Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jakarta and more Jakarta

What an interesting week. We are wrapping up our second conference and have one more to go.

Saturday, May 23
I am sicker than a dog when we drive into Jakarta and should be resting instead. So weird: I rarely become ill, but I got sick after arriving in Seattle and here we are again. This time a bad cold leaves my throat raspy all week. I hack and cough as though I am on my last breath. Very annoying, especially since my energy level is so low.

Suckling pig
We arrive at the apartment where David and Paula S landed from the USA two weeks ago. They welcome us to their guest room for the next few days. W goes out for coffee / supper with them in the evening, while I just can't wait to crawl into bed and sleep.

Everyone else goes off to church. I'm happy to stay home and quiet until the big celebration of the day: Isabel's graduation party. The lead pastor's daughter has finished high school and over a hundred guests of all ages squeeze into the reception rooms downstairs to cheer her on. Isabel won top student awards in maths, theatre tech, and English in a school of smart kids.

A huge buffet, two suckling pigs, and desserts galore - including real! brownies and key lime pie - provide the feast. The lights sparkle around the newly renovated swimming pool. The conversations hum and swell. It's fun to hear the speeches choses to outline different interests and times of Isabel's life. She's a bright girl, hard worker, and nice person. She's easy to celebrate!

Monday - Wednesday
We're up and out early. While David is golfing, we take Paula around neighborhood to some of our favorite stops. Lunch at a little cafe in Cayenne (mid-century modern furniture store) is good: paninis, pastas, salads. We head home for a pause before the week ramps up: Paula's still getting over the 14-hour time change from the Pacific Northwest and we're coming off a busy week and weekend.

The first NGO conference starts at dinner. The speakers are established leaders from around the world. Attendees come from Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, India, and elsewhere.

Wednesday night we head to the Aryaduta Hotel, a converted condominium tower where the second conference begins with a supper buffet. I head straight for the soup, soothing my throat with a spicy chicken broth.

We've truly left our identities behind in Seattle. As one of the older couples, we're generally avoided by the 20-30-somethings of this vigorous working group. It's great fun to watch the singles chattering to each other and the couples with young children negotiating their way between sessions.

The conference gives us a chance to get to know who's here. We sit back, observe, and learn. The participants are spread across the islands of Indonesia so they tell what they're learning about different people groups and customs. Every location is full of joys and challenges. Many attendees are recent arrivals like we. Others have lived here 20-30 years. We consider: how can those with resources or skills best benefit the locals, local needs, and local agendas? What kinds of non-profit start-ups and ongoing projects are the most meaningful and helpful in the long run? How do communities change and grow?

By 5:45 a.m. the sun is rising and Jakarta is humming.
The traffic buzzes around us. Jakarta is hot (80-90oF) and muggy. The architecture that's sprung up between neighborhoods is stunning. Everywhere we look there are "famous architect" high-rises and it feels like the city has 100 malls. Down the little passageways and lanes, house and tiny shops cram together. We loved living here for the first months but are happy to live in Bandung.

We wake before 5 a.m. and it starts to get light before 6. Another day is about to begin.

Feeling almost human. What a relief!

A city under construction: the view below our hotel window

Read more:
*The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2 NIV

*Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. Psalm 23:6 ESV

*Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Psalm 119:105-108 NIV

*But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 ESV

*God who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Romans 8:32 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Our lovely God, your mercy surpasses all understanding. It is only because of your mercy that we live. We do not deserve such love, but you give it to us anyway. Thank you for sending your Son to die for us, that we may be released from sin. Amen.

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