Friday, November 23, 2018

Rainy river - on the street

The sun's up, like every morning. And later it will probably rain - with gushers surging down the hills, through town, and into the rivers. Check this out.
Rainy season lures ants into the house - they're everywhere and we're at war. It also means that flowers are bursting with color in every garden corner - these 5" balls of red popped up along the driveway. Gorgeous, no?

Thanksgiving Day in the States. Thankful for so many things! We make a few calls to friends and family throughout the day.

I still am not allowed to hike. Instead, we head to the office for a look ahead at the Christmas season. Details. Details. Details to be considered in advance. I hang a few ornaments on the Giving Tree and finish writing Sunday's talk.

We actually go to a shopping center - but not for clothes. I need office supplies. The streets flow with water after an hour of rain. We're caught in a rive that is dangerous enough for most motorcyclists to seek shelter until the blitz river abates.

In the evening, it's clear again. W and I walk to Dr H and Alice's place for a delicious supper and study.
The food tastes even better than it looks! Alice is an amazing chef. And the company is warm.
The grandkids call (thanks, Melissa!) as we are falling asleep - our grandson shows off the letter he got from my dad - Grandpapa. My folks sent a parcel with the socks he left in Grandpapa's workshop and a $5 bill for his birthday; he can't wait to show it to us. So cute. Sorry, not allowed to post pics of the kids but here's his funny letter.
The strangest times when living abroad are those when family gathers without us. We miss them.

Another trip to the office. Some talks are easier to craft than others. This one, on spiritual gifts and their role in the Church, is a struggle. I taught a class on the topic last summer in the Philippines; that feels like a walk in the park, compared to this.

I also need to visit the foot doctor - the custom orthotic inserts have arrived for my shoes. Ouch - they hurt the feet as the arch is very high. Apparently the weight of the body is supposed to be on the arch. Which is is, with these inserts!

The doc says, "Wear them for 2 weeks. If they're not comfortable, bring them back. Wear them for 6 months and that should take care of your feet."

A few months ago, I took several pieces of lace to the tailor. A friend returned to South Africa after studying fashion design in Jakarta, gifted me with 2 boxes of fabric when she left. I'm finally using some of it. And today's the day to pick it up.

On the way back from the doc, the driver finds the lane to the tailor's house after our first try dead-ends in a construction zone.
This will be a good evening jacket for a special event.
Most clothes are a good fit. I ask for a few changes to one that hangs like a sack. Sack-like tops are popular here with aging ladies; our thickening tummies disappear under the little tents. No thanks.

It's a rare treat to have a new blouse, skirt, and jacket. I don't like shopping for clothes, even though we live in the textile center of Indonesia.

Read more:
*Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:1-5 NIV

*Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5 NIV
*If you seek the Lord, he will be found by you. 2 Chronicles 15:2
*Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Matthew 7:7

Moravian Prayer: Jesus, you call us. Silence, for a moment, the clamor of this world so that we may hear the whisper of your voice within our souls. Having heard, may we seek you. Having sought, may we find the door of your mercy standing ajar for all who long for home. Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Sweet spots

Saturday, November 17, 2018
It's Community Dinner! How we look forward to it. Tonight, we're talking about being thankful again. Last time, it was about thankfulness for relationships. This time, it's about other things we're thankful to God for - life, health, education, etc.
The activity tonight is a challenge to each table: make a video about what they're thankful for.
They come up with wonderful clips - creative and fun. The person who inspired the favorite video wins a night in a top Airbnb, Rabin House (prize donated.)
Everyone cheers when the prize goes to an Argentinian programmer who is traveling the world for 2 years - he's landed at CDB and will enjoy this stay at a local house with a fabulous chef.
The tech doesn't work - but everyone watches the videos on their phones because we're missing a cable.
We are seriously goofy and have a great time - the food (thanks to Della) is outstanding and the company great as always.

This BIC community warms our hearts. W and I have been acting pastors for almost 3 months. Today we are speaking about outstanding characteristics that emerge in people who love God:
  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control
These qualities are called "the fruit of the Spirit," each a result of being full of God's Spirit and presence (Galatians 5:22-23). Small groups discuss one of the qualities and report back to the assembly. As always, we learn more from each other than from someone at the front of the room.

The flower bouquet from the front of the hall goes to a couple who has been married just a month. After, everyone gathers around the table, eating, talking, visiting. We pray for each other, too. This beautiful mom and daughters trio warms the heart.
We have lunch at Bumi Sangkuriang - delicious. The chef is in the groove today.
We're headed to another part of our island on an early flight - we leave the house before 6am. For a change, the airplane is pretty much on time. We're in Semarang, a coastal city in NE Java, before noon. 
After a quick walk in high heat and humidity to a nearby mall, W heads off by himself to see the city. I rest my sore heels at Hotel Chanti. The bed is comfy, the rooms are spotless - and on top of it all, it's about $32 for our stay. A 5-star experience, anticipated by this beautiful waiting area.
 W finds some indifferent Chinese food for supper but after the snacks we've eaten I'm not hungry. I just need enough to swallow the NASID pill for the inflammation in heels and knees.

We drive to Salatiga in a shuttle van; W has meetings in the afternoon. A bunch of American friends celebrate Thanksgiving, American style, in the evening. We're from various places in Indonesia, which makes the gathering even better.
 The surroundings are - shall we say, tropical paradise? Tall palms, a steady wind before the afternoon rains, green green plants everywhere. I still can't get used to so much beauty - and it's warm out! in November. What more could we ask for?

A red sky as the sun falls

What fun. And the food. Oh my the food.
Besides tons of side dishes, Doris and MaryAnne have baked all kinds of pies in MA's countertop oven. Wow.

Tim has smoked turkey and hams - and everyone has brought something to share.

MaryAnn gifts each of us with a package of home-baked cookies. Feeling totally spoiled.

The country leadership team, including W, meet again in the morning while a few of us head to the batik factory to hunt for fabrics. The wax molds for the figures are so detailed.

I find some beautiful cloth - and a few scarves.

The landscape is mountainous - and I'm amused by goat families along the toll road.
 Dave and Gigi take us along to "the best Semarang lumpia" - and that's saying something: Semarang is famous for their egg rolls (lumpia). Soon we're headed back to Semarang Airport - Dave and Gigi are on an earlier flight to Jakarta. The historical Chinese influence is everywhere.
After noon and sampling the lumpia, we're hardly hungry! It was delicious. We're waiting an a hour for the airline counter to open, so we enjoy ice cream cones at the A&W. After we check in, we head for the airport lounge. The food is pretty good - and my veggie fritter looks like a flying bunny, don't you think?
Our flight home is delayed 2 hours. It's after 6pm when we board. The sky turns crimson as we wait.
It's a relief to leave the Bandung airport once we arrive in our city. We toss our things in our car at 7:30pm. "We've had rain and floods every day," the driver says. The streets are washed clean of garbage - which will be plugging the rivers on its way to the sea.

We make it home to shower and unpack at 8. Feeling so blessed to be part of a good team - and to be sleeping in our own beds tonight.

Read more:
*Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

*The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. Proverbs 9:10-12 NIV

*Better is a little with righteousness than large income with injustice. Proverbs 16:8
*No one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins.  1 Thessalonians 4:6
Moravian Prayer: Lord, our righteousness, help us to remember that the sincerity of our confession of faith in you is measured by how we treat others both individually and collectively. May all who bear your name resist the temptation to enrich themselves at the expense of others or partake of the fruits of economic injustice. Amen.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Makassar and meetings galore

I need pictures to remember the last 2 weeks. W begins recovery mode after travels, but is only home long enough to repack.
November 8-11
Tembi's off to her next destination: we've learned so much from her. For the last 2 weeks, she has a flu bug - but never complains. What a trooper!
Meanwhile, W and I travel to Makassar (an island slightly north of us), where we connect with Tim and Doris in their beautiful coastal city.
The guesthouse is a short walk along the canal from the main house. Fishermen gather brackish-water seaweed from the bay, a traditional job with a modern backdrop.
Doris is setting up an English library system for neighbors. There are a few associates around - it's fun to get to know coworkers.
I feel inspired by Doris, who already has her Christmas decor up. W sets up a better internet in their house, and of course we have a lot of fun - Doris is an amazing cook.
We also eat at a few local pop-up restaurants in the neighborhood.

There are all kinds of "normals" in the world: look at this motorcycle pickup truck, spotted on a street nearby.
The flight home home is uneventful - and happily only one plane. W eventually finds a taxi at the airport (the driver is off) and we're at our gate with a triple-the-usual-fee. (For foreigners, negotiating the amount is okay but he's too tired to hassle.)

We were away for yesterday's farewell prayer for Caleb and Roxy, but see them this morning for their final study. We take a funny picture among all the serious ones - this is such a great group.
We're at the BIC office as usual. I start December BIC enews and wrap up a few updates. Sandy left us a tree when she and Terry returned to Canada; it looks "just right" on the little table in the office.
W and I speak together - and have a few more meetings before Sunday is done. Monday starts early - and goes late.

After working in the early morning, I head to the arisan (women's group) for an early lunch.

W and I head for the nurseries above Bandung on a date. I fill up my tired heart at the orchid shops: 5 for about $25 - that's a cheap date, for sure. Can't wait until they all bloom.
W has lunch with Andrew while I putter around the shops for an hour. For supper, we're happy to meet friends from movie night at a Chinese restaurant downtown. WuJin chooses delicious dishes.

I've skipped the walk in the hills since W came back in October. I miss time outside, though we walk the dogs for 1-2 km every day. I even quit that this week.
While W is on the walk, I decorate the house for Christmas. By the time the study arrives in the evening, the downstairs tree and room is finished.

Friends come for a visit in the morning; I invite them along for the walkers' lunch. Several people know them already.

It feels so nice to get up to a festive house. But my heels and knees are very sore. I'm trying to stay off my feet as much as possible - only walking 2-4 km/day - but they don't get better. In fact, they're sore enough that maybe I should get to the podiatrist (foot doc). Veronica, a fellow hiker, recommends someone nearby.

Doctor T says pressure should land on my arches, but instead, I'm striking the ground with my heels. Now I'm supposed to walk with Keens inside the house. Ugh. We always take our shoes off. (We wash a pair of sandals for use inside.)

The doc takes ultrasounds of both feet and knees. They're inflamed, with some kind of infection going on, so I wasn't imagining the pain.

Since we'll be walking a lot next week, W talks me into a cortisone shot in the most painful  heel. I ask the doc for ice to dull the heel where he's going to poke the needle; I know it's going to hurt. 

"Don't scream too loudly," cautions the doc with a smile. "I have older patients in the waiting room." It does hurt a lot. I'm not a screamer. Luckily. Plus I've cranked up techno music and I'm reading a novel on my phone as distractions. Ouch. Still hurts.

W went to the market yesterday but couldn't find the serving spoons we usually buy. Instead, he pays $16 for 4. What?! They look just like the 40c ones.

There are no refunds in Toko Setiabudi or elsewhere. Even if things break - oh well, it's our responsibility. Everything is tested before we leave - electronics, lights, etc. - so we have no excuse if it falls apart in the next week. And if we got the wrong item, tough.

I talk W into trying to get a refund. After the morning doctor's appt, he goes back to the shop and heads upstairs to the purchase counter: "Sorry, my wife says these are not the right ones. May I get my money back?" No, but she'll reluctantly give credit, to be spent today.

Meanwhile, I hobble around to find the spoons we need. Then it's a long complicated process to buy serving spoons 8@$3.25 for all. Complication: the ones we want are in a bin downstairs, not upstairs where W got the expensive ones.

The gal upstairs finally lets us bring the cheaper spoons up, but that takes a while to negotiate between floor employees. And then we may spend the remaining credit on ... whatever - but only from the upper floor of housewares. W finds a new bath towel and I pick up a serving dish. We were lucky to be able to swap. Though we wouldn't have spent the money otherwise.
We return to the podiatrist at 4. Wow - I wouldn't want to live on the hill across the valley. Look at that landslide! We snap a picture, to the amusement of the security guard at the doc's.
The young assistant wraps my feet tightly in cling film (isn't that too tight?) while I'm sitting, not standing. Then he makes a clay-bandage mold (which doesn't go all the way up my high arch because of the tight wrap.) The custom orthotics are relatively cheap - $80 - but will they fit?
After buying a few pills, which come in little baggies from the pharmacist, to make the inflammation go down, we've spent $130 total = 2 doc visits, ultrasounds, cortisone shot, meds, and custom orthotics. Not bad.

It's Community Dinner night. First I have to finish my talk for this evening, make meals (no helpers today), and write a few things. The sun shines outside. I'm happy to be here, not raking leaves in the cold.
Read more:
*There is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2
*Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Matthew 7:24
Moravian Prayer: Lord, you have established a firm foundation for those who trust in your word. Ground us today— and every day—in relationship with you and in obedience to your commandments. Thus we shall find our footing amid the tempests of life. Amen.