Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 29

To the greatest family and wonderful friends,

This week has been colored by our reading together in Alma. We read concerning Lamoni's conversion by Ammon and all the service and patience Ammon showed to that king. Then after the mighty visit of the Spirit to Lamoni and his family and court, he and Ammon go to save Ammon's friends in prison. On the way they are met by Lamoni's father. The King who is angry because Lamoni missed a huge celebration. But he is sooo impressed by Ammon, that later when Aaron goes to visit and eventually convert him, Lamoni's Father asks "Where is Ammon?" Many, many of the Lamanites follow their leaders and are converted.

A great day for those missionaries, however it leads to a whole other set of problems, namely the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who refuse to kill anymore and bury their weapons. Of course, Alma feels responsible for these faithful new members, and therefore shepherds them in a very big way, for a very long time. Of course, many of those slain easily by their angry enemies are the fathers and grandfathers of the Stripling Warriors, and many of those saved by Ammon's people where their mothers.

What a sacred responsibility is the shepherding of our Father's children. Ammon's stewardship's were never taken lightly, and part of that was his tremendous patience and love. I know these stories so well, but I have never thought of this aspect before. It had a profound effect on my outlook toward all of our Father's children, from those close to me, to those I do not know. I have a lot of work to do.
We spent a portion of the week catching up on work at home and preparing for work to come. The 4 Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) Planning for Success workshops, which each PEF participant must attend, must have well-trained teachers. Brother Tandiman is coming to Solo this week to begin training the Solo area teachers and wants Elder Greenway to help. So Elder G. has been reviewing the course work and making sure he is prepared. As for me, I have been pouring over the music for the FIRST STAKE CONFERENCE to be held in Solo. Thursday we had made plans to go visiting with Bono and teaching with the Sister Missionaries.

However, last Saturday our newest Elder, Elder Xiong from California was elbowed in the eye playing basketball with one of the Branch Presidency and the Pres. non-member friends. (Yes, it is just like the USA with members and basketball, but you have to add badminton to that also!!!!) He was in considerable pain, and instead of getting better, it became worse. So, after a few days, he called us (we had told him to) and we canceled our visiting appointment to take this Elder to the doctor. It was a good thing, his eye was fine but the muscles around the eye were injured, so he received some meds and by today he was almost better.

 This fine Elder is one of 16 children of parents who escaped Vietnam. His sister (24) was the first to join the Church in California (they are Hmong, so we thought of young Elder Richwine from our Carlisle Ward), then another sister (25), then Elder Xiong, and then a younger brother (16). His parents do not drive, and most of his siblings are gone from the home, so this young man was their driver. Plus, his father is disabled. So, it took a leap of faith for Elder Xiong to go on a mission. But, he was really blessed, because just before he left, his father and mother asked to be baptized. He is anxious to serve, so he can return home and go to the temple with his parents and be sealed, and start teaching his older siblings.

We did go teaching with the Sisters that evening. They had been invited to a home of friends of a member. In fact, these friends have a daughter who has been pals with Astrid, the daughter of Sutarno (our main water project guy). The family has been so impressed with Astrid, with the family, and had talked to them about the Church. The family wanted to know more about temples, and why other churches did not have temples. They were very kind, and listened well as the Sisters presented the restoration to them. We also talked about how much our Father in Heaven loves families and desires for them to succeed. They have invited us back, but this time I think we will take Astrid. She is anxious to go.

If you have seen the pictures, you know that Elder Greenway went with our missionaries to the volcano Merapi on Wednesday. I did not go because of piano lessons. I had had to cancel lessons the week before, so I could not cancel again. He had a great time as you can see by the pictures! He came home a little sunburned, but happy.

 It was good I did not cancel, because I had three new students arrive at my lesson door. Two that are 8, and one who is 6, with their moms and one dad. After the Elder Mortoyo week, I am always prepared for new students! We had a good lesson and decided on a good time. I now have at Sopomo, 2 at four, 3 at four-thirty, 3 at five, 3 at five-thirty, and 2 at six. At Kapatihan I have about 5 at three thirty, 2 at four, (they all mix in and stay a while), 3 at five, 2 at five thirty, and 2 at six.

Finally, we had our first choir practice for the first Stake Choir in Solo, Indonesia! We practiced at Kapatihan, and had about 60!!!!!!! We were so thrilled. Heavenly Father really answered my prayers. It is really hard to do something new here. They love their traditions, and so when you try to do something different, they get so confused. I had dear Aster and Widap sending SMS texts all week to tell everyone to come at 5 PM on Saturday. Then as we were driving there I could see huge dark rainclouds forming. We have already told you that when it rains everything stops because they are all on scooters. I sat in the back seat of that car and prayed that the rain would wait for the practice. It did.

We are having 2 choirs, a General choir, and a YSA-Youth choir. That was the confusion. BUT, they came, and they sounded so good. The General choir was so quick to learn, and the Youth choir was so inspiring. We are quite certain there will be more participating when we practice this week at Sopomo. Today at church, Pres. Agus asked me how many came, when we said about 60, he was so surprised. He is trying to get an idea of how many chairs to set up for the choir on the 29th of April. We told him we'd get back to him on that. We hope about 100. He is a wonderful man, and a good leader.

I love my Father in Heaven. I know that he loves us, and is mindful of our trials and disappointments. I hope you all read Elder Bednar's talk in the Liahona (Ensign) about the Atonement, about Grace, and about strengthening. I know that He does answer the prayers of a little lady worried in the back seat of a car. I know because of the Savior we can be strengthened for our responsibilities, our stewardships, and our temptations. I am grateful to have been born of goodly parents, who loved the Lord. Thank you all for the blessing you have been in our lives. We have been blessed over, and over.

Have a good week taking care of Heavenly Father's children, (each other),

Elder and Sis. Greenway

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