Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stuck in the Mud

Yes, yesterday I went out to go shopping - just to get a few things at the store, and I got stuck in the mud at the top of our hill. There are these two little tracks of cement that the car has to stay on, and I accidentally went off, and since it's been raining so much lately I got stuck in the mud. Forty five minutes later with the help of my friend Katie and an Indonesian neighbor, we finally got the car out of the mud. When Dave got home for lunch, he could see the remains of several tears and said, "What's wrong?" I told him about my adventure, and how I hadn't been able to accomplish what I wanted to do. He said, "IWA." I said, "What in the world does IWA mean?" He said, "Indonesia Wins Again!" (Our friends the Holstens have coined this term!)
Now, on its own, although frustrating, that one event may not have brought me to tears, but after the last several days of "reality" hitting about living in Indonesia, it did. Reality in the form of: pretty constant rain for the last week (that means constant clouds, and you all know how much I love clouds!), the LPG(gas) running out for the stove while I was preparing dinner for guests, training a new househelper, the boys getting eaten up by mosquitos, mosques that go off and echo inside your brain because it's so loud(5 times a day, starting at 4:30 am). Anyway, you get the picture.
The first three weeks of being here have been wonderful at times, and very frustrating at other times. God is definitely teaching us a lesson in dependence upon Him, and also in changing our expectations. The reason we get so frustrated when things go wrong is because we're not expecting them to. Pretty much in America things work (internet, electricity, your oven, the hot water...) Well, that may not always be the case here. So, I must admit, yesterday, being stuck in the mud just capped my experience of being slightly depressed. I really feel like God is teaching me to be honest when things are frustrating, but to trust Him to take care of me, and to provide for my needs. And, if things don't work out like I want them to, to have faith that He is in control and has a good reason.
One good thing that came from being stuck in the mud was I got to meet our Indonesian neighbor, who helped me. I was so grateful that she would be willing to get dirty and come and help me. So I decided to take her a gift of rambutan (That's an Indonesian fruit that looks like it has hair on it- rambut means hair). Indonesians love to give and receive gifts. So, you can pray for more opportunities to visit with her.
When I get discouraged about the hard things of living here in Indonesia, I think about two weeks ago when I got to sit next to a friend in church, and see her for the first time. I will call her Mary, though that is not her real name. Mary grew up Muslim, and accepted Christ about a year ago or so. God gave me the privilege of talking to her when we lived here before. She and her Canadian husband lived next door. She told me about having dreams about Jesus, and we got to pray together as she was definitely seeking. So imagine my joy to get to sit next to her in church and call her "sister!" That has been one of the most exciting things of all so far! She has been ostricized from her family, yet her faith persists. Sitting next to her I had new appreciation for the blood of Jesus and what we are saved from. Praise God!
Hannah's anniversary is coming up (number 7) of her homegoing to heaven. It is August 2. We have been praying and thinking of how to spend that day. My heart has been heavier lately and I think part of it is the anticipation of that day and all of the emotions it brings. You can pray that God would give is strength and blessing on that day.
PRAYER POINTS: Pray for our attitudes as we encounter difficulties here. And for fortitude on Hannah's anniversary and the days leading up to it, and for much fruit to come from her life and memory. Thank you! We are so grateful for all of you!

Friday, July 2, 2010

We Made It!

Wow, thanks for all of your prayers! We made it to Tarakan, Indonesia. For the whole journey we could feel your prayers! The Lord gave us all such a peace and a calmness. The boys did GREAT! We are convinced they are world-travelers-in-training. Even Ryan did well. To the right is a picture of Mary Epp, Annette Welburn and I. The Epps and Welburns came to the airport to see us off. It was so nice to be sent off by them! Below is a picture of Dave and Reg Epp.

The hardest part of the journey was when we arrived in Jakarta. We had to collect our bags, get them through customs, and then transfer to the domestic terminal via a shuttle. All of this, done in Indonesia, is a bit crazy! The domestic terminal was packed, and hot, and it didn't help that I forgot to set my watch one hour back, so I thought our flight was going to leave any moment! Once we got that figured out, and our bags checked in, we began the hot process of waiting for our flight.

Once we got on there, we were all out for the count. I couldn't even keep my eyes open! And C.J. was out, even though he was being oogled and ogled by the passenger across the aisle!

The boys enjoyed making some friends on the trip. To the right is a picture of them and a friend we made in San Francisco, who traveled with us to Taiwan. The picture is in the waiting room in the airport at Taipei, Taiwan. She was going to Vietnam to visit family. Below, is Ryan enjoying talking on the phone, or pretending he is on the flight from Taipei to Jakarta.
But, it's good to be here in Tarakan. The team here is young and energetic. (I've already been referred to as an "old-timer"), and they've given us a warm welcome. It's been great to see our friends the Holstens again. They were arrived in Tarakan when we were here before, and now David is the program manager. His wife Natalie has been taking me out shopping. I tell you, coming from Idaho, it's quite a change! The driving is chaotic, you get stared at wherever you go, and people call you "bule" (boo-lay), which means foreigner. But we've already gotten to see some old friends from before. I guess eight years is a long time.

The strangest part of the journey for me was when we were flying over the jungles of Borneo, on our way to Jakarta. Just seeing the broccoli-like terrain below brought me right back to flying with Dave in the MAF 206 over scenery just like that, and I thought, "I can't believe we're back!" I've had many "weird" moments since then, when things all of a sudden became crystal clear and I had a memory. The sweetest and most heart-wrenching one happened this morning when my friend Joy picked me up and brought me to her house, which is the house we used to live in. Although it's changed since we've lived there, one memory was crystal clear. The corner in the kitchen was where we had Hannah's little table that she would sit at for hours and make crafts, color and staple things. (She loved her stapler!) Just seeing that corner brought back so many memories! That corner represents to me who Hannah is. (I say is because I'm pretty sure she's still got the same personality in heaven). She's creative and artistic and knows what she's about.
Dave got his old motorcycle back to ride, so here is a picture of he and the boys in our front yard. We love and miss all of you and look forward to hearing from you!

PRAYER POINTS: Thanks again for your prayers! Please continue to pray for us as we settle in to a new country, climate and team. and pray for Dave as he has already begun his check-out in the Caravan. There are a lot of things to learn.