Friday, July 17, 2015

What happens in a day?

Meetings and time with friends
May I explain a bit about our life in Indonesia? Perhaps some of you wonder, “What do you do?” or “How is it going?” and “How do you stay busy without office hours?” (Ah, yes. Yes we do have lots to do.)

·      We get up early, between 5:30 and 7am.

·      Breakfast: you might or might not recognize the food, depending on the morning. Sometimes it’s toast or bread and cheese. I bake bread that tastes better to us that the fluffy store-bought breads (think Wonderbread Light). During Ramadan we fast breakfast to remind us to pray for our friends and neighbors.

Video capture along the way
·      We read / study scripture together. This gives us a foundation for life, relationships, and lectures.

·      Our helper comes from 8-3. Her arrival always feels early. We’re dressed and have the gate unlocked. I make sure there is food to cook for lunch and give instructions for the day’s chores.

Note: A helper is not a mere luxury, hired "because I’m too lazy" to do housework. Why hire help to do the chores we've done?

Neighborhoods with history
1. Every household that can afford a helper supports a family. Hiring locals is an economic necessity. There’s no government welfare for the unemployed. Families work together to support each other. (Generations live together, and grown children’s wages pay for meds and special needs of aging parents, aunts and uncles, etc.) We buy more groceries than we can eat: extra food prepared for lunch goes home with the helper. In fact, not having a helper is considered greedy, as it withholds resources from a family that depends on them.

2. Here, helpers do much of the work our conveniences and household machines do at home.

There’s minimal prepared food available so most meals are cooked from scratch. Our helper makes lunch only. (Breakfast and supper are simple: I cook when we eat in.) We don’t have dishwashers or clothes dryers. Every food item and dish is washed by hand. All clothing has to be ironed. No one walks around rumpled unless they are homeless!
The neighborhood warung where a lady
cooks a noodles or rice supper for $1.50.

3. We learn the culture and language from our helpers. Indonesians are friendly and hospitable. We’ve been to family and community events at their invitation.

·      The driver comes at 9 most weekdays (negotiable). Many people have live-in drivers or have drivers who work from 7am until late at night. Our driver stays as long as we need him, whether for a few meetings or mails items at the post office, picks up parcels, helps outside, etc.

Our driver has a university education and speaks some English. He helps us understand the city and culture. Here, it’s not a matter of “run to the store” and come back to continue working. Because traffic is congested, an errand takes at least a few hours. A driver finds the most efficient routes, parks the car, and picks us up, saving hours each week. 

Having a driver not only provides for another family, but also protects us when accidents occur. Definitely not "if" but "when" collisions happen! Things work very differently here: liability depends on perspective rather than law. In the past, riots have started after foreigners were perceived (usually incorrectly) as at fault.

We were driving ourselves around until last month. The focus on the road meant time in the car was stressful and a waste of time. We still walk when we can and W drives many evenings.

·      The day picks up from there. We visit hospitals to see sick friends, have lunch or dinner meetings, speak to groups, or run errands. We prep courses we will teach. For university courses, we plan to study a minimum of 4-7 hours per hour of classroom time. That adds up to a lot of preparation for each 35-40 hour class.

Community kitchen
We host people at home. We have a lot of people over, and teams or families may live with us for days or weeks. A lot of people come over. This year, I’d guess 200-300 people have come here for meals. Sometimes the helper helps, but I usually cook – and when she’s gone, I clean up (sometimes with W’s help).

Thank God for a big house. There are several bedrooms upstairs. We set up a second kitchen so guests can prepare some of their own meals. (Or I’d just be cooking and cleaning rather than teaching or working!)

I love to fit a space to make it functional and beautiful. This house has the solid bones of a commercial building. As you’ve read in previous posts, it has been FUN to set up – d├ęcor is relaxing for me. It’s a relief to be here – after +7 months in a wooden house which was infested with termites. 

We’re not quite done – we need some beds, mattresses, and bedding, We don’t yet have dining chairs (we borrow stools from upstairs when we host more than 4 people) and we need other furniture. We carefully look for good prices and well-built items, bit by bit.

When night falls, the guava trunk
in the yard looks amazing.
We also have a lot of meetings in restaurants and homes. Here everything is built on relationships. We walk with groups twice a week (though often we miss for other meetings), lead studies, and host several weekly gatherings.

·      By evening, we’re tired. We’ve begun to sleep through the calls to prayer at 4am.

When we’re home, that’s how it goes. We travel to teach and speak and for visas. We are so glad to be here, loving the people and our city.

We're anticipating guests who will contribute their skills and services to the people of Indonesia. So, when are you coming?

Read more:
*Who are they that fear the Lord? He will teach them the way that they should choose. Psalm 25:12 ESV

*For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew
first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 ESV

*Follow God’s example as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us. Ephesians 5:1–2 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, you are our great example. Help us to love one another just as you love us. Amen.

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