Dearest and most wonderful family and friends,
"I think the world is glorious and lovely as can be!" This week has been a glorious week!!! We know that the U.S. has had it's share of tragedies during the week, but in beautiful Solo, Indonesia we bask in the feelings of warmth that living in the tropics can bring, and the feelings of warmth that come from the Spirit of God. The beginning of the week was somewhat normal. We taught piano, we taught English, we went searching for the less active, AND we prepared for Stake Conference. So we will fast forward to Friday. But before we do that, we would like to wish John and Lynn a Happy Anniversary on the 29th, just in case we forget next week!!!!
Friday began with and early DDM. Those dear missionaries moved the meeting forward to have time to complete there appointments before the 5:00 p.m. Stake Choir Practice. I believe I mentioned last week that the Stake President let us cancel Seminary and Institute for Friday night to make room for that last practice. DDM was a marvel. Our new District Leader, Elder Lee, has asked that all DDMs be conducted in English from now on. He is doing that to help the Indonesian Elders and Sisters learn English. So, there is some translating, but the meeting is in English. Also, last week he gave us each a card with the name of an Apostle or member of the First Presidency. He gave us the assignment to listen to that person's talk in General Conference and to: 1. Share the topic. 2. Listen for 3 important points to share. 3. Use a scripture that was used in the talk. 4. Apply the talk to missionary work. 5. Report all of this in 1 minute at DDM in English! For some of the Indonesian Missionaries this was a big deal. But every report was wonderful, and both English speaking and those Indonesian Missionaries did a tremendous job. We were so impressed.
By that time on Friday we had realized that we would have 11 guests to our apartment for a luncheon after Stake Conference on Sunday. So Bono zoomed to Lotto Mart to pick up a few things for beef stew, etc... then zoomed us to the apartment to put things away, and then we zoomed to Kapatihan for choir practice. Now we will not talk about that final, beautiful practice, only to say that everyone was there, and that I asked that in their personal prayers they ask for the Spirit to abide in our hearts, and the hearts of those who would hear us sing. Then Widap said a lovely closing prayer for all of us, and everyone lingered to enjoy the Spirit that beautiful music brings. Friday evening Elder and I prepared all the fixings for Beef Stew to be ready to cook on Saturday.
NOW... Saturday we had an appointment with the Jebres Elders (Elders Watson and Wijaya) to visit with a family. Do you remember way back about week 10 or so when Elder baptized sweet Lala, the young girl who was afraid of the water? Her family moved from a pretty horrible home near the church, to a much nicer home somewhat further from the church. That move has stopped piano lessons for Lala, her sister Kiki, and her brother Luki. It has also stopped Kiki's attendance at Seminary although her older sister Loan (Lowahnn) has been coming so.... We also knew that Luki should have been baptized months ago, but his non-member father had not yet given permission, and the Mother, Diah, wanted Elder and I to ask for his permission. So the Elders made an appointment, and we fetched them, and drove to the humble new home. We just visited for a while. Besides Lala, Luki, Kiki, and Loan, there are 2 little brothers Moses, and Enso. There are actually 13 children but the rest are older. So we shared some candy with the children, Elder teased Moses and Enso, and we talked to their father about his work. Then we gave them one of our family pictures. We talked about families being our important purpose here on earth. We told them we loved their family and wanted them to remember us, because we would never forget them. Then we asked if we could come on Tuesdays and get them for piano and seminary, and they agreed. Then we asked the father, if Luki agreed, if Elder could have the honor to baptized Luki. HE AGREED! We asked when they would like this to happen, and they said NEXT SUNDAY! Joyful! Joyful! Joyful! Now you have to realize that most of this was being translated to them through Elder Watson. So it took some time. It was a lovely meeting. So next Sunday...
Then we zoomed home to mix up the stew and get it in the crock pot, and the stove pot. (We needed a lot of stew). Saturday evening was the adult session of Stake Conference, which is always wonderful no matter WHAT Stake you live in. After that meeting Pres. Ipung, a very erect, stoic, member of the Stake Presidency came to us and asked when we go home. I told him August 12, and he started to count on his fingers and then he stopped and pushed out his bottom lip in sadness and just looked at us. Whenever someone does that I dissolve into tears, and then it seemed that those tears just hovered near the surface all night and all of today.
At 9:55 a.m. the youth and young single adults of the 4 Solo Wards stood and sang "As Sisters in Zion/We'll Bring the World His Truth" medley. If we sang it 10 times in a row, it would not have ever been as perfect as that one time. Then Conference began, they did the sustainings etc., then the choir stood again and sang "This Is The Christ". I think we all have had experiences in our lives when the strength of the Holy Spirit is so strong that our hearts pound and our own spirit is lifted and soars. To have that strength penetrate the entire space of that large building was more than I have ever known. Intense is the word that comes to mind. When it was over, the Stake President audibly exhaled a sigh. The list of excellent speakers went on, then the Stake President spoke about becoming perfected in Christ. Toward the end of his talk, he spoke about when Christ comes again. Amazing, considering we had never spoken about his topic or the name of the closing song which the Choir then performed. They stood and sweetly sang, "I Wonder When He Comes Again", first in Indonesian, then in English. "Each day I'll try to do my part, and let my light so shine. That others seeing me may seek, for greater light divine. And when that blessed day is come, He'll LOVE me and He'll say, "You've served me well my little child. Come into my arms to stay." Can it ever be better than that? I know the prayers of those youth were answered in a very profound way. They felt it, and they would look at me all during the meeting and smile teary smiles. We love them with great appreciation for being just simply so faithful. We have learned a lifetime of lessons from them. They live so humbly, they give so richly, and they go on so nobly. We are blessed by their love.
We pray for you and yours each day. We know that some of you are carrying heavy hearts. We have learned from these beautiful, brown, glorious people to have faith. With that faith comes peace, and instruction. We love you all and are always concerned for your welfare. Try to hold on and smile...
With great love and joy,
Mom & Dad