Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Falling in Love with Indonesia

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.

Being here has affected us with an interesting set of emotions. We miss our children and grandchildren immensely, but it's more than just not being able to be with them. It's the knowledge that we are on the other side of the world and cannot easily drive or fly to be with them. We miss you, our family living all over the United States, our friends in the Estancia neighborhood of Sun City Grand, our friends at Calvary Chapel Surprise, our "sending friends" and partners in radical living from the FNRG (Friday night rice group) and The Mission, and our dear "adopted daughter and grandson", Tonya and Christopher Brown, now radically serving Jesus in Gulu, Uganda. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers and forever in our hearts.

However, we feel completely at home here and have fallen in love with these people. Walking on campus is like coming home - just like when I worked at Biola University in La Mirada, California. As more students return to campus for the beginning of a new school year, so the excitement and anticipation builds. Soon it will be hustling and bustling with the greeting of last year's friends, introduction of new faculty and staff, and the joyous chatter of us all. We are glad to be part of the cacophony.

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."

Whoa! What a great day that will be. Until then, we'll see you "here, there or in the air."

Living radically for Jesus,
CeCi and Harry

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trusting God in Adverse Circumstances

I'm blogging to you today from the beautiful surroundings of Sun City Grand, Sonoran Plaza. I'm looking at a refreshing waterfall through the window.

Yep, you guessed it, we're still in Arizona. Apparently God had different plans than us flying to Jakarta early this morning. We have not yet received our visas and they are floating in postal cyberspace. They were mailed to us in our overnight express envelope last Friday, the 9th, but never entered their tracking system. They could even be stuck in an Express Mail mailbox in Los Angeles. Fortunately, God knows and we have a Post Office official that is hot on the trail, tracking the package down.

Meanwhile, we know God has His purposes in the delay and we are resting in Him - still maintaining our sense of humor and enjoying some nice down time before all things are righted. We do feel like we're in no-man's land because our home phone is now "on vacation" and the internet at home is "on vacation" and the food in the refrigerator is "vacation." Everything's "on vacation" except us :)

During the last several months, we've been very aware of God's preparation for this adventure in our lives. I think this is another experience in faith. Many friends have commented that we're still laughing. Why is that? Because we serve a God who has been so dependable over our years of walking with Him, that we trust Him and have no reason to let these circumstances rob us of our joy.

Psalm 91:1-2 says, "He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust." So we remain under the shadow of the Almighty and He is totally trustworthy.

We'll let you know when we arrive. Praying that they will find our visa and passport package today and we'll be on our way tomorrow. Until then, we remain

Harry and CeCi

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Beacon in the Night

I recently heard a beautiful song by Al Denson, "Be the One." Please indulge me while I share some of the lyrics.

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.

Our answer:

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