We've just returned from a study group: one of our members was leading and did a good job. Well done, Steven! Here's why I haven't updated in a while. (See Catch Up 1, the post just before this one...)
Ever get the feeling that something is not quite right with a setting? W and I started a weekly date night. Last week, we ended up at an Italian-style restaurant. The furnishings, courtyards and hallways, the general shapes of the buildings, etc. suggested another continent. It was just weird. Beautiful but weird.
One of the things that happens in the tropics is that plants grow. And grow. And grow. So they have to be trimmed regularly. A man comes once a week to sweep the lawn and driveway of the constantly-falling leaves. He trims, chops, and generally tames a wildly growing yard. We inherited his help from a lady who lives down the street.
|While I'm at a book group, the gardener chops the top half off the malinjo tree. He saves some berries for our friends, who love to cook them.|
Pak Lili and the driver take 2 weeks to carve down two enormous trunks of the guava tree. Everything is done with handsaws: W has a Japanese-style saw that the men enjoy using. They climb up into the highest branches and start sawing. We save a few lengths of brightly-colored branches as supports: I'll be wiring native orchids or bromeliads onto them instead of tossing them away when they get a trim.
While they're working, I take IbuA to Miss Bee, where they serve a salt-and-pepper tofu that is second to none. "Can you make this?" I ask her.
"Of course," she says. "Or I can make it Sunda style" (her people group)." Oh, the lady can cook! It's her first time at Miss Bee restaurant. She meets a young waitress who lives on her hill, and they exchange surprised greetings. ($5 a meal is a day's wages for her and her neighbors. We supplement her income with food a few times a week, as well as monthly bags of rice, oil, and sugar.)
On one of our dates, W and I got sucked in by the smell of the most gorgeous Vanda orchid. We caved and bought it: $15 for an enormous plant. We bring it in every night to fragrance the whole house, and take it out to get the light each morning.
We are walking the dog when we spot this over-committed tri-wheeler in our neighborhood. The recycled goods almost tip the cycle backwards as it backs up and then inches up the hill to the recycling depot. I suppose the man would just have tipped it back upright with the help of bystanders if it has turtled ...
|At 12' tall, balancing it is a wonder of physics.|
As we are training study leaders, the groups are getting bigger and more involved. It's a delight to see how happy it makes people to lead, even if they feel very nervous at first. We're all cheering them on so it's a meeting of friendly minds and hearts.
Thursdays, we walk in the hills above the city. Last week, we had a good group - and we all enjoyed the views.
|A cement bridge held up by bamboo braces|
|And a bamboo bridge over which we heavy foreigners walk one at a time|
|When we get high above the city, the view is spectacular|
We walk the trails up a long mountain, but we come down unconventionally - through the fields, leaping across gaps, and scrambling down rocks that are almost like steps. (My calves are sore until Sunday.) W is often at the end of the line, helping the slower hikers down the "trails."
|The ride home is typically Indonesian: 10 people in the car, we have 3 more in the back. No worries.|
After the walk and lunch, we shower at home before setting off again, this time to host a study in a restaurant on the next mountain.
And then it's off to an evening gala, a dinner to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a seminary in town.
|Indonesian dances and singing|
|We have the only blond and white hair in the whole place.|
|The fish course is delicious, even if the fish looks like he's doing a summersault to watch us.|
|Best of all, our friends and language teachers, Pauline and Josie, are there too. |
Pauline was one of the primary organizers.
This Monday's date night is at a car wash. That is, it's a car wash by day, and in the evening, they set up tables with cutouts for tin pans containing charcoal briquettes - you can grill your meal at the table. After diners leave, they put everything away and it's a car wash again.
|You have to have a strong stomach to look at the murals.|
It's that time of year again: the feast of goats. It's Idul Ada - the feast of Ishmael - this weekend. (Read Genesis 22 for the original story.) Goats are tied at intersections and along the road. The very rich Muslims buy cattle ($1500+ - forgiveness for 7 people), while the poor pool their money to share a goat among neighbors ($150-300 - forgiveness for 1 person).
*"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91:14-16 NIV
*The Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and his name the only one. Zechariah 14:9 NASB
*So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29 NIV
Paul wrote: Jesus Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. Philippians 2:6-7 ESV
Moravian Prayer: God of the beginning and the end, you alone have our complete devotion. Captivate every thought and make it holy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.