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!!!