Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A new president for Indonesia

Guppy bowl
Today it feels hot. We haven't started the wet season yet, though it's usually here by the beginning of October. Weather is measured by "dry" and "wet" seasons. Temperatures are similar year-round.

When we first moved in, the landlord donated a few dozen guppies for the basin outside. They eat mosquito larvae. When we get home from a trip, I catch a few for the bowl in the house. We bought an 8" LED light to keep the plants alive but didn't bother with a filter. I dump them back into the little pond when we leave. They're doing their job and they must be happy, having more than doubled in number.

Monday, October 20

From the BBC: the President's trademark hand gesture
Indonesia officially swears in a new president, Joko Widodo (popularly called Jokowi). He will have to balance the interests of the people with the decisions of entrenched politicians. We've watched other politicians and it seems that demanding change - without enlisting political and wealthy peers and ignoring majority interest groups - is guaranteed to polarize rather than unite a country. We're praying that God gives this new leader great wisdom during his 5-year term.

The inauguration day is a delight: it includes a swearing-in ceremony, prayers, parades, celebrations in various parts of Indonesia, and the cutting of a traditional cone of yellow rice, which Jokowi serves to people he's promising to help. These individuals represent groups without empowerment in the past, including single moms with kids, the poor, and islanders far from government halls, like those in Papua New Guinea. His campaign volunteers stream into the streets to cheer him on, while TVs serve as focal points for those who are unable to attend in person.

Tumpeng: a traditional way to honor guests
Miss Bee's Restaurant prepared for Hallowe'en
This evening, some gals have brought their girlfriend to our local restaurant, probably to celebrate her promotion or birthday. They paint her face with ridiculous makeup, wear silly hats, and have a happy noisy party at a nearby table. W snaps some pictures as the gals giggle together.

Waldemar hooks a mosquito net above the bed before he falls asleep at 8pm. He wakes again for an hour at 10 and then sleeps until early morning. I have another restless night.

The security guys bang on the metal fences each time they do their rounds through the neighborhood. At 3am, the local mosque begins a chant and before long the hillsides resound with the echoes from other centers. We pray when we awaken - for the new President and his team. For the peace of Indonesia. For great favor with nations around the world. For the safety of our neighbors. To be able to share and live out Good News.

Ikea fabric clips and sheets=new curtains
to replace the dirty gold ones

It's nice to wake up to clean curtains. When we moved in, I washed the old ones, an ugly gold-ish color that never cleaned up.

Now, with the bugs temporarily banished in our bedroom, I can start to inject personality into the decor. W brought back IKEA curtain clips that our kids picked up for us. I'd purchased extra flat sheets at Zara Home last month.

The solution to an ugly window? Take down the depressing drapes, make a quick measurement, fold down the top of the sheet to get the right curtain length, and clip on the hooks. The hooks fit through the existing curtain rods. How easy. There's no cutting. The room feels much cheerier.

Cool "slippers" for miles of walking. Thanks, Lia!
Language school starts at 8 as usual. Ibu A arrives before 7am, just as we are leaving the house to walk 1 km to the main street. We flag down the bus and hop off where it turns. We walk another 2-3 km to school. I'm wearing new sneakers from Lia. Oh my - I rarely find a shoe that doesn't rub a blister into my feet the first time around. Not these! It's like wearing supportive slippers.

We do a lot of review in class today. What a relief. We're actually starting to remember some of the words.

"Be happy. You can talk in sentences," Guru Josie encourages us. "You couldn't do that a few weeks ago." True.

Meanwhile, Ibu A has made a delicious lunch with baked chicken breast, green beans, rice, and papaya. She eats with Pak E in one kitchen while we eat at the main table. It's a bit weird but our expat friends have strongly warned us not to demand that they eat with us: doing so is not honoring to them or us.

She tells us our landlord has informed her husband (the carpenter repairing the house) that he must finish repairing the house this week. Today, Pak E is replacing the rotted beam on the garage ceiling. It holds up the roof so we haven't been able to store things in the garage attic: there's been a danger of the roof collapsing. Pak E is not allowed to do the two wings (4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a kitchen). I guess we'll be negotiating to pro-rate the lease agreement for next year accordingly. The work has to be done and the carpenter seems to be hardworking. He's done a good job so far.

Ibu A shares a cup of chai with us - oh what yummy tea from W's sis. When W returned, we sent a box of Peppermint Tea home with Ibu A. She tells us she likes Trader Joe's Peppermint Tea as much as we do. We browse through the pictures W took at her nephew's circumcision party a few weeks ago. We'll make copies so she can have them at home.

It's such an honor to pray. To think about how we can serve those we are getting to know.

Read more:
*To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame. Psalm 25:1-2 NEV

*Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14 NEV

*I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8 NEV

*The Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost. Luke 19:10 NEV

*I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ-for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Seeker of the lost, grant us the courage to rise out of our comfortable pews and go into the world sharing the good news. Send your refreshing spirit upon our churches that we may add to your kingdom. Amen.

C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
‘Niceness’—wholesome, integrated personality—is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.

For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders—no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings—may even give it an awkward appearance. ...

Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him. But in the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works. Every addition to that body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them. Cutting off a man’s fingers would be an odd way of getting him to do more work.

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