It was great to have two whole weeks of vacation at Christmas, and it is also great to be back at school!
Here are a few things we have been up to:
1) Jessica was invited to go to an event at the Mayor’s Office here in Salatiga. It was a celebration for the Indonesian Mother’s Day (Hari Ibu) on December 22nd. She was dressed up in traditional Indonesian clothing complete with make-up and hair styling. She met the mayor and had her picture taken with pretty much everyone who came to the party. She ate some traditional Indonesian food and spent time with the people at the party. It was an interesting experience and is another way we are doing our best to learn as much as we can about the culture.
2) One of the coolest things about going to language school is getting to know the people who are working with different organizations. We are all here with the same purpose, but we have specialties and it is great to see how our Father is working in different ways to accomplish his purposes. There are three young men who are here to study the language before they hope to teach English on one of the other islands. (The people group they hope to serve is almost completely unreached.) They are known as the “Three Musketeers” because they do everything together. They are extremely boisterous and a they bring the party wherever they go. Last week we invited them to our house for dinner. A few days prior they helped me bring a few packages home from school. Jessica met them and figured that three young men such as them might appreciate spending some time with a family. So, we had them over for chicken sate and we spent the night laughing. They were great with our kids and they asked great questions. We were all encouraged by our time together. One of the highlights of the night was seeing how Adelina enjoys serving others. We spend a lot of time talking about character and serving others. Adelina is blossoming as a young lady and loves to follow her mama serving around the home. Adelina loves to do all she can to serve, like help Jessica make bread or setting the table.
3) We got to meet and spend some time with an MAF family who is already serving in Tarakan! This was a huge blessing. It turns out that the language school year can be one of the toughest years. We are super busy with school work, adjusting to a new culture, and all of our teammates have only been here a few more months than we have. It was great to talk with a family who can offer encouragement and relate to some of our experiences. Our new friends encouraged us and told us firsthand some of what we can expect when we move to Tarakan. Jessica and I felt blessed and encouraged. Even Adelina was stoked because she got to meet three of her soon-to-be friends! (She has been a little sad because one of her best friends will be moving to Papua at the beginning of February and she really wants some friends to play with.)
4) We have had a few health scares in the past couple of weeks as well. The first occurred just before Christmas. Jeremiah was having trouble breathing and complaining of pain in his chest. He would be playing as hard as ever, and then he would slowly come over to me or Jess and start crying. Then, he would gasp and gulp for air with short, staccato breaths. We were very worried. We got some opinions from some nurses, took an x-ray, visited a lung hospital, and finally visited a respiratory specialists. The respiratory doctor only has hours in the am and after 5 pm. We were desperate as Jeremiah was having trouble breathing for a few hours at this point. Jessica called her tutor who also happens to be extremely well connected in Salatiga. The tudor knew the doctor personally and was able to call him at home and have him look at Jeremiah in his front sitting room. (I think he was taking a nap just before because it looked like he was wearing his PJ’s). We got Jeremiah in and the doctor prescribed medicine for an infection. This was a blessing because the people at the lung hospital had said Jeremiah probably has an allergy and they sent us to get allergy tests done.
The medical services in Salatiga are not the best and we sure will continue to need your prayers throughout our time in Indonesia.
Our time over Christmas served to be a nice break for our family. But, we also saw how certain aspects of culture shock are affecting us. We were reminded of how much we missed our families when we saw the pictures of Christmas on Facebook. We talked with our family on Facebook and Skype and saw the different traditions that we will miss as we can’t get the same foods. Through it all though, our Father is faithful and He has reminded us why we are here. He has given us grace to live these days with joy and helped us see that we are exactly where He has purposed for us to be. Why, just this very morning I read these words from Oswald Chambers,
If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything, it is a delight…
We have found it to be a delight to follow our Lord wherever He leads. It is certainly hard at times, but there is no place we would rather be. So, we continue to grow closer as a family. We are resolved to work as hard as we can to learn this Indonesian language, and we are excited for when we get to move to Kalimantan and work with our MAF team there.