Friday, November 16, 2018

Makassar and meetings galore

I need pictures to remember the last 2 weeks. W begins recovery mode after travels, but is only home long enough to repack.
November 8-11
Tembi's off to her next destination: we've learned so much from her. For the last 2 weeks, she has a flu bug - but never complains. What a trooper!
Meanwhile, W and I travel to Makassar (an island slightly north of us), where we connect with Tim and Doris in their beautiful coastal city.
The guesthouse is a short walk along the canal from the main house. Fishermen gather brackish-water seaweed from the bay, a traditional job with a modern backdrop.
Doris is setting up an English library system for neighbors. There are a few associates around - it's fun to get to know coworkers.
I feel inspired by Doris, who already has her Christmas decor up. W sets up a better internet in their house, and of course we have a lot of fun - Doris is an amazing cook.
We also eat at a few local pop-up restaurants in the neighborhood.

There are all kinds of "normals" in the world: look at this motorcycle pickup truck, spotted on a street nearby.
The flight home home is uneventful - and happily only one plane. W eventually finds a taxi at the airport (the driver is off) and we're at our gate with a triple-the-usual-fee. (For foreigners, negotiating the amount is okay but he's too tired to hassle.)

We were away for yesterday's farewell prayer for Caleb and Roxy, but see them this morning for their final study. We take a funny picture among all the serious ones - this is such a great group.
We're at the BIC office as usual. I start December BIC enews and wrap up a few updates. Sandy left us a tree when she and Terry returned to Canada; it looks "just right" on the little table in the office.
W and I speak together - and have a few more meetings before Sunday is done. Monday starts early - and goes late.

After working in the early morning, I head to the arisan (women's group) for an early lunch.

W and I head for the nurseries above Bandung on a date. I fill up my tired heart at the orchid shops: 5 for about $25 - that's a cheap date, for sure. Can't wait until they all bloom.
W has lunch with Andrew while I putter around the shops for an hour. For supper, we're happy to meet friends from movie night at a Chinese restaurant downtown. WuJin chooses delicious dishes.

I've skipped the walk in the hills since W came back in October. I miss time outside, though we walk the dogs for 1-2 km every day. I even quit that this week.
While W is on the walk, I decorate the house for Christmas. By the time the study arrives in the evening, the downstairs tree and room is finished.

Friends come for a visit in the morning; I invite them along for the walkers' lunch. Several people know them already.

It feels so nice to get up to a festive house. But my heels and knees are very sore. I'm trying to stay off my feet as much as possible - only walking 2-4 km/day - but they don't get better. In fact, they're sore enough that maybe I should get to the podiatrist (foot doc). Veronica, a fellow hiker, recommends someone nearby.

Doctor T says pressure should land on my arches, but instead, I'm striking the ground with my heels. Now I'm supposed to walk with Keens inside the house. Ugh. We always take our shoes off. (We wash a pair of sandals for use inside.)

The doc takes ultrasounds of both feet and knees. They're inflamed, with some kind of infection going on, so I wasn't imagining the pain.

Since we'll be walking a lot next week, W talks me into a cortisone shot in the most painful  heel. I ask the doc for ice to dull the heel where he's going to poke the needle; I know it's going to hurt. 

"Don't scream too loudly," cautions the doc with a smile. "I have older patients in the waiting room." It does hurt a lot. I'm not a screamer. Luckily. Plus I've cranked up techno music and I'm reading a novel on my phone as distractions. Ouch. Still hurts.

W went to the market yesterday but couldn't find the serving spoons we usually buy. Instead, he pays $16 for 4. What?! They look just like the 40c ones.

There are no refunds in Toko Setiabudi or elsewhere. Even if things break - oh well, it's our responsibility. Everything is tested before we leave - electronics, lights, etc. - so we have no excuse if it falls apart in the next week. And if we got the wrong item, tough.

I talk W into trying to get a refund. After the morning doctor's appt, he goes back to the shop and heads upstairs to the purchase counter: "Sorry, my wife says these are not the right ones. May I get my money back?" No, but she'll reluctantly give credit, to be spent today.

Meanwhile, I hobble around to find the spoons we need. Then it's a long complicated process to buy serving spoons 8@$3.25 for all. Complication: the ones we want are in a bin downstairs, not upstairs where W got the expensive ones.

The gal upstairs finally lets us bring the cheaper spoons up, but that takes a while to negotiate between floor employees. And then we may spend the remaining credit on ... whatever - but only from the upper floor of housewares. W finds a new bath towel and I pick up a serving dish. We were lucky to be able to swap. Though we wouldn't have spent the money otherwise.
We return to the podiatrist at 4. Wow - I wouldn't want to live on the hill across the valley. Look at that landslide! We snap a picture, to the amusement of the security guard at the doc's.
The young assistant wraps my feet tightly in cling film (isn't that too tight?) while I'm sitting, not standing. Then he makes a clay-bandage mold (which doesn't go all the way up my high arch because of the tight wrap.) The custom orthotics are relatively cheap - $80 - but will they fit?
After buying a few pills, which come in little baggies from the pharmacist, to make the inflammation go down, we've spent $130 total = 2 doc visits, ultrasounds, cortisone shot, meds, and custom orthotics. Not bad.

It's Community Dinner night. First I have to finish my talk for this evening, make meals (no helpers today), and write a few things. The sun shines outside. I'm happy to be here, not raking leaves in the cold.
Read more:
*There is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2
*Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Matthew 7:24
Moravian Prayer: Lord, you have established a firm foundation for those who trust in your word. Ground us today— and every day—in relationship with you and in obedience to your commandments. Thus we shall find our footing amid the tempests of life. Amen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rallying around home and community

Friday, November 2, 2018
What are the chances? I put my hand into a bag of M&Ms and pull out all colors at once (and no extras). That brings a smile that tides me over a long morning at the office.

Waldemar's home - as he unpacks, his goodies and work land on almost every surface. Day by day, they get tucked into their proper place (Our study nook below. Thanks for the heads up on the warehouse tables, Robin. A perfect fit.)
W and I have a date: he's just come back after 2 1/2 weeks away. It's great to reconnect and talk, away from the house, the unpacking, and the things put on hold for a few weeks.

We have breakfast at an old (and cheap) favorite: Ethnic. The owner, who put a lap pool in the backyard of his house for his grandkids, has remodeled with a grand waterfall wall and fountain. What a pretty setting for local food. It's popular with all the neighbors and various clubs.
Even when the pop can looks global on the front (Coke Original), the back shows national details. And yes, W still likes his Coke.

The groomers arrive - two of them work on Cocoa at once - and her body looks ok. She has a helmet head cut when she's done, but at $10 including a generous tip, she sheds 1-2" of body hair.  (I recut her head later.) Mind you, rainy season can be downright cold: 18oC (65oF) at night! Brrrr. I bundle up like the rest - blankets and sweaters are our friends.
I go to pluck brown leaves from a frangipani tree beside the porch - and ... lo and behold, two Maned Forest Lizards are draped over the shrub. They are perfectly colored to hide in plain sight: it's the first time I've ever seen those. It takes a while to identify them: they're not peoples' first guess of chameleons (curled tail) or iguanas (thicker body, shorter tail).

Community Dinners are such fun. About 40 people arrive to share supper, despite the downpour. 

The team and our friends arrive safely, setup goes smoothly, and the food is tasty. Thanks, Della!
Josh helps take the requisite number of selfies at his table.
 And Tembi knocks it out of the park with a funny story about family and what it means to belong.
One of the gals studying fashion design sketches another at her table.

First thing, I heat 4 loaves of homebred bread for communion and wrap them in kitchen towels. We tuck the bell ("visiting is over until later!" to bring people back into their seats) and several tablecloths into the tote. We're out the gate by 7am.

Breakfast with the leadership team means a few points of business but mostly it's good to get to know each other better. We hear helpful feedback for moving ahead.

Waldemar speaks today. The community hangs out afterward for almost an hour, before having lunch at Bumi Sangkuriang and Wild Grass with friends.

Mid-afternoon, W and I have the pleasure of visiting Pascall and Yuni and meeting little Patricia for the first time.
Adorable, no?! Definitely a perfect baby.
From there, we head to Chinatown and good food at an old restaurant - Tota, Teti, and Rueben know all the eateries. Dunia Baru is a fine one. Just as Chinese restaurant owners adapt to Western tastes in the States, here they've adapted to local appetites.
It's a full and happy day. 5 meetings in a row, 7am-7:30pm ... with a few hours between in the afternoon. Online counsel from a mentor, a study, a team lunch, a fun visit with locals and expats, and pre-marriage counseling.  How we love the people we meet and serve.

The massage lady comes to the house and almost kills me. I was in heels for hours - over a week ago, and apparently my calves have seized up - I think she's going to rip off my little toes, bending one and then the other backward to loosen up ligaments and muscles in my foot. Nope, still have my toes and feeling much more ease.

Tembi takes us for dinner at Kampung Daun. Tomorrow is her last day in Bandung. She's been an unqualified blessing and a pleasant, undemanding, and extremely productive guest = no trouble (except our concern at her being ill last week) and helpful in every way. If every intern or team added so much to their surroundings, we'd all be fighting to have them come. Thanks be to God for you, dear Tembi. We'll miss you.
The driver points out the sacred trees along the way. "Several developers have tried to cut the tree in your neighborhood," he says. "Every one of them has died." Like in Africa, locals believe spirits inhabit the banyan trees so they are paved around, built around, and left alone.

It's Dinner-and-a-Movie Night tonight. We look forward to this all month. "It's the best gathering in all of Bandung," Tembi overheard an African attendee saying to another young adult. "You should join."

But first, we have a staff meeting at 9. And we have to order pizza. There's no cooking this month, saving me about 4 hours of prep. Whew.  (We have homemade desserts, though.) With so many events and travels in November, it's easier to do takeaway- and besides, it's cheaper than cooking pasta, rice, meat, salad, and side dishes.

I asked a few students at the last Community Dinner if they'd mind pizza for supper once in a while. "No, Ibu! we love pizza," they said. So pizza it is. The European students won't be excited - they prefer home cooked food once a month.)

Tembi helps set things up in the kitchen. The helpers will be here at 3pm and clean up after. Meanwhile, W and Pak Gum move furniture, set up the projector, and blow the dust off a few seats for the porch. The new table in the nook and the free seats are a huge plus - we'll move things around in the next few months to maximize seating. Tonight is a trial run ... again.

Read more:
*Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

*You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Psalm 92:4

*When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. Psalm 118:5-8  NIV

*Jesus said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Luke 5:24-25
*Paul wrote: I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. Ephesians 3:15-17
Moravian Prayer: God of love, may our love for you mirror your love for us. May others know us to be your disciples— through our love for our enemies and those with whom we differ—as well as for those with whom we feel affinity. 
Heal us, Jesus, whenever bodies or spirits are frail. When afflictions fill us with doubt, grant us the grace to be numbered by you among those who walk by faith and not by sight. Amen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rainy season's here

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
PakR and I meet for staff meeting in the morning with a full slate of business. We're sending off the first monthly newsletter tomorrow.

There's no Halloween here. Thank God. We're called to be light in the world, so I dislike celebrations of horror and darkness.
We finish our business over lunch at Miss Bee, which always has seasonal displays. The rain holds off until we make it home. Rainy season is here: we get several downpours each day and are happy not to be outside when they come.
Tembi's feeling tired and still fighting the flu. She's still been helpful as we sort through options for social media that send the right message from our various endeavors.

The driver calls to say that he has typhoid with stomach aches and a fever. He's gone to the hospital clinic. "But I can come tomorrow, maybe."

No, thank you. Don't want it. We pray for his health and ask him to stay home to rest until the weekend. W can drive if needed. (I don't even know where my drivers' license is.)

The Bandung Book Group meets this afternoon - Alice, Tembi, Petra (new to the group), and I catch a GoCar from our neighborhood to ride over to the next hill.

Marji's house is full of puppets, art, and masks from all over Indonesia. What treasures she's hung on the walls, displayed in cabinets, and placed on tables. Beautiful. She's made pumpkin cake, chocolate loaf, veggies and dip, and a few other treats. And Ilsa brings mulberry jam to share (homemade from her garden tree) and plum cake. Yes, we eat too much.

The discussion is vigorous but cordial. We've read Fascism by Madeline Albright. She doesn't clearly define the term fascism. After a strong start, the book gets a bit fuzzy as it goes on. Maybe she was rushed by her publisher? Anyway, we're not sure she's clearly made her argument against current governments. Albright has read a lot of history, that's for sure. (I'm always fascinated at how academics come to diverse findings from the same facts.) It's great to hear the group interact - we come from so many places that we have many ideas.

I take leftover copies with me for the Little Free Library in our neighborhood.

Some walking friends come by for the dogs. They're skipping the walk this morning but want to take the dogs to their neighborhood. They aim to make some dog-deprived Australian kids happy. That's one pretty smile from this youngster. After tummy rubs for the dogs, they all lie down on their floor and relax.
I skip our usual walk, guarding my sore knees. With Tembi feeling sick, she's not going either. I have lots of paperwork but mostly I'm waiting. W is coming back this afternoon after a trip of more than 2 weeks. I don't envy him his long journey back: 30 hours? Can't wait to see him though.

There's a beautiful (hot) pepper growing in the flower bed. "Oh, we already used up 2 of those for our sambal (hot sauce)." They grind the peppers and put them on food - 1/8 tsp makes my soup so hot at lunchtime today that my eyes water ... and I like hot food.

"You might as well take the other one home," I tell her. By Tuesday when she returns, it will have fallen off the plant.

Ibu also finds a 4" mushroom on a tree in the yard. "Is it safe?" she asks me. "Can we eat it?"
I shoot a WA message to our friends, who say, "Don't try it. We don't know if it's safe either."

Read more:
*Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.” Exodus 32:11-12
*Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Jeremiah 25:6
*Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Romans 8:34
*Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:16-21
*Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
*Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11
Moravian Prayer: Everlasting God, there are so many temptations and distractions in our world; we tend to lose focus on what is truly important. Help us to clearly see the path set before us, to set aside worldly things, and concentrate instead on building a right relationship with you.
Merciful God, you love us unconditionally. Lead us in your path, that we may follow your example and be more ready to forgive. Make us more sensitive to the sorrows of others, more compassionate to the less fortunate, that we may understand their trials and show them mercy. Amen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A noodle house and cookie monsters

Sunday, October 28, 2018
Skip the dog walk. Before I know it, it's 7:20 - time to head to the international service with a full tote containing cookies, a colander (more on that later), and other odds and ends.

On the way, I pause at Miss Bee's parking shack - the guys choose a cookie from one of the boxes and I walk on in my high heels. The sandals are sturdy but keep my long trousers off the ground. Probably a bad idea to walk 600 meters in them, but the steep hill up to Green Gate is a bit easier in heels. (Though it's going to be toe-and-footpad-torture going down.)

Josh does a great job of introductions and announcements before I speak. The topic today is the power of Christ's resurrection. But what does that mean for us today? Let's get practical. Three people tell their stories about the power of God at work in protection, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

Instead of formal communion, we pass out a quarter-slice of bread and a grape to each person. Everyone shares their bread with those around them, along with a prayer or a few lines about what God is doing in their lives. Some people need extra slices so they can listen and talk more. That's a loving community.

As we bite into our grape (the colander schlepped along earlier was for washing them), we consider what it means to be crushed or broken to release God's fragrance into the world. That's what Jesus did for us - he was bruised for our sins. Crushed, he reconciled us to God. (Thanks for the idea, Kim.)

People stay to visit; the chairs are still full half an hour after the closing blessing. We only consume half the snacks - even the yummy bugis (sweet rice in banana leaves) that Hela has brought. We've already had our social time, I think. I pack away the leftover bugis and almost-empty cookie containers for tomorrow's study.

Tota takes his family, Tembi, and me to a special noodle house for lunch in town. Tembi and I choose half sweet, half salty noodles. Oh yum. The dragon fruit drink is delicious because of added lemon and sugar. Mmmmmm. Good recommendation, Ibu T!
Going back, we get seriously snarled in traffic. It takes over an hour to get to the drop-off for Tembi, who is meeting a few other young adults. And we're only 2/3 of the way home.
There's some kind of anime or costume party on the sidewalk. The characters sit under awnings out of the rain.

Rueben stays in the car with us until the bottom of my hill. Then he hops out and starts the long walk to his house and a study group. Smart guy. He won't make it back if he waits for the car to get him back.

His folks and I continue up the hill. There's a wedding and an alumni reunion at Bumi Sangkuriang. Traffic is utterly jammed on the 1½-width side streets. Usually cars have to swerve to the side to pass each other. Today, the drivers have decided on the middle of the road. So they're all going one-way.

We are waved onward; we can't even turn into our neighborhood. Every cross-street is the same; getting to our house is impossible with the car. (Good thing we dropped off the snacks before heading to town or I would have had a big IKEA tote bag with me.)

Three streets further up the hill, with Tota's car grid-locked, I hop out, heels and all. If they have to make a U-turn and take me home - before coming back through the lanes and up the hill, it could be evening before they get home.

I run into two friends who have left their long-suffering driver and are also walking home. It's just faster to walk. Tota takes the zig-saggy road across the top of the hills. They make it home about the time I reach my next meeting.

M is waiting for me at Wild Grass, just outside our neighborhood. She's a gifted media artist. We enjoy tea and conversation, flipping through the new menu.

At 5, I finally head for home ... still in heels. It's been a good day, a full day, and my feet thank me when I slip on flat house shoes at the door. The dogs are ecstatic and growl and bounce around.

It's an evening of writing. Among the things I'm working on - a universities on another island asked me to be their keynote speaker at a seminar for their doctoral faculty. I can't make it since we have other commitments. I enjoyed working with them last time, so am open to another day.

However, the department dean and I WhatsApp back and forth, trying to find a speaker among our connections in Bandung. We have no luck.

I have no early online meeting this week. The last grades come in so I can add up the scores - AND send them off to the university. Done!Done!Done. Happy dance. Oh wait, I'm not that coordinated.

After a walk with the dogs, the study starts at 9:30. It feels like  we're halfway through the day, in this land where morning starts at 5:30.

The team meeting is small - but helpful for me. The driver, who was having a motorcycle repaired calls in late afternoon. He's sick to his stomach and has the flu. Dr Hanna explains what's going on.

"Stay home tomorrow," I tell him. I don't need to get sick.

It's rainy season. There's a downpour every afternoon, soaking the ground.

The dogs share a crate. I've never seen such a thing - usually dogs are very protective of their "cave" and won't let even their best buddies in.

Gypsy, terrified of the afternoon thunder, retreats into the crate and Cocoa hops in beside him. They snuggle together without a protest, sleeping until the skies clear. Cocoa's not at all afraid - she just likes company. Good doggy.

There's a Lion Air plane crash into the sea and all are lost. We pray throughout the day for the families left behind.

"When will you have the edits done?" I get an email from the point person of an academic journal. Oops, I thought I politely refused because I don't have time. Guess that didn't come across in my reply last month.

I spend 4 hours on the 29-page article, take a photo of each page, and send them to the editor. They will have to put my chicken scratch into the next version.

Without a driver, we're at the mercy of what's in the fridge. I bought 20 eggs last week but they're almost gone. (That's how much baking we do.)

So - let's try something new. How about a couple of egg substitutions? First, we try (per egg) 1 tsp oil, 2 tsp baking powder, and 2 Tbsp water. Then we try the same recipe with 1 Tbsp ground flax seed and 3 Tbsp water. The blender flings the dry seeds around without breaking them. Sorry, IbuA - she grinds the seeds and water with her old-fashioned stone mortar and pestle. (I don't want to muck up W's coffee grinder.)
Not bad - both kinds of cookies are ok, especially the ones rolled in cinnamon sugar. By day's end, we have heaps of spice cookies made for Sunday. You can't leave baking in a cookie jar: any gaps and the ants invade. Plus the butter goes rancid in a day or two. Into the fridge they go.
Imagine salad leaves, carrot shreds, and a few cucumber slices ... under rice, bean and beef soup. It's a tastier lunch than you might think, filling without a lot of calories.

The helper admits she likes the combo of crunch and flavor enough to try it sometimes at home, though her family thinks it's crazy. "Rice on salad? What's wrong with you?" Working for foreigners does that to you.

Tembi's off the the English Studio Center to help out with an afternoon class and have supper with the students. (Lucky gal - the center's boss Dony is an amazing cook.) Tembi is the Native English Speaker for pronunciation and vocabulary. She's smart, funny, and fun - the group loved having her and Hazel drop by last week.

Then she'll be hanging out with a group of young adults who have a great time every Tuesday night. They have food and discuss life at Josh and Clau's.

Meanwhile, the dogs are happy when the rain stops but Gypsy rolls his eyes when he hears thunder on the next hill. They run around and bark at anyone who tries to come into the yard.

Read more:
*The Lord said to Abram, “I will bless you and you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2

*Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Jeremiah 1:17

*Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:9-15

*Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:14-15

*Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

Moravian Prayer: Lord Father, teach us patience and understanding in the face of adversity, that we might respond to each encounter in a more Christian way. Let us be known for kindness, for it is the greatest tribute to you.

Almighty God, help us to live lives that set an example so others will see Christ in our actions. Bring us the opportunities to tell the Story, and the conviction to carry out the task set before us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.