Friday, July 29, 2016

On the move: guests and off to the Philippines

Saturday, July 23.16
Our dog Gypsy jumps over and around himself with joy when we come home. He fetches the ball, comes for head pats, and runs in circles while holding a leaf (his sign of happiness). He's now shared with the neighbor: when the husband went on a trip, the wife let Gypsy indoors and he hangs out there at least half of the time. Happy dog.

We spent last night in Singapore with friends who become more dear with every visit - in Indonesia or Singapore. Claudia made supper for her kids and the three came with us to Tampines Mall. The kids were happy to finish up their meal with a McDonald ice cream. A good Chinese Dim Sum was still serving upstairs at 8, so we three adults had that.

I forget to take pictures - we love the family and the kids are so much fun. We walk through the grocer at the mall and pick up brown sugar (for movie night baking), a liter of good olive oil, and red Thai rice that we can't get in Bandung. (Our friends here love that full-flavored rice.)

You can buy "any" food in Singapore. Since cultures blend here, most grocers carry Indian, Malay, Chinese, and Expat preferences. We fill the remaining kilograms of our carry-on luggage with the food purches and hope for the best at check-in tomorrow.

This morning (Saturday), J and C offer us a tasty breakfast of rolls, yogurt, and fruit. It's a precious time to hear and share vision for the future.

No trouble at the airport! Whew. I purchased a few baby orchid plants in Thailand and am worried that customs might not like that.

"You can't take those into the United States," cautioned the duty-free clerk in Bangkok airport, glancing at my new USA passport. However, since the orchids are inspected and sealed by the Thai authorities, they are accepted without question in Singapore and Bandung.

The Bandung airport has been completely revamped. Its lone baggage conveyer spits out our luggage without a problem. We get a Visa on Arrival, good until we have to leave to teach next week, get checked through immigration, and then stroll past customs, handing our form to the security guard.

We flag a taxi after wandering around a bit to find the new location of the taxi stand. The driver is chatty and enjoys talking to W, who is becoming fluent enough for basic conversation.

W leads the life group - they are enthusiastic learners of scripture and give him a warm welcome. It's the Sabbath: I rest up most of the day and don't check items off a list or "accomplish" anything. We have a busy week behind us and another coming up. Thanks to God, the only One who gives his people a rest instead of demanding more and more of his people (whether sacrifices, duties, or obligations).

The group at the house studies the resurrection of Jesus. Some of our discussion revolves around the question: "Was Jesus really dead on the cross?" Scripture records a similar question by authorities at the time, since they feared a scam.

  • Pilate sends the Roman centurion to confirm, not wanting there to be an escape or deception. 

"He's dead!" says this military leader. He has nothing to gain: he could be penalized or killed for lying. He's credible, too. By the time he becomes a centurion, he's not a novice: he and his soldiers have probably crucified a lot of criminals for Rome.
Orchids drape from a trellls and drip off the walls

  • The highest Jewish leaders bribe the soldiers to lie about the resurrection. They promise to protect the soldiers from retaliation: normally solders would be severely punished for an escape. They wouldn't make up the story on their own.
  • The amount of detail, told from several points of view in the gospels, is typical of historical eye-witness accounts. (If the Bible were a secular book by Plato or Josephus, the details would be taken as fact - resistance to biblical accounts is usually philosophical, not scholarly.)
  • Jewish myths would put men, not women, at the center of the story as eye-witnesses. (Women and slaves were not considered credible witnesses in that culture.) Yet God chooses women as the first to know about the resurrection of Jesus. An angel instructs the women to tell Jesus' disciples that he has risen. (Interesting.)
I'm working on the class that lies ahead. Finally, the unruly bits begin to stick together. I feel almost ready to pass along the information.


Katie, Laura, and Kaitlyn come from Jakarta. We pick them up from the train station and go for a late lunch at Porto. The restaurant serves Indonesian food and Western-ish options at a reasonable price.

We sit outside under the orchids and vines. The food is good - we haven't been there for a long time since it's on another hill. We talk about faith and work, while the servers eavesdrop to catch English words. We encourage the students to pray wherever they go. God cares for the poor and needy, and makes himself known to those who seek him.

Who is the little girl? We don't know.
This youngster sneaks into our photo
Bandung has a reputation as a tourist getaway. People drive, take the train, or fly in from SE Asia and Indonesia. They shop at Bandung's bargain outlets (clothing manufacturing), enjoy the beautiful scenery and cooler climate of the hills, and eat its delicious food. The shopping is wasted on me, sadly. Once I have clothes and household basics, my interest in wandering the shops dissolves. But it's fun to take others and watch them enjoy their time.

The two interns are heading back to the States soon. "Would you like to do a bit of outlet shopping?"

Oh yes they would, having been primed about Bandung by Jakarta friends. Even the most reluctant of shoppers - you know who you are, Katie, haha - find gifts for friends and clothing and enjoy the tropical setting.

I'm ready for sleep, reading devotions before clicking off. The green notification bar keeps popping up: W is updating our phone and data. I should have shut off notifications: they jerk my system into alert so that I lie awake until 2:30am.

Happy trails to yoooou!
We're up at 6:30. We played yesterday and so we'll work and work out today. We walk with the regular walking buddies. It's a lovely jungle path (4.5 miles / 7 km) in the hills above Bandung. Gypsy is delighted to be off leash and so am I - it's the first time in 4 months that I'm home for a Thursday walk.

The monkeys chatter overhead, scolding Gypsy who dashes up and down the hillsides to bark at the base of their trees. The wind ruffles the tall palm fronds and shuffles the enormous leaves on either side of us. It's peaceful. Perfect.

Katie climbs the tree roots (from one tree)
Bridges over waterfalls
We eat at the Bamboo Shack, near the base of the mountain we hiked and at the top of north Bandung. The food is good. The company is sweet. Bob, coowner, joins us and gives the gals a tour of a photo competition posted on the second floor. He's always a wealth of information on Indonesia and the shop is a popular hub for Indonesians and visitors alike.

A small but happy group study
We're home in time for a shower and nap. The house is quiet for an hour before we head out again. We have a study group at Bamboo Shack every Thursday at 4. Traffic is good: we're there in 20 minutes.

Today we read Genesis 47, marveling at Joseph's wisdom in politics, people management, and resources. What a gifted leader - but he wouldn't have been in place to save Egypt or his own family if he'd been faithless. He endured desperate times (the jealous hatred of his brothers, being sold into slavery, and false accusations that got him thrown into prison). Wow.

We drop Katie and her interns off at an English learning center. The liaison person is not there and the attendees are not sure who the gals are ... or if they're trustworthy. They talk and look around: would this be a helpful place for future volunteers?

I make a quick supper for W and me and pack my suitcases. Computer. Cables. Thumb drive. Notes. Oh yes, clothes. I'm traveling light: W isn't along with his tech gear, which can be bulky. I bake a loaf of bread and the house smells like a bakery.

W drives into town to pick up Katie's crew. They stop at Setiabudi, the biggest grocer for expats, to buy gifts for sponsors. They also pick up bags of Aroma Coffee beans, roasted in Bandung after the beans are sundried and then cured for 8 years. It smells so good.

They bring home a late supper of pizza and by the time we finish talking, it's 10. We fall into bed about 11:30. And this time, I sleep soundly.

I'm up before the alarm at 4:40. Katie is also awake, cheerful with her first cup of coffee as she sits on the deck. "I've found my favorite spot and it's so peaceful," she sighs, comparing the quiet to Jakarta's constant din. She'll be back to visit in a few weeks.

The view from the airplane door in Bandung
Look left and right when crossing the taxiway
We pick up the driver at the alley to his neighborhood at 6am. He hops in and negotiates traffic for us on the way to the airport.

The driver returns to the house for the women: they need to be dropped at the train station for a 10:30 trip. Meanwhile, W meets with his Friday regulars.

My flights - 2 hours to Singapore, a 3 hour layover, and a few hours to the Philippines are uneventful. I have to do some online training for an adjunct faculty position. I most of the two courses online in the Singapore airport.

Friday night, Manilla - with all its cars - flees to the countryside. We leave the airport before 7pm, so we're in traffic with everyone else. It takes 4 hours to leave the city and over 7 hours (total for 250km or 150 miles) to reach the seminary. The driver's wife is texting him as we drive on the highway. I ask if we need to pull over.

"No, she is texting but I cannot reply." He can only read what she writes? haha He gives us trying to text back after that.

He's a good driver. Sure, he passes semi-trucks on hairpin turns, swings wide in the lanes, and is sleepy. That's not out of the ordinary in SE Asia. He cranks up last year's pop from his Iphone playlist - I know most of it. Off and on, I ask a question to see if he's still awake. If one is inclined to carsickness or fearful, this would be hair-raising. But I have a good book I've been dying to finish. I close the last page before a final half-hour of switchbacks on the mountain road. The school sits 5300 feet (1630 meters) above sea level.

By the time our ID is sorted by security and the seminary gates swing open, it's 2:30am. I have instructions not to pay the driver. Oh oh, he says someone has forgotten to leave his fee envelope, but I explain that the school will reimburse him.

He drives me to the apartment, where he and a watchman hand me a key and bring my suitcase to the room. They disappear into the night. I sure hope he didn't drive back right away ...

Beautiful Baguio
I toss the suitcase on the bed, pull out PJs, and write a note for outside my door. "Please don't wake me until 11am." I'll need time in the morning to sort notes and resources in preparation for class next week. Without a pause to recalibrate, Monday will be chaos in my head. I'm asleep by 3:30.

Sweet dreams ... until 9:00. I work until noon. The college has left fruit and bread in the room for breakfast. I'm busy until lunch, enjoying the quiet and calm, so I skip breakfast altogether.

Outside my window, the view across the valley is stunning. The temperatures are cool, the skies overcast. "We had 20 minutes of rain yesterday," the driver had said. It rains every day; lightning was flashing across the skies as we ascended the hill last night.

Back in Bandung, W picks up two guests from Holland. She's Gypsy's first owner - and W says the dog goes crazy when she walks in the gate. Hurrah! Lucky boy.

Read more:
*With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. in your might, you guide them to your sacred home. Exodus 15:13 NLT

*The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1 NLT

*Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me. Jeremiah 2:19 NIV

*Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:11 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Gracious Savior, teach us your ways so that we will never forget your greatness or go astray. Plant seeds of your holiness and righteousness within us so that we will yield good fruit for your kingdom. Amen.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Terrific Thailand

Last week, we attended an excellent conference for non-profit workers from across the Asia Pacific region.
Standing at the taxiway in Bandung:
yes, they drive right by passengers.
Even the airport in Singapore encourages people to mind their manners.
Table inset at Changi Airport
Floating flowers
It was our first trip to Thailand (beyond stops in the airport, going elsewhere).

Thailand is beautiful, colorful, and welcoming, top to bottom.
Glimpse of beauty, walking by a boutique hotel
(fabric walls, faux flower chandeliers)
Even the street signs are pretty
Orchids. Everywhere. Every kind imaginable
Thais buy a spirit house (altars) for every corner, in parking lots, and in front of businesses and homes, hoping to appease good spirits, who - Buddhists hope - will see the food offered and scare away bad spirits. Here are a few of the hundreds we saw:

Even poolside is religious

Airport decor

Creative transport 
If you build it, we'll sit on it
3-wheeled taxis
 Electrifying solutions
Tangles of wires overhead
2 guys on a steel ladder.
Roadside statues
Stormy skies above the hotel
Tropical carpets underfoot
Statues outside an art gallery 
Royal navy ship docking on the coast
Night market seafood (5 huge breaded prawns@$1.50)
Time with international coworkers is the most precious gift of all. These workers love people and seek God's peace for the nations.
Thais venerate their noble family
with a plethora of photo signs and altars
We listen, discuss, eat, and pray about loving people and serving well. We ask God for favor and protection on the gatherings, orphanages, schools, universities, and other forms of compassion care.
A table at the seaside
We learn and evaluate. And too soon we disperse to our homes throughout Asia Pacific.
Whew: the "pimped" ceiling and walls in our airport van
Colorful seats on Thai Air
Thank you to the many friends who invest in the Asia Pacific region. You are our partners, our encouragers, and we treasure you.

Read more:
*We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds. 

You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity. When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.’”

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: he brings one down, he exalts another. In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.

As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob, who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up. Psalm 75

*Lord, your decrees are my delight, they are my counselors. Psalm 119:24

*Do not fear the reproach of others, and do not be dismayed when they revile you. Isaiah 51:7

*Jesus’ parents found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46

Moravian Prayer: Lord over all, help us to remember that we are all sinners, saved only by your merciful grace. Help us to resolve in our own individual hearts a sincere desire and need to come before you in prayer.
Most gracious and loving Father, Jesus was found in the temple listening and asking questions; let us, O Lord, also be found daily seeking your rich words of wisdom and truth as proclaimed in Scripture. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Movies nights are fun

Saturday, July 16, 16
Hard to believe another week is drawing to a close. I'm prepping a course, writing newsletters, and packing. We'll soon spend a few days in Thailand, before I teach in the Philippines in August.

Waldemar is still waiting for his USA citizenship interview. We're hoping it falls between engagements.

The line into the kitchen, almost through
What a fun houseful! I cook all morning, nap a few hours, and then W moves furniture in the afternoon.

"We've seen your house before," someone said a few weeks ago. "We were there for movie night." 

Um, in that case, they have no idea what the living and dining area usually look like. For movie night, we move the sofa, drag chairs around, fold up the big dining table (70" round), and toss floor pillows on the IKEA carpet. It's the only way to welcome in 40 people on movie night. 

The college kids sprawl here and there, the older people find a comfy seat, and we start with a feast. Here, everything happens around meals. Cooking for 40 or 50 is like cooking for 15 or 20 ... just more of it. 

The menu: 
  • Rice
  • A few loaves of bread, baked the night before
  • Sausages in barbecue sauce
  • Homemade meatballs (Mom's recipe - but with ground chicken and beef, no bacon or pork allowed)
  • Mixed vegetables in white sauce
  • French toast casseroles (egg, bread, sausage - except in the vegetarian part, cheese, onion, milk, vanilla, orange juice, spices)
  • Chicken wings (W made these, sous vide and grilled)
  • Part of the crowd
  • Taco lasagne (yum, Veronica)

At intermission, it's time for dessert:

  • An apple crumble (from Veronica, a wonderful friend, cook, and baker)
  • 6 kinds of home-baked cookies (from last week's 2-day baking spree)
  • Marshmallows (thanks to guest)
  • Fresh fruit - a huge bowl, chopped and doused with canned "tropical fruit blend"
  • A spur-of-the-afternoon chocolate cake

It's Kiki's birthday - we don't ask how many years, but sing for him, light the candles, and cut the cake during intermission.

His chocolate birthday cake is my first attempt at baking a cake here. After warming up for a half hour, our oven temperature hovers between 400-425oF. (That's after repairs to the rat-eaten lining, the non-working stovetop, and other "fixes.")

I occasionally prop open the oven door to get nearer 350o. The draft from an open door can't be good for a cake! But it doesn't fall. In the evening, it's consumed before I get to it = a good sign. I'm not a big cake-eater anyway. I'll sample it next time I bake.

Then the crowd leans back again for Groundhog Day, with this follow-up question: "If you could relive a day over and over until it's perfect, what day would that be?" We have a lively discussion after the movie. Waldemar prays over the gathering and we stand around and talk for another hour or two. 

For the first time, our helper works a late shift (3-10pm). YAY!!! we don't have to do dishes after our guesets leave. She is happy to take home a few bags of food for her family.

Bedtime for us, therefore, is relatively early: after midnight. Am I getting too old for this? Nah, tomorrow I can rest.

Our walk in the hills is canceled: most people are still returning from Ramadan visits with friends and family. 

Academics and resting. That's enough. The day flies by, punctuated by left-overs for meals, and prayers. Always prayers.

The world roils in turmoil. Refugee crises around the world stagger the imagination and resources of generous and concerned caretakers. The coup in Turkey seems over. We pray only for peace and live with God's peace in our hearts. 

Thanks be to God - who loves us and provides for his people.

Read more:
*You who love the Lord, hate evil! Psalm 97:10 NKJV

*For this is what the high and exalted One says--he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me--the very people I have created. I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways.

I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel's mourners, creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord. "And I will heal them."

But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked." Isaiah 57: 15-21 NIV

*Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; tThe fig tree and the vine yield their strength.

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you--the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. Joel 2:21-27 NKJV

*The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?"

Then Jesus told them, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, "May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea," and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it." Matthew 21:20-22 NLT

*For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 1 Peter 2:15–16 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Jesus, Master, whom we serve, we are wholly yours: bodies, minds, and souls. We desire to do your perfect will in our lives; we desire to serve you and others faithfully all the days of our lives. Amen.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ramadan 2016 ends

Friend-visit online: love this lady (and her cat is cute)
Tuesday, July 5
Guests drop by all week. It's polite to visit people and bring a small food gift: dates, cookies, or part of a meal. I do some visiting online as well.

We've planned a few errands but most shops are closed. Employees have left for their villages to spend the last two days of Ramadan, Idul fitri or Lebaran with their families.

W and I have forgotten to eat breakfast. By noon, we're hungry. I call ahead to make sure the cheap Chinese restaurant is serving food. Yes, they answer the phone and say they're open. We're on our way, after ACE Hardware to buy screws for W's repairs and a binder for teaching notes for my upcoming session.

When we pull into the parking lot, the restaurant is closed. Did I call a different location? Maybe, or ... something. The uncertainty of "what will we find when we get there" defies expectations, time after time. We shrug it off to eat at the restaurant next door.

Open house: always ready for guests
We can choose to "Boil" or "Grill", either a soup or self-sauté at the table. We choose the soup-for-two. Waldemar says, "Probably more filling." They have a delicious cooling avocado coffee drink to tamp the fiery chilis in the side sauces. It feels familiar: oh, wait! It's the Japanese version of Swiss raclette and fondue.

Hindus, Chinese Buddhists, and Westerners are eating at this time of day (2pm); Muslims will wait to eat until sundown on their final fasting day of the month.

Some restaurants stay open, with servers standing around on their regular shifts. But no foods are cooked or drinks served until dark. People make no apology about "mixing" church and state. Islam informs all parts of the life of its followers. We marvel at how shy Christ's followers feel about doing the same.
Monetary gifts are expected by kids:
resellers stand at the roadside near the banks.
They charge a small percentage
for "clean money," exchanged with used bills

We wake exhausted and sleep-deprived after a night of loud Loud LOUD prayers and popping fireworks. I take out my earplugs at 5am.

"Did you rest?" I ask W.

He shakes his head, "Wow, that was noisy. You?"

"I woke every hour or so and the volume was the same. Loud."

Our house is somewhat sheltered from mosque turrets and kampung (village) noise, but last night we heard at least ten loudspeakers in the neighborhood and across the valley, volume turned up to full blast. I don't remember this decibel level from last year.
"A month of blessing" ends
In the morning, the neighborhoods are empty and eerily quiet. Everyone else must be sleeping in. The dog strolls around with us, looking for companions. No such luck.

It's time to bake a few kinds of cookies. We try to keep goodies on hand since a lot of people come and go. The kitchen stays cool (75oF/ 24C). There's no kitchen fan but windows and doors are open to allow breezes sweep through the house.
Puff pastry cookies (before)

I'm hungry for Spätzle, homemade German noodles. (My recipe here.) The ingredients are basic. The process is easy: stir together flour, salt, eggs, a pinch of nutmeg, and water. Rest the dough for 20 minutes. Boil. Drain. Ohhhhh. So good. It's our taste of home while Indonesian families around us celebrate with their traditions and traditional recipies.

My hair is so annoying. I've cut it 4 times in the last 2 weeks, trying for a shape I can live with. That's it. I'm done! No wonder my grandma (same face shape) wore hers in a bun and refused to fuss. I'll be growing out layers to return to the usual cut!
grrrrrr! Hair fail
In the evening, DrH and her daughter Alice drop by. "We've cooked too much," they say.

They've brought a huge meal of rendang (spicy beef), potatoes, traditionally wrapped rice, tofu, eggs, and chilis. They - and we - have already eaten supper, so we bring out the tea and chat - and tuck the food into the fridge for tomorrow. Something to look forward to! We send them home with a plate of fresh cookies.

The night was quiet. We ask neighbors about it.

"Oh, the loudest night? The prayers and reading mark the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Idul Fitri." Ah. 

But last night was a night for sleeping. Makes us happy.
More pedestrians and motors (motorcycles) are on the roads as we walk Gypsy. Groups of ojeks (motorcycle taxis) with very old people, youngsters, and everyone between head to gravesides, where families will honor their loved ones.

Zoom. They pass us going to the graveyard. And zoom - they're already done and going home as we finish our walk.
Only the 10" spiders are busy: see the legs (those are not twigs)

I wonder if there's fruit in the jungle on the other side of the wall. We wander down to the green gate in the wall of the empty lot next door.
Open the door in the backyard
to a tropical paradise
The gate creaks open. We dodge, avoiding the nest of paper ants on the posts. Enormous (4-foot) leaves welcome us into a wild jungle of banana and avocado trees, vines, and overgrown paths.
Those are big leaves
The dog runs ahead. Whew: he bumps the web of an enormous spider that spreads across the steps. I see it quiver and slap the web out of the way with a vine. The spider is two hands wide.
A quick shot of the spidery monster. Glad I saw him before he dropped on me.
W follows me up the stairs and photographs the 10" spider
We dust off the webs and knock mud from our shoes back at the house. The feast DrH left behind yesterday makes a perfect lunch. The rice is wrapped in a traditional weave.

We spend the afternoon visiting. Our first stop is with the neighborhood secretary and his wife. They are hospitable and welcome us to their home, providing tea and cookies. They are kind, well-educated, and patient with us. W can chat and understand most of the conversation. I catch more than half, much more than expected. (I understand better than I can speak.)

We have a gift of thanks for the head of the neighborhood council. But where does he live? We've never been so we'll have to ask someone. Every village is divided into neighborhoods with their own elected councils and Pak RT serves as head for a year or two.

Hey, we're passing Albert's house - a friend from church. Is he in the same council group?

We call Albert from his gate and are welcomed in. More treats! His wife provides sweet tea and banana pie. Sooo good. We compare the receipts for garbage and security collections (services of the neighborhood council). The names are the same. Yay. Albert knows where the council president lives.

"I'll walk you down," he offers.

We talk and pray together before our walk together. No one's home so we walk back past Albert's and then home.
Gypsy is always happy to explore.
Night falls at 5:50pm as the prayers resound from the speakers atop the mosques, a cacophony of voices and desires.
Indonesian reality check: I love baths.
But our stone bathtubs were repurposed as ponds and
suspended over the drainage canal in the back yard
Read more:
*The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. Zephaniah 3:15

*Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Moravian Prayer: King of kings and Lord of lords, empower us to stand firm as we continue to await your return. Give us renewed strength. Keep us alert and equip us for standing up against the evils of this dark world! Amen.

C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain, on obedience and sin:
In obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam’s dance backward and returns.
Traditional doctrine points to a sin against God, an act of disobedience, not a sin against the neighbour. And certainly, if we are to hold the doctrine of the Fall in any real sense, we must look for the great sin on a deeper and more timeless level than that of social morality.

This sin has been described by Saint Augustine as the result of Pride, of the movement whereby a creature (that is, an essentially dependent being whose principle of existence lies not in itself but in another) tries to set up on its own, to exist for itself. Such a sin requires no complex social conditions, no extended experience, no great  intellectual development. From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the centre is opened to it.

This sin is committed daily by young children and ignorant peasants as well as by sophisticated persons, by solitaries no less than by those who live in society: it is the fall in every individual life, and in each day of each individual life, the basic sin behind all particular sins: at this very moment you and I are either committing it, or about to commit it, or repenting it.