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.

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