There is a Javanese saying that goes, “If we do not know each other, then we cannot share our love.” We have found the people in Salatiga eager to talk and get to know us. They are such a generous and loving people. It seems they are eager to know us because they are eager to share their love. We may have only spent a few weeks here in Indonesia, but Jessica and I have found ourselves saying, “We already have such a love for these people!” What a blessing to find God stirring up and cultivating a love for these people we hope to serve for years to come!
One of the relationships where we see this happening is with our next door neighbors. Pak Jono and Ibu Kasum, whom you have seen in previous weeks, are our neighbors and also our landlords/gardeners. They are excited to help us learn Indonesian. In fact, we spent 4 out of 6 nights talking for over an hour. We have shared various treats we brought from the U.S. or have made, and they have done the same. We are never without bananas as Pak Jono is always sharing from the banana trees in our yard. (I have no idea what kind of banana they are, but they are a smaller, firmer banana and they taste amazing) Ibu Kasum’s birthday was last Friday and we gave her a cake from a local bakery. Later that night, we returned from a trip to downtown and Ibu Kasum shared fried bananas with chocolate (pisang goreng dengan coklat) and homemade chocolate donuts (donat coklat). They were really good!!! Yesterday, we all went on a walk together. Pak Jono carried Solomon on his back. I had burned my lag on the exhaust pipe of a motorcycle and Pak Jono asked a neighbor for some aloe. It is amazing how loving they are and we are looking forward to pouring our love into them as they pour into us.
We also see this with our teachers (pelatih’s) at school. They are all believers and they are excited to teach us the language and share their culture with us because they know we will all go to different islands and share the good news with their Indonesian brothers and sisters. There are a number of cultural differences we have seen, but Jessica and I love and appreciate many of these differences. For example, when correcting our pronunciation or the order of words in our sentences, they always start with, “Maaf…” (pronounced Ma-off) which means “sorry”. Then they proceed to tell you how to correct what you did wrong. They are very humble and respectful, even when we make huge mistakes. It is an honor and a privilege to have these loving men and women teach us their language and culture so we can shine our brightest for the glory of God.
We are also getting to know our MAF team here in Salatiga. We usually hang out a couple times per week and they have all been a huge help to us. Each family is at a little different place in the language learning process. It is nice because we can encourage one another and all of the kids love playing together. The only sad thing is that we won’t all be serving on the same island after language school. Alas, the life of a missionary is somewhat transitory so do our best to savor each experience.
We are getting more and more settled and establishing healthy rhythms as a family. Friday is movie night. Sunday is ice cream day. Saturday is family day. We are in a good spot and the Lord has been gracious. We enjoy school (which is a huge blessing by itself) and love to practice the Indonesian language as much as we can. Thank you so very much for your prayers. (Terima Kasih Banyak untuk berdoa-berdoa Anda)