This week we had a senior couple’s conference in Yogyakarta (aka Jogja). With the departure of the Baird’;s (Public Affairs), the Hansen’s (Family History) and the Jefferie’s MLS) we are down to four couples (besides the Mission President) in the entire mission:
President & Sister Rowley are from Mesa, AZ, where he was an attorney. He also served here in Indonesia as a young missionary, so he speaks fluent Bahasa. He tells some very interesting stories of what life was like 40+ years ago, and it was VERY different. Sister Rowley is also the Mission health person – so she watches over anyone who’s sick or injured – tough job since she’s not a nurse!
E/S Demke are from Utah (sort of) because like us, they’ve sold their home and are ‘homeless’. They are Humanitarian missionaries in the independent country of Timor Leste, which is assigned to our mission, and when they first arrived in the country, they were the only LDS members there. There are now 2 ladies and their kids, so they hold Church in their apartment. There are no najor projects there and they have a few smaller ones, so they also teach English, which was her profession before they came out.
E/S Steele are from Utah (he was a city administrator) and are in Surabaya. they are MLS missionaries, which means they work with and train the local leaders and membership. Since few of these speak English, they are working hard on learning Bahasa.
E/S Moss are from Layton, UT and are the office couple – that means they take care of everything relating to the mission and missionaries – housing, shipping, visas, passports, kitas (Indonesian ID cards), lost ATM cards, cell phones, etc., etc., etc.
We all arrived in Jogja and checked into the Royal Ambarrukmo hotel – very nice. Jogja is still a kingdom (there’s a king of Jogja) and the hotel is on the former grounds of the King’s stables.
Then went over to the Church for a training session:
A wise comment made by President Rowley – “It’s better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.”
He reminded us that when we were set apart to be missionaries, we were promised that our families would be blessed. I know we’ve been blessed by being here, but we realized we had never asked our kids how they have been blessed with our being in the mission field. So, we will ask them!
So, after our meeting, we were off to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Since the Demke’s are in a very ‘rural’ location, we let them decide, and they said they missed Mexican food the most. Now, Mexican food in Indonesia can go either way – we’ve had very good and we’ve had very bad, so….
The next day was off to Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia and the most visited tourist site in all of Indonesia. It was built in 900 AD and abandoned about 100 years later. The jungle took it over and was ‘discovered’ in the early 1800’s. Nothing was really done to it until restoration started in the 1950’s, but it was minimal. Serious restoration began in the 1980’s and is now fully commercialized – good or bad. President Rowley said that when he was here in the mid-70’s, only the temple was reclaimed from the jungle – now, it is fully exposed.
We were all looking forward to riding an elephant, but when we got there, we found out that Friday was the elephant’s day off, so, no elephant rides. Oh well….
Then it was off to Malioboro, a shopping district in downtown Jogja. It’s amazing that any of these vendors make any money – they all sell the same thing and there are thousands of them….
Lunch was at a member of the Jogja Ward who owns a hydroponic farm and restaurant.
It was a great conference, and great to be with the other couples. I think the Demke’s really appreciated the chance to fellowship and be with others and, as she said, just speak English!