Wednesday, January 31, 2018

We care because He cares

Beautiful batik fabrics: every region of Indonesia has their own patterns
Sunday, January 28, 2018
After leading the service at BIC, friends old and new hang around for an hour.

Sheila reminds us of why we trust and obey God. Her talk is about Sarah (Genesis 18), whose long wait for a son and doubting laughter turned to joyful laughter and hope. God alone knows what is coming and is powerful enough to do what pleases him. (It doesn't matter if his purpose and actions feel impossible to us.)
Sometimes you just have to put your feet up and rest
The lunch group that's invited me has long since left, so I walk home to make something to eat. Gypsy is delirious with happiness to see me walk in the gate. That's the joy of having a dog.

Starting with a call at 7, the day moves through the study at 9:30 into the team meeting at 11:30. From our office, we hear the laughter continue on the porch, and the chatter of friends connecting and doing life together. It's balm to my heart.
Simon usually videos the studies, but today the guys turn
the camera on him. 

We have lunch, a simple meal of chicken, rice, and vegetables. The cauliflower and buttered crumbs don't quite taste as expected. The first few times, meals are experimental - but they seem to settle down with a suggestion here and there.

We get wonderful news. I haven't said much about our 2-week-old granddaughter. After a series of tests, she's given a clean bill of health and our initial concerns are laid aside. Thanks be to God for the prayers of so many friends for baby Mac.

Today it's lawn and tree-cutting day. I tape a Sharpee marker to an old broom handle and draw lines on three thick branches of the guava tree. The gardener climbs up into the top of the tree and begins to disrupt the ant highway to our roof. 

It's an old tree and I hate to cut it. We ignored the garden when we first moved in and the branches shot 25' into the sky, even getting tangled in the retired electric wires overhead. Months ago, the last time we pruned, the tree responded with a burst of new shoots from every cut. I'm hoping for the same: maybe we, rather than the fruit bats, will be harvesting the tree if the fruit grows nearer the ground.

It's taken me a long time to decide which branches to take out and where to make the cuts. Every pruning remakes the shape. Today's decisions will show up in the history of the tree, decades from now.

Thud! Thud! Guava is a very dense wood and very heavy. It feels like mini-earthquakes as the branches fall to the ground. The dog runs to my office door and lies down near me. Pak Lili drags the branches and rakes away the leaves for the rest of the day.

A pragmatic choice - 2 little ovens in the space of one = cheaper and double the capacity. The gas canisters sit behind the ovens.
Meanwhile, the helper is baking and cooking. Today she's making bread and stewing the pumpkin from the garden. When she leaves, the kitchen will be clean and quiet.

In the afternoon, the book group meets to watch a movie remake of a book they read before I joined. Robert Redford (the women sigh that he's still handsome) and Jane Fonda (I think she's still beautiful) play elderly friends and neighbors who have lost their spouses.

It feels a bit close to home, watching the movie characters' children refuse to let their parents be together. That's happened to various people we know: the self-interest of the children results in a lonely future for the parent, especially because middle-aged children are wrapped up in their own lives and problems.

Afterward, the women sit in the living room and on the porch, sharing how we grew up and relate to our own families. And we respond to the film. By the time we get home, it's evening. I edit another paper and - ah, blessed rest.

I've left the keys in the door, so the helper knocks on my window to ask me to let her in. What? It's 8am already? Today, I must finish grading the week's assignments from an online course in the States. After an hour of work in my office, the alarm rings.

It's my heads up for a meeting of Yayasan Jari, a project started by local doctors dealing with the post-traumatic effects of violence against women and children. They've developed a training course for children and parents, designed to teach boundaries and ways to protect themselves from abuse and domestic violence.

By 9, Alice and I are on our way to town to the meeting. 
The strange quickly becomes normal. A 3-wheeler motorcycle "pickup truck" with someone sitting on the back, holding the furniture they're transporting. I almost didn't take a picture, until I remembered how wild that seemed when we first arrived...

The house for the Jari gathering is beautiful, a mix of old colonial style and modern architecture. The high concrete walls around the property block the noise. The courtyard is stunning, but honestly, everywhere you look, the house has touches of creativity and beauty. There are 1930s art deco stained glass windows, old teak trim, and marble floors.

Dr Hanna and her team introduce Jari to a group of about 20 - and there's a meal of course. Nothing in Indonesia happens without food! I am inspired by these locals who are changing their communities. This is such a worthy endeavor - I'm glad to be a small part of it.

I skip lunch when I get home, working in my office until evening. I've had to refuse a chamber orchestra concert tonight - but there's only so much time for life and learning in a day.

Read more:
*I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Exodus 15:1

*I will exalt you, my God the King;     I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. Psalm 145:1-3
*I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. Ezekiel 11:10
*If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 2 Corinthians 5:17
*See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. 1 John 3:1
Moravian Prayer: All praise to you, holy Parent! You lead and protect us as a loving father. You nurture and guide us as a devoted mother. You cherish us as your precious children. We are blessed to be your family.
Giver of life, through the death and resurrection of your Son, you have breathed redemption into the dark corners of our lives. May we, your church, carry your healing breath out into world to speak life to the hopeless. Amen.

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