We love being full time Senior missionaries for our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the best job in the world (and beyond). Our little Kinsley shows us all what our ultimate goal in mortality should be.
We had some rattan and wicker furniture made for our new home in Malang. It is much cheaper than traditional, Western-style upholstered furniture, and it looks tropical! We watched them weave, staple/nail/glue it all. Pier One is making a killing. The prices are remarkably cheap.
They did not know what a media center as. We drew an outline for them and suggested some dimensions. Here it is partially completed. This was 2,750,000 rupiah...about $190.
This was our new home on arrival, and after a can of bug spray. Gradually this has become much less of a daily occurrence. A tube of silicone caulk and a can of Raid is the best exterminator we have found here.
Below you see the finished results of our new Malang home. Quite light, airy, breezy. Very high ceilings. We've put AC in just the two upstairs bedrooms, and installed a screen door and hot water heater and washing machine, and furnished the kitchen with appliances. Bought some beds, desks and floor fans. Three bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms with nice showers and toilets and fixtures. Nice teak wood doors and stairs. Much repair and finishing was necessary on arrival, but with persistence and some very helpful friends and advocates here, we have finally got it whipped into shape and are ready to carry on with our real work here. It's nice to be able to spend a few quiet minutes every morning watering and weeding the yard. It also has a lovely courtyard fountain and pond, and this week we will purchase some catfish and tilapia for the pond. In a few weeks/months, we will BBQ fish. In the meanwhile, it's soothing and fun to listen and watch the fountain.
Ready for visitors...hint, hint.
Following are some street and neighborhood scenes. The woman below was selling cart food, and had a lovely, loud call she made notifying everyone around that she was there. I wonder if she wears a pedometer...she surely puts in the kilometers every day.
Jackfruit...nangka...young and immature (the fruit I mean), but in a few months will be delicious.
The chickens in the cage above still have yellow and blue head feathers, remnants of the food coloring commonly used by the vendors as chicks.
Brother Patris and his wife Anni and their daughter Putri. From NTT in east Indonesia. Recently baptized converts Surabaya 1 Branch. Wonderful humble people. Putri always loves playing with my Ipad. She plays Gospel puzzles and draws using the White Board app. They gave us a traditional NTT scarf as going away remembrances.
Family Home Evening with President Hadi and his wife Sister Ningsih and their teenage son Deonandro. Don't Eat Pete, always a hit. They served us watermelon juice, French fries, sweet martabak and siomay. Really delicious. I went home stuffed.
I still occasionally go out on my bike for the day with the Full Time Elders, while Sister Williams goes in the car with the Sisters on visits.
Two weeks ago in West Branch missionary District meeting we discovered that their teaching pool was negligible. They had no appointments at all many days. So we all made a goal to seek at least 10 contacts per companionship each day, people interested to receive us into their homes to discuss a spiritual message. We prayed hard and worked hard that day, spoke to many persons, and at the end of the day had 11 contacts to report to the Lord that night. We met some wonderful families. Sister Williams and I promised a box of Magnum Gold ice cream to the companionships who met the goal. Sister Sarwono and Sister McGill more than doubled their new contacts that week to 47, and won the prize. I'm sure the ice cream was only a small part of their inspiration. By opening their mouths, looking for all opportunities to seek, ask and teach the Restored Gospel, and by filling up their teaching pool, all other metrics will also increase, and they will see much success, and the Lord's Kingdom in Indonesia will grow.
Later that same night we visited a YSA named Brother Martinus who has been quite inactive almost since baptism a few months ago. He has not responded to any messages. We heard he was involved in a bike accident and so went over to his house. I examined him...only a few scrapes and bruises and contusions. He accepted our offering of a Priesthood blessing. Brother Yohannes, his uncle, anointed, and Elder Zainal sealed the blessing. By the next day he responded that he was much improved, "Puji Tuhan." We thought, perhaps this was an unconventional way..."My ways are not your ways"...for us to reopen a dialogue with this inactive Brother. Unfortunately, he has again chosen not to respond to any efforts to contact him, but the Surabaya YSA will continue to reach out to him.
Brother Martinus and his wheel, now bent out of shape. Maybe a parable of our lives...
Contacting through ice cream. One of my favorite strategies...walk into an IndoMart, buy all the clerks an ice cream, and open up a conversation about their families, jobs, English. We have a chance to tell them what we are doing in Indonesia, and about living prophets and another Testament of Jesus Christ. Some are interested, some not. They all enjoy an ice cream anyway, and we part friends. This young man, Toni, and I continue a running SMS dialogue.
Our new driver in Malang, Ari. A native of Malang, a convert, the only member of his family who joined the Church as a Young Single Adult, age 22 or so. Married his wife and they have 3 children. Speaks good English. He worked in Sun Valley Idaho at Subway Sandwiches for two years, and also worked in Canada. He was Branch President of the South Malang Branch in 2007 or so. He is kind, soft spoken, mature, very responsible. We have been blessed to have him here. Here we are eating dinner together at Restauran Kertajaya in Malang.
More FHE pics. This time with Brother Kadek, the new Elders Quorum President in Malang, with his family. 7 family members plan to go to the Temple in Manila in February, including her mother who is not yet a member of the Church. She is interested in seeing the Temple. We played our usual game after a lesson about Acts 7:39, not looking back to Egypt, that is not looking back on our lives and yearning for ease and comfort and certainty. God wants us to look forward with hope and faith and trust.
We continue to find joy in our association with the Dewasa Lajang (Young Single Adults) here. On our last night in Surabaya, despite Sister Williams feeling under the weather, we had 13 YSA in our small home. They had a lesson, played a game...sort of a cross between charades and Pictionary...it was quite hilarious. They are remarkably non-self conscious in these settings. It is a joy to watch them together. They are serving each other, visiting each other at home, visiting inactive members, and serving in the community. This Saturday they are serving a community organization helping, teaching Street kids, homeless. Below eating potatoe/veggie pie, pizza, etc. In the past few weeks two YSA have joined the Church after baptism.
In 1973 as a brand new missionary with Elder Steven Taylor as my Senior companion we opened up Malang for the very first time ever for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We found a home large enough at Jl Semeru No. 49 for us to live and hold church services in the large front room. We ordered metal folding chairs, built tables for Sacrament and a podium. We built signboards and had a baptismal font dug and bricked and plastered in the backyard, and started meeting people everywhere. We taught English classes, held weekly Mutual meetings...usually drawing very large crowds of 50-80 people. The store below, Toko Oen on Jl Basuki Rahmat in Malang, was owned by a very kind Chinese man, Pak Oen. The restauranat served Dutch and Indonesian food. I ate bistik here often. The entire Indonesia Mission ate here for several meals during an all-mission conference. I have photos of me in this very spot in 1973. Anyway, it brought back very sweet memories to me this past week as I visited this spot. Sadly, Pak Oen has died, but I found an employee who has worked there since the late 1970's.
Below is a picture of me in 1973 sitting next to Suharto, a young man we found and taught and baptized. He later became the 2nd Indonesian full time missionary in 1976. This is in the front room of our original home/church on Jl Semeru in Malang.
One of the many beautiful views I get each day as I ride my bike up into the surrounding foothills on my bike. They are building a golf course up here. The roads here in this area are all paver stones.
You know you are in Indonesia when, instead of yard trolls, you see plaster giraffes. Come to think of it, there are no giraffes in Indonesia, other than what you see in the zoo. This neighborhood is using a very Euro-American-style decor with a faux brick facade.
This past weekend we were assigned by President Donald to preside at the annual Bali Branch Conference. We rented our usual room at the InterContinental Hotel on Jimbaran Beach...on our own dime..no Church funds were used in the making of this trip...:) The views, the water, the waves were beautiful, warm.
Below you see Brother Sam, the new Bali Elders Quorum President, and his wife, Anni, the Relief Society President, and their three beautiful children. There are 5 active Elders and 2 Prospective Elders in the Branch. They will start Home Teaching this month. Their children sang a Primary song in Sacrament meeting along with Sister Rachel and Sister Williams.
Sister Rachel is a lovely young woman we know well from Surabaya who moved to Denpasar Bali a few months ago to work in a restaurant. She plans on serving a full time mission for the Church in January or so. We will help her start her mission application. She later hopes to work on a cruise ship (we also hope to later help her with that :)
We received a welcome plumeria/frangipani/kamboja lei on arrival at the hotel. Isn't she beautiful! And she smells good too.
We ate at the beachside restaurant the first night, bare feet in the sand. Pulled pork/scallop tacos with a tomato/chile/pineapple salsa. So good.
One of the single sisters in the Surabaya 2 Branch, Sister Endang, is moving and opening up a new restaurant business across town. So bright and early one morning his week we borrowed President Hadi's Daihatsu pickup truck and, like any Elders Quorum anywhere in the world, helped her move. Her destination was a kos...a rented room, literally just a room...maybe 12 feet x 12 feet, with shared bathroom/washroom and kitchen areas. The monthly price, 400,000 rupiahs...$28 a month. It is within short walking distance of her rented restaurant space.
Inside the rented restaurant space. Bule's draw an instant crowd, especially when situated just 20 feet from the entrance to a Moslem Elementary school. We had fun joking, practicing English, etc. I signed about 15 autographs before we had to leave. It's not me; it's the skin, the height, the English, the Church nametag.
As part of our companionship effort to help some members here become more self-reliant, we are helping a few purchase supplies and materials to go into business for themselves, virtually all in the food sales or production business. Here we are at the Tukang rombong ordering a new etalase for Sister Endang, a recently reactivated and former full time missionary. Along with this capital assistance (this is not a Church financial effort), these members are all participating with great enthusiasm in the new Church Self-Reliance initiative, and attending each week the 2 hour course taught by Brother Dean on "Starting and Growing My Business." How exciting to see these members develop their sense of self-reliance and independence, their self confidence, their hope for a better future for themselves and their families, and to give them the ability to save for attending the Temple next year.
Brother Soegiri and his wife Endang with their new Es Tebu cart. They sell cane juice every day. Yesterday he texted me to say he had 30 customers. His business plan target was 80, but not bad for just the 4th day of sales.
Brother Suryadi and his wife Aan sell fried fish, tahu, tempe, vegetables, etc from this cart in front of their house. They are saving to purchase a cart remodel with larger wheels that will make the cart mobile so they can travel to more lively streets for sales.
Sister Williams was fascinated with watching this rat trying to find a way out of the sewer. A daily occurrence here.
We need to start keeping a photo gallery of strangely named stores, shirts, helmets, businesses, etc here. We are convinced they often have no idea what they mean. They just like English. I should open a business here translating as a native English speaker for people wanting to do any marketing. They spend lots of money to print signs or banners that make no sense whatsoever. This is a restaurant in the mall. Would you eat at Ron's Laboratory?
This is the owner of Sister Williams' favorite batik dressmaker. She has made 5-6 skirts for her.
Sister Sarwono and Sister McGillis and lots of Indonesian kids. Sister M looks like E.T. in the closet.
In a few days is an annual Moslem day of sacrifice. Many thousands of animals...cows and goats...will be sacrificed in the mosques, and the meat then given/sold to people. Below you see a billboard you will never see in America.
Happy to be shopping, again. We thought of you when we saw these tea sets, Cassandra.
Peter, our Surabaya driver, above, in a store of pots and pans big enough for a cannibal, and his wife Vivi and new baby daughter, below.
Helmet theft is a big problem here, and there are millions of motorcycles in this city, so that many larger stores have helmet racks for their customers to place their helmets inside.
Kid Time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
James and Lily
Uncle Peter is a wonderful uncle to Hope. These are the moments we miss the most as grandparents.
So proud of Marc and his family. Marc is the newest Oregon State Policeman, having just completed basic training. He said this was more intense and difficult that Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood (or is he just getting older?)
Malinda and Ephraim camping with the family. Sounds like Ephraim slept well; Mom maybe not so much.
Look who showed up together at Stake Conference. This looks like trouble in the Kingdom. Love to the Skillmans.
First day of Kindergarten James. Who's more excited, you or your Mom?
Ammie, Holden and Malia. We love you.
Precious Lily loves puddles.
Our Tucson grandkids. Below camping with the fam. Quite the archer form, Rhys. Olympic prospect. You're a great Dad, Chris.