Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Week 57: Treasured Photos

Elder Miller and I love the people. We go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity.There are many memories to preserve of the people we meet and places where we  teach, and visit.  

Week 56: Light Your Community

“ Needs exist all around us – some are just a little closer to home. Make the world a better place, starting in your own community.”

Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, spent much of His ministry caring for individuals, one by one. Join us this Christmas as we follow His example and find ways to share our time, love, and resources with those in need.

The week of December 10th 2018 we went to an RT (community) and cleaned out the gutters and street lines. We were served a big meal and lots of water to drink. It was very hot. Many people who live on this street work every day into the night so they were very appreciative!

Week 55: Dragon Fruit

It seems like it has been such a long time since I have been shopping in America at a grocery store.  Maybe there is “Dragon Fruit” to buy, but I never remember seeing any.….it is such a wonderful delicious fruit grown locally.  I hope you can buy it in your local store to taste!  Actually the fruit inside to eat is more purple than red the photo is not real true to color! Yummy!

Week 54: "United Nations Peace Keepers"

“Peacekeeping, as defined by the United Nations, is a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace.  UN peacekeepers-soldiers and military officers, police officers and civilian personnel from many countries-monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in post-conflict situations and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development.”

As a result of teaching the police English class we have met some outstanding young men and woman from the community.  We were told that one year here in Solo there might be 25,000 applicants (yes, 25,000)  for 100 police positions. The large number of applicants is a result of “anyone” can apply.  Just imagine the 100 who are selected … think about the many outstanding ways in which they must distinguished themselves from the mass numbers.

Recently after English class we spent a few hours in a local cafe learning from two of these young policemen.  They were each selected from the police to be included in an elite group of highly trained “peacekeepers” from Indonesia.  One has served for one year in Afghanistan and one leaves in May for Sudan in North Africa.

We are so lucky to have such amazing learning experiences and meeting such interesting people who give so much and sacrifice to make the world a better and safer place to live!

Week 53: "...and I Love My Grandmother"

The  words ….“and I Love My Grandmother”….  ring a sweetness in my ears and heart as I’m sure they do in each of yours.  It is quite revealing to hear many young missionaries say the kindest things and share tender memories about their grandmothers when they are far away from home.  In our recent zone conference I heard a young man say  “and I love my grandmother”.  What makes it really special is it lights the world when others words and feelings are expressed about the special people in their lives.  Sharing happens in different circumstances but the words said in the testimony and day to day expressions from the young missionaries of what they feel in their hearts as they serve away from their families for 18-24 months is tender. 

 I feel special when often a missionary  will say ,” Oh Sister Miller you remind me of my grandmother”!  So to all you grandmothers remember your love, sacrifice, and support is and will influence your grandchildren.    At this season of life Robert and our five children are in my thoughts and prayers every day but always mingled daily within those thoughts and prayers  are each one of our 18 grandchildren,  and even the unborn 19th newest arrival coming soon a baby girl to be born to Monica and Mark in April 2019.  Each grandchild individually by name are on our minds,  their personalities, their talents,  their situations and interests.  Each of their spirits are divine in nature and ….“I  (We) love my (our)  Grandchildren”….!!!
Zone Conference in the Yogyakarta with the missionaries.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


Very close to the LDS chapel and our apartment is one of the least developed areas where some of the poorest families live in the city of Solo. The Surakarta Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public affairs committee is involved in many projects to uplift and serve the local community in which we live.  A recently held ceremony that Elder Miller and I particpated in was we celebrated 5 septic tanks installed in this area paid for by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints local Stake. 

 I am not sure of exactly how many families live in the area but there are a lot. We walked around the streets and there were many children playing and many women hanging out their laundry,  and family generations gathered together. The families in the area were very happy with the improvements completed and becoming a reality. Today, there is only one toilet in the entire community, and the sewage runs into an open sewer.  These five tanks completed in the past 6 weeks are some of the first installed septic tanks in all of Solo which will allow additional improvements of community toilets and showers.  Septic tanks bring increased sanitation and improved living conditions.

We were privileged to be invited to attend the ceremony with many community leaders.  There was a rice food ceremony where a traditional food plate with traditional ingredients are served. One dignitary after another serves one another and it symbolizes unity in a community.  There are many symbolic Javanese traditions.  Elder Miller and I were both offered to hold a beautiful clay pot at one point in the celebration and directed to pour water over one set of septic tank covers.  The pot holding the water was covered in delicate fragrant flowers in a beautiful detailed pattern laced around the pot that held the water.  Five of us took turns and poured water over the tops of one of the septic tanks…at the conclusion the woman who is very influential smashed the pot over the lids and people cheered. There were newspaper reporters and it was a gala celebration.  The Relief Society served box bakery and meal boxes to approximately 70 people.  The breadth of our involvement and experiences as a senior couple missionary in the Indonesia Jakarta  mission is amazing

Week 51: Sprained Ankle & Steps of R.I.C.E.

 Elder Miller, on December 1, 2018 after pulling a nail out of a tree stepped backwards off a foot high curb and hit a misplaced brick edged up against the curb!  Yikes,  he tumbled completely off his feet backwards.  While falling he heard a “pop” sound even though he can hardly hear ha ha  and he was now victim to a “sprained ankle” and he limped home.  We googled proper care for his swelling ankle as soon as we got home.  It’s a common injury and early treatment can help to speed recovery and minimize the symptoms.  R.I.C.E. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  After 48 hours at home off his feet, with great home care, we expect a full recovery quickly!

Week 50: Worldwide day of service

December 1, 2018  kicked off a month-long “Light the World” Christmas initiative encouraging members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to share the light of Christ through small, but meaningful acts of service on each of the 25 days before Christmas.

Elder Miller asked our contact at the “polisi” that helped organize our Police English class for a community service project idea for December 1, 2018.   He explained that there are many trees along a main street, and people over the past years hammered nails into the trees to hang signs of their choice.  The trees are suffering from the many nails that were never removed. He suggested that we missionaries remove nails from the trees.

We began at 8 am Saturday December 1, 2018 for two hours.   Eight Missionaries and 3 others came to help.  Elder Miller challenged the companionships that who pulled the most nails, he would buy hamburgers and french fries for the two winners.  In total we all pulled 404 nails.  The winning Elders pulled 159 nails.  We had a successful and great time.  There were many great experiences with the community.  Our hammer broke twice.  It took less than 2 minutes for community support.  After we went back on our way the hammer handle broke again and a becak driver stopped and he and his friend offered another repair, pulling out their personal repair tools and glue and sending us on our way.  It is incredible the service that we received, giving service.  The people in this community treat us with so much kindness it is an ongoing effort to give back!

The police told us that they heard one spectator say to a group,  “ It is amazing to see strangers from another country concerned about the trees and environment in our city of Solo”.  And the entire two hours we spent pulling nails there were community members giving back to us!


This friend of ours,  goes early in the morning to the market and buys squid, and a variety of fish pieces.  He then cleans and cuts the fresh fish in his home.  His neighbor friend sits for many hours on the concrete floor in his home as she carefully puts the fish pieces and other tasty delights on the skewer.  He then sells the food to the little warungs on the street.  This fish sate' is how he makes his money…fish carefully cut and placed on little skewers sold to the individual little street carts to sell.   The people who sell, are responsible to cook, mostly grill the fish sate'.  

Walking through the streets other types of sate’ are sold which include chicken sate’ with peanut sauce, rabbit, and we have heard dog and even horse( which I’m pretty sure are in very small amounts.)  We go to visit this business man in the afternoons after he has been to the market and they have finished all the preparation of their product for selling.  Six days a week.  His wife died a year ago, and his plan is to travel with us to Manila to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple in April.  He wants to have his marriage bound in heaven and on earth.  

It is really amazing the food products that so many people are producing.  Many people eat on the street every day and prepare little food in their homes. There are very few kitchens.  What kitchens there are,  are often community which many families share and almost all are outside. Many use fires with pots. A  few have propane tanks.  Many people we know prepare grain mostly rice or bean and tofu snacks to sell. Most are deep fried. Then wrapped individually or in packages. These types of snack items are also sold every day for their living.  It is very inexpensive to eat on the street.  Elder Miller and I are very selective of any food that we buy and eat from the street vendors. We prefer larger restaurants and don’t eat much food from the streets to prevent food born illnesses and  be easy and mild on our American stomachs and  digestive systems. 


On a recent hot day the young Elders were riding their bikes in an area of the city of Solo and a woman motioned to the missionaries to stop and talk to her.  She initiated a conversation, and she had many questions for them.   After speaking and answering her questions she invited them to teach her husband, and their 3 children about their message. They meet in the church to answer all their questions.  

 It is amazing when missionaries prayers are answered to be in the right spot, at the right time, speaking to the right person. It makes the hard days easier when we meet those who are searching for their own answers to their personal questions.  We are surrounded by people.  We pass them on the street and visit them in their homes and as it says in Preach My Gospel, "many people are searching for purpose in life.  They are concerned for their families.  And it is our purpose to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.”

We were invited to go with the missionaries out to their home in a beautiful village in the mountains.  It was a spectacular 1 1/2 hour drive to a beautiful village surrounded by rice terraces and many other agriculture farms.

The path to walk up to their house

Week 47: "My Name is Your Name?"

Sometimes Elder Miller and I confuse words in the bahasa Indonesian language and say to people the silliest sentences or answer others questions with ridiculous responses….. We recognize this because there is a common look of desperation on each of our faces to try to understand each other. It happens so often.

Today this large group of sweet children were shouting from their balcony over and over again “My name is your name?” “My name is your name?” We smiled to ourselves, waved, and knew exactly what they meant , they were calling out to us “What is your name?” “What is your name?” We grinned and answered “Elder and Sister Miller”! They all smiled, giggled, and waved back so happy to have their question answered and now introduced to each other. We felt confident and resolved to ourselves, it’s OK to mix up our words we speak to others and decided a long time ago to “Carry On” trying to do our best to communicate to our friends in bahasa Indonesia even though our language skills are far from perfect but everyone seems to figure out each other!

Another fun memory to share is we are now often recognized and remembered by many children where we walk because since our arrival for the last year I weekly fill one of my purse pockets with candy.  I am always careful to make sure we buy candy pieces that are individually wrapped, and a piece that a child could not easily choke on.  Most often there is a parent that I first ask permission to give their child a piece of candy.  It is such a delight to see the smiles from receipt of a little piece of candy!
Sister Miller’s purse with the zipper pocket filled with candy!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Week 46: Thanksgiving In Indonesia

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch and invited the 6 missionaries in Solo to share with us.  We had a delicious dinner.  We ate in our apartment.   We do not have an oven in our kitchen and the chief at a major mall grocery store offered to bake 4 chickens for us. The chief actually used the morning of his day off to pick the appropriate herbs and ingredients and to bake the chickens for us because he wanted them “perfect” for our Thanksgiving dinner. We had all the trimmings. We can’t even begin to express our gratitude to so many strangers and friends we meet every day that make our life here in Indonesia so wonderful and fulfilling.     

Check out the expression on the Indonesian Elder.  When he tasted the spices in the no bake pumpkin desert his dislike and expression was “classic” the taste of spices to him was awful ha ha.  We told him we completely understood because that is exactly my expression when I taste some of the different tastes here in Indonesia, the syrups, chicken heads, feet and guppies ha ha!! 

Elder Miller and I are so thankful for the privilege of serving a mission in Indonesia.  We are so thankful for good food, a beautiful place to live, and each other.  We are so thankful for our children, grandchildren, acquaintances and each of You,  our dearest friends.  We feel so blessed! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Week 45: A Glimpse of a Different Culture and The Divine Worth of All Souls

A large percentage of the people we meet are very poor by American or global standards.  The consistently hot days and hot nights allow people to live almost outside.  A home does not really need to protect a person from the elements except rain and it is just part of life and the water quickly disappears in the many drains, ditches, and open sewers.  There is no need to buy much more than the shirt or dress on your “back” because winter, fall, or spring clothes are not needed. The climate is always hot and dry or hot and rainy. The hot weather every single afternoon promotes many middle aged people to sleep to avoid the heat and not have energy to do much.  The younger under 30 are working and the elderly are raising the grandchildren.   Many people do not have material things or conveniences but just enough to sustain their basic needs for existence.  Many work for just enough money to eat and have a simple place to sleep.  The basic food of rice that sustains many leads to diabetes, strokes, and a short life span.  

In comparison to this simplistic life I am describing, Robert and I are reminded about how we grew up, the homes in which we raised our children, the consistent pay checks from continuous professional employment, our many conveniences, beautiful cars,  furniture, houses, lands, flocks and herds.  We have been blessed to be self reliant.  We were able to receive a great education and have worked in the work place of our choice.  An individual's hard work here in Indonesia does not always bring self reliance, or bring to pass the “good life” we are all accustomed to in America.  

With great humility I share three photos of the sweetest 40 year old woman’s home who is a widow. Her husband passed away one year ago.  She has two children being raised by Muslim elderly grandparents in another location.  This is an example of many homes that we visit.  Her home she shares with another woman who works opposite 12 hour shifts 5-6 days each week.  We waited in the hallway before we entered as we sat and shared a wonderful message together.  

We are so thankful for everything we have. As a missionary we comfort the poor and the needy. We teach self reliance.  We minister to bring happiness to everyone and help all to receive all the joy Heavenly Father has to offer.  Many do find great  peace within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The gift of salvation is for everyone.   We know that Heavenly Father recognizes that every soul of every culture rich or poor is of divine worth.