This letter comes to you via Noah's Ark!
Whoa!!! The rain, the rain.... I think we must be on the fringe of a typhoon or somethin'! But the "dry season" is just about upon us, and then we'll be wishing that it would rain. We have tomorrow "off" because there has been something everyday and we need to give Bono a day off now and then. Tuesday there is a 5 hour Stake Relief Society Birthday Party that I am sure will make next weeks letter. And also on Tuesday, Sara and Kyle will be enjoying their 9th(?) anniversary. Busy, busy....
We have done a bunch of searching this week. Unfortunately, either no one lives where they are "suppose" to, or they have moved to other islands or places far away. On one hand it is good to know that they have not been ignored, but it is sad to know that they are really "lost". Soooooo many lost sheep. Elder Kusumarmanto told us this week that out of the 6000 Indonesian members, 2000 are lost. Well, I'll be adding about 25 or so to that list when I forward it to Salt Lake. The mission has a new Indo Branch that Elder Kusumarmato leads as Branch President. It includes everyone who is beyond a 2 hour distance from a Active Chapel. Some of the islands have members but no organization, missionaries, or units. President is trying to get some missionaries on Kalimantan where there are a number of members living. We just lost the Branch in Bali because the family that was the "glue" that held it together had to move. That old Adversary.... The mail system (what mail system...) is so terrible here. So you visit the auntie of a member and she tells you he has moved to Jakarta, and you say "can you tell us where in Jakarta?" and she shakes her head. "Do you know of someone who would know?" She shakes her head. The parents usually don't know, so you ask for a phone # and they give you that, but Indonesians change phone providers more often than addresses! Aaaaagggghhh!!! There is certainly the "ninety and nine" here, but every so often we find the "one" and THAT makes it all worth it.
We finished working on numbers in Seminary English. Tuesday we worked on money. Soooo fun. We had come up with situations where they had to use my play dollars. Ordering a pizza, buying a bus ticket, going to the store, paying for a taxi, delivering a pizza and being paid, cashing a pay check, figuring the tithing, asking for money from a deposited pay check, and on and on. Actually, they did quite well. We also worked on being polite and asking the right questions. It was so fun to hear them tell the bus driver where they wanted to go in English and then figure out a tip.
Wednesday we worked on time. There are some strange translations of time from Indonesian to English. So we thought they better know what to say in English. So we worked on politely asking for the time, asking what time things began, what time their bus would leave, what time to be to work, if they should be there early, and then thanking the person for their time. So... "Excuse me, please, could you tell me which bus leaves for downtown and what time it leaves?" Then, "Thank you for you time and information." We also worked on how to tell time in English... "Quarter ta three, ten after two, midnight, noon, etc" We drew a big clock, and they were given a "time" and they had to draw the hands on the clock to the right time. We included "half past kissing time, time to kiss again", and "zero dark thirty" (not the movie), but the response to the question, "How late did the meeting go last night?" They were so interested,and loved learning.
THEN... on Thursday we showed them, "Brave"! At first we used English subtitles, but we decided that the Scottish brogue was too much for them, so we changed it to Indonesian subtitles. They did better, and they loved it. We also fed them donuts. Now I'm not beyond understanding that a donut can produce wonderful feelings, but as they were leaving, Gilang walked up to me and said,(with a shy smile) "Sister Greenway, I love you." Wow! Wow! Wow! I just put my arm around his shoulder, gave a little squeeze, and said, "Why Gilang! I love you, too. I love you all!" AND WE DO!!!!!!
I just want to mention the weekend, then I will have Elder Greenway talk about his Friday. Saturday we helped the Elders from Solo 1 and Solo 2 move from "rat heaven" (their old house) to their new house, which is better but needed a good cleaning. Lower income homes here usually will have a dirt floor, or a poured cement floor. A nicer home will have tiled floors and usually tiled walls in some rooms. I have never seen carpet in any home so far. So it shouldn't have surprised me as I was vacuuming and mopping yesterday (Elder was out getting office chairs etc.) , that Elders Hasibuan and Mortoyo swept one of the rooms near the outside drain and then took the hose and squirted out the remaining dirt. So I took their lead, and scrubbed and squirted out the kitchen. Clever boys! Elders Lee and James where moving furniture and organizing. What great guys! Then today I practiced with Banjasari Relief Society, (remember they are getting new "costumes" (they call it) to sing on Tuesday and next Sunday) for their performance at the Stake Relief Society Day, and in Sacrament meeting next week. Sister Knorpp and I must dress-up, too! We also attended at the other building in Solo 1. The Counselor in the Bishopric asked if his wife, Sri Rejekti, could take piano from me. She plays, but wants to play better, so she will begin next Friday morning at 11:30, right before DDM. They have a son, Refiro(about 3), who loves Elder and looks for him each Sunday. When we are at Solo 1 they always have me play piano, so this is a good thing. Sri should be playing each Sunday and feeling confidant about it.
On Friday, Bono and I (Elder Greenway) took Elder and Sister Kusumarmanto and two of the Jogja Sisters (SisterCanty and Sister Suryani) to Magetan so that Sister Suryani could renew her ID card. It was a three hour trip over the mountain to Jawa Timur (East Java). We visited with the sister's family which included her father, mother, 14 yo sister, her grandmother, and the village secretary, who happens to be her uncle. Renewing her ID is turning into a more complicated issue which has its genesis with Sister Suryani leaving her family to work in Singapore and then Hong Kong when she was 14 years old. I need to mention that this visit was the first time that she had seen her family in about 4 years! So it was quite a reunion! And ever the missionary, SisterSuryani spent some one-on-one time with her sister, sharing the Gospel. She had sent some materials to her sister to read and left her personal Book of Mormon with her sister before we left. We were treated very kindly and fed a large lunch. I will share some photos of their home. Apparently, we will have to return at some future time to complete the ID paperwork. Oh, I need to mention that Sister Canty and I were the first bules(boo lays = white people) to have ever been in their home and probably in the village.
After our visit, we headed off to find Lilik. Elder Kusumarmanto is the Branch President of the "Indonesian Branch", which was created for the records of the members who live more than two hours from an organized unit. Sister Lilik is a member, baptized in Hong Kong, who has moved back to the Magetan area. She lives with her mother, her sister, and her son, Afries, who just turned 1 year old. Her husband works in Kalimantan, the northern most Indonesian province on the island of Borneo and can come home only about once a year. All were wonderful, friendly, welcoming people. Elder and Sister Kusumarmanto shared a brief lesson with the family and before we left, Sister Lilik asked for a priesthood blessing, which Elder K., Bono, and I were able to give her. Elder Kusumarmanto asked if Sister and Elder G. could visit her maybe ever couple of months with some missionaries. Of course I accepted the assignment. I should mention, also, that the Kusumarmantos are a missionary couple called to be the PEF area directors. They have been traveling in Jawa Tengah since Wednesday making PEF presentations in Jogja, Magelang, and Solo (which they did Saturday evening). They are a great and remarkable couple and are an example of the faithful members in Indonesia.
We tell you that over and over, but that is only because it is true! These wonderful people are the true pioneers of Indonesia.
We love and miss you all,
Elder and Sister Greenway
p.s Our spell check is not working ?????? So if there are crazy spellings (other than Indonesian words), now you know why!