Sunday, December 4, 2016

Enjoying life and hard work

Flowers plucked from the yard
... ah, December. We walk back from church today with short sleeves - and no rain falling, happily. We thought it would be weird to have good weather year round. But now we can imagine Christmas without cold weather gear. We treasure the beauty of Indonesia, glimpsed between our work and meetings.

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Waldemar is home after teaching in New Zealand. It's nice to go to church together. Many gals, including me, have cooked and baked cookies for the Christmas bazaar (raising funds for charities).

A food truck pulls into the parking lot to serve hamburgers. After our small group, we eat together at the church instead of Bumi.

Cookies for the bake sale.
"We don't get enough time to talk. We want more time with you." So the study moves up a half-hour and everyone arrives at 9:30am.

I hop into the car at 11:15 as usual: I have language school right after our study. Today the words tumble around in my head. Some days my head is clear and I can remember a lot. This is not one of those days. So we review and I wonder if it was worth going! Ah well, consistency matters in language acquisition - and the tutors get paid by the class.

New apartments
On the way home, I marvel at the buildings being erected on our hill. Not only is there no environmental mitigation, but there's no upgrade in roads either. It was already chaotic and crowded: how will the addition of so many units affect traffic flow?

"It can't be good," sigh our neighbors.

I meet the lecturer of an English class - I have all the things with me that I need for the class. Except that it's a face to face coffee chat in anticipation of the class tomorrow. Oh. I missed that. I get a tour of campus (beautiful, well-kept, with about 10,000 students.)

Then it's back in the car and driving across and around the hills to home. Because of traffic, "little trips" like this take most of the day.

Class is fun. The students are having a year-end party to celebrate the end of the term and prepare for the exam next week. They ask me questions about American culture, families, and education. What do I know about the USA? I'm not native but lived there for 30 years.

Hope they get a good impression of the USA and its systems. They're astonished that American parents don't want to live with their adult children (or the children with their parents.) They can't wrap their heads around the idea of "independence at 18" or abandoning responsibility for their aging parents.

"When we live abroad to go to university, we expect to come back to take care of our families," they say. The family sacrifices to send them but the graduates will pay back their generosity by (hopefully) getting better jobs in Indonesia. Their salaries go to help the extended family.

Camera propped in a tree: still clean when we start
Our walk on Gunung Batu (Stone Mountain) is without rain. However, the downpour yesterday saturated the clay trails and slicked the moss on paved paths and the steps of the villages. In the jungle or walking the grasslands, we dig in the walking pole: we're slip-sliding but not falling. By the time we are done (3.5 miles), we are muddy from a short climb up a mud-bank. Without mishap, it's a good hike.

The spectacular views provide an opportunity to pray for the peace of Indonesia - and the city we love, far below.

From one hillside to another: a great trek with the city beneath
We end the morning at a new "Bird and Bromelia" park. (Yes, that's how it's spelled. The owners left the "d" off the park's name, though it's on many of the signs.) Birds fly freely above the netted walkways. Owls and parrots are chained to perches by day and released into large aviaries at night.
Potted bromeliads make a stunning peacock "tail"
Worlds within words: blooms in the middle of plants
Another picture?

Gloved for jungle birds
and birds of prey.
What an amazing selection of owls.
Back home, we shower the dirt off and head right back out the door to a Bible study. It's God's timing again: our needs are addressed by the reflections and met by the godly counsel of the group.

It's such a relief not to have to scramble to language school this morning. (Class is now scheduled on Wednesdays, not Friday). I still have an early conference call, a seminar, and then chores. I'm getting ready for the Saturday group as well. I make a simple mango chia pudding and tempeh bacon. W is plugging through a theological lectureship. He works steadily in his office.

In the evening, we have dinner with the pastor and a friend from the international church. "All you can eat" Korean buffet costs $8.50 a person. The owner keeps bringing strips of beef and we load up on vegetables for the little iron grills. We dip rolled meat and fish balls into the soup.
It's our turn to host the "back to the Garden" small group - the purpose is to be good stewards of our bodies, relationships, and resources. We're encouraging each other to use simple ingredients and promote healthy lifestyles.

We read about "The God of the Feast" from Deuteronomy 14. Usually, this passage of scripture is taught to encourage giving.

But we note that God encouraged Israelites to travel and celebrate with extended family. He told them to purchase the foods and wine they loved at times whenever couldn't make it all the way to the celebration cities. What a wonderful social God!

Co-presenter DrW has come down with shingles. So awful and painful. She still sends a health juice (plums, mushrooms, barley, palm sugar, and kidney beans) and compost from her neighborhood project. I bake bread, whip the kefir from 2 meetings ago into a smoothie, and decide to add spices to make kefir cheese. It's pretty runny - more like a dip than cheese block. 

W demonstrates the little water filter that provides us with all our drinking water. We haven't had to purchase water in ages (it's $1-$1.50 for a 5-gallon bottle, but still...) We're used to the continual drip-drip of the filter in the back kitchen.

I show them how to stir up the next batch of bread and pass out recipes. The chia pudding is a hit and the warm bread is eaten. And everyone happily takes home a bag of compost! Thanks, DrW - we missed you.

Smouldering leaves and dancing flames - untattended
On the way to church, we see one of the strange sights of Indonesia. Someone has started a fire beside the street and left. This is common: burn rubbish, leaves, plastic, etc. and you can get rid of garbage as well as smoke up the neighborhood. No one is watching - and a stack of wood lies nearby.

A baby dedication means the child's family intends to raise the child in the Christian faith and in the Christian community. We celebrate a lovely little girl and her family this morning.

It's the children's Christmas program, too. The chairs are arranged so that the children act out their parts in the middle of the sanctuary. It's creative and everyone feels like part of the action. The kids do a great job. As a bonus, someone has brought 2 birthday cakes, along with ice cream sundaes.

Our Advent Refuge (small group) meets to discuss Luke's account of the birth of Jesus. My mom calls in the middle of the session. We've missed each other for over a week, so I slip out to take the call. I'm relieved that all is well.

The hamburger food truck is back. The group decides to sit on the floor of in a traditional hut and eat rather than going elsewhere.

While I write and read, W makes a quick trip to town.

Read more:
*The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:26
*I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. Matthew 3:2
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Romans 15:13
Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 1 Peter 5:14
Moravian Prayer: Prince of peace, whether waking or sleeping, we know that you are with us, sustaining us with your perfect peace.
Loving God, you are the source of our joy and peace. We believe because of your gift of Jesus Christ and your gift of faith through the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Amen.

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