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