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!!!!!!!!