she texts Ricko, who has excellent English to find out what it meant. Together they spent an hour trying to figure it out. THEY EVEN GOOGLE TRANSLATED IT! I laughed so hard. She came to me and very quietly asked "Sestah, what is this Snuclefrit?" Then she and Ricko told me all they had done to figure it out. Oh! how we love them! They are so dear. Today as she left me, she hollered over her shoulder, "see you latah, snuclefrit!"


OH!!!! AND SPEAKING OF RICKO....HIS VISA AND PASSPORT CAME YESTERDAY!!! HE ENTERS THE MTC ON FEB. 28th!!!!!!!!!!!!! He will serve in the Salt Lake City Utah Mission. So, all you Salt Lake Citizens, if you see a extremely handsome Elder, with beautiful brown skin, black hair, and a smile a mile wide, there is a good chance it is Elder Putra. His name is not Putra, in fact Putra is Son in Indonesian. His name is very long, so for his mission he will be known as Elder Ricko Putra. Please, please take good care of him for us! He is a fine young man, and he will be a fine, fine Elder.


In closing, I want to tell you about Thomas and his baptism. He looks about 10, but he is 12. He is handsome, polite, and a great piano student. But when Elder Gilbert raised his hand to baptize him and said that simple, powerful prayer then baptized him, just as the Savior was baptized, it just took my breath away. I wanted to stand up and cheer. His older brother was also baptized. They are part of a recently reactivated family. The father is Catholic, but has become interested despite trying hard to stay away. The mom gave a beautiful baptism talk. I thought of the Rescue Program. I thought of Thomas as one of those lost sheep. I thought how badly Heavenly Father wants all of His children to come unto Him. What if Thomas hadn't been "rescued"? There are lost sheep in every neighborhood, in every ward, in every Stake, and we all need to be united in the rescue. "We are all enlisted 'til the conflict is o'er".

Oh how I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that I am a member of His restored Gospel. We are sooo grateful to be here. We are just a tiny speck in His eternal plan, He knows and loves the people of Indonesia every bit as well as the people of Pennsylvania, or Utah. He guides them, He blesses them, He inspires them and asks that they endure. Solo is to be a Stake in Zion. It is coming soon, then a Stake in Surabaya, then on and on. What a miracle. What a joy! But it starts with someone not being afraid to open their mouth and rescue their neighbor.

Please take care of you neighbor!

Love, Mom and Dad / Elder and Sister Greenway