Monthly Archives: March 2007

28 March 2007

12 March 2007 – Monday

Ran, sit-ups and treadmill but not for long. I am finding running much easier but still have not tried to go a full lap. I am working my way up to that. We spent the morning doing some cleaning up, reading from the Kitab Mormon. We are reading it in Indonesian, seeing how many of the words we know and then reading it in English. We are not working hard at translating.

We got a call from the Hashs and they are going to stay over. I volunteered to pick them up at the airport – they were going to take a taxi – and to take them to the mission home. I called Sam and he happily volunteered to give up part of his Monday. Mary did not go because she needed to stay home for the cleaning lady.

We arrived at the airport a half hour early and it is a good thing because I did not get which airline they were taking. We checked Garuda and found they did not have a flight from Malang so I called Mary and she remembered a letter that mentioned there was only one airline flying between Jakarta and Malang. She found the letter and we made it to the right terminal in plenty of time.

We talked about our missions – they are having a great time with the missionaries and members. They are doing well with the language – they try to use it as much as they can. Something we need to do. Today is Elder Hash’s birthday – something he would just as soon forget about.

Since we were at the Mission Home I took Sam to BYU – I invited Elder Hash but since Sister Hash was with Sister Jensen he declined. As usual I loved the food. The Hashs and four other foreign missionaries headed off to immigration and Sam and I headed for the store. I told Elder Hash to call us when they got settled at the Harris.

Shopping was an experience – not a really good one because I did not know where anything was. We never did find paper towels and they were out of stroganoff mix – everything else on the list was finally found.

13 March 2007 – Tuesday

A normal day with one exception. We had the opportunity to go with Elder Thiemann and Basaki to visit a less-active woman at her nursery shop. The shop is located on the median of a road. It is one a number of nurseries – something they do a lot here – and I wonder if someone just took over this strip or if it is private land. In any case she must pay about $35 a month to have her shop there.

Do to an argument with her family she sleep in the ‘office’ of the shop. This is a block and bamboo building – I must take a picture of it the next time we are there – with a dirt floor and a sleeping loft with a ladder leading up to it. There is probably electricity but I am not sure.

Sister Pauline is 65 and joined the church less than 5 years ago. I am not sure she ever had a testimony of what she was doing but loved the missionaries and liked the idea of being part of something. It seems that she was offended when a sister told her she should not wear pants to church. Then when she asked the branch president for some assistance he told others – probably the branch welfare committee – and she found out about that. So she now uses these as reasons why she does not come back to church. But since she has never read the Kitab Mormon, knows little about the gospel and is some distance from the chapel – it used to be closer – I am fairly sure she is just using all of the other things as excuses.

As we were talking I felt the need to give her a blessing – I believe to try to bring in the spirit. She asked me to give it so elder Thiemann had to interpret for me. It did not seem to help as she kept up repeating her reasons for not attending. I find that when people work that hard at trying to convince others, they are really only trying to convince themselves. I say this because I am very good at coming up with reasons for my actions – especially those that I know are not what the Lord wants so much as what I want.

After our visit, we took the opportunity to buy some more plants for our apartment. She did not have a large assortment but we found two we liked. I was pretty sure she was not charging us enough so I gave her more than she asked. She then insisted on giving Mary a plant that she had been admiring.
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We will try to go back and visit her in the future – with the elders and without them.

14 March 2007 – Wednesday

Our normal day at the office – no one came in. Sam finished calling last year’s Career Workshop attendees and started putting the data into an Excel spread sheet. We worked on English and other things.

I got a call from Elder Kane saying that there was going to be a meeting of drivers to talk to them about some gossip that is going around so Sam needed to be at the mission home. It turned out that he and the Kane’s driver were the only ones that came – the President needed to use Ari and John – so Elder Kane did not have a very big group to work with.

While Sam was in his meeting Mary and I had little to do except visit with other people and read the latest Church News. I spent some time with brother Tandiman talking about the need to start teaching the youth about the importance of choosing careers that provide the best possibilities for success. Also to choose the right schools to attend. We talked about the fact that most people are just happy to have a job so they really do not think much about careers.

We also talked about the need to improve our knowledge about resources so we can recommend schools for them to go to. It seems that little has been done in this area so perhaps that is why we have been sent here. I mentioned that I was at a disadvantage because I did not speak the language so perhaps we could use CES people to look at schools – especially trade schools.

After Sam was done with his meeting we went shopping for office supplies, food and other things. I bought 2 more white shirts because I seem to go through two of them each month. At $4 each I guess I can afford them.

Mary fixed a really nice dinner of beef stroganoff, green beans and garlic bread. The meat was a little tough but it was still excellent. I ate much too much of everything. We really do not often eat big meals and there are few places near by where we can go out. But I am afraid we have found a good source for ice cream and for cookies that we like. Not what I would call a balanced diet.

15 March 2007 – Thursday

Wow I am getting lazy about writing in this journal.

A normal Thursday for us – well I guess not really. It was different because we had a new hot water heater installed. The old one held about 8 gallons and that was not enough to let Mary have a good hot bath and me to shower. So they installed one that holds about 27 gallons – which is still small for America but huge for here. We are splitting the cost with the owner. He said that the complex came with only a 30 liter heater because they never thought anyone would want to bath and shower at the same time.

After the workmen left, I took a taxi to the office where we prepared for our English classes. We still have not had a single person come in for help with job searching. It is a good thing that there are other projects that we can be involved in.

The Tangerang elders continue struggle with their work. I keep trying to suggest that they try new things. I encouraged them to spend more time getting referrals – all the missionaries say that most of their baptisms have come from referrals. What I get from them is that they ask and the members have excuses for not giving them. I am going to continue to work with the ward mission leaders to help the missionaries get referrals.

English class was normal. I am not sure how much English any of the young children are learning but at least they are getting some exposure. Like most things in the kingdom, we have them only for an hour or so each week. Unless the parents take an interest in teaching English in the home, they are not going to progress very far.

16 March 2007 – Friday

Walking and running in the morning is getting easier. I am able to recover from running much faster and so I can do more laps. However the gym does not interest me at all – I go in and do my sit-ups and check my weight before leaving.

We go directly to Jakarta Raya for the district meeting. The elders there are much more receptive to the idea of working harder for referrals. I point out that getting referrals for finding good investigators is much like networking for finding a job. If they can make 10 contacts a day and ask for referrals, they are likely to find a person who will listen to their message and be baptized.

After the meeting we came back to the office eat our lunch and to send out some faxes about the coming Career Workshop in Bogor. After that we went to the University to teach English. We had decided to split the class into two groups – beginning and advanced. Mary took the beginners and had 7 come. I had the advance and had no one. So I spent the time looking over Jakarta – we were on the 5th floor – and take in its strange beauty, studying Indonesia, and thinking about what I would teach if anyone showed up. I did not mind the quiet hour at all.

From there we headed to the mission home where we picked up elder and sister Petersen and went to dinner. They knew a nice place called The Fisherman where they had gone to eat with elder Subandriyo. We got there before they were officially open, but they invited us in. It turned out for the hour we were there, we were the only customers in a very large restaurant.

They served many different dishes from the Asian area. We tried beef, chicken, and crab dishes as well as spring rolls, broccoli, and fried rice. It was very good – well the crab was only fair – and just enough to be full without being uncomfortable. We had a nice talk with the Petersens and we got to know each other better. They will be heading home to Orem in August.

We continue to read in the Kitab Mormon but when we reach one of the Isaiah passages where he compares what is going on with a lot different things we do not try to translate what we read but just see what it says in English. Mary continues to increase her vocabulary and more importantly remembers it. It is only when she tries to speak that it seems to disappear from her mind. But she is now writing sentences using her vocabulary and has Sam correct them.

17 March 2007 – Saturday

Both of us tried to stay in bed as long as we could…hopefully we will become more enthused as the day goes on. Very normal morning only a little rushed because we go in at 9 instead of 10. Maybe today is the day we will get someone to come into the office for help.

We read in the Kitab Mormon – God is still not happy with His people and Isaiah lists all the ways they – especially the sinners – will be punished. Obviously all of these warnings did not work – maybe he should have tried something else?

The air-conditioning folks are supposed to come by to correct the problem of water running out of the unit and down the walls. I would like to have a waterfall in our living room but I do not think this is the right way to go.  After I wrote this I waited and when no one came I called the management office and was told they did not make appointments for air-conditioning service. So I guess I was dreaming that they had told me about the appointment. Next time I will get the young lady’s name.

I caught a cab to the office – Sam had taken Mary at 8:45 – where we spent the next four hours doing busy work, preparing English lessons, and trying to figure out how to get someone to come into the office. More and more I am coming to the idea that we are not in the right place – we should be in Solo.

We came home and I had a good nap before we left for Tangerang 2’s Relief Society birthday celebration. They had asked me to write a letter to Mary telling her what she meant to me. What I did not know was that I was going to read it out loud to the whole meeting of 40 – 50 people. Each husband got to do that and where there were no husbands the RS presidency had either written a letter to the sister or had the sister’s children write one. Mary played the piano – every branch knows her musical talents.

Elder Roper was excited because there were two less active sisters and two non-LDS husbands at the meeting. He interpreted for us and so we kept up pretty well with what was going on. After the meeting they had a nice buffet dinner of traditional food which was very good. They carefully kept us away from the food that was too spicy.

The mingling with the members and their friendship made up for the lack of success earlier in the day. The Lord manages to give us something each day as a reward for our serving. I am sure there is more for us to accomplish during our time here.

18 March 2007 – Sunday

We both slept in until 6 – talk about luxury. We are almost through the thick prose of 2nd Nephi – it will be a blessing to emerge from it into the normal language of Nephi’s own writing.

We went to Jakarta, Raya branch for all their meetings. We are beginning to understand more and more of the words – at least we recognize the words and some are immediately translated while others have to be thought about. Sam told us what the talks were about and we tried to understand what was being said. I hear enough that I am not discouraged and in classes we can follow along while they read and even understand much of what is read.

The Relief Society choir – that is all the sisters in the branch – sang as part of the RS celebration. Elder Cheney gave the Gospel Principles lesson and did a pretty good job. He is coming right along with the language and in a month will be rattling it off with the best of them. They had 2 investigators at church but only one stayed for all the block. At least they have some thing going for them. Elder Decker taught the PH class and did fine – I do wish the elders would get the classes more involved by asking leading questions. It is much livelier when a member teaches – or at least usually it is.

After the block Mary helped a young lady with a short piano lesson. She says she just needs to learn how to use the pedals better. While she was teaching it started to rain – really rain – so we got to drive most of the way home in a thunderstorm. Just 25 minutes of that kind of rain causes some of the streets to start to flood. The good thing is that it keeps the motorcycles – at least most of them – under bridges and other places out of the rain. This means the drive home went very quickly.

The people here are great and I am sure that once we learn enough Indonesian to carry on a conversation with them, that we will find that they are great friends. I notice they easily laugh and enjoy kidding around. They have strong opinions but never seem to get angry when people disagree with them. The sisters – at least some of them – are willing to express their thoughts in classes and are not afraid to speak up when a brother says something they disagree with. But usually this is done with a remark that brings laughter from the class – including the one who they disagree with.

Today I had a long conversation with brother Rusdi Leo – I am not sure which name is which – who from what people have said is very wealthy. He is a partner in a brine shrimp business that operates on the Great Salt Lake and ships around the world. Someone told me that the brine shrimp license cost about $1 million US. He told me that there is only about 30 days a year that they can actually gather brine shrimp eggs but in that time they get enough to last all year.

The eggs are processed in Utah – dried and vacuum packed in cans with each gram holding about 250,000 brine shrimp eggs. When the dried eggs are put into water, the shrimp hatch. They are mostly sold to fish hatcheries for feeding the fry.

After I get to know him better I am going to ask him to help me find resources for jobs and schools to help our members. I will be surprised if he is not happy to do this – I am sure he has time.

19 March 2007 – Monday

Another week on our mission. It seems like we have been here a long time and yet it is also like we just got here. We have pretty much adapted to the pace of Jakarta and the Indonesian people.

Speaking of the Indonesian people, I am convinced that any three of them with simple tools could repair or build almost anything. When we dropped by the office on Friday we found that they had torn the facade off the overhang that protects the front door of the building. Three men – one of them a member of the branch presidency and custodian – were working with a couple of sheets of tin to make replacement parts. They were using little more than a tape measure, a very well used router, a hammer, and a pencil to make rather intricate set of parts.

On Saturday the work continued with them working on scaffolding made of bamboo. As they work others arrived who would plaster and paint the work. We did not go by on Sunday but I am pretty sure that when the saints arrived on Sunday morning they found the work finished with most of them never knowing that anything was done.

We woke at about 6 – my exercising is not going well – and started reading the Kitab Mormon at about 7:30. What a joy to get to where Nephi is again writing his thoughts. We can translate about 95% of what he says correctly with minimum use of the dictionary. We are still careless when it comes to looking at the prefixes to see when an action is taking place and we make some incorrect guesses at what a word means but I think we are doing quite well.

The maid came at 8:30 and I must say she is rather like a ghost while she is here. At times I forget she is here. That almost led to a disaster this morning. I was in the kitchen and got a knife from the sink and turned to use it at the counter. As I turned I was greatly surprised to find her moving between me and the counter. It was just luck that I did not stab her in the shoulder or face as I turned. We both kind of laughed but I will be more careful in the future.

Mary is going to Jakarta Raya for their RS birthday celebration. It is also a Buddhist holiday so most people do not have to work – as I mentioned they take a day off for any holiday of any religion. She is going for lunch and the afternoon program. I am staying home to work on my language, start to prepare my talk and to write our report to the president.

No one has written to ask why I am not posting this journal and so I will keep just keep saving it. Also no one showed up on Skype this morning – their Sunday night – and that is disappointing. We would love to have them check in each Sunday because we are usually home all morning.

While Mary was away, I was determined not to just sit around and do nothing. So I spent most of my time studying Indonesian. However I did do some inventive studying. Like when the sun came over the building and filled the deck with sun. I put on my trunks and sat out gathering rays while carefully studying. It got so hot that I finally had to come in, but not before I got enough sun to get a light tan. Hopefully I will be able to do this more now that the hot season is starting.

I wrote a long – probably too long – report to the president. I am sure he does not read all of them carefully. After all there are 60 – 70 missionaries sending him reports. I asked him to approve something so if he reads it he will need to respond.

I find myself praying a lot more than when I was at home. There is just a lot of things I need help with. From learning the language to getting inspiration about how to make the ERS work here. When PEF gets up and running that will be another thing. Then there is how to help the missionaries during district meetings, how to work with the branches, help to learn the names of the members, and pondering the scriptures. I have never had this much time – or at least I never took this much time – to improve my spirituality. As I write this I wish we had started serving missions 10 years ago. I am sure we could have found a way to do it…but we didn’t and it is our loss.

My suggestion to my children and grandchildren is go out as Senior Missionaries as soon as it is economically possible and continue as long as your health is good. Start planning and saving now for you missions together. It is the best thing you can do for yourselves and for the Lord. By the time you are 55 – 60 you should be able to go. What a great blessing it will be for you and your family. It is no sacrifice but it is the greatest blessing you can have together.

Mary got home about 5 and said she had a good time at the celebration. It seems that there were a number of PH holders there and maybe I should have gone. It would have allowed me to get closer to some of them. However I think I used the time wisely.

After the latest episode of The Amazing Race, we read from the Kitab Mormon for another 30 minutes. Then I got Mary interested in a TV show that kept her up until 11. I used that time to answer some e-mail and to read some posts on boards.

20 March 2007 – Tuesday

I was up at 5 and spent about 40 minutes running and walking. Mainly walking because I joined up with a man that is on contract with the embassy. We spent the time talking about his work, his life and the fact that he had a cousin who was LDS. He is from Maryland – his family is still there – and is a retired policeman. He is now working to stop the trafficing of people from poorer nations. He said he would get me an in with the members of the embassy staff that maybe able to help me with job information. Although I did not get as much jogging in as usual it was a good workout. It is very warm in the mornings and so I was a sweaty as I would have been if I had worked on the bike or treadmill.

After that it was a normal morning. We are up to chapter 26 in 2nd Nephi and it is almost fun. The Indonesian have an expression for ‘in a twinkling of an eye’ which is used in that chapter – even though the scripture in English uses ‘suddenly.’  We came across the word ‘miliki’ which means ‘to be’ but is not used much. What is strange is that it seems to be engraved in my mind, while much more common words just will not stick. The mind is a strange thing – I keep praying mine will absorb more of the language. I keep trying new ways of learning – from going over the same lesson in Asa-Asa Injil many times, writing things down and reviewing them often, and many other things in hopes that something will work better than another. I have taken it as a challenge and am not letting it get me frustrated – at least not too much.

The time at the office is used to prepare for our talks on Sunday and to write a few e-mails. I tried to contact President Webster from the English branch so I could set up a meeting. I want to ask him which members of his branch may be able to help me establish resources for jobs. The time went faster than usual – maybe it was because my mind was involved in thinking about what to say to promote missionary work.

After the office we drove over an hour to go home teaching. Salim has a good house and a small successful business. He manufactures straps for a company that drops off supplies and picks up finished goods twice a week. He has two or three people working for him. Business is good enough that he has been able to send his daughter to a good university in Bandung and his son to BYU Hawaii. His wife was visiting family on Sumatra. We carried on a nice conversation through Sam and then left a blessing on the home. The drive home only took an hour and I managed to sleep part of the way. That made it seem much shorter.

My talk on Sunday will concentrate on the members getting their temple recommends and giving the missionaries referrals so that they can build up the membership to a point where they will have stakes and then a temple. I need to check with president Jensen to make sure that it is OK to stress getting a temple recommend even if they can not go to a temple any time soon. I do not know the rules and I do not want to stick my foot in my mouth if the president is against this.

21 March 2007 – Wednesday

The days seem to be flying by. Soon after 5 I was out walking and jogging. After doing 7 laps this way I started walking with my new friend Bob and we continued until almost 6. The time flies by and I have found out a lot about him, his family, and his job. People love to talk about themselves and I enjoy learning from them. I am going to invite him over for dinner sometime soon so he can meet Mary. Maybe we will be able to get him interested in hearing more about the church. The Lord has given me an opportunity and now I need to find out how to best use it.

One of the things that I am very much thankful for is the increasing ability to hear the still small voice when it speaks to me. I find it telling me when I am not doing the right thing at the right time. Not that what I am doing is bad only that there is something that is better for me to be doing. Hopefully the time will come when I hear and follow the spirit more than I don’t. I am sure the Lord would like to bless me – and all of is other children – more but that my actions and thoughts do not allow Him to do this.

Our usual day at the employment office – no one came in. However I had Sam make three contacts with companies for some job opportunities and got a couple of good responses. Hopefully if we can start getting some people placed, others looking for work will hear about it and show up for help. I called Lukito about another job opportunity for a man in his branch looking for Human Resources work (Is that better Tyler?) He told me that he had held a Career Workshop on Monday just for that member. Hopefully it will help him do some networking and do better on his job interviews.

Mary worked all the time on her talk. She wrote it first in English and then translated it into Indonesian. She is having Sam see how well she did. Later in the day the professional translators at the mission office volunteered to look at it. I continue to think about what I want to say. I checked with President Jensen and he said that it was OK for me to challenge the adult members to get a temple recommend, even if they have never been endowed and may never have the opportunity to go to the temple. He quoted President Hunter saying this…I am going to use that in my talk. At least I think I will.

After the office we went to the mission home and picked up the mail for the Tangerang missionaries. I also talked to Elder Subandriyo about an English class in May – I told him I thought that I now had enough contacts to help anyone who can speak good English get a job. I hope that I am right.

Shopping, eating, working on talks – especially Mary – watching TV, listening to music, and studying Indonesian took up the rest of the day for us. I am afraid we do not make the best use of our time at the apartment. But if we were perfect, we would not have anything to work on.

Today we received a nice letter from Tyler telling about what he is doing and telling me not to become discouraged about my language skills. It is always wonderful to hear from any of our family. We include them in our prayers everyday and think about them often. However since we know we are doing what we should be doing, we are not sad to be away. We always have them in our hearts and we know we will be a family forever.

22 March 2007 – Thursday

I woke at 4 and started thinking about my talk, calling, home, etc. and thought I would never go back to sleep. I almost got up at 5 and exercised but decided to give myself one last chance to get a little more sleep and I did.

We continue our saga of reading in the Kitab Mormon. Now that we are in the easier parts of 2nd Nephi we buzz along at about two pages in an hour. I am also spending more time reading and studying by myself. If I am going to pray for the gift of tongues – Kerunia Lidah – I need to give the Lord something to work with.

At the office Mary works on her talk and I work on trying to get some people to either come in for help or to find new resources. I then spend a little time on my talk – I have a basic outline and think it will be OK. We leave at 1 so we can go by the mission office to get the reports I forgot to get yesterday. Then we go by SoGo to get Krispy Kreem donuts for the evening English class. They have a buy 6 get 6 free if you use a BCA card – unfortunately it had to be a BCA creditcard and we only have a BCA debit card. So no donuts this time – maybe next time.

The Tangerang district meeting was OK – they did not go over their standards of excellence, but they covered everything else. Elder Thiemann gave the lesson on recognizing the spirit – it went on a little long but he did a good job. It seems to me that some of the missionaries are physically there for the lesson, but not spiritually. I do not know if it is because they have heard it all so often or if they just do not have the spirit with them. I know that there are many times when I have been in a class but have not been there mentally.

My English class had only one student – Agus and Catherine’s oldest boy. We had a very good time because his English is quite good and he wants to learn. He is not all that interested when there are a lot of other people there, but with three Americans giving him our attention and help, he did a great job. After 45 minutes I told him that if he wanted to stop we could, but he said he wanted to do more.

23 March 2007 – Friday

No exercise but a lot of good sleep. Normal morning except that the air conditioning repair people came at 9:30. Just a little before that Mary left for the office so she could work on her talk some more. They were here until almost 11 so we were late to the Jakarta Raya district meeting. We joined for the last 15 minutes or so and used up most of the time asking about how they were doing and talking to the Indonesian elders about their need to learn English very well so we can help them start a good career with the Marriott chain.

We then took Elder Decker and Elder Sirait to their house to see what they had and what they needed to move into their new house. The house that they are living in is a real dump. There is an open sewer running in front – it was so bad that until we got inside, I had to breath through my mouth. The inside was a mess – mainly because the missionaries have not been keeping it up at all. They knew they were moving so they did not figure there was much use to keep it clean. We could understand that but the general mess will not be allowed in the new place.

We than went to the new home where we found that it was not really well laid out. The only place for their washer is in an unprotected outdoor area. Also there were no cabinets in the kitchen and not enough room for all of their kitchen items. They are also not sure that the microwave will work if anything else in the house is running. The paint job is the usual poor one with just enough paint on the walls to hide whatever is under it. I think that one thing that needs to be done in the future is that each new house should get a couple of coats of good paint before the missionaries move in.

After we had left, I called the president to report on their needs and what I felt were the problems. He was not happy but agreed to buy the things the needed. He was really unhappy about the problem with the washer and the cabinets. However he checked with the housing person and found that the contract called for the washer area to be covered and they are supposed to put in kitchen cabinets. We will just have to see about the microwave problem.

We came back to the apartment long enough to eat our lunch and then went to the University where Mary taught her class and I studied Indonesian for an hour. I would like to have one or two students but none of the more advanced staff seem interested. That is a shame because if I had a couple of students we could focus on their particular needs and maybe really help them.

The Roberts got in safely and will spend the evening in a hotel other than the Harris. I asked the president to give them our handphone number so they could call us if they wanted to do anything this evening or tomorrow so we can help them get settled in and not feel lonely.

In the evening we read the Kitab Mormon for another hour and had left-overs for dinner.

24 March 2007 – Saturday

A day spent mainly with preparing our talks for tomorrow. In the morning we read from Kitab Mormon and then went to the office. There was a District Leadership Meeting going on so there were a lot of cars in the lot when we got there.

No one came in to look for a job but we did get to talk to a few people. Jemmy from Jakarta Raya wanted some help in arranging for LDS pro golfers to come to Indonesia. I suggested the BYU golf team. He said it could probably be arranged. It will be interesting to see what comes of that.

We then had a branch president come in and ask for some help with one of the sisters in his branch who wants to go to the US to work but does not have the money to fly over. I told him that we could not really help but suggested a couple of things. I will talk to the mission president about how involved we can get on something like that.

Later two of the district presidency dropped in and we talked a little about employment, schooling, etc. Hopefully they will help us get the word out.

Mary remembered that she was supposed to meet with Sister Jensen to make plans for a music training program. She called her and asked when she wanted to meet and it turned out that Sister Jensen would be busy all day so they made it for tomorrow before the training started. This sounds like a thrown together kind of thing.

In the evening I contacted the Roberts to find out what they were doing tomorrow for Church. It sounds like they will be going with the Petersens but I have been trying to check with them to make sure they will be picking up the Roberts. I would have liked to have them with us – it would have been a good way to meet them and let them meet some of the people at Tangerang.

One fo the annoying things is that the internet has been down most of the evening. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me I need to put more time in on my talk. Mary has been reading and re-reading her talk for hours.

I have a number of notes for mine, but mainly I will just see what comes out. I feel that I have received inspiration about what I should talk about, I just need to make sure I say what needs to be said. I am going to suggest that each adult member become eligible to have a temple recommend and carry it with them where ever they go. I think I am supposed to also talk a little about getting their genealogy together. Unfortunately I do not know much about Indonesian genealogy except it is difficult.

25 March 2007 – Sunday

We spoke in Tangerang 2 today. The brother who spoke first took 25 minutes. Mary took 10 and I took 8. Mary did an excellent job reading her talk. I did fine except when I tried to talk Indonesian and then my mind went completely blank. However I had their complete attention during the part where I spoke English.

I used my passport and temple recommend as visual aids. I held up the passport and talked about how there were many in Indonesia who dream about having one because they believe it is a passport to a land of milk and honey. I then held up the temple recommend and told them that this is what they should be dreaming about having because it allowed the holder to enter the Lord’s tenple. I quoted Howard W. Hunter’s message about every member qualifying for and carrying a temple recommend. I then told the story about Cathleen Anderson and her renewing her recommend when she knew she was dying and would never use it. I challenged the members to all be worthy and get their temple recommend in the next year. My final point was to say that when I was dead my US passport would be useless but my temple recommend would be my passport to eternal life. I then proceeded to blow trying to bear my testimony in Indonesian. Elder Roper said that it was completely different speaking at the stand than anywhere else.

Both the Gospel Principle class and the PH class was good to be in. Elder Roper did a good job in GP – he did not read the lesson but actually gave one which gained him many points with Mary. In PH meeting I suggested that it was up to the men in the room as to when Indonesia would have a temple. I told them I thought if every family in the branch would give just one qualified referral a month to the missionaries that by next year there would be twice as many people in the chapel than there are now.

I am determined to be able to speak Indonesian well enough that in three more months I can participate in classes and to speak at the stand in at least passable Indonesian.

Mary had a music meeting and so she only had a half hour at the apartment before she had to leave.  When she and Sam were on the way home she called and suggested  I call the Roberts – the new couple – and asked them over. They accepted so while they were being picked up I hurriedly cleaned the apartment so that it did not look like a disaster area.

We had a real nice time with the Roberts and took them to dinner at our little restaurant downstairs. We learned more about them, answered a lot of questions, and finally put them in a cab to take them back to the Harris.

All in all it was a very good day and I know the Lord helped me convey the importance of my message about temple recommends.

26 March 2007 – Monday

I am back to waking up at about 3 and not being able to go back to sleep, I finally did sometime after 4:30 and slept until 6:30. We got to talk to Cindy, Jim and Bob this morning and that was great. We did not get to see Olivia because she was not home and neither were most of the Bob’s girls. Hopefully we will get to talk to them next week.

I also got a call from Elder Bulpitt about PEF. We now have an online application but the solution to the banking problem is being held up in Salt Lake and we still do not have a good copy of the Planning for Success work book so we can not get the Indonesian version finished. He suggested I ask Elder Subandriyo to try and speed things up while he is in SL for conference. The feeling here is that he is going to be receive a new calling while he is there.

We picked up the Roberts and headed to the mission home for our monthly PEF meeting. We found that Elder Subandriyo had already left for SL and that Elder Tandiman was not going to be in. So the meeting was cancelled. President Jensen took the time to interview us and told us that we were going to have 45 minutes at the couples conference instead of the usual 30. Even with this we had time to take the Roberts shopping for some things they needed. We stopped at KFC for lunch before going back to the mission home.

We then spent about an hour at Immigration getting out visas renewed. We thought it would be the Roberts that held us up but it was us and the missionaries who’s paperwork took time getting through the process. I found out that it cost about $70 in bribes for getting each approval. When  you figure the average Indonesian earns only $130 a month that is a big chunk of money.

After immigration we went to Carrefore where we got the Roberts set up with an electronic dictionary. I started talking to the floor manager about job opportunities and ended up giving him one of my cards and a pass-along card (which I had to get from Elder Roberts – who had it because I gave him some last night.) So at least we did a little missionary work. As we left the store I could tell they were tired – – and so was I.- so we dropped them off at their hotel and came home. I immediately ate lunch, wrote an e-mail to Elder Subandriyo and took a nice long nap.

27 March 2007 – Tuesday

The Roberts went with the Christensens to see the famous animal park up in Bogor, so it was a rather regular day for us. However I called Rudolf – the older Chinese man – and asked him if it would be OK for us to visit him. Mary had picked up a large picture of Christ and wanted to give it to him to go with the one he so treasures. He said it would be fine if we came at 3. We had a real nice visit and got to know him better. We never said anything about the church but we did talk some about religion and faith in Christ. It may take a year but at sometime I think we can get him to read the Book of Mormon and hopefully feel the spirit. It feels good to do some missionary work – that is to work with people and not just programs.

In the evening we picked up the Roberts and brought them to our apartment. We spent some time talking about the mission and what to expect. Answered their questions as best as we could. We had dinner at the restaurant in the complex. Sister Roberts really does not like anything new so I was glad that the chicken steak was so American that it could have been flying the flag. When the evening was done we put them in a cab and made sure the driver knew where they were going. I also told them which way he should go.

The Roberts will do great. Sister Roberts is even more determined than we are to learn the language and plunges right in without worrying if she makes a mistake. They both have a great spirit and the Saints in Solo are lucky to have them and the Barnards serving there.

28 March 2007 – Wednesday

We continue to read Kitab Mormon and continue to get better at it. At least we are getting better at the vocabulary. We still make too many mistakes about who is doing the actions and when it is being done because we do not pay enough attention to details. But over all we are progressing and that is the important part.

As usual we went to the office and did busy things. Sam picked up the Roberts at 11:30 and brought them to the office. Mary had made lunch for all of us and so we went into another room and visited while we ate. After we closed the office at 2, we took them back to their hotel to rest until we would pick them up after our evening meeting. We then came home and took short naps before heading back.

We had a very productive ERS meeting with Agus and Lukito. Partly because President Lee of the District Presidency joined us and not only contributed some comments but also took notes that I think he later brought up in their District Presidency meeting. We decided that we would try different things to improve the communication between the branches and our office. We also got the president’s permission to hold a training meeting for the branch specialists – in most cases a member of the branch presidency – before the big district leadership meeting on the 14th. Agus suggested we provide lunch as an incentive for everyone to come.

The meeting ran a little long so we were late picking up the Roberts. They did not mind at all because there was a trio singing popular American songs of the 70s and 80s. We decided to have dinner at the same place and afterwards we read a little from the Kitab Mormon. We wanted to show them what we did and give them encouragement to keep learning the language. We managed to keep them up until almost 8:30 before sending them back to the hotel. They had a little adventure when the taxi driver took the longer way to the hotel. They thought for a while that they were being taken for a ride but he was only taking the alternate – and longer – way there. The good part of all of this was that they went to bed late enough that they got a good night sleep.

29 March 2007 – Thursday

Our usual busy Thursday with the additions of the Roberts. We picked them up on the way to the office. Sam dropped us off and then took them to the mission home where they were to meet with President Jensen and learn about their trip to their field.

We stayed at the office working on our English classes until noon and then headed there ourselves. I wanted to get food from BYU and as we were driving there it started to rain. It was one of those Indonesian rainstorms that comes up and pours tons of water before rushing on its way. This one lasted a good 25 minutes and by the time we got the food and to the mission home in some places it had started to flood. Sam went in to the office to get a big umbrella so we would not get wet going in and while he was doing that the water around the car became a pond. We ended up driving into the compound to park.

I think I am beginning to enjoy a little more spicy food. I was disappointed that there was not more of the spicy potatoes to go with the rice. Sam had us try Gado Gado – a vegetable dish with tofu – but I did not care much for it. Elder Roberts ate some of the soup from BYU – at least he drank the broth.

By the time we had eaten and got everything done, it was time to head off to Tangerang for district meeting and English classes. The Roberts came along because they are interested in seeing what we did. We stopped along the way to get some of the Roberts dollars changed into Rupiahs but after fighting the traffic to the bank we found that they stopped changing money at 2.

The district meeting went well. We were surprised to find out that Elder Thiemann was made district leader – I have always thought that he would someday be an AP but being a district leader after only being out for 4 months is unusual. He is very spiritual and humble while still being a strong missionary. Elder Basuki has been transferred so Elder Thiemann has a new companion – Elder Samosir who has only been less than a month.

We had a good English class. Mine was back to normal while Mary had only about 2/3 of hers. The non-member did not show up. We had a lot of fun in my class. The children are starting to come out of their shell – I am being very careful not to push anyone while trying to come up with activities even the littlest ones can take part in.

It turned out that it was Agus’ birthday – this is not the Agus from last night but the one from Tangerang 2. His wife had called Sam and asked him to pick up some icecream so after the class everyone had nice big ice cream cones before heading home. When we dropped them off at the hotel, we said goodbye to the Roberts. We will see them again at the couples conference in about a month.

By the time we got home I was very tired and it was not long before I was tucking myself in. It was a good day.

11 March 2007

11 March 2007 – Sunday

The alarm went off at 5 but I did not crawl out of bed until after 5:30. We have to get moving because we need to leave by 7:15.

I must confess that I was not looking forward to 5 hours of church meetings. However I had a very good time. We went to sacrament and part of SS at Tangerang 1. I did not get much out of first sacrament meeting because I could not hear very well. But they had the primary sing and that was special. I felt sorry for the missionaries because they did not have any investigators show up.

Tangerang 2 meetings were great. It is a vibrant branch with a lot of PH. The branch president is much like I was when I was bishop. That is he gets right in and is part of his branch. He goes to SS and to PH and participates. He smiles a lot. We were asked to speak in Sacrament in two weeks – they will give us the theme.

I actually look forward to doing this in Indonesian. Since the elders had two investigators, we went to Gospel Principles. The lesson was on the fall and Elder Roper was the teacher. I love Elder Roper – he is very spiritual and yet he always is smiling and enthusiastic – I will really miss him when he is transferred. At the end of the meeting I pointed out that Eve had to choose between two goods – something we are often faced with.

After the GP meeting I mentioned to the branch mission leader that I had that calling until about 4 months before we came on our mission. He asked me if I had any words of wisdom for him. I challenged him to have the branch give a minimum of 10 referrals to the missionaries each month. I promised him if they would do that, then they would have at least on baptism each month. I think he took up the challenge – we will see if it works. PH was lively – I contributed a couple of points and Elder Roper and I shared favorite scriptures on prayer.

I continue to try and learn Indonesian by reading from Gospel Principles – I am working on the section about prayer – and reading Kitab Mormon with Mary. Today we got back into the Isaiah verses. I have decided that he got paid by the word and that is why instead of just saying that Jerusalem and all it’s people would be destroyed, he went into great allegorical detail about what was going to happen to the Daughters of Zion. On most of the verses we did not even come close. I am ready to just skip them but Mary reminded me that in the last WW Leadership meeting Elder Packer said that we needed to read all of 2nd Nephi. So we have decided to read the next 20 pages in English.

We decided to prepare beef stroganoff for dinner and that project turned into a comedy of errors. First we could not find the stroganoff mix that we knew we had bought. When we found that I put the water into the wrong part of the rice cooker and then realized that I had not washed the rice. Here in Indonesia you must wash the rice twice to get out the dust and other stuff. I learned this from Elder Subandriyo during our service project. After getting all this done and having everything ready to go, Mary discovered we are out of fuel for the stove. End of cooking stroganoff. (A note here – as I was typing this, I realized that the Leishmann’s kept an extra tank of fuel in the storage room. So we could have had stroganoff. At least we could have if I did not blow up the apartment changing the tanks. Tomorrow the fuel and water man – we are also on our last 5 gallons of clean water – will take care of all of this.) I had tomato soup and toast for dinner. Mary is still figuring out what she will have.

Looking back it was a good Sunday.  The highlight was the men choir that sang during sacrament in T2. I chickened out and did not join them but sat and enjoyed their singing. As I looked over that small group of humble PH holders standing shoulder to shoulder, the spirit touched me. These are the men – young and old – that will someday see Indonesia a fruitful place for missionary work. Some will live to see a temple built here. The strength of the Lord’s church is in the hearts and hands of these people. It is wonderful to be able to add even a little to the growth of the Kingdom through our missionary work.

10 February 2007

10 March 2007 – Saturday

The alarm woke me at 5 and fifteen minutes later I was out on the track. I did a couple of miles – it is getting easier to do the jogging half. There was no wind so it was already hot out.

I have been trying to work a little harder at learning vocabulary. Something I have been lax in lately because I thought I would absorb more from our reading. I watched the Indonesian news channel and tried to read the banner and find that I know a few more words and I still can not work out what it is saying – but I am coming closer. I do not even try to understand what is being said. My hope is that by the end of 6 months I can at least understand most of what the newer elders and sisters say – they speak slow enough that I can usually make out the words. All of this is good practice of the attribute of patience.

We read chapter 11 and Mary was able to translate most of it. I am still around 50 – 60% but she can normally get about 85-90% of the words. That does not mean we get the right English translation but we can usually get somewhere in the ballpark.

I just read the Kane’s weekly report and they a much different life than we do here in Jakarta. They have a very active social life with the various NGOs, members, and neighbors. I would not say I was jealous as much as I am sorry we will not have those experiences.

We took a taxi to the office and then spent 5 hours reading, writing e-mail, and listening to the WW Leadership Training Meeting and various conference talks. No one came in but we are not sure that it has been announced that we would be open on Saturday. If over the next two months we do not start getting some action we will try something else. Just as we got to the street and was looking for a taxi, Sam showed up and kept us company until one stopped. The driver was tried hard to hold a conversation with us but his English was even more limited than our Indonesian so we did not do well. However he was so much more fun than most drivers I gave him a 50% tip – that is it cost us $2.00 instead of only $1.

One of the things I did do while at the office was to write what I wanted to accomplish before we left. Mainly it was to set up programs that would bring in information about needs and resources that could continue after we left. My aim is to develop a successful system that is supported by the PH leaders.

It was good to get back to the apartment and relax. I took a nap that was rudely interrupted by the phone ringing. It turned out the music program that Mary thought was this week and then decided it was next week, was this week. So she got dressed and Sam came to pick her up. This means I can not leave the apartment to do out and enjoy the bright sun that is now out. I do not know how long she will be gone – I plan to spend most of the time studying Indonesian.

We just got this month’s Couple’s Newsletter and it is great fun to read what others are doing. We have yet to contribute to the Newsletter but I am going to make sure we do for the next one. As I have mentioned before the missionaries in the far away small branches are having a different experience than ourselves. One is even on the district council – I did not know we could be. Since he does not speak Indonesian it must be interesting for him to attend the district meetings. I imagine they provide an interpreter for him.

We got a call from sister Kane. She had her purse stolen out of her shopping cart. I think that they have become comfortable among the people and have forgotten that it can be a dangerous place if you take your safety for granted. I told Mary this was why I always tell her to put her purse strap across her body and not just over a shoulder. I hope the Kanes did not lose anything more important than some money and credit cards. They had called us to ask if we would call and report the cards stolen but when we did not answer she called the Petersens.

We spent a quiet evening at home – as we always do – eating Pizza Hut, watching a little TV, and reading another chapter of 2nd Nephi – Feasting on the words of Isaiah or at least trying to. There is a lot of new words in almost every verse – allegorical mainly – which are almost impossible to translate into Indonesia. Mary mentioned that since some of the verses do not make complete sense in English it is not strange that the translators were at a lost to know how to make the translation. Sometimes they are very literal and sometimes they just use what they think fits.

09 March 2007

09 March 2007 – Friday

I did not wake until 6 so no exercising this morning. Normal morning with us finally finishing chapter 9 in 2nd Nephi. I spent a good part of my morning writing up a proposal paper to go along with the Employment Resource Survey I had developed a couple of days ago. Elder Subandriyo needed to show to Elder Anderson of the Area Presidency.

We did not go into the office but went straight to the mission home and had a good District Meeting with Jakarta Raya. The zone leaders were working with them so it was a party of 8 instead of the usual 6. Elder Tuutau was leaving for home and we got to say goodbye and have a picture taken. He is going to be an asset wherever he is. After the meeting I took everyone down to BYU and treated them for lunch – the total came out to just under $7. I really enjoy the food at BYU and Mary at least likes it.

After lunch we headed off to the main postoffice to see if we could get our lost package that was being held up because that dangerous drug Benadryl was in the box. What we experienced was our first hands on taste of bribery in Indonesia. We were informed that for 200,000R the usual testing could be waved – of course no receipt would be given for this service. This was in addition to the 126,000R custom fee – for which we would get a receipt. So after about an hour – that seemed like all day – and the paying of about $40 – we got our package. One thing I must say about bribery in Indonesia – it is very well organized and efficient.

Another interesting thing is all the documentation, stamps and signatures that must go on any official documents. I think that there were four stamps, three signatures, and copies of Mary’s kita and passport attached to the paperwork.

The rest of the day was pretty mellow. We got home and Mary took a nap while I answered the rest of Shane’s questions. Then we had a very light dinner, read 2nd Nephi, chapter 10, watched some TV, took one of our very expensive Benadryl tablets and went to bed.

07 March 2007

06 March 2007 – Tuesday

Back to the 4 a.m. waking. By 5:15 I was so antsy that I went out and walked/jogged the track for a couple of miles. Went to the gym but after doing sit-ups and a few minutes on the bike I left. I think in the future I am just going to use the track. For some reason that does not bore me like the treadmill or bike.

Had nice conversations with Bob and Cindy on Skype. Was sorry to hear that Mike got run over by a snow boarder and is hurting all over. That can not be fun at all. Thankfully there is nothing broken and hopefully he will be feeling better soon.

Read another chapter from 2nd Nephi. Other than it gives us a chance to read Indonesian, I do not think we get much from this reading. The struggle to try and understand what is being said, rather takes away the spirit. But hopefully by the end of our mission or sooner we will be able to read it and understand the spirit as well as the words.

I got a call from President Jensen who was checking that we were home. He said that the news had just come on that a Garuda flight to Yogokarta had just crashed and he knew that we were scheduled to go there sometime soon. Actually we had decided not to go but if we were going it would be this coming Saturday and it would be on the same flight that crashed. Our friend Agus will be on that flight. We do have a member of one of the branches who is a stewardess for Garuda and I hope she is not on it.

The rest of the day went pretty much as normal. We spent the time at the office working on English, trying to send reports to Hong Kong – the key word here is trying, and other things that seem to fill our day. No one came in for job help.

I mentioned the lack of people coming in to Elder Petersen and he did not seem surprised. I think that Elder Leishman was being a little generous when he said 4 or 5 people came in each week – I think 4 or 5 a month would be more like it.

After office hours we went to Carrefour and got some office supplies, some food and a white shirt for me. It cost $4 and from what I can tell it should last at least 2 months. I almost bought the $6 shirt but it had a button-down collar. I think I will need to go to a little better mall to get a nice shirt.

We came home for an hour before returning for our meeting with Agus and Lukito. The meeting went well and hopefully we will see things start to move so that we will have a better handle on sources for jobs, good schools, and who needs work in the next few months. We need to train the district leaders to have success. I am not worried about the Solo section and I think we can get Lukito to get things done in the Jakarta area, but I do not know about East. He is very busy with lots of callings and business – we will just have to see what happens.

Once we got home we did not have a very productive evening. At least not mission or language wise. We did not read from the Kitab Mormon and I only did a little studying.

05 March 2007

05 March 2007 – Monday

Our weekend of semi-leisure continues and it does feel strange. Right now I am listening to BBC 3 and a new music program. If I was at home in Utah I might be doing the same thing. However there are also a number of differences. I have just stopped studying 1st Nephi. During the district meeting with the Jakarta Raya missionaries we were challenged to choose one thing out of a list that we made of suggestions of how to increase our being open to the spirit. I choose to read, study and ponder the scriptures. I decided to start re-reading the Book of Mormon a book at a time – spending as much time as I feel necessary to really get to know it.

I slept in until almost 6 and started to use that as a reason not to go to the gym. But I quickly repented because being obedient to mission rules is another way I am trying to become a better missionary. So it was out to the track and then the gym. Not for a long time but enough to work up a good sweat.

We read another chapter from 2nd Nephi. We are into the Isaiah sections and I can not say that I am really excited because there are many words and phrases that just do not translate well into Indonesian and therefore we have a hard time going the other way. But we do learn some new words and with the Lord’s help we will make it through.

The cleaning woman comes and moves around the apartment like a ghost. In fact I forgot she was coming and it really surprised me when I looked up from the computer and she was working away not 10 feet from me. I asked Mary to learn her name and perhaps we can get to know her. Maybe the Lord has chosen her to work for us so she can hear the discussions. I might invite the sisters to come some morning when she is going to be here.

I tried to write a couple of articles but ran into a solid wall. Maybe later today. I did write our report to President Jensen. The first one since we got here. We are supposed to write each Monday but since we see him regularly I guess he has never pressed us to write. But it is good to do what is expected even if we do not really need to.

We had tuna sandwiches for lunch – the first time since we have been here. Tuna is inexpensive here and is much nicer than what we get at reasonable prices at home. We had it on very fresh bread – also inexpensive so we can buy it every other day. Unfortunately Pringles are not cheap – at least not in our little store but we indulged ourselves today.

I have an interesting call from the Giganet engineer. He comes up with all kinds of excuses but basically says that his service can not support Skype – especially not Skype with video. So I guess that we will need to stick to just voice. Also Tom and I found that if we both use headphones instead of speakers it works much better because the feedback does not take up bandwidth. I think I will get a splitter and another set of headphones so both Mary and I can listen at the same time. My conversation with the engineer seems to have had some effect because the latest speed test suggest that my d/l speed has tripled. I will check again later to see if it is holding.

Just looked at Pier Central and enjoyed looking at a 10 year review of Jim and Kristy’s life together. They are about to leave for a 10th anniversary cruise. May they be able to enjoy their 70th together.  It is hard to believe our 50th is just over 3 years away. I wonder where we will be at that time…maybe back here in Indonesia?

The weather today was full spectrum. The morning was full of sun and a few white clouds. Around 11 the winds took over big time and the clouds moved in. In the afternoon rain joined the wind and a true tropical rain storm raged for over an hour. As the sun set the wind and rain stopped and it was calm. As I write this the wind has started to again come up.

We read the Kitab Mormon for another hour and then watched The Amazing Race. A nice mixture of mission and home.

A letter from the Creers tells us they are heading for Ireland for their mission. I wonder where the Barretts are going to serve?

04 March 2007

04 March 2007 – Sunday

Standard Sunday morning. We read the Kitab Mormon an hour earlier than a weekday because we need to be at church by 9. We are now moving through it fairly fast – at least for us. The day may come when we can read a whole chapter in one sitting.

The traffic is so light that we are among the first to arrive at the chapel. We get to greet all the PH leaders, members, etc. Testimony meeting is good because when they bear their testimony we can understand many of the words. President Kentjana of the mission presidency shares a strong but simple testimony. No extra stories, just the things he knows are true. Elder Decker gives us a synopsis of each one – that is just what we like. Mary and I smile at each other when the elders read the whole lesson in Gospel Principles. This is something we just talked about on Friday. I give one of the recent converts my extra pair of reading glasses – his mother and him were sharing a pair. He does not want to take it but I tell him that I brought many extras. In PH I really wished I could speak Indonesian. They discussed and shared testimonies. I finally bore part of mine in English. I probably could have come close in Indonesian but I chickened out. I shared the story of praying in the Sacred Grove and getting a testimony of the First Vison.

After church they had a baptism service for two sisters. They had a recent convert give a talk and she was so overcome with feelings that she went on and on until the branch president slipped her a note suggesting she should stop. I hope her feelings are not hurt because she is young and bright.

As we stood watching the baptism, I thought of how simple the ordinance is. How there is nothing showy about it – just a simple prayer by someone with authority and the immersion in water of the candidate. Simple but oh so powerful – opening the gate and setting the person’s feet on the path that leads to Eternal Life. A new birth – a new life – a new opportunity and it only takes a minute or less. From simple things….

As we waited for the new members to change their clothes, we went back to the chapel and sang. The young lady who played for sacrament needs to practice each song so Mary volunteered to play so that the members could choose their favorite songs. It was a big success. The Indonesian saints love to sing so they put a lot into each song.

We were home by 2:30 and after praying to end our fast we had omelets. I have spent the rest of the day mainly sleeping – my naps are much too long – and being on the computer. Mary took a short nap and then spent a long time creating some things for an English class the elders are going to teach. She also watched most of ‘Contact.’ She did not remember much about it so the twist at the end was new.

Our evening reading is chapter 5 of 2nd Nefi – we read the whole chapter which is a first for us. We are now reading two verses or more at a time. Mary can often pretty much translate it as we read. I can do parts but there are too many words that I don’t know to really get what is going on – at least most of the time. I have learned not to be frustrated – at least not to be too frustrated – at my progress. At least there is some progress.

03 March 2007 – Saturday

03 March 2007 – Saturday

I woke up just before 5:30 and after a short discussion with myself, I headed for the gym. It is not open so I did three laps around the track – about 3/4 of a mile – until it does. Sit-ups, treadmill and then the bike for a short time – that is about all I can take. I know it is good for me but it is still boring.

When I get back to the apartment I wrote in my journal for yesterday and then posted it. I am sure that most of what I write is not really interesting to others. I always find it interesting to go back and read what I wrote a month or two ago – most of the time I have a hard time remembering why I wrote what I wrote.

We got another letter from Sister Roberts asking a question about tithing. It will be nice to meet them in a couple of weeks. She sounds really excited but I know nothing about him.

We have nothing to do today – our first real day off in a long time. We spend over an hour on reading the Kitab Mormon – we do well in general but can not get the nuances of what is being said. When we read the English we often realize we missed a key indicator of what is going on or when it is going on or who is doing the action. But we are doing much better in knowing basically what is being talked about.

The weather is typical Jakarta weather. Which why I seldom write about it. At this time of the year there are almost always clouds and the only difference is if they are dropping rain or not. Recently there has been a lot of wind and it goes on for hours. It is nice because it cools things down a bit and anything that does that is a bonus.

The only problem with our apartment that has not been solved is the lack of enough hot water so Mary can take a bath and I can take a shower. We finally had the engineer come by and we found that when they originally installed the hot water heater they put in a 30 liter tank instead of a 100 liter tank. Now that they know this it should be corrected but my guess is that it will take some time. At least we have some hot water until they do. This is another chance for me to practice patience.

The Petersens stopped by to drop off the baptism clothing that is needed at Jakarta Raya tomorrow. They are busy with helping the sister missionaries move today. They told about the Bakasi missionaries houses being flooded. One to about 4 ½ feet and the other to about a foot. It is another experience that they can write home about.

I was just telling Mary that this sitting around does not feel right. Even if we are studying Indonesian, having a whole day to ourselves does not feel right. It seems like we are wasting our time which is now the Lord’s time. A little later I am going to try writing a story about the making of Hygiene Kits. Maybe that will be OK.

Never got to the story – I do have Sunday and Monday to do that. I started to re-read 1st Nephi in English. I am going to try to read concentrate on getting to know just one book at a time. To go through and ponder the writing. To try and feel what is being, how it is being said, and why it is being said. To gain the spirit of the writing and to see what it means in my own life. I am hoping study as PMG suggests. That is to pray before starting, to read carefully, and to take notes. I will not write much about this in my journal. However the first thing that stood out as I started was how after hearing the prophets call the people of Jerusalem to repent, he went and prayed for them. Not for himself and not for his family, but for others. I thought of Enos who when he had his sins forgiven, immediately prayed to the Lord to bless the Lamanites. Also the sons of Mosiah after their conversion gave up everything – including becoming king – and went to preach to the Lamanites because they could not stand the thought that one of them should perish in unbelief.

In the evening we read from Kitab Mormon for another hour, watch some TV, and I work on vocabulary. I keep praying for my mind to absorb at least some of the things we read and study. It almost as if my mind is a hard disk that has reached 99% capacity and so anything I want to store takes a long time to find a place to be filed. Unfortunately it also seems that some word must be  erased when a new word is added. But I am trying hard to be patient and just let it come. I refuse to be discouraged – at least not for long.

2 March 2007

02 March 2007 – Friday

Unfortunately I am back to the waking up before 5 schedule that I thought I had managed to break. It is not a bad thing because it means I am up in plenty of time to go to the gym. However I would prefer to sleep until the alarm goes off at 5:30. When I went down the gym was not open so I walks and jogged for a mile on the track. The temperature was still cool – at least for Jakarta – and so it was rather nice to exercise outside. After that I went to the gym, did some sit-ups and spent a little time on the bike before coming back to the apartment.

I spent much of the morning writing in this journal and then Mary and I read from Kitab Mormon. We read for well over an hour and I thought it went well. I am not sure how much my vocabulary is increasing and how much is because I know the story that is being told. But at least by continuing to read words are starting to be familiar enough that often I can read it without needing to stop and think about what the word means. However it is a long ways from reading it as Indonesian and not Indonesian that I translate into English.

We got a letter from sister Roberts and she told about Bob saying in a class that one of her relatives taught that his parents were in Indonesia. It is a small world. We look forward to meeting the Roberts in a few weeks. They have been re-assigned to Solo from Sumatra – it will be a completely different mission for them there. Sister Roberts sounds like a dynamo and I am sure she will do a great work in Solo. I also think they will be a great help in getting PEF going there.

We had a rather busy day and a quiet night. Sam picked us up and we went to the office to get the other computer. Hendra had called and asked us to bring it in so it’s software could be updated. From there we headed to Jakarta Raya where we met with the district. It was a good meeting where I gave the spiritual thought about the spirit. That lead right into elder Decker’s lesson about what we needed to do to have the spirit with us. It was a good discussion and everyone joined in.

Next up was a visit with our investigator. Mary and I felt that elder Decker should not try to teach about the apostasy because that could lead to a disagreement. But he really felt that he needed to and since he would be doing most of the talking we said OK. That was a mistake on our part – we should have been more positive in our suggestion.

The best part of the visit that Rudy told us of a spiritual experience that he had about 20 years ago. He was very ill and one night he saw a vision of the savior. As he told it he got goose-bumps and the spirit was very strong. He does not tell it often because he feels it is special. My telling of the experience in the sacred grove made him feel he could share it with us. I identified that feeling that he has when he tells the story to be the spirit. I hoped that elder Decker would build on that but he went back to trying to explain the apostasy. That only led to an intellectual discussion in which it seems Rudy could not believe that the Lord would give power to a young church when the Catholic church had been around for such a long time. I kept praying for the spirit to be there but it ended in a negative way.

As we drove the elders to the bus stop, elder Decker was unhappy with the way it went and I think he was blaming himself for not listening to us. I told him it was just a minor set back that he needed to be patient. We will give Rudy a chance to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. I think if we build on his own spiritual experience that after some time we can get him to honestly seek an answer through prayer. I just wish I knew enough Indonesian to join in.

We had to come back to the apartment to get some paperwork we needed to fax to the branches that should come to the Career Workshop in Yogyakarta next weekend. Mary had forgotten about them but Agus folowed up and so we got them off.

Dinner was KFC – it is just easier than cooking at the end of a day. We watched a movie on TV and then read the Kitab Mormon for another hour.

I am rather unhappy with myself this evening because I did not try harder to convince elder Decker about how to teach Rudy. The spirit told me what to do and what not to do but I did not follow it. Or at least I did not feel strongly enough about it to insist that is what we should do. I should have suggested that we pray about our visit. But what is past is past and now we must look to the future and perhaps it was a good thing. Maybe it was necessary for elder Decker to learn that he can not sell the gospel but needs to let the spirit do that. Or maybe I needed a lesson on following the spirit. I am sure that in the long run it can be an positive experience for us and for Rudy. Patience – I am being am being given many chances to learn to have more.

In the Kitab Mormon we are reading about the need for opposition in all things. What a powerful idea – that it is something that just exists for the whole universe to exist. Even for God to exist there has to be opposition. It is a prime law of existence. What we have control over is which side we choose to follow – what we hold to be important. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is our or should be our guiding light – as the 121st section of the D&C says it can be our ‘constant companion’ and if it is ‘the doctrines of the Priesthood will distill upon thy soul like the dews from Heaven.’ What a great promise.

God does live as does His Son Jesus Christ. Christ did bleed in the garden and take upon Him my sins so I could be free from Spiritual death. He did die on the cross and was resurrected so that all men could be free from Physical Death. Joseph Smith did see God and Jesus Christ in the grove and he was the instrument through which Christ church and His gospel was restored to the earth. I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt because I was in the grove and was told that it was true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that when we read it we can feel the love of God for us. I know that Gordon B. Hinckley is God’s living prophet on the earth today. That he leads the Chruch through revelation from Jesus Christ. I know that the Priesthood is the power to act in God’s name. That through it’s power and ordinances we can prepare to return to the presence of God the Father and be an Eternal Family. I know Mary and I have been called by a prophet to serve here in Indonesia. To be a light to everyone we meet and to help the saints here grow in strength and knowledge. I know this because the spirit has told me personally that all of this is true and I share it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

01 March 2007

1 March 2007 – Thursday

After 4 a.m. I did not sleep much. I guess that 6 hours sleep each night is enough – NOT. Anyway I was up and at the gym at 5:45. I only did 50 sit-ups and about 15 minutes on the bike but at least it is a start back to exercising each morning. My weight has stayed about the same for the last month – I need to lose another 16 – 18 pounds by my birthday.

Normal morning except I had some time to be on the computer before it was time to read Kitab Mormon. I managed to talk a little to Bob – the connection was terrible. Later I found out why – or at least one reason. I was d/l a program and found that it was moving at 9 kbps and not the 2 mbps that is advertised. I called the GigaNet office and told them I was very unsatisfied. The engineer is supposed to call me sometime today. If they can not fix this I might as well go to dial-up. Anyway hopefully they will fix the problem and we will be able to Skype with both video and sound without any problems.

We spent most of our time at the office getting ready for English classes. I also responded to a couple of e-mails. It was the day for mechanical failures. The one computer still does not think it has a wireless card so could not get on line. A call to Hendra brought the suggestion that we bring it in to the office so he can look at it. Then one of the printers decided it really did not like the new ink cartridge I put in. I sent Sam to get some refilled but it still did not like it. So Sam had to go back again and get another one. I can not complain since they refill cartridges here for $3.50 each. Anyway the new one worked fine and so we were able to make all of our copies for the English classes.

We than went to the mission office where we dropped off the computer, a couple of bills, and a copy of the Career Outlook workbook to Elder Tandiman. He is now in charge of CES but before that he has been Mission President here.

The next stop was SoGo shopping center so Mary could get some things she had on her list but mainly for her to get what she called ‘a chocolate fix.’ At 2 p.m. SoGo is easy to shop because there is always parking places and it is never very busy. The only downer was that they were out of bottles for their fresh squeezed orange juice so I can not get any until Monday.

District Meeting with the Tangerang elders went well. We did have some excitement before the meeting. For some reason the air-conditioning failed and it was only after Sam called the church’s Physical Facilities man that he could figure out how to get it going again. The idea of being there without air-conditioning was not something I wanted to consider. We have a good relationship with the elders so we are able to participate in their meeting. I keep emphasizing the need for the spirit in their teaching. Mary suggested that they do not read the Gospel Principle lesson – that they come prepared to teach it and not just read it.

I got a call from Elder Subandriyo about the loan program I mentioned to him the other day. He looked into it and found that they loan up to $500 to established business so they can expand. Anyone can apply and he is going to write up something to explain the program to members. Hopefully some of them will be able to take advantage and increase their business and their income. This is especially important in SoLo where they need to increase the PH paying tithing so they can make it a stake. The Lord provided that article at just the right time.

English class also went well. The regular crew came to my class but Mary had a non-LDS man come. I am not sure how he found out about it but I did give the Elders more hand-outs so maybe it will continue to grow.

By the time we got home, I was exhausted. Getting up at 4 am make 8 pm a long time awake. Especially if we have been busy all day. I crashed on the couch and only woke up long enough to crawl into bed. It is good to be serving here and giving our time and talents to helping the Indonesian saints.