Saturday, July 23, 2016

Terrific Thailand

Last week, we attended an excellent conference for non-profit workers from across the Asia Pacific region.
Standing at the taxiway in Bandung:
yes, they drive right by passengers.
Even the airport in Singapore encourages people to mind their manners.
Table inset at Changi Airport
Floating flowers
It was our first trip to Thailand (beyond stops in the airport, going elsewhere).

Thailand is beautiful, colorful, and welcoming, top to bottom.
Glimpse of beauty, walking by a boutique hotel
(fabric walls, faux flower chandeliers)
Even the street signs are pretty
Orchids. Everywhere. Every kind imaginable
Thais buy a spirit house (altars) for every corner, in parking lots, and in front of businesses and homes, hoping to appease good spirits, who - Buddhists hope - will see the food offered and scare away bad spirits. Here are a few of the hundreds we saw:


Even poolside is religious

Airport decor


Creative transport 
If you build it, we'll sit on it
3-wheeled taxis
 Electrifying solutions
Tangles of wires overhead
Repairs:
2 guys on a steel ladder.
Views
Roadside statues
Stormy skies above the hotel
Tropical carpets underfoot
Statues outside an art gallery 
Royal navy ship docking on the coast
Night market seafood (5 huge breaded prawns@$1.50)
Time with international coworkers is the most precious gift of all. These workers love people and seek God's peace for the nations.
Thais venerate their noble family
with a plethora of photo signs and altars
We listen, discuss, eat, and pray about loving people and serving well. We ask God for favor and protection on the gatherings, orphanages, schools, universities, and other forms of compassion care.
A table at the seaside
We learn and evaluate. And too soon we disperse to our homes throughout Asia Pacific.
Whew: the "pimped" ceiling and walls in our airport van
Colorful seats on Thai Air
Thank you to the many friends who invest in the Asia Pacific region. You are our partners, our encouragers, and we treasure you.

Read more:
*We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds. 

You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity. When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.’”

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: he brings one down, he exalts another. In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.

As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob, who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up. Psalm 75

*Lord, your decrees are my delight, they are my counselors. Psalm 119:24

*Do not fear the reproach of others, and do not be dismayed when they revile you. Isaiah 51:7

*Jesus’ parents found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46

Moravian Prayer: Lord over all, help us to remember that we are all sinners, saved only by your merciful grace. Help us to resolve in our own individual hearts a sincere desire and need to come before you in prayer.
Most gracious and loving Father, Jesus was found in the temple listening and asking questions; let us, O Lord, also be found daily seeking your rich words of wisdom and truth as proclaimed in Scripture. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Movies nights are fun

Saturday, July 16, 16
Hard to believe another week is drawing to a close. I'm prepping a course, writing newsletters, and packing. We'll soon spend a few days in Thailand, before I teach in the Philippines in August.

Waldemar is still waiting for his USA citizenship interview. We're hoping it falls between engagements.

The line into the kitchen, almost through
Wednesday
What a fun houseful! I cook all morning, nap a few hours, and then W moves furniture in the afternoon.

"We've seen your house before," someone said a few weeks ago. "We were there for movie night." 

Um, in that case, they have no idea what the living and dining area usually look like. For movie night, we move the sofa, drag chairs around, fold up the big dining table (70" round), and toss floor pillows on the IKEA carpet. It's the only way to welcome in 40 people on movie night. 

The college kids sprawl here and there, the older people find a comfy seat, and we start with a feast. Here, everything happens around meals. Cooking for 40 or 50 is like cooking for 15 or 20 ... just more of it. 

The menu: 
  • Rice
  • A few loaves of bread, baked the night before
  • Sausages in barbecue sauce
  • Homemade meatballs (Mom's recipe - but with ground chicken and beef, no bacon or pork allowed)
  • Mixed vegetables in white sauce
  • French toast casseroles (egg, bread, sausage - except in the vegetarian part, cheese, onion, milk, vanilla, orange juice, spices)
  • Chicken wings (W made these, sous vide and grilled)
  • Part of the crowd
  • Taco lasagne (yum, Veronica)

At intermission, it's time for dessert:

  • An apple crumble (from Veronica, a wonderful friend, cook, and baker)
  • 6 kinds of home-baked cookies (from last week's 2-day baking spree)
  • Marshmallows (thanks to guest)
  • Fresh fruit - a huge bowl, chopped and doused with canned "tropical fruit blend"
  • A spur-of-the-afternoon chocolate cake

It's Kiki's birthday - we don't ask how many years, but sing for him, light the candles, and cut the cake during intermission.

His chocolate birthday cake is my first attempt at baking a cake here. After warming up for a half hour, our oven temperature hovers between 400-425oF. (That's after repairs to the rat-eaten lining, the non-working stovetop, and other "fixes.")

I occasionally prop open the oven door to get nearer 350o. The draft from an open door can't be good for a cake! But it doesn't fall. In the evening, it's consumed before I get to it = a good sign. I'm not a big cake-eater anyway. I'll sample it next time I bake.

Then the crowd leans back again for Groundhog Day, with this follow-up question: "If you could relive a day over and over until it's perfect, what day would that be?" We have a lively discussion after the movie. Waldemar prays over the gathering and we stand around and talk for another hour or two. 

For the first time, our helper works a late shift (3-10pm). YAY!!! we don't have to do dishes after our guesets leave. She is happy to take home a few bags of food for her family.

Bedtime for us, therefore, is relatively early: after midnight. Am I getting too old for this? Nah, tomorrow I can rest.

Thursday
Our walk in the hills is canceled: most people are still returning from Ramadan visits with friends and family. 

Academics and resting. That's enough. The day flies by, punctuated by left-overs for meals, and prayers. Always prayers.

The world roils in turmoil. Refugee crises around the world stagger the imagination and resources of generous and concerned caretakers. The coup in Turkey seems over. We pray only for peace and live with God's peace in our hearts. 

Thanks be to God - who loves us and provides for his people.

Read more:
*You who love the Lord, hate evil! Psalm 97:10 NKJV

*For this is what the high and exalted One says--he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me--the very people I have created. I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways.

I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel's mourners, creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord. "And I will heal them."

But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked." Isaiah 57: 15-21 NIV

*Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; tThe fig tree and the vine yield their strength.

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you--the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. Joel 2:21-27 NKJV

*The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?"

Then Jesus told them, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, "May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea," and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it." Matthew 21:20-22 NLT

*For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 1 Peter 2:15–16 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Jesus, Master, whom we serve, we are wholly yours: bodies, minds, and souls. We desire to do your perfect will in our lives; we desire to serve you and others faithfully all the days of our lives. Amen.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ramadan 2016 ends

Friend-visit online: love this lady (and her cat is cute)
Tuesday, July 5
Guests drop by all week. It's polite to visit people and bring a small food gift: dates, cookies, or part of a meal. I do some visiting online as well.

We've planned a few errands but most shops are closed. Employees have left for their villages to spend the last two days of Ramadan, Idul fitri or Lebaran with their families.

W and I have forgotten to eat breakfast. By noon, we're hungry. I call ahead to make sure the cheap Chinese restaurant is serving food. Yes, they answer the phone and say they're open. We're on our way, after ACE Hardware to buy screws for W's repairs and a binder for teaching notes for my upcoming session.

When we pull into the parking lot, the restaurant is closed. Did I call a different location? Maybe, or ... something. The uncertainty of "what will we find when we get there" defies expectations, time after time. We shrug it off to eat at the restaurant next door.

Open house: always ready for guests
We can choose to "Boil" or "Grill", either a soup or self-sauté at the table. We choose the soup-for-two. Waldemar says, "Probably more filling." They have a delicious cooling avocado coffee drink to tamp the fiery chilis in the side sauces. It feels familiar: oh, wait! It's the Japanese version of Swiss raclette and fondue.

Hindus, Chinese Buddhists, and Westerners are eating at this time of day (2pm); Muslims will wait to eat until sundown on their final fasting day of the month.

Some restaurants stay open, with servers standing around on their regular shifts. But no foods are cooked or drinks served until dark. People make no apology about "mixing" church and state. Islam informs all parts of the life of its followers. We marvel at how shy Christ's followers feel about doing the same.
Monetary gifts are expected by kids:
resellers stand at the roadside near the banks.
They charge a small percentage
for "clean money," exchanged with used bills

Wednesday
We wake exhausted and sleep-deprived after a night of loud Loud LOUD prayers and popping fireworks. I take out my earplugs at 5am.

"Did you rest?" I ask W.

He shakes his head, "Wow, that was noisy. You?"

"I woke every hour or so and the volume was the same. Loud."

Our house is somewhat sheltered from mosque turrets and kampung (village) noise, but last night we heard at least ten loudspeakers in the neighborhood and across the valley, volume turned up to full blast. I don't remember this decibel level from last year.
"A month of blessing" ends
In the morning, the neighborhoods are empty and eerily quiet. Everyone else must be sleeping in. The dog strolls around with us, looking for companions. No such luck.

It's time to bake a few kinds of cookies. We try to keep goodies on hand since a lot of people come and go. The kitchen stays cool (75oF/ 24C). There's no kitchen fan but windows and doors are open to allow breezes sweep through the house.
Puff pastry cookies (before)

(after)
I'm hungry for Spätzle, homemade German noodles. (My recipe here.) The ingredients are basic. The process is easy: stir together flour, salt, eggs, a pinch of nutmeg, and water. Rest the dough for 20 minutes. Boil. Drain. Ohhhhh. So good. It's our taste of home while Indonesian families around us celebrate with their traditions and traditional recipies.

My hair is so annoying. I've cut it 4 times in the last 2 weeks, trying for a shape I can live with. That's it. I'm done! No wonder my grandma (same face shape) wore hers in a bun and refused to fuss. I'll be growing out layers to return to the usual cut!
grrrrrr! Hair fail
In the evening, DrH and her daughter Alice drop by. "We've cooked too much," they say.

They've brought a huge meal of rendang (spicy beef), potatoes, traditionally wrapped rice, tofu, eggs, and chilis. They - and we - have already eaten supper, so we bring out the tea and chat - and tuck the food into the fridge for tomorrow. Something to look forward to! We send them home with a plate of fresh cookies.

Thursday
The night was quiet. We ask neighbors about it.

"Oh, the loudest night? The prayers and reading mark the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Idul Fitri." Ah. 

But last night was a night for sleeping. Makes us happy.
More pedestrians and motors (motorcycles) are on the roads as we walk Gypsy. Groups of ojeks (motorcycle taxis) with very old people, youngsters, and everyone between head to gravesides, where families will honor their loved ones.

Zoom. They pass us going to the graveyard. And zoom - they're already done and going home as we finish our walk.
Only the 10" spiders are busy: see the legs (those are not twigs)

I wonder if there's fruit in the jungle on the other side of the wall. We wander down to the green gate in the wall of the empty lot next door.
Open the door in the backyard
to a tropical paradise
The gate creaks open. We dodge, avoiding the nest of paper ants on the posts. Enormous (4-foot) leaves welcome us into a wild jungle of banana and avocado trees, vines, and overgrown paths.
Those are big leaves
The dog runs ahead. Whew: he bumps the web of an enormous spider that spreads across the steps. I see it quiver and slap the web out of the way with a vine. The spider is two hands wide.
A quick shot of the spidery monster. Glad I saw him before he dropped on me.
W follows me up the stairs and photographs the 10" spider
We dust off the webs and knock mud from our shoes back at the house. The feast DrH left behind yesterday makes a perfect lunch. The rice is wrapped in a traditional weave.

We spend the afternoon visiting. Our first stop is with the neighborhood secretary and his wife. They are hospitable and welcome us to their home, providing tea and cookies. They are kind, well-educated, and patient with us. W can chat and understand most of the conversation. I catch more than half, much more than expected. (I understand better than I can speak.)

We have a gift of thanks for the head of the neighborhood council. But where does he live? We've never been so we'll have to ask someone. Every village is divided into neighborhoods with their own elected councils and Pak RT serves as head for a year or two.

Hey, we're passing Albert's house - a friend from church. Is he in the same council group?

We call Albert from his gate and are welcomed in. More treats! His wife provides sweet tea and banana pie. Sooo good. We compare the receipts for garbage and security collections (services of the neighborhood council). The names are the same. Yay. Albert knows where the council president lives.

"I'll walk you down," he offers.

We talk and pray together before our walk together. No one's home so we walk back past Albert's and then home.
Gypsy is always happy to explore.
Night falls at 5:50pm as the prayers resound from the speakers atop the mosques, a cacophony of voices and desires.
Indonesian reality check: I love baths.
But our stone bathtubs were repurposed as ponds and
suspended over the drainage canal in the back yard
Read more:
*The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. Zephaniah 3:15

*Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Moravian Prayer: King of kings and Lord of lords, empower us to stand firm as we continue to await your return. Give us renewed strength. Keep us alert and equip us for standing up against the evils of this dark world! Amen.

C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain, on obedience and sin:
In obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam’s dance backward and returns.
--
Traditional doctrine points to a sin against God, an act of disobedience, not a sin against the neighbour. And certainly, if we are to hold the doctrine of the Fall in any real sense, we must look for the great sin on a deeper and more timeless level than that of social morality.

This sin has been described by Saint Augustine as the result of Pride, of the movement whereby a creature (that is, an essentially dependent being whose principle of existence lies not in itself but in another) tries to set up on its own, to exist for itself. Such a sin requires no complex social conditions, no extended experience, no great  intellectual development. From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the centre is opened to it.


This sin is committed daily by young children and ignorant peasants as well as by sophisticated persons, by solitaries no less than by those who live in society: it is the fall in every individual life, and in each day of each individual life, the basic sin behind all particular sins: at this very moment you and I are either committing it, or about to commit it, or repenting it.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Celebrations galore

Happy Birthday, Sanni!
Sunday, July 3, 2016
During the offering, the congregation hums along to help; the guitar soloist stumbles a bit and then keeps going, accompanied by the humming.

After the church service, W leads as we consider Proverbs together. The collection of wise sayings from the ancients is inspiring.

It's Pastor Sanni's (pronounced Sonny) birthday. We send a birthday card around the group for signing before he comes in and surprise him with it. Greeting cards are not a big item here: they're an added expense and effort. (Except that I've brought a bunch with me from Seattle, which makes it simple.)

The birthday boy has no lunch plans so we take him to a local café. The space is quite empty, and quiet despite its great prices and a special Ramadan menu. (Chicken cordon bleu is about $4.50.) During Ramadan, most Muslims will feast at night but fast the days. Tonight it will be packed with families and friends breaking their fasts.
The setting is pretty and the company is warm. Another friend has joined us. He poses at the balcony beside our table. 
Menu items: durian or avocado juice with coffee flavor, anyone? Sadly, they're out of avocados.
No one swims in the family-sized pool today. Usually, men in Western-style swim trunks and women in full modest costume are splashing around with their kids.

Monday
Everything takes a little effort, actually. Here's what we encounter for a hot shower:
Our Monday morning group studies Mark 15, the crucifixion of Christ. I am reminded on this July 4, while Americans are celebrating their independence from a colonial power, where our true freedom comes from:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened again

by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Prayers resound from the mosques over the neighborhoods day and night. We hear the universal human longing for freedom of soul and spirit. It's also a big national party, similar to Thanksgiving in the US and Christmas in Canada. Everyone is visiting, bringing gifts, and eating together (nights only, of course.)
Shops and restaurants with Ramadan decor
How grateful we are for God's peace in our hearts, that comes not by our efforts, but his. Unimaginable and unfathomable - except that He has done it on our behalf. Astonishing indeed.

Read more:
*But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 1 Chronicles 29:14

*I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. Psalm 104:33

*Truly the day of the Lord is great; terrible indeed—who can endure it? Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart. Joel 2: 11-12

*The night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12

*Paul wrote: At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality. 2 Corinthians 8:14
*So let us not grow weary in doing what is right. Galatians 6:9
*Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts. Ephesians 5:19
Moravian Prayers: Good Shepherd, we praise you for your abounding love and goodness. We thank you for your boundless and sacrificial gift of grace for us when we were lost to sin, and for the gift of eternal life!
God of all creation, all we have is yours; we are but caretakers of your bounty. Open our hearts and our hands and make us willing to give back to you so that others will hear your good news! 
Savior of the world, the time of your return is drawing nigh; bring your light into our hearts and rekindle our spirits as we await your return. Equip us to endure the darkness that surrounds us. Amen.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Oh, how I like it here

Wednesday to Friday. 
It's time to go home. Timothy has taken the luggage up to the car the night before, "helped" by Kinsey and Levi.

I have one more breakfast, combing food from the fridge.

Then it's time to clear out a few last things in the flat and close the door. I take a look around our little kitchen, turn off the heat, unplug the kettle that keeps water hot for tea, and take my carry-on luggage to the car. We hug goodbye and my time in Seattle is over. Errands are done. I have 2 passports in the bag. I fly out as a Canadian: we booked tickets before the citizenship process.
Goodbye - this kitchen served me well.
Our daughter-in-law Melissa drives me to the airport on Wednesday afternoon. We don't cry as we say goodbye, but how I appreciate her sacrificial service. I rarely cry at partings though sometimes I wish I could.
Melissa and the 3 kids take me to the airport
I'm in transit for 34 hours from Seattle home door to the hotel in Indonesia. It's Canada Day when I finish 3 flights: Seattle to LA. LA to Guangzhou, China. And finally Jakarta. 

We leave LA 2 hours late but somehow the longest trip flies by.
4 long lines in China. We're divided into seating sections.
Somehow we all fit into the airplane.
Before this second flight - 15 hours - I hoist my carryon into the overhead bin. The plane is big so the bins are up high. I have to stand on the seat. No one is nearby. I slip, pushing the suitcase into the cavern ... and fall on my back in the aisle. My leg wrenches but my back is just fine. I get up and strap myself in. Ouch, sharp pain shoot down from my knee.

My seat is beside 3 toilets. "Is there any chance of moving to another aisle seat?" I ask the China Southern Air attendant. The smell is already nauseating.

The flight attendant comes back before takeoff and helps take down and reposition the heavy bag. I limp toward the new seat - ah, it's perfect. (Well, actually, perfect would be business class with fully reclining seats, but it's a great improvement.)

I watch a few movies, nap, and eat indifferent food (the vegetarian option) on the long flight across the Pacific. We lose a day and cover 9,560 miles, flying up the West Coast past Seattle, over the Alaskan - Russian bridge, and down the east coast of Asia. Amazing to imagine what engineers have accomplished, squeezing hundred of us into a metal bird.

There's no trouble with luggage, visa, or customs. I sail through immigration in Jakarta to find my husband waiting. We hold onto each other: this year we've been apart almost 3 months already - and it will be even longer when his interview comes up. He'll fly back to the States alone for that.

He's found a reasonably-priced ArtHotel between the church and train station. We were hoping to walk to the church for Pastor Dave's 60th birthday party and to the train station in the morning. My knee says no. "No way."
Artwork everywhere, including on the ceiling
For $10, the hotel masseuse comes to our room and gives me an hour-long treatment. My leg loosens up and the usual water-retention from flying a day-and-a-half has receded by the time she leaves. Bliss.
Check in 
A Ramadan display in the lobby
We enjoy Dave's birthday party with over 100 others: he is beloved for his friendship, smarts, and being real with his congregation. 
Beautiful Kristi and Daniela, Indonesian daughters
and lovely baby#2 Journey. Big sis Kamille poses
for pictures elsewhere - so cute!
His wife and daughter (Gigi and Isabelle) are gracious hosts. The food is marvelous: Gigi always chooses feasts that delight. I especially love the spicy Indian and Indonesian offerings.
3 sucklng pigs: Filipino style
Dave loves Jakarta and is thrilled to be serving here. On video and in person, his friends express how much he means to them. W prays for him near the end of the evening.
 
Friday
We catch the 6:30am train. It leaves the station at 7:15, an extra transport during the busy final week of Ramadan. Muslims go home to their villages and families, similar to Thanksgiving in the USA and Christmas in Canada. The hotel packs 2 meals-to-go. 

In the train station, the windows at Starbucks are draped during Ramadan. Muslims feast during the evening and pre-dawn but abstain from food and drink during daylight. I sip my venti Chai Leaf tea and carry it aboard.
Train station pillars are decorated
On the train, I eat a few pieces from my breakfast box (there's so much food!) but W's stomach is reacting to the spicy food from last night. He fasts breakfast along with the majority population. Our helper will be happy to take his meal for her family the next day.
Box breakfast
I keep snapping pictures. They don't do justice to the beautiful countryside. We pass lush fields, roofs of galvanized metal or red clay tiles, and people people people. My heart fills up on the beauty of this country. How we love it here!
Mountains and river valleys
Terraced rice paddies and banana trees
People waiting at cross-roads
Volcanic mountains and red-roofed houses
Modern freeway stretching across the rice terraces
Obedient and impatient  cyclists
Laundry drying on every imaginable surface
Little village graveyards, all Muslim graves aligned with Mecca
Children on school holiday
Markets and holiday shopping
Three hours later, we are in Bandung. A driver brought W to Jakarta yesterday, picked me up at the airport, dropped us at the hotel, and then drove home with my suitcases. (It took him 6 hours to drive 120 miles, which usually takes 2 1/2-3 hours.) He is at the station to pick us up.

We make a quick stop at the store for vegetables, bread, and chicken. And then we're home. The dog barks in glee and jumps all over me.

The house is tidy and clean (thank God)! The helper is all smiles. I see 4 ant trails in the first few hours. W's been spreading diatomaceous earth and that keeps them at bay. Sort of.

I slather on DEET against the mosquitoes: a friend and her mom drop by for an hour before supper. We sit on the porch with cookies, enjoying the heat and the cooling breeze coming up the side of the hill.

W and I are in bed and asleep by 9pm.

Saturday
In the morning, the dog walks a kilometer with us to Yogya, the closest grocer. We need sugar, flour, oil; W also wants a few staple supplies. We pass along treats from Seattle to friends and the helper: she likes her sparkly t-shirt and hand towels.

I empty the fridge of a few things. (Ibu A, cooking for her extended family this week, takes home whatever I'm clearing out, plus rice, flour, sugar, and oil.) I bake a loaf of bread, make ramen for lunch, and flop into bed for a quiet afternoon of reading and writing. I'm not tired, exactly. More like weary.

Oh, it's so gooooood to be home. I am so grateful for God's calling, for his protection, and the peace in our hearts.

Read more:
*You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Psalm 30:3 NIV

*Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. Hosea 10: 12 NIV

*Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not
believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:14-18 NIV

*He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Colossians 1:13 ESV 

Moravian Prayer: Gracious God, you rescued us from the depths of darkness. Help us to reach out to others and share your word with them so that they will not taste death, but will receive eternal life and live in your kingdom. Amen.