Monday, October 17, 2016

Brandy for company and friendship

Saturday, October 9, 2016
Brandy Tuesday is staying here for 2 weeks. In the earliest hours of the morning, I wait an hour at the Jakarta airport while she clears immigration. We pose for a selfie in front of Kim CafĂ© in honor of our mutual friend.

And then we're on the road to go 160km (100+ miles) to Bandung. We're in the car for 6 hours. Traffic - even in the dead of night, is stop and go.

BANG - someone rear-ends us! The driver, shaken, goes outside to talk to the 5 kids in the van who were smoking and laughing (and dozing off) before they hit us. Luckily, Brandy and I are relaxed and chatting. And since we are all going 15mph, the back of the car is smashed to a mess but our necks don't even get stiff the next day. Thank God.

Indonesians "lined up" for the flight home
as soon as the gate announcement happens (Singapore)
We pull to the shoulder, in itself a dangerous endeavour. Indonesians drive in any space available - including a free shoulder. They could be flying toward us to pass a truck ... but God protects us. The other driver crosses with us and then keeps going. Though he's only 2 cars ahead when we pull back out, we can't catch him: traffic is solid. Oh well - that's expat life.

The driver can't talk for 10 minutes, he's so distraught. My breathing hasn't even changed: I don't get too excited in emergencies - more like my heart rate gets stronger and thinking gets slower so I can cope with calmness.

Drivers are alert for cars, bikes, carts, humans, ponies, etc.
On this narrow road, we will all pass safely.
"Bapak, it wasn't your fault. Pak Waldemar will not be angry and I will tell him it wasn't your driving that caused this accident. God has kept us safe and we are glad to be going home." Gradually his shoulders drop and his hands stop shaking.

Brandy dozes a bit - she's been on the go for a day and a half from Springfield to Narita to Jakarta. I'm awake the whole way: it's been a long +24 hours for me, too. Yesterday, I left Taiwan for Singapore and Jakarta ... before Brandy and I shared the long ride to Bandung this night. I'm not sleepy. At home, I check email and rest a bit, but I don't sleep until evening.

We're at the CMA International church, where Brandy introduces her doctoral project and asks for connections. By the end of the week, she's met with our contacts and made connections of her own.

We have lunch at the pastor's house after our Proverbs study at Bumi. It's CANADIAN THANKSGIVING - and the turkey costs $120. We chip in, of course. And everyone brings a few dishes along to share. Everything is homemade. Oh yum yum.

What a treat to be with other Canadians: we actually know what is expected and how to behave! We don't have to watch for political correctness or bad manners. Everyone relaxes and has a great time. It helps that Terry and Sandy are amazing hosts.

Monday - Tuesday
We start the morning by welcoming a newcomer to the Bible study at the house. While our friends linger with Waldemar and Brandy, I'm off to language school - oh my, incremental progress! It's a thrill ... and exhausting. By the time I get home in the afternoon, I'm good for nothing.

Brandy is settling in and making connections related to her work. I talk more the last few days with her than in our two years here. I'm essentially mute in Indonesia (except for writing). Language acquisition has been arduous, slow, and shallow - and no husband wants to hear everything rattling around a wife's head, right? (I may not have the gift of mercy, but I have been married for a while. haha)

Wednesday - Thursday
We host a big group of non-profit leaders from northwestern Washington - they come from the train station in the evening with overnight bags and jet-lag (they arrived yesterday in Jakarta). They are game for supper at Miss Bee.

In the morning, we walk in the neighboring hills. It's an easy walk and the sky is overcast - perfect weather (80oF). God stays the rain; it's the beginning of rainy season, so we are doubly grateful.

Then we eat at the Padma Hotel (Bandung's finest) with a view of the hillside just north of where we walked. Many of these guests are longtime friends. Conversation touches on our common goals for wholeness - spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. Each of us works with people who need healing, reconciliation, and God's peace.
Cooling the hot spices on the tongue with a fruit popsicle
A gorgeous valley below a long table
After lunch, it's time to send our guests back to Jakarta. They pile into 2 taxis and our vehicle - and off they go, back to the train station.

We have another Bible study in the afternoon. But W goes alone while I clear the house and make sure things are in order for whoever comes to stay next.

At 5am, W and I drive to Jakarta, and it's sure faster than Brandy's and my trip last weekend! Brandy stays behind, working and connecting to various outreaches.

W and I expect traffic to be beastly, but are pleasantly surprised. We are bemused by the signs on new developments in outlying suburbs: apparently you can go to Europe, Australia, Asia, and all the other continents without leaving Jakarta.

We arrive at IESJakarta Center by 8:30am. The group straggles in about 9:30 - they've made a stop at the Starbucks in the highrise lobby. It's great to hear from the various teams about what's being done in the city - and around the world.

Today a big demonstration is anticipated in the center of Jakarta, but it turns out not to be too disruptive. It's culturally normal for someone to pay demonstrators a small salary and lunch to air a grievance.

By late afternoon, W and I run a few errands. We are ready to crash at the hotel by 7:30pm. By 8, we pull up the covers and fall fast asleep.

W flies off on his citizenship errand and to a theology commission. Pak Entang and I drive back to Bandung in a mere 3 hours (+160 km / +100 miles.) He heads off home. I take a nosedive into bed for a half hour and then walk to our community center to join the arisan (women's neighborhood group).

The group of women is aging - and over 30 ladies attending vote to disband the arisan in favor of smaller interest groups who will meet occasionally and when the need arises. I've enjoyed meeting with them - it's the only way I have of seeing so many neighbors at once. They have funded a neighborhood park, contributed to various charitable causes, and existed for decades. And I'm there when they disband.

We leave the house at 6:15. It's the first annual "Clean Up Bandung" day - and hundreds turn out to grab a blue hat, protective gloves, and garbage sacks. We sort garbage and recyclables into separate feed sacks. Dr W, who is also participating, leads us back into our neighborhood and surrounding lanes to collect rubbish.

We almost fill 3 sacks - and our security guard does us a huge favor. He hauls the full sacks to the drop-off point on his motorcycle. Whew - they were getting too heavy and we've finished pick-up a kilometer downhill from the school depot.

Church is a casual affair - there's a film, music, and a talk. Afterward, Dr W and I walk back to our neighborhood. I drop off Gypsy behind our gate. He's tagged along on the clean up and been tied at the gate during the service. Then Brandy and I eat at Miss Bee. We walk home, ready for a quiet afternoon.

The Johnson family (Texans who moved into our previous rental during language school) drop by in the evening. It's great to see that they're flourishing in Jakarta. They love their new place and are able to converse and interact in Indonesian. Our dog Gypsy is ecstatic to see teenager Luke, who sometimes took him for a run while we traveled.

Bible study. Language school. It's a busy morning and early afternoon.

And when I get back at 2:30, the landlord has a crew of inspectors from the bank on site. (He's mortgaging the house for some project.) It's the fourth time but at least today, we are informed in advance. The helper has not let them into the house without us there. The crew takes pictures of every room and walks the property.

Tonight, Brandy has invited several people interested in working with marginalized women to the house. I dive into my room to decompress before evening comes.

Read more:*Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 ESV
*His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4 NIV
*Your kingdom come. Matthew 6:10 ESV
*This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV
*Proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2 ESV
Moravian Prayers: Wise Jehovah, time and time again you remind us that even your foolishness is wiser than our wisdom. Though in our humanity we cannot fully comprehend all that you are and all that you do, when we gaze upon creation we know that you alone are God Almighty. 
Father, let your holy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May your will for our lives manifest so that in all that we do and say we bring glory to your name. Amen.

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