Selamat Tahun Baru!!!!! (Happy Year New!!!!!)
Wow! 2013!!! I am so glad I am not Mayan!!!!! Here in Solo there are a few Wards having New Year's Eve parties. Jebres' will be at the Church, and Aster said they will have "Family Home Evening" (which is what they call any "serious" get together outside of regular Church), then they will have a party. We attended their Ward Christmas Party (news to follow)! Solo 2 is having an over-night party at a villa that their Uskup (Bishop) rented for the occasion.... brave. But Solo 1 will be having their party at the Supomo building, and their BIG draw is that they will be serving RICA RICA! (pronounced reecha reecha or woof-woof whichever you choose)! We are sooooooooo grateful for missionary rules which ask us to be in by 9:00 p.m. In the good ol' USA, they will have a celebration this week at the Adam Greenway house. Cecily Lauren Greenway will be six years old, and she loves animals, and anything artistic. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CECILY!! We will talk to you in a couple of days!
As I mentioned, we spent Christmas week attending Ward Parties. All other functions cease to exist. All the wards practice and practice for these events. Unlike a U.S Ward Christmas party, the Solo Wards have more of a grand talent show. It is very hard to visit, no one is home, as we found out. The Jebres Ward was first on Christmas Day. We got a very excited call from Aster asking us to be there at 4 p.m. and to bring our music for the Virginia Reel. So we took a taxi there (we did not want to drag Bono out on Christmas) and arrived a little before 4. At 4:45 Aster arrived, and told me that they had "improved" the Virginia Reel, (I think she meant changed, although her English is very good), and that we would wait for the rest of the youth..... they came about 5:15. The party was to begin at 5 p.m., but got under-way around 6, and then it was one OH MY! after another. Elder took pictures and one video. We hope you will be able to download the video. It was the Relief Society portion of the program, and all I can say is that each of you must picture your home Relief Society performing this at next years Ward Christmas party! The Missionaries sang "Oh, Holy Night", and "Drummer Boy", which seemed a bit out of place compared to the other performances. All in all, it was VERY LOUD, and very....interesting.... and by 9 p.m. showed no sign of stopping, so we called a taxi and left early.
Whew!!! Solo 1 was next, on the 26th, and was the same talent show, but much more calm. We must tell you that many members attend all the ward's parties, especially Solo 1 since it is the oldest ward. So that party was packed, and steamy, and noisy. At all events, the dinner will be a "rice box". This is usually a "tube" of sticky rice with chicken, wrapped in a banana leaf, 2 or 3 deep fried foods that are spicy, and something sweet. Our new Elder Miner from St. George, call the sticky rice portion his "chicken and rice Popsicle". On the 27th, Banjasari had their party, which was much more subdued, and the whole ward learned the Virginia Reel!
The week before Christmas, we went to visit Bro. Tukirin in the hospital. He is an older member, one of the original pioneers in Indonesia. He lived with his daughter,Ttut & her husband, Bambang. We have been to their home before wwwwwaaaayyy out about an hour northeast of Solo. Brother Tukirin had not been well and developed pneumonia. He wanted to go home from the hospital. So just before Christmas they gave him his wish. Last Thursday evening he passed away, and they had the funeral on Friday at 9 a.m. at his home. It was a tribute to him to see so many members make that journey. At Indonesian funerals there are chairs set up in front of the home (sometimes closing the street). At Brother Tukirin's they were full of his wonderful neighbors,and Muslim villagers. The body rests in the home, much like funerals were held in the US before WWII. The funeral ceremony was held around the wooden casket, and was conducted by Uskup Catur. We sang hymns, and testimonies were shared, and all that time the villagers sat outside and visited. When a Muslim dies, the roles are just reversed. When that was over, we all walked to the cemetery about a block away. They dedicate the grave, the casket is lowered, and the workers fill it in, and then rose petals are strewn over the grave, and the graves of loved ones nearby. Quick, efficient, and frugal. We then zoomed down the mountain to get to DDM by 12:30.
Saturday, Elder Greenway, Bono, Elder Knorpp, and others drove off to learn about hydro-ponics? Sister Knorpp and I stayed home and did the Saturday chores. He will have to tell you about this adventure... I hope he took pictures.
We are ready for things to get back to normal. However, we still must get through New Year's day! Wednesday I just want to go visiting!!!! ALSO!!! did we tell you that Elder Mendrofa got his glasses!?? He said it is nice to see the world, and when I asked, he said that he hasn't seen well for the last 2 years... He looks very distinguished. He also sang a solo at the Banjasari Ward program. What a voice! We also sent Elders Yim and Fisher home. All done... and Elder Townsend was transferred to Surabaya. So, tomorrow we will get 3 new Elders. We sort of get attached to these wonderful young missionaries. Sending them home or away is tricky on the heart.
Thank you for all of your wonderful, tender emails, and all of the loving and supportive Christmas treasures and pictures from home. The pictures cover our apartment wall, and fill our tender hearts. We spent Christmas day with some of the missionaries as they skyped home. Those who were waiting watched "17 Miracles", so we got to watch it twice in one day. I think it should be called "17 Hankies"... We all blubbered through it, and it was a great way to spend Christmas. We hope you also had a beautiful day, and we will see you again next year!
Warmest regards, and love galore,
Elder and Sister Greenway (alias Gramma and Grampa)