Saturday, April 29, 2017

Music and munchkins

Hello, 3" grasshopper. He infiltrated the kitchen while we were gone.
Friday, April 28, 2017
When we get home at 3:15pm, we have about 10 minutes to clean up before the bell rings at the gate. It's Y and his friend. Y has brought his friend's guitar, as well as 2 cakes - banana and custard.

Typical shops on the edge of the road
W and I have been up since 5am in Malang. We've had an uneventful trip (van and flight) home. It's nice to relax. Our guests join us for tea, relax on the porch, and eat homemade goodies along with their bakery specials.
Mosques line every neighborhood
When the mosquitoes start biting, it's time to come in to make some music. I've only played piano once in church since we got here. But I haven't "played around" in ages. It's so relaxing after our journey - the guys are good singers and guitarists. They know all the oldies from Don Moen, Marty Nystrom, Hillsongs, and a bunch of hymns ...

W and I must have thousands of songs stored up: my fingers run across the keys with utter comfort in spite of their lack of use. I'm too tired to be picky: the music ripples by. I don't have to listen or think about it. Once in a while, I totally zone out - then I have to pay attention and get back on track. We play in all keys, a few styles, and have fun. By 7, we've exhausted our imaginations. They give us a hug before they wave goodbye.

W keeps grading. I'm still working on the book edit. We're not even hungry enough to warm up the leftover Chinese food. By 8:30pm, we turn off the lights and fall fast asleep.

.... until 2:30am, when I'm wide awake. At 5:30, I fall asleep for almost an hour. The sun's up. Not a bad night, actually. A bit short, maybe?
Traffic is the same as usual...
I finally complete the rough edits of the book. W reads it through for theological soundness before I send it to the author and publisher for consolidation and corrections. I'll go through it once more before it goes to the format editor. At the start of a book edit, things can seem rough indeed. Each time I go through it, it gets tighter and tighter. When I get it back, the final edit should be easier.

We get a call from our Indonesian kids. They're stuck in traffic, along with the rest of Jakarta coming to Bandung. Finally, we connect and eat lunch together at Ciwalk, Bandung's version of a hangout mall - 3 floors of trendy shops and restaurants.

Kristi and Jojo have the most adorable girls - Kamille munches French Fries, plays with her new xylophone, and finally - keeping herself busy while we talk - watches a few videos on YouTube. Journey, the baby, is fast asleep in her backpack. She wakes only long enough to eat ramen and look at us sleepily with her beautiful dark eyes.

HURRAH! In the evening, I finish grading the papers for the latest online course. The summative project is an interesting one: students include personal reflections, goals, and what they've learned from the Personal Formation course. There are still a few papers to come: they have until tonight (USA time) to finish post-deadline work.

I've come to love the students and their hearts for God. I'm cheering them as when I send off their final grades.

Read more:
*Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Isaiah 53:1

*Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. Isaiah 58:8-9a NIV

*In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.

Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 NIV

*Paul wrote: Pray for us that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ. Colossians 4:3

Moravian Prayer: In the presence of God lies the promise of peace. May we be guided by faith in all that we do. We joyfully await that time when we can greet Emmanuel, the Christ and the Bringer of Peace, with open and joyful hearts. Amen.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Marvelous Malang

The former sultan's chariot, parked at
Kantri (country) Restaurant in Malang
We're returning home from Malang today. W spent the week in the classroom with 14 students and loved it.

When we first were asked to come to Indonesia, Malang was the place we were supposed to land. Its universities, seminaries, and open culture would have been easy to adjust to. The warm welcome of administrators, faculty, and students this week has been a joy.

But we landed in Bandung, which we wholeheartedly love. God's ways are mysterious indeed. And today we head home again.

Sunday, April 23, 2017
We get early enough to listen to the worship team practicing at Green Gate: an all-female group is singing this morning. W and I are speaking at church, which we enjoy. There are guests from the city as well as from around the world: Australia, North America, Africa, the Asian Pacific, and Europe. It's always fun to see who shows up. It's a friendly church, welcoming anyone who wants to attend.
Street children are "silvered" to solicit
donations from passing cars
After service, W teaches an hour of theology before a quick walk home. We grab our suitcases, stuff them into a taxi, and are ferried down the hill to the xTrans station. We grab a few sat├ęd chicken sticks and some rice from the little shop across the street before boarding the shuttle van.

Traffic isn't too bad. (In 2-3 hours, it will be stop-and-go when Jakartan tourists hit the toll road home from Bandung.) The shuttle driver makes an unscheduled stop in front of our comfy $30 hotel and pulls our luggage from under the stacks of suitcases at the back of the van. We relax. I'm editing a book this week and start reading.
"Good traffic" means it's still moving...
We're up at 4am, grabbing a quick buffet breakfast at the hotel and a shuttle ride to the airport. Our flight to Malang leaves after 6. We sit close to the doors to the ramp at the gate: there's a divider in the middle - and of course, we - along with half the other waiting passengers - are sitting on the "wrong side" to board. An attendant points out a U-turn - we have to go all the way back in the room and around the center, to the door opposite us.

By the time we start to move, the line snakes around almost to our original seat. A few children and their parents are allowed through the near door, but the rest of us line up and wait patiently for the attendant on the other side of the waiting room to check us in. It's the logic of a non-Western system. None of us seems to mind. "That's the way it is." Besides, it's really early in the morning and our minds are not yet awake.
Malang, a tropical valley nestled between volcanic mountains
The direct flight takes just over an hour. Faculty member Jefri is waiting for us and drives us to the school. What a beautiful campus - the palms wave above groomed flower beds. There's a star fruit tree. Apparently, there are avocados, mangos, and other fruit trees around, too. We're happy to be working here rather than paying a steep tourist fee!
Everywhere the Dutch colonized, they left behind wonderful drainage canals and water systems
We walk to the nearest shops to see what's in the neighborhood. In front of the campus is a fruit and vegetable market. If I lived here, I'd grow fat on sweet potatoes and apples, for which Malang is known.

My task is editing for publication a book on Korean theology. I worked on it for a few weeks, off and on between travels and arrivals. But now I have clear direction on what the publisher wants - it's not what I was doing - so I restart the process. It's interesting and boring, too. The information is good but I'm wedging a dissertation format into topical book chapters, without losing footnotes and subtleties of theology. (Great practice for doing my own and Waldemar's, which are overdue for publication.)
This man sorts and strings farm-fresh heaps of sweet potatoes each day
Waldemar is teaching and loves it. He's interpreted, which cuts into class time a bit. But he's delighted with the level of student, their interest and interactions, and the material they present at the end of the week.

W has a bad cold and sore throat at the beginning of the week. He already hates air conditioning. I put it on the instant he leaves the room but toss and turn at night in the warm humidity. His throat gradually heals.
The Pardedes, almost-new friends - treated us royally
 Breakfast is delivered to our door every morning - rice, a vegetable, tofu or noodles, and sometimes deep-fried prawns or chicken. Lunch is in the cafeteria, a similar menu. Every evening, someone takes us for an outstanding dinner at a local restaurant - or one night, for coffee and chocolate lava cake. I'm still shedding +American weight+ from March. Ummm. Maybe next week?
A 2" baby lizard presses his sticker-feet to the window
Thursday night, after one last excursion to a good Chinese restaurant (established 50 years ago), we pack up. The Pardedes knock to say goodbye. Oh oh, we have our PJs on, but they're modest. We pray together, hug, and put the avocados the Gani family are sending along into the suitcase. Can't wait to try them! They've also arranged for the security guards to pick up a net bag of Malang apples to take home. Thank you - generous couples indeed.
Staghorn ferns everywhere. Eat your heart out, Molbaks.

We're up before it gets light outside (about 5am). Malang is on the early side of the Bandung/Jakarta time zone so each morning, I put on my eye mask to catch a little extra sleep. The light bulb outside our room is bright the first night, but W unscrews it (and puts it back in) on the other side of our white-curtained window. That helps, though students and staff chatter from 5am each morning. Yup - earplugs make everything better :-). Since we're eating around 6am, W starts work early. I check email, write, and wait to work until he leaves at 7:45. Then my workday begins.
A lipstick plant, like my mother-in-law grew years ago
 A kitchen worker rushes over when she sees me admiring the bromeliad (below). She chops two little plants from the side. Into the suitcase they go!

I'm ready for W to read the pre-book for theology and flow by Friday morning. He's tied up with emails, student papers, and other things - but hopefully ... I'd like to send it to the author this weekend for review so he can send it back for final content edits.

We pack up at 6:30am and wait for the shuttle to the airport. We've loved Malang - the staff, administration, faculty, and students were warm and welcoming. We hope to be back to teach here soon. The flight home - unremarkable. (Perfect - we're in the gate by 3pm.)

Read more:
*Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19
*Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree.” Luke 13:19
Moravian Prayer: Through the gift of the amazing variety of seeds on earth, you feed our hunger, give us shelter and clothing, help us to wisely use our soil and give us beauty and pleasure. Through these gifts, you give us the ability to live, to grow, and to serve and be served by others. Give all people in this world, we pray, the seeds of hope and nourishment, and help us to do our part in serving others. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A get-together or two

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
We look forward to dinner-and-a-movie night all month.

In the afternoon, Bandung has a thunder, lightning, and hail storm that deters a few from coming over. A few old trees fall over in the streets on other slopes and passersby take pictures and wonder how the spirits of the trees will react.

More than 60 of us eat, watch The Sound of Music, and some even sing along. Some look surprised that the melodies and words they know come from this musical.

Afterward, we chat and munch on popcorn until nearly midnight. W and I love the new networks of friends and acquaintances springing up. And we treasure the conversations.

We have 3 new walking companions this morning, representing France, the Philippines, and Malaysia. W and I are soooo tired but he leads the walk from our house. We go up and down. Up and down, along the river.

The creeks are swollen from the downpours yesterday. It's only a 2.5 miles trek. But it's steep!

We climb the muddy, slippery trails. I fall once and suddenly the entire side of my trouser is covered in dirt.

Someone has built a fence across the trail. Maybe they hope to deter motorcycles from going down the path beside the steps. We crawl through and over it.

And how on earth do the occupants get into the side door of this very beautiful house? On the other side is a porch with a million-dollar view of the valley. But this step is just ... strange. We get used to many things, but occasionally something makes us look twice.

Graffiti has no country. It's everywhere. 

One of the newbies thought it was a one-hour walk: they have made another appointment and have to leave at 10am. They'll never find their way back, so we all hustle back up the side of the mountain. We are dripping sweat and our faces are red.

A few of us end the morning with tea and cookies on our porch. The advantage of my baking binges is readiness - drop by anytime.

Read more:
*Direct your heart to the Lord, and serve him only. 1 Samuel 7:3
*Thus shall you say to one another, among yourselves, “What has the Lord answered?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” Jeremiah 23:35
*Paul wrote: Live your life in a manner worthy of the Good News of Christ. Philippians 1:27
*So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Moravian Prayer: Generous God, you have provided us with many blessings in our lives. As we acknowledge these gifts with thankful hearts, may we hear your call to share what we have received from you. As we give to others, help us also to receive more from your word and teachings that will allow us to better serve you and your Kingdom.
Lord Jesus, we are filled daily in our lives with your abundant love and mercy. Grant to us the desire to live a life worthy of the gospel and to serve you with all our heart, mind and soul. Amen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On the move

As we walk the neighborhoods, we are constantly surprised by beauty. The trees flower in a never-ending parade of color, texture, and shapes.

Tomorrow is movie night - and within a few hours of sending the invitation, 70 people sign up (our max, now building the waiting list). Jerry Beebe and his group sent us home with a second projector, so we'll be trying that out on the porch. 

Saturday, Ibu A and I baked 20+ dozen cookies in anticipation. 

Monday, April 17.2017
As usual, after our walk and grading / writing, we have a study at 9:30. It's a smaller group this week but the questions center around Jesus as God-with-us (Luke 7:11+). We are heartened that participants ask questions and explore scriptures. This bring deep dialogues and exchanges that continue to teach each of us.

Then it's off to town. W has to find some cables. I need a riser for a standing desk in my office, for speaking, and for working in bed. We never seem to get the work done in a day. My cut-off time is pretty early (before 8pm).

I've hardly shopped for groceries since we've been home. I've cooked what's already in the freezer and cabinets. But it's time to stock up for movie night.

"Pak E, can you come and help me?" I call him.

The driver comes in to push the first full cart so I can fill a second. The grocery carts are small but people look at us in surprise. "Who buys enough to fill more than one?"

Exotic chicken stroll along the streets
We haul everything into the house, put things away ... and then I start cooking. The chicken wings brine in salt and drinking water before being drained and refrigerated. I mix up two egg-based casseroles and put those in the fridge as well.

We break our Monday fast with supper. I'm hungry. We are asking God to bless Bandung in every way it is needed - in families, in neighborhoods, and in organizations.

Ibu A heads to the market. She's going to cook tofu, tempe, and a Sundanese vegetable dish tomorrow. She brings tea and cookies upstairs when she returns.

Hurrah! It's our first IESBandung team meeting since we got back. J and C have great ideas - we talk about our Sunday brunch. J suggests that we plan another one in 2 months. Everyone hops on board.

W and I walk past a huge building going up nearby. Rumor has it that it's another restaurant. It's close to the Padma, the only 5-star hotel in the city. It's amazing how cheap labor, combined with handtools like pickaxes, trowels, and welders, bring a structure to life.

Even though the workmen are swarming the building, they've wedged 10 meter (30') trees into place. I wonder how many will survive.

People already stream up the hill on weekends to eat at Miss Bee, Wild Grass, Ethnic, and Bumi Sangkurian - all eateries within walking distance of our house. Meals average from $2-7 so we regularly meet people there. W has breakfast with a friend every Friday morning, too.

Read more:
*When people fall, do they not get up again? If they go astray, do they not turn back? Jeremiah 8:4 ESV

*On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with
you in Galilee:  'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "
Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:1-8 NIV

*Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, another Holy Week has passed, yet we long for you each and every day in our lives. In the days ahead, show us the hunger and give us courage to offer the Bread of Life to them. Show us those who are thirsty and allow us to share the Living Water with them as well. Give us strength to lift up the cup of your love to those around us. Amen.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter, Everyone!

I have been absent from the blog since we got home. But we've been missing in action, in a way. Active but not writing. The house is in order - we get a hug, smiles, and 2 air kisses from the helpers upon our return.

I decorated minimally for Easter, setting a twig in glass vase with some painted eggs that I first hung in my alumni office 12 years ago.

One of the sweetest experiences last week was attending an arisan (women's club). It was established in 1965. I'm the youngest participant and honored to be a guest. Many are doctors and influencers or spouses of such.
The ladies are welcoming and fun to be with. We start with snacks - and have a huge meal afterward.

The oldest lady (in white) is in her 90s, so when she joined, she was 20 years younger than I am.

On Mondays, the study of Mark, held on our porch, is amazing as usual. We open the scriptures and ask, "What does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean for us today?" And God always brings words of understanding. It's great to be together - Josue and Claudia did a great job of facilitating the study in our absence.

It's so good to be back in the heat. We shivered our way through March in the USA and Canada. The air is damp here (73+% humidity) and envelops us like a sweater. Even at night, we don't need more than a blouse or shirt, though when it dips to 72oF (22oC), I'm feeling the cold and bundle up.

We go out one evening for dinner ($5 per entree) to the local favorite, Ethnic.
Electronics mean there are more guests at the table than we two
Someone is hosting a wedding. There is an elaborate palm decoration hanging at the entrance to the venue.
In Seattle, the kids are decorating for Easter as well.

Sunday, April 16 EASTER
This is the day we've been waiting for. Christ is risen! Celebrate!

Claudia, Josue and their kids meet us at the Bamboo Shack. We set the tables (thanks to Claudia's good design) and hang the banner they had made. Our theme is Endings and Beginnings.

About 2 dozen people show up to eat together and talk about the meaning of Easter: God with us. God for us. Josue tells how they adopted their kids (a new beginning).

Around the tables, we share our stories and ask God to bless and keep us in his care. I think the women are lovely - and it's a privilege to get to know them better. We pose for a few selfies, of course.

The roaches are occasional but there's one on its back when I go to the bathroom. Ugh.

We caught 5 mice in the kitchen last week, including the one who chewed his way into a bag of cooking oil. Hopefully we'll catch the rest soon. Sticky paper seems the best way to trap them. If we don't find them right away, they start to smell.

We start the day with a walk, like many of our neighbors. It's the time to meet and greet people as we stroll the long blocks of the neighborhood a few times, shaded by old tall trees. The assistant governor lives nearby. There are always cars parked along the road and in his compound. The security guards chat at the gate and say selamat pagi (good morning) as we pass.

Read more:
*Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.” Eccelsiastes 12:1

*One of the criminals said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42

*For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16

*But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood--to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Gracious God, today we feel the deep darkness of death. Yet in our sadness we recognize that today is also a day to feel gratitude for the full truth of your deep and abiding love. We give thanks for this love and for Christ’s sacrifice made for us. In the cross we find comfort, in Christ’s wounds we find salvation and in his blood our ransom has been paid. Thanks be to you, O God, for this wonderful and precious gift. Amen.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Home sweet home

Pulling out paints:
finally something quick and creative
We were on the go constantly in the USA and Canada. In 5 weeks, I hardly had time to write or reflect. But a warm thanks goes to our partners and friends - people and organizations - who hosted us, encouraged us, and shared their concerns - we'll be praying for you in months to come.

Now we're home sweet home. It's rainy and overcast in this part of Indonesia. They've had downpours in the city every day, says the helper. She is ready for drier weather.

"How are you feeling about being back," W asks me as the driver negotiates a single-lane paved road that has drivers coming from both sides negotiating cars, motorcycles, and people.

Ummm. I don't know yet. I'm glad we're not driving: the driver is an expert at pacing our slow forward motion with passing cars to avoid crashes and scrapes.

My heart always takes a while to catch up with my head. I'm really tired. We slept like stones on the two flights back - and have slept through much of the nights since.

It's wonderful to bring back so many memories of friends, old and new. We didn't have time to see everyone we wanted to visit: that is my one regret about such a short trip. Well, a second regret is that I got so engaged in conversations that I often forgot to take pictures, which serve as my memory bank. (W hasn't shared his photos yet so you may only be in my heart, not in my blog, ok?)

However, we're picking up steam (after a day at home) toward our Easter brunch. Looking forward to talking with others about the meaning and traditions for Christians.

Here are just a few highlights of the 5-week whirlwind.

We did long road trips - meeting wonderful people who share our vision and mission.
Wenatchee's team
My intention on this working trip was to hear as well as speak, and God honored that in marvelous ways.

I did a few paintings (splashes of color) and met with my former writer's group. I wrote Lenten blogs but hardly played piano, which tells me my soul is overwhelmed. I spoke English! - in person and on conference calls. "Wwwwwwaaahooo" to be able to talk to friends and have them understand what I was saying ...
Kim, you made my heart sing

Generations of family got together between all the engagements. We saw our parents and siblings at their houses. My folks came to Seattle to celebrate birthdays with us. We had fun! but it seemed a short visit.

I'll miss the grandkids calling, "Oma! Can I come down?" from the top of the stairs. They live above our basement suite.
Grandmama, Oma, and Kinsey
Hanging out with the grandkids
Levi and Grandpapa
Isaac, exploring the cabinets and finding only a big bottle of soy sauce
Auntie K with Miss K
The women of the tribe included our daughter Kirsten, who flew up from TX with Jonathan.

We celebrated birthdays for our youngest and myself with a marvelous family tradition, Mom's Black Forest cake. It tastes as good as it looks. Or better!

Merlin popped by to eat cake and take pictures (THANKS!)

Meeting nephew Lem at NU the Caf.
We stayed most of a week in Eastern Washington, exploring from the home of our dear friends Mel and Martha. I even read a book in the tub at their place: that's relaxation! We had time with our eldest son and his wife. We spoke in churches, gratefully received a projector to expand movie night, and heard encouragements and direction through you all.

It's hard to imagine all we saw and did - but a special thank you to Mike, Dan, Peter, Jerry, Jay, Kyle, Brandon, Steve, and their teams. You are part of what we do and who we are - and we're grateful to God for you and yours.

Read more:
*Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest. Jeremiah 5:24 ESV
*God has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. Acts 14:17 NIV
*(For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Creator God, in all seasons of life, we give thanks for your presence, love, comfort and guidance. Teach us this day to serve your kingdom with greater enthusiasm, and in doing so fill our hearts with joy. Amen.