Friday, September 23, 2016

"Do you like cooking?" Ummmm...

My soul is begging for an art date. Anyone game?

Way up on the neighbor's wall = the gardener trimming the hedge with a machete. (The red swing frame is 7' tall.)
The muggy air (76% humidity in the house) makes us a bit lethargic. We've fallen into routines of where we go, though we meet with new and old friends. Groceries. Errands. Church and community meetings. Meals. I need friends to go to an art class with!

Every Tuesday and Friday, I stroll out the gate to the little park a half-block away. The Ibu-ibus (women) have the security guard start the boombox for our half-hour of exercise.

Dr. P is leading one morning. She welcomes me with a smile and gives some clarification in English before switching to Indonesian. "This is our national program. In the hospitals, they will do it once a week to keep the elderly moving."

What a forward-thinking idea! (Imagine trying to roust American patients from their hospital beds to march in place and chop at their arms.) Part of our routine involves slapping the wrists, forearms, upper arms, and shoulders. "These are pressure points that help circulation." It sure helps relax my shoulders before I get to work.
A typical downpour: rain sprays off every surface
Monday, September 19.2016
I'm in language school every Monday and Friday. We drive a half hour to the school. Across a little table, the tutor and I point and hold and move objects. I'm remembering so much more, but it's a little at a time.

In the corner of my office, a roll of vinyl has been slowly collapsing into folds. The church nearby staples 5'X5' posters on wooden frames to highlight their themes. After Christmas, they pulled off the vinyl and gave us a few sheets. Now's the time to use one of them: movie night guests sometimes have trouble finding our gate. Surely a sign that size is be big enough.

I find the cheap acrylic paints we bought at a stationers and pull an old brush from the rolled-up brush-storage in the cabinet. A short exploration pops up a thick blue Sharpee marker. Ahhhh. My soul starts to unwind as the ideas come.
First, lettering: Movie Night, 6:30pm. Everyone welcome. It starts to pour. The rain splatters off the tiles on the porch. I drape the edges of the sign over a chair, a table, and an old sofa. My legs are getting soaked but the paint is not running.

It's a bit bare. Should I add a graphic? Maybe a clip of film? That works. But then, because the sheet is still huge and white, I add a film reel. (Scale: the red tiles are 4"X8".) Good enough.

Waldemar is on an overnight visa run to Kuala Lumpur. (I did it last week.) He comes back with a slight flu that keeps him under the weather for a few days.

Tuesday and Wednesday
It's movie night on Wednesday. The freezer is full of baking: we have to keep things in the fridge or freezer or the moist air collapses anything containing absorbent sugar or flour.

An older part-timer comes at 2pm and heads for the market. She's teaching the younger gal how to cook fried rice (nasi goreng). They burn a few things and the house smells. (W gets a fan to air the house: we don't have a kitchen fan because the breeze comes up the valley through the livingroom, kitchen, and up to the laundry terrace.)

They do a lot of dishes since I've been cooking all morning and there is no automatic dishwasher. They also mop splatters off the floor.

The helpers joke around with our neighbor
- FYI on Indonesian kitchens -
Oh, it might interest you to know that we have 2 kitchens, which is typical in older houses. When we moved in, there were no faucets at the sink and the kitchen layout was strange (to us.) The fridge and bottled water dispenser sat in the living room.

We rearranged things a bit: we bought a counter-top water base for the bottled water everyone drinks and moved the fridge into the kitchen. It's a good thing W is handy. He added faucets at the tile sinks. On the white formica nailed over the base cabinets, I laid 2 black floor tiles and a cutting board (made by a handyman from scrap teak).

The oven sat against the back wall, unusable because the mice had chewed out the lining; one or two of the range burners worked. The landlord paid us back after repair guys fixed it = they hauled the oven to our driveway, worked all day, and gave it back with 3 gas burners on auto-spark and one that ignites with a hand-lighter. I turn on the gas and flick that lighter over the oven burner to start it, too. The oven temperature settles at 425oF (225-ish C) so it's a "manual control": in other words, I open and shut the door not to burn what I'm baking.

Out the back door is another sink. We bought a little metal table and a 2-burner compor (gas stove) for frying: that's where the ibus make the fried rice or fried chicken or fried vegetables or fried ... well, you get the picture. It's called the dirty or kotor kitchen. There's a strange 70s throwback, a tiled water reservoir back there, too. (It holds hundreds of gallons of water). I guess if the pressure got too low, the former owners put on the pump to get water on the hill where we live.

Someone always asks me at these dinners if I like cooking. This week, I finally think about that. Do I? I sure cook a lot and it feels easy. But do I like making food?

Actually, the cooking could be replaced with any number of creative things. What I like is to replace our stressors and oft-interrupted routines with activities that require no thought. After years of cooking, the menu and recipes develop on the go. I open the fridge to get the first few ingredients ... and pretty soon a few hours have passed and we have a big spread to share with guests.

Cool, right? That's enough about kitchens.----

We pray for no rain: we've had floods down the hill and that's a great deterent to going outside. God gives us a dry evening.

At 6:30, people start to arrive. Most students sprawl on the floor or on pillows, while older adults sit on chairs or at the table. Tonight,  30 or more come for supper - and then watch the movie -

- before an intermission and dessert (fruit, cookies, and more). When the movie is done, we discuss it and hang around to visit.

This month we watch Secondhand Lions, a family film from the 90s. Everyone loves it. Well almost everyone. A film buff from France grouses about how simplistic the plot and quick the resolutions are. "You don't just move on. What happens to the mother? And the plane crash? It's not that easy." No, it's not. But this is old Hollywood for kids.

We ask what it means to live life fully. We talk about how complex the "good guys" and the "bad guys" can be. There's a lively discussion as usual.

When everyone has eaten supper, I put away the food - we give it away to poorer attendees and split the rest between friends and the helpers. And the helpers do dishes and gossip in the "dirty" (frying) kitchen in the back.

"Thank you. I met so many people," said a newcomer. "May I come next month too?" Half a dozen new guests leave their WhatsApp numbers for the group announcements.

Thursday
Walking day. Hurrah! What a relief to get outside. Waldemar, Dr W, and I take Gypsy down the hill.

Then we cut across the river and the neighborhoods for coffee with Angela, who lives nearby - but is under the weather today.

We get home before noon after about 5 km (3 miles) of ups and downs. Not bad. Not bad. And no rain, either!
----

Leftovers:
Below are some photos from last week's walk, for your enjoyment.
The last shall be first, said Jesus. Well, here's how the walk ended.
Natural caves and waterfalls 
Gypsy explores
Waldemar ducks through a tunnel
The streams pour down after heavy rains
We pause at a stream crossing, with a waterfall in the background
This footbridge is pretty advanced, compared to some
Lettuce and green onions grow in the hills
Everything wet has to be dried ...
Bunnies. Pets or rabbit saté coming up 
We poke our heads inside a ramshackle building. Hey, a mushroom farm!
And more and more often, barbed wire across the paths we used to roam, as the wealthy acquire the hillsides
Read more:
*If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. 
Isaiah 48:18 NIV

*The kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. Romans 14:17–18

*Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Colossians 3:16 ESV

*Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1: 2-6 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Jesus, you have shown us the example of a suffering servant; yet, we admit to self-absorption. We are embarrassed by our fascination with the superficial and temporal. Guide us, Jesus, beyond our own needs and desires. Teach us that peace and joy come through service in your name and that our truest identities are found in you. Amen.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Packing and packing

September 10, 2016
This is a big weekend for Muslims. The story of Abraham and Isaac is familiar to Jews and Christians from Genesis 22. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his precious son Isaac. Abraham obeys - but God intervenes and shows him a ram caught in a thicket. (Complete story below in Read more.)

Muslims celebrate their holiest holiday of the year, "Sacrifice Feast" or Bakr-Eid this week. The goats tied to pickets on main corners will be sacrificed and eaten by families or neighbors in honor of the story, retold with Abraham and Ishmael.

Saturday, September 3
Today we've been married 39 years. That's a long time. And he's a good man.

We celebrate with a date to Wild Grass restaurant, just outside the gates of our neighborhood.
"Detox Water" - so refreshing
Sunday
We have a full house again. Our friends from Singapore are wrapping up their visit.
Doing what he loves best: W teaching Proverbs
They engage in the Bible study in the morning and join us for lunch. Their kids Kat and Leo dive into the pool and run around the playgrounds.

In the afternoon, while they pack up, W goes to the airport to get Sumathi. She and her husband Augustine met us in Cambridge, UK, when the guys were studying at Tyndale House. Sumathi and I went to concerts together and became friends.

When the Pagolus moved to Singapore, we met up on teaching trips. Then they relocated to Indonesia. But their visa runs coincided with our teaching schedule and they'd make time for us: we'd have a meal and chat together.

When W and I considered living in Indonesia, I contacted her. "You were moving from Batam. Where are you going to live now?"

"Bandung." Whaaat? God has given us 2 years in the same city. The four of us spent a semester together in language school. It's been food for my soul to have such a dear friend nearby, though we were both busy.
How I'll miss your smile, my friend.
Augustine's health is a challenge, so they've returned to India after decades abroad. Sumathi has come back for a few days to pack up the house. Several Indonesian friends and I will help.

Sumathi will sleep over through Thursday (except for Monday night). She prefers a cold room but we bottom out at 22oC (73oF) this week. At least she has air-con in her apartment as she packs up.

Monday
We're up bright and early. It's a travel day for our Brazilian friends and me.

Sumathi cooks breakfast for W and me. Upstairs, the V family gets their luggage and breakfast sorted. S's Indian crepes with garlicky sauce tickle the tastebuds. YUM YUM.

A great week of dreaming and planning comes to a close
The driver drops 5 of us - Josue, Claudia, Kat, Leo, and me - at the airport. He goes back to the house for Sumathi and our helper, who will assist in cleaning and packing today and Wednesday.

The V's and I are on the same flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malasia (KL). They're continuing on to Singapore and Thailand. Josue plans for us to have coffee to say goodbye after 5 days at our house, but the flight was delayed in Bandung: their connection is waiting.

I have to stay overnight in Malaysia and fly home in the morning. I go through immigration without a problem. Take a train to Terminal 2, buy a trail mix and ginger ale, and walk a few hundred meters to the hotel. And it's time to settle in to grade papers. I'm focused and not hungry. I don't leave the room until morning.

Why? The internet was cut to the house last Thursday. Apparently, a neighbor at the entry to our 60+ home neighborhood complained that electric technicians could see into his yard when they fixed power outages. So the company dug up our road several times to run the wires underground along his property.

They severed the internet cable and rolled up the wires into a neat tangle. And we've been without wifi since. It's not the best timing: W's working on his theology papers and I'm teaching an online class. The students submit 96 assignments. I get online at the hotel and hours later - I'm done! I fall into bed at 8pm and sleep until 4am.
At KL airport: Harrods employees celebrate a staff birthday
Tuesday
Before 5am, I stroll back to Terminal 2, jump on the train to Terminal 1, and check in for my boarding pass. I wait at a coffee shop to catch up on email and reading and then climb aboard a short flight for home. In less than 2 hours, we touch down in Bandung. I can't wait for W's citizenship issues to be resolved in the USA: then we can get a better visa and avoid these disruptions.

W is waiting with flowers. How romantic! The driver takes me straight to Sumathi's flat at the seminary where her husband taught. Sumathi is wrapping up 2 years of living in Bandung. She hopes this trip and another will finish the job.

She's stayed up much of the night, packing up a bedroom and part of the kitchen. We get to work straightaway. She's got to sort through what to keep (move) and what to sell or give away.
Dwi - a friend from the seminary - helps, too. We touch every item. Into the box (or removal pile) it goes.

"Do you love it?" I ask, holding up the book or blouse or kitchen implement when Sumathi can't decide. By 11:30, she's exhausted and decisions are slower.

"Time for a break in 15 minutes," I say. We've done a good morning's work. We walk across the street to the Aquila Hotel and a decent dim sum lunch. Lo and behold, W has been working in the seminary library. He joins us.

Afterward, W heads home. Various friends, Sumathi, and I work until evening. Santi handles sales and collects the money. We fall into our beds with relief, sleeping soundly until morning. (KL is an hour ahead, so I was up at 3am, Bandung time.)

Wednesday
Wow! By the end of the day, we post the 3 remaining big-ticket items are listed on a Craigslist-style site. All other goods are sold or sorted, tagged, and ready for the movers. Sumathi has visited with many people coming and going all day. Our helper stays and cleans until late, when the driver takes her home.

Four of us even squeeze in a massage by Iby Siti, a wonderful masseuse who serves our aging neighborhood. Siti is a wonder: one after the other, she unknots us. Sumathi's back and neck eases. Siti grinds the travel-and-hospitality kinks out of my mid-back. The investment is an average meal in the USA: $15 for 2 hours of health cure. Aaaaah. Thank you God, for Siti! (She's happy too: a hotel worker, helper, handyman, or average employee earns $4-10/day. Yes, you read that right ... per day.)
Students come to say goodbye to Sumathi
So many people come by to visit. Dwi goes out to buy Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and fritters. When Sumathi and I ask about whom to pay, Pauline jokes about collecting $80 per meal. We're so tired, we may have paid it gladly. haha

W comes back for us in the car: we have bags of things to give away. On top of the items brought from Singapore last weekend, what a godsend for our workers! They pass clothing and items along to family or sell and recycle for extra income.

Thursday
Sumathi is flying out 2 hours later than expected, so we cancel our walk. We head to the airport with her. It's a sad goodbye. Though we get used to welcomes and farewells, this one is especially hard for me. S's been a friend for 13 years ... I feel like I've lost a partner as well as a friend. (Please pray with us for Augustine's healing and recovery!)

"Maybe you'll come teach in India," she says, waving goodbye at the security door. Maybe we will.

When we get home, Ibu A sorts the bags of recyclables with me. "These gifts are God's provision through Ibu Sumathi."

I try to divide things somewhat evenly, with Ibu A, our older helper, getting priority. At the end of the day, the pile has shrunk. The driver takes things home, ending his day by driving our car to the top of Ibu A's neighborhood. Her husband comes up the steep paved path on his motorcycle to help take things home.

Friday
"Outside with you!" At 8am, I join 9 women for EEk (my nickname for Exercise for the Elderly, a twice-weekly program of movements to keep old people supple = a great stretch and a good way to get the blood moving. Most women are in their 70s and 80s. One is younger than I.)

I bake dozens of cookies when I come home to celebrate the stillness - and in anticipation of visiting neighbors. And I zoom into town for a recreational shopping trip. The city is full of outlet shops (fabric and clothing center of Indonesia is Bandung.) But as expected, part of one floor of one shop ... and I'm done.

We wash a lot of dishes today. Ibu Sumi washes and irons bedding, sweeps and mops the floors ... and the house exhales with quiet. Sumi, who worked with Sumathi Monday and Wednesday, is happy with the bags and an old suitcase at the end of the day.

"Maybe you want to go here, across the street to the next store? Or shall I stop here? Or ...?" suggests the driver.

I shake my head. I'm totally shopped out in an hour. I have found Christmas gifts for the grandkids. Checkmark for the list of "do-it-when-you-can." (Oh wait, it's September. But when W's citizenship trip comes up, we won't have time to shop.)

I'm praisingGod, a bit staggered that we got the entire seminary flat cleared out this week. And I'm happy that the house is in order.

Read more:
Genesis 22:1-19 Abraham's sacrifice
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A melinjo tree and a movie night

The drapes are swept back to let in the light and the office door is open. It's not yet hot in the early morning. The wind coming up the valley stirs the bamboo chimes along the edge of our porch.


I glance out the door. Our house sits on a mountain: an airplane cruises by below eye level against the blue background of sky. It drops behind a highrise on the next hill to land at the airport. A pile of shoes sits just outside: outdoor shoes are removed as soon as people step onto the patio tiles.

We keep a rack of flip-flops and other indoor shoes near the entry. The rules of culture are strict about boundaries: only those of Chinese heritage might keep their walking shoes on in the house. The others will all remove them at the step up to the patio or on the landing stoop. (My German mom taught me to take my shoes of in the house, so we do it automatically.)

The chants of a new caller echo off the hills from a mosque tower nearby. There must be a special day: I've heard him at 4, 7, and now at 9:30 he keeps going. He has a great voice, compared to others who may sound shrill, growling, and everything between. As always when we hear the Muslim prayers, we pray for the chantor, his family, his village, and all those who seek a relationship with God.

Sunday, August 28, 2016
The Bible studies today and Monday are smaller than usual; people are traveling or ill.

But at Sunday lunch, we have a lively discussion on the role of the Holy Spirit and how we experience Spirit baptism. Lunch is at Bumi Resto of course. Delicious and very reasonably priced to boot.

Tuesday
"Would you like to come with me to Exercise for the Elderly," asks DrW. Of course I would. (I would?) My neighbor rings the bell at the gate at 8 for our walk to the neighborhood park. The government supplies the health curriculum.

Seven or eight women stretch, chop at one arm with the other, and march in place. It feels surprisingly good. But I have to smile every time I think of the group name. EE.(k!)

In anticipation of a busy weekend, W and I celebrate our 39th anniversary with a fact-finding trip that's more pleasant than some we've done: supper at the Padma Hotel. It's a half-kilometer walk in the dark from our house. We pass heaps of trash bags stacked along the road for tomorrow's sorting, clumps of friends chatting or eating at mom-and-pop food carts, and overflowing parking lots at the popular restaurants. The shrill whistles of the parking attendants part the night air.

The hotel is 6 or 7 gorgeous floors of rooms, fitness centers, balconies, and restaurants built into the side of our hill. It's first-class in every way, including the fresh 7-foot-tall lily and tropical flowers on display in the foyer.

The restaurant hangs off the edge of the mountain. Clouds swirl across the valley and dance past our table. Bats flit and swoop beside the terrace to catch insects attracted by the floodlights in the valley below.
30' trees bloom far below our table as the clouds fly by
A huge toad sits by the side of the road as we walk home.

Wednesday
In the afternoon, our Brazilian friends and their two kids arrive from Singapore. Josue was initially my student in his masters program and then Waldemar's. J invited me to lunch with his family during our class week - and that was the beginning of our friendship. W and I room with them when we make visa runs; they live with us when they're nearby.

Tonight is our monthly movie night. The guys move the furniture into place and W sets up the projector. He also barbecues 5 kg (11 lbs) of chicken wings with Josue's help. Bonus recipe below ( dated Nov. 1988). I made this marinade early in the day:

KIRO TV 3-STEP "BEST" CHICKEN WINGS

  • In a big pot filled with water, boil 2-3 lbs of chicken wings.
  • Drain, cool, and dip the wings in scrambled egg. 
  • Then roll them in 1 c cornflakes, 2 c flour and seasonings (1 tbsp total of salt, pepper, thyme, sage, poultry seasoning, marjoram, oregano, or whatever)
  • Preheat the oven to 350o.
  • Brown the wings in oil. Spread them single-layed in a baking pan. 
  • Make the sauce and pour it over the chicken. 
  • Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken once. = BEST EVER.


Sauce:
1 c vinegar
1 c brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c ketchup


The freezer purchased by our Canadian partners has been a godsend. I don't have to bake a thing today: instead, I fill two huge trays with cookies from the freezer. I baked 2 loaves of bread yesterday, so today is easier than usual. I cook curry sauce for sausages, heat Sunda-style nangka (jackfruit) made by Ibu A, and prepare vegetables, rice, and a few other dishes.

Last but not least, I draw toilet signs with a Sharpee marker on packing tape and stick them on the walls. (We have a traditional and a Western toilet; expats and Indonesians use both - but they have to walk through the kitchen to get there.)

The helper comes today at 3pm instead of early morning to scrub bathrooms and wash the floors. The dust from the hills makes it a constant challenge to keep things clean. Even with a daily sweep and wet mop, our foot soles become black unless we wear flip-flops inside the house.

Ibu S makes sure there's a second helping of rice during the meal and does dishes. We send leftovers and other goodies along when her husband comes for her on their motor (cycle) at 10pm.

Over 30 guests of all ages show up. Many of our regulars are traveling or have other obligations. It's always a guessing game as to how many will come. About 10 are new; they rave about the food and we all enjoy the tearjerker of a movie, Hachi. The questions of the night: "What does faithfulness mean to you? When might it be most important for us to be faithful?"

As always, the discussion is shy and slow at the beginning. A few share their stories - sad and happy. One is missing her faithful pet, a cat who usually waits for her at the gate. After the formal questions end, we pray together. (The cat shows up the very next day, after being gone over a week. God even knows how to bring a cat back.)

Then the lively conversations start. The night is well gone by the time we wave goodbye and the last motorcycles putt-putt out the gate. We lock up and let Gypsy off his leash. He barks at the guest who will sleep over on the driver's cot. Quiet settles as the dog starts his night watch of the yard. We head him padding back and forth.

Thursday
Ibu A and I have our work cut out for us, cleaning up and putting dishes back in place. Some spills have dried on the IKEA sofa, so I change the cover. Ibu A puts the slipcover in our washer and hangs it to dry on the laundry roof. (The men will move the heavy items back in place in late afternoon, after floors, surfaces, and furniture are washed and vacuumed.)

I stay home from the walk with the kids. Claudia straps on my Teva hiking sandals and heads for the hills with Waldemar and Josue while I watch the two six-year-olds. Looks like the walking group has a great time.

The two six-year-olds do homework with me (poor kiddos). Well, that's not all: they play ball and beanbag toss in the yard, read books, and eat delicious fried rice, cooked by Ibu Apong.

It's time for the tomato harvest in the nearby fields. Bushel baskets of fruit stack up at the end of the rows.

A man comes to cut the lawn with his machete. He climbs the melinjo tree for nuts and leaves. I send half his bagfull with Ibu A: she will make a salty sour soup with the rest for lunch on Saturday.

Supper is at Miss Bee. We're too tired to cook and it's getting late.

I connect with my friend Kim online for an hour in the evening. And W and I exhale with an episode of a Korean drama before bed at 11.

Friday
It's EE (Exercise for the Elderly) at 8. Chop chop. My back feels all stretched out when I tackle grading and interaction with students in my online class.

Read more:
*You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8 NEV

*Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66:16-20 NIV

*The Lord made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3 ESV

*Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. 1 Peter 2:10 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Good and gentle Shepherd, you claim us as your own. Even more, you call us by name. When we are rebellious and stray from the paths you’ve set before us, you seek us out and bring us back to the safety of the fold. Amen.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Walking in your paths ...

Thursday, August 25, 2016
We walk our neighborhood today. W and I start down the hill with Gypsy, meeting the others at the park at the bottom of the hill.
Schoolkids on an outing swarm Gypsy and
pose for a picture with W
"Let's take a picture," they ask.
Some of these guys studied in Germany.
The surroundings are gorgeous - we look at the pictures we're taking and exclaim,

"When you're living here, the flowers and lush greens feel so normal. We get used to it. We hardly see how so beautiful it really is here."

The day heats up and gets muggy.

We're panting as we walk along the river.

Squatters have built up a community across the water. Laundry hangs from electric wires, bakes dry on the rooftop, and drapes from fences.

Our shoes are mucky from wading in the path washed up by the heavy rains overnight.
Small huts and shelters along the way
We walk past a few little family graveyards.

It's a steep hike up the hill on the way back. 
A look back up the hill after crossing the valley below
The last climb is the steepest, so we pause to sit on a wall. Motorcycles and chickens pass by. Typical.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because he lives here and he's tomorrow's lunch.
Two little boys come up to say hi. One dashes over to pet Gypsy. Then he runs to his mom, giggling. He tells her how brave he's been and comes back for another touch. (Muslims here are taught to be afraid of dogs; being licked could make them ritually unclean.)

We get together at Ethnic food court. And we're home before 2. After a shower and nap, we drive over with Dr. Hanna to study scriptures at the Bamboo Shack.
Traditional figures carved into the concrete walls
of the Bamboo Shack. (Tables and chairs below for perspective.)
Friday
We're working and making calls until 11. Then we go for groceries. 4 little boys follow us around the store.
They are happy to pose for a picture with W. I'm glad that we find everything in one place. I'm not much of a shopper.

Read more:
*My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have rescued. Psalm 71:23
*Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Daniel 6:23
*Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 
*Do not abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. Hebrews 10:35
Moravian Prayer: Constant Sustainer, your love is ever-present. It is always enough. Lord, guide us to live life from your fullness of grace, rather than from the emptiness the world offers. Alone, we are weak; together, we are strong. With you, nothing is impossible. 
Precious Lamb of God, let us never grow tired of singing your praises! You have set our feet upon your firm foundation. We are so blessed. Lord, open new ways to share your love to all those whom we touch, both near and far. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.