Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Beautiful things

After we travel, it's always good to be home. We landed in Bandung this morning, unpacked, put things away, and had a one-hour nap. That's the way to pulang (return)!
A plant picked up along the way
I'm looking forward to a soak in a new portable bathtub later. I've got 5 or 10 textbooks to plow through in the next week. For whatever reason, I seem to do my best studying in the tub. The water is calming if it's hot enough. I have a heater plugged in to see if I can get the temperature up. It's all part of our new normal.
The weird little plastic bathtub
The original bathtubs from our house became bulrush planters in the backyard before we moved in. I still haven't figured out how they got there: they're enormous stone tubs that must required heavy lifting by 4-6 strong men. Someone placed them over the drainage canal that whisks the water down the hill from the neighborhood kitchen and bathroom sinks.

We've had a busy month. Our non-profit met in Bali (yay! our first time ever in Bali, a nice touristy spot that we may revisit when we have time to shop and relax - or need our next vacation.) People come here from all over the world, but it's a $50 plane ticket and 2 hours from Bandung. It's probably about time we got there, right?
Some of the fun people we met with in Bali, including our friend, the ever-vivacious Claudia
W and I also took our first vacation in 3 years. Being almost offline for a whole week, we had time for naps, long walks, reflection, and meditation on Scripture. We took nature pictures and talked to each other a lot. We always think we're doing something interesting when we travel for work, but this week was a refreshing time off! (Thanks, Bill, our area director, who mandated this in the spring.) What a much-needed treat.
A Bali sale on objects of worship. At least they're discounted. (What?!)
Does anyone else think it's very strange to pray to the works of our own hands?
Whether in streams or trees at the roadside, God's handiwork is beautiful
Now we are looking forward to "end of summer" routines and events. The easiest way to think about time here is with the seasons (fall, winter, etc.) Indonesia has only a dry and wet season. The temperatures stay pretty much the same otherwise.

W and I have a few courses to prepare for the fall. Chances are that we'll travel to some other parts of Indonesia between now and Christmas. It always takes a while to nail down the details of who will go where ... and when.

Many universities or seminaries ask us to teach but each course requires a lot of preparation to find and organize information. Then there's the actual travel classroom time, and post-class grading and student interactions. If I teach research writing, I grade each day's assignments and hand them back the next morning; there's no other way to cram a semester into a week or two, or to catapult students into the next phase.

When you talk to faculty, they tend to love one part of teaching best and tolerate the rest. I like being in the classroom, watching the students grasp an idea, pattern, or relationship. But the prep and grading can be a chore. We limit our teaching to one course a year per school; otherwise, we'd never be home.
The use of paint - a cool poster
Some cool stuff: our oldest grandchild turned 6. We sent a mermaid tail blanet - which she liked. Stranger things have happened ... I think.

My mom celebrated her 82nd birthday last week, and Dad celebrates his 85th this week. Between, they celebrated their 64th anniversary. I'd say that's a pretty outstanding 2 weeks! A bunch of friends surprised them with a big party. What fun. And what a wonderful example to our family, their circle of influence, and to me personally. They're one-of-a-kind, still in love, and still going strong.

I sure miss my family during these rhythms of the year - we used to celebrate every birthday and often touched base with extended friends at weddings and funerals. Thank God for Facebook, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and emails!
Mom, all dressed up as usual, hanging out with me online
Today's to-do list is long. I'll write more details next time - for now, it's back to work. The lizards are chirping in the house. They seem busier than we are.

Read more:
*The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

*[God] said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that did not call on my name. Isaiah 65:1

*Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. Luke 4:14-15

*"Sir,” the servant said, “what you ordered has been done, but there is still room [at the banquet table].” Then the master told his servant, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” Luke 14:22-23 NIV

*But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

Moravian Prayer: We so desire to know more of you. Gracious God, by the power of your Holy Spirit, show us the way of your Son, Jesus, our Savior, our teacher, and our friend. 

Proclaimer of Justice, you call us to the edges—to the work of sharing Good News. May we seek not so much to be seen as to see you, where most of the world isn’t looking. Let it be so. Amen.

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