Monday, October 30, 2017

Slow-moving road

In a bowl on the porch, a beta cruises around
W's home - and that means reentry into our routines. Initially it's a jumble when one person leaves - there's the scramble for a new normal to cover what we normally share. When the person comes back, we have to adjust our routines again.

I think we're almost there with tasks and meals. I eat when I'm hungry when W is away but have to get back to 3 meals when he is hungry. The simplest things are the biggest transitions.

I'm also a light sleeper like most women my age, so as W adjusts his jetlag to our time zone, our nights can be interrupted. Yup, it's 1:00am now and I'm wide awake. He's only been back for five nights so we ought to get our sleep patterns synched soon.

Wednesday, October 24.17
Tuesday leaves for Jakarta on the train. She'll fly out tomorrow night and be back in a few weeks. The helper changes her bed, cleans the room, and washes and irons T's clothes, putting them away for the next trip. 

I thank God for IbuS as I'm crushing through academic information. I have to make a few presentations next month. Every time we teach or speak, it takes hours (days/weeks) to sort information and prepare notes and visuals. It's fun to keep learning, but some days it feels like endless homework. I'm weary by the time I fall into bed.

Instead of our usual energizing walk in the hills, it is a day in traffic. Pak E arrives before 6:00 to pick me up for the gauntlet to the Jakarta airport. W is arriving from a trip abroad and wants to meet me there. I sleep for an hour in the car right off the bat: it's been a short and restless night. After a fitful snooze, it's time to get to work.

The new pavement on the freeway is too bumpy to write things down. Weaving in and out of traffic, the side to side movement makes concentration difficult. I try for three Morning Pages, but give up after two: I couldn't read what I'm writing if I tried. So I sort emails, read a backlog of blogs, and respond on FB.

After 5.5 hours, we've occasionally achieved the blazing speed of 50mph (80km/hr) but mostly crawled or had stop-and-go traffic. It's slow enough that food and trinket-sellers wander between the cars.

We get lost in the maze of roads to the new terminal. "Consider it a tour, sir, so let's not worry. We have time." We've gone just under 200 km as we arrive at the airport. (Can you tell I dislike being cooped in the car?)

I hop out, excited to see my husband after 2.5 weeks apart. Except that, instead of being 20 minutes early as per airline app, the flight is late and there's nothing to do in the new terminal. I sit, write, and watch people, hoping not to miss W as he arrives at the other end of a vast waiting area.

I get a text that a friend is in the terminal somewhere. We find each other: W's brought an extra suitcase along for him. After greetings and a chat we see W emerge. He passes off the luggage and we wait for the driver to find us. Pak E has to make a series complicated turns to get from one floor to the next in the parking garage. Ah, there he is ... he's found us.

We stop for a quick lunch in a mall beside the toll road: it's 2pm and I'm hungry, though W's eaten on the flights and has little appetite. There's a glitzy red-foiled sports car in front of the mall. Someone want to be noticed. We snap a few pictures of its startling glow, and then it's back on the road.

I'm delighted to pull into our driveway at 7:30pm. It's been a very long day.

Friday and Saturday
Chores, preparations, unpacking, cleanup, cooking. The days fly by with visits, curriculum updates. I'm delighted to put a wool rug from MT under my desk. I'll curl my feet into it just as I did at our cabin - the physical touch is grounding as I read textbooks and process info for classes and studies.

I'm leading service again - and enjoy it as usual. It's fun to see a few youngsters join the worship team.

We head for lunch after W's theology class.The restaurant has opened a new gate directly across from the church gate so we walk across the lawn to pavement (there's no continuous walkway yet) and meet friends for lunch. One of our guests is a new arrival from Africa, studying at a local university on an Indonesian scholarship. His monthly food and rent stipend is about $200.

In the late afternoon, we get a call that a neighbor has died. Would I like to come along to express condolences to the family? Another neighbor accompanies me to the house, where the body has arrived from the hospital via ambulance. Women from the local mosque wash the body, tie the chin, and then wrap it in batik, cotton batting, a white sheet, and over it all,  tie a bamboo wrapper with white ribbon. Children, teens, and adults sit nearby, watching the process which is part of life here.

Islamic burial must take place within 24 hours, and the time of death was 3pm. It's a new experience for me to see how the community rallies around the family. Flowers and food are ordered for the next day, a time is set for burial (9am tomorrow), and prayers and sympathy are offered. My friend and I stay for less than an hour and then it's dusk. We walk home together.

The neighborhood is full of cars. "Can we park in front of your gate?" the security guard asks, getting up from sitting on his haunches. "We are running out of room for parking."

It's also the 40th day after the death of Dr Alfred, our former landlord. His family and friends of his widow and children are singing and praying Roman Catholic rituals for his soul in the next house over. Indonesian tradition includes a quick burial, then notes Days 3, 10, 40, 100, and 1000 as memorials. Different rituals are customary for each one to remember the person who has died.

I get the usual early start to the workweek with a 7:00am meeting online (so refreshing it "feels like I've been to church," says an attendee), then our interesting study of Luke at 9:30. People start arriving at 8:45. We move directly upstairs aferward for a team meeting and lunch until 1:30pm.

I check the freezer to see what food we still need for movie night on Wednesday. W posts the announcement on the WA list: within a few hours, we have 80 guests signed up. That's our limit. In the rainy season, we often have 20% fewer people than signups. The downpours deter those on motorcycles. Regardless, that's a lot of cooking!

At the grocer, I start to fill my cart. PING. My phone say two young women from a nearby university are waiting for me ... but they're at a shop way up the next hill. We'd exchanged WA texts in the morning about possibly meeting at the grocer in the afternoon. I hadn't heard back.

The gals find their way down to the grocer on a motorcycle taxi and we meet for half an hour. Decided: I'll be picked up from home at 9am on the day of their conference. My session is at 10:30. 1.5 hours should give us plenty of time to get to the university, right? It's 1 km away (as the crow flies) across the valley to the next hill. It will be a 5km trip down and back up in weekend traffic - which may take us an hour or more.

I ditch plans to shop at another store. Traffic is slow today. I'm happy to get home after 4pm. I send PR pics and a profile for the conference poster, do some more research, cook supper, and then relax for a few hours before bed.

I check my watch: 2am. Time for a second sleep. Morning comes early - the yard guy will be here at 7am and the lady who will help cook and bake for tomorrow comes at 8. Get to sleep!

Read more:
*May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests. Psalm 20:1-5 NIV

*I will do more good to you than ever before. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 36:11

*Paul wrote: God did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Romans 8:32

Moravian Prayer: God, thank you for loving us so much that you were willing to sacrifice your one and only Son. Give us the grace we need to trust you even more knowing that your promises to us are, yea and amen. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Think on these things

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Yesterday we studied Luke 12 together - the God of provision provides for us. (See the passage below.) He cares for even the smallest creature, like these 3" moths who are resting on the wood siding of our house.

We do a takeaway as we wrap up each time we study. I hear the relaxation in our voices as we commit to trusting God; he will care for our needs and decide for/against our wants. (Surely he knows better than we do what will serve him and the world best!)

The other thing we decide is to write down one thing to: "think on these things," as the writer of Philippians 4:8 says. So I'm passing this assignment along as my challenge to you.

  • true
  • honorable
  • just
  • pure
  • lovely
  • commendable
  • excellent
  • worthy of praise

What will you think about today?

Read more:
LUKE 12:22-31 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his[e] kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
Prayer of thanksgiving: Thank you, God. We are never out of sight to you. You watch over us, care for us, and tenderly, persistently coax us into a relationship with you. We live in your loving presence, knowing that you are a Good Father to all. Help us to be mindful and thankful today. Amen.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Creativity and learning galore in a working week

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Sunday means rest and restoration. But usually, it starts with a lot of people gathering in community. We love the family of God.
Two jambu air (water apples) from the backyard tree dress up a tray.
The African tablecloth under the tray was given to me in 1972.
Since W is traveling, Tuesday and I walk to lunch with friends instead of inviting his theology class to Bumi Sangkuriang. After, it's a relief to sink into bed for a nap, especially after a demanding week of teaching in Jakarta.

We have a good group for the study again. Claudia finds creative ways to make us think about scripture. It's hard to wrap up: everyone enjoys meeting so much.

Since the two guys on our team are traveling, we four women decide to have our weekly meeting over lunch at Wild Grass. The restaurant opens their conference room upstairs for us. It's lovely to share life, updates, and prayers.

Tuesday has stayed overnight at a hotel down the hill. Yesterday about noon, Ibu S cleaned the mold out of the drain of a bathroom. The mold was bothering Tuesday's allergies, but her body also reacts to the diluted bleach used to clean, even after multiple rinses and nine hours of airing the house. Off she goes: she knows what her lungs can bear.

Today, she is writing and decides a perch at the Padma cafe would suit her just fine. I join her for lunch with a stunning view.

Both of us are startled when a business retreat arrives: the moms and dads are registering and looking after their luggage. Meanwhile, their children quickly clamber out onto the lobby windowsill, overlooking a 4-storey drop. (Can you see their little feet, hanging into space in the center top windows?) Their nannies ignore them, except for one gal who lifts a three-year-old girl back to safety. Eeek. We can hardly watch.

Indonesians look out for themselves, for the most part. There's no railing, though there is a 4' ledge below the windowsill that might keep a child from dropping straight down.

I catch a ride home in the rain, while Tuesday stays to work until late afternoon. In rainy season, we have at least one downpour each day. This one's a gusher. I'm preparing two seminar presentations. To work! to work!
Tea plantation worker with shrub trimmer

After many weeks of work and missing the walk, I'm glad to rejoin the Thursday Walkers. We count on this long weekly walk as a detox for our bodies, esp when we're sitting at a desk, in meetings, and in the car day after day.

Friend Alice joins us on her first walk. "Look out - this is addictive (if the heat and humidity don't kill you.)" We don't have coordinates for starting the walk, so we set off on the flat side of a hill in a tea plantation ... and almost immediately run into a valley without bridges. Instead of heading down the road to the next level fields, we cross to the other side. I've seen the up-and-down on that side and am a bit reluctant. The rule is that the group stays together at all times. Over we go.

We make multiple stops and starts, using GoogleMaps to redirect us. After 4.5 miles and 2.5 hours of up and down, circling and backtracking, we end up at Gracia hot springs for lunch and a soak of tired muscles.

In the evening, Tuesday and I go through supplies left by our Canadian children's team. She objects to using non-sustainable art supplies: the trend is to source local materials that can be replicated. I'm fine with using whatever: my whole life is flow - someone brings something, parks it, and voila, there it is when we need it. Since it's the night before, Tuesday hunts down what she needs in our storage area.

Then I put together the PPT for the lesson coming up.

I'm teaching a high school religion class this morning. It's normally W's weekly pleasure to teach theology there. Since we were both gone last week, Josh and Clau did it with verve and creativity. The kids not only learned, but had fun doing it!

This week, I've enlisted Tuesday, Claudia, and Alice to help teach about God the Creator and humans made in his image - as creators.

When she arrives at the house, Ibu S fills 45 tiny plastic bags with 2 green wrap ties, 2 red wrap ties, a tissue, and 2 toothpicks. What can the students make with that? We'll see.

On the way to the school, we stop for additional art supplies. It's a bit nervewracking for this German: I'm used to planning and sorting ahead of time. We barely make it into the classroom before the students arrive. However, the teens seem attentive this morning and they love the projects.
As they arrive, we give each student one little bag. They're settling in and need something to keep their hands busy and start to focus their minds, right?

"Make something," I encourage them, and watch for a few minutes. Some have a hard time imagining what they could make. I dump the contents of a bag onto the counter and quickly twist the contents into a ballerina with a tissue dress, toothpick legs, and wrap-tie arms holding an umbrella, made from the tiny plastic bag. The pupils catch on, creating flowers, lollipops, figures, and other fun creations.
A tissue flower, enhanced by a student's markers
I talk about the eternal God, creator of heaven and earth and humans. Then Tuesday guides them in an "Identity Project." The students draw a line down the middle of a blank sheet of paper. On one side, they draw themselves or put words describing how they see themselves. On the other half, they display how God sees them. 
Some use colored pencils or the crayons and markers that Tuesday provides. Others cut up the scrapbook paper, using scissors, glue, and other materials left by our Canadian friends. (You know who you are. THANK YOU again.)

After I deliver a second set of information, students choose wire or leather loops and beads. Each custom bracelet is unique, though the students use similar materials. Each person reflects the creative God, who made us in his image and with his attributes.

These experiences always teach me something about the nature of God and people. As a teacher, I need to continually be learning, too.

While Tuesday heads to a hospital visit, Alice and I drive two hills over for lunch and a book review. For 20 years, 12-13 distinguished and accomplished women have met to read a book a month. For the first time, I've been invited to join. Each month, one person chooses a book and offers her interpretation of the author's intentions. Then there's a lively discussion. Fascinating to see how every woman's worldview and experiences shape her perception as a reader.

One of the doctors is celebrating her birthday. Someone gifts her with an orchid whose name is the same as hers. Others bring warm wishes and tasty food. The birthday girl cuts the top off the rice cone (tumpeng) and the feast begins.

Traffic is hideous on the way back. We crawl through the streets and get home about suppertime. Tuesday is on her own stop-and-go journey. She loves Miss Bee because their food doesn't set off her allergies: what a relief. (Even with instructions, our helpers might add sugar or other allergens so they're not cooking for T.)

It's my third meal at Miss Bee with Tuesday this week. The staff knows W and me since we take Western guests there for clean food that doesn't upset the stomach. The servers joke with me that it's starting to feel like home cooking, isn't it?

In the morning, before I tackle other work, I cut an old shower curtain into 3 parts and sew them. 2 little curtains cover the gaps under the ancient sinks in the bathroom. One long strip hides the aging glass beside the shower door. When I do a little art or crafting, my mind clears up, ready for serious thinking. To work! to work!

Church starts at 9:00. Tuesday and I walk over early. The music is lively and draws us into worship. During the collection, some teens accompany the singer.

It's really fun to see young people participate in a service. I played for church at 13 or 14 years of age, too. Informal beginnings develop versatile musicians who can play in any venue, large or small. In one church, I was the orchestra pianist. We had hundreds or thousands in each weekend service - and multiple services. I marveled at the opportunity to play, hour after hour as new people streamed into the building. (A concert pianist would be thrilled to play for so many, week after week, right?) Most accomplished musicians have started small, where people accepted our stumbling beginnings and mistake-fraught middles.

Tuesday is the main speaker for the service (and knocks it out of the park). Afterward, there's a lively Q&A about her work. A group has come along to raise funds for disempowered women. We gather around a table heaped with silk and canvas after service.
3 brightly patterned scarves

We marvel at the beautiful fabrics, sewn into tote bags, scarves, and purses. They'll make wonderful gifts - but I buy some for myself, too.

Three friends and I purchase the same blue and white tote. When I get home, I add one dab of color with a Sharpie marker. A touch of yellow on one side and orange on the other. It's surprising how such a little addition customizes the bag.
"Just a dab will do ya" - a touch of orange
A few of us gather for lunch at EatBoss down the hill. The food is reasonably good and cheap. An avocado juice and chicken steak costs $3.50, including tax and tip.

Read more:
*Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2
*Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you. 1 Chronicles 22:16
*Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:5
Moravian Prayer: Loving Father, we put our trust and confidence in you knowing that you have our best interest at heart. We know that whatever we do and wherever we go, we can depend on you. With grateful hearts we will follow your commands. Bless us with your knowledge and power we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Teaching, twittering, and traveling

Clucking in the morning, on the market table
in the hot sun by 6am
Wait a minute - it's mid-October already?

Saturday, October 14, 2017
I got back early this morning from a week in Jakarta, teaching seminarian doctoral students. What fun! Of the 9 students, 6 are businessmen and philanthropists, one is a medical doctor, and the other 2 are pastors. (There are auditors as well.) Best of all, my translator is a dear friend whom I admire and whose kids stayed with us during part of their university term in Seattle.

The week before last, I wedged class prep between normal engagements. W was packing to take a trip. We skipped the walk on Thursday - and really missed it. I also missed a garage sale by the Rotary club, spearheaded by our own DrH (who is president of the Rotary this year.) Let's just skip the whole busy week, ok?
Waldemar checks out the Rotary sale (Dr. H on left)

At 38c, this fish had to come home with me.

Crowded market street
Baby chicks (painted or plain) and ducklings ($1-$1.50 each)
Choosing your pet mouse from a box ($2.50 includes cage)
Hermit crabs inside painted shells
Last week, we headed up to a Sunday market we've heard about, and that's what the photos are about (above.) You also should see the cute kids who crowded around us when we peeked in at a wedding on our way home.

This Sunday, it's fun to preach together again. It's been a while. We're addressing stewardship of the environment - we have no right to mess up God's world. Our neighbor Jez joins us to answer questions: he's a passionate environmentalist and nature photographer.

While W teaches a theology class afterward, people hang out with Jez to try his DIY electric bike (amazing) and chat. He feels welcome. "It's sure was not what I expected this morning." He hasn't been to church in decades.

After an online conference, our regular study, and a 2-hour staff lunch and meeting, we pack our suitcases. We stack them by the door, ready for the morning.
We could be called, "Keeping Rosemarie on track,"
but in truth, we hold each other accountable
every Monday morning.
The driver bucks traffic into Jakarta and drops us at a neighborhood hotel. The room is pretty but it smells of smoke and there are sewer fumes when someone showers above us. The ants in the bathroom are not unusual for Indonesia, though we are on the 7th floor. I don't think twice as I squish a few and wash the rest down the sink. The same little flies that we find in our home shower are flitting around.

I check my class notes and PPTs. By 3:30, our ride to school has arrived (thanks, Mr. Ruslan). The building is just around the city block. My bag with a binder of notes, a tea thermos, books, and my computer is heavy and we finish late at night, so I keep accepting transport all week. I'm not sure how the class will go since it's the first time I'm teaching this one. W sets up the tech - but we can't figure out why I can't see the presenter view for the PPT. It annoys W to no end and he keeps fussing over the computer during breaks. (He figures it out eventually.)

The men bring snacks and tea for us (lecturer and translator). We start with our foundational premises but proceed quickly to questions. What do the students think about various issues? They are responsive and have a lot of experience. It's great fun to hear their ideas as we move through the information.
One night, the students order a salad for me. Looks good - 
And even better when you tip it into a plate!
Someone orders takeaway dinners every night: I focus on noodles today. They are delicious - and I learn how to unfold the plastic wrap in the cardboard box to pour the broth over the noodles. "Wet noodles" are actually a tasty chicken noodle soup. There are more snacks - and more tea - after dinner. Whhhaat? How can Indonesians stay so thin?

Dr Gatut joins the class to share his leadership role in setting up organizational outreaches. The class is interested - some of their non-profits are thinking about expanding as well.
Dr Gatut: rapt attention for a wise man

We sleep well. In the morning, I have to preach in a chapel at a seminary an hour from the hotel. A Grab car picks me up at 7:30 for the 9-11am service. The students and faculty crowd around for selfies while I hold up the certificate given for speaking.
Worship team of graceful dancers
Faculty selfies
I ask Ibu L to cancel lunch: we're not done until almost noon. I sure need a nap when I get back to the hotel after 1:00. L, who lives on the south side of the city (2-4 hours away in traffic), also heads for the couch in her husband's office instead of going for lunch. She's younger than I, but it's a high-focus endeavor to speak or to translate. Meanwhile, W has left for the airport and his trip abroad. 

I ask for a non-smoking room. What a difference. There's no sewer smell, either. I fall into bed after reading my class notes and setting the alarm.

In the evening, the student who asked to take us to lunch tells me he was prepared for my refusal. "I already knew you couldn't come for lunch."

"Then why did you ask me?" I chuckle.

He replies, "It's polite to be hospitable. It's the Asian thing to do" even though he intimated that I'd have to decline.

Each day, we engage in a spiritual discipline. The class has an overnight assignment of reading and reflection. They gather in small groups to discuss their observations and findings. I learn a lot about Indonesia, how established friendships process information, and what is already in place in non-profit expansion. It's exciting to hear. I can understand quite a bit but am so grateful for L's translation skills.

Tonight, Pak Lew is our guest. He spends almost two hours showing students what is possible in new areas of Indonesia. He explains the process of recruitment of volunteers and shows what his organization has done. The class is enthralled and has lots of ideas after he leaves.

My friend Tuesday flies in at midnight. The driver waits at the airport for her after he drops off Waldemar, and then drives her to Bandung, where she settles in.

Without traffic, it takes about 3 hours. However, their drive is a little over four hours in the middle of the night. There is no "good time" to drive with so many old, slow trucks on the freeway. Packed with heavy cargo they chug up the hills and cruise down again.

We leave the hotel at 11:30 to meet most of the students for Chinese food. The well-known restaurant is where the business group regularly meets; we get a beautiful side room. More pictures? Of course. The students assure me I'll be back soon, despite the long commute (= not far away, it just takes a long time to get anywhere.) "No problem, you will have plenty of time to prepare afterward."

The food is great and we enjoy the beautiful presentation. But I have to decline coffee and a tour at a local church afterward. I really DO have to keep up with the class! It's emerging as an interactive and challenging sweep of information - I get a ride back to the hotel with a staff member at 2:30 and have everything prepared on time.
The tenderest black pepper chicken ever?
Our special guest for class is Tuesday, who interacts with us from Bandung via the internet. She works with low-status populations and has an entirely different view on compassionate care within neighborhoods. There are lively discussions after she hangs up.

Meanwhile, W arrives safely in the USA (30+ hours of flights and connections) to enjoy warm hellos and hugs from the grandkids. Oh, I'm so jealous. I put it out of my mind and focus on teaching.

I work for a few hours before having a massage in my room. My back is hunched and my shoulders are tight as sinews from poring over books and typing the past few weeks. OUCH. One solution and the price of a moderate lunch - please knead out those kinks! The masseuse is professional, digging out the worst of the tension.

I assemble the class material and set it to one side. Time is so fluid in Indonesia that I never know how much packing I'll have time for after lunch. You'd think 3.5 hours would be plenty of time to eat, return, and prepare, right? Maybe.

At noon, Hary, a senior student, and his wife Devi come to take me to lunch. "What would you like to eat? Do you like dim sum?" YES! Bandung has little variety in Chinese food; on the other hand, Jakarta has a big Chinese population with great restaurants and specialized menus.

It's close by and takes only 3/4 hour to get to the restaurant. The food is delicious and worth the trip. I make a quick call to a lovely young woman we consider our Indonesian daughter (she stayed with us for a year in the USA.) "We'll be there in about a half hour," she promises.

What? She is willing to pack up her 5-mo-old baby and meet us? I'm thrilled.
Such a pleasure
When she and her husband arrive, I'm astonished that their little guy is even cuter than his pictures. He lets me hold him for a while before puckering his lips and starting to cry. I hand him back to his mama, who rocks him and puts him right back to sleep. His dad says, "He loves conversation. He'll sleep and relax if he hears people talking." How cool is that? (I still can't get over his perfect little face.)

We head out the door at 2:45. "We still have time on the way back to get a birdcage," my hosts say. They turn onto a shortcut, a side street which we passed coming to the restaurant. We hop out of the car and into a few aviary shops. There are cages and cages. There are trays of maggots and trays of worms (bird food). There is every kind of bird from sparrows to exotic songbirds.
Squirmy bird food
In a little open courtyard, judges are examining about two dozen murai batu birds. (Listen here to an $8000 bird.) "When they are chicks, they sell for about $200. These competitors might be $2000. And the champion will be worth up to $10,000." The long tails twitch as the birds sing and posture. The cooing and tweeting is sweet music.

I know exactly what I'm looking for: wire flight cages. I've been looking for something more humane for our canaries: the 14" width of their current cages is awful for birds that love to spread their wings to fly. We find a used cage in good condition as well as a new one. Within a few minutes, Devi negotiates a good deal for both and we pack them into the back of the car.

My ride to class is waiting in the lobby because it's 3:35. See? Time flies.

"No worries," my student says, "I'll wait in the lobby." I rush up to my room (thankful that I packed up before lunch!), change, and head back down.
Having fun at the end of the week
Most classmates are late: Jakarta traffic makes any trip unpredictable. We start anyway and zoom through as much of the remaining information as we can. I pass around a USB stick containing my notes, PPTs, resources, and the class assignments. They can read what we didn't get to discuss, if they are interested.

I pack up the room and fall into bed about 11:00pm. And set the alarm for 4:30am.

5:30am: toll road traffic
When the alarm buzzes, I jump up to tuck the remainder of my things into the suitcase. I carry the birdcages down and gather the box of books from behind the lobby counter (too tired to carry them up last night and back down this morning). I go back up for my bag and suitcase, adn then Pak E helps me put the flight cages into the back of the car. We're off before 5am.

I click into my seatbelt and lay down on the back seat for a 20-minute nap. Then the sun's up, and I'm wide awake. The toll highway out of Jakarta is already starting to bunch up behind trucks and buses. But we've left in time! before the main rush. It takes us only 3:10 hours (for 100 miles) until we pull up at our gate. The driver heads home to sleep.

I intend to snooze. But the helper has caught a mouse in the glue trap (where oh where are the new traps?) and I can't stand to leave things in the suitcase. I unpack. I make a few pancakes for breakfast at 9:30, coax the canaries into their new homes, and putter until noon.

Someone from the international church calls - can I lead the service tomorrow? Sure. "Send me the program so I know what to announce." He emails me the files.

Ibu A makes nasi goreng ayam (fried rice with chicken) for lunch. Deeelicious. She laughs because the rice has turned purple from the shaved red cabbage in it. She's left out the seasoning for Tuesday, who is on a restricted diet due to allergies. T tests the rice and sticks to her own food. Much safe - smart woman.

We sit around the dining table to catch up and chat for over an hour. Then we sigh with relief as we head to our rooms for a snooze. She's still jet-lagged. And I'm worn from the week of teaching. It was fun, though! And I met so many wonderful people.

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*The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.  Deuteronomy 30:14
*The crowds asked John, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Luke 3:10-11
Moravian Prayer: Life-giving God, may your words and witness be our guide. Help us not only to be hearers but doers also. In Jesus’ name. Amen.