Here's to you from paradise!
What a fun birthday week! Between Jackson's, Ty's, and my own birthday we did a bunch of skypeing and a lot of fun talking to family. Thank you for your birthday notes and good wishes. Besides birthday fun, we also attended the last 2 Ward Parties this week. BUT!!! we also spent some time NOT partying!!!
We sadly spent our Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at our last piano lessons. Tuesday we went to fetch Luki, Lala, and Kiki for piano. They are siblings that belong to Sister Diah. She is a wonderful, loving mother and her children are obedient, happy children. Elder baptized Lala, right after we got here... then baptized Luki just this past while. We are very invested in those children. We also taught Willi, Bishop Suparno's son. He started lessons just after we arrived, and last week he play "Called to Serve" right out of the hymnal!!! in Sacrament meeting. I mentioned to him the week before that every young man who wants to serve a mission should learn to play that song. Wow.... Veve also came to lessons. She is not a member, but her mother has been totally okay with her playing Hymns Made Easy, and other Church related music. There are others, but let me tell you about Wednesday. Bila came a 2:00 p.m. Bila is the Muslim girl who sings, plays piano, and paints. (Remember the painting of me in Javanese Style?) She is playing a Beethoven piece which is lovely. She brought me a beautiful batik blouse. I could not believe it! We spent time with her, and Natasa, Tyas, Niken and Katerin, Didi, Dandi, and Devara. Sigh........
But we had to hurry, because on Wednesday night Banjasari Ward had there party. It started with a Javanese dancer that did the Rice Dance. The dancer wears green but uses a gold scarf. The green represents the young rice plant, the gold represents the ripened rice ready to harvest. It was delightful. Then they had some of the piano students play, and the Bishop played piano while his wife sang a "lonely" song. Brother Busro and Ida sang a duet, and there was a much discussion about Javanese customs. Brother Tomi and family presented Elder with a Batak "Usa"(oosah) which is a woven shoulder cloth that Batak men wear to show family solidarity. It seems that Elder is an "adopted" member of the Batak Tomi family. Sister Dewi who makes batik, gave me some beautiful batik. At the end the youth danced the 2 dances we taught so often, a western line dance and the Virginia Reel! We really enjoyed the evening.
Friday evening was the Solo 1 party. This was a missionary fireside that also honored Friska. She is the sister that was called to Australia months ago, she and Elder have been working on her visas forever. At first she was heading to New Zealand to the MTC, but New Zealand does not like Indonesia, so that was fruitless soooooo now she is headed to Provo MTC and they are in the process of w a i t i n g............ (The entire Solo 1 ward fasted today for the visas to come soon). They had speakers and testimonies, the primary sang, and at the end the youth sang. We love to hear them sing. It was very special. All these parties come with traditional Javanese food, which we enjoyed.
We also did some sorting and disposing in our apartment, some packing...repacking...and then repacking. But we did something luxurious on Monday that we have never done since we arrived. We went with the Knorpps to Jogja to see the Indian Ocean, and then went shopping on Malioboro street and simply "took the day". I know Elder is sending some pictures of the ocean, etc. There isn't a way for you to see the actual magnificence of this particular beach. They did not allow swimming, and if you could have felt the power of the waves you would understand why. Even if the waves swept in and ran over your feet, the power made it hard to stand. The waves were huge, and broke over and over, and then swept up the beach. We walked perhaps 3 miles up and back the beach, we walked to some cliffs and near a resort village. If anyone wants a quiet vacation to the ocean you can't swim in, but a volcanic sand beach that is beautiful, well this was it.
We have called these events parties, but they were tender, heartfelt events that blessed our lives. We will spend this week finishing the Banjasari "lost sheep" list, trying to pull up the list for Jebres that they will have to work on, we'll have to empty out the apartment, and if we can... we would like to have a final YSA/APYW movie night. So much to do... mostly we are feeling the Spirit that tells us how much we are loved by our Father in Heaven, and His son. We are feeling overwhelmed by our blessings and gratitude for the joy they bring. We have been given so much...
Love you all,
Elder and Sister.