Monthly Archives: February 2008

29 February 2008

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The district and the Barnards, Elder Barnard with Try (pronounced Tree) and Mary watching Sister Barnard explain a game.

29 February 2008 – Friday

Happy Leap Year Birthday – Dave Berry must be about 16 or 17 by now.

I am proud of myself – I got up and went to the gym this morning. After breakfast we read from the Kitab Mormon and then I worked on pictures and this journal. I even worked in a 15 minute nap before we had to get ready to be picked up by the Barnards.

We with them to their District Meeting where we were able to distribute mail. I interviewed a young man for the next Intensive English Class. He is marginal but I think he will be OK. It turned out that one of the missionaries in the district is about to be released and he may also want to come to our class. He is from the Selatan branch so it will be easy for him. The District Meeting was a little long but they seem to be working hard. They have a number of problems with some of their investigators that will need to be worked out before they are baptized. They have also had problems with a couple of the missionary’s health.

The Barnards and ourselves came back to the hotel for lunch. Elder Barnard was not feeling 100% and needed to get on line to check for an e-mail from their daughter who is a doctor to know what he should take. It seems that much of the internet service in Indonesia has been down all morning but the one at the hotel is fine. So I took him up to our room and he was able to access his mail and then get a prescription which hopefully will clear everything up. It is no fun to be sick at any time but on a mission and away from home seem even worse.

During and after lunch we talked about the HS English class – mainly to find what is working and what is not. The Barnards – like all the couples – are very positive about the program and what it has and will accomplish among the youth.

While the Barnards ran some errands we came up to our room. I worked on this journal and the photos I had taken yesterday. I also managed a very short nap.

The evening went very well. Mary and I held a meeting with three of the four Branch Employment Specialists, Sister Endang, the District Counselor in charge of Employment, and one of the branch presidents. We went through the responsibilities of the Branch Employment Specialists including that they should be attending all the Branch Welfare Meetings. I tried to empower them to go and one of the participants asked the District Council member to suggest to the District Presidency to teach the branch presidents that they should make sure that their branch specialist is invited and comes. We also went through the report form and what they should be reporting. I think Sister Endang was very happy that we held the meeting so everyone understood her calling and why the reports are important. We also gave out the Indonesian version of the “25 Rules for a Successful Small Business.”

After that meeting we went to the Barnards High School English class. They asked me to talk and I was prompted to speak to each student and ask them some questions that they could answer. It let them know that I cared and gave me a connection so that they relaxed. It worked so well that a young woman – the only one in the class – that did not want to give the opening prayer
volunteered to give the closing prayer. Mary also spoke to them and told them she would like to adopt them all. She also bore her testimony about the program. We found that the Barnards are a great teaching team. They are well prepared, have good connections with their students, and above all really care about them. The class works together well and seem to want to help each other when they can not answer a question. It is a wonderful feeling to share this class even for one hour.

Our evening reading from the Kitab Mormon was the last 4 pages of the book of Jacob. Other than the scripture on ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God’ and that being rich is not evil if you do righteous things with your wealth, and Jacob’s semi-lament about the lives of those who left Jerusalem near the end of chapter 7, I am still not a big fan of Jacob.

28 February 2008 – Thursday

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My good friend Kevin from the Robert’s class.  Mary and the Roberts with their HS English Class. Mt Merapi on the trip between Jogya and Solo in our private van.

28 February 2008 – Thursday

First thing in the morning we finished packing all of our stuff and, thanks to the Taylors, we had a great breakfast. Then it was time to go to the bus terminal for our trip to Solo. We ended up being the only passengers in a 9 seat van so we had plenty of room for our luggage and could spread out on the seats. We also had control of the air-conditioning. So for $5 total we had our private van for about a two hour trip. The driver was a really nice man who stopped to let me take pictures of Mt. Merapi with its interesting cloud cover – or was that smoke from the active volcano? It turned out the driver lived in Solo and he asked if he could stop by his home for a minute. We said sure and so we got to see his very nice home – he is a gardener like me – and his children. The children liked having their picture taken and the brave young man even came up and shook my hand.

We checked into the Novotel and after we were settled in the Roberts came by and we spent some time with them talking about the HS program and having lunch. They then dropped us off at the hotel where I worked on catching up the journal and photos. We read from the Kitab Mormon.

In the evening we went to the Robert’s HS class. They only had about half of the students there but it was great to meet with them again. They were the test class for this program and we feel close to them. I was glad to see a young man named Kevin there. I think he is very bright and only clowns around to be accepted. When I first came into the room I went over and said hello and saw that he was busy doing some difficult looking math. We talked for a while – he reminded me to slow down as he always does. During the class I took some pictures and some movies – it will be interesting to look at them and share them with Elder Subandriyo.

After the class we sat around and talked with President Tatok of the district presidency about a number of things. He will pick us up on Saturday and take us up to the Bennetts. When we were finished the Roberts drove us back to the hotel.

Again it was a good day that was filled with special events. The main one was seeing the enthusiasm of the English students. Because it was pouring rain, only 3 came to seminary but 6 more came for the English class. Hopefully once the rainy season is over, more of the students will come to both on a regular basis.

One of the great blessings of our mission has been being a part of the start of this HS program. Hopefully it will continue and grow to be a powerful force in the development of the future leaders of the church in Indonesia. The same is true about the Intensive English class. We have yet to turn out a student that has gone to BYUH but this last group had two that would qualify if they were returned missionaries and I believe at least one will go. I think at least one of the young men who could not take the test because they had just tried a month before may qualify the next time. The problem now is for them to have enough money to go. This is something we may try to work on after the mission.

27 February 2008

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The Taylors with the young English class graduates. The Taylors and their HS English class. Mary and her new friend – Vita’s cousin.

27 February 2008 – Wednesday

Well it has been an exciting day. It started with me waking up at 3:55 because I had set the alarm for 4 instead of 3 a.m. Since we asked for a taxi to be available at 4:00 and our plane left at 6:00 I jumped out of bed, woke up Mary and in the next 12 minutes finished packing, got dressed, water the plants, turned off everything I should and left the apartment. It was very exciting – even heart stopping.

But the toll roads were clear, the taxi driver was fast and we got to the airport in plenty of time. All of this and the fact that I woke up before the alarm went off, I consider a tender mercy from the Lord. The flight to Jogja went smooth and I even got a short nap. The Taylors were there to meet us at the airport and took us to their house where we unpacked some of our things, gave the Taylors some things we brought for them and did a few other things before leaving for the pottery shops that we found the last time we were here.

I bought one thing and Mary had a great time buying just a few inexpensive things. It was not one of our big shopping sprees. We went to a great Japanese, Korean, and Chinese restaurant where I ate much too much good food.

We came back to the house just long enough for me to get some forms I needed for our meeting tonight printed – I had left the copies I had made at home along with some other things.

We had a very good evening. First we met with the Branch Employment Specialist and the branch president. We talked about what their needs were, how the BES should be involved with the Branch Welfare Meeting, the report form for people who got jobs or started a business, and finally the branch president talked about what he felt the branch needed in ways of help in getting better jobs. He said the average wage in Jogya is from $45 to $80 a month. I must say that shocked me. The president was happy to get the Indonesian version of 25 rules for a successful small business. He will get copies made for his members.

After that we went to the combined graduation of the Leadership and Basic English classes that the Taylors and the missionaries have been holding for 3 to 4 months. They asked me to speak and I took the time to go around and speak to each student. The best part was asking the younger class their names and having each answer “my name is….” with a big smile on their face. Then each of the adults who were graduating got up in front of the class and said a few words. Some said more than others but all did well. Hopefully they will continue to hold classes and the students will continue to improve.

Finally we got to the real purpose we are here. We got to see a High School English class. Most of the young people have a good basic ability to speak and understand English. Of course some are better than others, but they seem to all enjoy the class. We were impressed and had few comments for the Taylors. They are doing a great job with all of their classes.

One of the nice things about visiting Jogya is that we get to see Vita, Anna and Erna who have all attended our Intensive English Classes and who we view as our adopted family. They are always so happy to see us. We brought Erna pictures of her graduation and a group picture of the 3rd IEC. We now must go back and do the same for all the other classes. Hopefully we can find all the pictures on the computer. We had 18 8×10 and 5×7 beautiful color photos made for just over $10 total. The almost instant photo shop that does them is very modern looking and could be dropped into Utah and it would fit right in. There are supposed to be a couple of them in Jakarta and we need to look them up. We need to go through our pictures and get all the hard copies we want made before we head home.

When we got back to the Taylor’s home we sat around talking and then Mary went through the new games and the additions to the teachers manual with sister Taylor. While that was still going on I went up to our room and started re-packing for our leaving early tomorrow. One of the things that needed packing was the new bedspread that we had made. It is gorgeous but also really bulky. Luckily we brought enough suitcases to handle it all.

So for a day that started under some strain, it turned out to be a very good day for us. Not only were we able to achieve all we came to Jogya to do, but we also got a chance to spend a little more time with our good friends the Taylors.

26 February 2008

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26 February 2008 – Tuesday

Scripture to ponder today: Revelation 14:12-13 – “Here is the patience of the Saints. Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

I woke and started to read an conference talk in the Liahona and after about 30 minutes I found myself pretty much frustrated because I found myself looking up 30% of the words. As I started to write this entry and read the scripture I chose last night to ponder today, I realized that patience is still an attribute I need to more diligently work on.

Yesterday’s scripture was on faith and this morning I found a set of round table discussion about The Lectures on Faith available on line at: http://www.ldsteenhelp.com/lectures_on_faith.html. Although this is not my favorite method of teaching, in listening to the introduction I learned quite a bit and will listen to the rest of the series as I have time. Unfortunately I could not find a print version on-line.

We read from the Kitab Mormon and packed up all the things we needed to take to the mission home to be shipped out. Then it was to the office for a couple of hours. I finished cleaning off the old computer and transferring the files I needed to the new one. The 120G portable drive is amazing. It is hard to believe that it is possible to get so much information on something that small. I imagine in another couple of years there will be ones that small that hold a tetrabit of information.

Sam and I packed up the old computer and monitor, some old Ensigns we are shipping to Central Java to be used in the HS English classes, and what we brought from the apartment this morning. We loaded up a taxi and headed for the mission office. When we got there it started to rain a little but we got all the goods inside without ruining anything and then the heavens opened up and poured rain. Some might say we were lucky but I felt that it was one of the Lord’s tender mercies that kept us and all our goodies soaked.

Mary taught her class. I talked to Elder Subandriyo about the state run trade schools that I suggested might be good for training those returned missionaries that did not have a trade. He thought it was a good idea and asked me to get more information for him. After that I went downstairs and read from a number of conference talks from April 2002. I could only remember one or two of the talks so it was like reading them for the first time.

Back to the apartment where we read from the Kitab Mormon and then cleaned up the apartment so it was presentable when Ed arrived. He was a little later than expected so we had time to do most of our packing for tomorrow’s early leaving.

When he got here we showed around the apartment and then we went to dinner downstairs. It was a great meal and we talked about just about everything. By 9:00 he was yawning and we have to get up at 3:00 so we took him down to get a taxi, gave him some hugs, and said we will see him in a week or so. It is so great to have him here to share some of the things we have become so used to. It is really too bad none of the rest of the family will be coming. It would be a great excuse to see some of Indonesia we have not already seen. But that is OK. As Elder Ballard quoted a couple who was going on their fifth mission “It is not a sacrifice, it is an opportunity.’ How true we have found that is true.

25 February 2008

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Ed and the Grand Hyatt’s foyer.

25 February 2008 – Monday

Scripture to ponder today: Alma 32:21 – Hebrews 11-12:1 about Faith and Hope. Repeated from yesterday.

Oh how I hate to get up in the morning – that line from a WWII song comes to mind as I think about how I felt when the alarm went off. I quickly stopped it and went back to sleep. The only exercise I had was catching a few more zzzzzzzzzzzz before getting out of bed. The morning went as usual. I finished yesterday’s journal, read some e-mail – including Janice Creer’s mission letter – received a Skype call from Tom which we will continue when we get to the office – and read from the Kitab Mormon.

As I finishing yesterday’s journal I realized I had not taken the time to ponder the scripture of the day. There was no excuse for that because I had plenty of time to read the scriptures. Hopefully this experience will help me to be more diligent in the future.

We went into the office for just a couple of hours to get some work done. Mary posted all our PEF contacts that Sam had called. At least we are keeping that up – hopefully they will cancel all the old debts and the next couple can forget about PEF. I found that I had not moved all the files off the old computer that I should have.

We called Tom on Skype but it was no better at the office than it was at the apartment. The connection is just too slow to do any good. But we did get to see and hear William and Kelli for a short time. William is getting really big. Around noon Ed called to say he was in town and to set up a time when we could get together tonight. It was great to hear his voice.

Back at the apartment Mary got busy putting together the material we need to take with us on Wednesday. The piles that pretty well filled our living room are all coming together into neat packages for the couples. Hopefully they will all be used over the next few months as we bring more branches on line.

I helped by staying out of her way and taking a nap. After my nap I went to the gym to get in my half hour of exercise that I missed this morning. Then we read from the Kitab Mormon. About the time we finished, Ed called and said he was on the way back to the hotel. We quickly got ready and left to join him. The trip there did not start well. We hit a real traffic jam for about 15 minutes – all caused because of one turn-around that is always a mess. It is the kind of bottle-neck that could easily be fixed but probably never will be. At least we had a driver who could speak pretty good English and was a lot of fun.

Ed is staying at the Hyatt Grand and boy does it earn it’s name. The entry must have cost more than most hotels we stay in. I thought the Marriott here was nice, but it looks like a shack compared to the Hyatt.

Ed looks great – exactly like he did the last time we saw him which must be about 2 years ago. It is hard to believe that he is going on 52. I can still remember him throwing up on me when I was burping him. (Sorry about that Ed – but it is true.) After some big hugs we went to the attached mall and wandered around the food court. Like the hotel the mall is really upscale but the food court was not all that expensive. We found a very busy noodle place and decided that it must have good food to attract that many customers and we were right. We ate and talked for a couple of hours before all of us were starting to drag. He should be pretty much dead after spending 35 hours getting here from SF. We will see him again tomorrow night.

It has been a good day. I made sure that I studied the scripture and pondered the idea of faith and the need to show faith by living the gospel and helping others. Moroni chapter 9 has a very good discourse on faith as the way we can “lay hold of every good thing.”

24 February 2008

24 February 2008 – Sunday

Scripture to ponder today: Alma 32:21 – Hebrews 11-12:1

I did not spend much time yesterday pondering my selected scripture, but this morning as I thought about it again, I felt that for some things the Lord wants me to ‘figure it out’ in my own mind and then ask him to confirm my decision. For others the Holy Ghost prompts me to do the right thing – often times without me even considering the guiding source. Then there are times when I either do not ask or ignore the prompting of the spirit and just go ahead and do things. Sometimes it works out fine but more often as not I have to repent and try again.

Woke early enough to spend some time trying to read a conference talk by Elder Snow on service. There were a lot of words I had to look up but others that I could get from the context. In the introduction part of his talk, he told how as she lay dying her only regret was that she had not done more service to others. Elder Snow then went on to show that she had served others all of her life, but her spirit was such that she wished she had done more. I thought of the times I have hesitated to serve others because of personal selfishness of not wanting to give up the time or the effort to exercise Christlike service.

Because we did not have a car, we went to the English branch for our meetings. Although we would have liked to go to one of our branches, this did give us a chance to start getting ready for the next Intensive English Class – I want to do better in planning ahead so we do not have to get homes for them to go to at the last minute.

As the sacrament was being prepared we sang the hymn“God loved us, so He sent His Son” and instead of stopping at the end of verse three we sang all five verses. As we sang verse five with the worlds ‘Partaking now is word for deed, that I remember Him my Lord’ I felt something special. That it not what I say that shows my love for my Savior but what I do. It tied in so well with the general feeling of the week for me.

During the meeting I tried to pay more careful attention to the speakers and took notes. The first two speakers had the subject of personal revelation and the District Council speaker spoke about the need for Wisdom. Among the things I wrote was: Man did not create God! and ‘We need to get a PHD or Master degree in righteousness. As I listened I had the thought that the internet is not the information highway for truth, the Holy Ghost and personal revelation is the real source of all truth and guidance.

As usual Sister Ventura’s SS class was great.  She is so well prepared and many of the class comes ready to participate. The lesson was on the resurrection and she gave me a couple of things to think about. Before the block started Mary told me that sister Ventura’s white board was a black board so I took my trusty WD-40 and a towel and cleaned it for her. Brother Wiser taught the PH lesson and he chose President Monson’s talk on the resurrection. I guess it was our day to ponder about the importance of the atonement and the resurrection.

The English branch here in Jakarta is unusual – at least seems that way to me. It has members from two nations in Africa, Korea, England, Canada, Philippines, Scotland, Indonesia, the US and probably a number of other countries. What they have in common is the Gospel and being able to speak and hopefully understand English. I say hopefully because I know there are some that do not have enough English vocabulary to follow all the talks and lessons. Another universal ‘language’ is music. I am surprised at how many members – young and old – like to sit down and play or try to play the piano. Also most members – especially the younger ones – love to gather around the piano and sing. Any number of times I have been walking in the hall on my way to one of our Intensive English classes and have heard the students singing hymns while one of them played.

After church we had our ususal Sunday activities of reading, working on English – Mary prepared a very detailed lesson plan for Sister Marchant so she could substitute for Mary on Saturday, and napping. We got a nice surprise when President Marchant called us and asked if we could come to dinner at the mission home. When the cab came to pick us up, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was the same driver that took us to the mission home earlier in the week. He thought that it was cool also.

Dinner with the Marchants, Walkers, and elders Teng, Bastian, Rowberry and Smith was not only delicious but good for our spirits. Unfortunately there are a couple of missionaries who are quite sick – one seems to have the measles and one has been running a high fever. I noticed that the President really depends on his Assistants to help him – it should be great training for these young men to have so much responsibility. I don’t want it to sound like the President doesn’t make the final decision, but that he does not micro-manage the mission. It reminds me of the scripture that says that we are free to act and not just be acted upon.

Unfortunately the President and Sister Marchant need to go with the Walkers to Medan this weekend for a hand-over ceremony so the office elders will teach the HS English class. At least they have a complete lesson outline to get them through.

When we got home we had time to read the Kitab Mormon again before heading off to bed. It was a good Sunday. What I did not do is spend any time pondering the scripture for the day. I just did not take the time so I will carry it over to tomorrow.

23 February 2008

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Mary’s English Class from left to right: Mary, Ovi, Intha, Bryan. These young people give up 3 to 4 hours of their Saturday to come to the class and then they stay to have Seminary. Four on a bike is not unusual but I liked this picture because the young man in front was looking right at me as I took the picture.

23 February 2008 – Saturday

Scripture to ponder today: D&C 3:4 – about the loss of the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon. How often do I follow after the dictates of my own will instead of seeking the Lord’s desire. How do I learn when to seek Lord’s guidance and when should I ‘anxiously engaged in a good cause’ without being prompted? There is a lot to think about in this scripture.

I have decided to choose one scripture a day to ponder and see how I can liked it unto myself. I certainly need something to focus on that is outside my usual routine.

Woke early and after reading some from the Liahona went down to the gym for a brief workout. As always it was tiring but in a good way. A very regular morning – we read 5 pages from the Kitab Mormon. One or two verses really get us but over-all it goes well. I have always found Nephi’s comments on the Law of Moses rather interesting. It reminds me much of what Paul will say a few hundred years later but after the Law has been fulfilled in Christ.

We catch a cab to the office and we get a very nice driver who goes out of his way to help us. He is another 8 year star driver and is proud of it. I start to take a picture of his license and then decide that it might offend him – I do not know why I felt this way.

We spend the morning working on different things. I ask Sam to come in so he can do some errands for us. He and Anne come in and head off to get things done. Stupid me forgets to give him the CD with the pictures we want printed so we will need to do this on Tuesday when we are at the mission home. We call Daisy and she agrees to come and help Mary get the English books for the couples ready. That takes a big load off of her mind.

After lunch Mary teaches her HS English class and three of her four students show up. At least one of them has very good English and I am sure this is helping her quite a bit. I think I will help teach the next one – two weeks from now. We find that the Walkers probably can not help us with the class – they are just too busy on most Saturdays. Mary came up with a good idea that we hope works out. I would like to start the English classes in Tangerang. Perhaps Thursday night and then Saturday and Sunday. We need to see how many young people we might get.

While Mary taught the class, I started cleaning up files – both on computers and the three file cabinets we have. Some of the things in the files have been there for 5 years and are of no value. We still need to get another 4 drawer file cabinet for the English program. We want to leave both the Intensive English and the HS English class material in a well organized condition so our replacements can pick right up where we left off. The office is starting to look much better – but it would have been hard for it to look worse.

Unfortunately we do not have one come in for help with a job. We would really like to have some successes so that more people might hear about it and come in. We can not give them jobs but if they will follow our suggestions they have a much better chance to get one or get a better one.

After Mary finished her class, we caught a taxi and came home for a couple of hours before going back so Mary could play for district choir practice. I got Skype up and running but could not test it because no one was on line. I tried to listen to the latest Worldwide Leadership Training program but the DVD we got did not work. So instead I used the time to ponder the scriptures and to send off a couple e-mails that I had forgotten to send earlier. We ended the day by reading in the Kitab Mormon.

Thanks to the Lord’s prompting I was able to achieve my scripture goal for the day. I am thankful for His love and concern for me. I am afraid that often I get so caught up in what I am doing that I forget to thank Him for the simple but important blessings that He gives me.

22 February 2008

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Inri and Tingnoi – our home teaching family. The others are just a couple of loads that we saw today. I especially like the fruit seller with colorful fruit pushing his cart down a main street in the middle of traffic – this is not an unusual sight in Jakarta. You have to do what you have to do to make a living for your family.

22 February 2008 – Friday

Scripture to ponder today: D&C 1:10 – What did I do for others today that the Lord can bless me for doing. I think of the song ‘Have I done any good in the world today.’ Tomorrow I will try to do at least one kindness for someone else that I probably would not have done if I had not pondered this scripture.

This morning we read from the Kitab Mormon and are now in the Isaiah sections of 2nd Nephi. At first we thought to skip them but we decided to give them another try and see how we do. We made it through 2 or 3 chapters and for the most part we came close to the English. We will just keep praying for the gift of tongues and read on.

I noticed in the Liahona that the painting of Christ on the front of the magazine is one from Karl Bloch. In looking at other painting of the Savior by Bloch I see that while he keeps the same basic features he makes each view a little different to match what the Savior is doing in the picture. It is a wonderful talent to capture these subtle differences and in that way change the image that a person gets when they really study the details. It is rather like pondering the scriptures and not just reading them. To me Bloch – as with all great painters – is like a poet in that he creates a world by his paintings instead of just commenting on an existing one.

I am trying to read the articles in the Liahona and can get most of what is being said, but even with my electric dictionary I can not quite get some of the ideas. Even with this handicap it is wonderful to read and feel the testimonies of the Latter-day Prophets about the Savior.

I called Elder Rowberry and found that they were cancelling the district meeting due to all the work they need to get ready for the visit by Elder Garns. There is a lot statistics that need to be available for the meetings with the District Presidencies. Then I talked to Hendra and he said that the new computer was ready to go so we would need to go to the mission home to pick it up.

To make it short, we went to the mission office, got the computer, and took it to the office. We had a really nice taxi driver who waited for us at the mission office. He had a great smile and I learned he was from Solo, had been in Jakarta for 20 years, was married and had three children. As I have said before, the Indonesian people are among the most friendly I have met.

Sam joined us long enough at the office to help get the computer up and running. It worked perfectly and it is great not to have to look down through the table to see the monitor. Elder Barnard is going to be very happy to get the old computer so he can use it in the Family History office. After I answered some e-mail and Mary worked on some English project, we caught another Taxi home.

In the evening we went home teaching to Tingnoi Chantanakome and her daughter Irdi. We gave her President Eyring’s message and emphasized his points of daily scripture study and prayer so we can have the spirit with us. She told us an experience she had on her mission at Temple Square – an experience that touched her deeply. Hopefully the experiences of her mission will keep her strong and she will be able to pass this on to her daughter and someday perhaps her husband. It is a great blessing to be able to home teach in English so we can communicate and understand one another. While we were there I took some pictures of the two of them.

As I re-read President Eyrings message, I came across the point he makes about studying and really pondering even one verse of scripture can be more important that reading a chapter and more without thinking about it. This is one of the problems with our reading the Kitab Mormon. We do only read and do not ponder the words unless it is to try and figure out what is actually being said. As I read the same Isaiah chapters in English and try to work out their meaning in my mind, I find that many of them hold powerful messages.

21 February 2008

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The first picture is the Tangerang District – from left to right – Elder Prause – he has been in Indonesia for 8 days – Elder Manullang – from Manado and one of the best English speaking Elders we have met – Elder Cheney – from Hawaii and who is always smiling and positive – Elder Abu Yamin – who is from Solo and is as I write heading for Medan on Sumatra – and Elder Worwood – who has really become comfortable with the language and has a great desire to serve. The Motorcycle load picture is of very neatly stacked magazines – notice the pile stacked on the handle bars and held in place by the drivers chest. The last picture is the three young men from the Tangerang branch that make a special effort to come to Mary’s class so they can improve their English. They are the future of the Church in Indonesia.

21 February 2008 – Thursday

Bad night but a great day so thing balance out. No gym this morning – I needed the sleep. We read from the Kitab Mormon – Jacob teaching in 2 Nephi 9 and 10.

At the office we meet with a young woman who just got in from Hong Kong and is looking for a job. She seems very bright, articulate, has good English and is not bashful. We believe she will soon have a job. Mary created a resume for her and gave her 5 copies. I gave her the latest help wanted newspaper and some member that might have a job opening and she went away happy. It is great to be able to help someone and feel that they will use our advice.

I wrote a number of e-mails to further arrange things for next week’s visit to Central Java. I got an SMS from the Bennetts saying that they had 7 out of 8 students to their first HS English class – I wrote back that it was great news. I look forward to seeing them in action on next Saturday.

After getting some English lessons together, we head off for the mission office so Mary can teach a lesson to the staff. Hopefully this is helping them more than is apparent in talking to them. We wish they would use English more around the office – that is the best way to improve their language skills. While Mary teaches I have lunch from off the street and catch a short nap.

Hendra continues to try and solve the problem with the computer. Hopefully he will have it ready tomorrow when we go there for our other District Meeting.

On our way to our meetings at Tangerang, we stop at the mall so Mary can buy some more things she needs for making the teacher’s kits for the HS English classes. It is costing much more than we expected and is going to stretch the budget. But at least when we are done, keeping the work up should be easy.

When we got to the chapel I realized I had not brought the things we needed for the ERS meeting. Agus and Lukito were kind and we managed to have a good meeting without an agenda or any of the materials. We discussed a number of problems and I learned a lot from them. I learned why Jakarta does so well on getting their reports in and the rest do not. Hopefully after our trip to Central Java, that district will also begin to be better. I certainly hope so for the new couple’s sake. We set the time for the next meeting.

After that meeting we joined the in-process Tangerang District Meeting. We had a good discussion and lesson. We met the other new missionary – Elder Prause from Washington state. He seems to already have a pretty good grasp of the language. I was able to add a few thoughts about how saying we are not successful because of some fault in our investigators. I told them my LeGrand Richards story about us only being able to solve problems that we make our own. I think I need to tell that story regularly because I need to remember it myself.

After District Meeting I went down to greet the English students. By 6:00, when we are supposed to start, no one was there. But two young men showed up for Mary’s class so I took them, Sam and Anne up and started the meeting. Right after the opening prayer Agus and his four children showed up. They are a great family and we will miss them when we leave. I hope we can come back and visit them sometime in the future. Soon after that another family came – a sister and three children. So we ended up with a nice class. I reviewed prepositions – they had forgotten some over the last 6 weeks. Then we read Hop on Pop and went through the vowel sounds. I gave each family a copy of the words to take home along with another book so they could practice during the week. Hopefully they will.

On our way back to the apartment we took Elder Abu Yamin to the mission home. He is being transferred to Medan tomorrow. He is a wonderful elder with an ear to ear smile. He has been out about 3 months – maybe a little longer – and this was his first transfer. The President decided to put another pair of elders in Medan so that they could have more togetherness. Hopefully they will also have more success there. Parts of Sumatra have more Christians than Java so they have more people to talk to.

At the mission home we have the chance to say goodbye to Elder Stewart who heads home tomorrow. He has a good spirit and will be missed. We also talked to President and Sister Marchant about their quick trip to Eastern Java. They seem to have had a good trip and enjoyed the beauty – at least the little they had time to see – of Malang.

We received the latest Lianona today with it’s beautiful picture of Christ on the front. I like it because it gives a view of the Savior that is seldom shown. This is not a smiling, soft looking Savior but one who, to me at least, seems firm and focused on the task His Father has set for Him. His to me are set and firm and speaks of all the thoughts He has about the world and what He must do to set an example for all of us. Also I see a firmness that I would expect to see in the Lord as he knows what He faces in Gethsemane. I imagine many of the covers will be used as pictures on the walls of member’s homes.

Before I turned off the lights I read President Hinckley’s message about Christ. It is fitting that the last message that members throughout the world will have by the Prophet is his testimony of Him who leads this church. He starts his testimony by saying, “I know that I am not the head of this Church. Jesus Christ is its head.”

When I looked at the e-mail this evening there was an answer from Sister Barnes who is serving in Africa as area coordinators for PEF. In reading about the dangers of their mission, I was struck by how different each mission is and how what might concern one is not even considered by another.

It was a long but spiritually up-lifting day. We have a special opportunity to see and talk to so many full-time and senior missionaries. Also to visit with President and Sister Marchant, Elder Subandriyo, and others in the office who are the heart and soul of the mission and the Church in Indonesia. Often times when I am tired and perhaps a little discouraged, we will meet with the missionaries and feel their joy of teaching the Gospel. We hear their testimonies and see the smiles they have as they talk about their missionary experiences. We get to teach, counsel and learn with and from them.

20 February 2008

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This is how they sell flowers at the traditional market in Bali. The color and variety makes for a wonderful experience. The flower seller stretch for about 50 yards.

This will be a real P-day because we do not have a car so we are spending the day at home. Getting back into exercising is always a challenge. I have sore muscles in a number of places but I went to the gym and went through a little longer workout. Hopefully in a week or two I will be back to where I was before.

I love being able to post on the blog from the apartment again. Today it let me post my journal but balked at the pictures so I went back later to post them. After the gym and breakfast we read 5 pages from the Kitab Mormon. We are getting to the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi. Perhaps the reason the Lord put Nephi’s Psalm just before these sections is to remind us that we should not question the Lord’s choices – like why he had Jacob to read those passages of Isaiah and felt that Mormon should include them in the Kitab Mormon. OK so the term ‘Oh ye of little faith’ comes to mind and we will try once more to read and translate these chapters and pray to God that He will give us the ‘Gifts of Tongues.’

I have misplaced an important paper and this morning I prayed that He would help me find. I said I would diligently go through each piece of paper – and there are thousands of them it seems – and trust in Him to help me find it. So far I have not found the actual list I was thinking about but I found another list that I needed. I never did find the list I was looking for – it may be at the office – but I did get a lot of papers cleaned up and I might actually find things in the future.

The morning went by very slowly but the afternoon and evening whizzed by. Mary worked on the HS English class books that she is trying to assemble for all the couples and wrote some of the rules for some of the games that need explaining. My only contribution was to move a fw things around and punch some holes in some of the pages.

We read together two more times from the Kitab Mormon. I read and pondered some of 2nd Nephi’s Isaiah chapters in English. Some of them are very interesting and gave me some things to think about. But some just do not give up much without knowing the meaning of the imagery that the Prophet uses. Obviously Jacob knew what they meant and felt them important to those who were of house of Jacob.

We made arrangements for our trip to Central Java next week. We will be gone five days and will visit three cities. I am going to try to meet with the branch Employment Specialists from each branch to thank them for their work and to give them some training. I am hoping that it will improve the reports from the branches. Right now there is very little being reported and we are relying on the couples for information about people getting jobs.