Saturday, March 21, 2015

Goats and Skills

Down the street is a large kampung, a local village encompassing many blocks and accessed through small driveable streets and many small alleyways, one of the more diverse and colorful we have found in Surabaya. Very traditional with mosques, people and their homes, animals of every sort, home businesses of small restaurants, repair shops, small retail stores...mufflers, fruit, general grocery, and small home businesses making large slabs of soybean curd for sale.  This is very commonly used in their daily diet. Here is a small corral of goats, used for meat mostly. The array of colors, smells, sounds is amazing, almost overwhelming all senses.  Animals bleating, motorcycle engines roaring, the imams' call to prayer blaring.  Heavy oppressive humidity, hazy wetness above in the sky, organic fecal smells, delicious fruity or fried smells from the kaki lima's or neighborhood warungs, TV noises sometimes seeping through the house doors, children playing or laughing, or more commonly as soon as they see you, drawn moth-like toward you where they smile and hang back a little timidly, just out of reach, unsure of what to say or do.  "Bule" can usually be deciphered from their Javanese chatter.

The Skillmans arrived from America for their scheduled 2 week visit to Indonesia to celebrate their anniversary.  We spent a few days with them doing missionary stuff...home visits, attending Church and English class, visiting less active members, and so forth.  We took them to see a small local batik-making facility where women spend weeks creating hand-made batik pieces of art.  Truly one-of-a-kind garments. The Sisters bought skirts, unique designs, for about $45 a piece.  Worth $100's in the States.  

The batik patterns are all hand-drawn, then the designs are created in a technique using hot wax using a small device looking like a tobacco pipe with a very fine pouring tip, tracing the design outline.  They essentially are creating a negative image of what they want to create.  The wax-laden cloth is then dipped in one color of dye, the cloth is washed in boiling water to remove the wax, then the process is repeated any number of times depending on the intricacy of design and number of chosen colors.  It can take 3-4 weeks to make single piece. 

Below you see chicken about as fresh as you can get (we hope).  Slaughtered, plucked and dressed.  A few loops of plastic wrap around their feet, slung across a motorcycle, and taken to market or home, or KFC.  No refrigeration used.  Listeria and Salmonella count unknown.  We never eat anything if it is at all pink.  We have thrown away countless pounds of chicken purchased at Papaya (the local high-end store) because when we got it home or thawed, it stunk badly. 

Another look out our back door overlooking the city.  

A look, selfie style, at our Mission President, Chris Donald and his wife from Australia, as we were sitting in the back of the chapel in Singapore on Bukit Timah Rd awaiting the start of a special fireside Feb 28th with Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.  

Full time missionaries have rules. Civilians, not so many.  Our friends, the Skillmans, quite comfortable with any manner of internal combustion, borrowed a member's scooter immediately after Church on Sunday, riding around the parking lot, moments before a sudden rainstorm, and essentially drenching them within about 20 seconds.  

The rear of the Church in Barat where all the cool kids hang out after church.  Here is our driver Peter with the Erikson's, a wonderful Danish family here for a few years for work, along with Brother Slamet, Elder Davies and Mark and Stacy Skillman. 

We spent a wonderful few hours with the Lewis', another Senior missionary couple living in Solo, and doing outstanding work advocating Family History work in Indonesia.  There is so much to be done here, made more daunting by the naming system here among the Javanese.  Many have only one name.  Family names are not used, and there is typically no name similarity from one generation to the next. Written records were often not kept except in royal families, especially in prior decades/centuries. Oral histories were more common. We will be helping to sponsor a Family History Week here in East Java where the Lewis' have promised to come and give hours of one-on-one time to the individual members. They are a blessing here.  I think they are encouraging members to enter into the Family Search data base as much information as they can remember or glean from parents, grandparents, and other living members, or from any written records.  Occasionally they can tie into a royal lineage and find family lines back centuries. 

We met them for dinner at our favorite Javanese restaurant. 

Only in Indonesia. This is a sales tag listing specs on a washing machine for sale in a local department store.  The small blue box on the upper right reads, "Anti Tikus"...meaning "rat proof". "Ya", of course it is rat-proof. 

Durian, a strong smelling, spiny fruit, is in many products in Indonesia.  Most locals like it.  Most foreigners do not.  I can tolerate it but would not order it if given a choice.  Below is a small kiosk in a grocery store selling Durian-everything. They put the fruit in bread, cookies, ice cream, a waste of good ice cream as far as I can tell. 

The other day I think we did a first, at least as far as anyone I know can tell me.  The husband of one our recent converts, a quasi-Moslem, drives a cab long hours, usually 5 AM until 10 or 11 at night.  Unable to book an appointment at home with him, we booked his cab instead.  We called him to a large local mall, asked him to park his car, with the car running (A.C. of course), and then proceeded to give him the 1st discussion about families, the role and need for prophets, Jesus Christ, the Apostacy and need for a Restoration, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.  Below is a quiet photo from my post in the back seat along with Elder Chou.  Elder Sutadiyono in the front passenger seat.  55,000 rupiahs for the 50 minute discussion...about $4.50.  

Have I mentioned the 11th plague ?...see below. 

Below is a photo of Brother Sudarsono and his cute 12 year old daughter, Dewati.  We found them, somewhat miraculously, as we were searching out members unknown to most in the Branch.  He had not been contacted in eons.  Brother Sudarsono, it turns out, was baptized in Surabaya back when they met on Jl Sulawesi, when in his teens with some of his family.  He had been sealed to his family in the SLC Temple in the 1980's.  Active for years, he had become lost, married and had children.  He was successful in business, but lost much a few years ago. His wife and children are not members, and they have attended another church, although not too actively.  His wife has some legal problems.  We stopped at their house Saturday afternoon, meeting the daughter and having a lovely conversation with her.  She loves cats which were in ample supply. Her father was at work at his cafe. We asked to return soon and meet her father, and she said she would like that.  As we were exiting past the security gate of the housing development the guard mentioned that Brother Sudarsono had just driven home past him on his motorcycle.  We immediately turned around and went right back, where we were warmly greeted.  We met with him for an hour. We taught him again about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, prayer, testimony, and gave him encouragement as he faced challenges in his life. He expressed happiness that we had come, and promised to come to Church again.  We were so joyful when he came to Church with his daughter the following Sunday.  The missionaries are meeting with him again.  

Below a group photo after one of Sister Williams' English classes at Timur.  

Two of our fantastic and amazing grandchildren, Amalie, who is having another set of PE tubes placed in her cute little ears, and her cousin Eli celebrating a birthday with a new bike.  Way to go, both of you!

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