Monday, April 16, 2018

Everything happens around food

I have to get back into the mood of picture-taking. In the States, not many of us take photos of daily life and I've gotten out of the habit. Here's what we have ...

Always the same crowded streets (2 lane road)
Sunday, April 7, 2018
We take a Grab car to town to the Indonesian church. Our friend's sitting in the front, so we join her. Not my usual seat: I prefer the back unless I'm participating. It's refreshing - and I'm amazed at how much we now understand.

Then we head to lunch with Bob and Riga - love those friends. It's good to be in town together and listen for God among us.

What a warm welcome back into our study group. "Listen to everyone talking and laughing," smiles a participant. "Our energy is high this morning."

They've done just fine without us. Part of developing leaders is letting them lead - and our study groups have many leaders emerging among them. They eagerly accept the challenge of leading again next week. We learn about so much various cultures, God at work, and our responsiveness from the individual takeaways and prayers at the end.

Our rescheduled team meeting lasts through lunch at the house. What a blessing to have good friends and colleagues. They share what they've been doing, ongoing processes, and a few wins. Then W and I pack suitcases for another trip, diving into bed for an early sleep.
The seasons don't change, so the cushion covers do

Wed - Friday
Up at 4, we're off to Jakarta, arriving by train in the early morning. The conference starts in the afternoon - and by Friday lunch we have met people from all over Asia. We learn a lot. My heart is open to how God will work because of what we've heard.

Hela and Gerhard have invited us over for barbecue. They're about a mile up the hill, a nice walk, especially in Saturday traffic. We pass the macet (stopped cars) both on the way up and back.

Seven dogs and a cat, plus a few birds and fish make their presence known as we walk through the gate. Gerhard is an inventor with many interesting things in his self-built home, including fish ponds that border on the jungle. His 3-part barbecue features a hot-fire compartment, and intermediate bbq and finally, a smoker chimney. He's prepared chicken and other meats, while Hela's made German potato salad, cucumber salad, snacks, and ... well, needless to say, we are bursting by the time we finish supper.

It's so good to be in church again. I enjoy being service leader: it's a comfortable spot for me, mic in hand, inviting people into the community of faith. Della offers us an interactive worship: after singing a song together (first one about God's goodness, the second about God's love, the third about God's care for us), we turn to 3-4 others. We share our observations for the first two: how has God been good to us in the past week? And, how have we experienced or shared his love? After singing about God's care, we pray in our small group, asking God for the things we need in the coming week. As usual, some are distracted and chat or just say hi. But those who respond, know the real Presence among us in preparation for the lecture.

The speaker, Pak Chandra, talks about the transformation of the heart, beyond a world of good ideas and good works. He says, "If all you need is good advice, you don't need the Bible. You can go to Buddha, Confucius, Plato, Socrates (any of the great thinkers). But they won't teach about Who transforms us and how He does it. That comes through union with Jesus, unity with Him, and by fellowship with God through Jesus." (my paraphrased quote) For that, say Pak Chandra, we need to read, understand, and obey scripture.

The lunch group is a first: everyone at the table (all 9 of us) pays attention to whatever one person is saying. It's usual to have multiple conversations around a table, but this is more focused - and fascinating to me. I have to leave for a second meeting before they disperse.

Rabbit Town dessert
Nearby Rabbit Town opened before their parking lot was completed. Flocks of cars sit through the entire neighborhood. The traffic jams of last night and today are a result: a complete standstill on the streets and blocked thoroughfares up and down the hill. Five new highrises on the hill were built without any traffic mitigation in the past 2 years = so the 2-laned road still has ditches and random curbs or plants on the sides. Now there are at least seven new eateries in our neighborhood. Maybe that's good for neighbors who can walk here or there, but it sure makes for nasty traffic.

There are four flower boards of welcome outside the gates of the rabbit place. Typically, a new shop or venture might have dozens or more. "Either they are not well-supported by the city or it is a pre-launch," someone remarks. It's a selfie opportunity and a petting zoo, from what we can tell. We haven't paid the Rp25.000 entry fee ($1.75).

Inside the gates, several top restaurants and a coffee shop cluster around a courtyard with multiple seating areas. My friend Tuesday and I have a very good server. I invite her to movie night - and then another server comes over.

"Do you remember me?" she asks?

Her face is familiar from another neighborhood restaurant. She gives us a warm welcome and says she likes working here.

It's nice to get home at 4. I left at 8:30 this morning, so I'm ready for a relaxing evening. "Ping" comes a notification but I ignore my computer. We'll get to work tomorrow. Today is set aside as a day of "rest." Sort of.
We put our feet up together

We were asleep before 10pm last night, so waking at 4:30 feels like I've had a long night's sleep - it will be a few more weeks before our bodies are completely acclimated to the time zone.

At 6am, the weather is cold (brrrrr @67oF; 19oC) when we walk the neighborhood. I'm glad for a fleecy top but shiver until the blood gets flowing. The dog is happy to be out and about. And I'm back in time for my first meeting at 7am - luckily it's online.

At 8:30, people start arriving for the study. We're a group of about 20 this morning. Simon leads and Tuesday presents a project for us during May and June. With so many friendships being formed in the group, we want to be generous together in giving back to the community. Ibu Apong has baked up a storm since we got back: there are 5 containers of cookies in the freezer, which everyone enjoys. (Put them on a plate, and they're thawed and ready to eat in 5 minutes.

The team meets for catch-up and lunch. Today we are feasting on green papaya soup, sausage, and rice. The salad man rings at the gate with the weekly organic/hydroponic greens. I let him choose what to bring, "Whatever you have lots of, as long as there's kale," I say. (5-6 heads of salads cost about $3.75, delivered via motorcycle.)

In the hour between meetings, my dear husband heads to the store for supplies with a snapshot of the grocery list: tomorrow, I'll be prepping for the dinner-and-a-movie night coming Wednesday. 70 people sign up within a half hour and another 25 put their names on the waiting list before evening.

At 2, we have another meeting at the house, about a hopeful future and good work ... over tea and cookies, of course. At 5, we're on the porch, enjoying raclette. It's a Christmas tradition with Terry and Sandy ... except that none of us has had time until now. (Wait, is it April already? Merry Christmas.) The soft wind blows against the windchimes and the lights on the teras shine on the faces of our friends and colleagues.

We're out of the house about 7. We're heading across town to the LotteMart wholesaler to save a few dollars on food and supplies. Traffic is moving (hurrah) so we're at the house to unpack the back of the car by 10:30.

The helper starts putting things away, peeling potatoes, and washing the vegetables. The meat starts to thaw in the sink ... and prep has begun. Looking forward to supper with a houseful tomorrow.

Read more:
*Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my soul is struck with terror. Psalm 6:2-3
*Behold, here I am, let the Lord do to me as seems good to Him. 2 Samuel 15:26
*Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
*The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26
*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: Gracious Savior, we are willing to serve you as you choose. You know that we love you. Grant us the courage to overcome our self-doubt, knowing you are always by our side. We’re ready, Lord!
Spirit of God, when our words seem inadequate to offer in prayer, our hearts rest in peace knowing that you intercede on our behalf. Praise be to you, Father! Thank you, Son of God. Amen.

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