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.
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.