Hello Dear Family and Friends,
Have we ever told you about our Internet Provider here in Solo? It is called AHA! And it is the World’s best of the worst providers. I am writing this on Word, because I started this letter twice and both times it just shuts down. I know I should just be grateful it isn’t going by boat and then by pony express! (However, sometimes I think it would be less frustrating). Speaking of frustrating, we will miss our Sara’s and Tanya’s birthdays this week! Sara had the unlucky blessing to be born in our family after Adam, Matt, and John. She has proven her courage over and over! Tanya just blindly married into this craziness when she married Matt. We hope they have wonderful birthdays, and are blessed for their tribulations!
Today was Mas Parno’s baptism. He is Nonik’s husband (she is a long time member), and the father of two children. He has overcome a smoking problem, and has taken his time to be sure, but today he became the newest member of the Solo 2 Ward. He was first taught by Elders Martoyo and James. Then Elder James was transferred and Elder Johnson from American Fork came to Solo. It was especially great because Elder Martoyo is being transferred this week. When there is a baptism in one of the Solo Wards, it is almost always on a Sunday right after Church, and the entire Ward attends. It is always a quiet celebration!
This past week the Indonesian Mission received 8 new American Elders, and 2 new American Sisters! Soooooo, we are having a major transfer this week. We are losing Elders Wijaya, Martoyo, and Earls. Elder Earls is all done and headed home. We are also losing both Sisters Hutcheson, and Manullang. Sister Hutcheson is going to Medan on the island of Sumatra. It has only been open to Sisters for less than a year. So, Tuesday we will be running missionaries to the airport…. and fetching 2 brand new American Elders and 1 brand new American Sister. The other two are transfers from other areas in the Mission, 1 Elder and 1 Sister. Busy day!!!
This past week we did a bit of traveling ourselves. Thursday we set off early for Magetan (3 hours+) to see Lilik. She is a return missionary who lives too far away to attend a ward. There are others like Lalik, so the President called Elder Kusamarmanto as Branch President and formed the Indo Branch to try to serve the needs of those far away. (Elder Kusamarmanto is also over PEF/ERS for Indonesia) We took the Sisters with us and drove up, up, up, up on some of the worst “Barfer Roads” (a term invented by our daughter-in-law Amy to define Pennsylvania back roads) you have ever seen. We found out that Sister Manulang has spent very little time in a car in her life, and she proved to us that these “Barfer Roads” were worse than any in PA. Let’s just say we made multiple stops…. However we did have a wonderful ,long visit with Lilik and her non-member sister, mother and tiny son,… and we did look for another “missing” member,… before we traveled down, down, down, down, making more multiple stops back to Solo. We got back just in time to teach English.
We have been working on bearing Testimony in English this past week. Thursday evening our “kids” (they all call me Gramma) wrote their testimonies in English!!! Amazing! They did a fabulous job, with just some minor corrections. Then we offered a challenge. We told them that if 6 of them would stand on Fast Sunday in July, and share their testimonies in English, then Elder and I would have to do the same in Indonesian. If 8 of them stand up, then we will get ice cream. This is quite a challenge… and they were amazed. But we think they can do it. Just imagine if the whole thing was reversed, and someone challenged you to do this. But then we have told you and TOLD YOU about these amazing youth. We’ll see…..
Yesterday, Saturday, we took Widap and Elders Martoyo and Johnson with us to see a number of members that live out (about 45 minutes) from the building. One sister is Widap’s sister, Isworo. She rides her “motor” to church every week with her 6 year old son, and 4 year old twin girls. Her husband is Muslim, but we taught the entire family. It was lovely. Then we walked around and through the rice paddies to visit Sister Ani (Annie), and her mother. Ani’s mother is Sister Tri’s sister, (Sis. Tri is the RS Pres. for Solo 2). She is less active (long time), but they were delightful and fed us boiled peanuts, and Indonesian Chips, and it was a great visit. We drove on a while and visited Brother Jumadi, and elderly member who has pretty good English. He is a retired school teacher, and lives alone in a quite lovely home. He was tickled that we all came by to see him. We got back around 2 p.m. just in time to find out that the Elder’s apartment had been robbed (AGAIN! This is the 3rd time since we’ve been here). This was a minor loss robbery compared to the others. They seemed in a hurry to get in and out. We think they target the Elders because they’re gone a lot and because there are Americans living there. Indonesians think all Americans are rich, and we probably are compared to most of them.
We also had some time this week to teach piano (Tuesday and Wednesday), do our home teaching to Brother Mulyono’s and go searching for two lost members in a “red zone” (Monday), teach English (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday), and go to DDM and hear a very spiritual lesson prepared by Elder Earls on loving those we teach. He and we were all in tears.
This week we will lose President and Sister Groberg…. they have been a marvelous blessing to the members and many non-members in Indonesia!!!! They are tireless, very loving, spiritual, delightful, and wise leaders. We have all been blessed to serve with them and around them. Elder and I have been with them through 2 of their 3 years. They have had 8 grandchildren born while they were gone. They deserve a long rest, but quite frankly we don’t think they know HOW to rest! We do really love and appreciate their time here, and we will miss them tremendously. There is such a joy being part of this wonderful blessing called Missionary Work. We hope you are all endeavoring to be part of this blessing. “Open your mouths”… be “of your religion”!
Elder and Sister G.