Sunday, February 5, 2012

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

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