“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
I Timothy 6:6
It can be a difficult thing to remain content. Why does the grass always look greener on the other side?
God is teaching us the beauty of contentment during these first few months in Indonesia. I have no doubt I will continue to learn this lesson throughout my life, but it has been a blessing to learn how to better live in contentment. There have been plenty of new experiences which have given ample opportunity to learn contentment. There are also cultural differences through which I must learn to accept and appreciate, even when they are so different from my natural tendency. The beauty is that I am learning so much when I sit back and observe, instead of dismissing or decrying the actions which are so different to myself. One of big takeaways from my short time here is to appreciate and praise God for who and how He has made me. Every person is unique and we have all been made specifically by God! I hope to always rest in the person God has made me to be and to also appreciate the differences in others. One of the secrets to contentment in my life is gratitude. Being thankful for the blessings, instead of focusing on what I think I lack! Praise God for His grace and mercy to us!
Jessica’s cousin once told her, “You married your twin!” In many ways, this is true. Jessica and I are very much alike, though there are plenty of areas where we compliment each other with our differences. One of the best things about our being alike is how we both love to entertain people and create a party wherever we go. (Some of you may recall our nickname of “Fun, Fun, Fun” during our orientation with MAF) We know that our service here in Indonesia is for the Indonesian people, but also to the ex-pats who are also here to serve and love these people. We love to build up and support the Body of Christ with the gifts He has given us, one of which happens to be hospitality!
So, this last week we invited two families to come over for a gingerbread house making party. (Unfortunately, there was no gingerbread) We used Nutella for mortar and wafer cookies for bricks. The roofs were made from a sweet cracker and there was ample candy with which to decorate. The kids enjoyed making and then eating their houses! (We had to do it all in one shot, like the Indonesian proverb we just learned, “Ada gula ada semut.” If there is sugar, there are ants!)
After making the houses, we watched the “Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol” and sang some Christmas carols! It is amazing how Disney was able to condense that story into 20 minutes! Everyone enjoyed the time together and it was fun to expand our repertoire of traditions while here in Indonesia.
We also took part in our language school’s Christmas party. Each language unit (there are 9 in all) provided some entertainment. Most sang songs and one unit did a drama with some hilarious Indonesian jokes! Our class came up with an Indonesian rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” It was a lot of fun and we took 2nd place. Then, we all shared a potluck meal with food from the different countries represented. We had sushi, enchiladas, sate, mashed potatoes, tons of cookies, rice pudding, and pulled beef. It was a glorious meal and I stuffed myself!
We continue to reach out and build relationships with our neighbors. One thing Jessica has started doing is to exercise with our next door neighbor. They run 3 days a week and do some other exercises like wall push-ups and squats. It has been a great time for Jessica to practice her bahasa Indonesia as well as grow closer to our neighbor. It has been such a blessing living next to these neighbors. They are always helping us with something and they are so kind to our children. We are excited about the opportunity to share Good News with them as we deepen our friendship.
I have been able to build some relationships with individuals at the International School. There are two lifeguards at the pool. I have good report with them and we often talk about surfing. I hope to take a trip to visit their home town at some point during the next year. They are excited to have me come down and maybe even stay a few days with their families. I am also building relationships with some students and staff at the International School. I have played basketball with them on Sunday nights and helped teach a swim class. There are tons of ways for us to be a blessing to others here in Salatiga. Honestly, our ability to be a blessing hinges on our ability to be content and to rest in our Savior! As we are confident in who we are and why we are here, we are able to be filled up by God and poured out as a blessing to those around us! Our prayer is that we would “…let (our) light shine before others, that they may see (our) good deeds and glorify (our) Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)