Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 37 Photos 2

Here is an update of the Ampel water project. This last week we visited to see the progress. 20 of the 22 MCK are completed, near completion, and/or under construction. The concrete reservoirs, large and small, are also progressing quickly and all but 2 poly tanks are in place.

This first shot is of the MCK near the Dnodirojo office. You've watched it progress to completion.

Yup - that's clear water flowing!!!

Here is a Kristen Church near the street that is being used as the model street.

Here is the MCK attached to the church, like the one by the Mosque in earlier pictures.

Here is one of the smaller reservoirs - it is finished and full and flowing.

And here is one of the new poly tanks - full and flowing, too.

Week 37 Photos 1

This first series was shot by Sister Greenway.  They are a mix.  Here are Sisters Sari and Blake.  We have them on board because we were taking 4 missionaries to the airport.  Sister Sari was going home and Sister Blake was going to Jakarta to get her new, NEW companion, Sister Neis (Nice) form Alberta, Canada.

Here are the missionaries and youth practicing, "If You Could Hie to Kolob," for the Family/Temple Fireside that Sister Sari wanted to put on before going home.   Long story....

Here we are at the village offices near Ampel.  Playgrounds are the same as in the USA - as are those who use them!

This last picture is for the Grovers, Merediths, and the Knorps.  We know that the Grovers and Merediths loved Ice Cream - and Elder and Sister Knorpp are wondering what is available here in Solo.  So we chose this flavor for you all.  We'll pass (not the most appetizing name.) ----- OK?!?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 37

Hello! Hello! Hello! to the very most loved family, and wonderful friends.

Well, our dear Sister Sari is all done with her mission. This is a unique Sister Missionary with all sorts of troubles that have framed her personality, but, I must say, has definitely grown in her last 6 months of her mission. Being her companion teaches faith, and Christ-like love, and every Sister Missionary in the mission took a turn. However, Monday we loaded up almost all of her missionary belongings and drove Sister Sari and Sister Blake to Klaten, Sister Sari's hometown. Her Grandmother, who raised her, had a stroke the first of May, and so she will live with her Aunt and Uncle and Grandmother, and help to take care of her for a while.

We have heard some interesting stories about Sister Sari, and have lived through a few of our own; but, I felt sadness as we met her family, and worried about her future. She will live to far away to attend Church, so can you imagine coming home from a mission and not being able to attend Church. We just found out today that there are about 7 members that live in villages around Klaten. We are hoping that the President will maybe start a Unit there and send a set of Elders to help these Members. One Mother and her young son and set of twins ride their "motor" from the Klaten Area an hour to Solo every Sunday. Imagine....3 little kids and you on a scooter, zooming down the highway to get to church. We'll need to work on this…

On our way home from Klaten everyone was very subdued. So we SMSed the Elders and told them we'd spring for McDonalds if everyone could be there by 5:30. We had two sets with appointments, but the others were there and that helped everyone a bit. The next morning very early we fetched Elder Gilbert from the Tangah apt., drove across town and got Elders Johnson and Prasetyo at the Jebres apartment and then took Elder Gilbert and Johnson to the train station to catch the train to Surabaya (about 5 hours away). Then we went to the Sisters’ apartment and got Sisters Sari and Blake, went back to the Tangah apartment and grabbed Elder Purnawan and headed to the airport. You should have seen us, with all of us and all those HUGE suitcases stuffed into our short van. Sisters Sari and Blake were headed to Jakarta, Elder Purnawan was headed to a community just outside of Jakarta, and Elder Prasetyo headed to the northern tip of the Island of Sumatra to the city of Medan. We lost about half of our crew, but we got a new crew, so that's okay. Purnawan had been here since just before Christmas..... You really come to feel a little like their Mother. As Elder Johnson walked away he turned and said, "Thanks, mom!" Sniff, sniff, sniff…

I didn't have time to mourn, because as soon as we left the airport we headed to the Water Projects to check the status. They have 20 of the 22 MCKs almost finished, they were laying pipe along side the roads (digging the small trenches by hand), and they have nearly all of the reservoirs at some stage of completion. The closing ceremony is scheduled for September. Then they are starting a new project in Magalang, probably. We love to go see the progress, and wave to the children and villagers. We hand out cookies to the workers and anyone else nearby. We will really miss going there and keeping track of these good people. One village is populated by mostly wonderful Muslims, and the other village is a mix of wonderful Hindu and Christian, and then here is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints providing over thirty thousand of those living on that mountain with clean water. That is exactly how it should be right now in the world. That same day Elder Greenway was invited to a community about 6 hours away to fit wheelchairs to people in a number of communities. UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) goes and measures the recipients, and then goes back and fits the chairs. Elder Greenway couldn't go that day, but next week they will be in Klaten, so he will for sure be there. I think I told you the Church will provide over 1500 chairs this year just in Indonesia.

With all this going on, you would not think we would be so cruel as to inspect Missionary apartments on Wednesday with all the new Elders, but we did! The Tangah apartment has been in a state for a while. It is just old. But we sent pictures to Senopati (Mission Offices) and the next day they had a member come and fix the A.C (most apartments don't have A.C. - just fans), the sink that was falling off the wall, and the light fixture that was falling off the ceiling. Plus they got a new mattress (one was shaped like a U) and everyone got new pillows. The Jebres apartment also got new pillows, some fitted sheets, a new mattress (same reason) and a new gas hot plate. I think sending the pictures was a good thing. We usually take Banana Bread to inspections so they won't dread them. Besides, we are not too mean. It's like Saturday Work at home when we were raising our kids, right kids? Only I don't think my kids got Banana Bread… So Thursday, while Elder Greenway was shopping for and delivering the loot to the apartments I stayed home and planned Gospel English, organized our YSA lists, baked breads and made some cookies... Oh, and we did laundry! So that…

On Friday we could attend DDM (district missionary meeting). While at DDM, we asked Bono to go over the YSA lists and lump some names together by neighborhoods, or just by some nearness of proximity. So, when DDM was over, we headed out to find some of our lost Young Single Adults. After driving around and around, we finally found one address. We found out that the Sister we were looking for was married, and her brother, who we were looking for, had moved to Jogja to work. BUT!!!! We found a fifteen year old sister that was happy to see us, AND was excited to find out that she could have free piano lessons, and I found out that she sings. So we immediately formed a mutual admiration society, and she is coming to piano this week. Yea!!!!!

Then we hopped in the car and started looking for a place we never found, but did find a different address and there lived Puthut (Pootoot). He has been a member all his life, but had to get a job when he was in Jr. High that required Sunday work. So he quit coming. His mother then stopped coming also. He will graduate from college in a month and will teach High School. He gave us his cell phone (they call them hand phones) number and said he would be willing to come to activities. We asked what he remembered about the Church and he said that we don't drink or smoke. We are sending the missionaries to see him, and will call on him again, and SMS about activities. He is built like our Joel, and was tender and kind. We will hope....

But then we were off to Church English!!!!!! That is the most fun. We added three new members to our class this week. We reviewed vowels, made words out of "at", "op", and "it" (like sat, hop, and hit), reviewed "Heavenly Father" etc. and learned ....we are grateful, we are thankful, and the 1st Article of Faith, "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost", from "Kami percaya kepada Allah. Bapa Kekal, dan Putranya, Yesus Kristus, dan Roh Kudus." They did great!

Today, Sunday, we attended church at Kapatihan. Came home and had BACON and tomato sandwiches. Yes,!!!! bacon in a Muslim country. Actually, it is produced in Bali, which is Hindu. You cannot always find it at the stores, but there it was, but it is also hard to get lettuce. Hence, no BLT.... just BT. But we also had apples and grapes, which were yummy. However, I really wanted to tell you about the fireside tonight.

It was organized by the Sister Missionaries (that in itself is a very long story which I will not get into here) and by 6:30 starting time, Sister Sari had not shown up from Klaten, so we just went ahead. Pres. Budi the Stake President sort of reorganized the program, and off it went. The theme was on Temple Work and Genealogy.

The podium was full of members who portrayed spirits held in bondage in Spirit Prison because their work had not been done. One by one, or sometimes by family, they each got up and told their story from earth. Then they would ask if anyone had "done" their work by stating their name. Members of the congregation had been given there names before the meeting started, and were to stand when that name was given. Then the "spirit" would thank them (with great feeling) and go sit with the congregation. Of course when some names were called no one would stand, and it was pretty poignant when they could not leave from "prison".

Finally, a large family came and the father talked of the love they had shared and their trials on earth, and how much they wanted to be together forever. The father then began to call out each family member's name, and someone would stand for each child, until the last son. In real life, his name is Eden Catur and he is about 10. When the father read his scripted name, no one stood. The father begged, and no one stood, and then the family hugged each other and the mother and children stepped off the stand to go aside and sing "Together Forever". But when they walked past him, and stepped down, Eden suddenly "got it", he did not want to be left alone so there was no acting, he just turned and buried his face in his father’s chest and literally began to sob. The poor "siblings and mother" (which were mostly his real family with a few extras added) had to sing that song while Eden sobbed and sobbed, and then the father (as part of the script) handed him to others left in prison and went to sit with the "family".

Well, let's just say that Eden wasn't the only one sobbing. I can't get over it. It certainly made you realize how important that work is to those waiting. It was a tremendously spiritual event, and we were grateful to be there.

We have put off sending this letter because we are waiting for word that Matt and Tanya's baby boy has been born today. There has been a problem arise with one of the babies kidneys, and so they are bringing him a little early. I am sure that Matt and Tanya would appreciate any prayers said in behalf of their boy. We are grateful for family love, and caring friendships every day. We have great faith in the power of prayer. We know that our Heavenly Father loves us, and that we are blessed to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ to comfort us, to guide us, and to bring us joy. We are very aware of the strength that the Gospel brings into the lives of those who are blessed to be part of it. We see it every day here in Surakarta. We feel it from you when you email. Thank you for sharing your strength and your prayers with us.

We love you without measure!
Mom and Dad, Melanie and Ron

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week 36 Photos 1

Here is our Gospel English Class.  Left to right, you can see Septi, Probono, Sukro, Rudi, (??), then Elder Greenway.

Here is the Bishop (Uskup) Awi and his wife Endah, and Bono.

Next we move on to a few of Sister Greenway's piano students at Kapatihan. You've seen them before, but just as a reminder (L-R) Kiki, Enso, Moses, Luki, and Lala. You can't imagine the humble circumstance this family comes from. They are five of thirteen children.

This is Agus!

And this is a group of the youth from the Soepomo building - at singing practice.

Week 36

Good Family and Friends!!!

I think this will be quite a short letter this week. We were busy every day, however much of it was planning and paperwork. So, you can't take pictures nor make much fun out of that.

However, the biggest news of the week came from Utah, where Joel and Rebekah found out they are having a GIRL. Now we'll take all the girls we can get. This baby will be #16 as far as grandchildren go, but it will be #7 on the girls team. We have Sadie, Cecily, Elia, Madelynne, Kathryn, Anna Marie, and now (probably) Jane! Our boys team has 9 players....Isaac, Nate, Eli, Jackson, Jackson's Brother (coming very soon), William, Gavin, Andrew, and Logan. Quite a group!!!! We're just a BIT proud of them.

We have been working on the Young Single Adult lists for the 4 Wards. I think I told you that the lists are a bit out-of-date. We will also be working on the Single adult lists, but first things first. We have the names of 2 of the 4 Single Adult Representatives, and we will be meeting with them next Saturday to get the ball rolling. They are anxious to get going, as are the Young Singles, so we can't wait any longer. The Grover's (the mission couple here before us) did a great job with the YSAs. So, all we really have to do is get it organized as the Stake Handbook suggests.

They already have an Institute Program going (somewhat poorly attended), so we would like to add a Sunday meeting (perhaps FHE or Break-the-Fast) and make sure that the CES firesides from Salt Lake are well attended. We also would like to have community service play a part in the activities. BUT!!!! this is not our program to plan! We are there as advisers, so we will see where they take it. But there is one part that cannot be set aside, and that is missionary work. They have some "rescuing" to do, and in Indonesia the young men full time missionaries leave when they are 18. You can see there is much to do. We are really excited!

So on that note, we have been out visiting some of the less active young singles and single adults. We have one young man that left on his mission but was sooooooo homesick that the mission president ( this was some years ago) sent him to Solo to see if he would do better near home. He just left one day and went home to his house. He and his parents were very embarrassed, so they haven't been coming. We have been working with the father, and the Elders have been working with the son. I think this might just happen. We will keep at it. He is one of many, just like other wards in the church, and each one is worth the effort! They are wonderful young people!

Our visiting hasn't been limited to the Singles Program. We found out Monday that our very sick Koraaq (the fellow with the lung problem) was sent home from the hospital to heal. However, we had a new very sick 14 month old little fellow to take his place. His name is Cesar, and his mom, Nina, is a return missionary who married a Muslim fellow. We had visited the home of her parents, Bro. and Sis Sutarno. Anyway, he was very sick with a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a terrible cough. We went Monday, then Wednesday Elder Greenway and Bono gave him a blessing (we misunderstood that he had already had a blessing), and then we returned Friday and found out that he was much better, but still had the fever. However, by Saturday afternoon, they sent him home, too. We are grateful for the power of the Priesthood.

Friday was DDM, then we went with Elder Johnson and Elder Hendro to visit Untea. I have mentioned her before. She has a little boy that makes Bradley Boothe (sorry none of you know Bradley Boothe, but my siblings SURE DO) look like an angel. He is about 6, and he was terror unleashed on Friday. His mother told him to sit down so he threw a flip-flop at her. Then he threw a shoe, then as we were leaving he was about to throw a rock! So I gave him the Mothermelly look (my children definitely know what that is), put my arm around his Mom and said, " Tidak! Saya mengasihi Ibu anda! " (roughly translated is No! I love your mother) It didn't even faze him. My kids think my look can melt steel, but he kept his arm cocked and ready to throw. I wanted to go grab the rock and knock him on the head with it, but alas, I am a representative of the Church so I'm sorry to say that we deserted the sinking ship, and dashed off the hospital to see Cesar. However, the whole way we had a conversation with Elder Johnson about what his mother would have done if HE had behaved that way. I felt better about wanting to konk him with the rock after that.

After the hospital run, we grabbed some dinner at Raja Ayam (King Chicken) where they have the best Mie Ayam. Then we were off to the Kapatihan Building to teach our very first Gospel English Class. We had 10 attendees, and that was before it was announced in Church today. The class will be held every Friday at Jam 6 sore (6:00 afternoon/evening). We had so much fun. The youngest was probably 25, and the oldest was Bro. Sukro who is ohhhhhhh over 50. We worked on vowels first. They have a very hard time with the long sound of most vowels. Then we worked on the alphabet and sang the song. They don't have a "c" or a "g". They have "chey" and "gey" (sort of a funny sounding "gay"). We had them practice in twos. and we walked around and listened, then we worked on the name of the Church in English. (Gereja Yesus Kristus dari Orang-orang Suci Zaman Akhir) That took some time.... Finally, we worked on "Heavenly Father" (Bapa Surgawi)and "Father in Heaven" (Bapa diSurga), and "Amen" (Amin). They actually did very well and asked if we could have it twice a week. I don't see how, but who knows. They of course have homework. We obviously want them to pray in English after a while. Remember!!!!!! They asked for this, we did not suggest it or in any way motivate this English. It actually came from Bro. Sukro (the oldest) and Bishop Awi got right on it. He was there, too, along with Bono our driver who has great English. He told us, "I can always learn to be better".

We that does it. We also did piano 2 days, and baked and gave away Banana Bread, washed clothes, cleaned the apartment, and did some grocery shopping; but then, so did you. So that isn't news. We got some great emails about the homeland from some kind ward members, and family. We are just like every other missionary. We love getting mail from home. We love hearing about your families, and ward goings-on. We especially love to hear how you help your families and neighbors, and how you love one another. You are all such great examples. Thank you so much!!! We'll keeping working on our end, and we know you'll do the same.

All our love,

Elder and Sister G.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week 35 - Photos 3

OK this is what you've been waiting for ...

This is a shrine outside our "bungalow."  It is the building to my left.  And you can see a fellow in the bungalow up-stairs.

We had a out-door dinner the evening following the sight-seeing, and the young people who are employed and attend school at the resort also provided the entertainment.  Other than teachers, I didn't see a single adult "supervisor" during our entire stay.  The desk, grounds keeping, house keeping, cooking, waiting, etc.  was all done by the students.  Extremely courteous and polite, and accomodating.  Really, the best over-all service I have ever had.

Oh - and I was asked to dance - twice !!!!

On the way to our flight back to Solo (we flew in and out of Jogjakarta because there was no direct flights from Solo to Bali), we had some spare time so our driver took us to the beach. This is a temple/shrine at the beach.

Oh yeah, here's the beach. Beautiful surf and sand.

But Sister Greenway was most impressed with ...  She couldn't believe her eyes .... could it be true .... Oh Heaven be praised !!!!!!!

Yes, you see correctly - 24 hour DELIVERY!!!!!

Service with a Smile !!  WHAT ..................NO DIET COKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!

Week 35 - Photos 2

Following the Monkey Forest we headed for the UNESCO Rice Terraces.  This is the entrance to a Hindu Lake-side temple.  This was a large recreation area around the temple, which was closed to the public and open only for religious ceremonies, weddings, etc.  This type of stone-work was EVERYWHERE.

The next few photos are of the rice terraces.  This is mostly red rice.  Apparently more nutricious, but much harder to grow.  The rice plants in paddys shown in earlier blogs is about 24 inches in height, at the most.  This is much taller.

See what I mean !!!!

Hindu Shrine in a field.  Not uncommon.

All of the Senior Missionary Couples and the Mission President and wife.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week 35 - Photos 1

Well our week started with our trip to Bali.  It would be wonderful to take several days and just tour the island with a knowledgable guide.  Our entire trip was arranged by a member who lives on the island.  His name was Poliman.  He owns a recycling and environmental advocacy company.  He took time to guide us around when we weren't in meetings.

On day 2 we went to a monkey forest in Ubud where our hotel, the Suly Resord and Spa, was located.  And there were monkeys everywhere!!!  I had one climb up onto my head and shoulders for a banana - but your Mom got a picture of a monkey on some other guy!

This is a view under a stone arch bridge we crossed - just to give you an idea of the thick, jungle vegetation.

And the stone-work was incredible!  No they aren't real, but they are life-size.  Komodo Island is just three islands to the west of Bali, about 1 hour by air.

This is the "Monkey Forest Hindu Temple"  located in the forest.  Guests are welcome to enter if they are attired correctly, which means traditional Balinese clothing: For Men- Headress, Sarong, (sleeved shirt), and a scarf around waist; For Women - Sarong, Sabaya (or sleeved shirt), and "Saput Scarf" around the waist.  All are welcome to join a religeous ceremony if properly attired.

Here I am with the superintendent of the forest.  There are 5 bands of monkeys (about 600 total) in the forest, which is the level of population that he must maintain via monkey birth control.  He is wearing a traditional head-dress.

Week 35

Bali high ( in Indonesian it would be Hai) may call you...Any time, any way......  Come to me my "spesal" island.... come away, come away.  Bali High, Bali High, Bali Hiiiiiiiiiighhhhhh!

Well, we now can say we've been to Bali!  We can also say we've been to Pigeon Forge, Tenn.  And guess what, they are both full of tourists!!!!!   We don't mean to burst your bubble, and we certainly don't mean to sound ungrateful, and we did see some beautiful country, and it was an informative and sociable conference, and we will send some nice pictures your way; BUT, WE WERE REALLY GLAD TO GET BACK TO SOLO!

Maybe it was the fact that we had to get up a 3 a.m. to get to Jogja on time for our plane.  However we really enjoyed that plane ride because we went with the Barnards, a new "missi" (that is how they say it in Indonesia) Couple from Tasmania. Actually, they served a mission to Indonesia and were in Solo in 2008. They said they would serve another mission IF they could come back to Indonesia. But the President put them in Jogja because there are already 12 missionaries in Solo and Jogja only had 4. They will be tremendous there. They speak Australian! Just like you think they would speak, with the "mates", "gudaiys" and "prawns" (for shrimp). So delightful! We had a great time with them. We stayed at Sully Resort, not exactly 5 stars, but just fine, and we at a lot of Balinese food (fish Janis). It really was pretty good. THEY HAD DIET COKE IN THE RESTAURANTS!!!! So I guess that made up for all the tourists.

Elder will send some pictures with appropriate headings, and I will tell you what we learned.  We all had a subject to cover, such as:
  • "PEF/& Employment Resources" by the Kusamarmantos
  • "How to Support the Young Missionaries" by the Seiters
  • "Humanitarian Work in Indonesia" by the Healys
  • "Ideas for Staying Productively Busy" ( I KNOW! I couldn't figure that one out) by the Barnard
  • "Family History in Indonesia" by Sister Seiters
  • "How to Encourage & Support YSA" by yours truly
  • "Teaching English Ideas" by the Beamans
  • "Ideas for Companionship Study" by the Keplers.
Add to the those instruction from President and Sister Groberg, and mini Indonesian lessons from Sister Kusarmamantos (she doesn't speak a lot of English).  But the funniest lessons of all came the last night when we split up, with the men going in one group and the women in another.  The men discussed (with Elder Greenway in charge):
  • "How to Implement the Rescue Effort"
  • "Working with Ward Councils", etc.  
The women discussed:
  • "How to use a "squatter" toilet (a hole in the ground with a porcelain toilet seat attached) without splashing all over your feet and ankles"
  • "How to Live With Your 'Companion' 24/7"
  • "What to cook when you can't buy anything you have ever cooked with"
  • "What to fix for lunch in a nation that doesn't know the word sandwich so why would they have anything that goes in one?"
  • "How to get laundry clean in dirty water"
  • "Feeding the Elders,  who eat enough to feed a small army, With a Small pan and 4 dishes"
Interesting, huh?  That shows the difference in dilemmas.  The men were very reverent, the women were cracking up from the very start.  So you can see that we did learn a lot, and shared many great ideas!!!

We returned very late Wednesday night.  Thursday morning we did laundry, and collected ourselves.  But we were out visiting by afternoon.  We went to visit Samsi's husband.  Samsi is a bit crazy.  She has a problem with telling tales.  She told us her husband left her, and that she was raising her son alone.  She cried and cried.  As soon as we got in the car Bono said she was a mystery.  (which was a very nice way of saying she lies) When we asked why, he said that the man that was standing outside the house when we entered was her husband, and a return missionary at that.  And that Samsi refuses to let him go to church with her.  Well, now he is in the hospital with what sounds like a serious lung disease (he has been coughing up blood).  We went Thursday and Friday because he is very sick.

Last week I failed to tell you about s dear sister from Solo 1 ward, Sister Suyati Teguh only 67, who was hit by a "motor" (scooter) and suffered a head injury. We went to see her last Thurs. at the hospital.  She passed away while we were in Bali, and we missed the funeral because they have to bury by 24 hours, (Javanese tradition and just plain practical because no one can afford embalming).  So we went to the family home on Thurs., also.  This sweet woman was one of the Solo Pioneers.  She joined the Church in 1974!!!  In 2008 all the "pioneers" went to the temple together.  They showed us the picture.  Wow!!! There were about 30 or 40 counting some spouses.   We read from the 138 section of the Doctrine and Covenants about the "noble and great ones" saved for this dispensation.  These pioneers certainly qualify as that.

On Friday we attended, as always, DDM.  Now, last week Elder Gilbert asked me if I had ever heard of Hudson Bay Bread.  No, I said.  Well, he is from Michigan, Kalamazoo in fact, and Hudson Bay Bread is a big deal there.  So I googled it.  It is sort of a Nature Valley Granola Bar, except fatter and chewier, and you eat it with peanut butter, and jelly, or raisins or chocolate chips.  So, that is what the Elders got this week for DDM.  The "Bule" elders snarfed it up, Bono loved it, but I'm not sure about the Indonesian Elders.  However, Elder Gilbert was very happy.  On top of that, this stuff would be wonderful baked thinner, crunched up to make Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits, or crumbled up for granola like cereal.  I had to thank Elder Gilbert for the inspiration.  The recipe is a keeper.

We hurried home after DDM, because Elder Gilbert and Elder Mocodompis asked if they could teach an investigator at our apartment.  This fellow is Bishop Catur's cousin.  So at 4 p.m. we welcomed those 2 Elders plus Elder Secrist.  Elder Purnawan, his companion, is a Zone Leader and was out of town.  Well, the cousin did not get here, but we had such fun waiting.  We had Elder Mocodompis reading Fox in Socks, and Wacky Wednesday.  We laughed so hard, and so did he, at the tongue twisters in Fox in Socks.  Not exactly a spiritual feast, but all English speaking Indonesians should read that book.

THEN, Bono came to get us, and we took him and Diah, and former District President Agus and Indah his wife, out for pizza.  It was Bono's birthday, and Diah's was 2 weeks ago.  It was such fun.  These are 4 of the greatest people you would ever want to know.  Indah is Diah's sister, so that made it even better.  I had baked a chocolate oatmeal birthday cake that had chocolate chips and ground cashews sprinkled on top.  MMMMMmmmmm.  So that was great fun, too.

 Today we attended church at Kapatihan.  While we love every ward we attend, we seem to feel most comfortable there.  The Jebres Ward has asked us to teach an English class.  We were concerned because the full time Elders already teach 2 classes each week at that building.  However, those classes are free English classes for the public, and most attendees are non-members, and the Elders are not allowed to teach about the church.  They are just English teachers.  (Does this sound familiar, Matthew?)  What Jebres wants us to do is teach Gospel English.  They want to be able to serve in the Church and use English.  They have asked the Banjasari Ward to join in, so we will probably be doing this on Fridays around 6 p.m.  We will see how this goes...  The Elders were a tid bit offended, so we will see if they can help a bit.  We also went to see Koraaq, Samsi's husband, in the hospital.  Wow! What a change.  He was sitting up, and they will probably send him home tomorrow.  We hope this will help his desire to be in Church.

Finally, I just want to tell you, on this Mother's Day, how grateful I am to have been born of goodly parents.  I had an amazing mother, whose love for us endured to the end, and whose example will go on through generations.  I miss her very much, and I think so often of her life and generosity.  I am so thankful for all the "mothers" in my life.  For my beautiful daughters, those born to me who have patiently raised me as a mother, and those who were adopted in who have also been very tolerant.  For my dear, dear sisters, and sister-in-law who bring me such great joy, and remind me of my mother's example.  For my "mother" friends who are such fine teachers.  I have so many mothers who are all part of who I have become.  I love you all, and I would remind you of all the opportunities we have to "mother" every day.  There are so many souls who need mothering, nurturing, and patient love.  I am so very blessed to know all of you, friends and family, and I wish you a lifetime of mothering days.

"...they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week 34

Hello all you mixed up wonderful family and friends!

Yes! It is week 34, and last week was week 33, even though I said week 32 and heard from some of you who were wondering exactly WHO was mixed up. Well, it was me...I guess I just want time to stand still a little. This time for us is zooming by, and we feel anxious to get everything just right.

Last week's letter got a tid bit lengthy, and so I left out so much. For instance, I didn't tell you that nearly all the Senior Mission Couples came from far and near to the Conference. I didn't tell you about our past District Pres. who was released. His name is Agus Susanto. He had been a Branch President for 10 years before being called to be the District Pres. He had been the District Pres. for 7 years when he was released last week. When Elder Subandryio spoke of him he choked up. These two men were missionary companions many years ago. He talked of his honor, loyalty, and sacrifice. He said that Sister Indah (his wife who is our driver's wife's sister) had sat alone during Sacrament Meeting for all of those 17 years. Their oldest son is 17, they also have a son with Down’s Syndrome who is 9, and 3 other children. He said that Agus' new calling is to sit with his wife during Sacrament Meeting. Then he presented her with beautiful roses. It was quite touching. She is a beautiful person. Oh! and did I tell you how wonderful the two choirs performed!!!! I know, I know ... I just love them so much, and I was so touched by their performance.

One of the couples who attended was the new Humanitarian Missionary Couple, the Healys. They have replaced dear Elder and Sister Meredith who finished their mission with a bang. Well, really they started their mission with an earthquake and volcano eruption (like the day they flew in) and they ended it with the earthquake in Sumatra. I think they just had an earth shattering affect on Indonesia!

Anyway, on Monday, Elder Greenway and Elder Healy (with Moko driving) went off to hike to the water source of the Ampel Water Project. They were accompanied by 10 Full-time Missionaries! Yup! Our District took their P-Day on Monday and hiked the water project. Sister Healy and I (with Bono driving) headed off to visit the schools and mothers of the Dnodirojo village. Elder Subandryio had arranged all this including having Sonia along to translate. Sonia is a brilliant young woman who speaks English very well, and is wise and fun. Sister Healy was a pediatric nurse, and so she wanted to teach about dental hygiene, hand washing, and "no smoking"!! Well, Sonia and I suggested that she chose a few to demonstrate, but she really wanted to have all the children to participate. She had brought glitter to represent "germs", so she sprinkled some glitter in all the hands of about 50 fourth/fifth graders. As she did this, I backed slowly out the classroom door, just as pandemonium began. What do you think 30 fourth/fifth grade boys did with glitter???? And Soap and Water????? (We revised this activity for the next day). But, we were a hit!

We did some singing, some teeth brushing, some glitter removal, some soap and water dodging, and a bunch of laughing. Then we were hurried off to see the women of the village. (They may have wanted to regain control of their classroom!). These women meet often to receive instruction from a Nurse Mid-wife-public nurse lady. They are fed a sweet beany eggy rice mixture (full of protein), and also given a boiled egg, and some crispy tofu. The children are all weighed, and the mothers taught.

They are wise to the importance of clean water (because of the Church Project that provides clean water now to over 30,000 residents on or near the mountain) and their children looked very healthy. But, many of the children have flat heads. Somewhere along the way someone told them to lay their children just on their backs, and they obeyed. So I told Sister Healy that this was a problem all over, and she addressed it. In Physical Therapy, they call it Tummy Time. I hope this catches on.

I got to hold a bunch of babies (yeah!!!!), and talk to many moms, shake a gadzillion hands, and just love every minute of it. About 3 p.m. or so the hikers turned up and we headed down the mountain for Bakso (a meatball soup that is oniony and yummy). Everyone, especially the missionaries, was starving!!!! It was a wonderful day. Elder Greenway did the hike really well, even though he and Elder Healy fell off a cliff. (Well slid of the edge of the trail, but it was quite a drop.)

Tuesday, Elder Greenway and Elder Healy headed to inspect the MCKs and other parts of the Ampel Water project in progress. Sister Healy, Sonia, and I headed to a new village, Kandasari, to visit a pre-school, a new group of moms, and a new school. Ah, aren't we grateful for a new day. At the pre-school we taught the little 4 &5 year olds "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" , "Do As I'm Doing", and they taught us "DiSini Senang" (Here I'm Happy). Then we went to talk to their moms.

These children were not quite so healthy, slightly underweight, and some had a cough. We have all been trying to figure out the common denominator for that group that is different from the other. Same mountain, similar circumstances, etc. We are going to have to do some digging. But regardless, they were wonderful moms, caring and concerned about the weight problem and the cough. While Sister Healy taught and talked to some I played with a little girl with Down’s Syndrome. She let me pick her up, and then we sat and talked to another mom who wanted to know how to get her children to eat more.

I have been around Indonesians enough now to know that many of the families have what I call the "Helen Keller Eating Disorder". The children run around while the mother chases after them trying to put food in their mouths, or they run around grabbing food off the table. (If you have ever seen "Miracle Worker" you know what I mean). So I did a lot of charades, and then I sat at the little table and pointed to each chair: Mama, Bayi, Saudara, Saudari, dan Suami. Setiap pagi, setiap siang, setiap, malam. That all means the family eats together sitting together every morning, afternoon, and evening. Amazingly, she knew what I meant. Have I told you how much I love the people of Indonesia? Hmmmmm...

Then we were off to another school. Sister Healy and Sonia did a great job teaching dental hygiene, hand washing and no smoking. This time they chose a few to demonstrate! Then Sister Healy asked me to teach the Hokey Pokey to the whole school. Can I tell you how long it has been since I did the Hokey Pokey! BUT OH WHAT FUN!!!! We sang some more and then two very sunburned husbands / Elders made it to the school. Elder Greenway looks a bit Indonesian. I had to get back to piano, so we took off and ate at the Javanese Fast food place. Then off Elder Greenway & I went by 2 p.m to Kapatihan to piano.

Wednesday I stayed at the apartment so I could get to piano at Sopomo by 3 p.m. Elder Greenway, Elder Healy, and Sister Healy with Bono driving headed off to Jogja to visit the Wheelchair Project, and to find an new apartment for the Elders coming to Jogja. Soon there will be a set of Sisters, a set of Elders, and a new Senior Mission Couple (who served in Solo some years ago) the Barnards. Jogja will fly! We were soooooooooooo excited. The Barnards called us tonight. We are so excited to meet them. I'm letting Elder Greenway tell you about this day. I just made taco soup, went to piano, and walked home. I love to walk home from Sopomo.
“And so it was in the thirty and fourth week of the dwelling of Elder and Sister Greenway on an island in the western sea that Elder Greenway took his journey to Jogja in company with Elder and Sister Healy. Elder and Sister Healy had met Michael Allen and Sri from United Cerebral Palsy the night before in Solo. Michael is the young country director and Sri is a social worker with UCP. They drove their car with Sister Healy and Bono took Elder Healy and me.

“On the way to Jogja we stopped in a village between Solo and Klaten where we saw two children who had been recipients of our wheelchairs. Michael wanted Elder Healy to see a little of what the Church contributes to. We then went to a village office where we observed two of the UCP physical therapists doing a fitting and an initial assessment on two future recipients. The therapists were Porioko and Tri. Next we went to a private conversion shop where the fellow who owns it converts motor scooters to three different styles of handicapped cycles. We then went to a home where a contracted and trained PT was fitting a new wheelchair to a youngster.

“We then went to lunch at a really nice restaurant that Mr. Allen apparently was familiar with. It was a "Seafood Resturan" and we had two kinds of gorame and two kinds of shrimp. Also some cap cay (chop chy). It was all delicious and believe me when I tell you that there is no doubt about what you are eating because you get the whole fish and the whole shrimp!

“Finally we concluded our tour at the Jogja factory where UCP assembles and stores all of the wheelchairs that they distribute. What the church does is provide three types of wheelchairs for their use. A standard/typical transport wheelchair, an "all-terrain" wheelchair, and the adjustable child sized wheelchairs.

“I personally was welcomed by people who are becoming friends here in Indonesia. In addition to Michael Allen and Sri, there is Damai, Leli, and Risna. Risna and Sri are both in wheelchairs. They are so grateful for the contributions from the Church! The Church will be providing around 1500 wheelchairs this year to the people of Indonesia.

“Finally, when we were done with Humanitarian, I had to kick into overseer mode. I had been in contact with a member in Jogja by the name of Sikta. He had found two possible apartments for the elders that are going to be placed in Jogja. He took us to the first and I had a bad feeling from the get-go. It was too big, dirty, no security, and probably had a rat problem. So I insisted we go to apartment No. 2, even though it was "a long way from the church." It was much better and upon inquiry I found out that about 30% of the ward lived in the area. So I called President Groberg with my recommendation and he then told Sikta to arrange the contract. And thus ends my contribution to the thirty and fourth week letter concerning our sojourn on the islands of the sea.”

Today we attended meetings in the Sopomo Building. It has been quite a while since we have attended both Wards. (Doesn't it sound wonderful to call them Wards!?) They are now Solo 1st and Solo 2nd. We started at 8 a.m in Solo 2nd. We sustained the two counselors in the Bishopric, and then they were asked to share their testimonies. Bro. Surawan said something that I thought was so beautiful, so I wrote it down. He was talking about how grateful he is for the Savior, and then he said how much he loved his Father in Heaven. But he said, "Before I loved Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father already loved me." Wow! I felt that said so much. I felt that truth in my heart.

We also sustained the counselors in the Solo 1st Ward. Later, after Relief Society and Priesthood we attended the baptism of an eight year old boy. This was a particularly special baptism because this is the first time this father has had the opportunity to baptize his child. Two other sons died before they were eight. Therefore, there were about 100 in attendance.

The family invited everyone to stay after and have lunch. Now, I don't mean that they set up tables in the cultural hall, everyone goes outside and today we had Soto Ayam, with watermelon and fried tempe, and various other treats. Soto ayam is a brothy, rice and chicken, with various veggies dish. They had bowls of sambal (HOT chilies) sitting around to add to the Soto. The Indonesians usually feed you anytime a meeting goes past 1 p.m. Many people travel a distance to get there, and they are mindful of that. Besides, they are generous, loving, hospitable people. Everyone said to us, "Do you know what this is?" Soto is a Solo dish and they are very proud of it. “Enak!!!!” we say (delicious!). When we went to thank the family they threw some of their treats in a bag for us to bring home!!!
I could go on and on. Every day we will say to each other, “Oh! this needs to make the Sunday letter!” Then there is never space enough to tell you all the wonders and "wonderfulness" of the people we meet and know! Tomorrow we head to Bali for a Senior Missionary Conference. Crazy!!!! So as Scarlett said to end "Gone With the Wind"..... "tomorrah is anothah day!"

As He has loved you, love one another....
Elder and Sister Greenway

p.s. Emily took her "smart phone" to Juanita this week so that we could Skype to her. It was short, but wonderful. Thanks to all who have survived taking care of her. She's a trip and we love her !!!!