Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A day on the road

Alternative city transportation
Wednesday, November 19

By Wednesday, we've had two days of language school about "transportation" and "asking for help." We are happy to have a cultural day on Wednesday.

On the way to school, the first angkot driver pauses for 10 minutes at the side of the street to fill his minivan with passengers. The second one pretends he's almost ready to leave when we board, rocking his foot on the gas occasionally. He drives a block or two after 10 minutes and stops again for 10 minutes. He shows no sign of moving. We are now late and just a few streets from where we transferred.

Finally a young man says to us, "Better to walk!" and scrambles off the bus with us. We hand the driver the lowest possible fare (20c) and begin a fast walk toward school.

Ojek drivers (motorcyclists) wait at intersections for passengers
We flag a third angkot after walking a mile. This driver is on a mission. He passes everyone. Zipping along, he has us at the school entry in no time. The "sitting duck" driver never passed us on our 20 minute walk. Perhaps he's at the corner still.

Our van with students and two gurus head up the side of a mountain to Lembang, the local gardening district. The streets are narrow, crammed on either side with booths that hide the storefronts behind them. "It's too bad for the store owners," Josie notes. "No one can see their store because of the stalls draped with plastic (tarps). So ugly."

The class in front of the DIY tofu instruction board
She points out the "rabbit district," streets lined with rabbit cages. "You can buy them for pets or food."

Our first stop is Tahu Susu Lembang, where milk-and-soy tofu is made. We beat a group of 100 other tourists into the factory. Good thing. "We are fully booked for tours today," they had told the teachers. But they let us in and show us around.

Soybeans are soaked for four hours before being drained, ground up, and boiled in clear water for an hour. The huge vats of water are just heating up as we arrive. The gas burners roar under the tanks."You've come too early to see it cook," we're told.

Delicious product! Fried tofu.
After the soy cooks, milk is added.Then the tofu-in-process curdles in a vinegar broth before the water is poured off and reused. The curds are pressed and molded in pans, cooked 15 minutes in salt and garlic water - with or without turmeric for "white" or "yellow" tofu. The blocks dry on shelves near an electric fan.

Flies cruise through the air and land on the tofu at every stage. We sample the delicious deep-fried cubes afterwards. "Whatever happened with the flies is now cooked," remarks a fellow student. True. And it's very tasty, regardless.

Our second stop is Kedai Tehteh, a popular shop with traditional Sundanese food. "People will be lined up all the way down the drive on weekends," we're told.

The teachers buy a "paket" for each of us: fried chicken, rice steamed in banana leaf, fried greens, deep-fried tempeh, a little fried circle of potato, and a quarter of fresh cucumber on a lettuce leaf ("which I don't recommend foreigners eat," warns Josie.) It's hot and fresh, the best meal of our school excursions, especially after adding spicy sanbal and soy sauce. We'll come back with guests. W's stomach rumbles before he swallows charcoal pills. Mine feels full and happy.

The local "chicken combo"
Corrugated roofs over traditional rattan in rainy season
We handed the metalworker on the corner a sketch yesterday. In the evening, he welded a simple base for a yucky piece of furniture we found in a bedroom. We pick it up on our way home. Suddenly, it's a proportionate cabinet, perfect for dining room storage.

Before: low and awkward

After: with a simple metal base = useful
We can't always take pictures of the people we meet, so I'm sharing our surroundings.

Before: "and darkness covered the face" of possibly the most boring living room ever
After: getting there, slowly but surely
The house is full of mosquitos and flying termites. (The helper's husband leaves the back door open when he works. We'll have to talk about that.) We swat them away and drape the mosquito net around the bed as night falls.

Read more:
*Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2 ESV

*My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? Psalm 42:2 NEV

*The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Psalm 111:10 NIV

*Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 ESV

*We are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 1 John 3:2 NEV

Moravian Prayer: Heavenly Father, just like children we often think we know what is best. We long to be closer to you, and yet we fail to follow in the path you have laid for us so many times in so many ways. Thank you for forgiving us and welcoming us, even though we aren’t worthy. Amen.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A squelching Saturday

Suradi's lawnmower: a machete
Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bapak E, Ibu A's husband, has come to look at the leaking roof. W drives him to a building supply to buy a long beam. The repair supplies for our bedroom leak - wood, water-proofing, and whatnot - cost $17. Pak E clambers up a bamboo ladder onto the roof and goes to work.

Without a winter, plants keep growing, trees drop leaves, and palms shed fronds year-round. The yard man, Bapak Suradi, arrives on his "every-two-weeks" rotation. Usually we're in Jakarta and he prunes the hedges whatever way. I demonstrate the slant for hedge and ask him to trim the shrubbery where we park the car. From the roof, Pak E translates our future plans to move the guppy pond closer to the house. Pak S clips with a hand-shear and mows the grasslike foliage in the driveway with a machete. I forget to ask him to buy bug-killer: mealy-bugs are devouring the poinsettia tree.
15'+ tall - in the mall (the little trees are 6')

We ignore our own good advice after last week's excursion: "Stay home on weekends," and head out to do three quick errands in town. "We'll be back for lunch at 1," we say, waving goodbye to the helper at 10am.

We call Ibu A just after noon to say traffic is bad. We are on our second errand. "We'll probably be late. Please put lunch in the fridge if we're not back by the time you leave."

Then, with the assistance of the WAZE app, which apparently has no other foolish drivers on the cross-streets, we follow stand-still traffic through one back street after another. Motorcyclists huddle under trees and move from shelter at any little letup in the downpours. Our arrival time moves from 2pm to 3pm to 4pm to...

Motorcycle helmets:
$4.50 in the supermarket
We get home just before 5pm, 3 1/2 hours from the last stop. (That's how long it takes to drive from Jakarta to Bandung on a bad day.) Good thing we're with each other. W flips through radio stations. "Oh joy!" he says, finding an all-Disney music station.

We read Matthew 18, today's daily passage from IES Jakarta. W notes the "believing children" and theological implications regarding the age of accountability. I mull how Jesus uses parables for more than one lesson. Here the lost sheep imply the value of every person, no matter how humble or childlike. In Luke, he stresses God's search for the lost. We wonder if Jesus knew the child he placed in the circle of disciples. "Did this youngster belong to one of his followers?"

Discussing theology and how to live it out makes the time go faster. Not fast. Just faster.

Ibu A has left us Nasi Goreng Ayam (fried chicken rice) and salad. And she's used a package of chocolate chips W brought from home to bake the sweetest-ever, oil-not-butter cookies. W likes them a lot. I brew myself a stiff pot of unsweetened black tea as accompaniment.
The weather forecast this week: chance of rain, 100%.
My hometown of Winnipeg kicks off the Christmas season with its annual Santa Claus parade today. We've also seen a few decorated Christmas trees in the malls of Bandung. Is it time to get out our little Christmas tree?

The reflecting pool at Warung Ethnic
We have one more appointment in the evening. W is still on German time so he's anxious about us being late. I send off edits on the journal article of a friend. We walk through the rain and dark to Ethnic. The potholed gravel road has been replaced by excellent paving. Wow! and eek. There are no curbs so the drop-off at the edge of the road can be over a foot down. We're seated at 6:30pm. The owners must be Christian: there's a Bible verse posted on the wall. Prices vary from $2 for local dishes to $30 for Australian steak. We've just eaten so it's tea and coffee for us. They have a limited number of menus. When others come in, the servers take our menus to their table.

We're meeting an undergrad student from the FB group Expats in Bandung. He's on a motorcycle, texting back and forth as he tries to get to us. Normally, it's a 5-minute ride. It takes him 2 hours in the gridlock ... on a motor, which usually zips by the cars. Not this time. We're not sure what's going on. Reza has lived in Bandung most of his life. He says he's never seen traffic like today's.

A pretty surprise on the guest bedding
He arrives at 8:30pm, sheds his rain gear, and orders a strawberry smoothie. We have a great chat about his project - water desalinization and filtration - and his passion to be an entrepreneur. He'd like to come to our Open House in December. He explains a few Sundanese customs and asks if we'd like to visit his house. Of course, we'd love to.

He remembers, "But my mother doesn't speak English." No worries, we say. He is fluent and can translate if he's willing.

At bedtime, the sheets we washed are still wet. Laundry takes a long time to dry, even with the house-fans on. We pull out new "guest" bedding and - oooh, what a pretty surprise! The embroidery is cheerful and the duvet cover fits the blanket perfectly.

Before crawling into bed, I ask W to check temperatures in the house. I am shivering cold after the walk home in the rain. I guess 65oF. His thermometer reads 82o. Brrr. Maybe I'm feeling the fan-moved air and the damp. The moist air is probably good for the skin. I put on a sweater.

I'm reminded to pray for our friends in Tonga: Dave, Rhonda, and their son. They live with "wet air" all the time.

Read more:
*O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.

No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:1-5 NLT

*It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the people and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomsoever I please. Jeremiah 27:5 NEV

*For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:15-16 NEV

*You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. Revelation 4:11 NEV

Moravian Prayer: Loving Creator, you gave this wondrous world to us, your chosen children. Every day, we must do all we can to protect and nurture all that you created: sea and sky, rock and tree, beast and humankind, and treasure it as the gift of your power and love. This we ask in your name. Amen

Friday, November 14, 2014

Puppets and people

I'll let the pictures tell the story.
Two monkeys perform in the intersections at the traffic lights as we walk to school.
This one walks on high stilts.  The other resignedly rides his little bike in circles, looking bored. 
IES Jakarta uploads last weekend's photos. Ours make us laugh.
I look tired but W looks like he's dreaming up new IT stuff.
The new mixer and blender work great.
Our helper passes a jasmine shrub on the way over. She plucks a few branches. The fragrance fills the house.
We do a Google Hangout with our daughter-in-law and two adorable grandkids.
The language school sets up a visit to a puppet-making factory Thursday. It's a "cultural event." The owner tells us she inherited the business from her father. 

"The man in the corner is a master painter," she points out. "He's worked here for 40 years, since my father's time. Parents used to pass along the skills to their children, but now the children don't want to learn for such low wages. I think in 10 years, we will no longer have a factory." 

Each employee has a specialty: the men carve and paint the faces. The women embroider cloth, assemble jewelry, and sew the costumes.

Women and men from the villages work at the factory to earn extra money between harvests.
Indonesia's version of Romeo and Juliet
as beautiful puppets. These are nearly 2 1/2 feet tall.
When we try our hand at painting faces and costumes on wooden pens, the results are not like the experts. However, Waldemar's pen is the best-looking - almost professional. We are in awe.

We are growing to love the culture and the people here. Can you tell? We feel God's heart, urging us to embrace those who have not yet heard and to share Good News.

Read more: 
*Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord - rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows - this is God, whose dwelling is holy. Psalm 68:4-5 NLT

*Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols. Ezekiel 14:6 NEV

*Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God.” Acts 14:12,14-15 NEV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, so many things blind us to you: health, money, family, responsibilities, reputation, recognition, personal goals. Please help us to follow and trust you in all things. Amen.

C. S. Lewis, from The Problem of Pain:
It has sometimes been asked whether God commands certain things because they are right, or whether certain things are right because God commands them. . . . I emphatically embrace the first alternative. The second might lead to the abominable conclusion . . . that charity is good only because God arbitrarily commanded it—that He might equally well have commanded us to hate Him and one another and that hatred would then have been right. I believe, on the contrary, that “they err who think that of the will of God to do this or that there is no reason besides His will.” God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good. 

But when we have said that God commands things only because they are good, we must add that one of the things intrinsically good is that rational creatures should freely surrender themselves to their Creator in obedience. The content of our obedience—the thing we are commanded to do—will always be something intrinsically good, something we ought to do even if (by an impossible supposition) God had not commanded it. But in addition to
the content, the mere obeying is also intrinsically good, for, in obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam’s dance backward, and returns.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More than keeping busy

Part of the cool staff team at IES Jakarta:
typical Saturday night, post-service dinner
Can it be Wednesday already? We've met a few new people again this week, most notably several grad students on the angkot. W and I just got home from dinner - but we missed meeting a new friend from the Expats in Bandung group on FB. The roads are wet and they are in class until late, so we postponed our joint supper. It gives us time to talk through our priorities and make sure we're on track with what we feel called to do. We arrive home sated.

Sunday, November 9:
IES (International English Service) Jakarta hosted a Fun Run before the morning service, 5 km for adults (actually more like 7, but no one complained) and 2 km for the kids, who got a tattoo or stickers at every way station. Lots of volunteers made this one happen but the event was fully staffed by the time we showed up for the weekend. So we watched and hopefully learned a few things.

Anything worthwhile takes time: the view from the office at
IESJakarta of a year's worth of construction. It will be
hidden from sight and undergirds new skyscrapers
Several staff members stayed in hotels near the church overnight since their duties started early. We were heading back to Bandung after service, so we took the car, following the WAZE app to church in the morning. Big mistake. We'd planned to arrive as requested, at 8:30. WAZE couldn't figure out why we didn't want to take the main road so we criss-crossed the city. We made it in the door just before service started at 10.

The central core is closed to cars some Sunday mornings. W squeezed the car through narrow alleys - and ended up parking in a nearby shopping mall. We walked the rest of the way. Hundreds of people were jogging in the car-free zone, pushing baby strollers, or sitting and talking. Little carts with food and chochkies kept everyone well supplied with treats. By 11am, everyone packed up and the cars returned to the streets.

Hanging out and fooling around: Pastor Micha
and Julius ham it up before the Fun Run
We enjoyed the service but this one was special. Both Saturday night and Sunday morning, Pastor Dave reviewed the DNA of the church and talked about its unique mission to Jakarta and Indonesia. We left inspired and encouraged.

One of the staff couples is moving. He's Indonesian; she is South African. They'll be living near her family. She's packing and hands me two boxes crammed with yards of beautiful lace from her career as a fashion designer. When handed an unusual gift, I'm on high alert, asking, "Where will God will send it, here and there?" I have plans for the silver yardage: draped decor at Christmas!

The drive home from Jakarta is unremarkable. It's nice to come in our door 2 1/2 hours later. It has rained inside as well as out while we were gone. I enjoy setting up the end tables purchased on our quick stop at IKEA on Friday. (Today, Wednesday, we stopped by a tile shop. 60cmX60cm black granite: $4.50 = and upgraded tabletop. What do you think?)

Before: raw wood top. Love the textures.
After: what a difference a tile makes
Monday we take the little bus down the hill toward class and also notice that we haven't been walking much the last week. It takes us a little longer to get to school. It is exam time .... but happily not for us. The Korean students completing LEVEL 4 this semester lead a service, complete with worship and preaching in Indonesian.

They do an amazing job of involving all the students. W and Augustine pray. Sumathi helps lead the music. I have to read the Bible passage in Indonesian. Ah, butchery. I apologize for what I will do in advance. With Google Translate, I can ask them to stand for the reading in Bahasa Indonesia, too.

Final test before an international group
Tuesday and Wednesday we run errands after class, so I drive the car in one day and W another. Wending our way through a two-lane street with 3-4 lanes of slow-moving traffic is interesting. It's more nerve-wracking as passenger so I usually catch up on email when W drives.

On the bus: a beautiful Sundanese
grandma holds her granddaughter
We get a very nice surprise this week. Our daughter mailed a package from Austin TX full of "sweet littles" - tins of goodies and skin care and a Christmas stollen. We open it with delight. Gift-giving is one of Kirsten's more consistent giftings since childhood. It's lovely to be the recipient.

Gradually we're acquiring the basics: this week we finally purchased a kitchen mixer/blender combo and a few wall mirrors for the guest rooms. We picked up screen cloth to staple over the bathroom windows to bar mosquitoes from entering. I'd be happy if we no longer need the mosquito netting over the bed: I wake up each time it brushes my face or hands during the night.

I am also glad to find a $13 Christmas tree at ACE Hardware. It's little  - only 4' tall - but we'll decorate it this year and put it on a table for height. (We're unwilling to pay for a taller tree if there are pre- or post-Christmas sales!) Our kids sent individual ornaments along with Waldemar. Hurrah. We look forward to the season. We're hoping to host the people we've recently met when December rolls around, before everyone leaves for Christmas vacation.

We are in rainy season. I pack a little rain jacket everywhere we go. Thunder and lightning are common before the downpours that wash away garbage and bad smells. But when I look up the temperatures where friends and family live (minus13oC / 8oF in Edmonton, for example), I'm even happier to be here.

Read more:
*The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever. Deuteronomy 29:29 NEV

*God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. Job 37:5-6 NEV 

*Jesus prayed, “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” John 17:6 NEV

*This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Lord Jesus, may our hearts be reformed each day so our lives will be a living alleluia. Thank you for receiving us and helping us to lead others to receive you. We give praise for your truth and salvation. Alleluia! Amen.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Choose this day - will you have this or that?

"He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only," wrote C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory.

IES Jakarta, waiting for people
to arrive and celebrate God's goodness
God gives each person the choice to serve him or to follow other gods. Sometimes those idols are of our own making. Sometimes our idols are values inherited from our parents or learned from our culture. Joshua presented a decision to the nation he had led:

...If it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

His mind was made up. He chose the LORD he had served all his life. He stayed faithful from first to last.

Reading the books of the Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament, the options seem so obvious. Serve God and thrive. Live. Experience abundance of crops and protection from God. It's not that Israel didn't have to fight off their enemies. Their lives were not always easy. But God guided, helped, and intervened as needed.

Serve the Baals and foreign gods or choose our own path - and God lets us and those around us reap the consequences. 

Here are some of the gods W and I have observed:

  • money - for power, admiration, or a sense of security
  • relationships - friends, spouses, parents, or dare we mention ... children (whether we have them or want them)
  • the approval of others
  • self-will or selfishness
  • addictions - sex, food, drink, drugs, habits
  • ambitions
  •                                            (you fill in the blank)
None of those idols fill our souls or satisfy us to the core. These diversions are demanding. Never satisfied. Unattainable.

IES teens pray a farewell blessings over their pastors,
who are setting off on the next steps of obedience
So why is it so hard for us to consistently choose what would make us happy?

Read more:
Do not be afraid, land of Judah; 
    be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!

Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
    for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
    the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.

Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.

The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm-
my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:21-27 NIV

Friday, November 7, 2014

Midweek: food and more food

Thursday, November 6

Silly class selfie: "guess the fruit" game
School starts bright and early - at 8am. We usually get up at 5:30 on days the helper comes (5:45 otherwise). This morning, I'm very tired. We had a late supper with a gal who may help us with life groups, and I was writing until after midnight. W lets in the helper at 6:45am while I sleep in an extra hour. We have buy groceries and supplies so we take the car. That cuts our morning commute from 50 minutes to 20. We arrive on time.

The rain drums in through the gaps in the roof tiles in the afternoon. The back wing of the house ("dirty kitchen", laundry room / bath, and 2 back bedrooms) flood with inches of water. W grabs the huge shower-floor squeegee and pulls water toward the laundry-room drain and out the back door. The helper mops, wrings the cloths and rugs, and tries to avoid the downpour coming through the ceiling. She calls her husband, who is at the landlord's house. Dr A has not responded to any of our calls, texts, or other communications. It crosses my mind that we should just let the back flood - ignore it as he does and let it fall down if he chooses. We cannot use that wing except for laundry and storing a fridge. W tucks the landlord's new (still plastic-wrapped) mattresses out of the falling rain inside the house. 

I squish flying termites entering from the parts of the house not yet cleared. What's the use of doing part of a structure? The insects are definitely on the move toward the new fresh wood that's replaced the rotted parts. An owner's stubborn denial won't save this house. 

Without intervention, we have all 3 in the kitchen...
The leasing agents ask for the phone numbers of the termite companies who bid on a contract a month ago. They text us back: "There are no live termites, according to the company." W texts back our dismay: that means they were defrauding us on their written estimates? To remove the gobs of beasties in the walls and ceilings and maintain it, they charge $800-1000. We don't know which company they spoke with or why the change of tone. W has dropped live worms into the fish bowl (happy guppies) and I've washed my hands a few times this week after killing those "flying ants." The cutlery drawer fell off it's rails and a cup of termite pellets fell into the shelves below.

I cover the mixing bowl to stir up chocolate chip cookies. A mixer is definitely one of the things we need. By hand, the butter and sugar get stirred rather than beaten together. Our dear friend Kathleen C sent pecans and chocolate chips with Pres. Castleberry on his recent trip from Northwest University. I take them out of the freezer, beat up butter and eggs, and stir in flour and soda. We have neither brown sugar nor molasses, so white sugar makes the cookies are crisper than usual. But the flavor is amazing. A taste of home.

LR before

LR before
We enjoy our first overnight guests Thursday night: Pastors Mario and Daniela. She lived at our place in Seattle so she's knit into a special place in our hearts. How cool that they would be the first sleepover company! They love the spaces as we do - and tell us that the last time they saw a cup of termite dropping (this week's production, fallen on the plastic sheet guarding storage boxes in the garage), the house was condemned and torn down. Oh well, that's just in the garage... 

LR after - starting to shape up

LR after
Supper is at Miss Bee's around the corner. "This really feels like a holiday," M says, overlooking the landscape in the cool evening air. He also notices the change in elevation as we walk up the sloping street along the side of the hill. Jakarta is flat and nearly at sea level, while we're in hill country. 

The food is good but the service is slow tonight. The servers mix up the orders and stand chatting together. M and D explain in Bahasa what we want: usually it takes W and me a while to communicate with our limited language skills; they are direct and efficient. 

Back home, we enjoy cookies before heading back out at 9pm. Mario drives around Bandung in minimal night traffic, exclaiming at the development of business and housing. Bandung has grown from a clump of village-style neighborhoods and factory outlets to a big city: about 6-10 million people call it home. It still feels small to Jakarta natives (25-28 million).

The Hummingbird Eatery is closing as we drive up. The pictures on the walls look familiar. Didn't we come here with Daniela's mom and dad? To our surprise, the same people who own Miss Bee's run Hummingbird. We head for home and lock the gate after 11. 


The rain holds off during the night and we sleep well. W and I wake early. He turns on the oven at 5 when he wakes; I punch down the bread dough at 5:30 and it's baking by 6:30. 

We have a 7:30am breakfast at Miss Bee's with a young couple. It's our first time meeting the wife. What a sweetheart! They say they'd love to come to our place for a Christmas open house. (We don't have a date for that yet but will get back to them.) Knowing food awaits at home, I order a smoothie but no breakfast.

Back to comfort: accompanist (Korean flute)
We've planned to cook breakfast for 9 guests, but it's just the four of us. The others end up elsewhere. We eat apple pancakes and heavy artisan bread. The dampness must affect the rising - oh well, that's another lesson in the kitchen. We chat until 11 when our fine "kids" leave for a day of hanging out with their church staff.

We finish dishes and pack. Then W drives 50 minutes across Bandung for a farewell lunch with fellow language students. One of the Korean families is moving to teach in East Java. I make a beeline for the piano in the LR and run my hands over the keys. It's reasonably in tune. Our peers ask for a song so I play "Great is Thy Faithfulness" before we enjoy lunch. Argh. I forget to take pictures of the fish, chicken, and beef dishes among the rice and vegetables. 

Typical Ocarina, a traditional Korean flute
A Korean gal pulls out a case with three little musical flutes inside (traditional Ocarinas). They're keyed to F, G, and C; she conscripts me for accompaniment. Korean music is lively and quick - it takes a few times to get the hang of some of the songs. I'm out of practice. (I've dashed into the cafeteria at school a few times to pound out a chorus or two on the way to class, but otherwise haven't touched the piano in months.)

W and I get lost in the neighborhood, trying to get to the toll road to Jakarta. Good thing. I've left my cellphone at the party. We turn around and retrieve it. Traffic is not good and not bad. It's 7pm by the time we reach IKEA to return a few things that were broken or didn't fit. 

Waiting: a sweet and savory lunch
Meanwhile, the leasing agent has called the termite company, who report that there are no live termites at the house. What?! they were going to charge us $800-1000US to kill them, and they saw the bugs in person! W is so stressed by the text and the ensuring conversation that he forgets to use the return voucher at the checkout.

We're in the door at the flat by 10 and ready to sleep. We're looking forward to a second weekend of anniversary celebrations at IES Jakarta.

That's all. I have to get ready to leave in a few minutes for the weekend's appointments. Have a great time, everyone. Sending love and prayers - with a grateful heart.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The week in pictures

I simply haven't had time or energy to blog. So here are pictures that describe some of what last week held.

Coach training was Monday - Thursday: I slept in the afternoon after language school so I could  attend class online from 8:30-4:30 Seattle time (= 10:30pm-6:30am here)

One of my fantastic online coaches and master coach Amy in the background
Last weekend, we attended the exciting 15th anniversary of IESJakarta. Oh the food!!! Tables groaning with food, a welcoming service, and heartfelt celebrations. The teens led in worship and the media memories made us smile and thank God for his faithfulness.

Faith, fun, and food. It was all there. Prayer-time.
And a roasted piglet sponsored by a life-group
A traditional rice cone on a 2' tray
Families from many nations attend IES Jakarta
A photographer captured the moments
We stopped by the newly-opened IKEA for some basics. Like every big shop or mall here, the store has a built-in prayer room. (See the sign?)

We came back home Sunday. Slowly our house is taking shape. The IKEA rugs help pull together a very disparate group of furniture. We are looking forward to having life groups hang out here in the future!

Old gold curtains gone. Check.
Rug placed in LR. Check.
Settling down. Check.
We ate supper at an art gallery this week and met the owner. Last year, God confirmed our calling to this city, at this place, during our one-day visit to Bandung.

Art on display
W sits in the window at the art gallery / restaurant where God confirmed our cal last year
All week, the kitchen cutlery drawer keeps falling off its support. W pulls the cabinet from the wall to repair it. Oh! The termites have eaten through the brace and it "rains" termite junk on the pots below. And behind the cabinet? Let's just say that after all the cleaning we've already done, it was a nasty surprise.
Yikes! the unseen kitchen...
We have had language school since Monday. Today we relaxed over lunch with friends.

A traditional Sundanese restaurant: the
4 scrawny legs of the delicious chicken dish
Tomorrow and Friday, dear friends will be our first guests to sleep over and enjoy breakfast together.

Mario, Daniela, and Livia (Stefano is somewhere, too)
The immediate future looks something like this: we trust God will bring about as much as pleases him. Prayers appreciated.

Tonight - we met for supper with a gal interested in helping with life groups.
Tomorrow - school. Errands. Supper with friends (above).
Friday - 7:30am meeting. 9am breakfast for 9 here at the house. (Pancakes, I think!) Noon: farewell lunch for language school students. Afternoon: drive to Jakarta
Saturday - errands in Jakarta and celebrate the rest of the church's anniversary.
Sunday - church and home so we can get up for school Monday at 5:30am.

God is good.