Dear Chilly Friends and Family,
I really don't mean to rub it in, but I think I have forgotten what it is to feel cold. During the rainy season the members here wear winter coats! Elder tries to explain the whole thing with a skin temperature, body core temp, outdoor temperature analysis sort of thing. I just know I am sweating and they are in winter coats. I hope it is not too chilly for our Kathryn Ellyn's birthday party. She turns the big 3 this week, I am not sure how John's family plans to celebrate, but we know Kathryn! She's a planner... even at her age, and probably has it all figured out.
What a glorious week in paradise! In December we began our effort to clean up the roster for the Solo 1st Ward, looking for the "less active" members, and encouraging the Ward Clerk. Just to remind... We sat down with the Ward roster, and with Bono, and we went name by name getting information. Family ties, active or less active, any important history, and the name of the village they live in. EXAMPLE ADDRESS: Punggawan Rt1 Rw6. That means they live in the Kompung (village or sub-division)of Punggawan. Rt- the man who is over their little area(actually sort of like a Bishop except it has nothing to do with religion). Rw- the man over many Rts. So there might be 13 Rts. in a Kompung, with 4 Rws. There usually isn't a house number, so you just start asking around. Okay... Then we took all the names and grouped them by Kompung. Then we went back through and pulled out all those who were dead... all those who had moved more than 2 hours away, (seriously that is part of the Criteria! Less than 2 hours and you are still part of the ward!)... and then all those who were less active, or those that Bono didn't have a clue about. THEN WE STARTED LOOKING FOR THEM.
This week we were really very blessed. I won't tell you every experience, but some were so priceless. We found 3 return missionaries, all who have agreed to have the Elders stop by. One grew up with Bono, and we sat in his home and encouraged him to reminisce about his mission. We talked about Christ and the parable of the Lost Sheep. Our missionaries are going to see him this week with our past District President Agus Sutadi who also grew up with him. Wednesday, Bono asked if we could visit Kunto Alfianti because he had been sick. Of course!!! It is common in Indonesia for entire families to live under the same roof. Brother Kunto was at work, but his brother, Wisnu was at home, with Wisnu's wife and Sugeng, his older brother. Wisnu told us that their father had been a Branch President, and District President. That their father and mother had been preparing to go to the temple years ago, but the mother had suddenly "pass away". The father never did get to the temple. Now, all of the children are less active. We talked about the blessings of the temple. We talked about lds.org and the family search sites. We talked about eternal life together. It was a great visit and they also agreed to have the missionaries come by. On Saturday Kunto died in his sleep. So today we were back to the house to attend the funeral, along with many from Solo 1 and others. This week we found 8 lost sheep that were willing to have the missionaries stop by, some who have been gone for 20 years. On the other side, we found the home of a family who had moved to Sumatra over a year ago, and the ward had no idea. Home teaching, home teaching, home teaching. Home and Visiting teaching are generally not done in Indonesia.
We have been telling you about our desire to improve the Primaries here, and Elder's tireless work to get the Kapatihan building repaired and renewed. With both projects we have been the "squeaky wheels"! Well, on Tuesday the Stake President came to Kepatihan at the end of piano lessons, and asked to see us.... We both were sure those "squeaky wheels" had irritated someone. As if he read our minds, when we walked in the room he said, "You are not in trouble." This from a man who has very limited English. We'll let you decide ... He asked us if we would teach English to the Seminary Students at the Supomo building each night after Seminary. Their parents had requested this, and he agreed. So we will be teaching English/Gospel English Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening at Supomo, 6:30 p.m. We have been teaching a Gospel English class at Kapatihan on Fridays for a while. It is so interesting.... these youth are at school by 7:30 a.m., they get home around 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. They are to Seminary from around 5:30 - 6:30, and their parents didn't like them just hanging at the Church after Seminary to talk and stuff. Remember, they go to school on Saturdays, too. I think we will have to tap dance while teaching just to keep them awake!
With the squeaky wheel in mind, I must tell you that on Friday we met at the Kapatihan building with the area Physical Facilities Representative. He was there to address the needs of the building. He showed Elder Greenway the list of work orders that will be done to the building very soon. It included everything that Elder Greenway had included in his earlier letter to them!!! Hooray!! There will be new paint, western toilets, more air conditioners, eventually new chairs, and proper equipment for the nursery! They will call a building PFR, and encourage the Bishops to "speak up". Now we can zoom in on the state of the Primaries. (squeak, squeak)
Finally, we like to take cookies to District Meeting on Fridays because... well because we have 8 Elders and 2 Sisters that NEED cookies! Last Friday we took Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. Elder carried them from the car up the stairs to Supomo's cultural hall, and set them on the stage. This meeting usually lasts about 1 1/2 hours. When I picked up the cookies to take to the table, there were 10 gadzillion ants under the plastic wrap, all over the cookies. For a minute we all just stared. Then I picked up the pan and hit each side against the table. Can we say ant swarm!? Then Elder Masancay, our Filipino Elder, pick out a cookie, tapped it with the fork, and chomped it down. Everyone followed him, (except Elder Greenway), including Sister Greenway. Then flowed the ant stories. Sister Neis (being transferred to Jakarta this week) said that she and Sister Blake had a list of events that can happen in Indonesia, but not America. One item, when you sweep the floor in America the dirt pile is easily swept into the dust pan. In Indonesia, it skitters into the dust pan because of the ants. She also said that she didn't believe Indonesia has soil, it is just dead ants with live ants on top. We believe her. This week I opened the screw on lid to my Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter, after taking it out of our cupboard, and the jar was full of ants enjoying my peanut butter!!!! (Elder's crunchy style had just a few, which settles the debate...which is better smooth or creamy?) We just follow the trail to the point of entry, and KILL!!!!! with spray. They usually out-smart us somewhere else.
We are busy and happy and enjoying this world, in spite of the ants. We realize every day how much joy comes from serving. We have moments when we sadly write a "Do not contact" beside a name on the roster, but the joy exceeds the gloom when we can write "send the Elders" or "send the Sisters". We will go on, just as you go on, because this is the truth and we must all be planting(squeak, squeak) seeds of faith. We love you eternally, we are proud of you, we pray for you every day.
Elder and Sister Greenway