Monday, May 8, 2017

The color of life

Splashing watercolor on a postcard,
maybe the start of something.
Monday, May 8, 2017

It feels like a houseful of girls! Brandy's here and so is Amanda.

W and I unpacked after we got in Friday from Malaysia. We filled a big hamper with laundry from our suitcases. Malaysia is muggy and hot so whenever we went outside, we felt the temperature change on our skin, especially after a hotel with air conditioning. The first night in Malaysia, Tabby took us across the street from the hotel ... at 10pm. Youth workers have all kinds of energy! But I'm still dreaming about the fantastic lamb rice dish the Indian-Malay chef whipped up.

But now we're home and it's time to eat Indonesian. Sort of. (With team dietary restrictions, we may have to get creative.)

Brandy arrives from a few days in Jakarta. She falls into bed, dead tired after a trip on the train and supper at Miss Bee. That's fine with us. We're playing catch-up. The helper hasn't come: the laundry and dishes pile up as I cook and settle into the house again.

I find a note from Ibu A in the evening. "Sorry. I'm cooking for my niece's wedding on Saturday." At least she's not ill and nothing bad has happened to her. She, like many others of her generation (and mine) is barely literate - she dropped out of elementary school to work for her family's survival. She's one of the smartest gals in the kitchen, though. She loves cooking. Thank you, God! for Ibu A. We pray a blessing on her family get-together.

W's theology class is growing each time we get back. Today he talks about the mysterious Trinity - our relational God.

A young man with a new vegetable business (organic) sells out his greens in a hurry under a canopy in the church courtyard. We buy kale (80c) and salad (60c) for our smoothies. And we keep his number so we can order delivery on a regular basis. It's about 1/2 the price of a shopping trip.

Let's celebrate! Brandy doesn't tell us - but her friends do - that it's her graduation day! She's finished a second Masters, this one in Leadership, at an American seminary. We want to be creative in spoiling her, but what to do?

We start with lunch at Bumi S, overlooking a brilliant blue swimming pool. The kids splash below our window: it's always a great setting for an affordable Sunday lunch with our small group.

Unexpectedly, the masseuse who works on all the neighbors calls. Is there a chance we'd like her to come to our house this week? I guess so! How about today? Brandy and I hurry home from our meal to our wellness date.

For 2 hours, she eases out the aches and pains of travel (@$16, that's a celebration in itself.) It's the equivalent of 4 days' wages for a handyman, hotel clerk, or driver - with no overhead. I even supply the coconut oil. Our tired bodies have nothing but gratitude. And afterward, we're too tired to do anything else. Brandy heads to bed, catching up on emails and congratulations.

W and I stay up, waiting for Amanda to arrive. The driver left early this morning to fetch her from Jakarta Airport. She gets a quick tour of the house and an overview of "what to know." = stuff like, 'don't brush your teeth with tap water,' and 'turn on the water pump if you want to shower,' and 'pull down the mosquito net if you hear a bug.' She falls into bed and - except for a brief wake-up - sleeps until morning. Ah, youth.

The study on our porch is excellent. The first person arrives at 8:30. At 9:30, when it starts, we do introductions all around: Riga is back from Mongolia, Dr H has returned from Bali, Amanda's welcomed warmly by attendees, though several regulars are missing. It's good to discuss and learn together. The cookies and tea disappear.
A reminder from Lela
After lunch, Amanda and I walk around the neighborhood. With the dog, she's safe anywhere nearby. She test-drives him. He's hot and tired so he behaves, except for lunging at a gate protecting two dogs from him.

The driver takes Brandy to her meetings in the morning. In late afternoon, he fetches Amanda from the house to meet Brandy at the grocer. They're hoping to find some fun foods to cook and enjoy upstairs.

One of the gifts in a convoluted and crowded city is a good driver. Pak E has known the city since childhood. He creeps along in Bandung traffic (driving 'on the wrong side', and understands the subtle eye signals that mean, "I'm going first," or "Go ahead, I'll wait for  you." So we never worry when our teams or friends are going with him.

I've always thought of "helpers" as a luxury. They sure are in Canada and the States, where I had a kid on each hip and two holding my hands as we walked out the door. I cooked, cleaned (sometimes), and worked besides.

Here, help is a survival tactic for us, but it also supports entire families. On our end, chores and errands take 4X the normal time. People are coming and going nearly every day (besides stay-over guests). With helpers, we can better focus on the work we're doing. They live at home with their families, but I'm grateful every time I hear them turn the lock and walk in the door.

W is excited about 2 weeks of teaching Hermeneutics. I've taught it before as well. It's strange how schools rarely consider previous classes when scheduling. Courses take a lot of advance study. Every time we teach, we learn new things and improve our courses, so it's good to teach the class more than once or twice. But W's starting over; he finds online resources posted by the text's publisher and peeks at my notes as he prepares.

Meanwhile, I'm editing, plugging our friends into routines for the next weeks, and putting the house in order for our work. Can we say happy?
 Read more: (ESV)
*My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long. Psalm 71:8
*I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. Psalm 118:17
Jesus says, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” John 10:9
*After they had given Paul and Silas a severe flogging, they threw them into prison. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:23, 25
Paul wrote: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Moravian Prayer: Like tulips burst forth from snowy gardens, dear Savior and friend, we praise you with the colorful fabric of our being
God of grace in adversity, we thank you for the privilege to be your disciple. In all things, in all times, and in all places, help us to sing your song. Amen.

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