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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!!!