How exciting it is when we get to participate at those times when people here make the wonderful decision to be baptized and take upon themselves the name of Christ, to always remember Him, and to obey His commandments. In return we are promised we will always have His Spirit to be with us.
This day three wonderful young single adults were baptized.
Below are Sister Henny, Brother Samuel, and Brother Seung Do. Seung Do is from Korea, and has been living here with his member-aunt and uncle for the past year. He returns home to Korea in two weeks. Teaching him has been interesting and a bit challenging, for a time relying on Skype lessons with Korean-speaking missionaries in Korea, arranged with Elder and Sister Bringhurst of back home in Medford Oregon fame, who also provided us with Korean scriptures.
Samuel, below, is seen with his mother and father, not church members. We are having a wonderful time teaching him continuing lessons after baptism, along with teaching his girlfriend Nunuk and neighbor Renita and her two very small children, who are both so very interested, reading their scriptures and coming to church. What a blessing it has been to assist them and befriend them in their young faith.
Seung Do and his mother, aunt and uncle.
One evening recently, after returning home from working, we watched a National Geographic program on TV about the deadliest snake on the planet, the black mamba. Thankfully none in Indonesia. Many of you know snakes and I do not get along very well. Sister Williams blessed my dreams that night with a ssssssssneaky prank on my pillow.
In Surabaya some people have set up a business taking kids and their parents on "train rides," really just long, open-air vehicles, decorated up and painted to look like a train. Sort of goofy really. They just drive through the streets for a fare. I guess that would be fun if you're Indonesian. Anyway, they looked like a dour group until I rolled down my darkened window at a red light and started taking photos from the car. Never met an Indonesian who did not like to have their photo taken. Just say "Facebook" and they are all giggles.
This sign on a fence in a kampung says, "Peeing and garbage here." What you can't see is the very faded, red "Dilarang" just above it, meaning "Prohibited, or Don't."
Any takers on this Indonesian soda?...Sweetened milk and yogurt soda.
I have actually considered purchasing these...watermelon flavored marshmallows. Then Sister Williams gives me the look. Who would not want "Chomp Chomp Mallows?"
One of our inactive members we have been visiting for the past few months has been a member since he was a teenager here in Surabaya. He actually went to the SLC Temple as a youth for a Sealing with his family, but has been very inactive at Church for years. He runs a business selling tobacco and tea/coffee products. It has been a difficult path to trod with him, but we are seeing him weekly. He has such a sweet 12 year old daughter, Dewanti, who seems to love to read the Book of Mormon and Bible with us when we visit. She seems to adore Sister Williams.
Another recent convert family, Brother Hendra, Sister Lily, and their teenage children, daughter Stefanie and son Michael. On their wall is a framed photo of a Temple with a picture of their family. We are visiting with them weekly and providing continuing lessons about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His restored Church on the earth.
A street scene taken from our car. This was supposed to be a cool photo of a guy carrying a bunch of helium balloons on a motorcycle, but the truck photo-bombed me. I am still trying to figure out the aero-dynamics of balloons on a motorcycle. We have seen all manner of goods carried on a motorcycle here, ranging from these balloons, to 15-20 full size car tires, to large sheets of glass (how do you say decapitation in Indonesian?), to 15 foot long bamboo poles, to 4x8 ft sheets of plywood. Food carts with large glass or wooden "saddlebags" in the rear carrying all manner of food for sale. Even people. Lots of people...5 is the record we have personally witnessed.
Here is a large community center in a city named Lamongan, about 2 hours drive to the west from us here in Surabaya. You see the writing above the open entry...that is Javanese writing...very beautiful flowing script. We drove there last week with the Mitchells from Clayton Utah, Senior missionaries for the Church assigned to coordinate all Church-assisted Humanitarian projects in Indonesia. The Church is providing for 3 new water wells, tanks and distribution lines in this rural area. The Church has provided for all of the funding and the engineering plans, and is paying for the materials and construction foreman, but the local people are expected to provide much of the labor digging trenches. We return tomorrow for the ground-breaking ceremony. We have been asked to serve as site monitors over the next few months of the project.
The sites of the wells are noted below in yellow. Local citizens sign up for water distribution and pay a monthly fee based on metered use. We'll see how it goes.
The contract was signed last week. Work begins in the next few days, we think. The Village head is Pak Sutrisno, in the center with the red flowered batik shirt. Brother Subandriyo and President Hadi are 2nd and 3rd from the right. The contractor, Sutarno, on the far left, is a Church member from Solo.
Making some site visits where the actual wells will be dug. The water is not pure and will still need to be boiled, etc for culinary and drinking purposes.
Sister Okky and her new infant son, Davis. Western names seem to be all the rage anymore. She just likes the name.
Brother Agus Suwito and his family. He is a mechanic, and works with his father. His lovely wife, Rena, is a Moslem. They live with her mother. His son Elroy comes to Church with him. We had a nice meeting together talking about Family History and Temple work. We spent some time helping them fill out their pedigree charts.
Sister Williams always draws a crowd. Yesterday we spent an hour in a local kampung looking for a lost member. No success...he seems to have moved long ago...but we made many new friends, talked about our family back home, showed pictures, took a lot of pictures, passed out a lot of "Choose the Right" stickers, and invited all to come to English Class. It was enjoyable.
Lovely Renita and her two small children. We taught her last night with Brother Samuel. They loved "Bedazzled" on my Ipad. Kept them entertained for a long time until our laughing started him crying.
Recent Zone Training Meeting. Jawa Timur rocks!
Weekly District Presidency meeting. They are rapidly developing into a very organized and committed and energetic group. We conduct the meeting by Skype with President Rhama in Malang 2 hours away. This time I ordered pizza for those here. They often come here straight from work without a meal. A 12" pizza with everything, including tuna...their choice, not mine...cost 60,000 rupiahs, about $4.75. That includes delivery! Pizza here is surprisingly good(minus the tuna).
A few more hotos from Bali. At least half the weekly attendance, and often more, comes from tourists to the island of Bali. The Branch President, Pres Heru, has been Pres for more years than anyone knows. His wife and children are not members. We just organized an Elders Quorum. They conduct Church services in a local, rented, hotel conference room. After church activities often include ping-pong.
Yesterday in the kampung we came across a man with many family pets in cages in front of his house. We spent a few lively minutes there. This is a musang...translates in Google to weasel, but this is like no weasel we are familiar with. Lives in the trees in the wild in Borneo, very long tail, sharp teeth and claws, but was very docile. Nocturnal, eats fruit and insects.
Crazy James before school
To eat or to sleep...let us know your decision, Ephraim
Sweet Hope in El Paso, enjoying her "new" recycled and refurbished school desk. Way to go Cassan. Looks great.
Our budding Swimming champion, Ella. First place in backstroke and butterfly! Way to go!
Rhys. Love your smile. Save some smiles and laughs for G&G, ok?
Ephraim doing one of the things he does best. He had some serious catching up to do.
Love to all. Till next time. Say your prayers.