Sunday, September 20, 2015

Testing the boundaries: small home invasions

A 2" caterpillar drops onto the porch
Anytime a person moves, it's natural to look for new rhythms of living. We note the influencers, the inspirations, and even the quirks of our new neighborhoods. Gradually we must also appropriately set boundaries that make life safer and more livable.

We've left one house behind for repair: that landlord is tearing out the roof and redoing the interior where termites and other critters have had free reign. We were happy to move. The new landlord, knowing that we are careful tenants, was pleased to have us shift over.

We like where we are now, with only an empty property between places. It's perfect for having company over. Still, we've recently had two strange encounters.

A mix of lots of the old with a few new things
= a home to share with others
Last month, we come home to find a photographer taking pictures in the house and around the yard. He says he is recording the condition of the place. Apparently, the landlord is using our house as collateral against his development loan.

The landlord's wife is in the driveway. Nope, they haven't asked us for permission but the helper has let them in in our absence.

We've done the necessary repairs so the house is in good order. But it's weird to come home to strangers inside the house - taking pictures - without asking!

We ask neighbors, "Is this normal for Indonesia?"

Oh no! they say. None of us would let strangers inside when we're away, especially without warning. Ok, so we're not off base.

Then, while we teach in Singapore last week, several people are let into the yard by the old gardener. They harvest our two clove trees, again without letting us know - before or after. We return, the trees are bare, and the cloves are drying at the other end of the block. "Someone" has given "someone else" money for the cloves (not us).

A walk through the neighborhood
is a learning adventure
After the second intrusion, we contact two groups: first, we ask the landlord to find out who has come and to put a stop to similar visits while we are away. Previous tenants no longer have access to the property, right?

Then we tell the helpers that no one is permitted in the yard or house without our prior permission. They have our authority to say, "Not now." ("No!" may be too strong for this culture.)

It's a steep learning curve, being polite and learning the rules of living. Any of our assumptions may be wrong as our worldview is turned on its head!

But half the fun - and the adventure - is finding out what's what. God is good and we know we're where we're supposed to be. How we love the people and this country!

Read more:
*Keep my steps steady according to your promise, and never let iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133 ESV

*Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. Jonah 2:8 NIV

*Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 ESV

*Do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 1 Corinthians 14:20 NASB

*I do not set aside the grace of God. Galatians 2:21 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Redeemer, you call us to a higher purpose than that which the world offers. Lead us away from the daily temptations that all too often become easy idols, and grant us the grace to claim your eternal treasure.

Divine Wisdom, lead us down paths of understanding. Keep our steps steady and sure as we seek spiritual maturity, and open our hearts to the teachings of your word. Amen.

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