Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Endings and middles

Funeral flowers line the street
Sunday, January 15, 2017

A well-known person who lived nearby has died. Huge memorial placards filled with flowers line the streets.

When we walk, the streets are filled with men leaving the memorial at his house.
Leaving the neighborhood memorial

Monday plus
Josue, Claudia and their kids have found a great house. Today they move into it, painting and getting it ready for company. Our house feels quiet with Waldemar in the States. He completes his citizenship process and returns by week's end.

Once he's back, we connect with the landlord to begin negotiating the lease on our place - little by little things fall into place. We have the Bible studies, the gatherings, and other routines between.

What a glorious walk in the hills. I have grown to love the group - and the scenery refreshes, even as our bodies are challenged. Each week, I'm grateful for the health that allows me to hike up and down without a problem.

Japanese-style cakes
David and Paula are with us for the weekend. They arrive Friday night and stay through Monday morning. What a treat to have faithful friends who understand what it's like to transition across culture. And they speak English. My heart unclenches a little with each conversation.

Waldemar and I have to shoot a video for partners back home. I write a simple script, but the paper flaps in the wind, the camera bobs, and we look like deer in headlights. We do it and redo it a few times before saying, "Enough is enough." Our helper also does a short clip in Indonesian. We send it off. Chop chop - glad it's done.

Pak Entang has agreed to drive us today. He has to head home to visit with his family at 5, so we get an early start, driving up winding roads to a floating market. 

 The koi swarm the docks where the kids feed them.

Colorful little boats are tied to docks in this lake above the city. They're filled with food. The shops along the pathways are lined with souvenirs. Families stroll, paddle canoes, and play on the edges of the water. The kids' amusement area is crammed with little ones. There's even a swimming pool - two pools actually, one a separate "ladies only" area that boasts a few naked tots playing while their moms swim in full Muslim bathing suits (covered arms, chest, and legs).
The floating market - colorful little boats with a cook in each one
 Many walkways and docks line the lake - this one is a photo studio. People dress in Japanese costumes and get their pictures taken.

flower petals in a floating pot

Wayang (puppet figures) are traditionally used to share stories and folk tales

Beautiful wood carvings in the roofs of the traditional eating houses
Sunday (January 22)
W teaches the first session of Christian Thought at Green Gate. It is well-attended and he is in his element ... teaching.

We have lunch at Bumi and relax in the afternoon. Paula and I snap pictures galore - but forget to shoot our group. Oh well.
colorful bicycles waiting for riders
It's our first IESBandung team meeting. What a pleasure to pray, talk, and plan with Josue and Claudia. Their kids are in school, happily getting to know the kids in their classrooms.

Afterward, Claudia and I head to the Pasar Baru (New Market) in the middle of town - 7 storeys of fabrics, clothing, food, and crafts. It's actually a massive warren, aisle after aisle of shops, frequented by tourists and locals - with very few people who look like us. (Actually, I don't see any.) Claudia is fluent in Indonesian and bargains for fabric to redo the pillows in her new place.

In the evening, I make a quick supper and think about preparations for movie night, coming up tomorrow.

Oh my! We have 60+ RSVPs for the evening. I start cooking and baking at 7 in the morning and call it done when the helpers show up in late afternoon. (Naptime for me.) They cut fruit, make rice, and clean the kitchen. Good thing I have baked goods in the freezer: 3 cakes we didn't eat at Christmas. 

W fills a 5 gallon water dispenser. IbuA pops in slices of pineapple and lemon and lets it infuse for an hour. The table is set. The furniture is moved and the pictures taken off the ledge: the wall is our screen. W hangs the projector from the ceiling with his custom-rigged stand.

People start arriving early for 6:30 dinner. They chat with Waldemar and the porch and the living room fill up. 

About 80 people get in line when the doors open. I say hi as they shuffle into the kitchen, grab a plate, and leave with a full meal. Some we've seen before, but about 20 are new tonight. The house is buzzing!

What a lot of beautiful faces! They've brought family and friends, too.

"God, please multiply the food like Jesus did the loaves and the fishes." I stand in the middle of the kitchen as hungry students stream by.

And he does. We have enough food and - during intermission - enough dessert for everyone. There's food left over for the helpers to take home. Not quite 12 baskets, but still ...

I ring a bell when it's time to start the movie: we're watching Ant Man (based on a Marvel Comics character). The question of the night rests on this premise: "God has created each of us as unique persons, to do his work in the world."

W asks them, "What is your superpower? How could you use it to serve God and others?"

And everyone gets in small groups. The volume of noise rises as they talk about what they're good at. They're bubbling, happy to get to know other people and share their "superpower." I listen in on a few groups.

The last person says goodbye around 11pm. The helpers leave behind a clean kitchen before hopping on their husbands' motorcycles with their bags.
I skip the walk. I have to write some book chapter proposals and we're packing to work in the Philippines - W will deliver a few lectures and participate on Q&A panels. I'll help students with doctoral projects. We look forward to visiting with all those we've met ... and meeting new friends.

Read more:
*God, you remain the same, and your years will never end. Psalm 102:27 NIV
*“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8 ESV
Moravian Prayer: Everlasting Lord, how superior you are to us in character and strength. Yet you love us with an unfailing love. Thank you that you are the same always, and we can rely on you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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