To all those we cherish!!!!!
We hear you have been having rain in PA., but I think that's about the only place in the US that it has been raining. We have been very dry here also, it clouds up and threatens, but then just goes away. I don't think the rain hurt the peach growers in Cumberland County. Emily, Lynn, and Rebekah bottle 60 quarts last week. They were all for Emily's family, they will do more this week for Rebekah. Lynn's Kathryn doesn't tolerate peaches to well, so they all agreed to help her bottle applesauce when the apples come on. However, I am afraid I should not have left them alone to do this...... You see, each year we set up the Richins family large camp stove on the deck of the 100 Sunset Dr. house, and then we can have two stoves running to speed things up. Well, this year Emily turned on the gas and clicked the lighter and ...nothing.... so she continued to click, and click, and click until BOOM!!!!!! She is now the only labor and delivery nurse at Harrisburg Hospital without eyelashes, well at least with severely shortened eyelashes. I hope they appreciate those peaches!!!! But I also have it on good authority that Lynn is sporting a wounded thumb from about a half bushel of "cling-stone" peaches that were thrown in, and Rebekah has so many nicks on her fingers they were considering work gloves. I dunno, ya can't leave 'em alone for even one season........ They did have fun anyway!
This week was a tremendous mixture of emotions. On Monday, Elder Greenway and I took Sisters Blake and Neis to the airport to leave Solo. I mentioned last week that Sister Blake was headed home and Sister Neis was going to Malang. Sister Blake was on her way to Jakarta, then leaving at midnight for Hong Kong, then on to Seattle, and then on to Dallas. She was leaving with a group. You grow to love these missionaries, and so of course we told her to "call us when you get there"!! I put that in quotes because for countless years, when our loved ones would leave home, that would always go with them. Well, she didn't call, but she did email!!!! So not only did we know she was okay, but she also let Elder Greenway know that her first steak in 19 months was PERFECTION! (He was soooooooooooooooo jealous).
Monday night our sweet Farida came to stay at our apartment so that we could help her, and get her to the bus station early the next morning. She was soooooo very nervous. She was leaving her family, leaving her country, leaving everything she knew, she had NEVER flown on an airplane before, and she had never been to an airport of any size, and the next day she was flying half way around the world to start a new life!!!!!!! She was literally bouncing around the room. So we helped here with her carry- on, (thank heaven Elder and Sister Grover, you picked out such a large one all those months ago or we would have been in a pickle), she didn't know all of the rules about carry-ons and so we got that settled. But she was just so "active" that I finally asked her if she would like a blessing. Elder Greenway gave her a tremendous blessing of comfort, and the Spirit gave her guidance, that there would be people placed in her way to help her and to guide her through the trip to Arizona. She flew from Jakarta on Tues. to Tokyo where she had an 8 HOUR LAYOVER! But she had plenty of time to find her gate, and when she got there she saw a group of Sister Missionaries returning to the US from the Philippines. She approached them and told them she was a member of the Church. One of them asked her where she was from and she told them Indonesia. So, that same Sister just took a stab in the dark and asked her if she knew Elder and Sister Greenway. Farida told this Sister, who is Elder Greenway's sister's daughter (our neice Katie), that Farida was baptized by Elder Greenway. What an unbelievable miracle, and dear tender mercy. Those good Sisters took care of Farida until they parted at LAX, and it was amazing to see the picture of Farida with Katie!!!! Who da thunk!!! We so appreciated Amy, Eli, Cecily, and Elia representing our family by meeting Katie when she arrived in SLC. That cute family are becoming busy ambassadors for the Greenways. We couldn't ask for better!!!
We also took our little Hendro to the airport on Friday. Most Indonesian Missionaries go on their mission at age 18, because of laws governing there higher education. They also cannot go to the MTC in Manila until the Mission here gets a big enough group to send. Our Mission must provide a teacher, and so the group and the teacher all has to come together at the right time. Well, Hendro has been on his mission 7 months, and he left this week to go to the MTC with a group of 11 (I think) other missionaries, and to also go to the Temple for the first time. He was so excited, but we will miss him. He comes from a very tiny branch in Magelang, and is happy, and a wonderful Elder. So between Hendro, and Sisters Blake and Neis, and Farida we were feeling like parents with a lonely nest. BUT today, we picked up Sis. Pontoan (spelling?) from Indonesia who we know well, Sis. Baantjer from Ferron, Utah (Paula, her father is the middle school music teach there) whose father is Dutch and whose mother was born in WAY eastern Indonesia, but immigrated to Holland when she was eight, and an Elder that for the life of us we can't remember his name, who we didn't know was coming with the Sisters, who has marvelous English, and was delightful, and who we will get to know shortly. So, our little Solo family isn't so lost after all.
YOU SHOULD HEAR BILLA PLAY "WEDDING DAY AT TROLHAUGEN (spelling)!!!! She is the extremely talented 13 yr. old Muslim girls I teach. I am just so darn proud of her. She is also now taking English from the Elders at Kapatihan! Her father brings her to all these things and then patiently waits for her. I love that she is spending time around the Elders. She now has friends at piano, and she and I are having fun. We love to see these seeds planted. Who knows? Before Farida left she brought a young man to Church who is coming regularly, attending English, and receiving the lessons from the Elders. Syaiful (Shyful) has expressed an interest in piano, so we will see. His parents sell strawberries, so we ordered some from him because they are pretty rare in the stores. He is an educated wonderful young man, with great English and a kind heart. We try to spend time with him as often as we can.
Elder Greenway and I also decided to start to work on the 4 Wards rosters of Single Adults. We have pretty well organized the Young Single Adults lists, so we are sort of moving on. Thursday we visited 2 widowed Sisters, 3 less active Sisters and attempted to slip in 1 single adult visit, but the young man was sleeping. That seems to be the "reason" we don't see a number of these young people. But, nevertheless, we did visit with his family, and that was a plus. We had such a great time visiting those 5 Sisters. They love you, and it is really easy to love them right back. They love to tell you how old they are, and I respond, "Ahhh, Ibu, anda cantik sekali!" (“Ahh, mother, you very beautiful!”). And they are!!!! They also have age related aches and pains, and so we commiserate with them, “Saya juga!" and I show them my arthritic fingers and Elder Greenway demonstrates his sore back. Then we give them roti pisan (banana bread), and share a message about how every member is needed. We really want them to know they are needed and loved. Have we told you lately how much we love these dear, sweet, Indonesian people. These Sisters are exactly "the least of these" that the Savior spoke of when he admonished us to love one another. Their circumstances are so very humble, but there spirits are great. We love to visit.
This evening, Sunday, we had a wedding at the Jebres Ward. Ari, Desi, and Purwono, have a sister who was married to a Muslim, but after their marriage he refused to allow her to come to church. So eventually they divorced. Later, she met and converted a wonderful fellow, and tonight they were married by Bishop Awik. The ceremony is very much like Sacrament meeting, except instead of the Sacrament, you have a wedding ceremony. There are talks, and hymns, etc. They asked me to play for the youth to sing, and so we got to be a part of the evening. The chapel was packed, and the couple, who sit in two chairs and face the congregation, looked beautiful with Javanese clothing. It was to start at 5, but didn't actually start until 6. Even the Indonesians call it Indonesian rubber time. But it was lovely, and we were happy to be there.
We are grateful for the notes of encouragement we get from many of you. We love to hear the news about the Carlisle Ward, your families and so many other important things. We hope you know how much we miss you all, and love you. We hate missing important occasions in your lives, but we love to make occasions important here, for the benefit of these dear Solo friends. Thank you for your understanding. We pray for you every day!
Elder dan Sister