Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 63 Photos 1

Here are all of the missionaries that attended the Senior Missionary Conference held in Jogja November 21-24, 2012.  We welcomed Elder and Sister Harrington from Hong Kong who joined us for 2 days.  From the top:  Elder Seiter, Sister Seiter, Elder Kepler, Sister Kepler, Sister Groberg, President Groberg, Elder Kusumarmanto, Sister Kusumarmanto, Sister Knorpp, Elder Knorpp, Sister Beaman, Elder Beaman, Elder Rasban Sister Rasband, Then the front Row: Sister Healy, Elder Healy, Elder Harrington, Sister Harrington, Elder Barnard, Sister Barnard, Sister Greenway, Elder Greenway.

We also got to visit a Batik factory and store.  Here one of the female workers is drawing the first step (of 8 to 10 steps) with wax on a stenciled pattern on cloth.  Only women do this kind of batik.

Here is another type of batik know and stamped batik.  This is only done by men.

We also went to a silver jewelry factory and store.  Here is a fellow fabricating a special order.  You can see one of his completed pieces in the bottom left of the photo.

Here is a close-up of his finished product.  Pure silver.

We also attended the Ramayana Ballet.  I also got some videos!!

Here is the "curtain call."

Week 63 Photos 2

This is the Candi Sambisari.  It was buried until the mid 1970s when a farmer found a rock in his field that he couldn't dig up.  Apparently the top of the central temple structure.  This is Hindu.

They trenched and found a buried outer wall that you can see in the left center of the picture.

Then we went to Candi Sari.  Candi (pronounced Chawn dee) means ancient Shrine or temple.  This was a mixture of Buddhist (lower structure) and Hindu (upper portion).

Buddhist reliefs.

Inside moving from one to another of the three inside rooms.

This is Candi Prambanan.  It is Hindu.  I think it is the largest outside of India.

Within the Prambanan Temple enclosure.

Elder and Sister Rasband wearing sorongs (to show respect) to give you an idea of the size and volume of stone and this is just one of the inner structures, and there was many thousands of stone blocks on the periphery of the temple that have yet to be restored to their proper locations.

On the last day of the conference we left for Candi Borobudur at 500 AM.  This is the largest Buddhist structure in the world.

It has 11 levels. and it is still being restored and preserved.

One of the many gargoyles.

Elder and Sister Knorpp looking at one of the thousands of reliefs on the structure.

One of the passages to the upper levels (one passage for each of the compass points - N,S,E,W).

Level 11 looking down the entry steps and the approach to the Candi.

Here is an exposed Buddha.  There is one in each of the "bells"  There were also many on the surrounding facades.  Literally hundreds; many missing heads or extremities from vandalism over the years - many are in museums around the world.

Week 63

HOW WAS THE TURKEY!?!  And I don't mean Uncle Fred!!!!!

Hello Everyone.  We totally missed out on your Thanksgiving. We were really in the middle of something, had zero Internet (we were at a hotel and the WiFi was not working in our room), and didn't even get to find out how everything went in Thanksgiving land. I can imagine it was pretty wonderful, and we missed seeing and talking to you. But I'm sure you all had your hands full... what with preparing, eating, cleaning up, and SHOPPING!!!!  This week we will be sure to talk to Little Elia Melanie's family...Elia will turn one this week. Last time we talked to Adam she hadn't quite got the hang of walking, but it's coming.  Then next Sunday will be Madelynne's big day!  It will be a happy day at Matt's house, and she will be the big 7!!!! She is a great reader, so she'll probably want BOOKS! for her big day. Wow, it will be a week of celebrations.

Most of our week was spent in Yogjakarta, Java Tengah, at the Indonesia Jakarta Mission's Senior Missionary Conference. It began Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. and ended Saturday about 11:00 a.m. Elder Greenway was in charge of the conference, so he has been very busy. We stayed and ate our meals at the beautiful Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel.  The theme of the conference was "Help Me Teach With Inspiration", and each couple participated with a presentation.  President and Sister Groberg opened the conference by introducing the theme.  They gave us wonderful information about how the Savior taught, and how he loved those whom he instructed.  Elder Greenway gave each couple a scripture and a related hymn as the basis of their thoughts.  So we would sing the hymn and then hear their presentations.  Music has such a wonderful way of calling up the Spirit.  Beside the Hymn "Help Me Teach With Inspiration", presentations were centered around - "How Firm a Foundation", "Because I Have Been Given Much", "Go Forth With Faith", "The Hearts of the Children", "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus?", "You Can Make the Pathway Bright", "Come Let Us Anew", "I Have Work Enough to Do", and "God Be with you Til We Meet Again".  We have 3 couples going home before we meet again in 6 months.  One is the office couple, so we have 2 new Couples coming so far.  One office couple, and one member support. Both will be here before Christmas. Each presentation was wonderful, and we learned so much.  The themes were related to the couple's assignments and strengths, so there was a lot of experience and knowledge in the meeting room. We also talked much about gratitude, so Thanksgiving wasn't a complete wash!

Along with 12 hours of instruction over the course of 2 days, we also took time to learn about the culture of central Java.  On Thursday afternoon we visited some of the "smaller" ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples in and around Jogja (short for Yogjakarta).  Elder took a gadzillion pictures, so I will let him tell you the names and items of interest of these temples.  You always hear about the ruins in Mexico and Central America, but you seldom hear about these temples.  They are equally amazing, old, and beautiful.  You will see what I mean when you see the pictures.  On Friday afternoon we visited a Batik "Factory", which is really a small Batik workshop. Batik is fabric related to the Javanese culture that has patterns that are hand drawn or stamped with bees wax, then dyed and boiled, then re-stamped or re-drawn, then dyed and boiled, etc, etc.  The more times it is dyed different colors for pattern, the more expensive it is.  It is absolutely beautiful and absolutely steamy in the shop because the wax is kept hot over a flame, and then there is the boiling process.  The end result is so interesting.  There are specific patterns for different symbolisms, and the patterns in Solo are very different from those in Jogja.  After seeing the Batik, we all then traveled to a Silversmith's Factory.  There were people creating intricate works of art, or jewelry out of silver.  Of course both of these factories have stores attached. Soooo we did do some shopping on Black Friday.  It just wasn't Walmart. Jogja has better than Walmart.  It has Malioboro Street, which is a long line (like miles) of large and small shops selling anything and everything.  But alas, it is the rainy season so Malioboro Street was a wash :>) (so to speak)!

On Saturday, at 5 a.m, we all departed the hotel and traveled to Borobudur.  NOW THAT IS AN ANCIENT TEMPLE! I can't begin to describe this place.  All of the ancient temples were either buried in soil and volcanic ash, or covered with jungle when they were first discovered.  Another interesting fact is that there are literally hundreds of small temples around central Java.  They estimate that there are hundreds more undiscovered.  Some were just a large rock in a field that a farmer tried to dig to remove and kept digging and digging, until it was obvious it wasn't "just a rock".  But! Borobudur is acres and acres, and carved with intricate carvings.  Central Java suffered a pretty severe earthquake a few years ago that did some damage to these  sites.  But UNESCO joined with others to preserve, repair, and maintain these treasures. 

We are home now, and today (Sunday) I played for 2 different Young Women Sacrament Meeting Presentations.  I just have to tell you that I did something today that I have never done before.  To make the story short, I lined up the 4 pages of music to play the beginning song for the Banjasari YW, played page one with the girls singing, went on to page 2.... but it was page 4!!!!!!!!!  Now you must understand that these girls are singing Janice Kapp Perry in Indonesian, so I can't just look to see where they are with the words.  They sang without me (like troopers) for 3 full measures before I figured out that I had lined up the music - page 1, 4, 3, 2.  So the rest of the song (which has repeats and codas) I was jumping all over the place!!!!!!  I still am not sure how it got so mixed up, but the song now has HUGE numbers at the top of each page so I will never do that again!  (Until the next time). 

You can see it has been an eventful and instructional week, but now it is back to work.  Today, having the vantage point of being at the piano in the front, I watched the members of the Jebres and Banjasari Wards, and again I felt my heart fill with love and adoration for these friends.  Elder and I feel such a part of their lives.  We tease, and cry, and work, and find joy together each week.  We simply love them more and more every week.  We now have some new ideas (thanks to couples conference) to work on, and much more we want to accomplish.  We keep thinking... "no regrets".  We don't want to get home and wish we had done more.  So be patient with us, and with each other as we all try to be the best disciples we can be.  We'll talk to you again in December! (which is next week) and remember just 30 more opportunity days until the Savior's birthday.  What to give Him, what to give Him.....

We love you so much, and are so grateful for you,
Melanie and Ron,
Sister and Elder,
mom and dad.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 61

Good Evening From Glorious Indonesia!

What a beautiful day!  We are now in the rainy season... which means just about every afternoon it clouds up and rains.  Now sometimes it clouds up and rains a great gush!... and then pitter-patters to a stop.  Sometimes it comes with flashes and booms, and then rains of and on 'til morning.  However it is, it cools things down a bit and makes everything even more beautiful.  I am sitting here typing this listening to the "call to prayer", the Islam song in Arabic, that reminds us 5 times a day that we are indeed in Indonesia.  Yesterday as I walked in front of the Kapatihan building I thought, here I am, little ol' me, in Indonesia!  It still takes us by surprise sometimes.

We were at the Kapatihan building to have a celebration with our Youth Choir that sang at Stake Conference.  Right after the conference we asked for their attention and announced that we would have a movie and snacks to thank them for their dedication to the choir.  We had 68 singers that day and we had about 50 to the party last night.  We just brought snacks, but the Stake President thought we should also have food, and sent someone to get everyone a food box.  We have shown you pictures of these boxes.  This one was a dollar, (1000 rupia), and it had a piece of chicken and a cup of cooked rice, with a 'paket' of sambal, (the hot stuff they put on everything).  They ALWAYS eat these with their fingers, even if there is a sauce, or something squishy.  Interestingly the box was from Popeyes.  We doubt if it is the same as the one in the U.S., but it was yummy.  We watched "Enchanted", in English with English subtitles.  They are very smart, and loved the movie.  We had taken a taxi to the building because Bono's family was getting together for his mother's 80th birthday.  After the party, Monique Catur would not allow us to taxi home, dispersed those she brought TO the party to others going home, and we rode home with this 16 year old through the havoc they call traffic.  Kinda gets your heart a pumpin'.

We also had "loaned" the car to Bono earlier in the day to attend the reception of Moko and Yessika (pronounced Jessica).  We have often talked of Moko and Sutarno.  Sutarno is the father, and General Contractor of all the water projects.  Moko is his son, and Civil Engineer for the projects.  He is about 26 and finally found Yessika.  They were married Tuesday morning at the Supomo building.  I was asked to play the piano.  Monday, Sisters Neis and Manalu, and Elders Miner (brand new from St. George), Hasibuan (the new District Leader), and Suryono received phone calls to be to the wedding.  When they got there, they were told they were to sing!!  That's about the same time I found out they were to sing.  SURPRISE!  They didn't even have time to go through it, and that's about how it sounded.  Poor guys.....  Anyway, Yessika's mother and father are not members.  Her mother has a sister who is, and so she was fine with the marriage.  BUT her father was not so happy.  So he "tolerated" the marriage in the Chapel, but all of the missionaries were sort of uninvited for the reception held yesterday.  It was held in Klaton, about an hour away.  We told Bono to fill up the car with ward members and go.  So he did!  These wonderful young Indonesian couples get married in the Chapel, then again by in a "government" marriage, and then again in the Temple, when they can get there.  They are really married when all is said and done.

Friday evening we were invited to the closing meeting of the recently held All Indonesian Young Single Adult Conference- - (remember Elder and I dancing).  They always do this.  The meeting, held at Sari Bundo Sumatran restaurante, is for the committee to bring all receipts for compensation, and to go over any issues that need to be reviewed.  Every committee member talks about what they spent, and is reimbursed, this takes some time.... Then they discuss the issues.  Well, it seems that they did alright by getting permission from the hotel, and from the city Chiefs to hold the conference.  BUT... no one asked the police for their help and permission.  They will forget the slight by paying a penalty of $20.   Hmmmmmm......  We found that very interesting, but remained mute.  This is their country, and their corrupt city police forces, we just live here.  Anyway, then we were invited to eat with them.  There is always Ayam (chicken), and many other 'things' (anyone's guess) that had a lot of red specks.  THAT MEANS HOT!!!!!!  Elder likes to burn his lips off, me... not so much.  We will say to someone, "What is this"? (Apa ini?) And they respond.  So when I asked and they said, "fish"...I was happy.  But then they rethought, and decided it was eel.  It looked more like eel, it was roundish with the backbone in the middle of the meat, not along the back, but it was very good.  Tasted like chicken :).  Across the table from me, Rudy was trying to decide whether to eat a large salmon eyeball or not.  It was covered with some sort of sauce, but he didn't make it.  Down the table Mugi was loving something large and fishy looking.  Always interesting.....

Other items of interest... I now have 5 non-member piano students, having added a new boy this week.  AND, Sister Sri Widodo played the piano for the entire Sacrament meeting today.  She already played when she began lessons with her son (the one that looks like Nate when he smiles), but lacked confidence.  Well, today she was Great!  I was so excited for her.  The goal is to have them all playing in Hymns Made Easy, or beyond by the time we leave!!!!   Elder is working on some improvements for the Kapatihan building.  It is the smaller of the two buildings, and has some definite needs.  He is determined to have that building right up there with all of the others.  There is a sort of "haves and have nots" feeling between the 4 congregations.  It would be nice if that could go away.  The mission just received 9 new missionaries from the Provo MTC.  One is from Australia, and the rest from the U.S.  Solo got Elder Miner, and our Zone also got Elder James from Virginia, and Elder Giolas from Draper, Utah.  Hey Ty, there is and Elder Costner from Kirtland, New Mexico in Surabaya.

I think that about does it for now.  We hope you have had some memories made this past week, and enjoyed the blessings we all have been given.  We are very grateful for your friendship and love.  If you have some time this week, drop us an email and let us know about your family.  As we have said before, (many times), like all other missionaries we love getting mail!!!  

Have a week full of gratitude, look out for others,
Elder dad and Sister mom 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week 60

Dear Family and Neighbors,

We are hoping you all fared well through the storm.  Our home at 100 Sunset Dr. lost one tree.  My dear beleaguered weeping willow, which barely survived an ice storm a couple of years ago, and had been "babied" and "cajoled" into looking like a tree and again, went over the gully way and lost the battle.  I told Ty to have a funeral, but Joel just went out and laid it low.  On a much brighter note, it was Gavin's 6th birthday this week.  We spoke to him way out in Idaho, while they were at Lowes!, and he stayed right with us and answered all of our grandparent-ly questions.  He has such a sweet heart.  Also this week was the blessing, in Pennsylvania, of new Jane Anne.  So Joel and Rebekah had a houseful.  Gramma Smith was there along with Rebekah's brother Caleb, wife, and new baby.  Matt and Tanya came with Madelynne, Jackson, and Luke.  Sweet Lynn sent us pictures from the AHEC outside museum of William, Madelynne, Logan, Kathryn, and Jackson on-top of some piece of battle equipment.  We were so grateful for supportive family.  Thanks to all!

While they were having fun, we had some wonderful experiences of our own.  Besides doing the "normal" things..... ie. Stake Choir practice, piano lessons, visits, and preparation work, we also had our first Stake Conference since we became a Stake.  We found out a bit ago that we would be having Sister Linda Reeves, 2nd Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, coming all the way from Salt Lake City.  We also had Elder Wilson, Counselor in our Asia Area Presidency, come with his wife from Hong Kong.  What an amazing blessing to have both here!  Add to that President Groberg, Mission President, and Sister Groberg and the Stake had a full roster.  We were asked, along with our Stake Relief Society Pres., to meet this entire group of visitors at the airport on Friday evening.  Sister Reeves and her husband left Utah on Wednesday night, flew into Taiwan, met the Wilsons and they all flew to Jakarta, met the Mission President, and flew here.  So by Friday they were very tired.  BUT, we all went to the hotel and had dinner together before they fell into bed.  However, as we were meeting Elder Wilson, and he realized we were from Pennsylvania, he asked if there was a chance we knew "Denny Rehm".  They had attended Harvard together, and Elder Wilson had helped teach Bro. Rehm the Gospel, then they graduated, and that was that.  He had always wondered if he had remained faithful.   Imagine his joy when we said Brother Rehm had been Bishop Rehm, and President Rehm, and was now a Counselor in our Mission Presidency.  We gave him Bro. Rehm's email address.  GREAT JOY!

On Saturday, Bono drove the visitors around to visit different members all morning and into the afternoon, then he came and got us and we attended an excellent Stake Leadership Meeting.  Sister Reeves talked about many things,,, from the new Youth Curriculum to Handbook #2, from the Atonement to Family Love, and on and on.  She was amazing!!!!!   Elder Wilson also spoke about Church Service.  WOW!  The Stake had provided "food boxes" (I think we've sent pictures), but they had prepared and Indonesian Buffet for their guests with many delicious Indonesian Recipes.  Then there was the Adult Conference Session.  We all know that Saturday evening session of any Stake Conference is always the best.  This was no different.  It was extremely spiritual, and we were so grateful we were there to absorb the feelings and teachings.  Most of the talks centered on family.  Sister Reeves is an excellent speaker, and she loves to have your participation.  She asked many questions, and the leadership participated well.  Elder Wilson had a question and answer time.  One Sister asked how the fathers of the 2000 Stripling Warriors had prepared their sons.  Wow!  I had forgotten one little sentence that tells the fathers took provisions to their sons. (Book of Mormon...Alma 56:27)  Sister Wilson (Elder Wilson had her participating) pointed out how courageous that was.  They would not have had weapons because of their covenant, but they went out and into the war to take care of their sons.  Elder Wilson talked of their integrity, humility, and valiance.  "When you have valiant fathers, most likely you will have valiant sons." 

Today was the general session of the Stake Conference, held in a beautiful hotel ballroom.  It also was performance time for the tremendous Youth Choir.  Elder and I went very early to make sure things were right.  The chairs were wrong, so with the help of the full time missionaries we moved them.  There weren't enough chairs (we had over 60 youth and young single adult singers from just 4 Wards), so we added chairs.  When I was asked to organize the Choir, they added that we would sing 3 songs.  At the past 2 conferences they had us sing 2, one as a prelude and one at the beginning, after the "business" and before the speakers.  So I assumed he wanted two prelude songs, and then the later song.  So, about 7 minutes to 10 a.m.  we sang "Because I Have Been Given Much" (with beautiful harmony on the 3rd verse and ending).  Right after that we sang "Gethsemane" and as always with that song, when it was over you felt the reverence and the spirit.  Today they called the first SURAKARTA STAKE PATRIARCH.  He is a dear older gentleman from Semarang.  He has daughters who live in the US, and had made reservation to visit them, so he wasn't there to be sustained.  Then the Youth Choir sang the "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go/ Olive Tree" medley.  I cannot even begin to tell you how well they sang!  All the speakers were fabulous, but Sister Reeves had one of the families she had visited Saturday come up and it was our Luki and Lala's family!!!!  She had them sing "I Love to See the Temple" and "I Am a Child of God", because they had sung for her at her visit.  Luki and Lala's father is not a member, and their mom joined at about the half way point of raising 13 children.  So the younger 6 are active, and the older children are not.  But all are supportive, and loving.  Can you imagine their surprise at singing at Stake Conference, but they were wonderful.  Sister Wilson told how she was raised with zero religion in her home.  Then they moved near an LDS Gramma, who blessed the life of her grand daughter with the Gospel.  It was a sweet, sweet story.   There was so much more, I wish I could give you a talk by talk, but the surprise came at the end!

After Elder Wilson spoke, President Budi stood and announced the closing song  SUNG BY THE CHOIR!  Well, that was the first I'd heard of that!  So..... we stood and sang "Gethsemane" again, and you know.... it was a perfect ending.  They sang it even better than the first time, if that was possible!  Of course, by then, even Elder Wilson was crying!

We spoke to Uskup Catur and his wife, Irma, last night.  We talked about the fact that we only can stay 9 more months.  We all cried, and worried about how much we would miss each other.  We are concerned that someone has invented a way to speed up time.  We cannot tell you how much we love those young people who sang today,  it just makes our hearts ache to think of leaving them.  We learn so much each time we are with them.  Yos shook my hand today and said "Sistah Grenway, you. look. so. beeuuuteeefulll. today."  Yos played "Gethsemane"
for me.  They have their youth play all the time, Stake Conference, Sacrament Meeting....  What joy, what joy!!!.... We can learn so much from these glorious, humble people.

We love you, too!
Elder and Sister Greenway