To our family and friends sweltering in the US, from two old missionaries basking in paradise,
Hellooo!!!! We have heard things are pretty hot up there, and we have really felt for you. Our Sara's air conditioner broke down, people have been living at the community pools, and garden's are suffering. Sister Grover once told me that she thought we would get used to the constant heat here, and like everything else she promised, we have. Today we walked home from church at noon, and hardly broke a sweat. We have wondered, perhaps, if they are having a "milder" dry season than usual. But since there is only two seasons - rainy or not rainy - temperature usually is pretty consistent. We have been enjoying each lovely day. Yesterday was my father’s birthday. He has been gone for 27 years, and he would have been 94, but I am stuck remembering him in his 40's and 50's. What a character! Grumbly, impatient, and stern. But also generous, industrious, and tidy. I am glad he taught me how to work, as a youngster it was not in my nature.
Today was Solo 2nd Ward's ward conference. The Uskup (bishop) of that ward is Uskup Catur. He is a great bishop and has a remarkable family. We learned this week that his son, Elder Putra (who is a missionary in Salt Lake City) is going to my niece's ward. Laurel wrote us an email to tell us he shared his testimony last Sunday, and told that he was from Indonesia. So, of course, she spoke to him, and the connection was made. I explained to Laurel that putra is "son" in Indonesian, and that since they usually don't have last names, they get to chose a last name for their mission. So he became Elder Putra, at home he would be called Brother Ricko, which is one of his given names. We shared Laurel's email with his family and his mother was thrilled. Just one more person to look after him.
Well, at Solo 2nd Ward Conference, the Primary sang the prelude, and during the meeting the YM & YW and their leaders sang two songs. We just can't explain to you what this is like. Elder Jameson, who is from Missouri and was sitting next to us, remarked that he wished he had a video of their performance. They were all sitting on the first two rows, YW on the front row- YM behind them, and when it was time for them to sing they stood together and the YW turned and filed around to stand in front of the podium. Then the boys followed and stood behind the girls. They wore white blouses and shirts, dark skirts or trousers, and the girls each had an orchid, gauzy, long scarf wrap around their necks and tied in front. The young men each wore a orchid tie. They sang "I Love to Read the Holy Scriptures" with solos, and a sweet, soprano humming interlude. Then they sang a song about testimony, softly, then growing with a tender YM & YW solo at the end. WOW!!!! WADU(wow, in Indonesian!)!!!! It was amazing, extremely powerful, and Elder and I were reduced to blubbering masses by the end.
We are getting so we somewhat understand the speakers. Bishop Catur spoke about families, & the importance of obeying the commandments. He used D&C 130:20 and (one of my very favorites) Mosiah 2:41. Then Pres. Budi spoke about who we are. He used a story about King Louis XVI, who as a child was tempted to misbehave. He said that he must always remember he was to be a King, and behave accordingly. Pres. Budi reminded us we can all become Kings, and Queens for eternity... and we must always remember to live our lives to attain that goal. It was a very remarkable meeting.
Thursday we were invited to a member's home, along with Elder Jameson and Elder Mokodompis.
As we rode along, Elder Jameson told us that his mother was from Utah and his father from Missouri. When his parents married, his father was not a member. However, when their oldest daughter turned 8 she asked her father to baptize her, so he changed his life and did just that! He is the only member of a fairly rowdy Missourian family. Elder Mokodompis' grandparents joined the church in 1980 and their family was baptized. However, all of the children fell away but his mother. Then she married and all of her children were baptized, but Elder Mokodompis is the only active child. They both feel they have a lot of work to do.
Now, you must also know, that the family we were visiting consists of a husband and wife who are members, and all the rest are Muslim, and don't know that our members are members! So, the Elders, including Greenway, all wore batik shirts and no one wore name tags. Elder Jameson did not like the parameters of the visit and called the Mission President who basically told him to lighten up. So off we went. While the Elderly Father-in-law was present we just talked of Indonesia and life in general. Elder Jameson was not allowed to speak Indonesian because that would create questions. He kept slipping up.... FINALLY the elderly gent took a walk and we were able to give a short lesson on the family to the husband. There are also uncles and aunts and nieces living there, so the wife stayed away. Then the husband wanted to take our pictures, so we walked to the neighboring rice field and took pictures.
Strange was the word of the day. But, that was the wish of the poor fellow, and who are we to deny him a visit. We also visited a new member with the Elders, and then Bono took us to see his house. It is very nice, and he was so proud, and we love him so much, he is simply an amazing man. We had asked many times to go and finally we were all in the right place.
We had also mailed a Christmas package on Thursday as an experiment. Now you might ask, "So what?" Well we arrived at the Kantor Pos (post office) at about 1:15 p.m. We walk up to counter, and waited with others for a while. Finally, a young man came up and gave us papers to fill out. When that was done, he told us we would have to go to the customs office. We walked to the customs office and the customs officer told us that usually they want to see what is in the package, but since we were dumb bules (white people, and we don't know that he said that exactly, but that was the theme of our talk) he wouldn't make us open it this time, but next time not to seal it before they got a peek. Then they sent us outside, and around the corner, to get it sewn up in plastic gunny sack material.
Now, you understand that if we were Mormon crooks, and had contraband CTR rings in that box, we just walked out of that customs office to the public parking area and around the corner to get our just inspected box sewn up. What would happen if we had other Mormon crooks outside waiting to exchange one box with another????????????????? Anyway, we waited while the sewing dude was actually making a crate for mailing a lady's big wooden fish. Well, finally Bono had had it, and picked up the plastic and started sewing our package into it. Then we went back inside to the original guy and he weighed it and fussed and added up numbers and charged us about 350,000 to mail it. (That is in rupiah, which is $35) When we got back into the car it was 2:30 p.m. and so don't be surprised if you get zilch for Christmas from us.
We have also been out looking for less active YSAs, (we have found out that they have all moved, or are married, or both). Well, not all, and that is what keeps us looking. We are having a YSA activity on the 21st.... Sloppy Joes, and "17 Miracles" movie. We have three of the four wards whittled down to 3 or 4 missing in each ward, 3 or 4 we are actively working with for each ward, 30 or so married in each ward (which sends them to the Ward Council, and the Rescue Program). Our Gospel English class has grown by two, and they hardly speak any English, so we will meet with them early for a while. We had a review game last week and were thrilled at the progress of the class. Two of my new piano students are also in the English class. They are Lina and Antok, and the Grovers took us to their wedding when we first arrived. They are fun and wonderful, (I think I use those adjectives a lot with these people!).
Our Boyalali contacts are having a lesson tonight, with the Sisters and Moko, for their husbands and families. Pray for them..... we would really like a Branch in Boyalali! And finally, we are expecting our new "Missi Couple" this week sometime. The Knorpps arrive and we are so excited to introduce them to Solo. We are going over our brains, and thinking of all the marvelous instruction the Grovers gave to us. We hope we can be patient "trainers", we were treated so well.
Speaking of patience, we feel that is the word of the day. It is so much smarter to be patient than to be sorry later. Patience is a rare gift. Bono has it in bundles! I am never sorry when I choose to exercise patience, but I am always sorry when I choose differently. We are so grateful for the patience of family and friends for us and for each other. How wonderful to recognize the talents of others, and to put aside our differences. How Christlike. We love you all and hope you have a chance to cool down a bit.
Love to all from heaven,
Elder dan (and in Indonesia) Sister Greenway