Happy Chinese New Year 2564!!!!! yaaayy!!!! (Gramma whistle...whistle) whooooohoooo!!!!
The colors red and gold are all over Solo! Huge dragons fly around everywhere, Chinese lanterns abound, and the roads are crowded with holiday traffic. It is the year of the snake, which is said to bring good luck!!! Of course, all this could be in tribute to the Chinese New Year, OOOORRRRRR it could be Logan's birthday this Friday, and Joel and Rebekah could be going allllll out to celebrate. He is one of the totally energetic cousins, so have fun!!!!!
We are having a great time with our Seminary English Class. Tuesday we played Short Vowel Bingo, reviewed inside-outside, above-below, etc.,and introduced the 2nd Article of Faith.("transgression" was a whole new experience for them). If they managed a "bingo" they got a Snicker bar, because it is an American candy bar... well they all got a bar by the end of the evening. Wednesday, we practiced who, what, when, where, how, and why by having them roll the dice and reading a question pertaining to one of those. Then their team had to answer the question using a sentence. ex. What did Joseph use to translate the gold plates? Joseph used the Urim and Thumim. They really had to work at this, so the next night we played board games we found on line at a ESL site. They are learning... some faster than others...and we are loving to be with them.
Despite the rain, piano has been wonderful, too. We have been working hard on preparing them to play hymns. Riko played today for Banjasari. About a month ago I told him that "Called to Serve" right out of the hymnal was not too hard. We went through it once and today he played it for the congregation to sing! Sooooooo proud of him!!!! It is nice to hear so many play and enjoy it. We ran to the dentist before piano this week. Yup! About a month ago I chipped the back of a front bottom tooth. It was really a bother, but if you saw the hospitals here you would really think twice about going to the dentist. The bother of it finally won, so we asked Bono who the Grovers (the Senior couple before us) went to. WOW!!!! It was clean and modern and efficient. It took her about a half hour, was done very well, and cost about $25!!!!! I'm thinking about having some other things taken care of .....
Did we tell you that Friska got her Missionary Call to Australia? She was so shocked. She will be starting to work this week with Elder Greenway on Preach My Gospel in English. She will go to the MTC in New Zealand. He is getting to be an old pro at helping these young people get their Visas and put things together. There are about 10 youth from Solo planning missions before October. One is our Aster, Ratmini's daughter. I hope she is called to the states so she can use her English.
The hardest thing we did this week was go to Boyalali. We will be cutting our visits to one a month for now. They cannot come to Solo to church, and the church will be a while getting there. By law there have to be members living in a community before you can send "the Church" there. So no members, no missionaries. We have come to love these women very much, and we wish that we could change the circumstances. They are faithful at reading the Book of Mormon, they love the Gospel, and they are delightful. It is so hard to slow this down...they would be members in a heartbeat. I remember when Emily was in Ecuador and the husband in a family would fly off to New York and ten years later he was still in New York and the rule was that you could notbaptize just the mother without the husbands consent. Emily was so sad...now we understand. The Sisters weredevastated.
While we were there, we watched as the grandchildren played. The were constructing toy cars out of the stems ofhuge banana leaves. They would slice them into the shape of a race car using an old knife, then they tried to make tires out of a rounded stem from another plant, but they wouldn't roll. So Elder helped them punch holes into water bottle lids, then the kids would shave a toothpick shaped sliver from and old piece of wood to make the axle. Wonderful!!! Kini and Markini had made "sticky rice" bars, (looks like a rice crispy treat, only it's real rice, and boiled sugar). They also take rice flour and mix it with water, stir in some peanuts, then spoon a ribbon into hot fat. It make a sort of salty peanut cookie. We really will miss the village and the people.
We have amazing Elders and Sisters here. (We always do) Elder Hasibuan has finally decided it would be a good thing to learn English. So he has been conduction DDM in English. We all want to record it, because he is so funny. He told Pres. Groberg of his desire in his weekly email to the Pres. So Pres. Groberg told him that to help the Elder he would now be communicating in English with him! Elder Hasibuan was pantomiming himself trying to read his email. It was so fun. These fine missionaries work so hard. They ride bikes all over this city in heat and humidity, they are kind and thoughtful, they love the work, and they strive to be serious servants of the Lord. We are very proud of them, all. We have always loved having the missionaries around. They have blessed our family and home. They have added to the Spirit each week, and we have felt their goodness. When we get home, we will try to do better at helping them by serving with them, and by being better missionaries ourselves. These missionaries struggle with the member's lack of enthusiasm just as the missionaries do all over the world. "Open Your Mouth" is one of their goals each week. We really want to try to be better at "opening our mouths" about the Gospel when we are back in our own vineyard. Jumali has been to Church each week for three weeks since we found him. His wife is now having the lessons. We were so blessed to be able to "open our mouth's" to him. That is just this vineyard. How about your vineyard?
You are always in our prayers. You are always in our thoughts. You all mean the world to us.
Mom & Dad