Hi Friend! Guest wifey blogger here!
One of my favorite worship songs by Kari Jobe and something I listen to over and over again these days is the lyric that says, “I will find my life in You. You’re always enough, always enough. May the fullness of Your love be all I need, all I need.”
And it’s true, He really is all we need and I’m getting to deepen my understanding of that truth in some cool ways. May I share a few of them with you now?
First, He is our Joy! When it comes to adjusting to food in a new place I can tell you that there are many dishes and treats we really love. (Soto ayam = chicken soup is one of my most favorites and something I’m hoping to learn to cook this year.) And then there are times when the consistent exposure to new and different things starts to take its toll on you (this is known as culture stress) and you have to find a way to deal with it. When it comes to some of this culture stress I’ve chosen, on my good days, to cope with it through humor. So, for example if Phil asks me if I’d like to go out for supper (something we did infrequently back in the states but is amazingly cost effective here) I might be found making a joke about first needing a shot of my pink liquid courage (Pepto-bismol, that is) while cracking my neck from side to side. And then there are days when the humor sneaks in all on it’s own. Like yesterday morning when I saw this sign advertising the name of a local eatery just up the street from our home.
I was by myself when I read it and, oooooo, did I get a good laugh from that one. And I think to myself, “Thanks, God. That poetic, beautiful irony was just exactly what I needed.” That kind of humor reminds me of our buddies from college and the geeky ways we like to laugh together and suddenly the idea of eating one more fried simple carbohydrate doesn’t seem so depressing. He is our Joy!
A cheerful heart is good medicine; and a happy heart makes a cheerful face… – Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 15:13
He is our Peace: About two weeks ago culture stress decided to come in and sucker punch me in the gut. I was sitting in class at language school when a teacher we know shared that one of her dear friend’s daughter had been taken from her school and trafficked for two weeks before someone had the mercy to drop the little girl off in a rice field nearby. The child was found but would not speak. The moment I heard this story (a story that still needs your prayers and mine) two of my precious babies were playing happily at their preschool. My kids are pinched, touched, and frequently accosted for their cuteness in our community whether welcomed or not. Thoughts, images, and sounds flooded my heart imagining for a moment what that child and mama went through and what the years to come may hold for their family and, if I can be totally honest with you, I felt physically ill. I was revolted, enraged, horrified, and frightened all at the same time. It’s hard to imagine stories like this when we live so far from it but when the person harmed could easily be your next-door-neighbor suddenly the game changes a little and that shift to your new reality requires the abiding presence of Jesus. He is our Peace. Only He can come in to our anguish and fears and breathe stillness, security, love, and assurance. And in a new way, I need Him and I’m letting Him be my Peace. He’s always enough.
For more on culture stress and what we can do about it, check out this blog a friend of mine shared:
He is our Gift: When Phil and I were in college we were trained in “Relational Evangelism” that is, loving people into the family of God. (Thanks, Kevin and Kim!) So, after college when we found ourselves launching small groups with our pastor Jeff Busse, we got to use some of those tools in “real life”. At our home church in Nevada we loved that spending time mentoring people was part of our job description because truly that is the essence of who we are. Once we got settled in Indonesia we smiled upon learning that going outside and building relationships with people is both a requirement for school and our job description. Awesome! After all, this is what we love to do! Thanks, God! In many of Phil’s blogs he writes about how we are building relationship with this person or that person, which of course, is where we are strategically purposing to encourage believers and begin casting nets for those who don’t yet know Jesus. Two nights ago, I walked to the home of my friend / neighbor Ibu K. (I’m going to tell you a bit more of her story soon so I’d like to protect her identity and some of the covert ways she lives for Jesus in a “Cousin” community / culture.) I offered to give her a manicure and she totally lit up! She was stoked! Sitting at her dining room table, I brought out all my polishes, nail wraps, and accouterments and gave that sweet girl a proper manicure. Washing her beautiful, tired Indonesian hands in a basin of warm water filled my heart to overflowing with the blessing of serving others.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. -John 13:14
We talked for two hours and shared deeper places in our hearts. It was the sweetest ministry moment I’ve had yet in Indonesia and it was super-fun for both of us! Ibu K sells tupperware to neighbors and works as a house helper in the home of another expat. She’s the same age as myself and has two adorable little boys. She’s a super hard worker and I know she’s one of the special ones God has put “on our doorstep” as Roger Yount used to say. Pouring ourselves out for others fills us up like nothing else and it is moments like these that make me jump for joy as the precious love of Jesus flows from one heart to another. Jesus, YOU are the gift.
This morning, I sit in the front room of our home (this room is standard in all “Cousin” homes as a place to receive guests). I’m sipping green jasmine tea and listening to the sounds of tropical jungle birds, motorcycles, and friendly neighbors chatting. Directly across the street is a widow named Ibu Sri. I like to bring her baked goodies when I make things and I hope our playful family can lovingly bring her joy. If you were here with me I’d offer you a banana muffin with some Nutella spread on it and I’d ask you to pray with me. I’d ask you to pray for the eyes of our Cousins to be open to the love of Jesus. I’d ask you to pray for the president of Indonesia who professes to be a Cousin but people suspect otherwise. I’d ask you to pray as we attempt to learn a new language (Unit 2 is looking WAY tougher than Unit 1 and it scares me a little). And then, I’d ask you to tell me how I can pray for you. And together, we’d spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. You encourage us and we’re honored by your partnership.
P.S. Here is the aforementioned song if you want to have a moment of sweet encouragement with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC-YzAo4KbA
Love in Christ,