Saturday, August 31, 2019

Chapter 3

Hurrah! One project is sent off before the deadline - merciful God, you sped it on its way. (More about that, later.)

Monday, August 26, 2019
The house and porch are full; teapots and snacks are everywhere (thanks, Aska, for amazing rissoles and the others for bringing options to share); the conversation is lively. A typical Monday morning study.

And in the afternoon, the wrap-up notes fly back and forth as we evaluate and process last weekend. We plan the next weekend, upcoming media, and the days between. That's usual, too.

I start getting applications for an Executive Assistant. I'm looking for someone local to pick up the details that are clogging my brain and my serve. I'm constantly checking: where are we in the process of that project? Have we confirmed this detail? Is that done or underway? Who's responsible for that piece? Who's meeting with us ... when? The event - how many are coming, and what menu will be served? Who needs a thank-you note from last weekend? And 100 more details besides. Some days I'm drowning in them.

W and I enjoy an afternoon treat - the snacks Kirsten left behind last week. Thanks, babe.

I get an early start at the office. This past weekend, God put in my heart the talk topics for next year at BIC. "Finally!" I think too myself. It's never too early to have a plan, is it?

W helps sort the themes, which I've been mulling for months. I start dreaming about how we can flesh out that framework.

We have guests at the 9:00 team meeting - a wonderful couple and their 1-yr-old. The little tyke is busy but well-behaved. The drawer of toys at the office means there's plenty for kids to do. She slams her fingers in the drawer once but otherwise roams around. SO cute! My grandma-heart is happy, watching.

Sanny makes sure we have tea and snacks. Can't do a meeting without that. He's a big help.
Caitlan is speaking Sunday at BIC so she gives her presentation to the team. We love it. We'll be cheering for her this weekend. W and I take Aaron and Caitlan to Bumi S for lunch. The baby stays in her highchair most of the meal and is sleepy when we're done. W and I drop by the office briefly before we can pulang (go home).

Meanwhile, our Roomba vacuum zooms noisily around the GG office. Once a week, I try to let it roam. It picks up so much dust and dirt - unbelievable.

The city is really polluted in dry season. The air particle index is double that of Mumbai and 4X higher than in Seattle. W does his research. "Pollution can clog the brain and make us stupid," he says. Oh well, we probably have a few more days to go before that happens.

The helper has made cookies. The first batch is a flop - they slide all over, like the first cookies I used to bake (the ones that weren't hard as stone, that is). But they taste good and we have  good laugh. She adds flour to the second batch, which turns out fine.

My final counseling call is at 6:30. The past 4 months, Veronica has been God's voice in my ears and heart on Wednesday mornings. She's walked me through questions and helped me trust God in my personal life and for family and friends. She's been a wise sister, speaking God's truth without compromise. I'll check our session notes in the weeks ahead and keep working on them. [I recommend #faithfulcounseling, a good website for finding an online counselor.]

W and I have breakfast at #PinoTerrace after 8:00 - they are waiting for us. The food is delicious and reasonable (about $4 for both meals and tea, so it's hardly worth cooking and cleaning up at home.)

We run errands in the morning and have lunch together at #SpiceAffair, an excellent Indian restaurant. It reminds us of Samiana, which was our go-to restaurant in the USA. They even make the naan with seeds like Shamiana did.

I've left my phone at home - it's date day and our Sabbath. Feels weird. W checks his messages and the route as we go. I stop counting his taps at 15. Since I'm usually on twice as often as he, how many times I would be tapping that screen? The emails and WhatsApp texts are stacked up when I pick it up in late afternoon. It only takes a half hour to get through them = not too bad.

We see a few strange things: one is this poorly-designed sign outside a mall. I do a double-take before noticing the rest of the letters.
There's been a fire in a store down the hill. Here, like everywhere else, people stop to stare and chat as they watch the firemen put out the flames.
 The firetruck blocks one side of the street and half of the other, but we and everyone else squeeze our cars past in the half-lane that's open. We take another way home.
When Sumi arrived in the morning, she washed the porch. Then she started two loaves of bread rising.  At the BIC office, she cleans for a few hours.

"She's amazing," says Sanny.

Yes, she is. When I get to BIC, the windows, mirror, and sinks are sparkling. The edges and corners of the floor are clean. The black glass on my desk is shining. (Who thought black glass would make a good tabletop? Every thumbprint and drip shows.)

We walk from home to the BIC office with 5 little aquarium shrimp from our last stop in the city on "aquarium street" (a block of fish stores.) We put the critters into a bowl with clean water and a plant from our yard pool before walking home again.

Sunday's flowers are still gorgeous. I created a smaller bouquet for the hospital visit we made Tuesday ... and then FORGOT it at home when we went from the BIC office straight to the hospital. Argh.

I'm at the BIC office by 6am. I've left the phone at home again. There's no one around. Just perfect. A few minutes of puttering.

The shrimp are dead. All dead. I click a few links online to read about acclimation - oh oh, they need more time and a steady drip of new water. (They were 35c each so I'm not heartbroken.) However, I learned something new and that makes me happy. The next critters will get better treatment. I dump them out, refill the bowl with fresh water, and pop the aquarium plant back in place. Something living on my desk. I like it.

I turn on the #focusatwill music channel, cranking the volume up on techno-noise for deep focus. Two hours speed by and I've got a chunk of my rough draft done. I hasten home: the groomer is coming to do the dog.

I pause to enjoy the neighborhood. The neighbor built a composting house a while back. The grass clippings and leaves are recycled inside. Pretty, right?
W is out walking the hills with our friends. My hand's not yet up to the pressure of a walking stick, which we need on steep and dusty trails. Maybe next week. Later, W says the dog groomer has been in a motorcycle accident. He's ok, but that's why he didn't show up. The dog is getting shaggy.

I ward off visitors by locking my home office door so people don't trot through, coming in and going out of the house. They use other doors. I break for a quick lunch and get back to words.

Wait. I have 13 "recovered" copies of my manuscript? The internet is flaking out so the document keeps rebooting. Ugh. I delete the extra copies after figuring out which one I was last working on. What a mess.

I quit when I'm tired, with 2/3 of a rough draft done. It's due on Saturday, plenty of time if I focus.

I walk to the quiet dark office before 6am. The sun's ready to come up; there are already lots of motorcycles on the road and people are walking or jogging around the neighborhood loop. I zone in for more writing. When the staff arrives at 8:30, I'm walk home and start the next paragraph, in my home office. It's not distraction-free - people walk through and chat.

I remember this pattern from writing my dissertation. If I got moving early in the morning, locked myself away with heavy metal or techno music to fuzz out distractions, and didn't move until I remembered to stand up - that was the perfect high-output focus for me. Ugly, but still works! I putter a bit between long hours of crunching words.

By late afternoon, I can edit the rough draft. W reads it and adds a few suggestions. I put it away until morning. Not due until tomorrow anyway.
The neighborhood park, funded by the women, is bursting with color as I walk by. It used to be an eyesore garage. Everyone donates plants to it and the security guards maintain the garden and gazebo.

After a final edit of the book chapter, I send it off. After it's gone, I notice that I forgot a whole section of edits. Oh well, it's not "my baby." Some writers are very protective of their work - you can't change a word without permission. (That's the bane of editors!) But this is just a good effort with decent formatting; it's not perfect.

I send the manuscript to the book editors along with permission to do whatever they want with it. People smarter than I can polish it if they need to.

I prepare a quick lunch of ramen and frozen chicken (thawed, fried) before petting the dogs and filling their dish with food. W is at a lunch meeting and it's late afternoon when I look up again. W has returned but he leaves again for the hash (a run/walk) with the Saturday hashers. The dogs are out walking for an hour or two so all is quiet on the home front.

But wait - the Roomba starts up and criss-crosses the living room and kitchen. The wind kicks up and clatters the bamboo chimes. The metal chimes ring while the canary enjoys the breeze with a song. The lovebirds are chirping at each other. Somewhere, a neighbor's dog is barking. The call to prayer starts with multiple cries from the speakers of mosques around the city. It's a lively festival of sounds.

Read more:
*Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish. Jonah 3:9

*The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom. Proverbs 15:33
*Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. 1 Corinthians 8:2-3
*The Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Moravian Prayer: Dearest Lord, there are so many people in this world who are yearning to be set free from oppression. Make us into vessels of empowerment, delivering the fruit of your spirit. Send us into this world and deliver us home after your deeds are done. 
Our imperfections often confine us and restrict our potential. Forgive us so that we may be set free to begin anew in you. We owe such a debt of gratitude already. May our fruitful and life-giving deeds be our payment. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Books, baptism, and a bouquet

Friday, August 23, 2019
I'm in a creative mode so I cook part of the morning. If I cook when I'm hungry, there's no end to the menu.

Ibu Sumi bakes fresh bread and I make two dips with garden herbs: tofu with fresh dill and homemade kefir cheese with lavender and rosemary. There are grilled sausages, lettuce wraps made with fresh hydroponic leaves from Alice's new venture. They're filled with spiced tofu or hoisin beef. We have deviled eggs and casava chips, too. (Dessert is additional.)
Why? This month's Bandung Book Group is at our place in the early afternoon. We've read Bad Blood (about a deceptive Silicon Valley startup). We have a lively debate on ethics and entrepreneurship. Next month we'll be at another gal's house after reading my pick, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

The days starts with writing while the sky is still golden.
My two major writing projects may miss end-of-month deadlines. W has writing deadlines of his own. (We're not late because we're fooling around, though. haha)

Gum picks up flowers for the hall tomorrow. They are a stunning 3'-tall riot of tropical color. The bouquets are a delight for us - I've been admiring the fresh arrangements every weekend for years. (Thanks, Ibu Fenny.)
While W is downtown in meetings, Ibu Siti arrives for therapeutic massage on my arm. I have no grip: my thumb is still slightly out of place with a muscle cramped tight. When Ibu S rotates the thumb slowly slowly and more more ... she presses out the frozen muscle ... tears spring to my eyes and roll down my cheeks. I'm not a screamer so when tears come, the pain is hardly bearable.

"Should I stop?" she asks. No way - I'm not doing this again. Just get it done. I breathe deeply, tears flowing. I wipe my eyes on the blanket and try to relax. My legs shake reflexively. Breathe. Breathe.

When Ibu S starts work on my shoulder, it makes me gasp again. Mama mia, that hurts! My knees pull close as I ride out the pain.

As hoped, when she's done, my shoulder has most of its movement and my thumb and wrist - though sore - are no longer catching or clicking. Good job, Ibu! I smile, give her a hug and her money, and rotate everything that was locked in place. Glad that's over.

W is back from town in time to hop in the car again. At 3:00, we have a coffee appointment with friends. We all walk up the street to set tables and put food on the warmers for Community Dinner Bandung.

At 5:00, we're hosting CDB. The set-up crew cranks up the music and tries out a few traditional Indonesian dances - makes me smile.
Tonight, it's the smallest group to date. The supper is delicious though - thanks Della! We have a wonderful exploration of "how we're wired."

Our hand-on activity goes with the theme - we're bending wire into an armature of something from our culture and background. It's such fun to see the creativity of each person - showcasing transportation, food, people, weapons, and other shapes. We're such a mix of experiences.

Sitora tells us that in her country, no tourist will pay for a hotel or food. Someone will find them on the street, take them home for food and lodging, and give them a gift before sending them off. What hospitality. Others mention quirks and habits of their areas - my German background wants to understand and organize everything.

We talk about how our families differ from our neighbors, and how we got to Bandung. When we're done, everyone picks up the leftovers, trays, supplies, and bags and takes them to the car - one trip and the room is clean.
One last event on the way home: we drop in for the launch of Down2Earth, an environmentally friendly restaurant. The appetizers are delicious, the company and conversations (with Jim and Rosa esp) are lively. Robin's rattan sculptures are stunning overhead.

The evening wraps up around 8:30. We're ready for sleep after we unpack the car and carry everything into the house. Our driver takes home some leftovers to share with his family and neighbors, too.

The sound system is wonky in the hall today. The teams work together so the media is set and ready before everyone arrives.
We're not speaking this morning, as Josh is sharing on Ezekiel. The hall is full of guests and regulars. Harun is getting baptized after the Gathering. The media team has done a cool video of his story and his commitment to faith. His dad baptizes him -
Community Table is groaning with food - tofu, fritters, cakes, and more. It's BIC time for short and long chats.

Since it's the last Sunday of the month, we celebrate August birthdays with a chocolate cake baked by Pei-Pei. We sing Happy Birthday! but there's so much else to eat that we cut the cake and send it home with the birthday celebrants.
Afterward, W, Aris, and I meet for lunch at Maxis. I walk home and nap until a friend drops by at 3:00 with some clothing. And then the day is almost done. Another week has begun.

Read more:
*The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him. Psalm 103:17
*If you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.Jeremiah 29:13-14 
*But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26
*If the root is holy, then the branches also are holy. Romans 11:16
*Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 
Moravian Prayer: All-knowing God, we search for you in the coming and going of the ocean tides, the passing years, and the shedding of tears. Each season brings us closer to you. Lord, continue to surprise us, inspire us, and reside in the mysteries of life. Lift our spirits.
Master, your reign exceeds all time and space. May we, your servants, ensure that all generations to come continue to seek your direction. With your blessing and guidance, may our foundation become firm. Amen.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

International Day and Kirsten's Birthday

Sunday, August 18, 2019
We start with a leadership team breakfast at 7:15. It's positive and encouraging. The team members are such a great group of encouragers, wholeheartedly invested in the good of the community.

The flowers at the Gathering are still pretty from last week. By mid-week, they'll be looking decidedly Mediterranean. We usually take the bouquet home - if someone is in hospital or has a special event, we share them.
We go from this to this
and finally to this
W zips home to pick up Kirsten just before the 9am Gathering. BIC is celebrating International Day on the heels of yesterday's Indonesian Independence Day. (Merdeka!)

People wear the colors and costumes of their countries to BIC. It's fun to see those from China, Japan, Indonesia, and Canada dressed in red (and some white). Other colors are beautiful and bright, too. Two guys (Brazil and Uganda) wear soccer shirts with country names. To a white shirt and red jacket, W adds blue shoes to acknowledge his adoption of the USA.

Pak Chandra's new access ramp is a hit - it provides a gently-sloped aisle for those who have trouble with stairs. I'm just delighted to have universal access. It's cooler in the hall with the central doors closed: the wind tunnels through the room with more force than having all doors open. It's an unexpected bonus.

The new electric drums will take some getting used to - today, our teen drummer is ill. A 9-yr-old Brazilian picks up the sticks and keeps the worship group on time. Good job, Leo!
We also have a new tent cover overhead for our International Potluck. The old blue cover absorbed heat so it was like a furnace under it ... besides being torn and leaky after 10 years of use. Sanny arranged for someone to sew a huge white tarp - and it works well.

The food is plentiful and tasty - Ibu Teti has arranged everything with a volunteer crew.

It's Kirsten's birthday! Hurrah - so nice to celebrate with her here. The morning study is over before we know it. And we're on our way to town by 12:30. We eat at Mom's Kitchen (sandwiches, Western-style) and head for one outlet.
We eat supper at Bumi - overlooking the beautiful pool. 
When we get home, we mix the broth and leftover chicken with the dog food. Cocoa zealously guards the bowl so Gypsy has to wait until she's eaten her fill. She's a light eater, he's the lucky second to the table. 
Heritage Outlet Store is a treasure trove of discounted new clothing, fresh from the fabric factories. Kirsten finds a bunch of things she likes, but I'm shocked at the total at the till. Since she's an adult, I don't ask about it. And when she asks, "How much?" I give the American dollar total and leave it at that.

I should have checked the receipt because the total looked high. When we get back, Kirsten notes that a scarf has been charged at 1 Juta ($70) more than both of us thought. Neither of us spotted it at the shop - she like it and it was already expensive. Before Kirsten checks her receipt late in the day, the driver has gone home. We're tired anyway. Ugh. Let's see if she can get a refund tomorrow!

After the morning team meeting, we go back to Heritage. They refuse to let K return the scarf. They show us the price tag (the only one they removed from her purchases). The Rp 1.--- --- (additional $70) is hidden in light ink in the tag's crease. They make a "special exception" for us, though. If we find some other things we like, we can get them instead. We cruise the whole store. I get the off-center blouse I tried on yesterday.
K got everything she wanted already. She sighs and accepts that she accidentally bought a very costly scarf. My stomach is tight - I wish I'd followed my instincts at the cashier yesterday, but I do hate to interfere with our adult kids' decisions or purchases. Oh well - next time ...

It's a quiet evening and an early one.

After a 6:30 online meeting and an FaceTime call to my mom, W and I go to Nara (#PinoTerrace). The staff knows our names and anticipates our order.

"Scrambled eggs and tea for breakfast, sir, madam?" Yes please. And they bring rock sugar in a separate cup, as usual.
After, we walk to Green Gate. Pak Chandra is customizing the ramp and Sanny is hanging the 5'X5' story-posters at the side of the hall. Each month, our artists design a big hanging featuring the biblical characters we're studying. The dead white corner comes alive in the re-telling.
Bit by bit, the Sunday Gathering is coming together. It reminds me of building a house - there's great excitement when the footings and foundations are poured, happiness when the rooms are framed, and then "nothing-to-see" when plumbing and wiring go into the walls. It takes a while to get it right. Then the contractor closes up the walls and starts the finishing work. On this project, we're at the finishing stage of full accessibility. But we still have a lot to do.

K joins us at Miss Bee for lunch with Aaron and Caitlyn and the best-behaved baby ever (theirs)! I order a Mushroom Rules pizza but have half leftover to take home for the helpers. K puts her leftovers in the fridge, rests, and packs her suitcases.

Suddenly it's evening and time to head to the airport. A hug, a kiss, a goodbye prayer for safety and a great trip ... and she's gone again. Time flies. When we get home, W heads off to Bumi Sangkuriang with the guys. They listen to "great, ok, and not-so-great" groups at Jazz Night.

I'm glad to stay home. I catch a few educational podcasts and videos (leadership, publishing, and emotional health) before popping a sleeping pill. I HAVE to sleep through tonight. And I do - 10pm to 6am. Perfect. (I seldom take meds, so they work as promoted.)

W's off to the mountain walk: my shoulder and hand are not gripping a walking stick yet. I stay home and edit Volume 3 of a book based on my dissertation. I plan to send it to a reader by week's end. Which is almost here.

I cancel my rehab doc appointment - the car is up in the hills with W and the dogs. Mainly, I found that Ibu Siti's massage did more good than the doc. I schedule another rehabilitative massage for the weekend. Hopefully that will take care of it.

The orchid is in full bloom on our porch.
The helpers strip K's linens, sweep and mop the bedroom and bath floors, and put the spaces in order for our next guests. Then they call me to the kitchen.

"Shall we do the fridge today?" It's no small question - we have so much food coming and going from there that food tends to stack and pack. And get lost. I find some treats from 2016. What?! We've cleaned it since then but left the chocolate alone, I guess.

I should have taken a before and after pic. I'm glad when, after an hour, everything's sorted and returned. There's room in the fridge again. The gals get start making lunch as the morning wanes. We have plenty of foods from the fridge: rice, curried sausages, and vegetables that are at peak and need to be eaten.
Earlier this week, I read a blog about putting all the perishables in the fridge door. What a great idea - we move the sauces and seasonings to the crisper, out of sight (and unsightliness).

When we're done, the fridge door contains eggs, vegetables, drinks, butter and peanut butter for baking. We can find them and can grab them through the secondary opening in the door - without reaching into the fridge. Veggies spoil in weeks where we have to eat out a lot. This hopefully puts an end to that.

Atop the crisper is dairy - yogurt, cream, and cheese. Baked cookies and cakes - used at events every week - get their own shelf. Baking supplies like butter, nuts and seeds, and baking chocolate get another. W has his own section for cheese, snacks, herring, and beef jerky from the USA.

They spend the afternoon baking cookies while I read and write. Happy housekeeping, wherever you are. When W gets back from the hike, we make a trip to the import grocer for supplies. About 12 ladies are coming for a late lunch tomorrow.

Read more:
*Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Psalm 37:7-9

*He was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. Isaiah 53:8
*I must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Micah 7:9
*Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. Hebrews 12:3
*Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
Moravian Prayer: Blessed Redeemer, you have chosen us and we have sinned. Thank you for standing by us despite our imperfections. Daily, we will seek to do better by your holy name.
Everlasting Lord, you endured the greatest of suffering so that we would be free! Darkest days were yours to bear so that the sun could be ours. May we spend our whole lives repaying you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Happy independence day, Indonesia (and a language-learning resource)

Friday, August 16, 2019
August is zooming by! The bulletin board at BIC is full.
I spend a half-day in the office before a therapeutic massage from our small but mighty Sundanese masseuse. Kirsten goes first, while I'm working. She's ready for post-flight therapy.

By the time Ibu Siti finishes with me, my frozen shoulder has a wide range of motion and my thumb is back "in place." The huge shin bump from the fall 2.5 weeks ago, is almost gone. What can I say? She's amazing - and it didn't even hurt (much).

Kirsten and I meet an Indian friend at Cafe Oz in the afternoon. It can be a bit hair-raising, leaving the car's gas tank level to W. He and the driver are always waiting to fill with a certain kind of gas. It has limited distribution and Pak G doesn't find it today either.

"Please just pull in and just put in some gas," I say. He does - with "1km range" showing on the dashboard.
W texts back, "No problem. You probably have 50 km left." Fine if he's in the car. With K and me in the car, we just want to tank up. I shudder to think what will happen in an evacuation or medical emergency. (We are probably going to be walking.)

The cafe where K and I meet Manju has been renamed "Back to Earth" #b2e #back2earth. It has undergone a beautiful remodel. The grand opening is next weekend. Love the tea set, including the funky milk pitcher.

Tonight, it's early to bed - I'm asleep by 8pm.

Saturday - Indonesian Independence Day
Today we celebrate an emerging giant - Indonesia. With the largest Muslim population in the world, it is not officially Islamic. Indonesia recognizes freedom of worship for 6 religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Animism. That's lived out and governed in various ways across the country.

Today will be full of traditional celebrations at every public park. The broadcasts of activities have been going strong since early morning. Our helpers are celebrating with their families so we don't have to worry about unlocking the house early in the morning.

Of course, I only "sleep in" until after 4am - more than 8 hours, though. That's what I'd call a good night's sleep. W leaves for morning meetings, K's still asleep. The house is quiet except for the lovebirds and the canary singing on the porch. (Only one canary - the other keeled over last week from unknown causes.) The yard dogs nap outside my office door.
My breakfast is warmed-up wonton and vegetables soup. Tasty. Along with BOH passionfruit tea in a Starbucks Christmas 2018 mug (thanks, Melissa), it's practically perfect.

**Here's a great resource for friends learning a new language. You can get a free Word-A-Day (with sentences and explanations) email from IndonesianPod101. 

In my case, I want help learning Indonesian. But type in the language you want to learn. (GermanPod101, RussianPod101, MandarinPod101, etc.) See if it's not one of the best apps out there.**

Read more:
*The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9 
*Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
*God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Christ, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20
Moravian Prayer: Loving God, many years ago you sent your son for us. You sent him to pay the ultimate price so that we may live with you forever. Thank you for loving us even when we are not deserving. Amen.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

She's here!

Monday, August 12, 2019
Meetings - and office day. Throughout the week, there's lots of positive feedback about the new layout at #BICbandung (Bandung International Church). Anyone is welcome to join - regardless of religion, Sundays at the 9:00 Gathering.

BIC is a welcoming and warm community for any English-speakers, including travelers. For those trying to improve their English, the Community Table afterward provides a great place to snack and chat.

It's a stressful day for us all. Kirsten, who was supposed to arrive in Bandung today, is "lost in transit." Because of protests, the Hong Kong airport is closed. Her plane returns to the terminal and she's stuck in LA - after a 12 hour layover there. In the next few hours, she negotiates a new route through Tokyo, where she'll be in the airport a long time ... and arrive a day late at another location.

After a good meeting with the team, Waldemar and I have lunch at Maxi's up the street. I send Pak G over to Claudia's with 250 sausages to grill for tomorrow's movie night. The helpers peel the potatoes - it hurts my hand to grip them so I can't peel a lot. However, the gals miss a few in the back kitchen and we're expecting a big group (70?) tomorrow. I take my time to peel the rest, popping them into the salt water where they'll stay overnight.

Waldemar heads to Jakarta. There are problems with the shuttle he booked. He catches a later one at 4:30pm. That puts him in the thick of traffic but arrives at the airport late in the day and sleeps in an airport capsule hotel. (It's not the best arranged - the capsule hotel in KL/Malaysia is better and quieter.)

Kirsten makes it to Jakarta at 4:30 am (not to Bandung as with her earlier, more convenient route.) She's a day late - but oh, are we happy to have her here. W and K come in about noon, which makes it a 56 hour trip for her. We head for a restaurant and lunch. After a bit of conversation and unpacking her haul of American goodies, Kirsten goes to sleep.

I've cooked most of the morning. My shoulder is still kinked and my thumb swollen - so I'm careful that the food I make requires no heavy lifting. No big pots of pasta today. Clau arrives at 5:30 with the sausages (with added garlic - a flavor-changer for the curry sauce. We have a lot of garlic today - in the veggies, potatoes, and ... the sausages!) She offers her strong arms and cheerful voice, a big help.

Tonight's menu:
Rice (white and white/red)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Sundanese-creamed-coconut jackfruit
Meatballs in sweet and sour sauce
Spicy chicken wings
Sausages in curry sauce
Stuffed hard-boiled eggs
Garlic bread (fresh-baked)
Brazilian cheese balls
Tossed green salad

---Dessert includes all kinds of treats brought by guests, plus homemade cookies, casava chips, and fresh fruit salad---Oh yes, it's all yummy.

When the crowd starts to arrive at 6:15, I put on the light in the back hall to wake K. She's alert and friendly for a half hour, puts aside some food for when she's hungry, and downs some oregano oil against her sniffles. Then she goes to sleep until morning.
This might be my favorite movie so far: Hidden Figures. We ask how people are held back, how they can overcome challenges and use their gifts, and how they might boost others. It's a lively crowd. Love it. They're gone about 11pm.

It's quiet at home. After the robot vacuums have made a few rounds (recharged in-between), the helpers clean up from yesterday's event. There are dishes - we try to recycle as much as possible. There are spills. There's upholstery to be vacuumed. Yup, always a mess after that settles down into "normal". They move the furniture back into place, too.

While Kirsten rests, W and I have a late working breakfast with friends. We sort through some concerns about facilities and agree that it's great to be partners. W and I work with some of the best people in Indonesia - everyone bends over backwards for best practices and harmonious interactions - we appreciate that so much.

I'm at the rehab doc for almost 2 hours. The appointment, icing my shoulder and wrist, laser treatments, new pain patches, and a mechanical massage are $37.

"Wow, that's expensive," sighs W. (Whaaaat! Kidding, right?) My arm feels a lot better after.

K and my big trip of the day is to the grocer, replenishing goods we wiped out for movie night (2 dozen eggs, 6 kg flour, 3 kg sugar, 12 liters of oil, etc.). She picks up a few snacks for herself. I check the rice stocks - we buy 30 kg of rice each month. We have 5 left, which should last us until the next delivery.

It's an early morning in the office, with a check to see that the hall is set up for Sunday. The view from my desk is relaxing (below). We use things from home to warm up our working spaces - this time it's a quilt across the back of the sofa (thanks to Tanya Jo who left that behind when she repatriated). Add some pillows, a wooden tissue box, and a rug. The rattan set was here - so comfy and "tropical."
I run our Roomba vacuum in the office, as we do every weekend. The driver comes with a "twin" IKEA rug from home. We have to swap out the office rug - it has more than a few drips and spills.

Seeing the marks on the carpet makes me happy in an odd way, because it means a lot of people are enjoying hospitality in our community. The office is often abuzz with visitors. Our helper will scrub the office rug clean and we'll use that one at home until it's time for the next swap.

I'm back home for lunch and a full afternoon. SO good to have Kirsten here. Did I say that already?

Read more:
*He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3

*Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods: His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
To him who alone does great wonders: His love endures forever. 
Who by his understanding made the heavens: His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-5

*God says, "I want you to fear and respect me." Zephaniah 3:7

*Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. Matthew 4:17

*Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Moravian Prayer: Triumphant Lord, our instruments and voices are not loud enough to ring sufficient praises in your name! Reveal your greatness to us each day. Take us onward in your service, producing good works through your people. Remind us that all we do is for you. 

Heavenly Guide, although we have come so far over many years, we know there is much yet to be done. Diversity throughout peoples and nations is a testament to your creativity and awesome power. Carry us forward, serving every unique member of your worldwide family. Amen.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Just look at it another way - and Happy Birthday, Dad!

Sunday, August 11, 2019
It's my dad's birthday today. I'll have to stay up late to wish him a happy birthday: they're 14 hours behind us - so I can't call before 9:30pm. I have the best dad. He's the ultimate protector of our family, watching diligently that we live with integrity and cheering us on when we do something creative.
"Of course, try it," he's always said if my 3 brothers and I wondered if we should attempt something. And mostly, we do. We're each risk-takers and creatives because of his encouragement. Each of us has had curious and wonderful wins, with a few spectacular failures thrown in for good measure. No one cares about those again, except as learning opportunities. And no one holds those against us - that's because of Dad's training and lifestyle.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to the world's #1 DAD. Love you so! And I appreciate that you're still encouraging me to look at the world in a new way every day.
---   ---   ---

Next Saturday is Indonesian Independence Day. Beautiful "red and white" decorates houses, gates, and fences, and flutter on thousands of private and public flagpoles. Bandung International Church will celebrate our host country Indonesia and all the other places represented by our community. We'll wear the colors of our countries and bring food for an International potluck. Can't wait.

But today is very special, too. The new "surround" hall layout gets a lot of positive comments. The children's dance is lovely - and the kids are so happy that they ask their leaders when they can do it again. (How about in October? We're looking forward to it.)
The topic at BIC today is Daniel, who is the complete opposite to last week's reluctant prophet, Jonah. Daniel obeys fearlessly, doing whatever God says. And because of his wisdom, he is counselor to 4 different kings from 3 different empires. When else does that happen in history? What a special man.

BIC's own Daniel leads the design team with Ruth. He's put silhouettes of the biblical Daniel's life on backdrop screens. The artists have created a great setting for the next series of bible stories. How we appreciate their spirit of innovation.
My definition of an artist is someone who see the world from a particular angle and lets the world know about it through the senses - with words, art, music, smells, movement, and touch.

After W and I speak, Lena (an experienced thespian) creates vignettes with human statues (volunteers from the crowd). They depict 3 scenes from Daniel's life before she asks the audience for takeaways.
The Community Table is heaped with Della's treats. And Waldemar teaches Theology 101 (discussing questions about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit today.) It's a busy and joy-filled morning, all around.
We have so much to be thankful for, including lunch with old and new friends. Table talk turns again and again to God and his work among us. We're from various backgrounds, so everyone gets to contribute.

The food at #BumiSangkuriang is good as usual. They've created e a short-cut for us to walk from Green Gate across the street to eat at their place. Thanks for that, Mr. Manager. Very kind of you.

The smell of saté (roasting goat) starts to permeate the neighborhood. Smells delicious. Our Muslim neighbors and their families are celebrating Eid al-Adha (see Genesis 22).

Read more:
*Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

*The ransomed of the Lord shall return, they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 51:11
*We will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
*We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Ephesians 2:10
Moravian Prayer: Vivacious Creator, mold our spirits into those of peace, joy, and truth. Grant us the inspiration to reach for the highest of potentials you have for us. Place on our hearts the desire to be like you.
Heavenly God, as we await our call home, we continue to do your work here on Earth. The day is coming where we will see you face to face, and it will surely be a day full of joy and gladness. Amen.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM (Happy 66th Anniversary, too) and some creative flares

Lots on the move this week. Where oh where is the part-time executive assistant I'm praying for? Been wondering how to spend the next 6 months or 2 years? Seriously, is anyone out there with great administrative and leadership skills who would dive into this crazy adventure with us? Give us 6 months or a year or two of your life. There's lots to see and do in our wonderful city!
This week the flower arrangement fades quickly so I arrange a bit of humor on a tray in our entry. I need a smile. I haven't been sleeping deeply during the first bit of the week; my arm's sore enough to wake me up every time I turn.

An artist and friend, Lucky, has made a journal for me - I love it! W brings it home from their meeting. I spend a few happy hours at my desk with the journal, tea, and a candle - oh, and a favorite fountain pen.

Saturday, August 3, 2019 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to the best mom ever.
I call my beautiful mother, who celebrated her birthday "yesterday." Different time zones mean I'm calling her a day late, our time. So glad to connect across the world - what a privilege to have modern technology, though it's not as warm as a hug in person. Grandkids and great-grandkids are staying at her house this week.

Let's just say this: I'm in my early 60s and I don't know how she keeps up with everyone! She's still managing a household. Her garden is productive, too. A true lover of people, peacemaker, and my role model - that's my mom. (Sorry, Pop, I keep trying to be more like mom, sweet and thoughtful. But what a fierce, kind, and wonderful combination to have you both as parents, even when I'm wired more like you.)

SO, let me just jump ahead in the week for this event - Thursday is the 66th anniversary for my folks. Can you believe it? What kids our age have the privilege that both godly and loving parents are around to offer prayers and wisdom to them?

Though my mom and dad are slowing down, they still love each other and our extended family. They have a lot of friends around them who are in the same boat. They remember the good old days but living fully in the present. Love you two - so blessed by God with great parents and advisors!

The talk is on Jonah, the reluctant prophet. Every time God acts or gives instructions, Jonah is sullen, unhappy, or headed in another direction. What a guy. The scriptures don't whitewash its participants - I recognize some of his reluctance in myself at times. Do you?

It's our last week in the long narrow layout at the Bandung International Church. After the Gathering, we hang around a Community Table, a feast of snacks and conversation. While W teaches a Theology 101 class, a bunch of volunteers pick up the chairs and re-set them into a circular view. Someone young looks up from their phone and says, "Oh, we're going from portrait to landscape. I get it."

We have lunch with Jon and Joy at Bumi. They're happily considering their next serve.(They're government and business consultants - we're thrilled to have them around.

***It's fun to see how many of us get near retirement and decide to contribute globally to the peace and well-being of others, instead of dropping out of service. 

How about giving a few months or a few years? If you want to know more about ways you might be able to serve with us, please email me at (Note - you'll have to fill in my names. Subject line: SERVE Indonesia.***

The week is in full swing. The study on the porch is over by 11 but people hang around. I tackle the weekend's wrap-up and plan for the coming week.

Tuesday through Friday
Meetings, artists, and technicians in full swing - that's such a fun combination. We go for lunch with friends and talk through some future possibilities. The hall is full of people looking and drilling and cutting ...  even the media "snake" gets moved into place.

The facilities manager is taking the toilets back to the bare walls. The pounding of mallets (crashing the tiles off the walls) and other rackets are sweet music into the next season.
Our helpers and driver spend all day Friday at Green Gate, the former school that hosts us with the utmost of grace and generosity. The workers scrub corners, windows, floors, walls, and toilets. They evict spiders and ants from hidden corners. They vacuum the old rugs where the drum kit usually sits.  The drums are moved to storage - we'll loan them out to our young drummers, who are learning their craft. We need electric drums for the new smaller stage.

We toss about 20 throw pillows (from movie nights) onto the rugs and steps of the old stage. I wonder who will use them. Clau volunteers to be the stage "sound police"for Sunday, if kids and teens get chatting away. (In a concrete hall, I've been wondering who we could ask for that. Hurrah for observant volunteers.)

The chairs, moved while the media team lays out their equipments, are moved again by architect Clau, who knows spaces. She takes a white-board marker and dots the floor tiles. She's marking aisle seats at the right front chair leg. We'll evaluate how people are using the space - of course, we expect attendees to move and adjust the chairs for their comfort for a few weeks.
W's under the weather for a few days. He doesn't like to be fussed over so I mostly leave him alone. He pampers me nonetheless, moving and picking up things that I'm not able to do yet.

Wednesday, we head into the hills and Gracia Spa for our date day - these hot spring pools are clean and quiet, and almost empty midweek.

I wait for my swollen hand to turn yellow from black and blue. After a week of healing, I go to see the rehab doctor on Thursday - he takes ultrasounds of my shoulder, which is still SOOO sore (torn muscle, it turns out.) "Don't move it much for 8 weeks until it heals," he advises. haha Hope he's joking.

He does a few laser treatments on hand and shoulder, has the therapist ice them twice, and does a mechanical massage (pop pop pop) on my shoulder and neck.He hands me a pack of 6 big pain patches. "You can't buy these. They're a bit stronger than usual here." Ok. I turn down a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs, though.

When I refuse the pills, he adds another round of patches. "You'll have to get help changing them morning and evening if you're not willing to take anti-inflammatories. But," he adds with a wink, "how will the pharmacy industry survive if people are like you?"

True. It costs USD42.50, including the appointment. And the pain patches are really helpful.

W heads to town for 3 appointments, as usual. While he's out, the new seamstress come by with W's travel trousers, 2 blouses, and a pant-skirt combo for me.

Some lucky local will enjoy it though. This weekend is joyfully celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al Adha), commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. Goats are tied on every corner. They'll be sacrificed by families and neighbors. One of the oddest things I see is two guys riding a motorcycle with a goat comfortably tucked between them - he's a pet for the family until the ritual sacrifice. The skin, horns, and other parts will be auctioned off after the goat is butchered.

Saturday morning, the kids are practicing a local dance in the hall. Afterward, a young man and his Christian family come to the house just before noon. He's getting baptized soon. My heart cheers.
The seamstress comes late because of terrible traffic in town - it takes her an extra hour. She brings beautifully-sewn trousers for W and a cool batik outfit that is waaaaay! too small for me.

Midweek, she sent a note asking if to measure from the jeans I sent along or the measurements she took. Here's a typical misunderstanding: I write back, "Use the jean measurement plus add 1-2cm at the side," thinking about the jean fabric I sent. Nope. (Jeans stretch out over years of use, that's the right measurement.) However, she was talking about the colorful non-stretch cotton batik I fell in love with a few weeks ago. The new "spant" (what would I call it?) is about 3" too tight. REALLY a different size. Oh oh.

A skirt would have been a better idea - she sewed a trouser in the back with a skirt flap overlay in the front. I'm too round for any bright floral "bottom" (which I know from years of trying stuff on.) But oh well.... I thought I'd give it a try. Haha. "Massive" fail - on my body, not because of her skills.

The evening is Community Dinner Bandung. It's a fun group of about 30. Our autumn theme is the uniqueness of how God created each one of us. This time it's about our backgrounds.
We use recycled materials to create fun "new things" - God makes all things new.
One group does origami stars with their "dreams and hopes," makes a boat and a funny tinseled "person" to sail the ship - it's the most creative idea for launching into the next weeks.
The food Della cooks is very tasty - chicken rendang (spices), vegetables, rice steamed in leaves, and perkadel, deep-fried crumbs around a mash of potatoes and veggies. The sambal is hot and delicious. (1 tsp for a meal keeps the mouth sizzling. Yum.)
We're home about 8pm. The students and young professionals are out until midnight. Of course.

Read more:
(Original story here is Genesis 22; the Koran has a slightly different version.)

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altarthere and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba.And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
Prayer: Dear God, you who are both Creator and Lord of all, bless your people around the world today and in the coming weeks. Let us embrace your love, serve you with all our hearts, and joyfully celebrate your Presence around us. Thank you for caring for us, for providing all we need, and for loving us more than we can grasp. Amen.