Monday, August 20, 2007

Indonesian adventures

North Sulawesi--Bunaken National Maritime Park. Great scuba diving on the coral reefs surrounding the ancient volcano of Manado Tua.

Sidoarjo East Java. Last year exploratory drillings for natural gas punctured an underground reservoir of hot vocanic mud. That mud has been flowing forth unstopped covering villages and mosques. Now large dikes (at least two stories tall) channel the river of hot mud--with the help of sweeping arms of backhoes--further along into a river and out to sea.

Malang East Java. Sister Etter (part Navajo, Stanford Grad, right) with Sister Kurniawati. Sister DaisyKurniawati is the daugher of Sister Darsi--one of the first two Inodonesian sisters to serve a mission. Darsi was a companion with Mary Ellen Edmunds. Sister Darsi raised Daisy as a single mom. Darsi died of diabetes a few years ago leaving Daisy an orphan. Daisy recieved no mail the first few months of her mission. She then got permission to contact Sister Edmunds who upon learning of Sister Kurniawati's plight decided to act as her surrogate misison mom--sending her weekly e-mails and packages. I got all choked up when I learned of the on-going love between two missionary companions who served together thirty years ago.

Medan North Sumatra. Elders preparing an investigator (in turquoise) for her upcoming baptismal interview. She was orphaned by the earthquake two years ago on the island of Nias and was taken in by this very poor, relatively new member family (the father is blind).

Bandung, West Java. Borther Sijanto and his wife Sisiter Yanti told me their amazing story. One day in 1999 he bought a Book of Mormon (Kitab Mormon) at a used book store. He read it and believed but didn't know what church used the BOM. He never saw the name of the church in the front of the book. He read in 3rd Nephi that the church would be known by the name of Jesus Christ so he looked in the phone book and found four churches in Bandung that have Jesus Christ in their name. He was attracted to the one that said Church of Jesus Christ OSZA (LDS). So he called on Sunday and asked when meetings were. The next Sunday he attended the meetings. As he was walking in through the gate he saw a teenage member carrying her BOM and from that he knew he was in the right place. He was taught and baptized. Later he converted his very devout Muslim girl friend. She joined because in a dream her mother came to her and told her that if she married then her family needed to all follow the same religion and that it was OK for her to follow her future husbands religion. Her family (father and 7 siblings) disowned her for joining. They were married 8 months later--they had known each other for 13 years!. She was 38 at the time and he was 33. They tried to concevie for a few months with no luck so they made in a matter of prayer--within three weeks she conceived. A year after their marraige they welcomed cute little Christine into their home. She is now one years old. She nearly died from a mosquito born fever (dengue) but a preisthood blessing saved here. They both have such strong faith.

Bandung, West Java. Arion Swiss-Belhotel. I was asleep at 12:04 am in room 405 top floor right side when I was awakened to a shaking bed. I got out of bed and took a few steps on a shaking floor and then the earthquake stopped.

Jakarta. Me at the Minsitry of Religion with Pres and Sis Marchant, Elder Subandriyo (right) and Jason Lase (center)--who honored me by giving me a traditional Batak shawl. At the request of Elder Subandriyo, Ross Marchant and I hosted Jason Lase three years ago when he came to the BYU Law and Religion Symposium. We took Jason and a few others to Moab and hiked to delicate arch. Since then he has become the Director General of Christian Affairs. He is a good friend of the church and has stood up for the church on several occassions--including getting the church officially recognized in troublesome Manado--with a Christian majority that is very intollerant of apostate churches (ie the LDS Church)

Jakarta. District Enrichment Activity. Making 300 pillows for future relief kits. Sister Duamlang (right) help me visit many good members in Bogor. She still uses mom's banana bread receipe that I gave her 31 years ago.

Tangerang, West Jakarta Suburb. Newly purchased and reonovated LDS church discreetly located on the back side of a strip mall because the local municipality (under pressure from certain Islamic groups) will not approve regular style Christian churches. The LDS church extends for five entries from the black car. The chapel is behind the five shop openings on the first level and the classes and offices are up stairs. The four letters above the black car are OSZA (the Indonesian abbreviation for LDS). That is the only idenifying mark on the whole church building. Similar restrictions in the East Jakarta suburub of Bekasi have resulted in another LDS church being located in a strip mall.

South Jakarta Chapel with newly renovated steeple and newly added stained glass. Thirty years ago few if any members owned cars.


  1. Great stories and great pictures. I remember well looking at a globe to see where Indonesia was located after Chad got his mission call. We are now a little older and a little smarter, too, even though we are also getting forgetful. We ae looking forward to the book.

  2. Great report. Congratulations on surviving volcanic activity, earthquakes, and strip-mall churches.

  3. Great report. Congratulations on surviving volcanic activity, earthquakes, and strip-mall churches.

  4. We are looking for some photos about the church in Indonesia. We would like to use some of photos for the "Liahona" magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan.

    We are planning to write an article about one Japanese sister who is working at Indonesia, and would like to show some image photos with it.

    How can we get a permission from you?

    Sam J. Sekiguchi

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