Monthly Archives: April 2008

29 April 2008

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Mary and sister Utami – her husband is the tailor who makes all of Mary’s clothes and my ties. Sister Stephie and her fellow Family History worker sister in the FH Center. They do a mighty work in helping anyone who comes in with their genealogy.

29 April 2008 – Tuesday

We started in reading Ajaran dan Perjanjian – from now on A&P. We found that we knew most of the words and usually came close to what was being said. We are not worrying if we use the exact words but are trying to get the meaning of the verses.

Today the net allowed me to post pictures to the blog so I got busy and caught up most of those I wanted to post. We were happy to get an e-mail from Cindy saying they made it back safely from France and the first of our packages showed up.

Listening to Elder Holland’s talk on member missionary work. A senior sign in the MTC  “Let’s lengthen our suffle!” It is strange how I happen to go to the April 2001 conference talks where a number of the speakers spoke on missionary work and Elder Hales spoke directly for the need for couple missionaries. After listening to the talks I printed them so I could review them later.

Sam and Anny showed up at the door right on time so we were at the office by 10:00. We spent 2 productive hours – I worked on vocabulary exercises and Mary worked on Elder Subandriyo’s article and English. But at about noon the internet stopped working so we decided to do our shopping before going to the mission office.

When we got to the mission office we visited with a number of people before Mary started her class. I gave president Sujud the pictures of the choir, talked to Elder Subandriyo about a couple of things. He thanked Mary for her review of his article.

While I was talking to President Marchant I brought up my challenge to the Tangerang 1 missionaries to get to know the people in their neighborhood. He asked me to take some time in Zone Conference to talk about it and perhaps do some role playing. That will teach me to open my mouth. But truly I think it is a good missionary tool and a chance to ‘let our light shine.’ I also will take the time to talk a little about studying English.

Another experience of our visit was being able to help Elder Thiemann with a phone number. He need to call a young man who just that day had been called to serve his mission. Luckily I had put our branch lists in Mary’s bag and the number there was current. Another tender mercy from the Lord.

Hendra told me that he had the computer for Elder Barnard packed up and it would go out tomorrow. He had promised me and I had promised Elder B that it would go by the 30th. This is our old computer and will be used in the Family History Resource Center in Solo. One more thing I can cross off the list of things to do.

When we got back to our apartment, we read once more from the A&P – but this time we had some struggle. The translation does not seem to be as good as the one for the Kitab Mormon – which is not all that good – so it does not translate back into English very well. I would guess as we get use to the different style and word use, we will be able to do better. At least it is a change for us and that is probably good.
For some reason I have been thinking about what I wanted to say in my report of our mission. I don’t want to preach, I want to tell stories about people and the gospel in their lives. I want to tell about senior couples who have made a difference. I want to tell them that it is hard to consider our mission a sacrifice.

I just spent about 30 minutes going back and reading from this journal. It is strange to read things I had forgotten – like the VanDongens have been gone for 10 months and yet it seems like they just left. But that means the Davises have been here close to 10 months and it seems like they just got here. Time really flies when you are on a mission. However it also seems like we have been here for years – that is we are so comfortable here that it does not seem possible we have only been here about 16 months.

28 April 2008

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A sign in a hotel public restroom – notice the middle no-no!  Mary’s baby cap collection and she is working on more. This is the fruit stand that we pass almost every day on our way to the office. I did not notice the owner looking at me as I took the picture. He is there 6 days a week from 9:30 a.m. until he sells out his stock. As I have mentioned before he had the corner to himself for about the 8 months we were here but then another fruit seller set up just to the left in this picture. They both seem to do well.

28 April 2008 – Monday

I had another opportunity to enjoy the quiet hours of the morning. This time I did not even bother to try and go back to sleep. I just turned on the lights and started reading. It only took about 90 minutes before I was able to turn them back off and go to sleep.

We had a different Monday because Sam was not available – in fact after tomorrow, we will not have Sam or a car for over a week. We spent the morning around the apartment. I caught up the journal and tried to post pictures but the site or our connection would not cooperate so I had to give up. Mary crocheted more baby caps – she is trying hard to use up all the yarn so she can feel like she is finished.

We read from the Kitab Mormon in the morning and finished it for the fourth time in the evening. This time it took 68 days – the last time it took 100 days – but this time we did not read all of it in English. We only read the English when we were not sure of our translation. I figure that we have basically read the Book of Mormon 11 times on our mission. We now will turn to the D&C which should not take over 40 days. We will pick up the Kitab Mormon after we get home.

We had a really short Skype call with Jim and his family. William loves to see himself on the computer screen. He is really getting big.

We had lunch and then took a taxi to the office. I got a lot done. I sent out reminders about the need for getting started on reports, encouraged some of the young people to join the Distance Learning pilot – so far no one has signed up, asked the couples to look over the proposal for a Scholarship program that Elder Subandriyo suggested we start, worked on some vocabulary exercises and spent 45 minutes or so chatting with the Gibbons about ERS here and elsewhere.

The Gibbons sound like a great couple. They served a senior mission in Mongolia and now 18 months later they are in Hong Kong. They mentioned that there is a great need for missionary couples throughout Asia. It seems that there is a special need for CES couples. Maybe the Lord will send us back to fill part of that need. We really would like to serve a proselyting mission in an English speaking mission, but the Lord knows where we can do the most good so we will go where we are called. They served a senior mission in Mongolia and now 18 months later they are in Hong Kong. During that 18 months they served a part time service mission.

Three hours just flew by. Unfortunately we did not have anyone come in or call about a job. I did get a call from President Marchant about our average auto expense. I guess the Church is surveying mission costs.

Mary worked hard on finishing up the game pieces for the English classes. She has put in many, many hours working on this project. We can only hope that some couples come so the classes can continue in Central Java. But I must be patient and remember that the Lord is in charge. We have done what we were inspired to do, the rest we must leave in the Lord’s hands.

I got a call from brother Looky from Tangerang 2 asking for my pictures of the choir singing at District Conference and when we got home I sent them to him. I also have downloaded them to a memory stick so I can give them to President Sujud – it includes a couple of movies.

We also got a call from Elder Subandriyo who wanted Mary to look through and correct an article that is to go into the Liahona. She was able to do that when we got home. Unfortunately she can not send the corrections until tomorrow when we can open the file in the latest Word.

As I write about our day, I realize how many small blessings we received. Being able to sit down together for 1 to 3 hours a day and read from the scriptures, being able help in the work of the kingdom in so many ways that we never even thought about being part of missionary work, and of course having the spirit to guide us.

27 April 2008

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Herman Liunokas Kollo – the newest member of Jakarta Raya branch and his sister. Elder Suseno, Brother Herman, his sister, Elder Thiemann, Elder Cheney

27 April 2008 – Sunday

My Sunday started at 1 a.m. and for the next three hours I alternated between trying to get back to sleep and working on my talk. I do not think I do my best work at that hour of the morning but it at least gave me something to do. Every time I turned off the lights I would think about the talk. Finally at about 4 I think I managed to go to sleep but I am not sure. I woke again at 6:00 and it did not seem like I had rested at all.

I immediately got up and started putting more of what I had thought about into a talk. By the time I had finished I thought I had a pretty good outline that I could make into a 5 minute or a 25 minute talk. I was concerned that I would fall asleep on the stand or while speaking – or at least while it was being translated.

We read for about 30 minutes from the Kitab Mormon before Anny and Sam showed up to take us to Jakarta Raya. When we ran into a blocked off main highway, I hoped it was not a sign of what was in store. I had a vision of us not getting there on time. However Sam found a back way to the church and we not only were on time but got there before the elders.

Actually there were a lot of missionaries at the meeting – six elders and two sisters. The sisters thought one of their investigators was coming but he or she stood them up. The Zone Leaders showed up because there was a baptism after the block. In the last 6 weeks we have had the opportunity to see a number of baptisms. The great thing about this one is it is a man – they do not have a lot of those. There was one more small problem. Both Mary and I left our name tags at the apartment. Everyone had a good laugh and acted like they did not know our names.

I asked Lukito to translate for me and I gave him what I had printed out. It would not be a great help for him but it was better than nothing. It turned out that it was good that I had prepared for a longer talk. There was only one other speaker – Sister Anna – and she only took about 6 or her 10 minutes. So I had 25 minutes and I took 27. I felt that I got the message that I was trying to make across. I know that the spirit was there because I could feel it. When I recounted one of my personal experiences, Lukito got so choked up that he had to stop and regain his composure. The only thing that I was unhappy with was how poorly I read the scriptures in Indonesian. Of course after the meeting was over everyone told me how good it was and Mary said that it worked so I was pleased. Certainly the Lord blessed me with lots of good ideas and support. I just rather wished that some of it had not taken place so early this morning.

The Gospel Principles and PH lessons were enjoyable. We had good translators and I participated in each of the classes. Brother Herman and his sister was in the GP class and they seemed to be quite interested. In PH I noticed that brother Herman carefully followed the scriptures. Unfortunately they did not have copies of the conference talk for each member – I really think that would be a good thing to do for the 4th week lesson. If they gave them out a week ahead of time so people could come prepared to participate.

After the block there was a snack for everyone before the baptismal service. Herman Liunokas Kollo became the newest member of the Jakarta Raya branch. Elder Suseno got to baptize him and it took three tries to get him completely immersed. The last time Elder Suseno took no chances and really put him under. But brother Herman did not complain or hesitate at all. I need to suggest to the elders that they teach the candidate to bend their knees so it is easier to get them down and up.

Back at the apartment, I had some lunch and then took a much needed nap. Since then I have spent almost all of my time catching up this journal and working on pictures that I had taken over the last couple of day. Tomorrow I will try to post all the missing journal pages and pictures. Maybe it will inspire the rest of the family to post more often on their blogs.

I just realized why President Eyring said that we should take some time each day to think how the Lord has touched out lives that day. It is because we become so use to having the blessings and experiences of the Gospel in our lives that they just seem normal. When that happens it is very easy to not thank the Lord for his tender mercies. If I am not careful I forget how patient He is with me. I do not recognize how he has watched over and protected us these last 17 months. But if I take the time to ponder the day and search for the evidence of His touch and His love, it is always there.

26 April 2008

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The pair of puppets that we bought at the fair. The Kanes admiring the floral arrangement in the foyer of our apartment. Us with the happy but exhausted couple.

26 April 2008 – Saturday

A very busy day but not all of it was involved in missionary work. I woke early and went to the gym. Later when Elder Kane was up we sat in the living room, talked about our missions and our plans for the future. The Kanes do not plan to go on another mission for a couple of years. But who knows how they will feel once they get home. Mary prepared a very nice breakfast that was well received by all of us.

We went with the Kanes to the Craft Fair and in 2 hours managed to buy everything we needed or could afford. We then left the Kanes with the Smith’s and headed home. I had a lot to do on my talk and this journal. We were also in need of naps. I managed to get a lot done – including going through the pictures from the last couple of days and getting them captioned. We also read from the Kitab Mormon. When the Kanes came home we showed each others our treasures. After that it was time to change into our suits so we could go to Sam and Anny’s reception in style.

We got to the reception after 6 and the couple was supposed to show up at 6:30. It is a custom here to have the bride and groom make a grand entrance on a red carpet so they do not come until after most of the guests arrive. Of course the guests know this and so most of them do not come until well after the start date. In this case they bridal party got stuck in a really bad traffic jam and even with a police escort they did not get to the reception until about 7:30.

But I used the time wisely. We greeted the guests and then I went to the office where I let Elder Herman and Laki use the phone to call one of their investigators who must come to church tomorrow if he is to be baptized the following Sunday. They ran into a major problem when they found that the family that usually brings him had moved during the week. It will be interesting to see if he makes it.

I also got the special vocabulary words for Titan. That took longer than it should because I managed to hide one of the lists and it took a couple of searches to find it. I also talked to him about the pilot program – I certainly hope he signs up for it.

Once the bride and groom showed up things got moving along. Anny looked beautiful in her gown. Sam looked scared to death but handsome. The couple moved down the red carpet and up to the cultural hall. Once they and their parents were on the stage, there was talks by the fathers and then Mary was asked to give an opening prayer – something she was not prepared to do. There were some words of wisdom from President Smith – he also did not know he was on the program. The cake was then cut – I do not think wedding cakes are much in demand here – and they fed pieces to each other. Then I was called on to give the closing prayer – also unexpected. It seems that somehow part of the program did not quite get out to those who would participate.
Then there was a line to congratulate the parents and couple. We got nice thanks from both fathers for the help we had been in getting Sam and Anny to the alter.

We were near the front so when we went down to get some food, the line was not too bad. We cheated and took our dinners back to the office where we had a flat surface to put our plates. When I went back for seconds on the fruit, I found the Davises just getting their food and invited them back to the office to eat. So while they ate we talked about some of our mission experiences and about English classes. They are going to teach two English classes in a university and the elders are going to go with them.

The Davises are a typical senior couple. That is they have good health reasons for not going on a mission. In fact Elder Davises is serious enough that they had to change from going to Guam because there was no decent medical services anywhere near by. Sister Davies troops along on two bad knees. They of course have left children and grandchildren. They had a number of problems after they got here. But none of this stopped them and they do not complain. They are only interested in the positive things that they are doing and the service they are giving. It is too bad that more couples are not willing to get out of their comfort zone and serve missions.

After dinner we said goodbye to Sam and Anny and started to head out to the street to catch a taxi home. We were almost to the gate when we heard Elder Bastian asking for Mary. It turned out that he and Elder Hunter were going to sing a duet and needed a piano player who knew the hymns. So we hurried back and Mary played for them. Then once again we went out into a light rain and in just a minute was blessed with a Blue Bird taxi stopping for us.

Once we were back at the apartment I started did some more work on my talk. I have accumulated way too much information for a 12 minute talk. I will have to prune it down tomorrow morning before going to Church.

So it was a day of fun, service and good companionship. The Lord truly blesses us in many small ways and also some very large ones. Our health has been wonderful, we have learned so much, and we have had the chance to become involved in a number of programs that may help the Saints in Indonesia for many years to come.

I want to put in one thought. One part of our calling was to be shadow leaders to three branches. But instead of teaching the branch leadership anything, I have instead learned from them. They face problems well beyond anything I faced in my 8 years of being bishop. And they do it without complaining and almost always with a smile. The numbers here may be small but the spirit is huge. They truly give themselves to the Lord. It has been a privilege to serve and learn from them.

25 April 2008

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The colorful children’s choir at the dedication of the new school. From left to right – Elder Burr, Bastian, Elder Subandriyo, Dr Shihab, Elder Thiemann, Hunter and Agus the service center director of physical facilities. The view from Dr Shihab’s country villa. It was a gorgeous day with a lovely breeze passing through the mostly open villa.

25 April 2008 – Friday

We were up and out early because we had to be at the mission home before 7:00 so a group of us could leave together for the hills above Bogor where we would be guests at a ceremony for opening a new school – Cayaha Hati – and clinic that was sponsored by Dr. Shihab’s wife and sisters. We went with Elder Subandriyo and Agus while elders Bastian, Thiemann, Hunter and Burr went with Swento in the President’s car. We met up with the Kanes above Bogor and then all traveled in a convoy to the school.

It is in a rather remote but beautiful but poor area. The clinic and school will bring hope to the villages around. I had the privilege of sitting next to Dr. Shihab and so got to know a little more about the school and clinic. It turns out that he was there representing his wife who is very sick with a thyroid problem and is in Singapore. He flew back from there to be at the ceremony. There were a lot of important people there from Jakarta and Singapore – I never really got to know any of them.

I really enjoyed the program. There was a children’s choir that reminded me of the Primary choir we saw on Sunday at District conference only the girls were dressed much fancier. There was a section of the lawn set aside for mothers of the children and it when I went to take pictures they were all smiles.

But I learned a lot about Muslims and how close their ideas are to ours. One woman read from some book “Those who walk along the path of goodness are close to God.” and “God is there for us and those who call upon God will be saved.” I am going to use that in my talk on Sunday. I also tried to listen carefully to a young man – perhaps a Iman – sing scripture from the Koran. I noticed that he chose the verses carefully and said a little prayer before singing each verse. I have no idea what he was saying but it was obviously very important to him. I imagine the short prayer that he whispered was something like “There is only one God and Mohammed is his Prophet.”

Later in Dr. Shihab’s comments he talked about the importance of loving everyone and loving God. He talked about the problems facing parents and children today and they were the same that any LDS parent would worry about. He also spoke of the dreams of the parents for their children and once again they were in line with ours. So while we do not share the same religion, we share the same love for God and for our children. They see the same needs and face the same problems in a world where religious beliefs and values ae under constant attack by those who feel that they are more enlightened. Unfortunately the light they seek is the light of the world and not the light that comes from God.

After the ceremony we were all invited to the good Dr. Shihab’s country villa which was only 5 minutes away. It is a lovely little place that is mainly wide open and with a view to die for. He later told me that he and his wife often came up after a difficult day or for the weekend to just get away from the influence of Jakarta.

We enjoyed a delicious meal where all the food was not at all spicy except for the one thing that I felt was sure to be safe – a fruit dish. Luckily I did not take much and only tasted a little before finding that it lit up the mouth.

The missionaries and Elder Subandriyo had opportunities to speak to a lot of people. I met one man who runs a company that employs lots of people and is always looking for machinists. Since one of the courses that the Job Training program offers is learning to be a machinist, I am hoping that we can find someone to take the course in Tangerang, Bandung or Bogor and maybe get a job there. I will send him an e-mail tomorrow.

On the way back to Jakarta we hit a real traffic jam. It is a two lane road and a very large truck broke down on our side. Luckily for us there was not much traffic going down the hill so we were only delayed about 15 – 20 minutes. But the uphill traffic – mostly trucks – was backed up for miles. All the way down the hill and onto the toll road. I do not know how they will get a tow truck up there to move the obstruction, but until they do it is going to be a royal mess. At least there was one policeman there letting vehicles through on a rotation basis. As we were going along two more on a motorcycle seemed to be heading up to help.

Once at the apartment, I started working on the pictures I took today. Elder Subandriyo wanted a few to send to Elder Packer as an attachment to an e-mail telling him about the ceremony and the fact that Dr. Shihab’s wife was in the hospial. Elder Packer and them are good friends and Dr. Shihab has spoken at BYU a couple of times. We got to go to one of them – I believe in October 2006 – before we went into the MTC.

Sam came about 5:00 to pick up the car so he can use it tonight and Mary had him take her to the chapel so she could practice the piano. She is going to play for sister Penni and will also give the closing prayer. I stayed at the apartment so I could catch up this journal. The program starts at 7:00 so I will leave here about 6:15 or so.

Once again I was struck by the simplicity of the actual LDS wedding ceremony. The only ‘ceremonial’ part is the exchange of rings which is not really a part of ceremony. There is no ‘with this I do thee wed’ or anything like that. When President Smith told Sam he could now kiss his bride be kissed her on the forehead and looked embarrassed even to do that. Most of the people at the ceremony were missionaries and from the English branch. I was surprised that hardly anyone from the Selatan branch – including his room mates came. Hopefully there will be a lot more people tomorrow evening.

The Kanes came home with us to spend the night. Tomorrow we will head off for another swing through the Jakarta Craft Fair. The Kanes are wonderful friends and I hope we will stay in touch for many years to come.

24 April 2008

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Transfer Day for the mission: Elders Bastian, Basuki, Lewis, Thiemann, Manullang and bro Swanto. Elder Lewis is one of the new elders, we have had the pleasure of serving with Elders Basuki and Manullang in the Tangerang and Raya branches. Elders Bastian and Thiemann are in the office. Next picture is Elder Lewis, Thiemann and Manullang. The last picture is of Elder Rowberry trying to get 3 cubic feet of his possessions in a bag that holds just 1 cubic foot. Some choices had to be made. Elder Rowberry has served in the office for about 6 months and now was being transferred to Solo to finish out his mission. He is a wonderful and dedicated young man who will be a fine PH leader.

24 April 2008 – Thursday

I seem to be really having a hard time writing in this journal. So I am going to make today’s entry very short.

The highlights were a trip to the Craft Fair where we joined the Kanes for a couple of hours of looking at lots of Indonesian crafts and of course buying some. We went from the fair to the mission home where Mary taught her English class and I spent time with the Elders. It was transfer day and the last day of Zone Leader’s conference so there were lots of Elders in residence. I got to see Elder Manullang, elder Teng and one of the Basuki brothers. I got to say goodbye to Elder Rowberry and Elder Lewis – one of the new missionaries who are heading East. I also got to know Elder Hunter who is taking Elder Rowberry’s place in the office.

We have had the privilege of working with some great missionaries. Each of them are different but each are dedicated to the work. Hopefully when we get back we can have a number of them over to our house for a get-together or two before we leave again.

After Mary was finished, we headed off to Tangerang for DM and English classes. The traffic was terrible so everyone was late. Elder Cheney held his last District meeting with Tangerang. He is moving to Jakarta Raya and will be DL there, so we will still see him regularly until we leave. Elder Prause with elder Laki and elder Herman with elder Djarkodi (I do not think we know him) will be the Tangerang Elders.

So DL went well and we again counseled that the T1 elders introduce themselves to their neighborhood and let them know that they were there to help if anyone needed a couple of strong backs.

We finished just in time to hold English class. We started with just the missionaries and 2 inactive sisters that have joined the class. But we were soon joined by Agus, Cathrin and their children. We had a good and fun class where we worked on present tenses, opposites, and the first three Articles of Faith. We will miss the class next week so I gave Elder Herman the things they would need for the class.

We had Anny with us and we kidded her and Sam about their wedding tomorrow. They are a good couple and I think they will do fine. It is going to be hard on us next week without having Sam to drive us around. We will spend most of the time at the office getting things cleaned up for the Rebers.

23 April 2008

23 April 2008 – Wednesday

It was a rather busy day for a P-day. We read from the Kitab Mormon in the morning and the afternoon. For about 4 hours we had the lovely young Muslim lady cleaning our house and a crew in replacing the air-conditioners in two rooms. We kind of worked around them because at times it was hard to find any room someone was not working in. I worked on my talk – I especially pondered a talk by Elder Packer about the Light of Christ that he gave at a New Mission President seminar. It was a long talk and I was surprised that he felt a group of established PH leaders such as that gathering would need a detailed – I imagine it ran a good 45 minutes – lesson on the subject. It brought home the fact that we all need to review again and again the basic doctrines of the Church. Each time I do I learn something new.

In his talk Elder Packer said that after the apostasy “the heavens were never closed.” That the Light of Christ is always in everyone who comes into the world, the Holy Ghost still visited the earth to testify and inspire, and that God still answered the prayers of the righteous. What was missing was the Priesthood – the authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel.

After everyone left we had a short break before getting ready to go over to the mission home to be escorts for elder Bastian and Burr so they could go to president Smith house. We had to wait for a taxi and when we got one it turned out that he had no idea where to go so we had to coach him. The traffic was terrible until we got to Sudirman and then it opened up. We got to see a true fender-bender that turned into a hit and run. Unfortunately for the runner the traffic was so bad that those who were hit could get out of their car and confront him. They finally got him to pull over to the side. At least we had some entertainment while we waited in traffic.

When we picked up the elders, we told the driver where we needed to go and he had no idea how to get there and neither did we, so we paid him off and got into another taxi with an experienced driver.

President and sister Smith’s have a gorgeous apartment. Sister Smith and their daughter – who just was released from the Fort Lauderdale Spanish speaking mission- came home about 15 minutes after we got there. Not long after that president Smith showed up while sister Smith was still helping Elder Bastian with his headache problem. Since that was going to take some time, I helped the president take apart and put back together his TV – Stereo system in their beautiful new cabinet. Since they have a lot accessories, it took some time and a lot of work. But we finished just before it was time to leave. We were very happy when he turned it on and everything worked.

After a very interesting taxi ride with a driver who again had no idea how to get to where we wanted to go, we made it back to the mission home in time to share the Hashes farewell dinner with them, the Marchants, the Walkers and a brother Ron Smith who happens to have been the Walker’s next door neighbor in Utah and was visiting Jakarta on business.

We had a nice dinner and lots of good table talk for a couple of hours before brother Smith and us said our last goodbyes to the Hashes. We shared a taxi to our apartment and saw brother Smith off to the Marriott.

We got home rather late so while I did some work on the computer, Mary relaxed for a short time and then went to bed. I read some from the Liahona and then also went to bed.

21 April 2008

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The hearing aid office – very new, very clean and very modern. They provide a comfortable place for Mary and Sam to wait for me.

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There must be millions of crackers/crepes sold each day. This load is not all that big, but the saddlebags on the side are not as popular here in Jakarta – or so it seems to me – as in other cities we have visited. The next picture interested me because the woman seems to be holding the top box with one finger. The last one I call ‘traveling office supply store.’ He is carrying the kind of paper we use in our copiers and printers.

21 April 2008 – Monday

I slept like a log for the first time in many weeks. However I woke early enough to go to the gym and have a good workout for about 45 minutes. The other important thing that happened this morning is that we had a great Skype conversation with Jim and his family. Charlotte smiled and cried for us. It is great when Skype is working well. We read 5 pages from the Kitab Mormon and experienced the brother of Jared seeing the Lord’s finger touching the rocks.

There was a number of housekeeping tasks we needed to do today. First we went to the hearing aid office and got more information about the aid that Anton recommended. Then we wen to the Wisers and dropped off a package that they will send for us. Our next stop was the Sogo mall where we bought a couple of books – one about Hong Kong and one that is a picture book about Jakarta. The Jakarta one really captures the feeling of city as we have come to know it. Then we had lunch at the food court before going to the market and getting a few things we needed.

From there we went to the office so I could get some files I need to transfer to this computer. I want to work on them at the apartment because of the frustration of the internet at the office. Of course today the internet was great and both of us got what we needed finished. While we were at the office one of the downpours that this country is famous for occurred. I tried to capture the feeling on a movie but it just does not work. Mary was able to get all our PEF contacts posted and got all I wanted done so we came back to the apartment.

We read for over an hour from the Kitab Mormon – the Jaredites are working their way up to complete destruction. This is probably the second most uninteresting part of the Book of Mormon for me. Actually it is the first – I actually can enjoy the Isaiah sections in English. But no matter the language the fall of the Jaradites just leaves me cold. Why the Lord felt that Mormon had to write so much about the process of their fall into iniquity and war I will probably never know. It does not lessen my testimony of the Book of Mormon but it also does not add to it. I am sure that there are others who find it very uplifting and spiritual and that is why it is included. But after 50 years and teaching it many time, I have yet to find it relevant for me.

I went through the pictures I took at District Conference and found that there were some really good ones and some that are very puzzling. I can not figure out why the indoor ones with flash turn out worse than the ones where I do not use a flash. The color was so bad that I had to turn some of those where I used the flash into black and white photos.

I continue to work my way through the November Liahona and the conference talks. I thought I was doing well until I got to Elder Hilbing’s talk about “Not dampening the Spirit.” I do not think I have read more than one or two complete sentences without needing to look up at least one word and often more. I do not mind being humbled, but this is a little much. It just goes to show that you have to be careful what you pray for.

18 April 2008

18 April 2008 – Friday

I woke late and just wanted to lie in bed. I do not feel sick but I do not seem to have much in the way of energy. Hopefully I am not coming down with something. I have no time to be ill. As we read from the Book of Mormon from the Kitab Mormon this morning, I was struck by Mormon’s decision to agree to lead the Nephite army even though he knew that they could never win because he was convinced that they would never repent. It also does not say that the Lord told him to do this or even that the Lord approved of him going against his vow not to lead them. But I have to believe that he would not make such a major decision without God’s approval.

We had a nice 30 minute Skype visit with Sister Hartford from BYUH. We talked about the Distance Learning English program they are running a pilot on starting at the end of this month. The purpose is to have incoming students better prepared in English so they can go right into academic classes and not just take English and Religous classes the first year. We are going to try to get 4 to 6 of our ex-IEC students to sign up for the 6 week pilot. She was also very interested in our IEC and High School classes. Sister Hartford had invited Sister Bunker who is also involved in the program to join her.

I was going to go back to the hearing aid store but while we were traveling there I called and found that the tech was going to be out for a while and I did not want to waste time. So instead we went to the mall for lunch and to go to Sogo. Then we went to the office so I could make an agenda for tonight’s ERSC meeting and Mary could practice the piano. I checked the mail and found that Sister Bunker had sent us an outline of the class and the application form.

Since we had some time before we had to leave for Tangerang and I was still not feeling right, we had Sam take us back to the apartment we read from the Kitab Mormon and then I took a nice nap.

Like most events that we have to travel to Tangerang for the 45 minute meeting took 3 ½ hours to complete. But the time was well worth it as we were able to cover all the agenda and set up a plan to work on some of the problems that we would like to see addressed over the next year. The reporting system and a way for the specialists to get job opening information from the members are the two big things that need lots of work.

We are going to miss working with Lukito and Agus. I hope we can keep in touch after we leave. I know that it will not be the same as working with them from day to day but it would be great to find out how they and their families are doing.

I am happy to say that by the time we got home, I was feeling much better and hopefully a good night’s sleep will take care of the rest. The Lord has truly blessed us with good health while we have been on our mission. The mission also kept us spiritually healthy.