Monthly Archives: April 2007

29 April 2007

Minggu – Senin – Selasa – Rabu – Kamis – Jum’at – Sabtu – The whole week.

29 April 2007 – Sunday

I did not have a really good night, but at least woke up feeling very good. Whatever Elder Wight said in his blessing really helped the vitamin C. I still have some rawness in my throat and my nose is a little stopped up but for the most part this was the easiest cold I can ever remember having.

We had to move rather quickly because we were out of the house by 7:15. The trip to Tangerang is so easy on Sunday morning. The trip that took about 2 hours on Thursday took about 30 today. I am going to miss Elder Roper more than I thought. He was a perfect translator for us in T2 – he made the time go by very quickly.

In T1, president Mak announced the Intensive English Class. I am not sure that was because we were there in the audience of if it is being announced through out the district today. I do not think it was announced in T2. I was slightly disappointed in the amount of words I could make out this week. I think it has a lot to do with the sound system in the Tangerang building. But someday I need to get my hearing checked.

Speaking of getting things checked. In Sunday School class, Elder Wight told the story of when he went to get his driver’s license he found out that he needed glasses. He thought his vision was fine, but when he put his glasses in for the first time he found out that there were things to see that he had been missing. The moral being that we often think we see spiritual things clearly when we really need spiritual glasses to correct our vision.

Anyway we sat through two sacrament meetings only catching a little of what was said. Normally that does not bother me, but today a couple of the speakers seemed to be giving really good talks and I am sorry that I missed hearing what they had to say. One thing did come to me as I sat there. I thought that except for the language, I could have been in a sacrament meeting in Utah.

After the T1 sacrament I mentioned to President Paul that it would be good if he had the elders give their report at the first of the Branch Council meeting so they could leave. I am not sure he understood but hopefully the system will change.

After the T2 sacrament meeting I asked President Djarot if he could give me the names of the three best computer schools in Indonesia. He is in higher management in a very successful software company that is always looking for good programmers. He almost immediately sent a note to his friend with my request. We must do this for almost every career choice available. Once we have the first three will try to go a little deeper and find the best value universities.

Elder Weedodo taught the Gospel Principles class and did not have the class read much of the lesson. We were proud of him but I do think we could have read a little more. Sometimes the lesson has some quotes and stories that are important. Elder Smith told me what was going on.

Since it was the 5th Sunday the branch all met together for the last meeting. If we had known that they were going to discuss the Emergency Plan for any problem at the building – mainly in case of fire – we would not have stayed. But they seemed to have fun discussing the plan – especially when they got to the part about how to use the fire-hoses. These are on every level – it seems the fire department is not big on getting to fires. They must have a fire department but only Mary has seen one – and that was parked in a parking lot of a big shopping area. Maybe it belongs to them?  I will have to do some research into this.

We came home to the apartment and had lunch and a nap. Then it was over to the office so Mary could finish up with her English CDs. The ones that Sam bought worked fine. It took about 90 minutes and then we came back home. The rest of the day moved between studying Indonesian and watching TV. There was a pretty good ‘B’ movie on called ‘Timebomb.’ The only mystery was who were the bombers and how would they catch them.

28 April 2007

Hari Sabtu – Saab-two- Saturday

28 April 2007 – Saturday

I slept well and woke feeling better. Mary says she feels fine and only sounds terrible. I think she will be glad when she has finished all of her medicine. A glass full of orange juice helps the medicine go down…but not a lot.

We had to shorten our morning because we needed to be at the office by 8:30 to set up for the Career Workshop. It turned out we did not need to hurry as no one came to the workshop. This was not surprising because there was absolutely no announcement of there being one today. I think that Agus and Lukito have become so use to the couple taking care of making sure people knew about the workshops that they do not feel they need to do anything. After waiting 90 minutes, Lukito headed home.

We spent the day working on our presentation for Couple’s conference. I got lucky and Elder Allred came in to wait for an appointment and worked on setting up my template for the reports I hope the couples will provide about the resources in their areas. I doubt if I will get a report each week from each couple but if I get one a month from each of them, we will have a lot more than we have now. After the reports were done, we took them over to be copied. All the copies only cost $1 to do but the quality proved to be quite poor. I may do them again at the apartment where we get good copies.

Since we thought we would have lunch with the CW attendees, Mary did not make us a lunch. I gave her a choice between food off the street or sending Sam to KFC for the lunch we would have had. She quickly choice KFC.

While I was doing some other things – like answering e-mail – Mary worked on our family presentation.  Sam and her came up with a two part movie that we will be able to show through the projector. It worked great on the computer but when she tried to burn it to a cd, none of the computers would recognize it. Before we left for the day, she had the wisdom to save it to a memory stick. When we got home she put it on the computer and got it run with Real Player but the music did not sound right. I tried it with Media Player and it is fine. So once we get an English CD burned we will be ready for the confernece. It was nice to be able to erase some things off the ‘to do’ board.

In the evening we read from the Kitab Mormon – it seems our days have been so structured that we only get one hour a day in on reading instead of the planned two. We could have read longer tonight but an hour is about all my mind can take.

Mary pointed out that I managed to ruin another white shirt…that is #5.  I think I will start a lottery on how many shirts I will go through on this mission. Anyone can enter – the prize is a collection of all of the shirts.

27 April 2007

Hari Jum’at – Jum-ought – Friday – hari jum’at ketigabelas – Friday the 13th

27 April 2007 – Friday

I slept well and woke up feeling better than I expected. I am sure the blessing and a lot of vitamin C help make it so. Normal morning with our hour of reading the Kitab Mormon. I spent part of my personal study time working my way through an article about Yeltsin and tennis. I did not know that he is considered the father of modern Russian tennis. That he was an avid fan and set up the program that has produced all the now famous – and some cases rich – Russian tennis stars. The article quoted Maria Sharapova on the importance of Yeltsin and also gave her as an example the success of his programs.

I was not going to go into the office at all but felt good enough to give it at least a try. One of the first things I did was to list all the different areas we are responsible for and some actions we needed to do for each. I sent out a number of e-mails to couples, president Weaver and brother Tandiman about different things. I think I will buy another Whiteboard just for this kind of planning. In that way things will not get lost – or at least it will be harder to lose track of some of the projects.

Mary worked on the English cd that we are going to give to the couples at the conference. Then she switched over to working on getting the last CW into the computer. She had some problems getting what we wanted printed. At one point she thought she had lost all the work she had done, but it turned out that the program just changed the order.

I had Sam buy me lunch from the street. It was good but I was surprised that I ate it all. They put a lot of rice into each meal. Just as I was finishing up I bit into an extremely hot piece of pepper. I am glad I did not do it earlier or I would have not enjoyed the meal.

After eating I did a little more work and then had Sam drive me home so I could take a nap before the English class. Mary decided to stay and do more work on the English stuff. I had a great nap and did not wake until she started to open the door.

I went to the University for English class – still no students for my class but Mary had her faithful three. They get along well together and that makes the class enjoyable for her. I spent the time reading from Kitab Mormon. I read things we have already read together. I can usually pick out the important things but there are still plenty of words that I do not know or do not remember.

26 April 2007

Hari Kamis – Kah-mees – Thursday

26 April 2007 – Thursday

Slept OK but work up with a sore throat and coughing. The cold continues to progress. We read from the Kitab Mormon but I do not think my heart was in it at all.

At the office I spent part of my time working on tonight’s English class and then switched to the Couples’ Conference presentation. I am trying to develop some report forms that they can fill out and send to via e-mail. To do that I need to learn how to make templates in Word. Luckily I found a set of instruction for making templates – hopefully it is a good one. I also sent out some e-mails to some people.

We left the office soon after noon and came home to rest. I had a good nap and felt much better. I really did not feel like going to teach English but decided I would at least go along and see how I felt when we got there.

Sam picked us up at about 3:15 and we went to the mission office to get the mail for the Tangerang elders. I spoke to Elder Subandriyo about the mushroom idea and he said they had tried this once before and failed. In listening to him, I guessed that they tried it in the wrong place and without any real research. I told him I would look at the project in Bogor and see how it is being done there and if we can send people to be trained. Later I talked to Elder Kane and he said that the woman would be happy to help. I would not be opposed to paying her to run a franchise that our members could join.

After the mission home we headed for Tangerang and my good feelings quickly disappeared. The traffic was terrible and Sam decided to take an alternate route which proved to be much longer and probably slower than if we had just fought our way through the regular way. One thing about Sam is he is determined and so he just kept moving along. Mary had to remind me to be patient – but with my cold that was not easy.

Anyway after touring some places we had not seen before we arrived only about 5 minutes late. When we walked into the class they all sang Happy Birthday to me. I was touched – if I was not feeling so bad I would have been more touched. The English class went OK. Agus and Katherine had sick children so they could not come. This means I have 3 real students and babysit two more. With the Elder’s help I got through it.

After the meeting I asked elder Wight and elder Smith to give me a blessing for my cold. I am not sure that elder Smith had ever anointed before and elder Wight gave my blessing in Indonesian so I really did not catch much. But I was sure the Lord told me what I needed.

The trip home was much easier but by the time we got back here I was very tired so we went to bed without reading Kitab Mormon.

For feeling as poorly as I did, the day went well. My talk with Elder Subandriyo gave me encouragement to move ahead in looking into the mushroom business. It is another case of too many things coming together at one time to not be directed by the Lord. Now it is up to us on the ground to find out what needs to be done and how to do it.

25 April 2007

Hari Rebu – Rah-boo – Wednesday

25 April 2007 – Wednesday

I did no mention that the village we saw yesterday was much cooler than here in the flats, the air was clear and you could see for miles. What a difference from the smog and heat we have here each day.

I am afraid I am catching a cold. I do not know if I can blame Mary because I am not sure bronchitis is catching. Anyway it was my excuse for not getting up and running this morning. Instead I practices Indonesian and wrote a long entry in this journal for all of yesterdays activities.

We read 2 ½ pages from Kitab Mormon – we continue to look up words we should know and make mistakes with others we should look up but over-all we continue to improve in our reading and translations. We are in the section of Mosiah that talks about ‘Interpreters’ and at time it would be nice to have them. I was thinking about the starting of the Judges in the Kitab Mormon and how Mosiah assumed that only good people would become judges or that they would stay good once they were chosen. He may have been wise but I am not sure he was smart.

Another task I started this morning was to clean up and organize all the paper and files we have managed to collect over the months. We need to get things in order so we can find things when we need them. Right now each time we need something we must scramble to find them. I think we will put everything on the computer and then carry around a memory stick so as long as we can use a computer – we now have access to four of them – we will be able to look through the files.

I told Mary last night that she was to stay home and rest today. I will go into the office alone and work on my presentation for the couples conference next week. I think all I am going to do is tell them what I see as the problems and what should be done about them. Also we will ask for their help in finding and keeping updated the resources. I need to create some report forms so they can send them to me. I think I will put them on a cd so they can load them into their computers and just fill them out and attach them to an e-mail. That will be easier than trying to get a piece of paper to us.

I had a rather interesting time at the office today. Not too long after I got there I received a call from Lukito saying he was in town and wondered if he could come to the office until it was time for our meeting. Since our meeting was not for 6 hours I thought that was strange but I said sure. So from about 11:30 until after the meeting we had a ‘volunteer’ worker in the office. Sam went and got our lunch – I really look forward to the days when I eat a traditional lunch. It is very tasty and filling.

I started working on my presentation for the couple’s conference. I really do not know what I will say about employment but I am at least gathering some thoughts and getting them on paper. I need to create a few report forms that the couples can use to let us know about schools and businesses in their areas. I am hoping that we get at least half of them to take this seriously so we can develop a good selection of resources.

While I was working on this I started thinking about something Elder Peterson talked about yesterday. It was only a brief conversation about one of the projects they had done to help an orphanage to start a mushroom growing business. From that I remembered Elder Kane also mentioning this project how successful it was in providing extra funds for them.

I think I have mentioned that sometime in the last week or so ago I got the feeling that the Lord wanted me to come up a plan for helping the older men and women and single sisters in the church to earn a decent living. I felt it so strongly that I wrote ‘jobs for older men and women’ on the whiteboard at work so I would see it each day. As I thought about the project I wrote ‘mushrooms’ under that comment.

I tried to call Elder Kane to find out more, but first he was at a wedding – they had a great time – and then they did not have good reception. Finally about the time I got home from the last meeting, he got through to me. We talked for about 15 minutes and the longer we talked the more we both got excited about the idea. Of course there is a lot more to learn and perhaps it is not feasible in areas that are too hot but it will be interesting to find out. What I am sure about is that the Lord’s hand is in it and so if we do our part, it will work out.

One of the problems will be that while I am great at coming up with solutions to problems, I am terrible about getting them done. I hope that the Lord helps me with this so that others do not suffer because I am un-organized and lazy.

Before Lukito came this morning I was looking through the files at old reports, etc. I found a report by the two sisters who were the first ERSC missionaries here in Jakarta. They had lots of figures including very definite ones about those who attended Career Workshops for 2004. I wondered how they got all that information so I asked Lukito. He said that they called all the people themselves. I said to him that we would not do that because it takes the responsibility out fo the hands of those who should be doing it. He agreed with that but I am not sure that he did not think it was also OK. Of course he is the one that responsible for getting us that information from 1/3 of the country.

The woman who sews clothes came by and Sam took her to the apartment to get the material and orders from Mary for more clothes. While he was gone he also paid the phone bill. I really need to find out how to pay that bill through the ATM. It is a real pain for Sam to go to the mall each month to pay the bill.

Between office hours and the meeting – we got it moved up to 4 P.M. – Sam and I went to SoGo to get a few things – especially orange juice and bakery goods. The traffic was terrible so Sam found another way to get there. He knows a number of ways to get anywhere. We ran into the same problem getting home after the meeting and he took a really narrow road through a traditional market and the cemetery to avoid a major jam. What made this last trip even more interesting is that it had been pouring rain for about 2 hours and the traditional market street was basically a swift flowing river that was about 10 inches deep.

The ERS meeting went well. We set the next three Career Workshops, talked about the ones we had this month, talked about the need to get reports, and other things involving Employment. I mentioned that we were not going to do their job for them by chasing down numbers for our reports. I am not sure that Lukito takes this too seriously but I know that Agus understands me and I think he will do his best to get people trained, follow-up, etc.

Mary had a good rest today and is taking her medicine as her blessing told her to do. Hopefully she will be fully recovered by the time we go to the Couples’ Conference. Unfortunately I am certainly coming down with a cold. I am taking massive doses of vitamin C in the hopes that I can keep it under control.

24 April 2007

Selasa – Suh-lah-saah – Tuesday – actually it is hari Selasa but if you just say selasa most people will understand

24 April 2007 – Tuesday

Up at 4:30 so we could leave for Bogor at 5:45. The daily adventure had a rocky start when Sam decided to stop on the on ramp to the toll booth until the folks from the mission home came along. Unfortunately a police officer got tired of looking at us sitting there and came out to investigate. It cost me 70,000 R to get us out of the problem….the normal cost is 20,000 but since we were white the price went up.

Once we were on the way the trip to Bogor went quickly. We were able to see the tall mountains from far away. It is easy to see that the main mountain was the remains of a volcano that blew its top off. It is now inactive but I would guess it could become active again. Since Bogor is a city of 4 to 5 million people it would cause quite a mess if it decided to do that.

We gathered at the Kane’s home. It is a three bedroom beauty with a front and a small back yard. As usual we were jealous of what the missionaries outside of Jakarta get for about ½ of what we pay.  Although Bogor is a large town it has a small town feeling.

What the day was about was a trip up into the mountains to be part of a ceremony that officially turns over a water project. Late last year there was landslide that buried two homes in a village of about 150 families. The other homes did not suffer much damage but on the hillside above them a fissure opened up and someday the whole mountain was likely to come down on them. So the village elders decided to move somewhere else.

So they found a nice little place about 2 kilometers away and started clearing away the ground to build their village. The problem was that it was government land and they were squatters. For once things worked out for them. The government gave them the land but would not help them move.

When LDS Charities was asked for help there were only a couple of homes and a few tents. The water source was a single 2 inch pipe that we donated to them from leftovers from another project. We agreed to create a new water source, run water to each home, and build four combination toilets, showers, and wash areas – all with running clean mountain water.

The drive there took over 2 hours on continually deteriorating roads until we got to a point where our city cars could go no further and we switched over to old four wheel drive vehicles for the last 20 minutes of driving. It is a good thing they had compound low because the road was very steep and very rough.

What a surprise to come around the final corner and find two crude but recognizable stores operating. The Kanes were much surprised at how much had been done in the two or three weeks since they were last up there. I took a lot of pictures because descriptions just will not do it. Basically they have cleared some hillsides and hilltops, cut out level building pads and moved some of the buildings from the old location. More people will move when they have enough money to pay for the transportation. Once the pieces are there, the whole village pitches in and in one or two days the house is ready to move into – with running, clean water.

The ceremony was basically all the honchos on both sides saying how grateful they were for the others help and a hope for the future. After that the village leaders asked for a number of other things they needed and our side telling them that they could not guarantee anything because there were so many villages that needed what help we have to give. Mainly they were asking for a school building – the children must walk about a mile down the mountain to the closest school – , some school books – Elder Kane is going to ask a NGO he knows to see if they could help – and some small trees to replant a hillside to provide a windblock.

After the ceremony we walked around the village and looked at the wash buildings. It was truly amazing to see what the villagers had done. There are some in the village that have more money than others, so some houses are nicer than others. However all the houses are better than most in poor sections of Jakarta and they have space around them. The rice fields and fish ponds are owned by one or two families but other members of the village can work in them and get a share of the harvest. Elder Kane said that this was one of the nicest villages he has seen. Of course it helps that it is new and not at all crowded.  I forgot to mention that the scenery is breathtaking. If this was moved to the US people would be paying $1,000,000 for a lot.

This is a good place to put in a comment on Mary’s brave effort today. She was definitely not feeling well but never complained. When we had to change vehicles, the other cars were parked about 200 yards or more up a slippery, steep road. She started to walk up without complaint but I convinced her to get in a car so she did not wear herself out.

The village is built on the sides of a number of hills with lots of ups and downs. She plugged away and saw it all. She did have to stop at times and clear her lungs, but she was a real trooper about it. I am very proud of how she did all of this while not feeling well at all.

Just as we were finishing our tour it started to rain – something it does in the mountains almost every afternoon. The heavens opened and poured out water in abundance. It was raining so hard that the driver could hardly see out the window. Which was not so good since we were basically traveling on a narrow, mountain track with a steep fall on one side.

It continued to pour all the way back to Bogor. I thought I was getting pretty use to the way they drive here in Indonesia but I must say that the drive in pouring rain, at high speeds – at least for the conditions they were high – and passing on the wrong side of the street with traffic coming the other way – was a little dicey for even my seasoned soul. To relieve the strain, I tried to go to sleep but I had no success.

As we got into town, we took a short side trip to the petrified wood store. They have tons and tons – truly – of petrified wood. There is one log that must be 25 feet long. Unfortunately almost all of it has been bought by someone in the US and they are packing it up to be shipped there. Mary did buy 4 heart shaped stones – but none of them were from the wood.

We stopped in Bogor for a late lunch at a really nice restaurant. It is built in an old Dutch home with a couple of water gardens in the middle. The food was excellent and very cheap. Mary had red snapper with lemon sauce and it cost only $3. They serve the food as it is ready and so some were finished eating before other got their food. It seems that the waitress did not write down my order – Nasi Goring – and so everyone was done before I even got my food. The Nasi Goring was done differently than usual. Instead of having the egg chopped up in the rice, they make a thin omelet and wrap it around the fried rice. It was served with two excellent beef sates and everything was delicious. After lunch we bid everyone goodbye and headed off for home. The trip through the rain – it rained for four hours straight – went well and we were home by 4.

We were both tired – especially Mary because she was ill – and so we took short naps. At least Mary did – I could not sleep. The rest of the day was spent reading from Kitab Mormon, writing in my journal, watching a little TV, eating, and such.

I guess I am becoming successful in getting the word out that I want to help people find jobs. Although no one comes into the office, I am getting calls and resumes from everywhere. Even Sterling Jensen – who only met me on Saturday night – has someone who wants me to help them find a job when she graduates from the university. The Bogor missionaries gave me a resume from an investigator and the Kanes gave me two resumes. Now I need to get busy and help them find a job. Which means we need to concentrate on resources for getting our people interviews.

I almost forgot to mention that I had a missionary experience. When we stopped to look at the petrified wood, I struck up a conversation with the fellow who seemed to be running the store. He had pretty good English and as usual I was able to get him to tell me lots of things. I found that much of it comes from Sumatra and is shipped and trucked up to Bogor. It would seem to me much cheaper to have the shop in Sumatra but what do I know. He even took me in a back room to show me a petrified palm tree top – that is there were even the base of small fonds which were now rock. He said it was the only one that they had ever seen. After that I told him that we were here as missionaries for our church and gave him a pass along card. I then got the missionaries to come back and see if he was interested in knowing more. He was not but at least the elders had a chance to talk to someone.  Maybe some day he will remember our visit – I want to go back some time and see get a larger piece to bring home.

23 April 2007

Hari Ulang – Har (like in Hark)-ee  Ue (like in glue)-long – Birthday – and a happy one to William.

23 April 2007 Monday

Almost did not get out of bed to go exercise but remembered that I needed not only the exercise but also the discipline so I did 5 laps – did not feel too bad. I ran a little more of each lap – hopefully I will someday make it up to running all the way on each lap.

Great morning – we got to hear from both Bob’s and Cindy’s family – or at least part of each of them. It is a wonderful way to start off a day and a week. Hopefully we will hear from more of the family throughout the week.

After hearing from the family, we read from the Kitab Mormon early than normal because we need to leave early. Mary slept alright and did not cough much while we were home. We left at 9:00 to look at the Raya Elders house. When we got there they were just finishing up their cleaning. Sam had been there on Saturday and said it was a mess so they must have put their shoulders to the wheel over the last couple of days because it looked pretty good.

From there Mary managed to get me to agree to go see the ocean. Sam insured me it was only 30 minutes away – and for once he was correct. The beach reminded me of San Francisco bay only with a lot more pollution. They have a nice tourist like area that you have to pay to get into. There is no real beach – more like a shingle – and no waves. I would imagine there are times when the waves do come but they must never be very big because the businesses are much to close to the waterline for large waves. Mary walked out at least a foot into the water – that does not mean it was a foot deep – but that she was 12 inches from the sand.

What was nice was the breeze off the water. If they ever get good roads down to the waterfront I would imagine that at some time it will become a rich folks area as it is in most countries. But now it is mostly deserted old buildings and slums. But the people still look clean and almost always have a smile on their face. They have learned to live this way and so make the best of it.

After that we went to SoGo for one of our two weekly visits. We met sister Weaver – the wife of the English branch’s  president doing her shopping. I think it is the market of choice for most ex-pats. They will soon be leaving for Angola for another 3-5 year tour. I can see why people do this – they get an American salary that is not taxed, a living expense that allows they to live like royalty and their children go to the best schools a country has to offer. So after 20 – 25 years abroad they can come home wealthy and with a great pension.

From SoGo we went to Global Doctor where we found Mary had bronchitis. The doctors visit and enough medicine to cure an elephant cost about $100 – this should be covered by our insurance. I am glad we went so that it did not become serious.

Home just in time to let the cleaning lady in – she actually helped us carry the groceries up to the apartment. I almost forgot we stopped and bought a decorative concrete planter. A full $5 purchase – I did not feel like beating the seller down any more – I have to remember that 10,000 ruhpias is only $1 – they say 70,000 and for some reason that sounds like a lot of money to me.

When I went to put the plants in I realized that I can not use some of them for where I want to put the planter. I want to put it in full sun and they are shade plants. So I will either need to buy more plants for the sunny area and another pot for the shade plants or transplant the big plant to the new planter and use it’s planter for the shade plants. Heavens I know what my choices are and reading that still does not make all that amount of sense. Anyway the planter looks great.

I am now trying to catch up on the journal… I missed Saturday and Sunday – I decided to start  with today and will work my way back.

We spent a quiet afternoon and evening. Much of mine was taken up with this journal and our report to the president about our week. What I did not get is a nap. We had the restaurant bring up some sweet and sour pork and ate that with the rice we already had cooked. It is starting to seem normal to have a container of sticky rice in the refrigerator – we must be becoming more Indonesian. Either that or we are eating more left-overs.

Watched The Amazing Race and then started reading the Kitab Mormon. Mary was coughing and not feeling well so we stopped after about ½ hour so she could get some rest.

My patience lesson for the day started when I found that the office had not payed my cell phone bill so I could not use it. I called and asked them to please pay it and Hendra said they would. Of course they didn’t until I called a second time and mentioned that it was hard to operate without my cell phone (I never thought I would say that.) This seemed to finally get across to them and 20 minutes later my phone was working again. I must confess that I was annoyed but I did not let it really get to me as I usually would.

22 April 2003

Bulan – Boo-lawn. It means both moon and month. Which when you think about it makes a lot of sense. A matching word is Minggu – which is pronounced just like it is written – Ming-goo. This means a week and if you add hati – Hot-tee – which means day – for ‘hati Minggu’ – you get Sunday.

22 April 2007 – Sunday

A very busy but great Sunday.

We did our normal morning – except we did not get a full hour in on the Kitab Mormon. We had to leave a little early for Jakarta Raya because Mary needed to practice with sister Penny. We arrived in plenty of time and while Mary practiced I did the rounds of handshaking. Hendra asked us to give the opening and closing prayers for sacrament meeting. He forgot to announce Mary as the opening prayer so she just went up at the right time and gave a very nice prayer – in English. She was not feeling well at all – no fever but coughing from deep in her chest. But like a true champ she stuck with it all day.

It is surprising how each week we can hear more words and today we were able to pick out enough to know what they speakers were talking about. Mary is still far ahead of me – she says she can actually understand the words without translating – I think that is great. After sacrament we went to the Gospel Principle class – they had three investigator and that is great. Progressive investigators are hard to come by in this mission.

We left after just two hours because we had to drive over to the Tangerang building. We are meeting the elders and taking them out to teach a single woman. It was way, way out and tucked away among a warren of houses. But once there it turned out to be a very nice house – that is for the area. They had a nice discussion – Mary and I sat in two of the three available chairs and the elders, the investigator and her children sat on a rug on the floor. The elders seemed quite at ease sitting there. They taught about the restoration and got a conditional baptism commitment – they were all smiles when we left. It is great to take part in some missionary work. We dropped the elders at the bus stop and headed home. Luckily Sam was able to find the way to the freeway so the trip home did not take much more time than if we had left from the chapel.

When we got home we thought the day was over but we got a call from Sister Jensen inviting us to come over to the mission home to hear their son Sterling talk about Iraq. He is a contract interpreter for the military and is just finishing up a tour. He is visiting Indonesia before his folks return home.

We got there really early so we had time to talk to him and the family before anyone else came. He asked some good questions about employment and education in Indonesia. Mary pointed out he was one of the few people who ever got as much information about me as I got about him during our conversations.

The Petersens, the office elders, the Aps,  and a number of members of the English branch were invited so it was a rather crowded. Since we came first we had great seats on one of the couches. Sterling gave us a little more history of the area than I thought was needed but his comments on how the Sunnis have come to see us as the only way they are going to ever have a chance to influence in the government was very interesting. He feels that there is really no strong government – that it is basically still a tribal society and until they develop a strong military and police force it is going to remain unstable.
He does not think that the country will break into three independent sections but he does think they will divide into strong autonomous sections with a central government. At least this will be until the younger population becomes better educated and gets tired of living in chaos.

After his presentation I talked to him more about the situation and this time I got to learn more than he did. I also talked to a member of the English branch who is into gemstones. He is a geologist and so stones are interesting to him. He calls diamonds – boring because they are just clear. He told me about sapphires from Viet Nam that were dark blue but each point sparkles in deep purple. I want to get to know him better and see if he will give me an education in gems. He is really high on Indonesian brown opals – he thinks they are beautiful.

As we talked I realized that I know a little about a lot of things and this helps me enter into most conversations and ask intelligent sounding questions. As long as I remember I really do not know much it works fine. It is only when I try to expound or expand on what I do know that I get into trouble.

Before we left I asked President Jensen and the elders to give Mary a blessing. They all thought it was strange that I did not want to seal the blessing but I explained that I felt that others were more likely to not let their personal feeling enter into their blessing. President Jensen blessed her that she would get well but that she needed to follow the medical instructions carefully.

We did not get home until about 9:30 and that combined with Mary not feeling well, we just went to bed without reading the Kitab Mormon. It was a great Sunday

21 April 2007

Mempersiapkan – Mum-pur-see-op-con – prepared. It is something we need to be more of. We do not spend enough time in planning so often things get done at the last minute. I do not know the word for procrastination but I will look it up for tomorrow.

21 April 2007 – Saturday

We were up very early and at the airport by 6:00 for our 7:30 flight. It was good to have Lukito along because that way we had some idea about what was going on. One thing about Indonesian airlines – they always give you a simple meal. Nothing special but always worth eating. Basically you get a stuffed roll – this morning it was with a small sausage, a cake dessert, and a candy of some kind.

The flight went well – we got to see the sea and some ships as we were landing. The pilot seemed to me to come in hot. One of the problems they have at regional airports is that the runways are a little short – this means if they come in fast they either stand on the brakes or run off the end. We managed to stay on the runway.

The Bennetts were there to pick us up and take us to the chapel. We were happy to see them again. They are doing a great job in Semarang – both with the branch and with the missionaries. In just a few weeks they have made themselves part of the branch and they know everyone by name. I think that is great.

The Career Workshop was well attended – of course no one showed up on time but we were able to start only 30 minutes late. While the district specialist and Lukito took care of workshop. The Bennetts took us to their home. It is a large 3 bedroom home, in a good area, with a nice front and side yards, and for about ½ of what we pay. If we come back to Indonesia, I hope we are able to serve in a smaller town like Semarang.

We went back to arrange for lunch. We should have ordered it when we first got there for delivery at a certain time. As it was we had dinner about 45 minutes late. Later someone mentioned that they had a caterer in the branch – we could have asked them to provide the lunch. In the future that is what we will do – have them provide a traditional meal.

After lunch the Barretts and their second driver – they are so busy that they need 1 ½ drivers – took us to Chinatown and a great fabric store. This was down an alley and we were the only white faces in the whole place. I decided it must be a good place to shop because it was packed. Mary found lots of material for more dresses, skirts and blouses – all for $30.

We got back just as it ended and helped to clean up. During the day I talked to a number of the participants and asked them to send me their resumes. I will try to help them get some interviews. The big challenge is to develop resources that we can call about job openings and that we can send resumes to. Hopefully this will help people start good careers.

After the cleanup we sat with elder and sister Bennett and talked about this and that. I asked Elder Bennett to look for good schools and universities for our young people to go to with a PEF loan. After that their driver – a very interesting man who also happened to be named Sam – took us to the airport.

Semarang is a smaller regional airport with three whole gates for departure. But it was a fun place to spend our time. They had a gift shop where we bought two paintings for $20 and the largest supply of reasonably priced paperback books in English that we have seen. We each splurged and bought one book each.

While we were waiting we ran into the president of Tangerang 2 branch and I learned somethings about his business – software – and a school that they run to train programmers. It is a two month course that costs $500 but when it is done they hire the top 10 for $250 a month and that can grow to $2000 a month. This is a big salary for Indonesia. Hopefully we can get some of the young people to major in computer programming and get them into the program. It seems all I need to do is sit down and talk to people to learn about more career offerings.

The flight home went as well as going and the landing was better. While we were walking from the plane to the way out we ran into President Jensen and his son Sterling who just got back from a trip to one of the other islands. It is a small world it seems – flying with a branch president and meeting the mission president.

The trip back to the apartment was uneventful but it was so late that we did not read from the Kitab Mormon. This is the first day in months that we have not read at all from KM. Sometime during the coming week we need to make up for this lapse.