Monday, December 25, 2006


A ‘Gourmande’ is a person who has a steep inclination towards gourmet food and can speak with eloquence and savvy concerning fine food and its accoutraments, in other foods a food snob or a foodie.


Christmas very usually brings that side out in me. For those who know me more than casually, it’s known that I love food, more than just eating it but I really like food! One in a line of varied career desires before settling on missionary was a professional chef. I did come somewhat close to entering a culinary arts school…


It’s still a hobby of mine and Christmas usually brings an abundance of opportunities to try new things. This year was no exception, and carrying on a Potter family tradition of an Italian colored Christmas Eve meal, I made something very simple, baked Ziti, but the catch of making that here is the cheese. While you can get part skim mozzerella, ricotta is another difficultly answered question. So this year, not willing to let tradition pass by, I tried out a recipe for homemade ricotta.


32oz of whole milk

½ cup heavy or whipping cream

pinch of salt

2 tbps fresh lemon juice or 3tbps lemon juice from concentrate


Basically, you bring the dairy ingr. and the salt to a rolling boil (being careful to not scald it) and then at the boiling point add the juice and turn down the heat to a simmer, stirring until the mixture curdles to a fine curd.


Pour the mixture into a collander lined with a piece of cotton t-shirt over a pot so that liquid drains off and you have left a nice perfect flavored ricotta.


Nice huh?!


You do have to be persistant in stirring it and if you’re really a gourmande you’ll have a large sieve and fine cheese-cloth instead of a colander and ripped t-shirt but one must make do.


So, with that, I sip my french pressed coffee (thanks to my wife) and eat some lovely white Lindt choclate…


How was your Christmas culinarally?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This is my Mom and Dad taken last Christmas Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Update on Bethany's Family

We have more news to keep you all praying. 


My Mom had to make some tough decisions this week that we thought we would be there to help with, but things have changed quickly for her and my Dad and so we won’t be able to be there for a bit longer.  Dad has been moved into a Skilled Care unit at a nursing home and will stay there till further notice.  We are hopeful that after a time he will be able to come home but as of right now, that’s not in the near future.  It has been a very hard time for Joel and I.  Being away from my mom, who by the way is doing incredibly well thanks to our faithful God, has been hard on me especially right now.  We are trying to work it out so that we can get home as soon as possible but there are many details to work out before we can go.  I won’t bore you with the details but please suffice it to say, we are overwhelmed by them and yet confident that God knows what is to happen. We are trusting Him to guide us and show us when and how to go home.  Again, this will only be for a short time and we are planning on returning here in August or July.  Please pray for our leadership here too as they help us make some of these decisions. They have been nothing but supportive! We even have friends here who said, “if you have to leave tomorrow, we’ll pack up your house.  Don’t worry about that, it will get taken care of!!”  What great friends God has given us here. A family really! 


We will keep you all posted as we finalize our plans.  For now, keep praying and we’ll keep trusting!



Friday, December 22, 2006

Open House and other news

Well, it was a hit!  We had at least 200 people (with that many who can really count?) In our home in the space of 2 hours!  It was a rainy night but well, so is half the year here so I guess a little rain never stops the Javanese!  We served many goodies, coffee and tea and thanks to our partners in ministry here, who also happen to be our neighbors, Tim and Kathy Whatley, we had a successful open house.  Thanks for all who prayed for us this night.  The biggest event of the season is now behind us and we can relax and enjoy the smaller events to come.  Just on a side note, Jack was the perfect host tonight.  Here you greet everyone with a handshake, including children, but as of yet, Jack has not caught on.  Tonight though, after about the 20th person, he reached out his hand and shook the next person’s hand.  From then on he went around the room shaking everyone’s hand!  We were so proud J!!


Keep praying for Bethany’s family.  Her dad was just moved into a skilled care center and so there are lots of changes happening in his life and her mom’s too.  We will be home to help them soon so pray for us too to have wisdom in the changes to come.


One more note, just a moment ago, we received word that a dear friend and supporter passed away after a hard fight with cancer.  Please pray for Julie as she mourns Terry’s death that the Lord will be her comfort.


Joel and Bethany

Monday, December 18, 2006

This kid loves to laugh and smile! Posted by Picasa
Our little ham bone! Posted by Picasa
Merry Christmas from the Potters in Indonesia! Posted by Picasa

Christmas time in Indonesia

Today I want to fill you all in on what Christmas will look like for us this year in Indonesia.

Thankfully we live in an area where Christianity is not discriminated against and as a matter of fact several of our Indoneisan neighbors are also Christians! We have already put a tree up so it can be seen from our front window and there are small touches around the house to make it look like Christmas. We even turn the air conditioner up at night in our family room to similate what it feels like back home!! I had socks on last night for the first time here!

This past weekend I had the joy of planning a ladies retreat for Christmas. It was a nice time for all of us here who are either in language study or helping us newbies settle in and adjust to life in Indonesia.

We have three more days of class before we finish Unit 6 of language and then the real activities begin! Friday night we are hosting an open house at our home for all of our neighbors. They have all been asking if we will be having something like this around Christmas so they can see our traditions! Our Canadian friends, the Whatley’s who live down the street will join in making the goodies and help us greet all 200 guests as they come to our home! Thursday and Friday will be busy days for us as we bake lots of goodies for our neighbors to try! It’s been interesting to figure out what to serve as they don’t like food that is too sweet! Being that we eat almost all sweet foods at parties at Christmas, we have had to be creative. We want them to be able to try what we eat but don’t want to grose them out either! Pray for opportunities to share with them about the true meaning of Christmas.

Sunday, Christmas Eve we have tried our best to continue our Christmas traditions from back home. Joel will be creating a special dinner for our family and then we will be doing a Christmas Eve service of sorts for all our NTM family here. It will be at someone elses house but we are organizing it as part of the worship team here. We’ll sing Christmas songs, read the Christmas story and then have a time of fellowship together with Christmas goodies. Then we’ll all go to our own homes and have time as individual families to carry out our own Christmas Eve traditions. For us that means exchanging one gift! We always get one another pajamas to exchange on Christmas Eve so that we have nice pj’s on in our Christmas morning pictures. This year, I had a hard time finding any for Joel as the concept of pajama bottoms for men seems to be a foreign concept. I may have to have some made from what he already has – thankfully that’s very cheap to do here!

Christmas morning we’ll let Jack be our alarm clock and then eat a nice breakfast together and open gifts. This will be the year Jack begins to really enjoy Christmas. It will be fun to watch him open gifts and we will begin to share with him about the One Gift that really matters! He has a Little People nativity set and already carries around the baby Jesus saying his name over and over!!

I have found fun things to fill in decorating around the house. Much of our Christmas deco is still in the states but we are feeling very much like it’s Christmas! We’ll make many phone calls on Christmas evening as our families back home will be just waking up to Christmas morning. This is our first time away from our family for Christmas and my first time out of the US for Christmas. I expect there to be a bit of tears as we will be missing our families and friends much. Enjoy your family this year more than before. They are also a special gift from God!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dad Stroud

This is a hard thing for me to write tonight, but we wanted to let you all know that my (Bethany’s) Dad was hospitalized this past week due to the mental health issues he has been dealing with for the past few years.  The doctors have tried various medicines and have come to no solutions and so they wanted to stop his current medications and change to some new ones.  In order to do this, Dad had to be admitted to the hospital so that they could monitor him.  When stopping the kinds of medicines he was on cold turkey, there is a chance that the patient could suffer seizures as a result.  To make sure that didn’t happen, Dad was admitted.  Another factor was also that they felt they could better see how he was doing on a daily basis if he were in the hospital for awhile.  We think he will be there for a week to ten days and then after being released from there he will likely have to go to a care facility for a few weeks until they are sure that the medicines are stabilizing him enough that he can return home.  This is our hope. 

Dad is pretty confused at this point as to why he is in the hospital but trusts my mom and her explanations to him.  Mom is doing well despite the circumstances due to our amazing God who sustains her every day.  We all feel that this was a necessary next step and so are somewhat relieved that the doctors agreed.  It is still very difficult though to realize that Dad is that sick.  Please pray for my Mom to continue to have strength each day to rest in God and his sovereignty in all this.   Also, we appreciate your prayers for my brother who is there living with my mom.  We also covet your prayers for us here in Indonesia.  There are days I feel like I just can’t stay here while this is all going on at home but then the Lord gives me strength and I remember that in just 2 months we’ll be home with my family for awhile.  We have one week left of Unit 6 in our language study and then a two week break for Christmas.  After that we’ll have just four more weeks of language study here at the school and then two weeks to pack up our house and get it ready to ship to Papua before leaving Indonesia February 16.  We so appreciate all of you at home who have called, visited, sent cards and prayed for my family, especially Mom.  It is so encouraging to know she has “family” there!

Keep praying!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

What does your Thanksgiving Look Like?

Good Evening,


            While, we’re a day ahead of most of you, it’s officially the evening of Thursday the 23rd here, and in a few hours most of you will be waking up to Thanksgiving Day, a day filled with big fat newspapers loaded with the first big sales of the seaon, the smells of turkey and the all the inevitable side dishes, long afternoon naps, and great times with your family and friends. The weather, for most of you, is cool and fall-like and quite a few of you will spend the next day decorating your house for Christmas (though if your name is Jonny J. your house has been decorated since Labor day J)

             Ok, so it doesn’t sound like we miss all that does it? …Maybe a little bit, maybe a lot, but we’re confident that the Lord has brought us here to Indonesia and that means that we get to create new traditions and things that remind us of our traditions at home. So, in that spirit we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner with a group of mostly Canadian friends and co-workers here. Like I said, we have to make new traditions here…

            We’ve got plenty of Christmas music, pictures of snowy landscapes, and even a decent Christmas tree. We’ll be fine, but when you are celebrating later on today maybe pray that we would continue to trust the Lord in an environment that still feels pretty foreign at times and at a time when we make some of the best memories back home.

             We’re 1 day into starting our 6th unit of language study, which means that we have only 2 more units to go, including this one. Boy do we need your prayers, we have only 8 weeks of formal language study left and we want to make the most of it. We’re excited though at the progress that we’ve made. Last weekend we hosted the neighborhood men’s meeting, which was a a good gesture for us to make at learning the culture of our host country, but it was only possible because of the progress that God has enabled us to make in this language.

             So language is going well, how about the rest of our lives?

             Jack is sleeping on a toddler bed which is a big graduation for him. His little vocabulary is developing and in his mind it’s much broader than we can possbily understand J. We love to listen to him chatter. He’s growing quickly and we very much do not have a baby on our hands anymore. He needs much shepherding from us though and is learning, often times the hard way, that he needs to obey Daddy and Mama. Which means that Daddy and Mama need much patience and enablement to be consistent in both hands on love and discipline. It’s easy to lose patience with him, but I’m confident that the Lord has provided the Holy Spirit to produce that patience in us when we live trusting Him to do that.

             Bethany is doing well. We still don’t know the gender of the baby and are hoping for a nice Christmas gift to ourselves by finding out next month. In the mean time, Bethany is growing but slower than the first time, to her happiness. She’s in the process of organizing a ladies retreat later in December which is keeping her event-planner side happily occupied! She’s doing well with langauge and has significantly improved due to working with a tutor two days a week.

             I (Joel) am also doing well, though I’m in the midst of a cold/flu, must be the chilly fall weather here…  I’m doing well and for the most part, I’ve been enjoying language study and the gradual process of becoming bi-lingual. I’m looking forward to creating new holiday traditions here in Indonesia and am happy to say that I’ve procured a nice little bag of my favorite coffee roaster’s Christmas Blend! You still have to be civilized you know…

             Our plans are continually coming together for the plan of next year to come home for a short time. We just got quotes for airfare and we’re continuing to look into the rest of the plans that we need to see finished. Please be praying with us for the details of this trip to come together in a way that grows us and glorifies the Lord. We’re often reminded of the neccessity for us to come home for this time period as we continue to hear of Bethany’s father’s health. We’re really trusting the Lord to provide us with good time with her Dad and Mom at a time when they could really use our encouragement.

             We know that the timing of this trip is odd and seemingly inconvenient but we’re convinced that it’s the Lords will for that time period. And in the end, after 6 months home, we’ll actually be able to arrive in Papua quicker than we had originally thought and that means that we’ll be able to start helping our overloaded team-mates there with all the work that needs to be done.

             Well, I should sign off. We hope your Thanksgiving Day is awesome! Enjoy all that you have, be thankful for it, and remember that God has blessed us with so much both physical and more so Spiritually, in Christ our life!


            Joel for the Potter 3


Friday, November 03, 2006

"Memutar otaknya" - to spin the brain!

    I know it wasn’t that long ago, we sent out an update and here we are again! We have some more new news for you though and wanted to fill you in.

    As we wrote last time, we will be going home for a 6 month medical furlough to have the baby and be with my family for awhile. We are planning to leave Indonesia somewhere around the 1st of March and will need to be back in Indonesia by the 1st of September. Joel will be returning to Indonesia for two weeks April 5-19 to renew his visa but Jack and I will be staying put, awaiting the arrival of baby number two (which we hope to know the gender of in 3 weeks!). The new part of the news is this. Because we will be away from language study for a time, our target arrival date for getting to the region of Papua, where we’ll be serving would be pushed back to January of 2008. The leadership in Papua talked about that and how it would affect the situation there and thus sent the following email to our leadership here in Central Java…

    “We would like to request the Potters come directly to Papua upon their return to Indonesia. If they were to arrive in Papua in Spetember 2007, this would give them overlap time with the Voskamps (the family running the guest house) in Sentani before they (the Voskamps) must move to Wamena (another town more interior). This would also then allow overlap time with the Voskamps and Miles (the family currently serving there to help the missionaries in the tribes) in Wamena before the Miles go on furlough. We see that these overlap times are necessary for things to continue to run effectively. If the Potters did not come in September, this would leave the Olvers (the other family working in Sentani to do bookkeeping, supply buying, regional leadership things, and a pleathera of other ministries) in Sentani by themselves to do everything (including the guest house) and this is not possible. There are possibilities we could look into for further language study for the Potters as well (after the arrive in Papua).” (parenthesis added for clarification by the Potters)

    Ok so that may be a bit confusing for you all, so let me summarize it for you. A family interior needs to go on furlough and thus needs someone to take over their ministry while they are gone. The family currently running the guest house in Sentani will be doing that, as they are the only ones available. Since we, the Potters, are going to take over the guesthouse ministry permanently in Sentani, they need us to go there in September instead of waiting till January the following year. Otherwise all the support ministries, including the guesthouse (which is a full time ministry all by itself) to help our missionaries serving in the tribal areas, will be left to one family, who are already overloaded! Clear as mud???

    Ok so that is where things stand as of today. What does that mean for the Potters now? It means several things:

    1. We will need to start researching how to ship our things to Papua before we leave in March, just four months from now.
    2. We need to start packing up our things to ship them to Papua in January, while also packing to come home for 6 months.
    3. We need to be looking into plane tickets for our trip home and back and Joel’s trip here alone to renew his visa in April.
    4. We are setting up the details to deliver the baby in Missouri and finding out from my doctor what he needs to know from my appointments here, which are all in Indonesian.
    5. We are still praying that God will provide direction for us as far as our housing while on furlough.
    6. We have a few leads on vehicles but nothing decided yet.
    7. We have 2 ½ more units of langauge study time before we leave for furlough. And now more than ever, we need motivation and the ability to be able to give our best to language study as we have many other things that can take our concentration away from language study at this time.

    So you may be thinking, “wow that’s a lot of needs!” We find ourselves thinking the same thing at times! It could be very overwhelming to us too. God’s Word reassures us though in several passages:

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 & 19

    For us, as we read this passage, we see this…

    nothing, means just that, worry about NOTHING! As God’s children, Joel and I can trust all the details into God’s hands. Whether we see resources He can use to provide or not, He needs no resources! Remember, He created the WHOLE world out of nothing!
    with thanksgiving, how can we thank Him at the same time we make the request, before we know His answer? Because we have His promise that He will provide our needs.
    Needs, first of all we have to remember that what we see as needs, God sees too and knows truly what our needs really are. If we really need it, He will provide it!
    His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, second, we cannot ever fathom just how much God has in His riches. But we can know that because Joel and I are His children, we have all that He placed in His Son, which is everything, available to us because we also have our life in The Son.

    What an incredible thing we have in our relationship with Christ! It is like no other! He will never let us down and He loves us more than we can fully comprehend!

    So we leave you with that! With lots of changes, comes lots of peace and we pray you are all experiencing that same peace!

    All our love,

    Joel and Bethany

      Tuesday, October 31, 2006

      These are two very special women. They are women who have sacrificed much in their lives. They are women who love Christ more than anything else in this world and because of that have willingly sent their children out into the world, knowing God would take good care of them. We couldn't be here without these two women and we just wanted to share with all of you how special they are to us. Do us a favor, if you live nearby your mom, hug her today. And as a favor to us, if you see one of these two ladies in the near future, hug them for us too! We surely miss them! Posted by Picasa
      A very special place for us is my parent's house in Missouri. This time of year, things are growing colder, leaves are falling and the house will be decorated for fall. This is our home away from home (wherever that is) and we just want those who live there to know WE LOVE YOU! Posted by Picasa
      This was also taken on the same trip and gives you a good idea of what the farming landscape looks like here. Please don't aske me what they are growing. I haven't a clue! Posted by Picasa
      Joel recently took a motorbike ride with several guys up a nearby mountain. This is a shot from the road! What a view we have! Posted by Picasa
      I am sure we'll get some interesting comments on this one. I debated whether to show it or not but to be true to life here I thought you all might be interested to see how we get around here. This is Jack and I on my bike, heading home from church. He is strapped snuggly to me and holds on to the consol! He feels very big and loves riding the bike! It's very different than transportation at home but it is very normal here! Posted by Picasa
      Today I was outside talking with a friend when out of our lemon tree, jumped this fun little guy! I don't know if you can tell how big he is but I must say, he was bigger than most I've seen. My Indonesian friend said he's a gecko. His tail goes on for another several inches! Posted by Picasa
      This is Joel and Matt, who plays a mean piano! This was taken last Sunday. Posted by Picasa
      Each month, all us NTM'ers gather together to have a time of worship - in English! Joel and I and two other couples are leading it and it has been a really encouraging time together. Posted by Picasa

      Monday, October 23, 2006

      We finally finished building our closet in our bedroom. It still needs a curtain and well, it's no professional job but it beats what we had before! Watch out California Closets, here come your competitors! Posted by Picasa
      Jack loves the rice that is wrapped up in the bambu. He ate a whole one all by himself! Posted by Picasa
      Jack riding his own "bike"! He loves that helmet! Posted by Picasa
      Food our neighbors brought us last night as they celebrated Ramadan! Posted by Picasa

      Tuesday, October 17, 2006

      Jack eating his first donut - he loved it! Posted by Picasa


      In the past few months, we have been trying to arrange for the birth of the baby, including where we will deliver and how to work out our visa situations, etc. In the process of all of this, we have become a bit more concerned with how things are going for my parents back in Missouri with my Dad’s health issues. Origianally we thought we would try to go to Australia to have the baby, being there a few months, coming back to Indonesia for 2 months of language study and then a possible 2 month trip home for a wedding. As we considered the pros and cons of this plan with the situation with my Dad, we (Joel and I, our field leadership and Pastor at our sending church) decided it would be better to just go home to the states for a 6 month medical furlough, deliver the baby there, be with my family for awhile and be able to be there for the wedding. It looks like our target date to leave Indonesia will be March 1 and we will need to be back in the country in late August.
      There are many details involved in the whole process, but one that I will mention is this… Joel will need to return to Indonesia in early April to renew his visa. Now for those of you with good memories, my due date with the baby is April 25. Joel will likely be able to make it back by the 20th of April or so but whether the baby will be on time or not, we don’t know! We would love for you to pray with us that things would work out for him to be there for the baby’s birth. If not, I already have a great Mom and best friend who were also there with me for Jack’s birth and will be great coaches once again!
      A few other items of prayer we would like to share with you are this:
      When we return home, we will need a place to live for 6 months.
      We will also need a vehicle for that time so that we aren’t dependant on others to drive us around.
      My Dad’s health continues to baffle us. He has a great doctor who is working hard to figure out how to help Dad.
      That we would continue to thrive in our language study over the next 4 ½ months.
      For Joel’s sister Bekah as she has had some health issues as well over the last few weeks.
      We are excited to be going home for awhile and look forward to seeing many of you again. But we also realize that this was not our original plan. God has gone before us in all of this and we believe this is the wisest thing to do at this point. When we return here to Indonesia, we will have 3 more months of language study before we can head to Papua to do our full time ministry.
      Thank you for your prayers for us in all of this. And please keep keeping in touch! WE love hearing from you!

      Bethany for us all!

      Friday, October 13, 2006

      Just an average day!

      Today is Saturday here.  Joel and I were finally able to “check out” on driving the mission van here this morning.  Because they drive on the opposite side of the road and on the opposite side of the vehicle, our mission leadership wants us to drive with a more experienced driver the first time so they can see how we do. Because we have motorbikes that we have been driving for several months, we have gotten used to the traffic patterns and feel really comfortable now.  We both “passed” and can now get around town with the van if we need it for bigger shopping trips or to take friends who can’t yet drive yet to dinner or swimming at the hotel.  We couldn’t drive our own bikes until we’d been in country for 3 months and now we’ve been here 6 months and we feel like this will give us a bit more freedom. 


      I can hardly believe it’s been 6 months already!  Time is flying by so fast.  We just passed our evaluations for Unit 4 of langauge study and I was so encouraged by my evaluation.  I have struggled getting the vocabulary to stick, and in each previous evaluation they have noted this as a weak point for me.  So I got a tutor to come 2 times a week and it has helped so much that yesterday at the evaluation, they said I had no trouble with the vocabulary!  Yippee!!  That was such a wonderful thing to hear!  I praise God for that and for giving me the tutor I have. 


      Today will just be a normal Saturday.  I might go in to town to get some maternity kapris as I have only 2 pair and that’s what I wear every day here.  Other than that, we’re laying low today and just being a family!  Enjoy this weekend with your families or whatever you are doing!


      Thursday, October 05, 2006

      Best Friends

      Do you have a best friend? I mean someone other than your spouse or siblings.  Someone you share everything with. The kind of person you can call up at anytime and chat about anything or nothing.  Someone who, when you need to get out of the house, will at the last minute arrange to meet you at Walmart so you can shop together.

      I have one of those friends.  Her name is Jolene and we have been best friends for more than 20 years.  She knows me inside and out and no matter where I’ve lived over the years (and that’s a lot of places – 4 states and 2 countries- short term) she always came to see me when she could and kept in touch, never writing me off because I left the world we both knew together.  She is a one of a kind friend and I’m missing her a lot these days.  Just before we left to come here, we did our very best to get together as much as possible and our wonderful husbands helped make that possible by taking care of the kids for us.  For all that we got together though, it just wasn’t enough.  I’ve never been this far away from her before for this long and now that I look back, I should have just had her family move in with us while we were preparing to come here.  If she didn’t have 3 kids and a husband, I’d have packed her in my suitcase and brought her with me. 

      I guess this is a sappy kind of blog but I am writing it for 2 reasons.  #1 – I want her to know just how much I miss her and love her and #2 – I want to encourage you. If you have a best friend or even just several close friends, take advantage of every opportunity you have with them.  You never know when you will live worlds apart. God has given us each other – the body of Christ – people, because he knows we need other people.  If He has blessed you with a 1 of a kind friend then count yourself extra blessed.  Don’t take it for granted that you’ll always have them close by.  Love your family and friends like they might not be here tomorrow!  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

      By the way, when was the last time you talked with your best friend and told them you love them?   Bethany

      open doors

      Just wanted to add a quick update about something that happened today. 

      Just as we were leaving for school this afternoon, Jack decided he would begin tearing the paper coverings on one of his books!  Aahhh frustration.  So our house helper and I decided, as he loves his books, it would be better just to remove the papers from all of them and save them for when he’s bigger and can appreciate their value.  As we were doing this, Jack reached up and took a book from the shelf called “The Lamb”. It is a children’s book written by an NTM Missionary telling the chronological story of the gospel from creation to Christ.  Our pembantu can speak a bit of English so she sat down with Jack, not knowing what book she had and began to look at it with him. I stood there amazed at what I was seeing!  She is Mus. in religion and I’ve been praying for opportunities to talk with her.  She has to broach the subject though if we talk about anything spiritual or we can get in trouble with the government (and everyone else in our group) so I have to be very careful.  I just said, “That book is about when the world began”, so she’d know the subject.  She looked up and said yes, I can see that from the photos.  Then she asked, “is the story in the Bible the same as in our “book”?’  My heart jumped!  There’s my door!  Unfortunately we had to leave at that moment but I said, “I don’t know what your book says but maybe we could talk about it sometime.” 

      I can’t tell you how excited I am that this happened today.  Jack could rip up all the book jackets for all I care if an opportunity like that comes from it!  Pray for me to have wisdom with this but to not let the opportunity go by me.  Pray pray pray!!!



      Monday, September 25, 2006

      Now that's a content little boy Posted by Picasa
      Our little beach bungalo~ Posted by Picasa
      Sandy chips anyone? Posted by Picasa
      Beautiful view eh? Posted by Picasa
      Please daddy, can't I climb the steps?  Posted by Picasa
      The Potter 3 1/2 at the beach in Pacitan Posted by Picasa

      What do we miss?

      Tonight finds us listening to our favorite music from home, trying to drown out the sound of the mosques and the never ending call to prayer during this season. They have gone on for hours the past few days! This night also finds us both feeling very homesick. Just reading an email from my mom about the missions conference at church brought tears to my eyes. She wrote that Lance, Jerry and Stan sang together and that just put me over the top. I can just hear it in my mind. I haven't heard singing like that since we were back home in Missouri. So instead of just feeling alone in this, I thought I'd share with you all some of the things we miss from home. Some you may find silly but when you're this far away, they seem like gold!

      • Our church in Springfield
      • Our families
      • Target
      • Starbucks
      • The mall - even with no money but just to browse
      • Grocery shopping at a grocery store
      • The fall and all it holds, colors, cool weather walks through the leaves
      • Sweaters
      • Wearing shoes with socks
      • pudding, especially tapioca
      • cool whip (I remembered MOM!)
      • a selection of cereal other than corn flakes and rice crispies, even if they cost a fortune, it's gotta be better than $10 for a box of cheerios when you can find it!
      • ground beef
      • boneless/skinless chicken breasts
      • Parks
      • Kids toys that don't break when you get them home
      • Scrapbooking
      • English!
      • Lines at offices and stores (at least they have them, even if they are long)
      • Streets with more road than potholes!
      • Friends who know you inside and out
      • Organizational supplies for the home
      • Things for the home in other colors than pastel and in plastic
      • Candles
      • Coffee shops
      • movie theatres
      • making a cake or brownie from a box
      • Being able to buy veggies without having to bargain for them
      • Artichokes
      • Asparagus
      • Good pasta
      • Bread that doesn't mold after a day!
      • a regular sized fridge
      • A real oven (bigger than 1foot by 1foot)
      • more than 2 burners on a stove
      • clean tap water
      • rain!
      • sweet mangos
      • Real mexican food
      • salsa
      • walnuts and almonds
      • swiss cheese
      • doctors who speak my language and encourage questions!
      • Our sunday school class - Family Matters
      • Coffee with Brittany at Panera
      • Dinner withe STeve and Val
      • My mom and dad's house
      • Lunch with Tom
      • Lunch with anyone!
      • Restaurants

      Ok so the list could go on and on. Maybe you could do us a favor...when you find yourselves doing one of these things, pray for us. God is our sufficiency and He always will be but we are weak beings who need prayer! Oh and Johnny and Jen, as we were having baked potatoes and corn the other day - no steak, we had a moment of dreaming at your house. We envisioned everyone over at your place for one last summer fling, grilling out by the pool, wearing shorts and sweatshirts, cause it's that kind of weather there and enjoying your fellowship. Thanks for the great memories there!

      We love you all!

      Joel and Bethany

      Monday, September 18, 2006

      A very sick computer

      Dear friends,
      It is with sad hearts we write to you tonight.  Our computer decided to give up on life this past week and with it, all our pictures, address book, copies of all our important documents, etc died.  We are now feeling very disconnected from life outside of our home.  A friend here is trying to recover the hard drive but tonight he was not too hopeful there would be anything left of it.  So we are hoping that many of you from our email list read our blog and can write to us so that we can update our address files once more.  If you don't mind, we'd love the full info on your family, such as...
      Names of all members of your family
      Address for mail
      Email addresses
      web or blog address
      phone numbers
      and for those of you whom we might not know well (i.e. we met you at a church last summer), please include where we met you, so that we can help our not so trusty minds recall the name and the face.
      Aslo, if you would include birthdays, we would love that too!

      I kept this all in outlook before and am lost without it. 

      Please pray for DJ as he works with our computer that God would supernaturally "heal" our hard drive.  I know that there are many worse things that could happen to us, but being so far away without the connections to the people we love and who are praying for us makes the distance seem so much farther.

      A quick update on us.  We just returned from a few days at the beach about five hours away and are very rested from the time there.  We needed that time to unwind our minds and bodies and were excited to begin class again today.  We are now  in unit 4 and with this unit, the structure of our class time and study time at home has changed.  We are now in class from 1pm till 3 pm each day and then have 4 or 6 more hours of study at home, analyzing language.  It is a welcome change from the first three units.  And we are now able to see Jack much more of the day.  Pray for us to balance our time well and to get the most out of this unit. 

      We are all fairly healthy and for that we are thankful.  Joel is getting over a cold but seems to be on the mend.  Jack's vocabulary is expanding each day and he is growing like crazy!  I am also growing and have entered the "oh, why can't I get my pants buttoned anymore?" stage of pregnancy.  We will go for the first checkup later this week and get a preliminary ultrasound. 

      Ok so that's all for now.  Thanks for getting back to us at our email address: with your contanct information.  We miss you all!

      Bethany for Joel and Jack too!

      Wednesday, September 06, 2006

      An Update

      It’s been a bit since I updated the blog so I thought I’d do that tonight since I’m done studying and not feeling like puking~


      Joel-  he is continuing to amaze me at his ability to learn this language.  He has zoomed past me in so many areas and is so diligent in his studying. He is out at every opportunity, speaking with our neighbors and the men that work for us a few times a week at our house.  Every week at school, on Monday morning, we have a chapel session with singing and testimonies and reading of the Word and then a message, given in Indonesian by one of the students in the later units.  Joel, the brave soul he is volunteered to give his testimony for this week’s chapel. Mind you he has had 10 ½ weeks of formal language study and has only lived here 4 ½ months but he did so well. He spent days preparing it.  He could give it in his sleep if it were in English but translating it into Indonesian isn’t so easy.  The teachers received a copy of it and critiqued it and the mistakes were consistent and easily remidied.  I was so proud of him.  Our local Warung – corner store, has started selling Nasi Goreng (fried rice) in the evenings and has become a favorite gathering spot of the men in our Kampung (neighborhood) so Joel has gone over a few times to visit with them.  He is even trying to learn Javanese!!!  2 new languages at once, what’s with the men in my life being overachievers? 


      Speaking of the men in my life…


      Jack – he is quickly learning new words and sounds each day.  3 languages at once and he knows when to use which one with what person!  Crazy!  His latest sound is that of a vehicle and no one taught him that. I found a place that sells real matchbox cars – Hot Wheels and brought 2 home to him yesterday.  I gave them to him this morning and immediately he was on the floor saying “brrrrrrrrrrooooooommmmm,,, brrrrrrrrooooooommmmmmm!”.  How do boys instinctively know that sound?  Also, he walked to his bed the other day and said “Bobok” – Nap in Indonesian.  Smarty!!!  He loves singing and his favorite song remains the Chichak song. It’s about the little lizards that reside in our home and eat all the bugs and spiders.  We don’t particularly like them (as they poop on the walls which grosses us out!)  but they do get rid of much worse creatures.  So anyway, the song goes like this… in English first for you…  “Chichak, Chichack on the wall, quietly quietly creeaping.  Here comes the mosquito, hap (an expression of grabbing something) then he catches it.” Now the indonesian version… “Cicak, Cicak di dinding, diam diam merayap. Datang seekor nyamuk, hap lalu ditangkap!”  At every finish of every song, he always claps and says, “more”! 


      Bethany – well I had a good first 6 ½ weeks of pregnancy but the “oh, I’m gonna loose my lunch” feeling has decided to make a presence.  So far just one day kept me home but I’ve made it through the other 2 by eating lots of crackers and sucking on lots of fruit flavored candy – Praise God they have that here!  I’m growing already – good sign or not, I’m not sure but thanks to another missionary friend who had to go home for a month, my maternity clothes are here and waiting.  Many of you have asked what the plan is for a place to deliver.  At this point we are looking at delivering in Australia.  There are many factors in the decision.  I will just share a few…  I would like to have an epidural again as I am not brave when it comes to pain.  If there were complications, Indonesia is not really equipped with good NICU’s for the baby.  We will be going home probably in August for a family gathering that has yet to be, um, “announced”. So with my due date being in April, if we wanted to go home for the baby, we’d have to leave here a few months before that and stay till after the “event” and it would keep us out of language study for far too long. Australia is much closer and they have all the modern technology needed for safe delivery.  I will see a doctor here about an hour away and then will transfer care to a doctor in Australia about 5 weeks before I’m due.  There are so many details to work out so please pray for us to have wisdom and discerment with it all.  As for language, I am still learning new things each day but sometimes not as much as I’d like.  Studying is a difficult thing for me to do because I get distracted by so many other things.  I’d love prayer for diligence!  I will have a tutor finally beginning in a few weeks so hopefully that will help.


      One last thing to ask you all to pray for… this morining our Pembantu that watches Jack while we are at school came rushing into the house in tears.  She came to tell us that she couldn’t work today because her aunt’s house burned down (she lives 2 houses down from Ibu Nur).  There were actually 2 families living in something like a duplex – 4 adults and 5 little children all under the age of about 10.  Every one was able to leave the house but all of their earthly belongings (which wasn’t much to start with) were burnt and unretreavable.  It was devastating to Ibu Nur and all her family.  The families who lived there will stay with other family members until the house can be rebuilt but in total they lost more than they could replace, and help from the government is hard to come by.  Many people, neighbors and passersby brought clothing to them today and several of us westerners who know them have given gifts as well to help.  Seeing the look in the eyes of one of the men who lived there brought tears to my eyes.  They live simple lives here and are content with what they have.  He has lost everything and what he knows of God is not what we know of God.  Their understanding of Him is that He is impersonal and doesn’t really care about them personally.  We pray that we can share the love of God with him as we go back to help rebuild the house.  Maybe we can show him that God does love him and cares about his life.  Pray for this family as they grieve this loss.  Pray for us as we do what we can to help and comfort.


      We love you all and miss you so much!

      Friday, August 25, 2006

      And Baby Makes Four


      That’s a nice round number don’t you think? We think so too! And come sometime around April 25 of next year, Lord willing, we’ll become a family of four! We are thrilled that God is going to bless us with another child even though there are days we wonder if we really want to go through “The Trying Two’s” again, after having just begun it with Jack! If we stay on top of things with him, maybe he’ll be through it before this baby arrives. We’ll pray that’s true!

      On this side of the world things have been much quieter lately. No volcanoes or earthquakes to report, just some language learning going on. Tonight we crossed a bridge in culture by having our two neighbors across the street over for tea and banana bread. Both couples came while all the kids played in the yard. They were here for about an hour and a half and of course it was all in Indonesian. It was a really nice time and our hearts were delighted to hear them say… “Kami berbikir yang keluarga Pak Joel dan Ibu Bethany seperti keluarga kami” “We feel like your family is like our family now!” What a wonderful thing to hear. We have tried to build relationships with them and I guess we are succeeding! They are both wonderful couples (the husband of one family is the older brother of the wife of the other family) who work hard and are so friendly with us foreign folks who botch the language and I’m sure the culture too! They constantly help us with langauge and explain things in the culture that are foreign to us. They watch out for us and alert us to things that will help us to be safe here and they absolutely love Jack! He will go to any one of them more quickly than he’ll even come to us! We thank God for these friendships and would love some day to be able to share Christ with them.

      We are almost halfway through Unit 3 of language study now and then will have a 3 day break + a weekend. It’s nice to have these breaks as our brains get tired and we need the rest. So far, all I am feeling from this pregnancy is tired so we are hopeful that maybe I’ll get through it without the morningsickness I had with Jack. Studying language is hard enough without that!

      Tonight’s email will be a short one but we mainly wanted to share our good news with you. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

      Bethany for us all!

      Friday, August 18, 2006

      I Can Hold It No Longer

      A fellow missionary friend posted a blog on her site that brought me to tears.  No not the sad ones, the ones that come from laughing way too hard.  Her blog post was titled “I need to go to the Bathroom”.  You should check it out, men and women both.  Women will laugh so hard you cry and men won’t get it at all but it’s worth reading. Her site is  Becky, I hope you don’t mind! It’s just too good to keep a secret! 


      As a missionary in a foreign country, there are many things that stand out as different than home.  Here in Indonesia, the bathroom is one of the hardest to get used to.  I tend to wait as long as humanly possible before using the public restrooms here but inevitably, every time I’m in town it hits me.  You know the thing everyone hates to get when in a foreign country but no one can avoid.  Ok so we all know what I’m talking about. 


      When I’ve reached the point where either I go use the facilities or loose it, I check my purse. There is no toilet paper here so I always carry with me a small package of tissues just for this purpose.  Ok, so they’re there…B-line to the bathroom.  Oh, wait there is never one in the store, and if they do have one nearby, it’s not where you’d expect so first you have to ask someone where it is, but of course the words slip your mind cause you can’t just say “Where’s the bathroom?” You have to remember what that is in Indonesian and because you are about to explode, it slips your mind.  Oh, yes, “Kamar Kechil?”  They point with their whole hand in a very non-distinct direction, (because it’s rude here to point directly) and you are left guessing and hoping your nose will lead you there before it’s too late. 


      Finally you find it and you get in line, oh wait they don’t know what a line is.  Whoever can get to it first gets it.  But at the same time, “please don’t push” that would be rude.  So you stand in front of a stall hoping no one else is quicker than you and when the door opens you step in, barely letting the girl coming out pass by.  You shut the door, yes they do have those and you are reminded why you waited so long to use the bathroom.  All that is in front of you is a hole in the ground with a porceline basin on top of it and two markers for where your feet are supposed to go.  This completely removes the question, “Do I sit or squat?”  You MUST squat and you’d better have good aim, as the hole is maybe 6 inches in diameter.  Now, it’s not so bad should you ony need to do number one but even with that, you are guaranteed to get wet feet in the process. Thus the second and third items always in my bag are wet wipes and hand sanitizer.  Ok so here you go and remember, this is an emergency, so you’re trying to hurry.


      Oh, wait you have a purse with you and long pants on.  Ok, sling the bag over one shoulder and under one arm and then let it rest on your back.  Your head is way too close to the floor and you don’t dare let it touch.  So now you not only have to squat so your bum is just above the hole but you now have a bag balancing on your back.  Oh, but first, role your pant legs up past your knees so they don’t get wet. 


      Ok so you’ve survived the ordeal but when you go to reach for the toilet paper, you remember why you checked your back first before coming to the KK, there is no tissue.  You could, of course use the bucket of water sitting there next to you. It has a ladel in it that every other woman who came before you used to “wash” with – no thank you (oh and by the way, they always use their left hand).  So you reach around behind you while still squatting to retrieve the tissue from your bag. 


      Now the question is how do I flush?  There is no handy little lever to push with your foot so you are forced to reach into the water bucket afterall, pull out a ladel of water and pour it in.  But because you, the foreigner used paper, it takes 4-5 ladels to flush.  All the while you are praying that you don’t get some weird disease and you become keenly aware of why here in Indonesia no one hands anything to anyone with their left hand or shakes with it or points with it or touches dishes with it, etc.  Ok so now you pull out the wet wipes, wipe your legs, trying not to gag at the thought of why you must do that, pull your pant legs down and the rest up, readjust your bag and open the door.  Meanwhile all the other women in the room that were waiting in line have long since left – they’ve mastered this art! 


      Once you exit the room your next move is to reach in your bag, while touching as little inside as possible, and take out the hand sanitizer.  As you pour it into your hand, you wonder if there is a limit to how much you can use and just to be sure, you reapply 3 times.  Don’t take your chances that the stuff might not work the first time!  As you walk back to the store, your legs are throbbing from squatting like that for so long but you must keep going.  Just keep moving and put the whole experience behind you. 


      Thank you Becky for the inspiration to get this on paper,, before I forget that it’s not normal.  No wait, that will NEVER happen!!

      Wednesday, August 16, 2006

      Be encouraged!

      We are now into Unit 3 of our language study and so far so good! I was visiting with a neighbor today and was so encouraged as we talked that I understood much of what she was saying. It seems that we are visiting longer and understanding more each day and that is such an encouragement. Ibu Asi told me today that with patience, slowly but surely I will get this language as long as I keep talking and studying. We have wonderful neighbors who are so patient and understanding with us. They are a constant source of encouragement as we plug away at language learning.

      As for us personally, we are doing well. I’ll start with the youngest Potter who has grown more than an inch in 2 months. Whew! Jack has all his teeth but his 12 year molars and is toddling around the house like he’s the king of the castle. He has everyone wrapped around his sweet smile and giggle and our Pembantus (house helpers) are beginning to think he hung the moon in the sky. He is learning what “no” means – about 50 times a day J and can even say “no no” now while pointing to the things he’s not allowed to play with. He is testing the boundaries but with God’s enablement, he is finding them to be strong and unmoveable, providing him with great security, we hope. Please pray for us as we raise him here in a very different culture. We want to honor God as we raise him but also we know we must be careful in how our neighbors perceive us as we train him. There are lots of photos on the web log of our handsome little man!

      Joel just celebrated his 28th birthday this past weekend and he celebrated it in true Joel style. On Friday, he and I went about an hour and a half away to a coffee plantation! It was so fun to take the tour and see how the coffee grows, the different varieties and then how it is dried and roasted here in Indonesia. We even got to drink some straight from the roaster! I think it only made him love it more! He also has just finished processing the coffee from our own yard and we drank it this morning! It was delicious and I was so proud that my husband picked, dried, husked, roasted and brewed his own coffee for us to enjoy. Oh that you were here to share a cup with us. Again, photos of this are on the web log!

      I, Bethany am doing well. I was surprised to find out that yes, in fact you can get bronchitis in a tropical climate. It followed me all the way around the world. I am now all but recovered and am back to classes again, after missing a week. I am enjoying my new found freedom on my motorbike. Yes, me – I drive a motorcycle, can you believe it? I have already been able to use it to take friends, who cannot yet drive here, to town and on errands. I love it! I guess that’s one more reason we need your prayers. I am teaching two English classes a week at our home, one for kids and one for adults. It has been a great way for me to learn more Indonesian and to help our neighborhood improve their English skills.

      WE love you all and thank God you are standing with us on this journey. We are loving our God more each day as He provides for our every need and loves us beyond measure. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

      Joel and Bethany Potter

      The Groom Posted by Picasa
      The Jestor Posted by Picasa