Monthly Archives: May 2007

30 May 2007

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The dignitaries and the judges at the reading contest – A traditional dancer.
30 May 2007 – Wednesday

We spent the day judging a newspaper reading contest at a Muslim highschool. Our friends Agus and Catherin teach English there and they had been asked to judge but they felt having a couple of Bulais to do it instead would be good. They also recruited an Indonesian sister – who’s name I will have to fill in later – to be the third judge. Her husband and her had served as mission president here, they had lived in Hawaii for 6 years, and she teaches and tutors students to pass the TOEFL test. She has also judge this type of contest before.

This is really a big deal in Indonesia. There were 9 or 10 schools represented for a total of 23 readers. They each had 5 minutes to read an recent article from the Jakarta Post. They were given their choice of 5 articles to read. They were supposed to be TV news anchors. When I realized that this was going to take 2 hours of listening I was not really excited, but surprisingly it went quite fast and if we could have shut down the music it would have been even more enjoyable than it was. We judge them on performance and fluency – how they presented themselves and how they read.

I thought this would be very difficult but once we had heard 2 of them we had a pretty good idea as to what we were going to hear and see. The quality varied greatly but as I later told the participants they were all winners just for taking part. Choosing the winners turned out to be easy because we added up the three judges score. While we each used different scale of numbers, we came very close to agreeing on who were the best. The young lady who won was first on mine and the other sister’s list and Mary gave her 2nd place. We had her first place as our 2nd place.

After they had all read we went back to the office and Agus and Catherin totaled the scores while the judges talked about what points I – I was the chief judge over the nation of judges (we are in that period in the Kitab Mormon) – would mention to the group before announcing the winners. The main one was to read slower, learn to break the sentences into more interesting segments but to be sure to at least pause for punctuation. Also that wanted was not want – ted.

When we came back out to the performance area, some students were putting on a traditional Indonesian dance. This one told the story of a dispute between some rich men and some poor men over the affections of some women. Unfortunately we did not get back in time to see the first part but what we saw was very good. The students had great fun and the story ends with the chief – who was disguised as a maiden – reveals his true identity and makes the two sides make up. I got some of it on video but only a small portion.

I got to speak to the contestants and then stand on the stage and announce the winners. We thought there were only 3 winners but it turned out there were actually 4 prizes given. So after giving out the 3rd and 2nd place trophies I had to go back and give out the 4th place. The trophies were very big and gaudy but very light – they are plastic. The first three winners not only got trophies but also digital cameras – donated by someone I met but do not have any idea of what or who they were. The winner also gets a four foot trophy for their school.  I am in many, many pictures with the winners – maybe I will see myself in the paper.

They treated us as very special guests. Thanking us a half dozen times – and with me thanking them for the honor of being judges. When we left they gave us lunch and some beautiful fruit baskets.  We did not eat the food because Agus and Catherin insisted on taking us out for lunch. Of course this meant we had to drive back to Tangerang – we were in the car for a total of 4 ½ hours toda – to their area. We had a very nice and delicious lunch at a place in the mall. It was not expensive but the food was very good and just enough to fill me up.

We left the apartment at 7:30 a.m. and arrived home at 6:00 p.m. Strangely enough I was tired but not as exhausted as I was on Monday. We watched a little T.V., read from the Kitab Mormon, and then I read from the D&C before turning off the light on a very different but good day. The only down side was that we did not do anything about getting ready for the class that will start tomorrow night.

29 May 2007

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The Indonesia, Barat (West) Zone (Minus the Kanes) May 29, 2007 – The Twin Towers from our balcony. – The Van Dongens – they are a great couple who have completely changed a branch during their mission. They go home on June 24 – they will certainly be missed.
29 May 2007 – Tuesday

It seems that our days are getting busier and I do not see this ending anytime soon. Today was Zone Conference – the last one in the Jakarta zone for the president and sister Jensen. I must say that they do not seem trunky at all – they must of course be thinking about the date only a month away when they will leave Indonesia and head home to Arizona but they do not sound or act any different.

The time they spend on statistics seems almost a waste to me but I guess it is something the young missionaries need to see. They see how the zone is doing against itself and then how the zone is doing against the rest of the mission. Some of the trend lines do not mean much since there are such small numbers that when you have a family baptized the line goes way up and then for the next three weeks there are none in the zone so it goes flat line – I think a bar graph by the month comparing it with the same period over the last 3 years might be better.

The theme of the conference was ‘Patience’ – this is important because often the elders and sisters become discouraged about the lack of success here. In PMG it says that if we are doing our best and are impatient that it shows a lack of faith in God. We need to remember that God’s time is the important one. One sister told about the terrible day her and her companion had when three investigators who all were doing well and had set baptism dates all told them not to come back. Soon after that she got a letter from her father telling her that she needed to learn patience – that every person had the right to say no to the gospel plan. Her task was to present it in the best way she could. He said we never know what the future results of her teaching may bring about.

Sister Jensen told the story of their son who could not take tests – he was a good student but froze when faced with a test and a time limit. He decided he wanted to go to law school but when he took the LSAT he did so poorly only a small, very expensive private school would accept him. After he graduated from there he went to work in Las Vegas – it took him 7 tries to pass the Nevada bar.

President Jensen spoke about being patient but diligent in doing the work. That it is how hard we work that the Lord will judge us. Not how we compare with others but how we use our own abilities and talents.

He gave out a list of his 50 favorite scriptural thoughts and went through some of them with us. During this time he told the story of his trip down the Grand Canyon with 5 of his scouts. They were walking along a trail and came around one bend to find two young ladies enjoying a waterfall and pool naked. Four of the young men said ‘Wow’ but the fourth immediately put his hands over his eyes, turned his back, and said “I can not look at that.” The president said that he and his wife were so impressed with this that they named their next son in honor of him. President Jensen did not say what he did. It reminded me of the time I took a canoe trip down the Russian River with a very young Tom and Bob. We came to a section where a nudist colony was swimming in the river. I tried to not look and to keep the boys from looking but the river carried us right through them and I had to make sure we did not run over any so I am afraid I got a very good look at a lot of naked women. I do not imagine Tom and Bob remembers this at all.

After a good lunch and an afternoon session where I threw in a few comments and thoughts about teaching the gospel by the spirit we came back to the apartment to rest for a while before going back to meet with a three couples about helping us with the English class.

We went through what we were attempting to do and got some ideas from them. They are not going to be able to help us with a lot of time but it looks like one of the brothers would be willing to take them most nights as long as we have Sam drive them over and bring them home. I think we might do this 3 or 4 nights a week – we can spend the time preparing for the next day, correcting papers, etc. I do not see it as time off.

28 May 2007

28 May 2007 – Monday –

We had a good day – for the kind of day it was. Mornings are pretty regular around here – we take care of things, read Kitab Mormon and then get ready for the day. Today I did some laundry and neaten the apartment for the later cleaning.

We spent 4 hours inspecting the missionary’s houses. Actually we spent 30 minutes doing the inspecting, 30 minutes shopping and 3 hours creeping through Jakarta’s traffic. The houses were both well kept – at least for missionaries – and we spent most of our time talking to the missionaries. Checking up on their health, how they were getting along, etc. I hope elder Samosir learns enough English or I learn enough Indonesian so I can get to know him better. I think he is a neat young man and hope that he can get a good education and a good job. He could develop into a strong PH leader – which is what the church needs here.

Before we went to the first home we stopped at Ranch Market and bought a few things. Ranch Market is a real upscale market for rich folks – they sometimes have items we can not get anywhere else. My big purchase was a pot of mums to bring a little color to the living room.

After visiting the last place we started home. Mary mentioned that she was getting hungry and would like to find a bakery. As usual Sam came through with not only a BreadTalk but also a shop that fixed the glasses she messed up when she took the fall. While Mary was getting her glasses fixed I walked around the mall and found that it was basically a food mall with some shops that were all expensive. I saw more ‘bulais’ – us white guys – in 10 minutes than I usually see in a week. We found out from Sam that we were in an area where lots of ex-pats live behind big walls and lots of guards. I would guess that it is a good location if you provide the right kind of food and entertainment. The BreadTalk was much smaller than the one at SoGo but had pretty much the same items. The bakery was very small with the bakers almost stepping on each other to get things prepared. But it had lots of business so I imagine it makes money.

The trip home took forever – which is the theme of the day. The main problem was that there were too many turns, cross streets and stop lights. I have not figured out how they set stop lights in Indonesia – they seem to have long reds and short greens. Now I know this means that if you are going the other way it should be long greens and short reds but that is not how it works. Usually there are at least three streets feeding in to a light and sometimes as many as five. So that means that you have to wait through as many as 4 other greens before yours come around again.

Once we were back to the apartment we finished picking up before the maid came . While she was here I took a nap – I have not been sleeping well but even when I sleep well a nap is nice.

The evening was basically studying Indonesian, reading in the Kitab Mormon and the D&C. I found the 6th section of the D&C very comforting and filled with wisdom. In 6:7 it expands on Jacob 2 where it says ‘seek ye first the Kingdom of God’ – here it says ‘Seek not riches, but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall ye be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich. 6:12 reminds us ‘Trifle not with sacred things.’ I really like 6:33 – ‘Fear not to do good.’ How often are we afraid to open our mouths and tell other about the gospel because we are afraid ‘to do good.’ Or how many years did we sit at home instead of going on a mission because we were afraid ‘to do good.’  This is closely followed by the council ‘Look to me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.’ One of the great blessings of a mission is the chance to spend so much time studying the scriptures. I hope that when we return home we will continue to do this.

27 May 2007

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A traveling hubcap store – notice the Mercedes caps.

A Staghorn fern that is growing on a tree in the yard of the chapel. They grow huge ones here.

A recent setting sun as viewed from our deck – the blue dome is a mosque.

27 May 2007 – Sunday

This has been a great Sunday – probably the best of our mission for me. For sure it was the longest Sunday that we have had.

For only the second time we have been in Indonesia we went to the English branch to try and get some help for our English class. The president had put our plea into the bulletin and also announced it from the stand. It was strange to be actually be able to understand what was being said in sacrament meeting. It was the Young Women’s program and so 6 young women gave their talks. This was followed by an excellent talk by the YW president.

At the end president Weaver mentioned all the rank advancements in the branch during the year. It seems there is a very lively Scouting program with everyone getting from Heart to Eagle. There is no scouting program for the Indonesian saints because there is no Boy Scouts of Indonesia. They do have the Duty to God award program but I have no idea how well it is doing.

After she had spoken Elder Subandriyo gave a short talk that really was meaningful to me. He said that it would be good if we stopped and asked if we were in ‘the plan.’ That it is not a coincidence that each of us are where we are at this time. God knows our heart and thoughts. He knows what is right for us. Through prayer we can receive revelation to let us know what is His plan and what is our part in that plan. He ended with the thought that repentance takes us to a higher ground. I was embarrassed when he said that we were doing what we should be doing.

Even though he suggested we were doing what the Lord wanted us to do, he got me to thinking about if I am truly doing the right things with my time and energies. Am spending too much of this mision doing what I want to do when I should be doing what God wants me to do. This brings to mind Jesus in the garden when he asks that if possible the cup be taken from him – is there a sheep in the thicket – but if not His will be done. I know the Lord tells us in the D&C that men should not ‘be commanded in all things’ but I am afraid I use that as an excuse not to ask the Lord what He would have me do because I am afraid he will tell me to do something that I do not care to do. So I am doing good – but maybe not what would be best for me to do. Sometimes I am sure it does not matter but at other times I think that it does.

After the meeting a few of the members came up and said they could help – unfortunately many of them will be leaving for their month back in the States during June. One of them is a member from Zimbabwe and his English is not very good – I am not sure how we will use him. The ex-pat families are interesting. First of all they are all very well off while serving outside of the US. They would be well off in the US but not like this. All expenses are paid and there is no US taxes on their income – the Indonesian taxes are very small. Their children go to the International School where very good teachers and instructors are employed.  None of the children seem to miss the US – even those who have lived there for some time. When you talk to them they often feel that they want a job that will allow them to do the same thing. It makes a lot of sense since they can retire in their 50’s and serve missions, etc. They also provide leadership in areas where it is really needed.

Sunday School was excellent – it was on some parables about giving up worldly things to serve others and God – we participated and that is something we can not do yet in Indonesian. The same with PH – the teacher there was not as good as in SS but it was still a good lesson.

When the block was over we went to our office to wait a couple of hours for Sam to get out. I thought it would be hard waiting but after doing a few things for English class, we started reading the Kitab Mormon and the time flew by.

As soon as Sam was done we headed off to meet elder Wight and elder Samosir and go to teach the single sister with two children who we have been to before. She is very pleasant and her children are beautiful but she is not reading the Kitab Mormon and have not been out to church so I do not hold much hope for her until she does. After that we tried to meet with an inactive man but he had recently moved to Bogor. Finally we headed over to Sister Paulina who owns the nursery. Elder Wight held a nice discussion with her but as usual she has lots of reasons for not coming. He discovered, as I did the first time we met her, that she should have never been baptized. She had not read the Kitab Mormon, she did not believe that the Church was true, etc. She only joined because her missionary asked her to – I can not see how she passed a baptism interview. As we left I told her in poor Indonesian that God, Christ and ourselves loved her. I also bought a very interesting fern for the apartment.

After dropping off the missionaries we made it home at about sunset – long after we usually get home on Sunday – very tired but quite happy for all that we had a chance to take part in and accomplish today. It has been one of the best days of our mission. It is a shame that so many of our friends are sitting at home instead of being out on a mission where they can feel such wonderful joy in serving. Not that serving in the ward or stake is not rewarding but there are so many who could do that and the need for senior couples are so great.

As usual the evening rushed by. We read another hour in Kitab Mormon – we got in over three hours today. Before turning off the light I read from the D&C.

25 May 2007

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A not very big picture of the very ‘public’ toilet that we can see from Mary’s classroom at the university. Further downstream people will be washing clothes, maybe swimming, etc. The next is Mary teaching her University class. The final one is of the missionaries wolfing down a home made meal – they were in 7th heaven.
25 May 2007 – Friday

And the days dwindle down – not as to our mission but it is only a week until we start our English class. I am both excited and worried – and humbled – about this.

The mornings seem to always rush by – in fact the days often are that way also. As I sit down and write about today, it seems like I just was getting up a couple of hours ago instead of 17. Although we did not do all that much today, what we did do was rather exciting and also enjoyable.

In the morning we did our usual hour of reading from the Kitab Mormon and I started in the D&C. I am planning to read it and make comments in a journal I bought about the things I read. What I read this morning served me well at district meeting.

After reading from KM on Friday we usually have enough time to take a short nap before it is time to leave for the mission office. Today as I was sprawled out on the couch about half asleep, I remembered the books that Steve Gibson gave me about small businesses that they use in their school in the Philipines. I feel it must have been inspiration because it came out of the blue. I realized that we could use them as reading assignments in our English class. In this way the students would not only learn English but also learn important business rules that they could either use in their lives or teach to others. I am hoping they also may give me some new ideas on businesses that our members could be involved in.

District meeting was very good for a number of reasons. Before it started I talked to Elder Subandriyo about the English class and he suggested that he go with us to the English branch to see if we can get people to volunteer to help. It does not hurt to have the Area 70 go to bat for the program. Of course Elder Subandriyo is as excited about this as we are. He sees it as a way to help Indonesian members to have better lives and stronger PH leaders – as I do.

I was surprised to be asked at the last moment to give a spiritual thought. I used the 1st section of the D&C as my text and read about how the Lord’s disciples were called on to take the message of the gospel to all the world. I pointed out that there were only a handful more PH holders at the Johnson farm when that revelation was given. I said to imagine how it would have felt to be there and hear that. They were called to convert the whole world and we called to convert only a single nation. I told them that we need to believe that we can do this as they believed they could.

Later the lesson was on prayer and I brought up the thought that we really needed to pray over all that we do. We need to pray specifically for things – like each investigator before we teach that we will have the spirit with us so we can teach what the people need to hear which may not be what we want to teach or are prepared to teach. The sister who gave the lesson did an excellent job – making good points and giving good thoughts all the way through.

Just as we were finishing Sister Peterson announced that she had prepared a homemade lunch of chicken noodle soup, bread and brownies. She had whipped all this up in the morning. It was delicious – especially the bread and the brownies. The elders and sisters really tucked the food away. Elder Thomas put enough salt and pepper in his soup to kill any other taste.

After the district meeting Elder Subandriyo gave me the applications of two returned missionary sisters who are coming to the program. This meant the two sisters in Bandung and the one in the English branch will not be in this class. But I got Elder S. to promise they got first shot for the next one. That is if this one does anything like what we hope it will. Actually we are not sure any of these participants are interested in taking the Michigan test to try and get into BYUH.  Later I had to make the hard call to the Van Dongens and tell them the young ladies would not be in this group. We did our important BreadTalk shopping at SoGo before heading home for the rest of the day.

The evening was our normal mix of TV and studying. We read four pages from Kitab Mormon – we only have 250 more to go for our first time through. I also continue to work on vocabulary – an area where Mary is far ahead of me. But it seems that more and more words are sticking and when I try to think of things I want to say I can usually come close – or at least I think I am coming close.

24 May 2007

24 May 2007 – Thursday

Wow the days just whiz by it seems – already the weekend is almost upon me. The best news of the day is Mary seems to have shaken her illness and that makes her very happy. We got great letters from Tyler and Taylor – both of them seem to ready for school to get out and have lots of plans for summer. It is always great to get letters from the family.

At the office we work on our English classes. We received a couple of calls from people who do not speak enough English that I can communicate with them. I give it my best shot but it does not work. In at least one case I believe they wanted to come by the office but I could not tell them enough about where we are. I gave them Sam’s phone number but they did not call him. Frustrating to say the least.

After the office we come home and rest until it is time to go to Tangerang for district meeting and English class. I told Mary I think it is time to change classes – she can entertain the young children and I get to teach the advanced class. I do not think she is buying it – maybe later in the summer we can switch.

At district meeting I once again talked about the need for the spirit when they teach. It is the only thing that will change a person’s life and without it we are just selling the Gospel. I said that if they did not feel the spirit burning in them when they were teaching, they could not expect the investigator to feel it. I certainly felt the spirit as I said this to them and I hope that they did also. I think at least some of them did. I am afraid that they all know exactly what to say but I am not sure they all know how to invite the spirit.

We had only 2 at our English class – both of them were from Mary’s class. But that was OK because all of the Elders went in with them and they had a good time. I spent my hour reading from the Kitab Mormon and Alkitab – I am encouraged by how much of it I can read. It helps that I know most of the stories so once I get an idea of what is going on, I can do some good guessing.

Usually when we get home from English class we are ready to drop into bed but tonight I turned on the TV and the movie ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’ was on. It was basically the story of the 1913 US Open and they young 20 year old amateur – Ouimet – that won it in a playoff with two of best British golfers of the time – one of which was Harry Vardon. The spiced up the story some but stuck to the basic facts including using a young actor that was a dead ringer for the 10 year old caddy that carried his clubs because there was no one else who would. Ouimet went on to be called ‘the father of American amateur golf’ and his caddie went on to become a multi-millionaire.

Mary watched the whole thing and I bounced in and out of the room as I had some other things to do. Unfortunately the movie won out over reading another hour from the Kitab Mormon. We will need to read more tomorrow to make up for it. One fo the things I did was to look at Olivia’s blog. It shows how she has changed over the last two years – from a chubby little baby to a thin young lady. One thing has not changed – her ever ready smile.

23 May 2007

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The famous ant that Mary had to have – it is about 2 feet tall – and so we had it wrapped so we could carry it on the airplane. The other one is a picture of a Muslim wedding that the Kanes went to. Very traditional and according to the Kanes the most beautiful wedding they ever attended outside a temple sealing.
23 May 2007 – Wednesday

When to bed late and slept in this morning. It felt good.

Yesterday we got pictures from Cindy and a great letter from Tyler. I find it hard to believe that Taylor and Tyler are getting ready to graduate from high school. It seems like yesterday that they were born. I will always remember hearing Taylor, long before we got to see her. She was born with a good set of lungs – as we all know! And Tyler is learning to drive Arthur – I remember buying Arthur for Cindy so she could get around in Provo while going to BYU.

Unfortunately Mary has caught some kind of bug that keeps her attached to the kamar kecil. Sam says that every missionary gets it twice so you might as well get them out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of the mission. I am not sure Mary would agree with him at this point. Hopefully it is a passing thing – no pun intended – and she will soon be feeling 100% again.

We continue to read from Kitab Mormon – each day is a revelation of some kind. I find things that are new and exciting – after 50 years in the Church I continue to find new things that make it exciting and helps me grow. I think one of the reasons the Prophets keep reminding us to read the scriptures is that it is a way to bring new light into our lives and keep the Gospel new to us. As I have often said – when I was young I thought I knew all the answers. As I grow older I am just starting to know the questions.

Mary decided not to go to work today – we were worried that we would get caught in a traffic jam at the wrong time. So she stayed home to work on TOEFL and other things and I went to the office. On the way we stopped and dropped off some printing that we needed done. I will have to take a picture of our favorite copy shop – it is not Kinkos. I doubt if any piece of equipment in the shop is under 5 years old – and that is the new pieces. But the cost is less than a penny a sheet so it is hard to complain about the equipment.

I spent most of my time in the office working on e-mail. I did have Sam call one of our patrons about a job I found in the paper today. I try to keep an eye open for those jobs that I think some one who has contacted me might be an opportunity for them.

Agus and Lukito came in about 12:30 and we had our monthly ERS meeting. We made all our plans for the workshops over the next month or so. We will not be going to any of them for at least a month – the English class will take care of that. We talked about the need for more information about placements so we can make a fuller report. This is going to take some time to get through to them, but hopefully by the time we leave there will be some real progress.

While this was going on Sam took the seamstress over to the apartment to give Mary her new things and to take orders for others. She is going to end up with a great wardrobe. She was disappointed in the dress she got and sent it back to be re-worked. Mary thinks she does some things – blouses and skirts – better than others – dresses and jackets.

After the meeting I closed up the office and we went to the mall to buy some books for the English class and to get some printer cartridges refilled. One of the biggest office expenses we have is printer cartridges and paper – I would guess we do a lot more copying than the Leishmans. The mall was not crowded but busy – it is always busy. I meant to take some pictures to show what a middle class mall looked like, but I of course got busy looking at things and forgot.

The evening at home was quite normal. Mary seems to be getting better and that must be a real relief to her – I know it is to me because I was starting to worry. I had lunch off the street – way too much food – so I was not very hungry. I settled for a bowl of rice with green beans – not that different from what I had for lunch. We struggled through two pages of Kitab Mormon – we had a very hard time working out what was going on. It was one of those sections where things are compared one to another and Indonesian is not really good for that. Especially not deep theology and philosophy. I am becoming impressed with the words that are used in the Book of Mormon. We have decided that while the thoughts are complicated in English and Indonesia, they were simple – that is they did not take many symbols –  in Reformed Egyptian and that is why they were used.

While Mary watched a movie and crocheted, I wrote in my journal and caught up with some of the news – I also watched the movie in bits and pieces which did not take a lot from it because the plot was not all that difficult. As it ended I decided that I had seen it before but it obviously did not make a big impression.

I continue to try to increase my Indonesian vocabulary. I know that it is increasing and more and more words are sticking in my mind, but at other times I find myself forgetting simple words that I should know because they are used all the time. Depat, dengan, and datang (can/able – with – to come) are three words that I have struggled with for months – I can usually remember two of the three but often I have to stop and think really hard what they mean.

When I finally learn this language I am going to do all I can to never forget it. Once we get home I plan to listen, read and try to speak Indonesian as much as I can. Maybe I can help out at the MTC. There is no use wasting all this effort after we are released from here.

22 May 2007

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Primary Choirs are the same everywhere – this one is from Tangerang 2 and includes a number of our regular English students. A big, colorful load – not heavy but very wide. My Indonesian Giraffe that Mary bought for my birthday.
22 May 2007 – Tuesday

The start of a new work week. Most of it will be dedicated to trying to figure out what to do with a group of English students for a full month. We have a number of TOEFL study guides to go through and to decide how we are going to go about this thing. It is going to need a lot of study, thought, work and above all prayer. As I mentioned before, I think I now know what Nephi must have felt when the Lord told him to build a ship. Or maybe more like Bill Cosby’s Noah when the Lord told him build an ark – “What’s an ark?” “How big is a cubit.” In my case it is “What is a particle?” I suppose I am going to be mumbling about this English class for the next 5 weeks. I need to remember it isn’t raining rain, its raining opportunities to grow.

Regular morning at the ranch. We read through 3 pages of the Kitab Mormon and Mary suggested we stop. This does not happen very often. Usually it is me who calls a halt to our reading. The problem was that she was falling asleep as we read. So I had her lay down and take a short nap before Sam came.

We actually had two visitors today at the office. One was a patron who we helped a week or so ago to fix up his resume. Today we added his picture which should mean he gets more interviews. He is such a nice man and very good at what he does. I certainly hope he gets a good job. The other was a real surprise. It was brother Basuki, the branch employment specialist from Semarang. We had met him when we went there for a Career Workshop. The Bennetts are working with him to help people find jobs. He was in town for his work – he sells insurance – and he dropped by to see us and to meet with a customer. He is the father of four boys – the two middle ones are twins and are serving their missions. One of them is in our district and is as cheerful as his dad.

We got started on looking through the English books we have. There is certainly plenty of information and things to teach. The hard part is going to be choosing what the students need and teaching it in such a way that they become good enough to pass the TOEFL or Michigan test if that is their goal. I do not see any problem with those who just want to improve their English. I am sure we can teach them to speak, read and write English well, as well teaching them ways to keep up their English after they leave the class.

After office hours we went to the mission office to meet with Elder Subandriyo about the English class. He has decided that he would really like all the class to be returned missionaries so he wants to see if he can get a couple of returned sisters to come the class instead of the two young ladies from Bogor. If he can not find them by Friday we will tell the Bogor sisters to come. I am rather hoping that he does not find any since the two young women seem to me to be the strongest candidates and I would really like the pilot to have some strong English speakers.

We also talked some about the mushroom project. I am going to ask the Kanes to buy 10-20 packages of fresh medium and let us try to grow mushrooms in different parts of Bogor and Jakarta to see if it can be done. I am hoping that even if we can not grow mushrooms down here we can get the medium to fill in and in that way we could at least sell it for people to grow in their own homes for food or even to make a few extra rupiahs a month. A kilo a day would provide about 7000 R a day which would mean about $24 US a month. The difference between surviving and doing OK.

After reading another three pages from Kitab Mormon, we watched ‘Letters from Iwo Jima.’ Although it was pretty well done, I must say that it was not the quality I have come to expect from Clint Eastwood. The human interest was good but the true ugliness of war did not seem to come out. Also the Americans looked much too clean – the pictures I have seen of what soldiers looked like after a month on the lines were that they were in rags and looked haggard from keeping their eyes open for the enemy.

When I went to bed I started to re-read the Kitab Mormon sections that we had read earlier. As I read again the part where Alma is explaining what he has learned about the resurrection, I was touched by the fact that Alma states that part of what he is telling his son is definitely true because he had a spiritual witness to the facts. However he also gives his ‘opinion’ about some ideas or questions that come up in a discussion. In this he differentiates between a testimony ‘I know’ and an opinion ‘I think’ and shows that the source of real truth lies in the witness of the Holy Ghost. The section also shows that when we really want to know if something is true, we can sincerely ask God and he will answer our prayers.

21 May 2007

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These are all the couples who are now serving in Indonesia. Most we know well and they are now close friends.
21 May 2007 – Monday

Up early to study some Indonesian – I went back through some of the verses we read yesterday in the Kitab Mormon and picked out the words I still did not know. This – as usual – led to me digging into the roots of the word and then expanding that to look up words used in the examples the dictionary gives and then… So it ended up – like so much of my study does – in not getting very far with what I started to study but way off on a tangent. It like when in Sunday School class the discussion starts out talking about Eternal Marriage and ends up talking about the beginning of the practice of polygamy in the Church.

After breakfast and a quick trip through the paper – corruption continues to be part of every front page – I finished yesterday’s journal and got it posted. I noticed that the number of posts continue to grow each month. I am glad I do not have to read it all.

It is P-Day so we do the laundry, clean up, and then Sam picks us up to go shopping. First it is we stop at Carrefore to get supplies for our English class. Then it is up a few floors to get TOEFL books so we can have lots of different tests to use in the classes also a couple of books on teaching that we hope will help in the Intensive English Class that starts in about a week.

The next stop is SoGo and BreadTalk – we are still too early for a good selection. I guess Mondays is catch-up day and they had not caught up yet. We will have to try it at about 2 p.m. next time. Our final stop of the day is the mission office where I drop off a bill and talk to Elder Subandriyo. He says it is a go for the English class – he seems to feel that we need to find a place for the students to live. I guess that everything but supplying the money for housing and food will be our responsibility. We talk briefly about the mushroom project – I do not think he is ready to spend much time on this. If it is to work I am afraid we will have to do much of the start up work.

Once we are home we eat some lunch and then watch a movie. We then do a final clean-up before the maid comes. Why does that word some wrong – cleaning lady sounds so much less pretentious. I was surprised to find that one of the members that was visiting the Tangerang branch had nannies for their children – I had never really thought about a member having nannies. Of course there is nothing wrong with that and it does provide a couple of people some work, a good place to live and food to eat. I imagine if we were living here with our young children and could afford it, we would hire nannies, maids, etc. For $250 a month you could hire – 3 to 4 people and they would all love to have the job.

The maid comes we are reading from Kitab Mormon. She gets to hear some of the gospel in our poor Indonesian. I am hoping that it will make her curious about what we are reading. As we have just read – the Lord does great works with small things. After we read, I fall asleep on the bed – Mary wakes me to get money to pay her. She puts in her full three hours because Mary asked her to clean the refrigerator – it really needed it.

I was just thinking about the mushroom project. If it worked a single system could provide 3 families about $200 a month which is a good level of living for a family here in Indonesia. It would be exciting if we could provide enough projects to help 30 or 40 families to earn enough that their children could go to good schools. I feel that there are other things like that which we can start that will do the same thing. I trust the Lord will point me in their direction when I have the time to do something about it.

I am tempted to watch another movie, but I feel that I need to be obedient to trying to learn the language so I spend the time re-reading from the Kitab Mormon and trying to get the words I do not know to stick in my mind. While looking for a pad to write down some of the words, I found some notes I made about the last day we were home . We did a lot of things – including almost getting stuck in the driveway, almost not getting a flight to Las Vegas, and almost being to late t catch our plane to Korea. It was an exciting day to say the least. I wrote that the two hours between when we finished getting ready and Brooke Alexander showing up to take us to the MTC seemed like two of the longest hours I have ever lived. Little did I know how great of a spiritual adventure we would be going to.

Pictures

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This a flower that I have not seen before and no one could tell us what it was called. Sam only knows what a rose is, everything else is ‘a flower – like dat.’ This woman collects sticks of wood in the tea plantation to sell and to use.