Monday, October 15, 2018

2 weddings and a lunch

Where does the week go?

This week, we got lovely guests from the USA. They volunteered at an orphanage in the Philippines last month. Now they'll be exploring Bandung, speaking English with students interested in learning the language, and getting to know Indonesia, too.

Thursday, October 11, 2018
We walk from the tea plantations,
through the overgrown trails of the jungle, which tear up the skin on my shins.

We hike all the way up to the volcano.

From one of the vendors, we buy a few eggs so we can boil them in the steaming water for 12 minutes. They taste yummy.

We have gone straight uphill for a few kilometers - so tired! We have a mud massage before we go up up up to the parking lot - about 8km total - my legs are aching so the massage feels good! W and I have other work to do so we leave the rest to go to their next attraction and head back home.

The evening study is good: Scott leads. Great stuff.

Christian and Eva are getting married. W does the service - and they have a nice reception after.
By the time we get home, our guests are awake, get a massage from Ibu Siti, and feel relaxed after their long night on the bus from the airport to our house.

Later in the evening, I watch parts of the British royal wedding - what a pageant. 

We host a farewell lunch for Scott and Sarah, who are heading back to Australia soon. Before we leave in the morning, W and I walk the dogs around the neighborhood While he prepares a PPT, I make a big pot of spaghetti, boil eggs, and prep for lunch.

We're speaking this morning, but have to dash home right after the service.

Over 50 people show up. Though Scott and Sarah have only been here 6 months, everyone tries to tell them how much they mean to us. 

One student from the language school is celebrating a birthday. Scott finds a few candles and puts them into some sweets. We all sing Happy Birthday for Lydia.

The Youth Alpha group will especially miss their leaders!

Dr Hanna loans us Ibu Lili, who hangs out in the kitchen with Ibu Apong and makes sure everything is taken care of. 

Before we eat, we pray a blessing over the food, Scott and Sarah. 
Josh - our Brazilian Grillmaster - grills  up chicken wings, kababs and beef.  Daniel from Austria helps him out.

Guests have brought potato salad, noodles, fruit, lonton (rice steamed in leaves), pastries, drinks, and enough goodies to make two tables groan with food.

Last week, someone gave us some warehouse leftovers - rattan sofas. We put them around the yard and the house and teras absorb the rest.

Friends hang around until 4:30. The next meeting is at 5. We love to see these friends; we have tea and cookies. Then new recipe is called "blondies" - its caramelized taste is a hit.

Our guests feel hungry by about 7, so we head out the door to Miss Bee. It's a warm evening under the stars. By 9:30, we're ready for bed. We fall in and are asleep about 10:30.

W is running a program on his computer; it blinks into bright light mode after 1am. I'm wide awake. He covers the screen with a cloth - I fall back asleep. When the cloth slips off the screen before 2am, it wakes me again. I can't sleep again until after 5. Sigh. Light is so distracting, even to sleepers.

I'm exhausted when we get up at 6 to walk the dogs. My first call is at 7, then we have a meeting at 9:30, and another at 11:30. After, W heads into Jakarta on the 2:30 shuttle. He's still on the road - with an ETA of 8pm when he calls. He'll stay there overnight.

Read more:
*Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV

*Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them! Numbers 11:29

*Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God. Psalm 95:2-3

*Jesus said to the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  John 20:22

*May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6

*Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. Hebrews 4:14

Moravian Prayer: Gracious Leader, you tell us that we may dream dreams and see visions, yet we often fail to pursue the leading of the Spirit. Help us to discern your vision for us. 

Reconciling Father, our society is a rich tapestry that is seldom reflected in our fellowship. Guide us in loving you and also in loving our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Communities galore - bug and human

In the last week, I've been overrun - I've caught a few ants in our bed. Lots on the tables. Some of the ants here have hard shells and are hard to squish.

Tonight, when we get home after supper, I see a roach running across the floor of the shower.

"Oh sweetheart," I coo. And W smiles - and goes over to catch it.

What! "There's more than one," he says. He's fast - and kills at least 14 roaches, dumping them in the toilet when he's caught them.

Where did those come from?! They're all sizes, from small to large. What on earth! I haven't seen even one in the last few weeks. It's a sneak attack. (I'm glad I saw them early, rather than in the middle of the night or early morning.)

Oh well - enough about bugs.

First, we walk the dogs. Then I have to get snacks in the bag W is hauling to the service, prepare a meal (we're having lunch with our leadership team), and make sure the notes for my presentation are in the bag.

I'm at the meeting hall by 8:30. In spite of a few last-minutes changes - which is usual when there are multiple participants, we're good to go. The talk goes well enough.

After the meeting ends, people mill around the tables to talk and enjoy the community. I love it. "My husband used to leave right away," one lady says. "But with a few snacks in hand, he's happy to stay and socialize for a bit."

I respect and like the working team who comes over for lunch. Ibu A has made rice and clears the table. The leadership retreat lasts until 4pm - and then W and I walk from saying goodbye at the gate and into the house. We're alone and ready to relax. Except that I have agendas to write, a few things left to tidy up, and meetings to confirm for the coming week. It's good to finally get to bed when we're done.

Tuesday - starts with a breakfast meeting and goes from there ...

It's our monthly Bandung Book Club day. It's my first turn to bring a book to discuss. I choose a Seattle author, Therese Huston: How Women Decide. It's too technical - though the discussion is really good and Mary's homemade pie is tasty.

We get to walk in the hills. It's hot and dry - the dogs and 5-yr old Marceau stir up huge clouds of dust, running ahead of us.
Gypsy is herding Cocoa, who jumps off a bank onto Marceau, who bites the dust. Gypsy jumps right on top of him, chasing Cocoa. We help up Marceau, dust him off, and offer him "banana medicine," a little sweet banana W has brought along for snacks.

"That's not real medicine," the boy informs us, but he cheers up and runs around. The dogs chase each other faster than I've ever seen them run, on a flat straight stretch. They're having a blast.

Our destination is a metal star set high on a hill. But first, there's a long and sometimes steep walk to the top. 

 The hills are dry. It hasn't rained for a long time and rainy season is overdue.

Want to see how roads are laid in the hills? Pickup trucks, loaded and unloaded by hand, bring rocks and dirt. Workers set the rocks, gravel, and dirt in place on a cleared stretch of dirt before the road will be paved. It's very hot today and the work is back-breaking.

We walk between the emerging road sections. While the foundation is settling, workers leave a curvy path for walkers and motorcycles.

We have lunch at Ethnic and a study in the evening. It's a good day.

It's grading day - I'm working through someone's dissertation until the afternoon. Then we head out for a new event for us - Community Dinners. Clau and Josh have done a ton of planning and prep. We set tables, assemble craft supplies, and wait for the food.

The caterer can't find us - but when she does, we have a potential mini-catastrophe. (When she called last week, she was asked to put food in boxes. We were thinking of individual boxes.) The big food boxes she brings are heaped with 50 portions. Chicken, veggies, rice, sambal, spicy potatoes. It all smells delicious ... as Josh runs across the street to buy plates and forks.

The evening is a work in progress. It feels like family - no one gets too upset at latecomers (though we have a 3-hr window for the room) - and the table talk is warm and lively. The theme is Unity and Diversity - how we are the same and different - and how God intends to use that for good.

We have so much fun that, when we have to clean up, part of the crowd goes across the street to hang out for a few more hours with Scott and Josh. We'll do it again in 2 weeks.

Another prep of snacks, walk with the dogs, and then we're off to church at 8:30. Today I don't have to speak: it's Sarah's turn. Though it's her first time speaking in this way, she knocks it out of the part - she has an amazing gift of communication.

It's also Family Sunday. Claudia starts us off by having everyone do sign language with a kids' chorus.  Nicole calls the kids to the front and talks about the God who can always hear us. We have a few bazaar tables set up, raising money for charities. Below: great partners, friends, and hosts for the meeting site.

Here's what's left of the snack table. The 6 IKEA trays we picked up last year are a great way of corralling food. These Korean popped corns were supplied by Hanna. Yum.

People hang out for a long time - and Ibu N volunteers to bring food next Sunday. Two gals volunteer to do the Old and New Testament readings next week, too. Cool.

Near noon, W and I head across the street for lunch and are home by 2pm. We have no guests tonight - it's peaceful and quiet. I finish writing three agendas for the coming week, and grab a book. Time to relax.

Meetings - we love this day, because so many interesting people come by and so much moves forward on a Monday. 7, 9, 11am ... and then 6:30pm. Each one has its charm. The third of five is a special treat:

We walk, then I write and grade papers before the 10:30 Arisan (women's) meeting at Bumi S. The view from my chair is of a resort-sized pool, with palm trees and sun-umbrella all around. The ladies are so kind - Ibu Wigar even teaches me a few new phrases. I try them out, but write them down so I won't forget. (And so I can practice them!)

I'm home in time for a half-day date with W. First, we had to a furniture clear-out at a friend's warehouse. We need some tables for studies - and find them there. Robin, a designer and artist, is hard at work with an enormous rattan sculpture.

W snaps a floorboard in the upper story. We were warned to be careful; the boards are rotting. His body catches on the opening so he doesn't fall through - but he's sore and dusty.

Next, we drop by the picture framers's. We leave a huge Trader Joes chocolate box with him. (Will be $15 for a custom frame.) The box held the 2 kg Belgian chocolate bar which our youngest gave me as a Christmas gift last year.  I've decided to frame the box and hang it in the kitchen. (Ibu A smashes portions off nearly every week, for baking chocolate chunk cookies; we're down to our last half-pound.) I've never seen anything like it. Good chocolate, too. Thanks, Jono.

We cruise around town and have supper together. The place we want to eat is not yet open a half-hour after opening hours (Indonesian time is flexible.) We share a "mango bowl" of pure deliciousness while we're waiting.

The empty lot has been transformed into a picnic center with little food vendors around the edges. Such fun!
 Eventually, we give up waiting and walk a few blocks through a narrow lane, asking directions to Volcano Chicken. The server brings us - a little (1kg) chicken roasted on a spit for a day. Yummy.

Staff meeting - writing - walking the dogs - sometimes life is routine. I dust off a few boxes of books in the office closet and sort them for the book exchange next weekend. A few great community memories are stashed in some of the boxes. Of course we keep those.

Read more:
*Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

*The Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8

*By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. Hebrews 11:27

Moravian Prayer: Protector God, in these times of unrest and uncertainty, we unduly worry about fears that we need only bring to you in prayer. Make us aware that our concept of you is often “too small.” Amen.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The big wave

Saturday, September 29, 2018
The house is still quiet at 6:30am. When I check the news, there's almost nothing about the earthquake and tsunami that happened yesterday in northern Indonesia. Western media seems obsessed with politics.

But we have friends on the island that was hit by movement and water. We are waiting for updates as we watch a video of the incoming wave.

We are relieved when our friends make it back to their hotel - only to find that it was destroyed by the tsunami. Now what? They're trying to return to Java as soon as possible. (At least it's warm weather if they have to sleep outside. This would be unbearable in winter conditions.)

Our kids send pictures of the grandkids playing outside - it's sunny in Seattle, too, which makes everyone happy in the fall. The world is full of contrasts. We are delighted to see their faces.

The weather here is hot most mornings. Sometimes the cooler winds from the mountains bring afternoon storms - but we're not in rainy season yet. The grass is dry and we need to water the plants. Except that we're still on rations and there's often only an hour of water per day. If we're away from home, we miss the water window and the garden soil cracks under the blazing sun.

The week's been full of meetings - the best kinds, where we meet with people and share life on life. It's felt like a wave of opportunity and obligation. For someone like me, who has trouble keeping various agendas afloat and faces straight, it's a challenge for sure. I like people. (That cheers me up when I wish I could remember their names ... )

It's movie night! The mid-morning meeting disrupts the usual focused prep. W volunteers to fry sausages, saving me an hour of work. Thanks, hon!

More people come than were on the list - at least 80. Good thing they don't mind cramming together, whether in the kitchen or around the tables!

Dr H says, "There are still more to come ... " when I ask how many are behind her. I whisper to pray for "loaves and fishes," referencing when Jesus multiplied food for a crowd. (Great story - read it here.) Somehow, there is enough food for everyone here, too. God be thanked.

Birthdays for September include our dear IbuA, who joins Ibu S in serving and cleanup on movie nights.

We count 19? countries, including some grad students from Tanzania. I pull out three folded fabrics, which Mom and Dad bought there in the 1970s. (Can you guess what it's for? I've used it as a tablecloth.)

The Tanzanians recognize it right away: "Wow, that's old! but we still make a similar style."

The house and porch are full. At least 20 newcomers show up, brought by their friends. It's such fun for us.

In my heart, I wish Kirsten had been here to meet her international brothers and sisters. She's already in Korea with friends, having left us on Sunday after her short and wonderful visit.

We get to walk up from home into the hills above us. It's hot today, in the 90s (30+C). Across the hill, someone is dumped hundreds of truckloads of fill on a hillside. Oh dear - what will happen when rainy season arrives? Landslide below?

There are poor neighborhoods

and upscale, funky houses with recycled boards and stone/wire mesh siding (below)

Typical for more expensive neighborhoods, there's a satpam (security guard) and gate. No, that's not a catapult in the photo below. It's a gate with a heavy weight on one end and a rope on the other to keep it from flying open. When cars want to enter, the satpam releases the rope from a hook and lets the weights swing the gate upward, far enough for the vehicle to come through. Then he pulls on the rope, the gate comes back down, and he hooks the rope to the post beside his little security hut again. 

The lane below is deemed "too dangerous" night or day for a person to walk through alone, Christine tells us. (An Indonesian neighbor stopped her with strong cautions when she wanted to walk to a friend's house a while ago.) On the right is a forest, on the left a few houses. The long narrow stretch is hides travelers from sight so there are frequent robberies and assaults. 

We're safe together - the sun shines on the rock walls. Beautiful and refreshingly cool.

My tracker says it's been about 5 miles between hiking, lunch, and walking home to our own gate.

W puts the one big kitchen cabinet on casters. My back aches when I bend for hours of cooking or baking, especially on movie night. The counters are built at 28" from the ground (people here are shorter). With the wheels, we're at standard kitchen height (33-34") at least on one preparation surface. The 2 floor tiles and piece of teak we set on the peeling formica countertop have lasted three years so far. The tiles are great for cooling baked goods quickly; the teak acts as a cutting board in the middle.

When I upload photos from my phone, the one below also pops up - of our little Seattle apartment. Makes me homesick for family. (We had lots of company that night so we opted for a buffet and hauled the chairs to the LR = shades of things to come...)

I'm preaching tomorrow, so need a final read-through. Meanwhile, W runs errands in town with our new driver, Pak Gum. I'm staying in: who knows what kind of traffic they'll run into on the way back.

The old driver, who quit last Tuesday, said, "That's it for me" after we got home from the airport with Kirsten. He parked the car and then drove away on his motorcycle. That was that. It's very typical to have no warning when someone decides to leave. W gave him a month's severance pay anyway.

This week, it's a joy to have a cheerful and willing hand. G sweeps the drive of endlessly-falling leaves (imagine autumn all year long). He waters the garden when there's water and walks the dogs. He's smiling whenever we see him, just like our friends said he would - they appreciated his attitude of helpfulness and recommended him highly when they repatriated to Canada.

Shouts from a football game echo against the hills. The cheerleaders are drumming, the fans are screaming - must be at the university field across the valley.

Read more:
*Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me. Psalm 66:20

*A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
*From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. Proverbs 13:1-3 NIV
*Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8
Moravian Prayer: All-knowing Lord—who has numbered the stars in the sky—you know our hearts and thoughts even before we know them ourselves. Your gracious love fills all our needs. What comfort and peace it gives our souls. With praise and thanksgiving. Amen.