Dear Fantabulous "Friends, Neighbors, and Countrymen..... Lend me your 'eyes' !"
The above greeting was very July 4th sounding, even if it is Shakespeare! I hope you had a wonderful holiday! We forgot it was July 4th until it was July 5th, then we remembered!!!! We were a tad bit busy on the 4th, and I'll bet you were too! We would love to hear how all of you spent your 4th of July! I hope it was a "blast".
It has become our "normal" to spend our Mondays in Boyalali. The Sisters are teaching two wonderful women from the village of Ampel. They are accepting the Gospel, and they want us to come to speak at their church. We are not so sure their "pastor" would appreciate our visit, so we'll wait for an official invitation. But they do want us to come and teach their husbands, and family. THAT we can do. We do not have a ward anywhere near Ampel, and that has been a great concern to us, and , on a lesser basis, to them. So, we have decided to plead our case to Pres. Groberg. I'll tell you more about that later.
Tuesday morning we left for the other side of the island to stay with the youth at a resort near Semarang. The youth were on a bus. We drove with Aster, Farida, and Francesca because Francesca gets car sick. They all slept most of the way. This "resort" was in the mountains about an hour outside of Semarang, in a beautiful little village. The entire Youth Conference was held in that one spot. Last month, at a planning meeting, the Stake Pres. told us we could not stay there because it wasn't nice enough. We told him it was fine, but he said no, that there was a hotel next door, and that we would stay there. So we packed accordingly.
When we arrived Tuesday, he asked if we could stay at the resort and we said, "SURE!". So he showed us the room, and really it wasn't too bad. It had 2 beds, a sink, an Indonesian shower (a tiled, small, square, deep basin with water in it, that is poured over you using a small "bucket", while standing over the floor drain), and absolutely best, it had a European toilet that flushed! So it was fine..... however, everyone else had been told to bring a towel and soap. We also did not bring toilet paper, (they use a little squirter thing). So, after a while, Bono drove us around until we found a place that had towels, soap, and T.P. It was a wonderful conference! We told you that the Young Single Adults planned this whole thing. They were great! We had about 90 youth, and 20 YSAs, and maybe 10 old people like us. The youth are like youth everywhere- they talked, sang, had fun, yelled, played, learned, and were beautiful. Dear Elder Greenway and I did our 2 hours on Wednesday, and then had to leave.
The week before we found out we had Zone Conference on Thursday, the 5th, and that the Mission President , his wife, the Area Doctor, and his wife, and a translator needed to be "picked up" at the Samerang Airport Wednesday morning. So dear, wonderful Bono got up earlier than the chickens, and drove from the resort to the airport (over 2 hrs) then back to the resort. We all at lunch with the youth, President Groberg gave them a quick message, and then we loaded up our car, and a second car (we added Francesca and Farida so they wouldn't have to go by bus the next day) and headed back to Solo for Zone Conference the next day. Poor, poor, poor pooooooor Bono..... Driving in Indonesia is like driving in Zion Canyon with the road under massive construction, and with a zillion tourists bumper to bumper... only then you have to add 200 gadzillion motorcycles weaving in and out of the cars..... 365 days, every day of the year.
Oh yes! About the "new branch" in Boyalali. I talked to the Mission President on the way home. (I had planned this to get him ready so that when the Sisters pleaded their case he would know how earnest they were). We talked for almost an hour in the car, and Whoopee! He agreed that something needs to be done. So he gave us (the Sisters and us) some assignments, and he is going to look into an Indonesian Senior Couple to go to Boyalali with some Elders. We all have our work to do, but if there is a will there's a way!!!!!!!
Thursday we spent in Zone Conference. It was a real boost. The President gave a great lesson. He reminded us that "our purpose (as missionaries) is to help others find their purpose." He quoted Dallin Oaks: "We are not called as missionaries to increase the membership of the church. But to teach and bring repentance, baptism, and eventually a celestial life with our Father in Heaven." He talked about setting gol - gol (Indonesian for goals).
We love being surrounded by the Elders and Sisters. The only Sisters we have in our Zone right now are Sisters Blake (from Texas, Neis (Nice - from Canada), Treyes from the Philippines, and Tandiman from Jakarta. Tandiman and Treyes are in Jogja right now. The day after zone conference Sister Tandiman was on her bike when a "motor" (their name for motorcycle) with two large baskets attached (we have sent pictures of this) zoomed by and the basket whacked her right off of her bike. She flew and broke her right arm in the landing. She is having surgery on Monday to fix the break. We are so grateful that it was only her right arm. We have seen amputations and other severe injuries from "motor" accidents. Often the driver of the motor doesn't even realize he has hit someone, as was this case.
After Zone Conference -- Pres. and Sister Groberg, the Area Doctor-Elder and Sister Heiner (from PRICE Paula!), Elder and Sister Barnard (from Tasmania), and Elder Greenway and I -- all went out to dinner at Adem Ayam. We enjoyed some interesting Javanese fare. When I looked around the table I had to smile at the food. Whodathunk we would ever eat pickled eggs that were brown, fish soup with bones and all, cooked jack fruit that looks like pot roast (Sis. Grover warned us about that one), spicy!!!! Chewy something-or-other, corn and crab chowder, and as always..... rice. But the company was fantastic, so there ya go.
Friday was DDM. The Elders were worried about their English classes. So we suggested they announce the classes in church. However! we said... If you get people there, then you better prepare the kind of classes they will return to!!!!!! We had a talk about being good teachers, and they were pumped. Then Elder Greenway and I visited with wonderful Indonesians all afternoon in their homes. Finally, we spent a fantastic hour and a half in Gospel English. We put the words - 1. Who? 2. What? 3.When 4. Where? 5. How? 6. Why? - on the board and had them roll the dice. Whatever number came up, they had to use that word and ask a question about the church. For instance - if they roll a 2 they could ask, "What time does your church begin?" We had them in teams, and it was so fun. They did so well, so of course we were very proud. Then we gave them opportunities to read their favorite scriptures in English. Wow! It was a very good day.
Finally, Saturday was P. day, or preparation day. Yea! We did a ton of laundry, and went to the store. We walk through the adjoining mall to get to our grocery store. Yesterday they were having a "cat auction" in the Mall. Now, I think I should tell you that in the entire time we have been going to people's homes we have seen two house cats. All other cats are outdoor mousers, and they a scrawny, mangled, messy looking animals usually with half a tail, a broken - mended tail, or no tail. Yesterday, these cats were HUGE!!!!!!! mostly Persian cats, that were fat! Some of them were the size of bobcats. Seriously! We could not get over it! If you could see the emaciated cats outside. The chickens weigh more than the cats! We laughed all the way back to our apartment.
What a week. You can see that we didn't even miss the fireworks! But we always miss being with you, our beloved family, and dear friends. We love this work, we love these people, we love our Father in Heaven, we are so grateful to the Savior, and we can't imagine being anywhere else right now!!!!! We hope that many of you will soon be off on a similar adventure as a Senior Couple. We can only stay 23 months, so the beginning of August we'll begin our march toward home!! Can you believe it?! We feel like we have so much more that can be done. So we will continue the race to the finish line every day so grateful to be in the race at all.
Bless you all!
Elder and Sister Greenway
Holy Cow!!!!! I forgot the most important thing that happened in Indonesia all week! I have two Muslim piano students. Bimo 13, and his sister Fafa 12, and since they were letting the 13 years old go to Youth Conference, I asked the young Elders to help me ask Bimo's parents if he could go to Youth Conference! Then we met with Bimo and explained what Youth Conference is, the rules, who goes, what happens, etc.! We only did this the Saturday before, so we gave him overnight to think about it, and HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He decided to go! So needless to say, I kept an eye on him the whole time I was there, and the kids were so great to him, and now I can't wait to talk to him. I just thought you'd want to know. Oh, and I have 29 piano students now, 4 new this past week, all adults.