Hello to the greatest family and friends ever!
We are feeling particularly grateful for all of you this week. Many of you responded to the news of our new grandbaby, and we are so thankful he is here, healthy, and home. We appreciate your kindness and concern. Of course we are always interested in what is going on in your home and families, so don't be afraid to let us know.
Our dear Farida is flying off to the U.S. the beginning of August. She is very excited and so to help the time pass more quickly, we suggested that she put together a "People and Places of Indonesia" picture book. She said she was planning to visit family and friends before she leaves, so we hope she will take pictures. She finally told her parents she is leaving. She thinks that they don't believe she will go through with it, so she is just going along. They told her that she just wants to be where there are more Christians, and she told them that she IS Christian, and that will not change. I think they are not so angry with her as before, and she is much more brave! We took her to supper on Monday and she is a completely different person that the Farida we met in October. Happier, is the main change, more confident is another. The great Grovers are to thank for this new woman. They got here through the toughest times, we have certainly seen the results.
Most of Tuesday I spent planning for Piano lessons. Good, good Elder Greenway has gone to every piano store in Solo looking for piano books to help me with the planning, but to no avail. It still takes 3 - 4 hours to put the 25 packets together for the students. Some are moving along together, so some lessons are the same and I just have to make 3 or maybe 4 copies of certain pages. However, some are zooming while others are poking, so then I have to plan to zoom or poke with them. Agus, from Solo 2, played for Sacrament Meeting today!!! He got a good start with Sis Grover. He has an incentive in his friend Yos, who has played much longer. He played the opening and closing hymns from the regular hymnal, and the Sacrament hymn from "Hymns Made Easy". In case you think this is no big deal, that's like going from Dick and Jane to War and Peace in 9 months. I was sooooooooo proud. I have another 3 that could play for church by the end of summer. The wards here are sooooooooo good to give them the experience, and the pianists are nervous but dedicated. Agus asked me to give him a new hymn each week to practice, and I said okay, but I also want him to learn to play other classics. So he agreed, but his heart is on the hymns.
While I was doing that, Elder Greenway was fixing headlights and tail lights on the car, shower heads in the Sister's Apt., and still looking for piano books. He and Bono have a good time and usually stop at Kentucky FIRED Chicken for lunch. You read that right, the crispy chicken here is marinated in sambal or something. But they both love it!!! (so did Elder Grover, it must be a man thing)! It's so hot it makes you nose run!!! OH! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE DONATED GLASSES, we have been steadily giving them away. I have often talked of "Aster", she is a brilliant young woman from the Jebres Ward, and her mother's glasses broke. So we took our bag of glasses to piano on Tuesday, and Aster and Ratmini (mom) came and she tried on glasses. Happy Day! She needed a pair of +250's to be able to read. I was thrilled we could help her. I WANTED YOU TO KNOW, AND TO TELL YOU THANKS FROM HER. Elder Greenway also worked with Ari, a young lady trying to get into BYU - Hawaii. These young people are amazing. They really are trying to be the best they can be.
Wednesday (which by the way is the way they pronounce that here, Wed-nes-day) Elder Greenway, Bono, and Sutarno went to Klaten to help United Cerebral Palsy measure 42 people for wheelchairs, including Sis. Sari's grandmother. I told you about Sis. Sari last week....she just finished her mission, was going to Hong Kong to work, but the Grandmother who raised her had a stroke, and so she was putting her plans on hold to attend to the grandmother. Elder Greenway arranged for her to receive a wheelchair. They were so happy! That will help immensely. Sutarno arranged for Elder to meet the head of N.U for this area. N.U is a Indonesian National Muslim Organization that has political and religious clout. The Church works with N.U. almost exclusively here on the water projects, wheel chairs, schools, etc. The gentleman Elder met expressed his gratitude and great admiration to the Church for all the humanitarian work it does, with no strings attached, for the Indonesian people. He asked Sutarno, because we are "so good", why we are not growing faster. Sutarno just replied, "We do what we do". It would have been awkward to say because we have to be so careful to respect the Muslim faith, and that slows things down.
For the most part, the Muslim people are so gracious, so kind, so loving, so polite, and so respectful. Every so often a problem arises between the a radical Muslim group here, and a equally radical Christian group. We are very careful not to step on toes. The police here will call the leadership and say there is some tension and for our missionaries to stay out of certain areas of town, and to try not to be conspicuous. So the missionaries wear their batik shirts for a while, (with their name tags) and no tie, until things get back to normal. That just happened last week.
On Thursday we were invited to Pres. Ipung's home. He is the 2nd Counselor in the Stake Presidency. He was the Branch Pres. of Banjasari before we became a Stake. He is also a "county commissioner", or sort of that equivalent. It is a paid position, and he is like a governor of about 17 villages. He lives about 45 minutes from Solo, and he wanted the Elders from the Kapatihan building (4) and the Sisters (2), and us (2) with Bono driving. So the nine of us squished into the van and off we went for ox tail soup. The van has A.C so the minute we took off all the missionaries fell asleep. It was a lovely visit with the President, his wife Dewi (daywee) and their son Michael. Dewi makes and sells batik. If you were to draw your own batik design and give it to her, she could make that design onto cloth using wax and dyes. It is quite a process. I bought some batik from her, (pricey compared to normal fabric - and compared to the factory produced stuff) but unique and beautiful. She also designs clothing to be made from her batik. She is very talented.
Friday was, as always DDM, and after DDM we headed out to visit. We are looking for the less active YSAs. We went to visit Sutyono Kristanto, who lives in an area that had many names from our list. Unfortunately , most were married with children, or had moved. His own son is not coming, so we talked to him about that. Then we went to another home that we had tried before. This home belongs to an older man, a return missionary, who is married to an active sister and has a 16 year old son who is not baptized. He and his family make Tahu (a tofu stuffed fritter) that they sell by the hundreds. But he stopped to visit with us, and we gave him a new Book of Mormon, his banana bread and talked to him about the recipe for eternal life (II Nephi 31:20). We told him that the Stake needed him, and that we would look for him at church. As always, we can only pray and hope. We have never felt any unkindness by those we have visited. I think it is our old age. After we visited with him we went for our usual "mie ayam" (noodles and chicken) but this time I got the "spesial", which included mushrooms and something Bono call "flour". It looked like a homemade roll smashed flat and soaked in water. It tasted like a homemade roll smashed flat and soaked in water without yeast or salt. Then with "full" tummies, we went to teach Gospel English!!!! If you ever want to feel really loved, teach an Indonesian member something they really want to know. This is our favorite night of the week. It is so crazy fun, and so worthwhile. Have we told you lately how much we love these people?
Add to that a YSA Fireside Saturday evening, a baptism today (Bishop Catur's cousin), and Taco Soup with President and Sister Groberg and you have this week. The Groberg's were in Solo all weekend, but their plane did not take off today until 5:30 p.m. I dunno, Taco Soup vs. Soto Ayam, hmmmmmmmm, both pretty yummy. But they would have had to sit at the airport for about 3 hours, (no A.C. where the food is) and they didn't have to pay for the Taco Soup, unless you consider my cooking......... Anyway, it was fun to have them as our guests! They are extremely dedicated servants, and we love to be around them.
So there you have it, another week of serving in the best mission in the world! Thank you for your interest in our lives, and a special thank you for your love and care of one another. We are so blessed to be surrounded by people who love so selflessly, who love without guile.
Elder and Sister Greenway
Da mom & Da dad…