Friday, August 28, 2015

Colors and oxygen

Wonderful food and company
Monday, August 24
Sunday night, I get a call from one of the neighbor ladies, "Are you still coming at 10:00 tomorrow as we agreed?" Of course I say yes. I can't remember her face.

We can't get in touch with the Monday morning study host to ask if we're meeting this morning. Maybe she's still traveling? (Later we find out that her phone isn't working.)

But what have I agreed to? I put on black trousers and wrapped a silk scarf over my linen blouse and ask the driver - who is our cultural guide in many situations - if I should take food or cookies. 

He has a standard answer, "Well, maybe. But it depends."

Tea and updates: listening to a report
I wrap up some chocolate cookies and go down the street. Oops. Wrong street. She lives in the next block so it takes me a while to find her house. When I knock at the front door, she looks a bit worried, like I wasn't going to show up. Isn't this the right time? She said "10 asd la wei nlsd kfja oija najan?" (well, I just put my fingers on the keys, but there were a lot of Indonesian words I missed. Later, when I look at the calendar, I see that I'd been expected to come early.)

She is dressed to the nines, bright headscarf, beautifully embroidered dress. I didn't remember that we were going anywhere but she looks for our car. Not there.

"I guess we'll have to take public transportations," she says with disappointment in her voice. She's in her late 70s and not very mobile!

OOOOOOh. Another memory fail. With my brain tangled in language studies, I've forgotten that our driver has been scheduled to take us to the big arisan meeting (the women's groups of the whole hill = 3 regional chapters.) She and I talked last month about her taking me along. Yikes! Her friends have already left in a car that holds only 4. Since I wouldn't fit in the car with them, she's offered to ride with me in ours, making sure I find the place.

I call home: W and Kirsten are preparing to go to town and they will swing by to get us. The house we're going to is on the way down the hill. We wait ... and then our Kijang shows up. Whew.

Beautiful foods: what do you recognize?
We are dropped off at a big, beautiful house, on a huge corner lot. The courtyards are filled with orchids and exotic tropical plants. The family has lived there for years. It is built like ours - all the 1960-70s mod-cons. In our house, some systems are iffy and half-replaced, so does she have electrical and plumbing issues like we do?

First, we listen to reports of where our fees have been spent (children's charities) and hear greetings as we sip tea and enjoy snacks. What an abundance of food!

Every table top is covered with chips, cakes, and other goodies. The ladies heap my plate and are surprised that I like the hot pedas local snacks. I protest: maybe there's still lunch coming? Of course, they say, but I should try everything.

I am the least-dressed-up of all the feminine flock in their bright headscarves and long dresses. And the youngest by 10-15 years... I'm the foreign woman who doesn't know their customs but they're very patient with me.

Gather around! W's regular Monday night Hash
At these meetings, we socialize (rotate around the room), eat, eat, eat, and get business updates on their social projects. I'm getting used to it, not quite as out of place, and they know me and that I know nothing. They're patient and this time I could understand maybe 10% of the conversation, a delightful upgrade from 1% previously. One of the ladies sits down beside me. She is the widow of the former army officer, regional governor, and Minister of the Interior for Indonesia.

They send me home with a big bag of leftovers. I again protest: it's too much! But each time I leave the table, someone puts more into the bag until it's almost bursting. 

When I get home, the family is grateful for all the samples of delicious food. (I can't eat another bite. I skipped desert at the arisan meeting. Too much is too much!)

Meanwhile, Kirsten has seen an arthritis and internal medicine specialist today at the best hospital in town. She wants a doc locally as well as in Singapore. Thanks to our friend Dr Hanna, we have somewhere to begin.

We mostly take the driver and Kirsten can walk around in the malls and for short spurts on the streets. She's used to stairs from Korea but wears out quickly.

In the evening, we take K along on our hash (a walk and a barbecue) in the hills above Bandung. The air is full of oxygen from the trees on all sides.

K is sore: she lies down in the car for a catnap while W and I walk. When we come back, we join the circle of people visiting. After an hour, she is cold, too. Mind you, I am also freezing with a light coat on: it's only 65oF in the mountain air. The stars and a bright moon shine above us.

Sundanese song and dance
Wednesday
Our friend from Jakarta arrives while we are running morning errands. He says he doesn't mind the peace and quiet and the views from the porch, relaxing before we return.

In the afternoon, while K rests, Micha, W, and I head to Udju. A few decades ago, a Sunda musician noticed that traditional music was disappearing and decided to opened a culture center. Though he has died since, his children maintain the school and cultural presentations. We love going to the bright, colorful show. Micha gets ideas for IESJakarta's Christmas celebrations, perhaps using local instruments.

Serious treads for dusty and dirty trails
Thursday
Thursday is always busy and today is no exception. We take Micha on our walk. Usually we walk a big loop of uphills and downs. Today it's almost completely downhill on a paved trail through the jungle. I don't need to brace myself on slippery slopes or haul myself up muddy banks, so W clips my walking sticks to his caribiner, along with his own.

The monkey families are chattering in the treetops and when we get near the end of the trail, we hear the wailing of a little boy. A monkey has stolen a mango from the little guy; he scolds it while he complains to his mother.

Can you spot the monkey?
Two sets of military caves are dug into the hillside. Long bunker rooms for prisoners or ammunition and supplies are joined by tall tunnels. The separate systems are only hundreds of meters apart: one was dug by the Dutch, nicely paved with concrete wide enough in places to drive a jeep inside. The other, hacked into the solid mountain by the Japanese, is similar but has smooth round stones set into paving. Both have air vents that could function as escape hatches.

Micha inside the Dutch tunnels
We eat a good meal at the Bamboo Shack, just below the exit from our walk. When we get back to the house, we leave Micha to rest and visit with David and Paula. K, W, and I go back to study Ruth 3 with Ibu R at the restaurant.

W stops to run a "quick errand" to buy phone minutes for David on the way home. Of course, we already know nothing is quick here. While W does business in air-conditioned comfort for 20 minutes, four of us sit and wait in the car, including a the host of the walk, who lives near our place. Ugh. We are hot, sweaty, and stinky from the walk.

The beautiful hills above Bandung,
with illegal farming on many hillsides
We get home, K and I are dropped off, and W picks up Micha for the regular Thursday evening gathering. For supper, K and I warm up some food left by our helper - eek those green beans are spicy! - and relax for an hour or two with a Korean drama.

A reminder to plant our roots deeply
into Indonesian soil
Friday
Our friend DrW drops in with some home-jelled coconut (oh, yum!) and helps us arrange a garden helper. We must tame the yard: the grass is dry and weedy and the hedges are growing shaggy mohawks. W has never liked yard maintenance and we have other things to do. 

The man who has been coming for years (a day or two a week) has taken a security job and only shows up occasionally. His pruning skills are a bit brutal. He rakes fallen leaves around the trunks of the trees and in the corners of the yard, making nice nests for snake or rodents. And there are broken flower pots and tools here and there, ladders propped against trees, etc. 

The new person works for DrW. She says he knows gardens: he is willing to work two half-days a week. Otherwise, he's busy.

Read more:
*I am going to gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. Jeremiah 31:8 ESV

*The master said to the slave, “Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23 ESV

*Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29 ESV

*Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV

Moravian Prayer: God, we are embarrassed by our prejudices. We hide under the veil of innocence even though you know our inner hostility. Help us to see those who are vulnerable as your chosen ones. Help us to glorify you through outrageous hospitality. Amen.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Happy birthday and a movie

Another week speeds by.
Red and White: Independence Day
Tuesday, August 18
It's Independence Day -  Year #70 for Indonesia. Bridget invites us over for African and Indian food, cooked by her and Sumathi.


Oh yum! The food and company are wonderful. Ibu Ingrid prays healing over Kirsten - W and I chime in with heartfelt agreement. God is able to ease her suffering and heal her body.



Wednesday
Happy Birthday to you, dear daughter! We take Kirsten for lunch. She wants to go shopping so what better place than Pasar Baru (new market), with floors of shops and vendors. Except that the goods are more appropriate for traditional religious women with many children and an Indonesian home.

Kirsten finds a cute batik dress. After 2 hours in the market, we're exhausted and ready to go home.

I cook until company comes in the evening for movie night. I did most of the set-up and prep with Kirsten in the morning. 

We have about 20 guests at any given time. Some come late from work or have to leave early. Most stay all evening. Many of them bring drinks or food to share. 

Our driver picked up a cake during the day, a huge square of frosting and three layers of cake. We also have Nanaimo bars, freshly baked last night. They're a hit.

Thursday
A walk. We get a bit lost in the forest but eventually wander into the end parking lot. We go 4.5 miles  up and down and around in 3 hours. W checks his phone apps: we're almost a mile above sea level at the highest point.

We are utterly dusty from the grit kicked up during the dry season. Our shoes often scuff up 1-3" of fine silt. The motorbikes that go by dig deep trenches in the paths and throw dirt into the air.

A fine concrete bridge, poured over bamboo stalks
W's GPS gets us back on track, even when we abandon the long looping path to clamber down through abandoned terraces on the mountainside to get to the path below.

Lunch is at the Mandarin, which sounds grand but is a well-known hole-in-the-wall diner with good (and cheap) fare.


We're home in time to host a study at our place. The group is small - but the discussion of Ruth 3 is interesting.

Friday
Every day, I'm trying to acquire some language. It's slow going but with the conversational approach and the words we've learned this last year, there's some progress. Finally.

A one-minute computer doodle. Distractions welcome!
My big chore is to complete and send 2 syllabi to an institution in Singapore. We'll teach there soon. The days may be boring for Kirsten but they're full for us.

Lucky for her, Sharen (a friend she met Wednesday) comes by on her motorcycle. The women go together to a few "younger" shops and K comes home with a few goodies.
Our version of "fall" trees: 20' of radiant orange blossoms

Saturday
Kirsten and I join Paula and David on a shopping trip to Borma. Imagine a messy Walmart and Target rolled into one. I point out the open metal stairwell in one section: there's a loose barrier at the top of the stairwell but a wandering child or teen could easily brush past it. Here, people aren't looking for trouble. No one goes near it.

K finds a few DVDs while we stock up on groceries. When we get home, Ibu A has lunch almost ready - noodles, vegetables, and sausage dish ... with rice on the side, of course. I slice cabbage, jicama, cucumbers, and carrots into a bowl and toss with vinegar, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Good.

Then it's time for language studies. By the time we're done, it's nearly 5pm. I heat up leftovers; W is on a walk and eats before coming home around 7. K and I watch a Korean drama together.

What a weepy tale. I count how many characters cry: 30% of the main characters show up without crying in this episode. Yikes. I can't quite lose myself in the film and story - it's acting, after all. I am fascinated by all those tears. How can one make yourself cry?

Read more:
*The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. Lamentations 3:25 ESV

*God knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. Daniel 2:22 ESV

*Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. 1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV

*Indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Dear God, we praise you that your light shines in darkness of any kind. As Christ loved all, may we love all. May our witness be to his extraordinary love for the stranger and the neighbor, the friend and the foe alike.

God of grace, God of glory, your delight is our joy. Our delight is to be loved by you. Open wide our hearts to receive your goodness in our lives. Amen.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kirsten comes to town

Sunday, August 16
My father celebrated his 83rd birthday. Love you, Dad! No one has a better father. And our daughter comes to visit us in Indonesia. What's not to like about the week?

Monday
The driver takes us to the Jakarta Airport (at the blazing pace of 3 hours each way, winding his way through traffic between vehicles and on either shoulder ...). We pick up our daughter after 1am. after she negotiates her tourist Visa on Arrival with 3 immigration agents.

Tuesday
We talk most of the way back to town, arriving in Bandung at 4:30 or 5am Tuesday morning. Everyone falls into bed exhausted. The driver has the rest of the day off.

DrW tells me the arisan (neighborhood women's group) is meeting at a doctor's home nearby. We stop by the language school on our walk over. DrW appeals to a staff member (speaking in Indonesian) for my admission as a classroom observer. (My visa's the wrong one for admission. The director nixes that later in the week. I'm not allowed in.)

By 11, we're meeting with some of the lovely women:



Though she's in her 80s, this doctor still practices medicine.
Her specialty: dermatology
Our hostess serves us traditional Sundanese food, a cone of yellow rice and side dishes.

Nasi kuning
on our plates
Wednesday
Our driver is a university graduate. He agrees to reads phrases from a language phrasebook onto my phone, adding more each time he waits for us. 

In a week, I learn more Indonesian than I've acquired in 6 months.

Thursday
In the morning, I walk through tea plantations and jungle with friends.
On the narrow jungle trails

Friends from around the world on the walk

Tea harvesters
Rows cut between the tea shrubs
Hill upon hill of plantation tea
beautiful ferns
unfolding in the forest
3/4 of the way in, we reach the volcano crater,
where we soak our feet in the hot pools.
We're 1.5 km from the car.
In the afternoon, several friends come over to read Ruth 2. We feel privileged to sit on the porch and talk about scriptures together.

Perches on the porch
Sunday
Sunday lunch, a family tradition
Our Canadian pastor is back at the local church. Hurrah. 

DrW comes by to say a quick goodbye before she travels again. I send along freshly baked chocolate cookies for her flight. She promises to send her helper over to get some seeds. She's set up a composting house for the community and with the compost is nurturing a garden next door. (IESJakarta sent seeds with us to be distributed: DrW's garden is certainly a worthy recipient.)

Sumathi and Augustine come after lunch. We relax on the porch while we catch up on their recent trip to Bangkok and progress in learning the language. (I forget to take a picture.)

And this week, I'm really missing these munchkins, though we appreciate FaceTime.

Young Isaac and his mommy. He's growing quickly.
Miss K pulling her brother in the hula-hoop
Brothers - pre-mischief together
Read more:
*Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight. Proverbs 9:6 ESV 

*Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21–22 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Dear God, we are often too slow or too quick to forgive. We pray that your Spirit would guide our response to hurt and resentment that we hold close. Help us to love with both the honesty and wisdom of Christ this day. Amen.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Frogs, flights, and finishing the guest room

Frog 'leather' coin purse (remember when eelskin was the rage?)
The light wakes me. I check the time: 5:40am. Ugh. I'm not ready for morning but the sun comes up and goes down early in the tropics.

"Up we go," as our grandchildren say to their mother, lifting their hands to be held.

And so it is with me. I hold up my hands to God.

There's always a song going in my head (called an ear-worm). I tune tune in to find out what's playing. This morning it's this. And "up we go."

Have gear, will travel. (Our above.)
Saturday, August 8
It's my parents' 62nd anniversary. So glad to be born to parents who are still in love, still talking, and still serving each other ... after so many years.

"How old were you when you married?" someone asks Dad this week. Let's just say, Mom was 18 and this week she celebrated her 80th birthday. Thanks be to God for them both. None of their four kids takes the privilege of a happy marriage and healthy family for granted.


vintage cars
We wake up in Baguio, ready for the 5 hour drive to Manilla. (Traffic is pretty good until we get near the city.) We leave behind the beautiful mountain vistas and end the trip in the plains near the sea.

After a short nap, we head to the big American-style grocer. We stand in the taxi queue afterwards. Our northbound line doesn't get many taxis: they'll all headed for the southbound line. Finally one then the other pulls in and the line creeps forward.

When our turn comes, we catch the 7th one. The first pulls out again - wrong line. #2 - "too far". #3 - don't want to. #4 - sorry. #5-6 Other people have hopped in while we were talking to #4. Finally #7 says ok. He takes us on back roads to pass congestion after we stand in traffic for 10 minutes.

We're home in 1/2 hour, rather than the almost-3 hours of walking last weekend. Mind you, last week we found the dining chairs we need at a great price, on our walk. The shop said they'll ship them (if W doesn't find them closer to home for less.)

Memories of the Philippines:

  • Gracious faculty, staff, and students in Baguio. Bonus: a killer view
  • Refurbished vintage cars - reminded me of pictures of Cuba
  • Churches and more churches - lots of statues of Mary and Jesus, and tiles on the houses with pictures of Mother Mary and her Son.
  • Cat in a big birdcage. I don't know why - it was stretching like a pet hamster.
  • Pork everywhere, seemingly in every dish. After a relatively pork-free year in Muslim Indonesia, it's startling to see so much little piggy.
  • Filipinos are quite different than Bandung's population. They not only look different, but the clothing is more suggestive, brighter, and trendier. They willingly help us when we ask but they're not as outgoing or willing to smile. Maybe it's the big city.
  • Jeepneys are the angkots of the Philippines. Many are brightly decorated, painted with florescent graphics, or gleaming chrome.

Sunday
Airport. Early morning breakfast of oatmeal and toast, as usual in the guest house.

We catch a cab 4 hours before our flight. It's W's buffer, and you never know about traffic here.

  • There are no seatbelts (broken, ripped out) in the back of the taxi. Should we worry?
  • Small shops and markets are open all along the way.
  • The taxi driver is a Christian. He says there's lots of sacrificing of animals and fruit to idols, "and in the villages even more." The underlying religion is a belief in anito, the unknowable, unseen spirit of the Almighty.
Leaving Manilla - beautiful coastline
We've been told several time that we'll leave Manilla from Terminal 4. The guy at the security booth checks our ticket - held out the back window of the taxi - and waves us through.

First we stand in the wrong line and have to go back out and around. And then we're not let into the door for international departures.

"This is not the right terminal," says the guard. Excuse us, please?

"When did it change, sir?" W asks.

"About 2 weeks. It has been about 2 weeks ago." He repeats for emphasis.

We're at the wrong terminal.Our taxi is long gone.  Is there a shuttle to the other one? The gatekeeper points vaguely in a direction. We set off with our 2 heavy suitcases and 4 carry-ons. I'm wearing a thick sweater in the 88o heat but I'm not hot. Must be acclimated.

We are served an extra meal; that must be for our driver!
= his first airline meal.
"Is this the right shuttle?" W asks the agent in a little house painted with an Air Asia logo.

"Yes, we changed 2 weeks ago. Now Terminal 3." Ok - that would have been nice to know, either online or from the gate sentinal who waved us through the entry to Terminal 4. Shuttle it is.

"This shuttle is not free," the driver cautions us. It's 20c each, or 44c total. We can do that.

A nice Air Asia helper waves us to the seniors line. Thank you! We wait a half hour to get to the agent; they're busy setting up and chatting. Hmmm. The computer doesn't have our luggage weight upgrade and W can't get online to give them proof of payment. Finally we are confirmed - and we just have time for a quick meal before hitting Gate Q3 for our flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The coconut groves around KL
The restaurant advertises dim sum, tapas, instant noodles, and creme brūlée. Not bad - nothing to write home to mom about, though. We're glad for the time buffer this morning.

And our flight leaves almost 2 hours late. We have enough time to catch our connecting flight ... and land in Bandung at 8:30. The driver meets us with a cheerful smile and helps with the tech suitcases (30 kg/ 66 lb). We unpack, put things away (well, I do), and it's good to sleep in our own bed tonight.

Monday
We're up early - the Philippines clock is set to an hour before Indonesia, so 5am is not a big deal. David and Paula start language school today. I'm breaking the 10th Commandment in my heart. But I remember why people go to language school when they first arrive: we have a morning study today, the arisan (women's group) tomorrow morning, and all kinds of commitments the rest of the week. It would be difficult to break off, put things on hold for language school, and start over again. (Yes, PD, as you warned us.)

Guest room ready
D&P have agreed to practice with us each day. That should help but my heart falters a little, thinking about how they'll pass us within a few weeks. They spend 4-hour days in repetition and incremental learning. Oh well - we walk the path marked out for us for a reason.

The morning study is from Mark 5:1-20: Jesus casts demons out from the man who lived among the tombs. The guys drop me off and head to town to pay bills and run errands. My chores:

  • study
  • get Kirsten's room ready (she arrives tomorrow at midnight)
  • bake bread ("1-2-3 and It's Ready Bread = 1tsp. yeast/2 tsp salt/ 3 c. flour ... plus 1 1/2 c. water. Stir. Wait 8-24 hours. Bake in a greased cast-iron pan @ 425oF/200oC/Mark6, covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 10.)
  • Thanks to Tanya Jo for the quilt left for us!
  • lunch. Our helper comes alternate days. Today, the helper for upstairs cooks rice and chicken for D&P.
I toss together spaghetti and Paula contributes rice for the driver. "It's not a meal without rice," say the Sundas. Rice and spaghetti? Ok. I've bought frozen peas with the expectation of the taste of peas in Canada. Nope - these were picked at least 1-2 weeks beyond ripe and taste as chalky as beans. No wonder Indonesians don't like peas!

"Wow, thanks. Usually a driver doesn't get food this good," says our driver, wolfing down the rice and noodles. (I skip the peas on his plate.) He's the age of our sons and that's how I think of him in my head. Good appetite. Fine young man whom we happy to feed well.

D&P come home from class, as exhausted as expected. They practice Indonesian by riding along when W and the driver head out after lunch.

Bread, hot and fresh from the oven
I finish work and cook supper (bread, sausage, veges) for us all. Then I show Paula how to make the bread - in case she ever craves European bread texture and taste. Bread here is like a mildly-sweet and airy pastry, shaped in a loaf.

Read more:
*Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few. 1 Samuel 14:6 ESV

*Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 ESV

Moravian Prayer: You alone are worthy, Lord. Your ways bring life to the oppressed, humility to the proud, and justice to the nations. We see through a glass darkly; you see through an eternal lens. Open our eyes to your sovereign presence. Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Baguio mountain high (post #1200 at PeacefulOnes!)

Friday, August 7, 2015
When I get back from town, I see that my sweater is inside out. Sigh. That’s what you get when you dress in the dark and don't pay attention. No one said anything but it’s the first thing I notice when I get back to the flat.

We’ve decided to stay one more night in Baguio and catch a ride in to Manila early tomorrow. The APTS locals kindly provide suppers each evening. 

The president and his wife, hosting visiting faculty
This has been a wonderful week alongside 13 enthusiastic and dedicated doctoral students from 9 countries.We meet faculty from New Zealand/ Ireland/ England, Australia, China, Malaysia, the USA, Canada, etc. The sound of dozens of Chinese students chanting English drifts in the window each afternoon. They're here for a few months to improve their language skills.

At first, we must keep pausing as we walk up the hill from our flat to the academic building. Each building has multiple floors: some have 6 or 7 because the campus is on the side of a hill. The killer is not the slope (though the roads and walks are very steep) but the altitude! We are over a mile above sea level here.

Packed chapels
Breathing is a chore at the beginning at first: our lungs don't fill up the same way. I take the stairs at a run whenever possible, chuffing breath in and out as though I'm doing a marathon. By the end of the week, we're almost acclimated and not winded like we were upon arrival.

W teaches a tech and theology class and I teach the blogging part. With a little extra coaching late last night, everyone has a blog, some idea what they plan to write, and their first post written. It's fun to see the stats after the first day: some have hundreds of readers across the world.

A fine class
They're also familiar with PPT, can shoot and upload videos, and have been introduced to digital sound production. Wow, what a week.

These block courses are exhausting for faculty and students but they net 40 hours of class time in a week. W’s pretty much tied to the classroom.

Dickie H, an American faculty member who’s lived on campus a long time, knows just where to take me for an outing. We visit Narda, a women’s weaving store founded to keep women busy “so they’re not making babies."

The second stop is a crafting factory that wholesales its wares to the USA. Entry to the factory outlet is by relationship-only. There I discover what’s being shipped across the ocean for Christmas: ornaments and candles, trees and wreaths, jewelry and silver sculptures, woven metal bags and baskets. The items are beautifully designed right here in Baguio by a devotedly Christian team. No pictures are allowed.

Narda: traditional looms and beautiful wares
I can't take much back and feel obligated to eat the chocolate we brought along; it's heavy right? So noble! haha Good thing they don't weigh passengers coming and going; I've probably gained 5 lbs with our limited mobility. We are pushing the flight weight limit with W's gear already. (My things fit in half of a suitcase and a tote bag. W needs 1 1/2 suitcases plus our two carry-ons for tech stuff that the class can test-drive.)

Dickie treats me to the Narda weaver outlet twice: the first time to gasp in happy amazement at the work, and the second trip for a much-needed blue sweater and woven handbag.

"You can wash any of this," Dickie assures me. "The tight weave will hold up like new for years."

Home away from home this week
I tease her that she could earn a commission but I'm happy with the classic lines and long-wearing fabric = a good investment at a great price.

During the days, I write our monthly update to partners, send a "New Normal" post (a photo of something 'normal' here but 'strange' in the West), and study for the courses I'm teaching in the fall. And there's time to read a novel or two, just for relaxation.

Tomorrow my parents celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary. What good role models they are! They still love and like each other, too. Congratulations, you dear two.

Read more:
*After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11 NIV

*Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you-unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me.

Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 NLT

*Christ humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him. Philippians 2:8–9 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Dear Lord, your humility is our salvation. Your surrender is our strength. We are resurrected by your burial. Your cross is our salvation. May we exalt you by faithfulness to your eternal servant spirit. Amen.