Sunday, April 26, 2015

"I want to know if I am being good"

We have to lead off our blog posting this week with a photo of our grandson James in Medford.  James is sitting on the sofa at home.  Said James to his Mom, Annie, and his sister, Lily, "Can you and Lily be quiet so I can listen to the Holy Ghost?  I want to know if I'm being good."

From the mouths of babes.  Though James is not a babe, he is without guile, innocent, as we all should strive to be.  The key is make time to be quiet and listen, harder for some of us than others.  "Be still, and know that I am God."  Then go to work.  

A few weeks ago Sister Williams and I visited some villages south of Surabaya looking for long-time members who no one has heard of for years. Sadly, many moved, gone, where-abouts not known.  We met the local RT (Rukun Tetangga), a local paid official/neighborhood watch/ombudsman, twice at his home while looking for members.  Lots of pretty natural landscapes around.  

Sister Williams never found a baby she doesn't love. 

Roads are usually pretty bad.  Full of holes, patches, etc.  Makes writing, texting and reading a jarring experience.  Sign says, "Caution, the road is full of potholes and bumpy." 

Another new mosque under construction.  Thousands of these here, one in every small neighborhood; many more now than 40 year ago.  Some of them quite beautiful and colorful, as seen below. 

A local "motorcycle wash"...basically a roadside improvised stand where cycles are washed, in this case right over an outside drainage ditch/sewer.

A beautiful grey day looking out to the northeast over Surabaya from our balcony.

A local neighborhood game of dominoes we discovered while looking for members.  Every time they win they get to wear a clothespin in their face...cheek, ear, lip, etc.  I think I would throw the game, but they were having fun. 

A 2 month old baby girl being cared for during the day by her grandmother.  Her mom works, and tragically her father left the family. 

We rented a large van and hauled 14 missionaries to the Safari Zoo.  Lots of songs and fun.  The missionaries sang a mean version of  "In the Jungle."  The usual zoo experiences with wild beasts of all sorts trying to get in the vehicle. 

Less than an inch of Plexiglass between us and 500 pounds of teeth and claws.  Sitting in the restaurant waiting for the deer steaks to arrive.  Who knew white tigers like water so much.  Of course, the fact that they were throwing chickens into the water encouraged them.

Almost as much fun as kids, and a lot less noisy. Where else can you just sit down and play with a young orangutan. I love this!

An appropriate sign as one prepares to traverse the footbridge over the Nile crocodile pond. No fooling!

This one is for you, Uncle Mike.  An Indonesian attempt at Fritos...a swing and a miss.  

One of my favorite activities...going out with the young missionaries on our bikes.  Finding contacts, teaching, visiting members.  It's as hot as Indonesia in summer. In about 10 minutes I am sweating buckets, my shirt drenched, face dripping.  Quite comical/pathetic.  The locals think it is crazy funny, but it does generate many free drinks and maybe a few invitations to come in and rest.  I guess they don't want an old bule dying on their front porch. 

Elders Hayes and Setijawan.  Elder S is from Bekasi near Jakarta.  Here waiting to enter the home of Brother Rasimin, an 80 year old recent convert who lives in a boarding house. He fixes tires on the street.  He lives in a room about 6' x 10' with shared cooking and bathroom facilities.  Life is very hard for him. We help him as best we can. 

Elder Hayes and Setijawan again.  Spiritual giants.

A very color-conscious District.  Very united.  Maybe looking to be the next "District."

Zone Conference with the Mission President and AP's. Having fun, as young men are prone to do. 

Birthdays happen in Indonesia just as at home. The management here at our apartment are very nice and brought us a birthday cake. Mr Sigit on the left is manager, and has been very kind and conscientious helping us get new, American-sized furniture and getting our cell service upgraded in our apartment so we can actually use our phones outside the bathroom.  Signal strength has been terrible. The birthday surprise came while Kathy was down exercising.  They sang "Happy Birthday", more or less.  Sort of petered out by the 3rd line so I jumped in and helped them.  Turned out to be some sort of green cake.  Actually quite tasty as Indonesian pastry/cakes go.  Later Kathy came home and told me everything like this in Indonesia is made with green tea???  Maybe, maybe not.  In any case, we gave the rest of it away to the friendly security guard later that day at the huge National Mosque in Sidoarjo later that afternoon while visiting less active members in the neighborhood. We took off our name tags while on the premises to avoid any possible confrontation.  We ascended the high menara (tower) you see in the background for a commanding view of the area. Thankfully no power outages during the uncomfortably long elevator ride.  Ever since our elevator experience being trapped in our apartment elevator a few weeks ago during a power outage, I have surprisingly felt a little uncomfortable on elevators. Weird.  

Notice my tie...Moroni on top of the National Mosque.  

Because of some personal security issues we made an emergency trip to Malang to bring home a missionary companionship to Surabaya.  We fed all the District at McDonalds. They never seem to tire of this place.

Road trip!

A wonderful less-active family we recently met, Sister Slamini and Brother Noer.  Have visited twice, with more planned.  Hopefully go to dinner with them soon.  

Grandchild time!
Ephraim in Tucson.  Such a happy lad.  

Our very grown-up grandchildren in Oregon. We are very lucky grandparents. 

Beautiful baby Hope enjoying her last swim on the beach in Hawaii. We miss Hope and her family so much.  Can't wait to see you in ???El Paso...

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