The Van Dongans went home today. They are a wonderful couple who completely changes a branch in the time they were here. They doubled the sacrament meeting attendance by going out and bringing in the less active. They created a branch choir that included almost every member of the branch. They beautified the chapel grounds and taught the members to have pride in them. Yet at one time they sent a letter to the president saying that they did not think they were doing any good in the branch and their mission. The other picture is the Indonesian version of a stretch limo…this is the only one I have seen here.
28 June 2007 – Thursday
P-Day – or something like it. I woke fairly early and studied Indonesian for about an hour. There is just so much to learn – hopefully whatever years I have left will be used in learning more. I just wish I had spent more time studying the Gospel when I was younger. Of course teaching Gospel Doctrine for 20 years or so caused me to do a lot of reading and some pondering, but here I feel I am getting into the scriptures in a different way.
We read from the Kitab Mormon before heading off to the church. It had been raining all morning and so we got to go through some really big stretches of water. This of course slows everything down – something that is hardly needed in Jakarta. Because of the rain I had Agus drop us off and then go pick up the rest of the students. Even then they were late because Anna slept in and had not showered.
We had some really good classes today. Mary had them doing work from the black book and I had them work on vocabulary. As usual Vita was way ahead of everyone else. She is the only one who gets through all the exercises and at most she misses two words. Agus is doing better. Jin-young does not do well at first but she must study at night or in the morning because she seems to remember many of the earlier words.
The time went by quickly – of course there was only about 3 hours of class because it is their P-day. After the last exercise, I gave Vita a big hug – not really allowed by mission rules but I decided that with Mary and the rest of the class there it was OK – and said goodbye. Hopefully we will see her again and she will decide to continue her education. We decided to ask her to take the Michigan test so we can see how she does after her training. It will give us some idea as to what we need to teach. It turns out that Anna took the Michigan test a couple of times but never scored above 540. It will be interesting to see how Vita does. We sent her home with a stack of vocabulary exercises – she will probably have them done before the train gets back to Yoja.
We locked up the church and Agus, Anna, and the two of us headed off to SoGo for some shopping. The traffic was terrible – the rain and lots of cars makes for a big mess. It took us an hour to make a trip that usually takes 20 – 25 minutes. But we had a good chance to talk to Agus and Anna along the way. They told us that Jin-young’s mother wanted her to quit – in fact she went home at one point to take a shower and have some food. But Jin-young said that she wanted to stick it out. According to the other students her mother did a lot of crying because of the conditions she was living. But I think Jin-young has learned something more than just English. She has become close friends with some Indonesians and sees how some of them live.
We finally made it to SoGo and quickly got our shopping done. Mary found beef stroganof mix and quickly bought every package they had. We have found that some things you just buy when you can and put it away until you need it because when you need it, it will not be available. We of course also filled up with BreadTalk.
The drive home was a little longer than usual but it was certainly faster than it was going. Agus dropped us off and then took Anna home. Later he is going to take Vita to the train station and Eko to buy his ticket home. The rest of them will be going home either Saturday or Sunday. It will be rather sad to come on Tuesday and not have any class to teach. Hopefully Jin-young will take us up on coming in for one-on-one tutoring.
We got home in time to put away the groceries and clean up the apartment before the cleaning lady came. We both ended up taking naps while she was here. She is so quiet that we never even know she is here. If she did not knock to get in and ask for her pay when she goes, she could be a ghost.
We read the Kitab Mormon for another hour – 3 pages this time. Then we had some tomato soup and fresh bread for dinner. I mentioned to Mary that we were eating an American brand of tomato soup, that is made in Malaysia, in an apartment in Jakarta. And I must say that if the can did not say where it was made, I would not have known it was not from the US.
After dinner Mary is doing cross-stitching while I catch up this journal. We could not find anything to watch on TV – at least nothing I wanted to watch. Mary ended up watching something called ‘Racing Stripes’ – and talking animal movie.
We got a nice letter from President Gordon Creer to give us his new e-mail address. He is about to leave for Northern Ireland for three years. He and Janice will do a wonderful job there. Maybe we will join them after we have some time at home. If we wait 6 months to go again, We would be released about the same time. I wrote him back and wished him well.
I had written to President Smith of the English branch about the possibilities of getting contacts at the US embassy. Later I got a letter from brother Miller – one of his counselors suggesting preparing a form that ex-pats could fill out that would give resources and other information about their companies and who to contact. I would like to meet with the HR directors from the different companies and see what kind of workers they are looking for.
We also got an e-mail from Cindy saying they all got home safely and that they had a good time in Washington and the librarians convention.
That about wraps up the day. The power just went off and then came back on. This has become a regular problem here. The management has not sent any information of about why. Anyway I am going to bed and read from the D&C before turning off the lights.