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 !!!!