Friday, September 17, 2010


Okay - I admit it ... I'm homesick. I'm homesick for my family, friends, Friday Night Rice Group (FNRG), our church, comforts of home, beauty of Surprise (the sunrises and sunsets), having a car, driving to the store, familiar foods, and a lot more. I really hadn't verbalized any of this until this morning.

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
from our window, comfortable weather (yes, even the humidity), and we just returned from a vacation in Bali. We are incredibly blessed compared to a large percentage of the world.

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.

UPH Festival

Note: I didn't get this particular blog out as soon as I had intended. It is almost a month late. I send my apologies.

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:
Digital Video Mapping 02:
Digital Video Mapping 03:
Digital Video Mapping 04:

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!