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.