Monday, October 19, 2015

News from Malang

Beautiful sunset over the western mountains looking toward Batu on a quiet Sunday evening in our neighborhood. No noise, no traffic.  Hard to come by here in Indonesia, but much appreciated when you stumble upon it. 

Recent Zone Training Meeting in Surabaya. First zone meeting with our new Senior Missionaries, the Hansons. 

P-Day 3 weeks ago made me a fisher of fish, not a fisher of men.  Time to clean out the fish pond, which meant first emptying the water and catching the fish with the flimsiest of nets to place them in temporary buckets while the pond was cleaned and refilled.  We have had a slow attrition of fish, mostly the gurame and sucker fish.  The tilapia seem to be generally thriving, although we awoke to find our first casualty this morning.  Not sure why. 

A common site in our home lately...Indonesian men hunched over our toilets.  Currently the plumbing seems to be working, not leaking and not smelly.  Hold your breath ( or maybe breathe deeply while you can...).

Always a sucker for a game of futsal or badminton with the kids when wandering the gangs looking for members. A 10 year old girl beat me at badminton.   

Beautiful rural Indonesia.  Looking at Mt Arjuna just a few hundred meters from our home here while on my daily morning bike ride.  It's been hot and dry.  We're ready for rain.  Hopefully El Nino doesn't delay the rainy season too long here. Unfortunately El Nino years tend to make for dry monsoon seasons in SE Asia. 

This is our semi-monthly YSA group in Surabaya recently.  We were in Surabaya for 2-3 days to meet our new Sr Mission couple, and took the opportunity to hold a rather impromptu YSA meeting at the Church.  We discussed the Christly attribute of Charity, ate pizza, and played "Spoons" (ala Sister Hanson) with dinner plates, which was the only object we could find in the church. 

2 Sundays ago took me back to Surabaya (tell me again why we left?) for District business.  Sister Williams had training planned with the womens auxiliary presidencies in Malang, and so I took the public bus.  25,000 rupiahs each way, plus a little taxi fare and a few thousand Rp for an ojek (motorcycle taxi) ride home in the evening coming home. There were probably 30 vendors who entered the bus in the station selling food, trinkets, pens, flashlights, books, and even singing and playing a guitar, anything to make a buck, or a few thousand Rp.  

While in Surabaya I took the chance to attend the local Self-Reliance workgroup, facilitated by Bro Dean Mardilan, a very talented young RM who speaks English very well, is a structural engineer, and single.  We have approximately 18-20 people coming weekly to the 12 week course on "Starting and Growing My Business".  It is a remarkable class teaching Graduate level business principles based on 12 Gospel ideals. It is very interactive, with much personal sharing, goal-making, accountability, and home work.  I really enjoyed it, moreso as we have come to know and love each of these brothers and sisters as we have helped them become more reliant on the Lord and self-reliant on themselves. 

So while riding my bike a few days ago I came upon the first snake I have every found in the wild in Indonesia.  Small, maybe 18", and dead on the side of the road.  Not sure what it is.  Snakes creep me out. 

Cute little Indonesian boy, showing the white powder so commonly applied by their mothers when they are young.  Serves no function other than they think it makes them look fresh and cute.  White skin is idolized here. Many go to extreme lengths to avoid any sun exposure.  

And "Shining the Nature" is very popular here, whatever that means. 

Our driver in Malang, Ari, shows us how to start a BBQ, ala Indonesia.  Light your briquets over the gas stove indoors, then transfer the glowing briquets outside to your BBQ or hibachi.  No lighter fluid needed.  Of course the stove and kitchen is now a mess.

We had a District wide YSA activity at our house last week. YSA from Surabaya joined with a few youth from Malang for a day of lesson about Eternal Marriage (of course), shish kabobs and microwave chocolate cakes they all made themselves. We had a few non-members here also.

So last Friday evening we tried something new.  We invited some newly re-activating families we have found, along with some investigators and some established active member families to come to the movies with us.  We watched Goosebumps together.  They all really enjoyed it.  Even Ari our driver who said he did not like going to movies.  This was a nice theater with reclining Lazy-Boy-type seats. 50.000 per ticket which is way beyond what they would ever afford or spend, so it was a treat for us all.  We had planned on watching Pan, and I had called the theater the day before to confirm movie and times. When we all showed up of course both the movie and the time had changed.  Flexibility is key in Indonesia. 

Belo is a gang we discovered a few days ago as we were searching for some inactive members.  Sister Williams said it reminded her of a street in Harry Potter, or some such. 

We visited this family yesterday after church.  Now many years inactive, lost back to their old Moslem faith, they were not interested. He sells noodles. In the glass display case are meat-balls...not ground up but literally balls of organ meats...chicken hearts and livers wrapped together with long lengths of intestine.  I said no thank you. 

So last P-Day I drove us to Batu to a different Amusement Park, in the hope that it was newer and better and less creepy and better maintained than the last one a few months ago.  Ok, it is newer and better maintained, and they have a respectable small zoo, but still silly and disappointing.  We did however discover Noah's Ark. 

2 weeks ago we invited the Branch President and his family to dinner and Family Home Evening at our house. He gave the lesson.  It turned out that it was also coincidentally his wife's birthday, Sister Mulastri.  Both she and President Sugeng are Returned Missionaries.  They brought their son. Their daughter is currently serving a full time mission in Indonesia.  

Kid Time

Peter.  Who remembers this old game?  I spent many hours as a kid playing this.  Much more fun than all the video game stuff now. Peter is in fact a computer science major and wants to become a programmer. 

Chris and Mal and their kids on a recent family vacation back to St Louis where they spent the first few years of their married life going to SLU med school.  

The St Louis zoo.  A wonderful place. I remember standing in this spot with the penguins and puffins when they were babies. 

A wonderful pic of Uncle Peter and Hope.  She still asks when Uncle Peter is coming back. 

An impromptu lake in El Paso after a sudden rain storm.  Hope and a friend. 

Sam and Hope and Cassandra went on a camping trip to Carlsbad Caverns.  Still working the kinks out of family camping, but sounded like fun.  Grandpa (not Grandma) wants to join next time.  

Marc and family at recent OSP graduation.  

Cassandra and Hope.  

Love you Annie and Chris D.  Need pictures!

Bye from Malang. 

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