Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Eye fur: who knew!

Saturday, April 30.16
Can it be the end of April? Yikes. It's hard to tell the months apart when it's always summer. Summer is our favorite season, so we're okay with that!
W models the batik shirt he got for teaching;
I have a beautiful scarf
Saturdays are terrible days to be in traffic. So usually we walk or stay in the neighborhood until Jakartans go home mid-Sunday. (They're often stuck in traffic jams on the way home. The 120-mile trip can take 8-10 hours on holiday weekends!)

The rainy season, which used to be -ber months (Sept. - Dec.) is still dragging on. At least part of each day is sunny and water dries off the roads quickly. As we walk, we notice how the rain is gouging out roads and yards. 

Drainage pipes spill neighborhood run-off into paved creeks. These gush and churn their way downhill with water, soil, and garbage. Between the drains cutting through the walls above the waterways, water for houses runs in long pipes. Everyone buys water for drinking. Cables and electric wires also hang off the walls.

The middle class is emerging in Indonesia, but there are still huge disparities between richest and poorest like everywhere in the world. Some houses are enormous. (The one above takes an entire city block, though that's hard to see in the panoramic shot.)

Very poor kampungs (villages) lie within easy walking distance. Houses crowd each other up and down the hillsides. Every spare inch is crammed full, with paved or dirt walkways of varying widths between. In many neighborhoods, there is no car access and motorcycles can barely fit between buildings.
A 20'-high woven wedding marker: someone's
getting married in the neighborhood
After church, we eat at Bumi with Dr H. She's chairing a fundraiser featuring top folk-dancers from Bali. The benefit is for victims of domestic violence, a worthy cause. We help with program notes for church and suggestions for their advertising bookmark.

Dr H comes along to the afternoon study at the Bamboo Shack: Genesis 40-41. As always, the assurance that God knows what he's doing - though we may feel abandoned or frightened - is welcome.

We ponder if Joseph could have had access to Pharaoh's resources - and provide food for Egypt and surrounding countries - any other way. What ups-and-downs in his story! The whole region would have starved without his gifts of leadership and administration. He began to facilitate food storage 7 years in advance of a 7-year famine. It is mind-boggling as we read the story of God's care for all peoples - and the personal and patient suffering of Joseph that brought God's provision.

We stop for a short hospital visit on our way home. Dr H's help is invaluable: she chats and translates for us.

Monday / Tuesday
Language school starts. My friends have promised to pray so we can acquire solid skills.

Getting there takes 30-40 minutes by car: more if traffic is bad. We have 3 initial days of language school before our schedule takes over, so they are determined to give us a good start. I'll take the resources with me on our travels.

W has advanced beyond me so we have separate classes. That way, I won't hold him back and I won't get confused in the "jabber" as he plunges ahead. Because he is quick with words, he usually jumps in and speaks to people while I stand by. (Like most spouses, I tend to "check out" when the other is negotiating or working things out.) So while he been accumulating language and practicing his words, I've gotten left behind.

This language method assumes that one should not be forced to speak before one has heard well. The tutor repeats words but we don't have to say them until they settle in our minds. We can ask questions at any time, and the tutors know enough English to explain or affirm what we think they're saying.
Words about tubuh (body) and hutan (forest)
After we hear a set of words, we take a picture of the items. We record the tutor's pronunciation as we point to toys and pictures or perform an activity. After we've finished one or two rounds of pointing, the tutor says the words in the order in which they appear in the picture. What a significant reference!

Tuesday, a friend and I catch up on a missed call. We hate to miss even one because it's so encouraging to both of us. Brandy and I are in steep learning curves and cultural transitions. She's calling from Phoenix this morning (her night). I leave our call ready to tackle another language session.
My lovely friend shares encouraging words
and cultural moments
Did you know that animal fur and eyelashes share a word (bulu)? Yup, eyelashes are "eye fur." Well, don't worry if that's new to you. I didn't know that until today either.

We go home after a few hours of one-on-one help, exhausted. At night and in the morning, we listen to the recordings and consolidate sounds. I grab my dictionary to make sure I've heard correctly. What a blessing! to begin to put words and meanings together.

"The house help will be happy that I finally know the word for sapu (broom)," I say, along with my thanks to the guru.

How will I remember sapu? I connect it to sapi (cow, which is eaten in the kitchen that the sapu cleans.) Sometimes I pause, closing my eyes to allow my brain to connect spelling, sound, and meaning.

And the dust pan? pengki, pronunced "punk-y". (Will I have to be a punk to use it?) Every word seems a struggle to remember. Hopefully, when words become stuck to an association and I can use them, they'll be mine for good. I'm so grateful for each one.

Read more: (ESV unless noted)
*I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Psalm 51:13

*I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord. Jeremiah 24:7

*Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:15

*“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” John 14:27

*Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

*Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead. 2 Timothy 2:8

*This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our
brothers and sisters. 1 John 3: 16  NIV

Moravian Prayer: Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy. When we seek the good news of the kingdom, you always show us how to let the Holy Spirit lead. Help us to put our trust in you for all your promises.

Father, you constantly remind us that you will never leave us or forsake us. Help us give our hearts to you so that you may fill them with your grace and mercy. Amen.


  1. So glad you found the new language class :) The person who helped me start learning Tagalog always said she thought of learning a language as a child learns. . .listen then repeat that word over and over till they have added it to their vocabulary. Praying for success. :)