Thursday, April 20, 2017

A get-together or two

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
We look forward to dinner-and-a-movie night all month.

In the afternoon, Bandung has a thunder, lightning, and hail storm that deters a few from coming over. A few old trees fall over in the streets on other slopes and passersby take pictures and wonder how the spirits of the trees will react.

More than 60 of us eat, watch The Sound of Music, and some even sing along. Some look surprised that the melodies and words they know come from this musical.

Afterward, we chat and munch on popcorn until nearly midnight. W and I love the new networks of friends and acquaintances springing up. And we treasure the conversations.

We have 3 new walking companions this morning, representing France, the Philippines, and Malaysia. W and I are soooo tired but he leads the walk from our house. We go up and down. Up and down, along the river.

The creeks are swollen from the downpours yesterday. It's only a 2.5 miles trek. But it's steep!

We climb the muddy, slippery trails. I fall once and suddenly the entire side of my trouser is covered in dirt.

Someone has built a fence across the trail. Maybe they hope to deter motorcycles from going down the path beside the steps. We crawl through and over it.

And how on earth do the occupants get into the side door of this very beautiful house? On the other side is a porch with a million-dollar view of the valley. But this step is just ... strange. We get used to many things, but occasionally something makes us look twice.

Graffiti has no country. It's everywhere. 

One of the newbies thought it was a one-hour walk: they have made another appointment and have to leave at 10am. They'll never find their way back, so we all hustle back up the side of the mountain. We are dripping sweat and our faces are red.

A few of us end the morning with tea and cookies on our porch. The advantage of my baking binges is readiness - drop by anytime.

Read more:
*Direct your heart to the Lord, and serve him only. 1 Samuel 7:3
*Thus shall you say to one another, among yourselves, “What has the Lord answered?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” Jeremiah 23:35
*Paul wrote: Live your life in a manner worthy of the Good News of Christ. Philippians 1:27
*So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Moravian Prayer: Generous God, you have provided us with many blessings in our lives. As we acknowledge these gifts with thankful hearts, may we hear your call to share what we have received from you. As we give to others, help us also to receive more from your word and teachings that will allow us to better serve you and your Kingdom.
Lord Jesus, we are filled daily in our lives with your abundant love and mercy. Grant to us the desire to live a life worthy of the gospel and to serve you with all our heart, mind and soul. Amen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On the move

As we walk the neighborhoods, we are constantly surprised by beauty. The trees flower in a never-ending parade of color, texture, and shapes.

Tomorrow is movie night - and within a few hours of sending the invitation, 70 people sign up (our max, now building the waiting list). Jerry Beebe and his group sent us home with a second projector, so we'll be trying that out on the porch. 

Saturday, Ibu A and I baked 20+ dozen cookies in anticipation. 

Monday, April 17.2017
As usual, after our walk and grading / writing, we have a study at 9:30. It's a smaller group this week but the questions center around Jesus as God-with-us (Luke 7:11+). We are heartened that participants ask questions and explore scriptures. This bring deep dialogues and exchanges that continue to teach each of us.

Then it's off to town. W has to find some cables. I need a riser for a standing desk in my office, for speaking, and for working in bed. We never seem to get the work done in a day. My cut-off time is pretty early (before 8pm).

I've hardly shopped for groceries since we've been home. I've cooked what's already in the freezer and cabinets. But it's time to stock up for movie night.

"Pak E, can you come and help me?" I call him.

The driver comes in to push the first full cart so I can fill a second. The grocery carts are small but people look at us in surprise. "Who buys enough to fill more than one?"

Exotic chicken stroll along the streets
We haul everything into the house, put things away ... and then I start cooking. The chicken wings brine in salt and drinking water before being drained and refrigerated. I mix up two egg-based casseroles and put those in the fridge as well.

We break our Monday fast with supper. I'm hungry. We are asking God to bless Bandung in every way it is needed - in families, in neighborhoods, and in organizations.

Ibu A heads to the market. She's going to cook tofu, tempe, and a Sundanese vegetable dish tomorrow. She brings tea and cookies upstairs when she returns.

Hurrah! It's our first IESBandung team meeting since we got back. J and C have great ideas - we talk about our Sunday brunch. J suggests that we plan another one in 2 months. Everyone hops on board.

W and I walk past a huge building going up nearby. Rumor has it that it's another restaurant. It's close to the Padma, the only 5-star hotel in the city. It's amazing how cheap labor, combined with handtools like pickaxes, trowels, and welders, bring a structure to life.

Even though the workmen are swarming the building, they've wedged 10 meter (30') trees into place. I wonder how many will survive.

People already stream up the hill on weekends to eat at Miss Bee, Wild Grass, Ethnic, and Bumi Sangkurian - all eateries within walking distance of our house. Meals average from $2-7 so we regularly meet people there. W has breakfast with a friend every Friday morning, too.

Read more:
*When people fall, do they not get up again? If they go astray, do they not turn back? Jeremiah 8:4 ESV

*On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with
you in Galilee:  'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "
Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:1-8 NIV

*Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, another Holy Week has passed, yet we long for you each and every day in our lives. In the days ahead, show us the hunger and give us courage to offer the Bread of Life to them. Show us those who are thirsty and allow us to share the Living Water with them as well. Give us strength to lift up the cup of your love to those around us. Amen.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter, Everyone!

I have been absent from the blog since we got home. But we've been missing in action, in a way. Active but not writing. The house is in order - we get a hug, smiles, and 2 air kisses from the helpers upon our return.

I decorated minimally for Easter, setting a twig in glass vase with some painted eggs that I first hung in my alumni office 12 years ago.

One of the sweetest experiences last week was attending an arisan (women's club). It was established in 1965. I'm the youngest participant and honored to be a guest. Many are doctors and influencers or spouses of such.
The ladies are welcoming and fun to be with. We start with snacks - and have a huge meal afterward.

The oldest lady (in white) is in her 90s, so when she joined, she was 20 years younger than I am.

On Mondays, the study of Mark, held on our porch, is amazing as usual. We open the scriptures and ask, "What does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean for us today?" And God always brings words of understanding. It's great to be together - Josue and Claudia did a great job of facilitating the study in our absence.

It's so good to be back in the heat. We shivered our way through March in the USA and Canada. The air is damp here (73+% humidity) and envelops us like a sweater. Even at night, we don't need more than a blouse or shirt, though when it dips to 72oF (22oC), I'm feeling the cold and bundle up.

We go out one evening for dinner ($5 per entree) to the local favorite, Ethnic.
Electronics mean there are more guests at the table than we two
Someone is hosting a wedding. There is an elaborate palm decoration hanging at the entrance to the venue.
In Seattle, the kids are decorating for Easter as well.

Sunday, April 16 EASTER
This is the day we've been waiting for. Christ is risen! Celebrate!

Claudia, Josue and their kids meet us at the Bamboo Shack. We set the tables (thanks to Claudia's good design) and hang the banner they had made. Our theme is Endings and Beginnings.

About 2 dozen people show up to eat together and talk about the meaning of Easter: God with us. God for us. Josue tells how they adopted their kids (a new beginning).

Around the tables, we share our stories and ask God to bless and keep us in his care. I think the women are lovely - and it's a privilege to get to know them better. We pose for a few selfies, of course.

The roaches are occasional but there's one on its back when I go to the bathroom. Ugh.

We caught 5 mice in the kitchen last week, including the one who chewed his way into a bag of cooking oil. Hopefully we'll catch the rest soon. Sticky paper seems the best way to trap them. If we don't find them right away, they start to smell.

We start the day with a walk, like many of our neighbors. It's the time to meet and greet people as we stroll the long blocks of the neighborhood a few times, shaded by old tall trees. The assistant governor lives nearby. There are always cars parked along the road and in his compound. The security guards chat at the gate and say selamat pagi (good morning) as we pass.

Read more:
*Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.” Eccelsiastes 12:1

*One of the criminals said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42

*For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16

*But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood--to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Gracious God, today we feel the deep darkness of death. Yet in our sadness we recognize that today is also a day to feel gratitude for the full truth of your deep and abiding love. We give thanks for this love and for Christ’s sacrifice made for us. In the cross we find comfort, in Christ’s wounds we find salvation and in his blood our ransom has been paid. Thanks be to you, O God, for this wonderful and precious gift. Amen.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Home sweet home

Pulling out paints:
finally something quick and creative
We were on the go constantly in the USA and Canada. In 5 weeks, I hardly had time to write or reflect. But a warm thanks goes to our partners and friends - people and organizations - who hosted us, encouraged us, and shared their concerns - we'll be praying for you in months to come.

Now we're home sweet home. It's rainy and overcast in this part of Indonesia. They've had downpours in the city every day, says the helper. She is ready for drier weather.

"How are you feeling about being back," W asks me as the driver negotiates a single-lane paved road that has drivers coming from both sides negotiating cars, motorcycles, and people.

Ummm. I don't know yet. I'm glad we're not driving: the driver is an expert at pacing our slow forward motion with passing cars to avoid crashes and scrapes.

My heart always takes a while to catch up with my head. I'm really tired. We slept like stones on the two flights back - and have slept through much of the nights since.

It's wonderful to bring back so many memories of friends, old and new. We didn't have time to see everyone we wanted to visit: that is my one regret about such a short trip. Well, a second regret is that I got so engaged in conversations that I often forgot to take pictures, which serve as my memory bank. (W hasn't shared his photos yet so you may only be in my heart, not in my blog, ok?)

However, we're picking up steam (after a day at home) toward our Easter brunch. Looking forward to talking with others about the meaning and traditions for Christians.

Here are just a few highlights of the 5-week whirlwind.

We did long road trips - meeting wonderful people who share our vision and mission.
Wenatchee's team
My intention on this working trip was to hear as well as speak, and God honored that in marvelous ways.

I did a few paintings (splashes of color) and met with my former writer's group. I wrote Lenten blogs but hardly played piano, which tells me my soul is overwhelmed. I spoke English! - in person and on conference calls. "Wwwwwwaaahooo" to be able to talk to friends and have them understand what I was saying ...
Kim, you made my heart sing

Generations of family got together between all the engagements. We saw our parents and siblings at their houses. My folks came to Seattle to celebrate birthdays with us. We had fun! but it seemed a short visit.

I'll miss the grandkids calling, "Oma! Can I come down?" from the top of the stairs. They live above our basement suite.
Grandmama, Oma, and Kinsey
Hanging out with the grandkids
Levi and Grandpapa
Isaac, exploring the cabinets and finding only a big bottle of soy sauce
Auntie K with Miss K
The women of the tribe included our daughter Kirsten, who flew up from TX with Jonathan.

We celebrated birthdays for our youngest and myself with a marvelous family tradition, Mom's Black Forest cake. It tastes as good as it looks. Or better!

Merlin popped by to eat cake and take pictures (THANKS!)

Meeting nephew Lem at NU the Caf.
We stayed most of a week in Eastern Washington, exploring from the home of our dear friends Mel and Martha. I even read a book in the tub at their place: that's relaxation! We had time with our eldest son and his wife. We spoke in churches, gratefully received a projector to expand movie night, and heard encouragements and direction through you all.

It's hard to imagine all we saw and did - but a special thank you to Mike, Dan, Peter, Jerry, Jay, Kyle, Brandon, Steve, and their teams. You are part of what we do and who we are - and we're grateful to God for you and yours.

Read more:
*Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest. Jeremiah 5:24 ESV
*God has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. Acts 14:17 NIV
*(For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Creator God, in all seasons of life, we give thanks for your presence, love, comfort and guidance. Teach us this day to serve your kingdom with greater enthusiasm, and in doing so fill our hearts with joy. Amen.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Life: upside-down

March 2017
I just saw a post by Australian Vogue: How to Prepare Your Home for Autumn. I blink. What?

Oh, that's right. We live 6 degrees south of the equator. The South - including parts of Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand and a host of islands are emerging from summer and moving towards winter - which crests in July and August. It's an upside-down world for us. (Christmas was tropical, too.)

We will have changed time zones 5 times (besides travel) when we get back home. From hour 0 in Bandung:

  • 15 hours backward to Seattle
  • 2 hours ahead to Missouri
  • 2 hours back to Seattle
  • 1 hour forward for daylight savings
  • 14 hours forward to Bandung.
I expect jetlag.

March 2014, with adventures and farewells to come
In those hours, we've had meals and conversations with friends. We've spoken and taught and listened in large and small public venues. I'm stashing memories for the hours ahead.

In our new setting, there are people all around us. But at times, we won't understand the words, intonation, or customs. We won't have a clue what is going on. Then we remember that there are places in the world where people think and speak like we're used to. It's comforting.

Have you ever been in a situation where everyone else seems to know what to do - but you're in the dark? It takes a long time to understand a new culture.

But luckily, it only takes a moment to fall in love with a country, the way we have with Indonesia.

Read more:
*The Lord declares, ‘Those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt.’ 1 Samuel 2:30

*Jesus says, “You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am.” John 13:13
Moravian Prayer: As we return to our daily routines, may we not forget that you call us to follow you every day. May this day be made holy as we seek for ways to reflect your grace. Amen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Blessing upon blessing

We're homesick for Bandung. But when we get there, we will miss Seattle and our connections here.

The whirlpool laundry sink doesn't phase this grandkid.
  • Kids and grandkids and parents. Yeah. That.
The other two cram in and have a waterfight in the sink

  • Meeting with friends. Knowing what to do at church. We get lonesome for you.

Watching friends' children grow up

  • Speaking and understanding. Language learning sometimes gives me a headache.
  • Hot water from the kitchen and bath taps (ours are cold-water only in Bandung; consistent hot water in the shower also depends on water pressure through point-of-use heaters. Now you have it, now you don't.)

  • Great traffic flow - even during rush hour, people stay in the lanes. (Yes, we mean it about traffic.) In Seattle, there are few pedestrians, carts, bicycles, cars, buses, horse-and-buggies, and toko-toko kaki (street vendor carts crisscrossing traffic. And no 6-10-year-olds are signaling between the hoods of the cars, directing traffic for 5c to make up for the dearth of traffic lights.
I enjoy the patterns on a friend's papasan in Springfield MO

and the grand old buildings of this railroad town
And of course, the reason I came (besides the interviews with faculty and experts) and friendships ... 
hour upon hour of library studies.
Sitting beside this fabric collage artist on the flight home
Meeting in churches and restaurants or coffee shops with people who partner in prayer and support
- thanks Pastor Peter
  • We not homesick for bugs so big that you can't miss them. One day, our granddaughter screams, "Oma! A bug a bug! Oma, a bug!" and points to a little chia-seed sized dot on the table. Oh honey, if you only knew.
A friend comes over with 2 Indonesian puppets - delighted!
Discovering old board games stashed at my mother's house.
  • Convenience - that USA shop or restaurant is actually at the online address. And customer service is interested in finding things for you.
Friendly staff in Chehalis / Centralia

and enormous portions of food - everywhere!

Family reunions (W's mom here)
  • You can find what you want in the Seattle stores, in abundance. Crisp salad? Check. Fresh meat? Check. Canned goods. Check. A new broom. Check. An auto part. Check. The tea I like. Check.
A Sunday morning hotel breakfast shared with little wrestlers and their chaperones
  • Cleanliness - when the dust blows in through every crack in the tropics, you sweep and mop every day. Here, a thorough once-a-week keeps things spick and span.
Grandkids have a sleepover at Oma and Opa's

or a picnic on the kitchen floor
or a tea party.
If you take a grandchild along when you go out, you might find a few surprises on your phone, especially
when your 5-yr-old granddaughter takes selfies with your friends ... 
We don't worry about upset stomachs, no matter where we go to eat:
  • It's so quiet without Muslim calls to prayer at 3:30am. We don't miss those much. But they will remind us of our privilege of talking to God, that he hears, and that he loves us enough to answer and direct our paths.
  • Dinner with friends
  • Wearing seasonal clothing - though wearing socks only once a week (with hiking shoes) and going barefoot in sandals is its own pleasure.
There's more that we enjoy Stateside, of course. But back home, we'll most miss the relationships, among other things here that we take for granted.
Americans lining up in orderly queues, 10 minutes before the first boarding call
Read more:
*The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage. Psalm 16:6 ESV

*We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy  name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22 NIV

*But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought  and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

*Paul wrote: God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord Jesus, who promised us life in abundance, open our eyes to all the resources at our disposal this day. Fill us with your generosity so that all your good gifts may be shared with joy. Amen.