Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 55

Dear Kind Friends and Family,

We are so grateful for your notes of concern for all of the protests, and the "not friendlies" being arrested nearby.  As we told many of you, we have always felt safe and the only warning we have received was to stay away from large gathering groups.

We ARE trying to be obedient missionaries.  But Wednesday Bono text us early that Bro. Noto's son had died the day before and the funeral was that very day at 1:00 p.m.   Now, there are a few Noto's...... however the only one we knew well (and you may remember this) was Bro. Noto from Banjasari who became active just before Christmas.  We had gone to his business, (that was the first time I realized what our daughter, Emily, had meant when she called the Ecuadorian homes "little ovens") with Elder Ward and Companion, and we had found out that Bro. Noto was not married to the woman he was living with.  It costs money to get married, but they had raised her child together for years and now Noto wanted this boy to be baptized.  Well, eventually after they were married, after "dad and mom" we coming faithfully to Church, Bambang decided in June, at age 13, to be baptized.

That was the first Noto and son that we thought of, but Bono had said the funeral was in Sukaharjo, an area far from Noto's home.  So we prayed it wasn't true.  Elder and Sister Knorpp came along, and we set out about noon.  We pulled up to "the large gathering of people" about 12:20, and there was Bro. Noto.  I thought poor young Bambang.....  and with that I grasped Brother Noto's hand.  "Maaf, maaf, Brother Noto!" (I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Brother Noto).  That was repeated by all of us.  Then he motioned us to the middle of the "large gathering" of about 200 Muslim friends and family that were well into the funeral.  So we started to make our way through this huge group shaking all of the attendee's hands because they were extended to us, and while the Iman is singing, and as is the custom every day not just funeral days, we removed our shoes, entered the home of the deceased to pay our respects to the family, and to view the body that they had prepared.  Well, it wasn't Bambang.  Hmmm.... Then we tried to find a tiny piece of standing room within the crowd.  Bono finally found us, and he had found out about his faulty info.  It was Noto's daughter by a first marriage, she was of course Muslim, and she had died of cancer.  Both Sister Knorpp and I started to quietly giggle  thinking about the "large gathering" warning.  Now, this is the important point.  As the Iman is praying and singing, everyone near us is shaking our hands and asking for "foto"?  Some were taking pictures with their phones.  One lady near me found a food crate to sit on, and I smiled and said, "Pintar" (smart) and all the ladies around nodded and smiled, "Pintar".  When it was over, they brought their children to shake our hands.  I think the only danger we were in was being Loved to death.  When we first arrived in Solo I was warned about extending my hand to a Muslim man, because he will only touch his wife's hand.  Just about every man, woman and child shook our hands!! Then we scooted to take the Knorpps home, and zoom off to piano.

We also did some visiting this week.  Sister Paryiem (65) is the mother of the "Sausis Solo" people we visited a few weeks ago.  Remember, they make a gadzillion "Sausis Solo's" twice a day to sell.  Sister Paryiem had been in the hospital with severe vertigo.  She couldn't open her eyes because the world was spinning.  She had been in the hospital, but was sent home.  (I guess they couldn't find the problem.)  So she was going to a "Chinese Terapis" who was giving her herbal therapy.  Chinese Therapists are very popular, here.  We only stayed a bit, but it was a sad visit.   Also, Elder Purnawan and Elder Townsend went with us to see Bro. Widodo and visited his wife, Bukti.  I guess they are not getting along to well.  It is hard to tell these things unless you are in their home.  The Indonesian members do not regularly sit together as a family in church.  That didn't help when we were first trying to put families together by name.  The Elders were concerned about them, but alas, no Bro. Widodo at home.  On Thursday we received a list of people to visit from the Jebres Bishop, but no addresses.  So we visited Ratmini (she's the lady in the ward that knows everyone...every ward has one of those ladies) and she told Bono how to get to each one.  We visited Bro Sangino, the Warsidi family, Sis. Timin, and Sis. Dewi, who lives in a hovel where they are tearing down all the houses to make room for a new University Dorm.  She can't move until she gets the money TO move.  It was like living in a disaster zone.  But, of course she was pleasant and cheerful.  During the week we also had Tues. and Wed. piano, a Primary singing practice, and Banjasari Choir practice, Elder had two meetings about PEF and Employment resources (so I had dinner with Widap), DDM, and Gospel English.  Tomorrow we are taking the Sisters and a set of Elders to Boyalali.

Finally, just a funny story.....  We have found the Primaries in the Solo Wards to be... let's see...what's a good word..... chaotic!  We were really concerned for the Nursery Program or lack there of.  Well, today Bro. Choki told me that SLC is sending the 1st Counselors from the General Young Women, and Relief Society to Solo the beginning of November.  So I asked if the Primary Counselor was also coming.  He said no, just the two Sisters.  My shoulders sagged, and he asked me why.  "Choki", I said, "I can tell you this.  The Primaries in the Solo area do not function correctly".  We talked a bit, then he asked me to write down how it is suppose to function, and he would take it to a meeting between the the Stake Pres. and the Bishops next week. (He is the Stake Executive Sec.)  I told him NO!   NO? he asked!  So I told him that the Stake Primary President needed to read the handbook, and then train her Presidents from that handbook!  I have no authority to do that.  And Brother Choki said,  "Sister Greenway, Indonesians don't read.  They are too lazy to read the handbook."  That is the second person to tell us that.  I told him that it was important for that to change.  I have heard many reasons for wards not following the Handbook of Instruction, and while this is probably the most general reason, most wards will not own-up to it.  We hope we will see it change, for the children's sake.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings light, knowledge, peace and joy into our lives.  So why do we fight it?  I dunno....  When I am obedient I  feel joy.  When I kick against what I know is right, my life lacks light.  We have a Prophet, and Apostles who together work to guide the Church.  We are so blessed, we have such opportunity to show love and help others.  We should all be jumping at the chance to share what we have.  So why do we remain still?  I dunno....   We love this opportunity.  We really need Senior couples.  We have found such joy.  We love you all so much.  Take care to love one another.

Dari hati kami,
Elder and Sister Greenway  

P.S. To my family..... one month 'til Christmas Music!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 54 Addendum

A note from the land of Islam:

We are safe and fine.  Evidently, our little skirmish with terrorists made the Deseret News, etc.!   Here's the scoop....  About 3 weeks ago 2 men on a scooter drove by one of Solo's many, many police huts (they are all over the city but the population does not trust the police, nor pay any attention to them) and with a rapid shot rifle, killed a polisi.  Then the next week, same thing and two more officers were killed.  People were very surprised by this.  Solo has very little violent crime, basically petty theft, etc. and so people were very shocked!

However, the next week a more elite police force came in and killed 3 of the terrorists and wounded one, rounded up a few more.  Now, nothing was said about these men being Islamic terrorists, and the word terrorist was just thrown in for drama it seemed.  So when the latest news came out, we were absolutely surprised.

We have heard nothing from SLC, or the President of the Mission.  He did tell the young Elders to stay away from large crowds.  We have never felt threatened, in fact we walked home from the church in the late evening on Sunday, and all along the way down the little alleys people called out to us to say hello, and we respond "Malam" which is good evening.

The people of Central Java, Islam and Christian, are kind, helpful, and friendly.  As the wise District Chief stated,  The Egyptian Christian who made the film does not represent all Christians, and the Islam radicals that killed the Ambassador do not represent Islam.  We just have to be the best of both and show others how it can be between us.  Amen!

We hope you are all well, we love you and miss you.  We have been super busy, and so if we are not online, just know that we are busy doing the work!!! 

Safe in the arms of Allah :)

Mom and Dad

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 54

Dear "Near and Dear to our heart" people,

Probably the most important Greenway news to share came today came from our niece, sweet Katie, (Ron's sister Donna's daughter) who is engaged and will be married mid-November to her long-time beau, Steven.  Congratulations Katie and Steven!!!!!!  She emailed Elder Greenway and asked him to "interview" the poor young man.  Hmmm.......

This is going to be a short but jam-packed letter, because it is late and we are just short of exhausted.  But it has been an important week so here goes!  On Monday we ran to Boyalali (1 or so hours), dropped off the Sisters for their weekly visit to Kini, and Markini.  While they taught these beloved women, we drove and did a final check on the water project.  WE LOVE BOYALALI/AMPEL!!!!!  We will miss waving to the children, and talking to the workers.  But alas, the project is over and done....more about this later.  Wednesday Elder and Bono zipped to Jogja (2 or so hours) to check on a member who was injured in a Motor (cycle) accident.  He bumped his head hard in the accident, but did not break his helmet, and was fine immediately after.  But as time went by, 2-3 weeks, he began to lose balance and other symptoms, and had to have surgery.  His left leg and arm were affected, and he has some speech problems, so the family wanted to know what they could do to help him.  He is just 52, and was a school teacher.  Elder spent some time there and then went to check out a place to hold our Senior Missionary Conference to be held the end of Nov.  I stayed home and did laundry, baked, and taught piano.

On Thursday we journeyed the other direction (about 1 or so hours) with the Stake President Budi Susanto, and Barita to check out the site for the All Indonesian Young Single Adult Conference held in October.  Temanggung is the name of the village, and it is sort of a resort area.  If you were to add six feet of snow, you could imagine a ski resort there.  It is up in a mountain region North and west of Solo.  But first things first, the President had not had lunch (on purpose we found out) so we had to stop at a famous place (at least to the President and Barita) and have ox tail soup.  THEN we went to the hotel site and looked things over.  Pretty snazzy little resort.  It ought to be fun!!!!  It's coming up fast, so tonight we had another planning meeting and worked out the schedule and the rules.  We do try to suggest a few things, but of course they do things somewhat differently, so usually we offer information then zip up and let them have at it.

Friday we were up at 4:30 a.m. to head to the opening ceremony for the Magalang Water Project (2 1/2 hours or so, if you are lost........ longer).  These are BIG DEALS to the tiny villages, and so they call in the police, local army units, etc. to "protect" their local officials.  There were 3 speakers at this ceremony: 
  1. The local Islamic representative - He told the villagers that Muhammad had worked closely with Christians (this is a historical fact).  He had asked his followers, and taught them to work with all cultures.  So, on Friday, they were asked again.  He praised the Gereja Yesus Kristus Dari Orang-Orang Suci Zaman Akir (say that 3 times fast), that's us, and admonished the 98 percent Islam village to work for the better good.
  2. Our Elder Subandrio - who talked about the humanitarian efforts of the Church, and taught them about accepting responsibility for the project.  He reminded them that we do not ask for anything in return, except their dedication to keep the project in good working order. 
  3. The District Chief, the guy that arrived by motorcade with lights and sirens blaring, the grand puhpah of the whole event.  He told the villagers that the "film" that has caused so much sorrow, was made by a Christian, but it did not at all represent Christians over the world.  Just as those Muslims who chose a violent reaction to the film did not represent the Muslims of the world.  He reminded everyone to be the best Muslim or Christian they could be and honor their religion.  He also told them that our Church is a small group in Indonesia, but that we do Great things.  He is always amazed at what the Church accomplishes.
Then they shared  interesting food that you hope is okay, and everyone eats together.  Then we went to visit a chicken farm owned by a member from that area, which has about 1500 chickens.  We ate food there also.  We got home about 5:30 or so and didn't eat.

Saturday we were up at 5:30 to pick up a set of Elders and the Sisters to attend the Closing Ceremony at  Candasari, the neighboring village of Ampel.  The day before Sister Healy (the Humanitarian Mission Sister) told me that she had volunteered me to lead everyone on Sat. in the Indonesian National Anthem.  (blink, blink).  So we got on-line and printed it and listened to some chorus sing it.  Then we got in the car and sang it over and over with Bono. (I wonder if that is in Bono's job  description).  HOWEVER!!!!!!!!!!   When we got there, what they really wanted was someone to entertain about 120 school children ages 4 - 12 for about 45 minutes!?!   So!   Sister Neis, Sister Manalu, Elder Suryono, and Elder Jameson, and I did just that with about 2 minutes notice.  We had them sing to us, then we taught them songs in English.  We played question and answer games, we did the Hokie Pokie, and I had a fun geography lesson with them about where all the Bule (American) missionaries come from.  Then sweaty, and gratefully we all sat down and the master of ceremony, who had kidnapped Elder Jameson to be a translator, then started the ceremony and suddenly I hear my name and Indonesia in one sentence!  So, I made Elder Jameson, who was sitting with all the dignitaries, come and stand by me and we led 250 Indonesians in the Indonesian National Anthem.  Afterward, some guy came up and gushing said I did a good job and that I could do the Hokie Pokie well, too. (Seriously)  I've never been so complimented before!!!!!  Elder took about 60000 pictures, and shook that many hands, and of course, when it was all done WE GOT TO EAT!!!  That evening we attend the Javanese wedding reception for Tian and Rianti, and while the temperature is hovering around 110 inside this HUGE reception center, there are videographers that are shining a huge spotlight on you, while waiters are feeding you 6 courses of hot (temperature) hot (spicey) food.  It made a wedding at the White House look like Sweet Home Alabama, it was regal, and everyone was dressed in traditional Javanese dress, with make-up and hair to the nines!  Elder took about 600000 more pictures which he will share.

Finally!!!!! (did I say this would be short???) President and Sister Groberg were in town for the wedding, as were the Barnards( the Jogja Sr. Couple who are from Tasmania) and they had no place to go after church to - you guessed it - EAT!!!!!!, so we had the Grobergs, the Barnards (and their fun driver), the Knorpps, and the Greenways all for dinner in our 4 ft. square apt.  We did eat, but it was nicest to just sit and visit.  

We are going to bed now.  We have not eaten since about 3 p.m.  We are NOT getting up until 6:30 a.m. tomorrow (mission rules, or it might even be later).  AND, We have given poor Bono tomorrow off.  We hope you have a good Monday, and just so you know..... we will not be eating rice for the next few days!!!!

We love you all,
Elder and Sister Greenway!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 53

Happy beginning of Autumn!

Yesterday Emily Skyped while she was running home to get some jackets so as to comfortably sit through Isaac's Fall League T-Ball game. Imagine! .....and Elder went swimming yesterday in our outdoor apartment pool. Autumn is such a pleasant time. It is a great time for a super birthday!!! Eli will be 8 years old on September 21st!!! EIGHT YEARS OLD! I'm sure we all remember when he was leaping up and down in the "jumper" that fit in the doorway of the kids bathroom. We were terrified he would leap right out of it. Obviously he is still that active, and he has the broken arm to prove it! His is the only birthday for us in September. Grampa Greenway (Sept. 12) and Great (Sept. 14) are good birthdays to remember, too. We miss both very much. Last year on Sept. 12 we entered the MTC.

As usual our week started with a trip to Boyalali. Things are progressing with the sweet Ladies there. They are planning to come to Church on Sept 30th. We have to plan it way out because there is much to be arranged. Bro. Sutarno is planning to hold a FHE at their home soon, and the closing ceremony for the Ampel Water Project is next week. We have permission to take the Sisters to that ceremony with us. We are thinking a couple of Elders might also be a force for good, but we will need to see about that.

We had our District to our apartment on Wednesday for some teaching about using Family History as a missionary tool. We had already done this, but then we lost 7 of the ten that had been taught. So, we did it again last Wednesday. Elder and Sister Knorpp have worked hard on their presentation. They will be using it allllllllll over the Indonesian Mission. Family History IS a great tool in many ways. The missionaries asked questions, helped Knorpps with their translation of words, and were very interested. Elder and I decided to feed them with a baked potato bar. They eat potatoes in Indonesia, however not baked, usually fried with peanut sauce, or sambal. So eating a baked potato was a new experience for the Indonesian missionaries. I'm not sure how it went over with all of them. I saw a couple gobble it up (hey, it was food) and I saw a couple looking at it with concern. But we baked 14 potatoes, and had tons of toppings, and in the end everything but the onions were gone.

On Thursday we attended Tian and Ryanti's wedding. It was similar to the wedding last week, with a different bride and groom. However, this was the wedding where the Young Single Adults were asked to sing. Tian's mom had asked months ago if we would put the group together. We had a fabulous choir!!!! Now I have to be honest, most of that is due to the group of Elders we happen to have here right now. They all can sing, and sing well. So the men of the choir were just absolutely amazing. Mellow, strong voices that created this great foundation. We sang a medley (I LOVE a medley) of "Where Love Is", "Families Can Be Together Forever", and "For a Family Is of God".
I took part of the last song's verse 2 and combined it with verse three... so It began "a mother's purpose is to care, prepare, to nurture and to strengthen all her children," then "a father's place is to preside, provide, to love and teach all his children". Ahhhh Fabulous lyrics. It made Tian cry. It ends..."God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be. This is how He shares His love, for the family is... of.... God." Beautiful, true and touching! I love it when music bears witness to the Heavenly Father's plan. It did at that wedding. I hope every family is singing that song. I remember when other primary songs were introduced, and our family would sing and sing. "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... I know who I am, I know God's plan, ...I'll follow Him in faith." Boy did our family sing that song!!!! Living in the mission field, that was an important song! Aren't we grateful for Primary, and Primary Music?!?

Speaking of Primary Music, Solo 2 and Solo1 both had their Primary Sacrament Meeting presentations today. Solo 2 is a huge Ward taking in all of western Solo, to the North and South. They had 52 primary children, with the boys all in white shirts with red ties. Every child had their parts memorized, the music prepared, and they ended with Yvonne, who just turned 12, singing with Jati, one of the Presidency, "Teacher Do You Love Me". Sniff, sniff!!!!! Poor Solo 1 is landlocked into the center of town. It has around 15 children, with the children of the leaders running wild all over the podium. I kept saying to Elder, "if you grabbed two, and I grabbed two, we could probably reach the doors before they began their terrified screaming." (They are still apprehensive about our whiteness). But they did try, and they did sing. In fact, I played the piano "Secret Prayer" for the congregation to sing opening the meeting. When they started I thought that there was only one other choir ever that could compare to Indonesian members singing. That was when the Heavenly Hosts sang the night of Christ’s birth, AND the Indonesians were probably in charge of that choir!!!!!
We did some visiting this week, also. We were walking home from the wedding on Wednesday and passed by a barber shop owned by a less active member. We stopped and visited with him and met his children. He told us he was less active, (we knew that). Then we just visited with him. So on Friday we stopped by to deliver some Oatmeal Raisin Bread, and to talk. He was busy cutting hair, so we didn't stay, but he was cordial, especially when he saw Bono (he is the best missionary in the Church), and we will stop by more often now. We also visited Widap's home. She is 7th of 8 children, and her house is maybe as big as the family room on Sunset Dr. I can remember when I saw where my Grampa Joseph Hanson had been raised in a similar family as Widap's. It was a 2 room adobe brick house and I can remember how I thought of all those bodies trying to navigate inside. WE ARE SOOOOOOOOO BLESSED!!!! But Widap is a tender-hearted, kind, generous soul, and she adores her family. There is something to be said for "togetherness".

Finally, we visited Barita. He attended BYU-Hawaii, won the BYUH Idol contest, (that means he can really sing), and he lived in Indiana for a while with his wife, Jati and their 2 children. She is expecting # 3 very soon. They are delightful people, and they love to learn. They asked a bazillion questions when you are with them. They both have great English. Then we were off to our Gospel English class where we played a couple of board games, I got the idea from on-line. They were about Frequency Words ( often, seldom, always, etc.) and Comparing Words (bigger, larger, smaller, nicer, etc.) We have so much fun at those classes. Some of the "spaces" on the board asked them to do crazy things like sing Happy Birthday, walk backwards, pretend you are playing soccer, dance for 10 seconds, etc. So of course it was a bit of a riot.

Lastly, life will be picking up for us a bit. We have been asked to be on the committee for the "all Indonesian Young Single Adult Conference" held in Oct.. We just returned from a meeting and we will be working on the program part of it with Barita! Elder is also heading up the "Senior Missionary Conference" to be held the end of Nov. We have 10 Senior Couples in the mission and the conference will be in Jogja. Today the Stake Pres. asked if I would put together a choir of YSA, and Youth to sing 3 songs for Stake Conference in Nov. We are also practicing with the Banjasari youth for their Ward Conference on Sept. 30th. So life is busy, wonderful, joyful, and busy. (Did I already say that?) Isn't it remarkable to be a part of the Gospel with Elder and I doing the same things that are being done wherever you might be....... Teaching, being taught, and loving the members! We are amazed at what is accomplished when everyone heeds the call. We love you and we love our Father in Heaven for blessing our lives with your love.

Terima Kasih!
Elder dan Sister Greenway

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week 52 Photos 1

Before I get into the photos I want to share, I had to show this one first.  Out apartment overlooks a large pool area that attaches to a large ballroom.  Sometime events spill out into the pool area and it is decorated accordingly.  They even build a runway out over the water.  On Saturday last, there was a wedding and I thought I would include just one photo... "Shades of Scarlett O'Hara"

Here are some random shots of typical street scenes.  Here's Mr. Burger.  They are  scattered throughout the city.  Sort of like their iteration of McDonalds.  (The real McDonalds here is expensive by Indonesian standards.)  Oh, and we've been warned away from Mr Burger.  ...Maybe someday....

This fellow is a SUPELTAS officer.  They direct traffic.  You'll notice that he is waving us through -  the blue motorcycle and the car are moving!

This is typical of the entrance to a neighborhood.  Bono calls them villages, even in the heart of the city.  This one is to Karokan and if you look closely you'll also see RT 03 and RW XI.  An RT is like a street leader, and has about 20 - 30 families and and RW leads 5 - 10 RTs.  (Pronounced Air-tay and Air-way)  So this area or street is lead by RT 03 and RW XI.  The dates on the columns are their Independence Day.  17 August 1945 to 17 August 2012 (They update every Independence Day.)

And this is Pasar Kota Boyolali  (traditional Market City of Boyolali).  It is a full block long, has its own street and is 2 stories tall.

Finally, here's a typical street-side fruit market.  These can be made up of dozens of stalls all vying for the same customers.

Week 52 Photos 2

On Wednesday of this week two of our YSAs got married - they will be sealed later this month.  We thought we would include a bunch of photos from the party that followed.  There were many friends and neighbors as well as members of the church from Semarang and Jogja.  The full time missionaries who work the Soepomo Building were asked to participate and they had many opportunities to meet and visit many who were not members of the church.  Bishop Catur and family are always having "Family Home Evenings" with their friends and neighbors.

Agus and Yua singing Lionel Richies, "Endless Love," to each other ... Oh so cute!!!

Bishop Catur and his wife Erma.  A wonderful example of a Gospel focused family!

All of the Attendents and Ushers (for want of a better titles).

Week 52 Photos 3

The Grand Entry.

The "back yard" reception tent and entertainment area.

The main table.

One of several food Islands.

And the guests...

And more guests....

Week 52 Photos 4

And then there was music!!!!  The Indonesian people love to sing and here you can see guests singing a VERY popular Batok song.  Th sister in green and the two fellows to either side took over from the hired group which provided the music and they the vocals.  And it was fantastic!

Everyone was rockin' out!!!

And all dressed up!   Now that's a PONY TAIL if I ever saw one!!!!

Week 52 Photos 5

Here are the women in Bishop Catur's life:  Daughters Monique and Yvonne, Mother-in-Law, Asnibar, and Wife Erma.

Erma singing and Bishop Catur with a really sweet gesture (Note the young lady in white.)


Guess who!!!

Week 52

To our dear family and friends:

We have had a busy and wonderful week, and we hope your week has been the same. Things at home have seemed to calm down this week. We had Madelynne and Jackson starting school in Ohio, with Nate, Eli and Cecily starting in Utah. Nate is in 6th grade!!!! How did we get a grandson starting sixth grade???? Eli is starting 2nd grade, Madelynne 1st, Cecily Kindergarten, and Jackson pre-School. (Editor: As reported previously, other grandkids started school a couple weeks ago in Idaho and Pennsylvania.) How the time flies?....

We spent the week busy in the work. Monday was our weekly trip to Boyalali. After Sister Blake and Sister Neis left, things seemed to slow down there simply because it took a while for the new sisters to set up appointments, etc. But, Sister Neis is back with Sister Manalu, who is Batak. That is the name for a culture of people on the island of Sumatra. She speaks fast, "staccato"ed, and with strength. Her family is still near Medan on that island. She was working in Jakarta, met the missionaries and began the English courses. She was taught and fellow-shipped by Elder and Sister Meridith, who have returned home. We were commiserating their being gone on our ride home from Boyalali. Sister Neis and Sister Manalu are great women and teachers. We love the people of Boyalali, and the end of this month will be the closing ceremony for the water project there.
On Wednesday we attended the wedding of Agus and Yua. They were married by Bishop Catur, Agus's brother. The member weddings in Indonesia are very much like a Sacrament meeting without the Sacrament. There is an opening song and prayer, the Bishop speaks, sometimes a friend will speak also, then the couple is called to the front and the person (ward bishop, or other bishop) performs the ceremony using the LDS marriage script to marry the couple. Then there is a special musical number, and in Agus and Yua's case the Stake President spoke, a closing song and a closing prayer. They will be married in the Manila Temple later this month. Most of the time the wedding is followed by a traditional Javanese reception which I have explained before. Yua and Agus were not quite so traditional. There was a HUGE party at Bishop Catur's Wednesday night with (Elder Greenway and I estimated) about 500 in attendance. It was a party to behold, magnificent.....but friendly and fun. They had made Batik shirts for all those involved, including shirts and dresses for our young missionaries who were asked to be some of the greeters as you walked into the gates of the Catur's home. Caturs' knew that there were a number of non-members coming, so it was a great idea. Everyone ate, and talked, and listened to Agus and Yua sing "My Love" by Lionel Richie to each other, and dance, and sing along to the band. They tried to get Elder and I to go up and sing "When I Was Just 17" by the Beatles, but we remained a dignified Senior Couple and just sang along with the group. There are pictures coming to give you a small idea of the love and joy that was felt abundantly that night.

Thursday we went searching for lost sheep. We took the Banjasari Elders along, and we literally drove all over that area from 2 p.m until after 5 p.m.. We knocked on doors, visited with neighbors, talked to people living at the addresses we had for members, found other members, and at the end of the day... we had zero live bodies, but we knew much more about the people we were looking for and were able to adjust the membership lists for the Ward. Just so we didn't go away forlorn, we stopped at Slamet Widodo's (Weedohdoh) home. He has been ill for almost a month, not able to go to work, and with a family who also had been ill. We found out that the children and wife had had the flu, but Bro. Widodo had Typhus. He was feeling much better when we saw him. Sister Sri, his wife, called for food and in a moment (without us even knowing this was going on) Bakso, a meatball soup, was delivered to the door from the Warung up the alley. It came on a tray with 5 glass bowls of soup balancing, and the sauces you can add if you like, stuck on there, also. We enjoyed their company and the soup, and happily they were all in Church today. Because we are ignorant of Typhus compared to Typhoid, we came home and read up on the two. Everyone should do that....interesting. We do not often hear of either one in the U.S., but these poor countries do know. Interestingly, Bro. Widodo is a CPA, and they live much better than most of the members.

On Tuesday, (after piano), and Thursday, (after Bakso), we practiced with the YW and YM of the Jebres Ward who sang today for Ward Conference. I told you last week they were singing "Gethsemane" which explains in very simple language a very complicated principle of the Gospel, The Atonement. It is beautifully composed, and full of the Spirit. When these lovely people sing, they want to do it right. So they really practiced, and it paid off. It was so perfect! They remembered to enunciate (because it was in English), they remembered to be soft when appropriate and grow loud when appropriate. But most of all they felt the Spirit and communicated it to the members. And after.....,everywhere I went in the building I heard "Geth-se-ma-ne, Je-sus loves me..." which is the chorus. Wonderful! Even if that is all anyone remembers it is worth every minute of practice. When we got to the building to practice one last time very early this morning, Elder Greenway realized I had forgotten the word chart (I wouldn't let them hold papers to distract)!!! So good Elder went off and made another set of charts! I had to play for the conference, so he did what I should have done. He was so good to bail me out of a mess. It is so fun to watch him with the youth and children. Today after church he was doing that trick where it looks like you unscrew your thumb and pop it off and then stick it back on, with all the kids watching, (and some of the Elders). He had them all laughing, and of course he would find his thumb behind ears and backs of his audience. (We had quite a group, because I had been handing out candy, tsk, tsk, tsk..). We so love all of them, and love to talk to them and hear about their desires in life. I also got to play for two primaries today. WOW! Sister Kellis, can you imagine the joy!

Elder Purnawan asked today if we knew why Superman flies with his right arm out in Indonesia, and his left arm out in the U.S. It was so he could shift gears. (Indonesian cars have the steering wheel on the right side, so you shift with your left hand and steer with the right, tee hee hee.)

On Friday we visited with Choki's family, and a Brother from Solo 1 who has also been very ill. Choki is the Stake Executive Sec., and the Brother, (I forgot to write down his name and anyone who knows me knows if I don't write it down it is gone) has only been a member a short time and is married to a very kind Muslim woman. We are so grateful to Bono who knows where all these people live!!!! Then we ran off to Gospel English and worked on is, are, am, was, and were. By the end of class, we think they had it!!!! When they do a great job I always say "Exccccelllllllent"! Then our very young Bishop started to say it with me, and now they are all showing off! He also steals the candy we use to reward!!! I dunno,....... but they sure love him!!! We have "entirely too much fun" in that class. We think we have entirely too much joy every day we are here. We love to be among the Saints. This week, another wedding (Tian and Rianti) with more singing (this time the YSA's), more Boyalali (the Elders are going with us to visit some referrals), more practicing (the youth of the Banjasari Ward for their Ward conference), and more of the usual joy. We hope you have an abundance of "usual joy" in your life, too. We all have so much to be grateful for, so many blessings, how can there not be joy!!

Elder and Sister Greenway

Monday, September 3, 2012

Week 51 Photos

I thought this week I would introduce the missionaries that have just been assigned to Solo.  We had a mass transfer due to the incoming bunch of "new" missionaries fresh from the MTC in Manila, Philippines.  And here they are:

This is Sister Manalu (new) and her companion/trainer Sister Neis (Canada).  Sister Neis has ben in the mission just under two months.

Here is the district leader Elder Jameson (Missouri) and his companion Elder Suryono.

Elder Fisher (Missouri) and Elder Suwarsid.

Elder Purnowan and Elder Townsend (Idaho).

Elder Mendrofa and Elder Yim (Indiana).

And, of course, Elder and Sister Knorpp who are the Family History couple assigned to Indonesia.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week 51

Good friends and family,

We are hoping that all is well where ever you may be.  We are always happy to hear from you, and to learn how it is with your family and ward members.  We are so grateful for your support, your emails, and your news.

It has been an interesting week, news-wise:  John's family has at last been able to move into a home occupied by just the 5 of them.  Since the opportunity to take a new job 4 months ago they have lived with family.  Now, to be sure, they have been grateful for the hospitality, but we are sure they are happy to get everything out of storage and make a home.  Good news!  But, as our grandson Nate put it, there is also bad news.  His brother Eli (Adam and Amy's boy) fell off a toy at a park and broke his arm.  He did a really good job of it, breaking it right above the elbow with such force that the two bones weren't anywhere near each other.  He had surgery a little later in the day to pin things together.  We were able to talk to him on Skype and what a sweetheart!  He was cheerful even while lying in bed with arm elevated and on ice.  Otherwise, we have had most of the school age grandchildren get back into classes.  Fall is in the air.... but not in Indonesia, just the same ol' wonderful paradise here.

Just to hit the important high-lights.  We ended up losing 8 of the 10 missionaries in our district.  But of course we gained 8 super wonderful missionaries right back.  We had DDM with our newbees and it was tremendous.  We regained Sister Neis, the wonderful Sister from Canada, and she brought a sweet sister with her, Sister Manalu.  I can feel the inspiration of these changes from Pres. Groberg.  I think these missionaries will do well here in Solo.

We suggested to Bro. Mulyono of the Solo 2 Ward that he let us be his "home teachers".  So we went to visit him again this month, and he always lifts us.  Isn't that the way of Home and Visiting teaching?  You go to be of service, and quite often it is your spirit that is served. He is 73 years old, and quite a character.  He will be speaking English to us and suddenly go off into Javanese to Bono, and then back to English to us.  He told us that Bro. Tukeren, an old friend of his, had SMS'd (texted) him and that Bro. Tukeren was very lonely.  Bro. Tukeren had lived near Bro. Mulyono nearly all of their lives.  Bro. Tukeren's daughter was worried about him living alone, and now he lives with her almost an hour outside Solo.  He isn't as healthy as Bro. Mulyono, but he isn't as happy either.  So we volunteered to take Bro. Mulyono to see Bro. Tukeren as soon as we can arrange it. He was very happy, and that makes us happy.

Next Sunday, September 9, will be Jebres Ward Conference.  The YW & YM are to sing and asked me to play.  So last week Aster informed me she wanted me to choose the song.  I found 3 that I thought went with the theme of Christ-like love, and played them for her to let HER CHOOSE.  She chose "Gethsemane", an extremely beautiful piece.  They are going to sing it in English, and they are working very hard to learn it.  We have practiced twice, and they are coming to feel the Spirit of the music.  Then, tomorrow night, at our monthly YSA Fireside we will be practicing with all YSA young people to sing at their friend Tian's wedding.  We wish we could magically have everyone hear and feel the joy that the Indonesian members have in singing the songs of the Church.  When I say this is a high-light, I am not exaggerating!  I could listen to them sing for hours.  We wish all youth realized the power that singing gospel music has to invite the Spirit, to heal hurting souls, to teach important principles. It would be wonderful if leaders would take the opportunity to use music for these reasons.  The Indonesians sing a lot, every verse.... and they provide "banyak" (many) opportunities for the young people to sing.

On that note, (tee hee hee), at last night’s Gospel English class we used the hymn "The Spirit of God" to teach words such as ... like, begins, of old, coming, visit, extending, understanding, first, knowledge, power, expanding, veil, burst.  We gave them an English copy of the song, and went through the words, giving the Indonesian word that best fit the English definition for the above words.  Then we had them one by one come and pick a word and use it in an English sentence (not from the song).  I was so proud of them.  They have a few problems with "tenses", but there are no "tenses" in Indonesian, so it is to be expected.  But the best part.... they wanted to sing it in English at the end, and so we did.

Acapella!  WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!   Goose Bumps!!!!!  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  As we drove home, (I always sit in the back seat with Elder Greenway in the front with Bono), I just sat back, quietly going through the class, and was just overcome with joy.  These amazing people are our brothers and sisters.  We can't begin to tell you how grateful we are the Lord chose to send us here, how much we love these grand members and non-members, how blessed our lives have been to know them.  I am happiest when I am with them.

We hope you are finding joy by serving where the Savior would have you serve.  He knows our hearts, and needs, and talents.  We are so blessed to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bless our lives every day.  We truly have been given much.  Have a good week, and let us know how your life is progressing.

Take care of each other!

Elder and Sister Greenway

P.S. This Letter was written on Saturday because of the Fireside tonight.  We just got home, and I found out that one of my piano students, Antok, played all three hymns in Jebres' Sacrament meeting today.  AND... his wife led the singing!!!!!  LOVE IT!!!