Sunday, October 19, 2014

Homeward bound

Opa plays peekaboo with the grandkids
Sunday, October 19

He's back. Yay - Waldemar brought himself, tea, and a few other things from Seattle - including Christmas ornaments from our kids. It is good to have him back. I was in Jakarta while he was gone, for reasons of safety, security, and sanity.


After my day of language studies and relaxation on Wednesday, J sends a driver over Thursday morning to pick me up for Life Group. After passing through several security checkpoints,  we make it to Sally's lovely apartment and a warm welcome.

Flowers plucked from the yard, in a one-of-a-kind vase :
glass hand-poured over a little tree stump.
There's something about meeting with women. We share an instant camaraderie. These women are travelers who have roamed the world and encountered many world-views and curiosities. 8 of us gather around a beautiful round table to talk about living out our common faith. J is a natural leader and facilitator. She and S are a great team: our discussion centers around Jesus' request about inviting the outcasts and needy to share in God's generosity.

The papaya and mango cubes are delicious, and the spicy rice, wrapped in banana leaf, tastes enak-enak (totally yummy). The fruit here has overtones of flavor beyond the standard kinds we can buy in North America.

J tells me the driver has worked for the family since she was 14. Now her children are the same age, and the driver continues to bless them. The driver's son is doing the same. How cool! The older driver has me back at the flat before 2. I thought I was tired enough to take a nap but end up watching Indonesian and Korean TV (sound and story) and studying. Twelve hours later, I fall asleep.


Sometime in the week, Avery and I
have the old polish peeled off our toes
and our feet made sandal-ready.
Hearing Avery's heart for ministry and her call to God's mission encourages me. She's lives in the church-owned flat where W and I landed in Jakarta. For the week, while W's gone, I enjoy the clean space and deep sleep of nothing in bed but me. No bug falls nearby, no dirt lands on the sheets in the guest room. Ah - "sleep tight, don't let the bugs bite" is a sweet thought.

While W and I are gone, our helper and her husband sleep over at our place. They stay hard at work all week. He builds bamboo scaffolding so he can take apart, clean, and fumigate the ceilings. (They're as high as 17' high  at the ridge.) Every day, Ibu A will clean the mess that falls down. She also washes and irons our bedding and scrapes the hard-water stains from the bathroom floors and scrubs the dirt from our bedroom floor.

The landlord apparently comes by a few times. He is appalled by the live termites. (No, they weren't all dead as he'd hoped!) The leasing agents also swing by. Ibu A says they take pictures for their records. Good! We don't contact anyone at the house while we're away but let them work away. We'll find out the news - good or bad - when we get home.


PD preaches on the Prodigal Son with
Micha's creation as backdrop
There's time for a swim in the pool before heading to church around noon. The staff is wonderful: they share stories and advice about learning the language and starting small groups. Katie promises to share her 2-week intensive course notes. Mario reads our text in amazement: "No one speaks like that! We used those words back when I was in elementary school. They're so old-fashioned." Maybe Jakarta is hipper than Bandung, too?

The senior pastor's family and our friends the B's take exceptional care of us. It's the little things that stump us. I buy a big drink at Starbucks in the lobby because I missed lunch. However, Stephano B shows me how to order lunch through the church's helpers, who run down to the shops on the lower levels of the skyscraper and bring up food. Meanwhile, the worship pastor is hard at work on the stage design. Micha is full of creative ideas - I'm often surprised by what he comes up with.

Gourami fish at Senayan Restaurant
The service refreshes my heart. Oh the worship! Though I'm not a singer, the music always minister to me. (Click here to hear one of my favorites online.) Pastor Dave's message is on Luke 15 (about the lost sheep, lost coin, and prodigal son and his brother). He invites us into God's presence and then sends us as messengers of hope into the world.

Afterwards, B's take me home - but first we stop for traditional Indonesian food: chicken saté, gourami fish, a Javanese soup with crisp chips and roasted peanuts, garlic crackers, and rice. Indonesians know how to cook! It heartens me up to be with friends: I'm missing my husband.


W calls from the airport after 8am: he's landed and is getting luggage. I dive into the pool for a quick swim but forget to put in my earplugs. The foam keeps popping out of my wet ears so I manage only 20 laps and have to quit.

Volunteers (including Avery) participate in
a medical and children's service day in Jakarta
Before I know it, there's a knock at the door and there he is! Hurrah - larger than life and energetic: he slept on each flight and had no trouble at immigration or customs.

I debated all weekend: should I drive the car to Bandung or have the tired man drive? I make the decision based on this: "I only regret what I don't try. "So I hop into the passenger seat with the car key - oops - remember you'll be on the right side of the car as driver. Step out and get in the right side door.

It's a piece of cake. Traffic is comparatively light and vehicles flow from lane to lane. Sometimes it's stop and go. I have to get used to the tolls and I occasionally flip on the wipers instead of the turn signal. Weird. Wipers are on the left, signals are on the right. (W did the same when he first drove; he admits he did it again in Seattle after driving here.) But no problem. Who cares? And the windows are clean.

It's relaxing and fun to drive after 4 months of riding along. It's certainly less nerve-wracking to negotiate the freeways and winding neighborhoods as driver than as passenger! We're home in less than than 2.5 hours, even with zig-zag detours as directed by Waze (app).

Ibu A and Pak E have been working their hearts out at the house. Your prayers have brought this dear Sundanese couple to us. We could not have found better help. Ibu A and I agree with big smiles that we two are happier with progress. The house is sooo much cleaner. She kisses my cheeks and gives me a big hug because I'm so pleased. We say we are adik and kakak (little and big sisters, though I'm just a few years older.)

The curtains she washed and rehung have gone from dirty gold to a lighter shade. The only "crumbs" on the kitchen counter are from the kitchen cabinets where termites still rule. The cabinets need replacing, with or without the landlord's help. (If we and our mission partners have to fund them, we'll put the old junk back when we leave and take the new cabinets along.)

Pak E has built a frame for the sink and replaced the crumbling drawer, eaten away by termites in our bathroom. He's finished replacing and fumigating the ceiling in our bedroom, one living room, and the kitchen, and is working on the offices and other rooms. Nothing seems to be missing or broken. We give our helpers Seattle chocolates and tea, with a jar of peanut butter for their grandkids. And offer our heartfelt thanks. Much better than expected - or hoped. Onward - until it's done. Thanks be to God!

When Ibu A leaves, I snag a dozen guppies from the pond for our indoor fish bowl, arrange flowers in a vase we bought in Lombok (at the field retreat in July), and put up fresh shower curtains. They started as white sheets "painted" with Sharpee markers to cheer up the windows of my Seattle office.

We head to town at 3. I haven't eaten yet! and W had breakfast in Singapore at 6am. (If I don't eat breakfast, I am not hungry.) I enjoy a half dinner and W helps out by eating his and a chunk of mine. He's looking for a new doorknob for the bathroom (currently doesn't close) and new locks for the bedroom  (we've loaned out our keys while away). I pass 11,000 steps for the first time since W left Indonesia - and actually enjoy the familiarity of the little angkot public buses.

Lia shares beauty as easily as most
of us breathe in and out.
When W unpacks, it's a bit like Christmas. Jim and Sallee gave us two plastic bins last year so we could pack fragile things. W's included my dental retainer, bug repellent, and greeting cards from Trader Joes, amongst other things. Our kids put in a personal ornament each. (I brought only two silver hearts from home. They'd look lonely at Christmas! No worries now - we have enough for a small display.) Kim sends dot notebooks.  Sylvia sends home magazines and tea. Mom K's jam and my mom's cookies promise good tastes to come. Sharon sends chocolate chips. Other friends tuck a bit of this and that from home in: I'm overwhelmed by their love and the greetings W passes along.

Perfect shoes to go with other treats
When evening comes, I open the last package - from my friend Lia. It makes me smile just looking at the box. She is an artist through and through: even the package brings great pleasure! And inside = marvelous shoes, a Seahawks T-shirt, and a journal notebook. I've been keeping my eyes out for a guest book without success. This book is the PERFECT size and color. Every guest can enjoy it with us!

W turns the TV on to an Indonesia channel - and instantly falls asleep. It's 8pm. He did pretty well!! I'm up until 11. We have school tomorrow so we'll be up again at 5:45am.

Read more:
*Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NEV

*Thus shall you say to one another, among yourselves, “What has the Lord answered?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” Jeremiah 23:35 NEV

*Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17 NEV

Moravian Prayer: Father, help us to understand and accept your will. Open our hearts to see the many answers to our prayers that you have given us. Thank you for your spiritual presence in our lives and let us be living witnesses for Jesus. Amen.

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