Saturday, August 13, 2016

Consequences of dengue, a conference, and company

It was exciting to see new leaders voted in at an NGO conference this week. They open the door to building on tradition with fresh ideas and many prayers.
Batik day at the conference
It was also a sad week. Karen, a part-time instructor of English contracted dengue fever last week: I was at APTS in Baguio at the time, along with our international students. Karen was bitten by a mosquito and within a day of entering the hospital, she experienced continual seizures.

A week later, her heart gives up and she's gone. It's a loss for her friends and a reminder of our mortality. When the time comes, we get to go Home to our heavenly Father.

The trip from the Philippines is a van ride, 2 flights, and a car ride. 17.5 hours door to door. I leave the Baguio campus at 9:15pm. The driver pulls over into a rest stop and snoozes for a half hour. I'm tired. Tired enough to sleep part of the way. We coast through construction zones in Manilla, and make it to the airport by 2am. I talk to a retired military guy who is traveling Asia.

The flights are uneventful and I reach Bandung by early afternoon. W stops at Jonn Brothers food truck because I'm getting hungry. We eat burgers. After Thai food. Filipino cafeteria food. And airport snacks. Burgers taste good, even if they're not the style we're used to.

Two huge leaves drop from the trees near our table. In the tropics, leaves fall all year.

Monday, September 8.16
We begin with a Bible study. Then Dr H and I meet her friends at a historic building downtown. The Watercolor Society is hosting a show, and one of Dr H's friends has a painting in it.

Katie and Tirza arrive from Jakarta by train. We also pick up Pastor Rey from the airport in the evening. Mariska and Bart are already here. So we have only a few beds empty by nightfall. The islands (the Philippines and Indonesia), the Netherlands, Canada, and the USA are sleeping under one roof.

The conference starts this afternoon. We hear so much Indonesian. (Of course! ... this is Indonesia - with 1200 attendees.) I'm surprised by how much and how little we understand. Most of the time, I can use Indonesian for what I need but W is much more fluent.

Mario translates for the talks by 3 English speakers on Tuesday through Friday. He moves and emphasizes the original messages - we are amazed at his gift. Later in the week, tired and still going, he acts out a word he forgets - and the story is woven into IES Jakarta history. Baaaaah.

We eat together often - joining the IES staff, the Garrisons from Missouri, or President Joseph C of Northwest U.

We invite our friends over for an impromptu Open House. We live 3/4-1 hour away from the hotel, depending on traffic. One driver drops a group at the traditional market, another group goes to an outlet complex for discount goods - Bandung is the textile center of Indonesia.

I keep going up the hill, stopping first to buy eggs and flour at the grocer. I'm dropped at our house, to the surprise of the helper who is washing bedding. "I thought you were coming back Friday," she says. Well yes, a slight change of plan. She helps me bake several kinds of cookies. I arrange the baking on serving trays, slide them into the fridge (chocolate melts at room temperature here), and walk to meet the others at a neighborhood restaurant.

Then we come back to relax, hang out, and eat sweets with coffee and tea. Katie uses the Aero-Press to make everyone's coffee. Tirza and Isabelle pitch in to make sure there's a drink for everyone. Then it's back to work, voting, and building relationships at the conference.

The conference elects the first woman to serve on the national council. Our good friend Stefano will serve as the organization's secretary.

The driver shows up to take a group shopping. He drops me off at the market to buy quilting fabric. (Joanne's cotton @$10-12 is made here for $2-4). I'm done in an hour - and then takes me to join the rest at Hummingbird restaurant. The food is good.

The conference wraps up with two morning sessions. People seem happy with the results of the business meetings. This group meets every 5 years, so elected officials serve five-year terms.

By noon, we're packed, waiting in the foyer as Pastor Rey says his goodbyes. We stop at Aroma Coffee factory first. Our guests buy freshly-bagged coffee to give their friends on upcoming trips. Sadly, Aroma no longer gives  factory tours of their hand-roasting process.

Our mid-afternoon meal is at Porto. Then it's home. The guest beds have been freshly made, towels put back in the room, and we all settle in. Mariska and Bart (Dutch couple) are here as well. Our room is as we left it.

Someone has gifted W and me with a nasty flu. Our noses drip, our sinuses ache, and we have no energy. We wash our hands often and try not to touch anything that could pass along the awful symptoms. I stir together an easy bread dough. It rises while W shows the gals how to make soft cheese (queso fresco) from milk and a lemon. The bread bakes for tomorrow's breakfast of fresh bread and homemade cheese.

In the evening, W walks to Miss Bee with Tirza and Katie. They bring back crispy pizzas and tofu fritters (better than they sound.) We talk and pray together. I cry - which is unusual - but I'm greatly encouraged by the time we go to sleep.
Beloved city: Bandung

The young women are up first. By 6, we're at the breakfast table. W takes them to the airport at 7 and comes back with bananas and tissues. (Last night, I used up our tissues on my dripping nose.) My head is pounding. I hardly slept last night due to headaches.

Online, I call my parents and some of the kids. My dear dad's 84th birthday has come and gone. I finally get to wish him a Happy Birthday. W's mom is recovering from knee replacement surgery earlier this week. Life goes on without us.

Ibu A arrives at 8. She washes the stacks of dishes we rinsed and put beside the sink last night. She puts the bedding in the washing machine, and begins to iron as things dry.

W takes Pastor Rey to the airport around noon. Ibu A washes and cuts vegetables and cooks enough nasi goreng (fried rice) for all our guests. However, there are just the three of us at this late lunch, so she takes the rest home for her family.
It's a busy city, especially on weekends.
Today is a day for recovery. I can't bring myself to tackle anything on my long list of to-dos. It's a rare thing that W and I actually have an evening together. We've been apart most days in the past 3 months. We heat up leftovers from this week of meals and fall into bed.

Read more:
*May the Lord our God incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways. 1 Kings 8:58

*Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19

*Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish. Jonah 3:9

*When the Lord saw the widow, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” Luke 7:13-14

*If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

*His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3
Moravian Prayer: God of fire and flame, ignite in us a renewed spirit. Give us loud voices to sing your praise. Cleanse our hearts so that we may love deeply and forgive, as you have forgiven us. 
Loving Redeemer, you will never leave our side—we are never alone. You are our dear friend, Jesus. Lord, help us to be better friends to those who are suffering in our world.
Kind Shepherd, you lead us to life-giving water, to paths of righteousness, and to everlasting life. Strengthen us so that we may bring others into the fold. Amen.

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