Sunday, October 24, 2010
Coffee in Indonesia
Obviously we've had many firsts here in Indonesia. I've had my first Avocado Vanilla Coffee drink. YUCK you say. Oh contras, my friend!! It is quite delicious and you can't even taste the avocado. It has coffee, pureed avocado, vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate. I don't know if it's coming to the US any time soon, but if it does, you must give it a try. Yummmmmmmmy!!
Riding the Angkots in Indonesia and Open Air Markets
Indonesia has a very interesting transportation system. Right here in Karawaci, it's really quite simple. You can take a bus, an angkot (ong-kot), a taxi, a motorcycle, or ride a bike. None of which I thought I would ever use here. However, one of the wives here wanted to take me to an outdoor market so I agreed. The first step was to ride the angkot to the market. It was quite an adventure. Most of the locals ride the angkots and when this "bule" (or white person) got on, all eyes were on Ibu CeCi. Marian and I chatted and laughed all the way to the market, and the eyes were still glued on us, especially those of the children, and I learned why, which I'll explain later. All five colored angkots, white, green, yellow, red and blue, have their own route, so if you want to know the route they take and where they go, just get on one and ride the entire route. To get to the outdoor market, we rode the blue angkot and it was quite bumpy :)
When we arrived at the market, we really were at an outdoor market. It had a tent-type canopy, but there were no sides to it. Indonesia is not exactly the cleanest place in the world and so there were many things for me to overcome. One was the flies. I'm glad I didn't go with a shopping list, because this American city girl could not bring herself to select any fresh veggies or fruits. Next we walked back to the "meat" section which is in a back room all by itself. The counters were pretty clean and free of pests and the selection of meat was nicely displayed. But the floor ... oh my. It was tile, but streaked with the glooey part of the chicken skin. I was surprised I didn't slip on it. It was all I could do to keep from thinking of it so the contents of my stomach would stay where it belonged. Maria asked if there was anything I wanted to get. I told her, "I'm just here to observe." She bought her purchases and we boarded the same blue angkot to return to UPH.
In Indonesia there are many, and I mean many, superstitions. Indonesian parents have taught their children that the "bule" is a ghost. As we were riding back to campus, Maria was telling me this and I told her this explained an incident at the HyperMart several weeks previous. Harry and I had loaded our basket and were ready to check out. We went to this one checkout counter and there in the aisle leading up to it was a little girl sitting in the cart, but no momma around to be seen. So we smiled at her - probably 3 years old - said excuse me in Bahasa (permisi) and walked past her. I turned around to smile at her again, and she began to wail, "Momma, Momma, Momma." Oh my goodness, I thought. They'll think I tried to pick her up or pinch her or something. Pretty soon her momma came over and picked her up to soothe her, but this little girl would not take her eyes off me. I'm sure she thought I was going to "get" her :) No wonder the children in the angkot could not take their eyes off me.
Several weeks ago I was surprised by one of our MYC (Mission Youth for Christ) assistants, Daniel. We were eating dinner with our students on a Friday evening and he came to show us his new baby. A woman approached with the child in a stroller and she was dressed in the typical Muslim garb. I was very surprised he was married to a Muslim. One of our friends in Surprise told us if we got a chance, it would be really great to meet a Muslim family and get to know them. Ah ha, this was my opportunity. So I began to think about this and prayed for an opportunity. The next Sunday at church, they were selling New Testaments in Bahasa Indonesian. Great! I'll buy one and when the opportunity is right, I'll give it to Daniel's wife. I haven't had the chance yet to spend any time with his "wife," but happened to ask him the other night, "Daniel, is your wife Muslim?" "Oh no," he replied. "She's Christian." I started laughing and told him the story of seeing who I thought was his wife. He exclaimed, "Oh No, she's not my wife. She's my maid and nanny to our baby. My wife is a Christian." We all had a good laugh. This was definitely a case of mistaken identity :)
I Had My Students in Tears
A few weeks ago I taught several students - both male and female - how to cook. One girl and one guy had a project together for a class and it was to make a meal that they could duplicate in their dorm kitchens. Their kitchens have no ovens, nor do they even have a toaster oven (which is what we had to buy). So what to fix so that everything could be done on the stove top. We finally settled on making apple compote and chicken and dumplings. None of which are too difficult. So I got all the ingredients together and tried to think how best to teach it and have the students do
the actual cutting and cooking. Some of the ingredients for the chicken and dumplings are carrots, celery and onions. I explained and showed how to slice the carrots and onions. Then I demonstrated how to cut the onions. So I handed off the knife to one of the boys, Dennis, and he got the hang of it right away. All of a sudden, he turns to me with his eyes blinking furiously and tears streaming down his face. "Oh Dennis, I forgot to tell you that onions make you cry." With that, I took the knife from him and told him to go wash his hands really good and, "Don't touch your eyes." This was a lesson I'm sure he won't soon forget. The students did a great job and the meal turned out really good.
Please Try, If You Will
Periodically we have Open House at UPH College. It gives prospective parents and students a chance to hear about the the educational opportunities, ask questions, and visit the dorms. Knowing that I would be greeting parents at a dorm and needed to invite them in, I decided to look up the Bahasa Indonesian for Please come in. Not a problem, just say "Coba Masuk (pronoucned choba masook). Easy enough. So there I was standing by the dorm room as the parents arrived. I gleefully said, "Coba Masuk" and they began to come inside and look around. Not one laughed at me or looked at me strangely. I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Later at lunch I was telling some of the students I'd learned the way to invite people in. So I proudly said, "Coba Masuk." Immediately they began to laugh. Uh oh, what did I say? I asked them to "please try and come in." We all had a good laugh and of course now I know the correct way to say, "Please come in;" Selikan Masuk. Won't make that mistake again.
I have one last story for you - I saved the best for last. The last night we were in Bali (during Ramadan), I caught the toenail of my left big toe on the bottom of the bed and it pulled the nail away from the nail bed. It bled quite a bit, but we cleaned it up and put bandaids on it to keep from catching the toenail on something and ripping it right off. Over the course of about three weeks, I continued to change the bandaids, hoping that the nail would finally reattach itself. Then one day I felt some throbbing in the toe and pulled the bandaid off to discover I had an infection underneath the nail. I sent Harry to the pharmacy to get some Epsom Salts, Peroxide, and Betadine. He came back with two out of the three - no Peroxide. Okay, I was happy. So I prepared a pan of very hot water and put the Epsom Salts into it and soaked my toe for a while. Next I applied the Betadine and then the bandaid. The next day, my friend Marian came over bearing a small container of Epsom Salts and Peroxide. I told her Harry had purchased the Epsom Salts but was very glad to get the Peroxide. I don't know why I thought of it, but I thought maybe she should look at the bag of Epsom Salts Harry had purchased and see if there were anything different about it - everything was in Bahasa. I went to the kitchen and brought it out. After reading the package, Marian started laughing. "You know what you have here?" she asked. "Epsom Salts," I replied. "No, you have ... MSG." Hilarious laughter erupted. I had soaked my toe in MSG. What a hoot!! Harry said I had very good tasting tootsies :)
That's it for now friends. I had to share a few of the fun little stories that have taken place in this eastern culture. I am sure there will be more to come. For now, please know that you are in my thoughts and my prayers. I miss each one of you and look forward to seeing you when we're home for Christmas. Hugs from Indo! CeCi :)
Friday, September 17, 2010
When I woke up this morning and lay in bed, my mind began conjuring up all the reasons why we shouldn't return to Jakarta in January (maybe you didn't know we are planning to do this). I think the only one that carried any merit is the essence of danger here. Living in a predominantly Muslim society does have its dangers. Because of the pastor in Florida that planned to burn 200 Koran on 9/11, we've had security warnings from the US Embassy not to go places where mobs gather. Jakarta would be a place to stay away from and that's where we go to church.
In other words, my spirit was whining!! I lay there for a while thinking of these things and I knew I was wrong. I began to pray and ask God for His peace. I got up (Harry was still snoozing) and came to the living room to do my devotions. I've been reading in Galatians. This morning took me to Galatians 5. Paul starts out talking about the freedom we have as believers, not by living under the Law, but by being justified by faith through Christ Jesus. As I read along, I came to verse 7 and 8:
"You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you."
I stopped dead in my tracks. That's exactly what "someone" (Satan) was trying to do - persuade me into false thinking. The truth is that God said, "Follow Me," and in obedience we did - to Indonesia.
I began thinking of what He called us to; to be His light in a very dark and needy world. Our responsibility is to be faithful to that calling - no matter how big a task or how small. As I pondered this truth, Matthew 25:23 came to mind. Jesus was speaking about the parable of the talents when He said,
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave (servant). You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' "
Anything God calls us to is not small when we are obedient to Him. The task itself may not be large, and may not be complex or complicated. In our case, we are very comfortable in a nice apartment. We have shelter, a place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear, people to love and who love us, a lot of time to read and enjoy each other, a beautiful view
More than all of these comforts - and they are exactly that - comforts, we have students who need the light and love of Jesus to ooze all over them. That is easy for me. It would be easy to consider this calling less or small because I am not fighting starvation (although it is here), I am not sleeping in quarters with rats and cockroaches or lots of mosquitoes, my food is not infested with worms or bugs - I've got it pretty nice here.
This is my training ground. Jesus said if we are faithful in a few things, He will put us in charge of many things. The Holy Spirit has been my disciplinarian this morning and I'm thankful that He loves me enough to chasten me and is patient. His gentle voice and love renew my spirit and tears cleanse my soul.
Lord, forgive my spirit for whining. You've given me a calling that is precious to you and if just one student comes to know You, it is worth all the treasure in the world.
The cry of my heart is: Lord, may I be faithful in the few things you've given me to do here. Little is much when God is in it. May I live in the joy of my Master.
Today is Friday, August 20 and it is amazing to think that we've been here already four weeks. They have flown by very quickly.
As tradition and for the 17th year of this university, UPH kicked off the school year last Wednesday with a festival. It was grand!! It began with a Gala Concert with our students as the main contributors. They were the orchestra, the dancers, the choir, and the actors, each with their amazing talent. It was on display for all to see and enjoy and it made us proud to be even a small part of it.
For the following four days, the campus was alive with a carnival atmosphere as thousands joined our celebration. There were booths of food, beverages, clothing, trinkets -- you name it -- it was here. Even the sudden downpours of rain could not dampen the joyous atmosphere from Thursday through Friday. Saturday evening was the finale and it was spectacular!! Everyone gathered on the soccer field as the light of the sky went out to give way to a light show called Digital Mapping.
The backside of building D became the backdrop and screen to this incredible light show. With music and visual images, piece by piece, the digital overlaps caused the building to take on the appearance of a colonial style building, with columns and pillars, signifying our present status. The building appeared to crack and fall apart, and fire consumed the inside. As the music and visual mapping changed, the building was opened to caterpillars crawling around inside, and then transformed to butterflies. As they fluttered throughout the building, the structure began to "heal" itself. The inner workings of cranks, pulleys and gears (and the sounds to go along with them) began to change the inside of the building (our hearts) and a new "fire" began, with fireworks and electricity (the workings of the Holy Spirit). Slowly, an image began to form on the building ... a butterfly ... with the them for this school year, "Be Transformed," emblazoned beside it.
If you'd like to view this presentation, you can click below to watch (please not it is a little grainy but you'll be able to identify my description above with the images you'll see and the music you'll hear). The ten minute presentation is divided into four videos. Enjoy!
Digital Video Mapping 01: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpnfYY5BihU
Digital Video Mapping 02: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0TUvA8C2v0
Digital Video Mapping 03: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzv2aOXDEFI
Digital Video Mapping 04: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UARFTkQV1lg
This digital mapping presentation has kind of described my week (from chaos to order). For several days I've been wondering what we are doing here. Our days have been somewhat unstructured and seemingly without much purpose. We've had great times with the students, joining them almost every day for lunch and dinner, making ourselves available to them if needed.
Then we were asked to join the boys for the devotional time on Wednesday at 10 pm. As we gathered, I was asked to give the devotion. Okay :) I opened my Bible to the place of my own personal study, the book of James, and shared from James 3:1 to James 4:8, about the taming of the tongue. James is a great book about developing our Godly character and the part of our body that is the hardest to tame is our tongue. How is it we can praise God with our mouth one moment and the next be gossiping or using that same mouth to say words of hurt to or about our brother or sister? Verse 10 says, "With the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things out not to be this way." WHOA!! God help us for we cannot tame the tongue without the power of the Holy Spirit. How are we to go about this? James 4:7, "Submit to God (that comes first), resist the devil (that comes second) and he will flee from you (that comes third). (Then) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (Italics for emphasis.)
Yesterday (Thursday), dawned a day that I think God created just for us. From dawn to dusk, it was like a day in Arizona during monsoon season (right now in fact). The clouds were high in the sky, not low with humidity. There were billowy, white puffy clouds, and streaks of gray ones AND it was Harry's 67th birthday.
Throughout the day he received birthday greetings from family and friends. At dinnertime, I took three cakes with us to meet the students and we lit the "67" candles (just the numbers!) and sang "Happy Birthday" to my dear hubby. The students were awesome and one by one came to him and gave birthday greetings and wishes, some with handshakes and others with hugs. As they headed to study time, we returned to our apartment. Harry was snoozing on the cough while I was scanning Facebook, when someone knocked on our door - it was 9:15 pm. When I opened it, there were all 43 of our students and their supervisor and resident assistants - with a beautiful cake ablaze with candles. For another hour, we enjoyed the warmth and loving welcome they have given us since the day we arrived.
We joined the guys at 5:30 am for morning devotions and Harry shared from his heart. His devotions just took him through the story of Esther and how God used her for a very specific time in the life of the Jews. He shared how God can use each of us in the same way.
We came back to our apartment, weary in body, but very keen to God's presence. It became very clear why God has us here. As we prayed, sweet tears of joy mingled together with our hearts' desire to share our love, God's with each of them. Some have very strained and non-existent relationships with their fathers; others are from broken homes and need heart healing; all need to experience the love of God. He has blessed us with an abundance of just that - His love - to bring to Indonesia and let it spill all over them. We are here for that - God's purpose. How could we ask for anything better!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
My daddy was in World War II and we had planned to have a military guard ceremony for him. Due to a fire and papers being lost, the appropriate papers from the VA did not come in time for the military guard to be present when we laid him to rest. The mortuary told my sister that when they came, they would do the military guard ceremony any time we chose. Unknown to my mom, my sisters Pauline and Charlene arranged to have the military ceremony done one year to the day of memorial service. My momma was so surprised and very pleased (you did good, sisters of mine). I don't have pictures yet, but will post them when I do.
To honor the memory of my dad, I am posting a link where you can read the tribute I gave at his memorial service. To view this tribute, please click here: http://www.squidoo.com/mradams
I miss you daddy, but look forward to the day we will be reunited! Praise God for that assurance.
Your loving daughter, CeCi :)
Sunday, August 8, 2010
There's something amazing that happens to you when you step out and obey God's call to go - wherever He leads you. God opens your heart and eyes to not just the area to which He's led you, but to the whole world, and your heart and mind play this little game. "Let's see, I wonder where God will lead us next ... is it here or is it there." And you get a big lump in your throat and tears in your eyes when you realize that God is doing something incredibly wonderful in your heart.
This is where I find myself.
Today we had the opportunity to attend the Jakarta International Christian Fellowship in downtown Jakarta with Gary and Paula Miller. Definitely a place we will return to - more than likely on a regular basis. We so enjoyed the warmth and fellowship, but the worship and message from 2 Samuel 9:1-13 moved my soul to tears. It struck a chord about what's been going on in my heart.
It reads in verse 1: "Then David said, 'Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul that I may show him "kindness" for Jonathan's sake?' " You may remember that before David became king, he and Jonathan shared a very special friendship, much like brothers. Jonathan had a son, Mephibosheth, that had become crippled in both feet at the age of 4
when he was accidentally dropped, and he was the only one left in the house of Saul.
When you go on to read the rest of the chapter, it was David's desire to restore to Mephibosheth all the land of his grandfather Saul, and vowed that Mephibosheth would eat at his table regularly. Mephibosheth responded in verse 8, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"
The word "kindness" in verse 1 is the same word as grace and David was dripping with grace at this time of his life and extended it to Mephibosheth without any questions or qualifications. David never asked questions, because "grace" never asks questions. Look at Mephibosheth's response. He considered himself to be like a dead dog. Something hidden away, worthless, someone nobody pays any attention to; isolated, a nobody that no one wants to even know.
When Mephibosheth prostrated himself and fell on his face before King David, David told him "not to fear for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan ..." His message was, "Do not be afraid."
When grace is in our hearts, our hope is to release others from fear, not to create them. Grace never brings people under its control; it brings freedom and acceptance. Grace takes us just as we are.
We are bought by God's grace and are invited to eat at the King's table too, a cripple in one way or another - just like Mephibosheth.
The stark truth is that we can never get to an attitude of grace without receiving God's grace!
God has called and positioned us to dispense grace to those who are the nobody's of society; the ones others have forgotten about; those that are isolated and feel worthless. May I never forget that that is what God has led us to. It's not about us -- it's all about Him.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Coming to you ... live from Jakarta, Indonesia!!! I can't begin to express how excited we are to be here.
Somehow we navigated through the Jakarta Airport to baggage claim, through Immigration (foreigner status), to a sea of faces...people waiting to pick up someone. And then we saw it...one lonely hand waving in the air attached to the face of our dear friend and my former boss, Gary Miller. My heart leapt with joy to know he was here to pick us up and take us to Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH, pronounced: ooo-pay-ha) U is ooo, p is pay or pae, and h is ha. That is how everyone refers to the university.
On our journey from Jakarta to Lippo Karawaci (the village of Karawaci), my eyes scanned the views all around us. Here are a few observations:
• Just as in the states, there is great wealth and great poverty - all mingled together
• It is very green and luscious here with beautiful flowering plants and trees
• When you smile at someone, they smile back (with a few exceptions :)
• When we speak a greeting - Selemat pagi (Good morning) - their eyes light up and they respond in kind
• There is really no purpose for painted lines on the roads - most of the time the cars, trucks, buses are three abreast in two lanes
• I'm glad we don't have to drive here :)
• Watch out for the mosquitoes - not the bugs - the scooters that come from any and all directions. We've seen one to four people on one scooter - even babies on the lap of an adult
• The humidity is not beastly like I thought it would be - THANK YOU LORD!!
We've met so, so many new, incredible people (and have gotten them mixed up with others already). Several have made lasting impressions on us because of their warm embrace. Thank you to Fifi Budiman, Irene Liamento, Steve and Rebecca Metcalfe, Alwin and Simon, Della, Ribka and Christina, and so many more!! Our hearts are overflowing with their love and our love for them.
God is doing a wonderful work in Indonesia. Most of the believers are first generation and have the fire of God in their breast. Their country is like a sleeping giant being awakened to the great love of God and His greatness.
We have been kept pretty busy but enjoyed a very restful day yesterday, with no obligations. I enjoyed staring out the window at the rain as it poured and brought us thunder and lightening. We went down to the Food Junction for lunch and enjoyed the freshness of the air.
We are walking distance - I mean very close and just across the street from the university - to the Hypermart - where we do the majority of our shopping. So far we've purchased two curling irons, a toaster oven (there is no oven in our apartment), power adapter plugs, baking pan, blow dryer and food. It is very inexpensive to eat out, so we don't cook every meal. We can get a delicious hot meal for $2 to $3 and a coffee drink is also about $2. I tried the most delicious coffee beverage in the UPH bookstore - coffee, avocado, milk and vanilla. You say - ICK!! It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!! Really :)
The Indonesian food is very good. Most meals include white rice, and also has meat like beef, chicken or fish with vegetables in a very tasty broth or sauce. Pork is an absolute taboo here so you won't see it anywhere. They also have food from other Asian countries: Korea, Serbia, Japan, America, China, India...all delicious. So far everything we've eaten, we liked!!
We have a very comfortable two-bedroom, two- bath apartment with a full size dining room and adequate kitchen with air conditioning that pulls out the humidity, so it is very comfortable. We have a washer and dryer in our room where we can do our laundry and even an ironing board and iron. They've provided bottled water with hot, iced and tepid water spouts. Nice :) Someone comes in once a week and washes the floors and cleans the bathrooms. This is a huge help to us. We will only be living in this apartment for another week or so as our final living quarters are being prepared and are almost ready. Right now we have a beautiful view from our living room windows of the pool below and Plumeria plants below with the canopy of lush green trees just beyond.
We had a beautiful welcoming ceremony for the students and parents, faculty and administrators this past Monday. It was very moving to worship together with these brothers and sisters - I could not stop the tears from falling as my heart was stirred with the joy of serving God here.
Call us radical - we do. And radical we will stay until the day God calls us home.
Finally, the words from Dr. David Platt's book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream will give you a brief view of the place where God has taken our hearts.
"You and I have an average of about seventy or eighty years on this earth. During these years we are bombarded with the temporary. Make money. Get stuff. Be comfortable. Live well. Have fun. In the middle of it all, we get blinded to the eternal. But its' there. You and I stand on the porch of eternity. Both of us will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts, and ultimately the gospel He has entrusted to us. When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living the American dream. We will not wish we had made more money, acquired more stuff, lived more comfortably, taken more vacations, watched more television, pursued greater retirement, or been more successful in the eyes of this world. Instead, we will wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
In a world of broken dreams, where the truth is hard to find
For every promise that is kept, there are many left behind.
Though it seems that nobody cares, it still matters what you do
Cause there's a difference you can make, but the choice is up to you.
Chorus: Will you be the one to answer to His call
Will you stand when those around you fall
Will you be the one to take His light into a darkened world
Tell me, will you be the one.
Oh sometimes it's hard to know who is right and what is wrong
And where are you supposed to stand when the battle lines are drawn
There's a voice that is calling out for someone who's not afraid
To a world that's lost it's way.
I will be the one to answer to His call
I will stand when those around me fall
I will be the one to take His light into a darkened world
I will be the one.
Our hearts are full with anticipation of what God has in store for us as we walk through this adventure with Him.
On the eve of our departure to the other side of the world, we want you to know that you are in our hearts and our prayers. We pray God will keep you in His care - we know He loves you as do we.
Harry and CeCi