Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pondering

Oh my - my head and heart are full. Pondering the wisdom of those we have met and the messages they have for us. So far ...
The world is beautiful. Even the grey and cool blues of the Pacific NW are stunning
God made it - and he made us, so he defines who we are. That means he is pleased with us
God's people are generous and kind beyond comprehension or what we deserve
Each person is a work in progress; if no progress is being made, it's time to sit still and think about what God might want us to hear
Living in our true selves encourages fellow travelers ... though it can be disconcerting to those who wish to align us with their dreams and hopes for us

Read more:
*Just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. Jeremiah 31:28
*God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9
Moravian Prayer: God of salvation, you came to us in our time of need. Thank you for the gift of redemption and for saving us from ourselves. Help us to build your kingdom here on earth, and allow your love to flourish in our world. Amen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

SAMPLE Lent Day 2: The baptism, temptation, and a good start

If you'd like to just us during this season of Lent (40 days of contemplation and fasting before Easter), we're going through the gospels. Click here to participate.  Below is a sample post.
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Today we’re in Matthew 3-4.  These chapters cover John the Baptist, the baptism and temptation of Jesus, and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. (Click on each link to watch)
https://youtu.be/py2zZMiQYjA
https://youtu.be/A23A_Lw6E3I

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Jesus and his cousin John. But they faithfully did what God asked.

As you hear the story, how do you react? What do you think was the appeal of John the Baptist? Why did people come to listen to him?

Imagine you are a friend of Jesus’ family, watching their eldest son growing up and beginning to preach.

What stands out to you? What did you not know about John the Baptist or the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. What does this mean to you? (Post comments below)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Bangkok and Bandung

Thailand. Indonesia. It's been a busy few weeks.
After Waldemar came back from teaching in Singapore, we had a community dinner. Clau talked about contentment - a good topic for the month of love.

Always fun to see the mix of cultures and creativity.

Starting Monday, Feb. 11, we spent a few days at a conference in Thailand. Leaving from our airport is an adventure in itself.
The reader boards use Indonesian
Encouragement on the bathroom wall at the airport: children are a cultural value

The airplane wings were almost overhead as it taxied by on the way to takeoff
In Bangkok, we're immersed in a different culture.
Menswear store - take your pick
The markets have lots of fresh food
Meals were delicious - some were more Western than others
Transport was often in little open motorcycle 3-wheelers
Construction everywhere, even outside our motel window
I want a little one of these 3-wheelers for runabouts
An altar in many driveways, in front of many shops.
Some interesting fashion fails
Maybe the longest escalator
The electrical wires overhead are an electrician's nightmare

The emergency stairs at the hotel were short! to say the least ... that's my shoe. Mind you, they were even height - which we always find surprising after living in Indonesia.
It was great to meet with peers but we also were inspired and learned a lot. Now to put that into our context. 
Bangkok looked beautiful as we said goodbye from the airplane.
We felt kinda weary - W had a cold in Thailand so we didn't do too much running around. My lungs were at low capacity with the residuals from the flu. Slowly we're picking up steam though. (YAY)

It was nice to touch down at home, that's for sure. We ran the gauntlet of teen sellers on the freeway toll road outside Jakarta, as usual. It was a mere 5.5 hr commute (110 miles; 180 km).

We love the various communities of Bandung, including at BIC - we became their pastors mid-month (Feb 10).
Take heart - God knows where you are and what your name is. Look up if you have looked around and can't find the answers you need.

Read more:
*Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me. Isaiah 46:9

*A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you. Ezekiel 36:26

*And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18 NKJV

*(From Paul's letter) I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:1-6 NIV
*Let us look to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2
Moravian Prayer: Lord Jesus, on this day our hearts turn to love. We humbly approach you as the love of all loves for guidance to help us love even the unlovable. We know love is all powerful, so strengthen us in your love. In the name of Jesus.
God of redemption, freedom from sin inspires us to further adore and serve you. You have given us the coat of righteousness. In appreciation for your great love and mercy, we come to serve you through all the days of our lives. Accept us as your faithful servants. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Healthier on the inside than out

Thursday, January 20, 2019
EvaMarie comes in the morning, fresh off the plane from Poland. She naps in the afternoon while I write and comes to the study with us in the evening. Both of us are tired by the time night comes. I'm thinking of this weekend's theme - new beginnings. (This is what a few attendees will make on Saturday with paper, string, glue, and flowers...)

Friday
In the morning, I'm in the office. After lunch, it's time for book club. This month we are reading Little Fires Everywhere, a book about family, artists, and society's expectations. We have a great discussion. One of the strengths of the group is that we have many backgrounds - Western, Thai, Indonesian, Indian ... and each woman brings her perspective to the reading. We celebrate birthdays as well.

In the evening, Eva and I have a working supper, going through the schedule for the week. The night is balmy.

I'm sorry to miss a friend's birthday; sometimes I want a body double.

Saturday
W comes home from 2 weeks in Singapore. He had a blast teaching but we are always happy to be home together.

We have Community Dinner in the evening - hurrah! As always, we enjoy the company, the Presence, and the activities.
Eva introduces herself and tells a bit about what she's doing on her world trip. Many attendees are also global citizens - or will be in the future.
 The food - beef rendang - is delicious. (Thanks, Della.)
I hug a few people with the flu and feel it - yup, it's coming.

Sunday
W speaks at the international church in the morning. Afterward, we are affirmed by attendees as their longterm pastors. The surprises of God are - well, surprises. Last year, we could not have guessed this. (We were still enjoying Terry and Sandy's leadership. They're back in Canada, working away nearer their families and on their own ongoing adventures with Jesus.)

For lunch, about 30 people hang out at our place. We order pizza in, but I make salad and have dessert ready. Of course, setting the kitchen up is part of it all. As I work, I can feel a tickle in my throat and my head is starting to ache.

Monday
We have a study, a meeting, and then it's late afternoon. I don't have much appetite for supper - the flu - complete with headache and aching gums - starts to take over, so I read and try to sleep.

Tuesday
Full flu mode. I stay in bed. No sense in prolonging this. I send the IC newsletter and do correspondence - but that's about all I can manage. W does the food shopping from my list. (My hero) When he asks if we should cancel, it's a firm no. Let's do this - the group hasn't been together since early December ... it's time for them to hang out together.

Wednesday
Movie night! Hurrah! I haven't been asleep since 11:30 last night, so at 5:30am I stop pretending its going to happen. I get to work. When I send a "help, please pray" to some friends, they promise they will. That helps.

I cook a bare minimum: 3 meats (chicken, sausage, meatballs) and three egg-cheese-bread-sausage casseroles. I strike pasta and complicated or long-cooking dishes off the menu.

We're in the office for a morning meeting - but by then most of the cooking is done. We come home for lunch and the food is cooking along. I write out a to-do list for the helpers, who arrive at 3pm.

  • salad daun (leaf salad)
  • nasi merah (red rice)
  • nasi putih (white rice)
  • sayuran dengan tahu (Tofu and veges)
  • tempeh ++ (do whatever you want with tempeh - they make it spicy and garlicky)
  • buah dan yogurt (fruit - with a little picture of how it should be cut)
  • memotong kue (cut the cake)

Hardworking awesomeness: Ibus Sumi and Apong, jumping in front of the food line for a requested photo.
Hopefully that list helps! Gradually (in a culture of hearing instructions instead of reading them), the helpers are using the fridge checklist, so I don't have to keep reminding them what is on the menu.
 About 70 show up tonight - a lively group. I refuse the traditional cheek-to-cheek greetings and hugs.
 "I'm a good mother - I only give you good things. The flu is not good. So no hugs tonight." The guests back away with a smile.

 The helpers and I clear the meal and set up the birthday dessert (for Josh and four or five others) for intermission. Kat, Josh's daughter, decorates his birthday cake with her mom.
Before intermission, I glance around one more time. I go to bed and leave them to having fun.
I should have warned the satpams to be on duty and dole out 3 desserts, as the sign requests. (Satpam = sentry or guard - we joke about that with the helpers, who sometimes have to do portion control.) W tells me later that some kids heaped their plates with 7 or more pieces of cake and the last ones had none. Oh dear. (Not the ones below - hehe)
We have 4 boxes of homebaked cookies in the fridge - I could have pulled them out and everyone would have had plenty of sweets. W and the helper (who typically uses 2-4 lbs of butter plus who-knows-how-much sugar and flour a week) don't think of that ... we're always learning and improving our serve together.
It's a noisy and happy bunch today. The young people stay and talk until after 10:30pm. W shushes them outside the gate - they're having so much fun as they wait for their Gojek and Grab taxis, but it can disturb the older neighbors who have long since fallen asleep and will be awake by 4:30am.

Thursday
We shoot some videos, Eva edits media for a few charities, and I rest. I felt way better until I got up ... hehe. Typical flu bug. At least it's predictable. "Stay away!" I think when people come near.

Friday
K and I have a long and happy call in the morning. My voice is coming back - and my throat is less sore. We visit a bit with Eva and DrH on the porch - with gorgeous sunshine and birdsong. It's a perfect morning. When Eva leaves, I have to cancel lunch and head back to bed to rest.

W mentions his throat feels scratchy and lies down on the chaise on the porch. Oh oh!

Read more:
*Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea. Job 11:7-9 NIV

*The Lord has been mindful of us; he will bless us. Psalm 115:12

*Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20

[so be aware that ...] *Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 
*Look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. James 3:4-5
Moravian Prayer: Lord, bless us as we live everyday to do the deeds you have set before us—for heaven has our names and is waiting for us.
Loving Teacher, help us also to pray before we speak harsh words that we cannot take back, ever-reminding us that words hurt, and we are sometimes slow to heal. Give us strength to forgive those whose words are like swords to our hearts. We look to you for your continuous love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sunny days, rainy afternoons.

The sun shines in most mornings.
 On the street, the snake plant (mother-in-law's tongue, etc.) is in full bloom.
A day or two have come and gone. Well, maybe it's been a few weeks since I blogged ... with new babies, a few hospital visits, and friends speaking words of encouragement between.

Tuesday
In the evening, I go to a Young Adults farewell for Jakob and Dayana. Over 25 people are hanging out. It's a wonderful time!

Wednesday
It's a joy to recruit a team lead - she's gifted, willing to experiment, and already hard at work. Doesn't get better than that.

Thursday
Another evening farewell party, this time a birthday for Rueben and a farewell for Jakob and Dayana, who have worked with them for several months. It's a delicious meal, complete with the traditional nasi cunning (yellow rice).

Sunday
After speaking on Noah, I pop in on Josh's class about what it means to follow Jesus. He does a good job and the class is attentive.
We pray together for our friends, who head home to Austria this week. Parents of the youth group have brought cakes today.

We sing Happy Birthday to a sweet 7-yr old, who even gets to blow out a candle (one of the anti-fly ones we light near the food).
Afterward, several of us go for lunch, talking about a future project. And at 5, one last and pleasurable meeting = supper with dear friends, one Chinese teacher who's returned to Indonesia from her homeland, and the other a head of an English center.

WuJin has brought back a lovely clay pot, with the artist's chop on the bottom, and some hand-painted teacups. Perfect for a good cup of tea.

Monday/Tuesday
The beautiful flower arrangement livens up the room as people come and go. We have a morning study, a meeting, and some guests over for a busy day.
Tuesday morning, I make a quick trip downtown to Pasar Baru (New Market), the central Bandung market for clothing, household goods, and other necessities. Many wholesalers purchase from vendors here. I'm looking for upholstery fabric to cover a few chairs. Shall I get this, or this, or this?



None fits what's in my mind. I go home empty-handed and worn out from the noise and color. Whew - nice to pull into the driveway, that's for sure.

The dog's been biting himself - he gets nervous from thunder and lightning that accompanies rainy season. He tears the hair off a 6"X4" patch of skin. We order a flexible dog cone online. American friends have offered to bring us a favorite snack next months on their visit, but they're happy to bring the collar instead.
Our Jakarta friends are in town for a conference. Between sessions, they come up the hill to Miss Bee for supper. Love these faces! I walk to the restaurant and back, a few minutes from the house - which helps make up for sitting much of the day.

Wednesday
Meetings - good ones, productive and positive. What's not to love? I finish editing my book and send off a copy to my editor.

A few squiggles to mark up the page for the day - and leaves from the garden = a touch of art and beauty.

Read more:
*I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.

May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. Psalm 138:1-4 NIV

*I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them. Ezekiel 37:28
*Christ Jesus came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:17
*Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
Moravian Prayer: Holy compassionate One, who restores our souls—please hear our prayers, forgive us, and keep us in your care.
Christ Jesus, you bring your proclamation of peace to all the nations. We pray they listen to your voice and abide in you. Amen.