Another of the floral arrangements that appears in our lobby on a regular basis. Our Indonesian friend Rudi who we are friendshipping. He has a great spirit and hopefully sometime before we leave, we will see him join the church. But if not we will still have been enriched by knowing him.
6 July 2007 – Friday
I have found that if I stay up until after 10:30 I manage to sleep through the night. However I am going to start going to bed earlier because I have decided that I really must get back to exercising in the morning. President and Sister Marchant emphasized the need to stay healthy and part of that is to exercise. I would guess that the president was not big on this before he got his call.
We had an extra hour this morning because we do not leave for the district meeting until after 10. Usually we do not have district meeting right after zone conference but Elder Decker has decided to call one. Anyway we read from the Kitab Mormon and then I studied vocabulary by reading from conference talks and going through my flash cards. It is strange how some words immediately stick and others vanish as soon as I turn the card.
Mary found this on one of the ESL sites: Two cows are standing in a field. One cow goes, “Mooooo!” The other cow goes, “Baaaaa!” The first cow turns round and says, “What are you doing?” The second cow says, “Practicing my foreign languages.” She sent it to all the couples.
We had a great district meeting. We got to the mission office early and found president Marchant in a short sleeve shirt talking to the office elders. I took advantage of his open door to talk to him about the idea of the Indonesian missionaries spending more of the time while at the apartment to learn English. I mentioned that I thought there was a need for them to include in their weekly letter how much they used their English. I told him about the English grammar book we felt they should use and he came up with the great idea of also having them read from Preach My Gospel. I think that sometime down the line, released missionaries will be much better at speaking, reading and understanding English than they are now. Then maybe we can use the Intensive English Class to do the final preparation for passing the Michigan test.
What made the district meeting great was that it was almost all done in English so we could follow most of it and we were able to contribute. We had been in the meeting for about 15 minutes when the president came in and sat down. He listened, asked questions and made suggestions. I mentioned that most new converts were not given a calling or job in the church to give them a reason to come to church. Also that they should have a home teacher assigned even before they were baptized. The president agreed and had elder Merrill make a note of this so the president could talk about that in the other zone conferences. We mentioned that we would have more time to go out with the missionaries if needed.
I talked to the president about his love for gardening. It turned out that the picture we saw at zone conference with him on a tractor was taken at his motherÃ¢Â€Â™s house where they have about 1 Ã‚Â½ acres. He has been planting a garden there for years. Some of his son-in-laws have taken over the task while they are on their mission.
While we were in the meeting, Sam went and got food from BYU. So we had lunch waiting for us. Mary had soup and I had a ton of food with lots of rice and some of the spiciest tempe that I have ever tasted. It was delicious. I forgot to mention that the office was really empty. It seems that many of the staff were going to Solo to go to a wedding – I am not sure who but it certainly emptied the office.
Our next stop was to pay a visit to our friend RudiÃ¢Â€Â™s home. We had not been there for over two months and I told him we felt bad about that. He mentioned that it was just as well as he had an operation and had been recovering almost all that time. He is now fine and at 74 is sound in mind and body. He mentioned that he had read a newspaper article that mentioned that Joseph Smith had been killed because he supported polygamy. It interested him enough that he called one of his Ã¢Â€Â™nephewsÃ¢Â€Â™ who is a member of the church and he had sent him the book that the institute uses for teaching church history. It is a great book and hopefully he will read it.
I took the opportunity to make sure he understood that at the time the church was practicing polygamy it was not illegal in the US and that once they had passed a law that made it illegal and it had been upheld by the Supreme Court, the Lord had released the church from that practice. I wanted to make sure he understood it was not some black mark on the church.
He then mentioned that he had read that the church was very financially strong. This led into a discussion of tithing and that was why the church was so financially well off. We then got into missionary work and how people were called to serve. He understood this completely and even came up with the Dutch word for Ã¢Â€Â˜callÃ¢Â€Â™ as related to doing the LordÃ¢Â€Â™s work. We then talked about how we had been called and that we, and every other missionary for the church, paid their own expenses while on a mission. He then asked if that meant we paid for our housing and food, and we told him that we paid everything. He was really touched by this and I think we moved to a new plateau in his mind.Ã‚Â Before we left we had Sam take a picture of us together and I will make a copy and frame it so we can give it to him the next time we visit. It felt and still does feel good to do some missionary work.
After meeting with Rudi, we came home where I immediately took a nap. Since then Mary has worked on her cross-stitch and watched TV. I studied a little Indonesian, wrote in this journal, and looked around the world with the computer. I found that OliviaÃ¢Â€Â™s blog had a new posting of some great pictures. This morning CindyÃ¢Â€Â™s blog had a letter from Tyler for us and I answered that. It is great to see pictures of the family and read about them on the blogs.
We ordered in our usual Friday night pizza – I think they have decided we are regulars so they are putting on lots of cheese. It was extra good tonight. I decided to take my time eating so I managed to stretch it out over the best part of an hour. That way I got to enjoy each bite and yet not eat any more than usual.
After dinner we read from the Kitab Mormon. I must say that I was not really in the mood to read tonight but did suggest it because I knew it was not the Lord who was telling me it would be OK to skip it this evening. Earlier in the day I realized that we are basically reading the Book of Mormon three times in 5 months – once out loud in Indonesian, then once as we translate it into English, and finally when I read it out loud in English. I would not say this is the best way to study, but I doubt if most people every search out each word as carefully as we must do when translating the Indonesian. We are down to under 60 pages – which is 10 – 15 days of reading. Then we will take one day off and start again.
Before turning off the lights I study some Indonesian and then read from the D&C. D&C 18 contains a lot of important information – I had marked most of them the first time I read it last month, but reading them again re-enforced my thoughts. 18:19 especially struck me and I wondered if I had these qualities or perhaps better if I had them more often as not. Of course the famous and most quoted part is the verses about the worth of souls. But 18:18 gave me pause and reminded me how I needed to be close to the spirit to have Ã¢Â€Âœmanifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men – I think the important word here is expedient. The Holy Ghost reveals that which we need and understand rather than just pouring out things unto us. So as I pray I need to ask for those things that will help me and other draw closer to Christ and God – what I can do today to achieve the goals the Lord knows I need to work toward.
Bookending the day with scripture study is something I do not believe I have often done in my life. I truly think I have missed much by not doing this more often and I hope that my grandchildren will learn the value of this in the youth. That brings me to Alma and his advice to his son Helaman found in Alma 37:35 about learning wisdom while we are young.
The work is true and the blessings of serving a mission for the Lord can not be measured. Like most experiences in the kingdom, unless you have served you can not understand what those who have are talking about. I just am so sorry that we did not do this 10 years ago so that we would have those 10 years of blessings that we would have received.