Friday, September 28, 2018

The big wave

Saturday, September 29, 2018
The house is still quiet at 6:30am. When I check the news, there's almost nothing about the earthquake and tsunami that happened yesterday in northern Indonesia. Western media seems obsessed with politics.

But we have friends on the island that was hit by movement and water. We are waiting for updates as we watch a video of the incoming wave.

We are relieved when our friends make it back to their hotel - only to find that it was destroyed by the tsunami. Now what? They're trying to return to Java as soon as possible. (At least it's warm weather if they have to sleep outside. This would be unbearable in winter conditions.)

Our kids send pictures of the grandkids playing outside - it's sunny in Seattle, too, which makes everyone happy in the fall. The world is full of contrasts. We are delighted to see their faces.

The weather here is hot most mornings. Sometimes the cooler winds from the mountains bring afternoon storms - but we're not in rainy season yet. The grass is dry and we need to water the plants. Except that we're still on rations and there's often only an hour of water per day. If we're away from home, we miss the water window and the garden soil cracks under the blazing sun.

The week's been full of meetings - the best kinds, where we meet with people and share life on life. It's felt like a wave of opportunity and obligation. For someone like me, who has trouble keeping various agendas afloat and faces straight, it's a challenge for sure. I like people. (That cheers me up when I wish I could remember their names ... )

It's movie night! The mid-morning meeting disrupts the usual focused prep. W volunteers to fry sausages, saving me an hour of work. Thanks, hon!

More people come than were on the list - at least 80. Good thing they don't mind cramming together, whether in the kitchen or around the tables!

Dr H says, "There are still more to come ... " when I ask how many are behind her. I whisper to pray for "loaves and fishes," referencing when Jesus multiplied food for a crowd. (Great story - read it here.) Somehow, there is enough food for everyone here, too. God be thanked.

Birthdays for September include our dear IbuA, who joins Ibu S in serving and cleanup on movie nights.

We count 19? countries, including some grad students from Tanzania. I pull out three folded fabrics, which Mom and Dad bought there in the 1970s. (Can you guess what it's for? I've used it as a tablecloth.)

The Tanzanians recognize it right away: "Wow, that's old! but we still make a similar style."

The house and porch are full. At least 20 newcomers show up, brought by their friends. It's such fun for us.

In my heart, I wish Kirsten had been here to meet her international brothers and sisters. She's already in Korea with friends, having left us on Sunday after her short and wonderful visit.

We get to walk up from home into the hills above us. It's hot today, in the 90s (30+C). Across the hill, someone is dumped hundreds of truckloads of fill on a hillside. Oh dear - what will happen when rainy season arrives? Landslide below?

There are poor neighborhoods

and upscale, funky houses with recycled boards and stone/wire mesh siding (below)

Typical for more expensive neighborhoods, there's a satpam (security guard) and gate. No, that's not a catapult in the photo below. It's a gate with a heavy weight on one end and a rope on the other to keep it from flying open. When cars want to enter, the satpam releases the rope from a hook and lets the weights swing the gate upward, far enough for the vehicle to come through. Then he pulls on the rope, the gate comes back down, and he hooks the rope to the post beside his little security hut again. 

The lane below is deemed "too dangerous" night or day for a person to walk through alone, Christine tells us. (An Indonesian neighbor stopped her with strong cautions when she wanted to walk to a friend's house a while ago.) On the right is a forest, on the left a few houses. The long narrow stretch is hides travelers from sight so there are frequent robberies and assaults. 

We're safe together - the sun shines on the rock walls. Beautiful and refreshingly cool.

My tracker says it's been about 5 miles between hiking, lunch, and walking home to our own gate.

W puts the one big kitchen cabinet on casters. My back aches when I bend for hours of cooking or baking, especially on movie night. The counters are built at 28" from the ground (people here are shorter). With the wheels, we're at standard kitchen height (33-34") at least on one preparation surface. The 2 floor tiles and piece of teak we set on the peeling formica countertop have lasted three years so far. The tiles are great for cooling baked goods quickly; the teak acts as a cutting board in the middle.

When I upload photos from my phone, the one below also pops up - of our little Seattle apartment. Makes me homesick for family. (We had lots of company that night so we opted for a buffet and hauled the chairs to the LR = shades of things to come...)

I'm preaching tomorrow, so need a final read-through. Meanwhile, W runs errands in town with our new driver, Pak Gum. I'm staying in: who knows what kind of traffic they'll run into on the way back.

The old driver, who quit last Tuesday, said, "That's it for me" after we got home from the airport with Kirsten. He parked the car and then drove away on his motorcycle. That was that. It's very typical to have no warning when someone decides to leave. W gave him a month's severance pay anyway.

This week, it's a joy to have a cheerful and willing hand. G sweeps the drive of endlessly-falling leaves (imagine autumn all year long). He waters the garden when there's water and walks the dogs. He's smiling whenever we see him, just like our friends said he would - they appreciated his attitude of helpfulness and recommended him highly when they repatriated to Canada.

Shouts from a football game echo against the hills. The cheerleaders are drumming, the fans are screaming - must be at the university field across the valley.

Read more:
*Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me. Psalm 66:20

*A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
*From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. Proverbs 13:1-3 NIV
*Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8
Moravian Prayer: All-knowing Lord—who has numbered the stars in the sky—you know our hearts and thoughts even before we know them ourselves. Your gracious love fills all our needs. What comfort and peace it gives our souls. With praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sweet music to the ears

Thursday - Saturday, September 20-22, 2018 
Kirsten's here! People want us to line up for pictures with them when we go out.

Thursday evening, she sleeps through the study; after a 40-hour trip and a busy day, it's no wonder. People come to the house instead of meeting in town (in case she was able to join). I've made enough for a full supper. How does that happen? We polish off the food together.

Friday, friends invite us to a traditional Sunda buffet. Banana leaves line the table, and food is placed directly on them. 

We eat with our fingers.

And decimate the food - it is delicious!

Saturday, Kirsten gets a massage with a strong-fingered Sundanese masseuse. Then we go to the floating market north of the city.

 The koi swarm bridges where tourists drop food into the water.

 15-foot-high grasses wave against the sky. There's plenty to see and lots of food choices.

We love time with our daughter. We stop into the Lembang farm and craft market. There are a few funky old cars in the parking lot.

A shop girl shows Kirsten how to tie a batik wrap-skirt.

W and I speak together in the morning, then enjoy some church "family" time around the table set outside the auditorium. This faith community is our extended family. We also enjoy meeting several newcomers. I love how regular attendees come alongside and begin the conversations. No one should have to do life alone. At BIC, each person can engage or just show up ... as they please.

Pak Tota  provides a driver so we can get Kirsten to her flight on time. We slurp noodles at the Yami Yami noodle shop across from the airport. She's off to Singapore and further adventures with friends - and our hearts are content. I'm sad to see her go ... but what a life-giving visit for me as her mom!

After a quick nap, I walk to tea at 4 at Dr H's - her friends are gathered around for relaxation and conversation. Then we take a taxi to the Hilton for the season opener of the Bandung Philharmonic.

I'm carrying the beaded purse my mom carried to several of my siblings' weddings, and mine, too. The music centers around death and leaving a legacy.

After the concert, we meet the composer in residence,
 snap a photo with the CEO of the symphony, and take a picture with the guest pianist.*
Bedtime at 11 seems late - but it takes me a while to unwind.

Early meetings (the first one is delayed to 7am), agendas to write, a week to plan ... Monday starts with a roar. By 8:30, the first attendees are on the porch, ready to visit and study together. Team meetings follows - by which time I'm ready for a break. W makes a hospital visit while I start on another agenda and write.

Read more:
*God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Psalm 49:15 NIV

*Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things! Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. Joel 2:21-24 NIV

*I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:34
*Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35
*Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:10
*John wrote: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1
Moravian Prayer: Gracious Advocate, so often we go off on our own and lose our way. We take our eyes off of you and selfishly focus on the world. Thank you for not abandoning us to ourselves. Thank you for bringing us back into loving communion with you. 
Christ the everlasting light, with great love and sacrifice you have freed us from the bonds of death. How can we ever thank you enough? Help us to live up to your sacrifice—to seek you in all that we do— to be your hands and feet in the world. Our Lamb has conquered! Let us follow Him. Amen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Of mice, men, and meetings (sorta)

Saturday, September 15, 2016
World Cleanup Day is today. W's finds the last rat in the glue trap this morning - after it crunched around and he spied it with his flashlight. It was sitting on our window ledge last night. It had the beadiest eyes in the light near the ceiling. When he got close, it squirted through a crack in the windowsill outside. Today it is no more.

W and DrW head to clean up the neighborhood - while I work on our talks. I have a 9am-noon commitment at Stamford, a local international school. Three of us are judging a storytelling contest.

"It will probably last 2-2.5 hours," read the email. "Come at 9:30." (This morning, I get a WA that I'll be met there at 9.)

There's no telling what traffic is like; I head out at 8:30 and no one is on the upper road. I'm there before 9. The organizer gives me and the other two the rubric for grading. We read the upper primary scripts and grade them. Then we wait for the older group to write and submit their radio scripts. The kids are working in groups; some of the writing is quite interesting.

While we wait, we tell rat stories - some have had rodents share the bed. Rats make nests here and there. We talk about how best to trap and rid our houses of rodents. It's funny. And gross. And something we all have in common - they squeeze in from the garden, from neighbors, and from - who knows where.

Since we have guests for lunch at the house at 1:00, I tell the organizer I will be leaving at noon. "Oh my," she says. The speeches haven't even started at 11:50, when we are introduced to participants in the auditorium a few minutes before 12:00. I smile, wave, and leave on time.

We love having people over - and these two and their almost-2-yr-old are favorites. We've hugged a lot of Sundays, but visiting together makes the friendship deepen and even more special.

It's a typical busy Sunday morning. The children's leaders are ill so it turns into Family Sunday - all together in the auditorium. The service leader is stuck in Jakarta with a broken car so W steps up to lead the service. He calls the children up to the front and tells a Bible story before the main talk.

Scott and Sarah assemble a team to lead worship.

Today Josh is the main speaker. He recruits two girls to read from the Old and New Testaments. They are gifted with clear voices.

We join a big group at Miss Bee. Oh yum - good food as always. We share noisy conversations and a lot of laughter around the table.

In the afternoon, another guest arrives at the house, which means more tea, a few cookies. I'm so thankful for IbuA who keeps baking, week after week. The four old square Tupperware boxes are refilled and emptied, one after another.

A week ago Thursday, we called a mobile dog groomer was supposed to come over. We've had four cancellations or postponements.

Today, he calls that he is thought he was here, but is lost - he went to another part of town with a smilier address to ours. He promises to come the next Thursday. It's his last chance; our poor standard poodle is shaggy and needs a trim. You can't let poodles go too long without grooming. Since Cocoa gets a run in the hills every week, she gathers dust! She and Gypsy now happily own the yard. And she loves being brushed out.

Meeting day. W takes the train to Jakarta at 5am. He's got a committee meeting. My day starts later: a 7am conference call before our 9:30 study. Several study participants arrive before 9: last week started early and they're still on track for that. We don't mind - our porch is a great place to visit and hang out.

Today we have guests from Germany joining new attendees and regulars. I love the interaction - and the conversations around scripture. It's fun to explore from many personal viewpoints, past experiences, and varied worldviews.

After, we have our team lunch upstairs - and then Clau and I head out for another meeting with Mr S on some empty land.  There may be an interesting project in the works. Life is never dull - but I'm glad to get home before 5:00.

I wake early - and by 4:30 the Muslim chants are at full volume. We usually sleep through them but this morning there are several new voices resounding across the valley from the next hill. Some of the speakers have beautiful cadences - some are high-pitched, some are low and rumbling. They don't last long: after 15 minutes, all is quiet.

W is back in mid-morning but the special event of the day will be picking up our daughter, who is here for the week. HURRAH! We can't wait to see her.
Kirsten arrives on time - and we are delighted that she's here. It's a 40-hour trip from her place to ours. She's so tired but up for a good supper and chat. Oh ... sweet to have family here - esp a daughter.

When K opens her suitcase, it is full of baking soda. The American TSA has slashed a sealed bag of baking soda and let it drift all over the luggage.

So rude. Why couldn't they tape over the hole they made in the bag?

We have a group over for breakfast at 8:00. There are several new people in the group - what a pleasure to meet them. PakD brings a huge box of baking over. I should have taken a picture - they are beautiful as well as tasty. I add tea, rice, and hot curried jackfruit to the mix. It's a bit early to cook but oh well.

At 10, we leave the first meeting for a staff meeting at BIC. We move through our long agenda and have work to do. We're back just before lunch -

We eat at Eatalia - pizza, sweet potato and mushroom gnocchi, and calzone. And K gets her list of movies for the trip.

We're already tired out when we come home before 3. K and I rest while W heads out to one more meeting in town. (He loves to keep going. I need breaks between.)

Read more:
*Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:9

*God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:1-5 NIV

*You silence the roaring of the seas, the tumult of the peoples. Psalm 65:7
*And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. 1 John 2:24
Moravian Prayer: Lord, you speak to us in many varied ways—in the beauty of creation, in the cry of one in need, in the still small voice within us. Open our hearts to understanding and discerning your desire for us. Then use us Lord, just as you will.
Lord Jesus, who commands the wind and the waves, calm the storms within our world. Grant peace to those in need and distress. Empower us, through your grace, to be as Christ to others. Amen.