Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wrapping things up. Again.

Jakarta lights up at night
 Wednesday, August 13, unfolds in unexpected ways. We planned go to the mall to check on an order and then head for church. Instead, we're happy to catch a ride with Pastor Dave. We meet another church planter for lunch at a Balinese restaurant. The roofless courtyard is fragrant with flowers and good food. It's always interesting to meet someone doing the same work in a different way. God seems to love using our individual gifts and personalities. It will be neat to see IES Bandung emerge, based on the people who come.

At church, I catch a catnap behind some furniture, while W figures out some things. Banking and money transfers are complicated; I'm glad he enjoys the process more than I do. We make a quick trip to get bags for packing and return to church.

Before 6, we head out with Dave to a life group. The home setting is lovely. Stone walls and floors, exquisite artwork, beautiful furniture to feast the eyes. Dave has brought bacon-flavored treats and chocolates from his trip to the USA to complement the dinner. The group mills around the table, catching up on their friendship. It's obvious how much they like and trust each other.

Tina and I, two meetings in two days
The video study is Towards Belief and tonight's topic is suffering as a barrier to faith. W and I enjoy the warm conversations about the life of faith. After the video, while W hangs out with the guys, the gals discuss the presentation and share how suffering influences us and pulls us towards a God who loves and understands us. We are home just before midnight, but I don't fall asleep until 2am.

We're off to a wedding on Thursday, our first Indonesian event. First we exchange emails with the dishes factory. Some of the items cannot be produced so I check the catalog for replacements. W has not yet heard from the person who has his phone, but it took a week for the buyers to contact us when mine went missing. So he is hopeful.

It's time to throw everything in bags and suitcases and get ready to move. W walks out to a neighborhood barber for a $2 haircut between packing.

We ride in and back to Bogor (south of Jakarta) with the pastors. In the hills outside Jakarta, the couple has chosen a stunning venue. The white slipcovers on the chairs, the petals dropped by two little flowergirls, the fans given as favors - and the cooperative weather. The rain holds off and the sun peeks through clouds that loom overhead.

Dressed for the wedding
I pull my trusty hat out and shade my face, as others are doing with their programs. We got instructions yesterday to dress conservatively. I should have asked Gigi, who looks chic in a cool and flowing outfit. Most of the other women wear sleeveless short dresses and have no problem with varying necklines. I feel overdressed in long sleeves and a black skirt pulled out of the suitcase. The skirt has long ties that I stick back into the lining. Ugh, the sides puff out and add 10 lbs. under the blouse. Ah well, at least I'm so well-covered that I'm in no danger of a sunburn. I suppose it's better to err on the side of caution, but next time I'll ask a woman for advice on clothing!

Yesterday we heard about an Indonesian tradition of marrying young people off when they became interested in each other. They are not necessarily expected to stay together and may marry and divorce several times before finding a life partner. It's serial monogamy similar to what is practiced in the US without the sanction of marriage.

Newlyweds Kristin and Jelly greet their parents.
In contrast, this bride and groom, in their 30s, have invited 200 guests to cheer them on in their lifetime commitment. She's stunning and elegant; he's happy and obviously in love. At the end of the vows and ring exchange, all the pastors are invited up to pray for them. They greet their parents after the ceremony, then head to a big table to sign legal documents. The official pronounces them husband and wife. The MC calls the various people up for photos while guests begin to eat from an abundance of food at the buffet.

We close out the day with several families who meet at the Sport Stube, a German restaurant owned by a church family. It takes us over 1 1/2 hours to get there but it's worth it. We met Patrick and Tina last night in life group - what a treat to see them at their restaurant. The food is fantastic and genuinely German tasting. The Rotkohl (red cabbage) is as good as ours at home, slightly crisp, aromatic with a hint of cinnamon and cloves, and deeply colored. We order J√§gerschnitzel and Zegeunerschnitzel (variations of cutlets) that are far above expectations. Patrick lived in Europe and his perfectionism shows in the food and decor. Oh yum.
Isabelle and Gigi - a true mother-daughter team

W and I finish packing. We're off to Bandung in the morning. He'll ride with the mover; I'll take a shuttle to Bandung and a taxi up to the house. Can't wait! We call our folks at home as night comes and midnight slips by on our side of the planet.

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