Helloooooo to all those not blown away by the nor'easter! ..... and to everyone else, too.
I read that those of you living in the east were to feel the brunt of mighty Mother Nature! I hope your trees all survive, and that you are not one of those destined for 12 inches of snow!!! I did predict this, you know. I could not believe you could possibly get off with so "little weather" this year. Emily said that the weeds in my yard did not have a chance to die this winter, so they are growing with fervor. Maybe they will be blown away... However, poor John is packing and moving to Chicago this week, and that is "no fun" to do in a foot of snow. Part of me wishes I could help with the weeding and the packing, of course the other part of me is extremely happy to be in Indonesia.
We happily had a great week, with many happy experiences. I wrote last week that we were to take Sis. Nichols to the train early Monday and send her on her way to Malang via Surabaya. That we did, bright and early Monday morning. We then, immediately headed off to Jogja, with Sis. Sari, to fetch her new companion, Sis. Blake. Sis. Blake is from Dallas, Tex. and is a sweet and wonderful Sister. She is tall, and athletic, and happy, and this will probably be her last transfer. We are very happy to have her.
The sisters live in a VERY tiny apartment, which is much better than their original huge rat’s nest apartment. In the new apartment, the bathroom is tucked under a stairway, and Sister Blake has to duck to go in the bathroom. The kitchen is really a hallway, as is their study area, but it is clean and tight, and for that we are grateful. We have 4 Elders in an apartment near us, sort of central Solo, another 4 Elders north and east of us, then the sisters South and east. So it is a good fit.
Oh! And I forgot to tell you, that while we were in Jogja, we stopped by United Cerebral Palsy and said "hello" to the wonderful people there, and then took all (5) Sisters out to Wendy's for lunch. It was our good-bye to Sister Peters who is now home in western Idaho.
Tuesday and Wednesday was piano, and piano prep. We now have 25 regular students that come each week. We start around 3 PM at the Kapatihan Branch building on Tuesday with 6 piano lessons and are finished around 6:30 PM. We begin at 4 PM at the Sopomo Branch building, with 5 piano lessons and are done around 7:15 PM. I have some help at Sopomo in the form of Elder Gilbert, for now, because I am teaching two children (Bimo & Fafa) of a Muslim couple who are attending English classes from the Elders. He and his companion (new to Solo) Elder Mokodompis come and help with Indonesian, and Elder Gilbert knows some piano and can listen and correct.
Last week I had an amazing experience. Bimo and Fafa's parents brought a friend into the class after their lessons. They asked if I would like to listen to her sing and play. So we all took a break and she sang (okay this is where it gets funny, because I can't remember the name of anything) the song that made Andrea (or something like that) Prochetti (or something like that - you know the Italian tenor that is blind that sang with the Tabernacle Choir). Okay, are we on the same page....? Anyway she sang his famous song that goes way low then way high (high A) with this beautiful, pure voice singing in Italian, and all coming from this 13 year old Indonesian girl. It was gorgeous. What she wanted was piano from me. Whew! I am glad she wasn't thinking voice. THAT would be embarrassing.
Thursday and Friday we were out visiting for most of the days. We had texted the Branch Presidency and asked if they had some members they would like us to visit. So on Thursday we started with a visit to Sis. Warsyatno, who is ancient. She has "arthur" (my mom's affectionate :( name for arthritis), and her movements reminded me of my mom. She could not stand, her hands were twisted, and she was in pain. But, she cried when we came. She lives with her son who works evenings and I am sure she gets lonely. The Elders take her the Sacrament each week. She was baptized in 1972, a real pioneer. Next we attempted to visit a less active family, the parents both being returned missionaries. We found out later that they are never home before 7 PM. So we went to visit Bro. Muliano, a fun wonderful man who was baptized by Pres. Groberg when he was an Elder here a million years ago. We stayed a while there because they fed us something yummy with tofu, chicken, noodles, etc. He is also a pioneer in the Solo area. When he joined there were 15 members in Solo. In a week we will be a Stake! He was delightful.
On Friday we headed to DDM. (meeting with full-time missionaries). As usual, we head down to B-2 (the parking garage) to meet Bono, who is always waiting. Now I forgot to tell you that we had a new "radio" put in the car so that we can listen to music on long journeys around central Java. Before we left PA. I gave Elder Greenway the assignment to figure out the recorded music problem, because I wanted ALL my Motab stuff, etc. So, of course, I have no idea what he did, or how to get to it. With that in mind, I have since found out that he also brought Johnny Cash, ABBA, and about a hundred others. Now, on Friday morning we get in the car, and we are hit with the BeeGees as we are about to exit the garage. I start to laugh and then I say... “I don't know Elder,” (meaning I am not sure of the spiritual quality of the BeeGees)........ So he reaches to find something else, when Bono quickly looks at Elder Greenway and pleads, “Elder! I like the BeeGees!!!” So we listened to the BeeGees all the way to meeting. Bono kept saying ...Sister I think they are tenors! AND as we leave Bono to go to DDM, he is in the car, eating cookies (I always give him his before DDM because the Elders don't leave survivors) listening to the BeeGees! We laughed all the way into the meeting.
After, we headed out to visit Brother Suwardi (some sort of "therapist" who had this weird electronic device) in his office-store, which also included a million ants. He joined the church 34 years ago. Next we visited Ani's home. She is the Primary Pres. in Banjasari, and was one of the first people we met here. She gets up every morning at 3 AM. and make 300 rice rolls ( rice wrapped in a banana leaf) to sell at a local warung. She is an extremely wonderful dedicated woman, and she is much fun! We then headed to Bro. Tomi's home. He was a contractor, and so his home is quite lovely. He was a member BEFORE Pres. Groberg came on his mission. He and his wife were the first native senior couple to serve a mission from Indonesia. They served in Jogja, and she has since passed away. He has a son, Bro. Coki and a daughter, Ida that live nearby and are wonderful members. We had a good visit. He loves U.S. History, and has come to the conclusion that "Uncle Sam" was named after Sam Houston, from the Alamo. He also has some other theories concerning history that gives me pause, but what the heck. When we visit we like to take a loaf of mini- (roti pisan) banana bread with us. As I have said, they don't bake, so it is a treat. That keeps us busy baking when we are not out and about.
Finally, this week Elder Greenway baptized Fransisca Xavaria Diana Rahmawati a member of the Church. He said her name, and the prayer from memory for the first time. What a guy!!!!! That was Saturday, and today she was confirmed a member of the Church by Pres. Ipung. She and Farida came to our apartment yesterday because Fransisca was sooooooo nervous. Not to be baptized, but because she has a mortal fear of water. They ate cookies, and we looked up important sites on Google Earth, and tried to make her forget. It was sweet.
We are so grateful for these wonderful people. We also had 2 Choir rehearsals this week (Elder Greenway sent pictures). We first meet with everyone participating and then we excused the adults to practice with the youth. They all sing their hearts out, and learn and are so teachable. Somewhere along the line they have learned all of the Hymns without 16th notes. So "Praise to the Man", "Let Us All Press On", "I Stand All Amazed", etc., no 16th notes. I had to explain this to them without offending. They now sing "I Stand All Amazed" with 16th notes, but not the others. It makes me happy. They can sing them however they want, BECAUSE THEY SING WITH GUSTO!
You would love it! We love them dearly. We love to be among them; it is our happiest time. They now love to tease us, and joke around. They are comfortable and funny with us. We love it!!!! We want to be able to help them in any way we can; they are always helping us. When we write next week we will have a new Stake President!!!!! We are so proud of these people. They are certainly among the "noble and great ones" spoken of in the Doctrine and Covenants. We are so excited for them, and know they have been blessed for their righteousness.
Being well cared for, please care for each other!
With great love,
Elder and Sister Greenway