Hi all – We have not died – although there are days when we need to check with a mirror just to make sure – but very busy. Since I can not post from the apartment and we are rather busy at the office, I have fallen well behind but will try to catch up tomorrow.
23 January 2008 – Wednesday
The morning dashed by and we had to rush to get out of the apartment on time. We did manage to read one page from the Kitab Mormon. Mary is not feeling well and wonders if expose to the mosiquito fogging is causing her problem. If it does not clear up by Monday I will take her into the doctor. I am feeling better than I have in a couple of weeks. Maybe the fogging cured what was wrong with me! <g>
Mary tells me her two students have a real hard time learning. She is going back to basics and see where they are. My group want to learn and are doing well but there is just so much to learn and so little time to get it all done. If we concentrate on one area too much, other things are not touched. It is an interesting balancing act.
I continue to try to study and read from the Indonesian PMG. Hopefully by the time we leave, I will be able to read church material very well and newspapers and magazines well enough to understand what is going on. They are much harder to read because most of my vocabulary is from church material and so there is a lot of vocabulary that I do not know. It is exactly the same problem our students have. But as I tell them – no pain, no gain.
Mary had Daisy in to work on more sets of supplies for the HS English classes. They take hours of work to get ready for laminating and then hours to get into sets. Mary has decided to let the couples do some of the cutting after they get the supplies. That gives them some idea of how much work goes into the program.
After class, they drop us off at the apartment and then head off to President Smith house for dinner and a discussion (Sam said it was about 72 Hour Kits.) We then spend the evening working on more English material, having dinner, and reading from the Kitab Mormon. When 9 p.m. rolled around we realized that we had managed to keep rather busy for the last 4 hours.
I know we could not be doing what we are doing without the Lord’s help. As I read in PMG about the Holy Ghost helping the missionary to say and do what is needed to bring others unto Christ, I know that it also leads and guides us to do what we need to do to help the youth of Indonesia prepare for a better life through English. I find myself asking “Why us Lord.” Not because I am discouraged or think that we can not do what we are asked to do, but more to understand why the Lord chose us. What qualified us for this experience. Maybe the 4th section of the D&C says it best: ‘If ye hath desires to serve God, ye are called to the work.”
22 January 2008 – Tuesday
During the day we received the following letter from Elder Subandriyo.
Thank you for your devotion to the program. I just returned from Cambodia and
had a youth fireside attended by large number of youth. I challenged the youth
in the next 3 years they should hear my message without interpreter. I shared
what we did in training our youth in English with mission president and the CES
couple and they are excited about it. Cambodia mission has probably 15
couples,one for each unit. Cambodia also has large number of youth who are
hungry of learning. The state education level is a little bit low than
Indonesia, but the spirit of our youth will compensate it. I will be back to
Cambodia Feb 9, I hope I will be able to gather up date information of our
program and its curriculum and present it to mission president and CES couple.
The CES couple informed me that their seminary attendance this year is down
compare to last year. We are hoping the English program could help improve
Terima kasih banyak atas kasih dan pelayanan anda semua.
Later in the day he dropped by the chapel and we talked for a short time. I asked if this meant we needed to get a teaching package together so he could take it to Cambodia in three weeks and he said yes.
Since we had talked about the idea of introducing the program in Cambodia, I was not surprised that he was going to do this. What surprised me was the timing. We have only been actually holding classes for two weeks in two cities and while it looks promising, I thought he would wait until some of the kinks had been worked out. But since he was the one who had the inspiration to get us moving on the High School program, I will not question his decision to move it forward at this time.
If – or better when – this program proves successful, who knows where it will go. Perhaps in a few years we can see it stretching across Asia or the world. We are just excited – and at times overwhelmed – by the idea of all LDS high school students being proficient in English when they graduate.
Other than that it was a fairly normal Tuesday. Mary and I taught the morning class and then Mary left for the mission office so she could teach her English lesson there. (Later she said nothing went quite right.) I stayed behind so I could teach the class until the Walkers came. They had a luncheon to go to and knew they would be late. I had a good time teaching the students – I gave them a repeat of the test they had on Saturday to see how much they improved. After correcting the test I found that all of them improved their grade, but only two of them really did well.
When the Walkers came, I caught a taxi and went to the apartment. It was not long before Mary got back. We spent the rest of the evening reading the Book of Mormon, working on English projects, and watching some T.V.
I forgot to mention that in the morning I was studying PMG in Indonesian and found that one section of the Holy Ghost was completely different in Indonesian than the English version. My guess is that the English version was changed after the Indonesian one was already printed. There is more information in Indonesian than English. I have found this true with other publications but with so many languages and so many books and manuals it not surprising. What is surprising is how few times this is so – at least from what I have worked with.
22 January 2008 – Monday
A normal day of IEC. Our office looks like a paper storage area – a not very neat one. Neither of us are Chinese. One of the most positive things is that they seem to really be trying to speak English even when they are not in class. They also have a very positive attitude and we have a lot of fun – even when we are doing serious work.
After the last period they dropped us off at the apartment and headed off to their FHE. We then spent the time reading the Kitab Mormon – we are about where we should be at this time. Mary spent much of the night working on High School English class activities and I spent time trying to get my main journal up to date.
We got a great letter from the Taylors in Yogja about their first week of HSE. They managed to get all the potential students to the class. They are really committed to the program and with sister Taylor’s creativity – she meantioned that she at one time wanted to be an artist – they will do great. It was a big boost for us – especially Mary who has put so much blood and sweat into providing quality teaching activities and suggested class outlines. It will be great to go to Solo and Yogja next month to see how the classes are doing.
I wish I could look 10 – 15 years down the road and see how it helped the students and the Church in Indonesia.
20 January 2008 – Sunday
We had a great Sunday filled with a number of spiritual experiences. First we went to the English branch to hear three of the students give their talks. Actually we heard four of our IEC students give talks because the first youth speaker was Jin-Young who attended our first IEC. She did a good job and her English pronounciation has really improved.
Our three students – Yuli, Hani and Sam – gave their talks without out reading anything but the scripture they chose. They all spoke about a spiritual experience they had on their mission and did a great job. Poor Yuli was still shaking after the meeting from all the tension she had in giving her first talk ever in English. But she did fine and I am sure that the members could feel her spirit and understood what she had to say. I was given the opportunity of giving the closing prayer.
It is always strange to attend the English branch and to be able to understand what is being said and make comments that you know are in context. I can see why the Lord says that everyone will hear the gospel in their own language – to get the fullness of the gospel and the fullness of the spirit, you need to understand what is actually being said.
We had the opportunity to ask for help from the English branch in hosting our students fro the remaineder of the class. We got about 2/3 of our dates filled in. Saturday and Sunday nights are really hard to get anyone to take and we can understand that. The important thing is that we got the FHEs all taken.
Sister Ventura gave a very thoughtful lesson in SS about Lehi and Nephi’s vision of the tree of life. She gave me a couple of things to consider that I had not noticed before. It has certainly given me things to look into and ponder when I have time.
The PH lesson today was on God the Father and I am finally learning not to bring up things that do not add to the spirit of the lesson. I did comment that I did not think that Satan wanting the Glory for saving mankind had anything to do with God’s decision to choose Jesus to be our Savior. I can not imagine God being very interested in Glory and even less as it being a motivating force for Him helping his children. He helps us because He loves us – our doing well I am sure adds to his pleasure and his joy as our failures adds to his sorrow – but as to wanting or seeking Glory, I think that is more a human desire than a God-like one.
Back at the apartment I spent the day reading the next lessons for SS and PH. I did the PH one in both English and Indonesian. We also read from the Kitab Mormon a number of times – we have about 130 pages to go for our third time through. Before turning off the light I read from the latest Ensign – about the only thing I did not read today was anything from PMG or MIA.
It was a very good Sabbath Day
19 January 2008 – Saturday
I am afraid that while I have the faith to walk two or three steps into the darkness, I do it with some doubt lingering in my mind. When I prayed about the lost set of keys, I felt that everything would be OK. But as usual for me and inspiration, I had no idea what ‘OK’ might mean. Did it mean that the keys would be sitting somewhere in the office, or did it mean that in the big scheme of things, my losing the keys would not matter. So when – thanks to Ari having not only keys to the building but also a key to my office – I opened the door to the office and did not see the keys where I expected them to be, my heart raced a little. However as I stepped into the office I saw them sitting behind a stack of papers and so the answer to my prayers was the one I was hoping for.
The rest of the day was pretty much as last Saturday. We took turns with the morning class period – I took my three speakers up for another practice – and in the afternoon Mary taught the High School Class – 2 students – and I took our IEC. Both went well and I decided to keep the IEC for an extra hour in the afternoon and give them the evening off as we had no one to host them.
This group of young men and women are a joy to teach – all of our classes are that way – because they seem to really want to learn. The problem is that even with 30 days of solid teaching, it is hard to get enough vocabulary and critical thinking into them so they are ready to take the Michigan or the TOEFL tests. About the best we can hope to do is maybe help the best two or three do well enough on the Michigan test that they feel motivated to prepare for the TOEFL test.
We gave them a sample test today. Mary will grade it tomorrow and we will see how they did.
18 January 2008 – Friday
Normal morning at the apartment with time to read 2 pages from the Kitab Mormon before heading to the chapel and IEC. The class went well but I am worried about the students who are going to speak on Sunday. They are still struggling with coming up with an experience that brings the spirit. Hopefully by Sunday that will change.
Mary took the first part of the class and I took the last half so she could work on some more lesson material. With the IEC, the High School English, and her teaching the office staff, a lot of her – and my – time is put into lesson perparation. Especially for the HS class.
After the morning class, Sam and the students dropped us off at the mall and they went on to be with the Walkers for the afternoon and Joel Guttormsen in the evneing. Thus we had an actual afternoon and evening off. This would have been great if not for two things – first my stomach is back to being unhappy with me and second when we got home I discovered I did not have the office keys. At first I thought they must have fallen out of my pocket when I got out my wallet to pay for the taxi home. After trying to contact the taxi, I worried for a while and then prayed. After praying I felt a lot less worried. It was like a burden was lifted. I was not sure what that meant at the time, but I assumed that things would work out. This allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day and sleep. I knew the Lord had answered my prayer by comforting me and that things would work out tomorrow when we went to the chapel.
Mary worked on some English games and we read twice from the Kitab Mormon. Also Daisy came over to clean the apartment. She still has no job and does not seem to be applying for any. I am beginning to worry about her.
The opportunity to teach the young people is always uplifting. To see how hard they are working to speak English, to do their homework, and to participate in the class makes the work easier. It is amazing to be here in Indonesia on our mission. It feels like home and if we knew the language I think we could serve here for years. We of course miss our family – especially the grandchildren – but we are able to keep up with what and how they are doing. The Lord continues to bless us with health and the energy to do what we need to do.
17 January 2008 – Thursday
We have discovered that the days tend to blend together when we are holding an Intensive English Class. I do no more than think about going to the gym. It is a combination of waking later and a shorter morning before it is time to leave our apartment. We usually manage to get in a half hour of reading from the Kitab Mormon before we leave and that gives us a spiritual boost.
Today was our P-day. We had morning class from 9 to 12. I split the time so Mary could get some things ready to send to couples to get them ready for their High School English classes that hopefully will start sometime late in February or early March. The local copy shop is going to be able to expand just on the work we give them. It is one of our regular stops each morning on the way to the office.
I had a good time teaching. I led them through a review of the 80 vocabulary words that they have had and most of them did very well. It is wonderful to see their minds working and their English skills improving day by day. Best of all their confidence is increasing so that they are willing to talk to everyone and anyone in English. I am a little worried about their talks for the English branch – none of the talks I heard this morning seemed to be well prepared. But it was their first time and hopefully they will improve before they actually give them.
After that we head over to the mission office where we met with the represenatives from BYUH and talked about teaching English. The two brothers are touring Pacific Rim and putting on firesides to introduce people to BYUH and what they offer. After that Mary taught the staff their English lesson and I had lunch. I also picked up my 120G portable drive the elders bought for me. It is amazing how small and cheap they are. I will be able to pull everything off of both computers and take it all home.
We were able to spend two hours at the apartment – that was our P-day – and then went back to the chapel for the BYUH fireside. It was very informative and I found out some important things about admittance. It is just too bad that they do not have more courses that would prepare Indonesian students for higher paying jobs with multi-nationals.
In the morning we received a call from a recently released sister missionary who heard that one of our students had left and wanted to join the class. We talked it over with the young ladies who are already 3 to a room and they said it was fine. So we invited her to come so we are back to our 6 students and Sam.
So it was a busy and uplifting day. The Lord continues to bless us and gives us many opportunities to grow.
OK so I did not hit publish – I hit Save. Here is the missing post from yesterday.
15 January 2008 – Tuesday
It was a tiring but good day for us. Mary did not sleep well, but I felt much better. Seswanto gave us some good/bad news. The good news is that he got a new job but the bad news is that he will have to leave our class. This is the first time we had someone actually drop out but since he has been looking for a job for almost a year, it is great that he finally has one that will allow him to use his accounting skills.
We split up the class for the morning session and then since Mary needed to leave to teach her English class for the office staff, I took the afternoon class. She and Sam got back just as the class ended so we were able to go home for an hour and get some dinner.
For the evening class we played a number of games. By the time we got home we were both very tired and so after answering some e-mail, we headed off to bed.
One event sticks in my mind. When we were walking out with the students I asked them if they were finding it easier to communicate in English. Erna said they were doing better than they thought they could and thank me. I mentioned that the class started just 8 days ago and ask them to imagine how well they will be doing in 3 more weeks. I think one of them might pass the Michigan test – at least I certainly hope so.
16 January 2008 – Wednesday
I think this blog is trying to tell me something. Yesterday I wrote a post and was I hit ‘publish.’ However I just noticed that the post is not there. So either I have completely lost my mind – I heard that ‘not much to lose’ – or the blog is now editing my posts. I admit that the post was not very interesting but it did have a couple of events that I felt were worth mentioning. Oh well – onward and upward.
A letter from Cindy mentions that Mike has borken one of his fingers – no mention of which one or how. Hopefully we will not be kept in suspense for ever. Kristy continues to post great pictures of Charlotte and Olivia – I just printed one of them so proud grandmother can show it to all the people she teaches today.
Yesterday was a normal IEC day. Because one of our students got a call about a job he really needs and went home last night, we are down to 5 students and Sam. I gave them all heart attacks when I made them give their short morning talks without any notes. They did fine and once they get use to this, they will continue to do better.
Both Mary and I seem to always be tired. I do not remember this problem during other Intensive English Classes. Perhaps it is because we had to spend so much energy and time on the High School English class that we came into the class already tired.
The students are great and hardly complain about the piles of homework we give them each night. When you realize that they did not have homework in any quantity before, it is amazing that they do so well. I have real hopes that one or more of these students will get in the high 70’s and perhaps one might make the magic 82 on the Michigan test. It would be great if someone could qualify for BYUH.
OK – lets see if this posts!