Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monkey business and movie night

Good times with friends
Wednesday, September 30:
We host friends for the monthly movie night. We are missing quite a few regulars who are traveling, sick, or had other appointments. But gradually the house fills up as people arrive after work.

I've cooked the usual: a meat dish, veges, rice, and two egg, cheese, sausage, and bread casseroles that seem to be a favorite. I love that young people can eat like there's no tomorrow.

We watch While You were Sleeping, a romantic comedy. We mix the genres: last month we saw a "spaghetti Western," a cowboy movie shot in Italy and Spain. W asks the young people which they prefer.

Amaryllis stems from the garden
"Oh, tonight's romance," they agree.

We find it difficult to choose a suitable film. Our wish-list includes: a wholesome theme, minimal swearing, and no sleeping around. Our search emphasizes the decadence of Hollywood culture. We rarely score on all points.

Kirsten is too sick with the flu to join in. The rest of us eat, watch the movie, and pray a blessing on the group.

Half of our guests have left by the time we remember to snap the photo (above). We send a lot of food home. The leftovers, cooked rice and some side dishes, go to a poorer family via a guest. How grateful we are for enough food to eat and share.

Through the open window: we give a few coins
to  the monkey's handler.
Jakarta has driven to Bandung. We are a common weekend destination. Bandung is the outlet and fabric center of Indonesia. But I've done almost no recreational shopping since we moved here.

Street vendors try to make their money on the weekends. Traffic is stop-and-go, so we rarely venture into town Saturday and Sunday.

Ok, this is a new one: a woman wanders by with a dusting wand. She offers to dust our car as we wait for the traffic light to change. At one red light, a monkey walks on tall stilts and rides his bicycle for the amusement of drivers and revenue for his handler. As we're stopped in traffic, there's a steady stream of sellers: shoes, bags, food, team gear. They walk around the motorcycles that are squeezing between lanes of cars.

A 4' orchid blooming under our trees

Kirsten has been ill. She wants to get out of the house after a week with "traveler's curse" and a cold. By the time we get to the outlet store, she's queasy. I ask the first attendant we see where the toilet is: Kirsten runs to the back of the store and heaves the contents of her stomach.

I call the car to the front entrance, but Kirsten is feeling slightly better when she emerges. "Maybe I'll look around before we go home," she says.

She manages to find a few things. We cut short our shopping trip when Kirsten runs out of steam.

Our 4-year-old granddaughter in Seattle has discovered the movie 101 Dalmatians. Our shopping task is to find 2 stuffed doggies for her and her brother. (We look for gifts early so they are delivered for Christmas.) Success! Two trips to the same shop and we have our Dalmatians.

A little doggie by the fish
I prop a stuffed animal by the fishbowl in the living room and send our grandkids a picture. Little connections mean a lot while we're so far apart.

Every month we swap a dozen platyfish from the 5-gallon bowl with outdoor fish who feast on mosquito larvae. Outside, they swim in 2 bathtubs filled with bullrushes, water lilies, and swamp plants. The fish need no filter, no heater, and no lights. This is the tropics, and they're native to this climate.

Old house eccentricity: we have no bathtubs in the house. They were relocated to the backyard by the time we moved here. I got some fish from the neighbor: otherwise we would be eaten by mosquitoes breeding between the plants in the tubs.

W had to install an indoor shower fixture. The previous tenants used two taps and a bucket (mandi) in the modern shower surround. Mind you, the hot water is still iffy because the heater pushes water +22 feet (7 meters) along an outdoor wall to the bathroom. When water pressure is low, the heaters don't function. (I skip showers on those mornings.)

Ingredients for spring rolls

Yesterday I was craving fresh food. (Fried food is the norm.) W helps me fill Vietnamese spring rolls. What a lot of work! We make the whole package of 25. We eat them for supper - and today the helper has some while we shop and we finish them off when we get back from shopping.

Church is refreshing. We meet up friends, both churched and formerly unchurched. We've met so many people on our walks, in studies, and around town. The culture is friendly and welcoming. How blessed we feel to be here.

We are burdened for this city, that we come to love and know God together and serve him with all our being. In the night, we often wake praying. Our friends around the world do the same.

As we listen to the calls to prayer echoing from the minarets several times a day, we ask the Spirit of God to open hearts to Good News. God is great!

Read more:
*Behold, here I am, let the Lord do to me what seems good to Him. 2 Samuel 15:26 ESV

*Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant, and to the plea of your people Israel, listening to them whenever they call to you. 1 Kings 8:52 ESV

*I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters. Psalm 22:22 ESV

*Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. Matthew 7:7 ESV

*How are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? Romans 10:14 ESV

*If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. Romans 14:8 ESV

*I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you. Hebrews 2:12 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Father of all earth’s children, to you the glory! May we never be silent in our love for your holy word. Let us remain, against all fire, sword, and wind, in your blessings.

May we for all eternity be yours, made from you to return to you. May our lives, through our thoughts, words, and actions reflect the light you brought to the world in Christ, our Savior.

O Lord, hear our prayer; not in our own strength do we move. Let us become living witnesses, reaching to you. Savior, may we hear your call as instruments of your compassion and truth, and as ambassadors of reconciliation. Amen.

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