Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Plans are always fluid!

We went today to get our police record check and realized that we had to get it from three different places. So we are pursuing some information to see if just one will do. Oh, we love the last minute surprises that come our way. God is giving us patience and clarity and we'll see how else He provides!


Two weeks and 6 days...

It's Wednesday morning and we are beginning our day a little more relaxed than the last few. This morning we don't actually have anything scheduled, so reading, drinking coffee slowly and enjoying the sounds coming from our little man will be the to - do list. The past few days were very busy for us. We have our applications all but ready to go for the visas. We will get our pictures taken today and then get our police reports too. Can you believe Jack has to have one as well? Funny! I hope we're not surprised and find our little 13 month old has a record already :)!

We finished at the apartment yesterday and will have the call from the Landlord that all is clear today. Having that behind us is really nice. Today we hope to finalize our airline tickets and it looks like we'll be able to get them for pretty cheap, but a funny thing happens when we get the cheaper ticket for Jack. Usually when you think of travelling with a child, you expect that you'll have a lot more luggage as they require so much stuff. Well on the airline we're looking at, he is only allowed one checked bag at 15 lbs. Shocking isn't it? That threw a loop in our plans but we'll adjust and make due!

Tomorrow will be our biggest "sort it out" day yet. We'll take everything we have been using at Mom and Dad's and pack up what isn't a necessity. Then we'll begin to distribute things into our totes and suitcases hoping to reach the right weight in each one. Thanks Heather Corley for watching Jack while all this happens. You are a life saver!

Thanks for praying for all these details! We'll keep you "posted"!

Bethany for us all!

Monday, March 27, 2006

And Now, for the good news!

Dear Friends and Family,

We are so excited to tell you all that we have finally gotten our long awaited approval to apply for our visas. The process of applying for these works a bit differently for the country of Indonesia. If you care to know what that is, read on in the next paragraph, otherwise, skip to the one after that J!

This is how we understand it to work. First we had to collect all the paperwork required to apply. Things like our birth certificates, passports, wedding certificates, diplomas from High School and up, etc. Once we had it all, we sent it over to our co-workers in Indonesia so that they could begin the process of gaining our approval to come there. They then took the information to our sponsoring board, made up of Indonesian Christian businessmen. These men then evaluate us based on this information agree to sponsor us into the country. Then the Indonesian government then wires the approval for us to apply for our visas to the consulate in Chicago and we can then send in our application.

So we received the cable today saying that we have been approved to apply and will send in the applications later today. Our leadership in Indonesia gave us the go ahead to purchase tickets and say our final goodbyes and so we believe the process of actually getting the visas should be quick. The date we have now set to leave the US is April 18 and we hope to arrive on the 19th some time.

Last evening was our commissioning/sending service at our home church and it went really well. It was a special time of worship, Joel preached an excellent message (is it ok for me to brag on him? J) and then our missions committee presented us with a certificate of commission and a Bible to take with us to Indonesia. There was a time following in the gymnasium for us to say our goodbyes to folks and we enjoyed it so much! The timing of the news was so perfect because we were able to announce it to so many who had been praying for us in that regard. Thanks for your prayers! God is faithful to answer when He knows the time is right.

So now what? We have one more thing at our apt. to move out and then we’ll be done there. And we will then continue to weed out the items we’d like to take to Indonesia with us. My parents house will be a mess for awhile as this process unfolds, but Lord willing we will be able to fit it all into our totes and suitcases and be ready to leave in just over 3 weeks. We also will be spending as much time as possible with our family and friends as we anticipate not seeing them again for about 3 years.

Please pray for us in these next weeks about the following things…

That we’ll have wisdom as we pack and sort

That what we need will fit into what we can take

That we will rest in the process and not loose our minds

That we’ll be able to find the right agent to help in booking our tickets and things and that it would be as cheap as possible.

That Jack will survive this time of transition and not be too worse for the wear!

That the finances needed to make this move will come by God’s provision

Praise the Lord with us too that He continues to be our strength and courage and that we can count on Him to provide everything we need both physically and emotionally in the next weeks and months.

In our next update, we’ll let you know what the days and weeks following our arrival will look like. Until then, thanks for following along with us in this journey we are on. For those of you interested in more information about what is going on in between our email updates, we have posted a “blog” online. You can find it at


Bethany for all three of us!

Friday, March 24, 2006

8 Big Totes and 4 Suitcases

It's a sunny, but very cold morning here in Springfield. The house is clean and comfortable this morning but it was a very different picture last night.

Our Action Packer totes arrived yesterday, so we were finally able to get the things we're taking to Indonesia put in them (from our apartment). All eight of them were filled to the brim as well as the 2 large and 2 small suitcases we are taking. We brought them back to the Stroud house, where we're living now and I began stage 2 of sorting out what we would take and what we would leave. I think Joel was in a state of shock when he saw how much we had initially set aside to bring with us and that it filled the boxes without even having our clothes and toiletries in them. I however, had prepared myself for this possibility, knowing that we would probably need to weed out more several more times. So my parents came home last night to quite a scene in their living room. Totes were everywhere and I was somewhere in the middle of it all hollaring out to Joel every once in a while "what about this????, leave or take? In the end, I was able to empty out 2 1/2 totes and 2 of the suitcases. It is by no means ready to go, but at least we are making progress.

Joel's sister is coming tonight to spend the weekend with us. Our commissioning service is Sunday night and Joel is preaching for it as well. Monday, we hope to finish up at the apartment and check out of it completely.

We still haven't had any word on the visas, but we found out that they have hired a "pembantu" - house helper for us. She will be there when we arrive to help with the cooking and getting us set up. She has helped two other missionary families in the past so she can cook western food and will be familiar with our weird customs. She will also be a great resource for us as to the customs of Indonesia and the city where we'll be living. Once we begin our language study, she will likely be the person who will take care of Jack while we are in class. I am looking forward to learning how to cook Indonesian style and also am hoping she will become a friend I can learn a lot from!

Ok, so that is a peek into our lives right now. I hope you're enjoying the journey as much as we are!


Monday, March 13, 2006

Looking up

I'm happy to report that today I am feeling much better. I haven't been nautious all day and the pain seems to be lessening. I have actually gotten to be productive here at the Stroud house and that feels good! Hopefully in the next few days we can get back to our apartment to finish the packing. We have till the end of the month to complete everything over there. One thing I'm a bit worried about is my vision. I don't think it's related to the surgery directly (I don't think it could be) but perhaps the pain medicine. My vision has been strongly affected by something - especially my distance vision. It was one of the side effects listed so we'll ask the doctor on Thursday what we can do about it.

Jack seems to be happy that Mommy is now able to hold him a bit more. And I think he's adjusting to his new house. My parents have been very accomodating with us and haven't complained a bit as we put all their beautiful decorations away. I think we all realize that our time together is short so we must make the best of it!

Well, that's it from our world.


Wild Weather

We ended up in the basement three time over the last two nights. It was wild, it's eerie when the storm sirens go off. Nothing like it back in FL. A unique Ozarks weather thing. Last night was really bad, probably all told maybe around 10-15 tornadoes when all is confirmed. We didn't have any tornadoes in the Springfield proper area, but many outlying areas and communities were hit pretty hard. It was the worst outbreak since May of 03 right before we got married.

We were under tornado warning three times and that's when we head down to the basement with as many radios and phones as possible. We had hail all three times, marble sized saturday night and up to golf ball sized last night. No major damage here besides crushed annuals (flowers) and a few very small impact dents on the car. Barely noticable.

Bethany hated every minute of it and it was all I could do to stay put and not go out and watch it. But when you hear the sirens and then the hail, it is sobering and there was a moment when I felt like, "ok we really need to get down to the basement quick". You have to be smart.

So, we're all clear and settling down.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bethany's Surgury

Hello friends and family,


Just wanted to get a quick update out about my surgery yesterday.  It went well - per the doctor.  I now have 4 beautifully ugly scars on my abdomen which I hope will heal up nicely.  I am very sore still (a bit more than I

expected) but they say by the end of the week I should be feeling much better.  We were able to get all moved over to my parents house on Wednesday so other than straightening up some things, I have been able to let go of it all and just rest.  The pain meds make me really sleepy so that's what I have done most of the day, but each time I get up and move around, I can see improvement in my ablity.  Jack and I are having a hard time with me not being able to hold him or pick him up.  He doesn't understand why, if Mommy is here, she isn't holding and snuggling me.  Pray for us in this.  I miss holding him as much as he misses it!


Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements.  I certainly appreciate them!





Note from Joel:


It is now Saturday afternoon and Bethany had a rough day. I guess her body is getting used to the fact that it is missing something, namely it’s gall bladder. Please continue to pray for her recovery and especially that all this pain and recovery might be worth it and relieve the problems that she was dealing with in the first place.




Monday, March 06, 2006

Waiting and Waiting some more...April here we come!

Dear Friends,

Selamat siang (good mid day)!

When we found out that we wouldn’t be leaving for Indonesia in March, I must say, I felt a tad bit disappointed. Another delay and opportunity for me to doubt we’d ever get there! And yet another opportunity to see God work in ways that we couldn’t have seen or anticipated. The last month or so since we wrote an update has been full of surprises and opportunities to learn about patience and trust.

Sickness invaded our home for about 3 and a half weeks, beginning with colds and then turning into viruses. All three of us were down (like on the couch or in bed) for a two week period of time, on antibiotics and seeing the doctor more than we cared to in such a short period of time. Just before all this hit us though, we had our physicals so that we could go to Indonesia with a clean bill of health. The results of those physicals showed that Joel has an abnormally low white blood cell count and that I, Bethany need to have my gallbladder taken out. Joel will go back in a few weeks to have his blood tested again and I will be having surgery this coming Thursday, March 9. It is an outpatient procedure and is laparoscopic so the healing time is minimal, barring any complications. I have had tummy troubles for several years, so I am very hopeful that this surgery will “fix” all that. We also visited the dentist to have our teeth checked out. Joel was the one to get bad news this time, and he had all four wisdom teeth pulled this past Monday. The procedure went well, and now he is healing with four gigantic holes in his mouth! So, as you can see, our departure being pushed back by a month was what we see as God making way for what He knew would be happening in our lives. I’m so glad he can see into the future even though I can’t. He is trustworthy and so good to provide what we need. I think learning to trust Him is a lifelong lesson and I feel like I’m just at the beginning!

Jack had his one year check up this week and was pronounced to be a healthy young man! His birthday (February 20) was right in the midst of all our sickness, so his party was postponed and took place yesterday with my family and some close friends. Of course, he didn’t really miss the first one as he doesn’t understand that he’s reached this milestone in his life. He does however realize that he can get into just about anything he wants and very quickly! He is crawling at lightening speed and can get up the stairs more quickly than I can get to him from across the room. He is also chattering away these days and has finally decided to thrill his mama by saying “mamamamamama” along with the “dadadadada” he’s said for months. It hasn’t dawned on him that those sounds mean anything but he does know that when he says them, I go crazy! He is a loving little boy who knows no strangers and will thrill the heart of anyone who holds him by laying his head down on their shoulder to give them “love”. He is still full of smiles and gives them away without abandon! We are enjoying him so much! Oh, and he loved the cupcake he got to devour and also a slice of cheese pizza!

Our house is now in a state of chaos! We finally began packing and will, Lord willing, be ready to “move in” with my parents next week. We will finish the last of the packing from there and be completely moved out of our apartment by the end of the month. As our storage unit fills up and the apartment empties I am encouraged that progress is being made. My best friend of 20 years, Jolene, has been a life saver and has kept Jack for us several times so that we can spend some concerted time packing. Otherwise I find that just as I fill up a Rubbermaid with things to store, Jack quickly unpacks it J. He is in a state of panic at times as he sees the house turning upside down, so if you’d pray he will not be too freaked out by it all, we’d appreciate it!

Our church will have a commissioning service for us on March 26 in the evening service and it looks like Joel’s sister will be able to be with us to represent his family. His parents leave for Guyana this Wednesday, March 8 and so another chapter in their lives is about to begin. Please pray for them as they leave all three of their kids and their grandson. They are so excited to get back to Guyana and the work they were a part of there several years ago, but leaving family and friends is never easy. We are so thankful that we live in the age of technology though. We are all purchasing web cams and through the internet will be able to communicate “live” from our different posts around the world!

The pictures attached are of the city we will be living in our first two years in Indonesia. It is called Salatiga and is located in central Java (yes, like the coffeeJ). Did I mention that our co-workers in that city have a house rented for us for when we arrive and are working on it as I write this? ~so exciting! Thanks Dave and Melissa! We have friends who arrived a few months ago and will be a few months ahead of us in language school. They have been a great source of information the last few days on their first impressions of life there. And for this details-oriented person, it’s been so encouraging to be in contact with them. Thanks Russ and Dina!!

I will leave you with greetings from Joel and Jack and with grateful hearts that you are standing with us as we undertake on this grand adventure. We truly couldn’t do this without your love and support. Terima kasih (thank you)!

All our love,

Joel, Bethany and Jack Potter

Thursday, March 02, 2006

We have a house!

Sorry it’s been so long since we updated this.  Sickness, surgery, sickness, packing, sickness, packing.  Well that’s what life has been like lately for us.  Thanks Bekah for the prodding to update it though.  Good kick in the pants!  And forgive me if I copy some of this for our email update…


Jack is over at Jolene’s this afternoon while we get things done here.  Our storage unit is filling up while our house is emptying out and that’s a great thing to see.  We hope to be moving over to my parents next week and then finishing up here the following week. 


We got news that they have rented a house for us in Salatiga – where IMLAC is (our language school).  That was such good news to hear as it means they are counting on our visas to come through and that we’re really going!  We also heard that our recommendations are coming in there in Indo and they are waiting on several more to move forward.  They did get a verbal “go ahead” though and so we are encouraged.  Mid April, here we come!


Jack’s birthday party has been postponed to this coming Sunday afternoon and will be smaller than the original one.  He won’t notice though as he probably won’t even get that it’s a party for him!  To my mom’s dismay, he won’t have a chocolate cake but a yellow cupcake to devour.  And the icing will be blue, green or yellow, of course so no chocolate covered face.  We’re being different, no apologies!  We’ll take pictures and post them when Joel gets our blog set up for photos.  Not a priority right now, so sorry. 


We have also gotten some great emails from folks there in Salatiga about what is available and what would be good to bring.  I have been greatly encouraged with the info.  And my lists are growing daily.  Now if I can only find all the lists I’ve made here and there.  If I get through this move with my sanity still in tact it will be a miracle only God could accomplish!   One of the emails we got the other day had this tag at the end.  I loved it!!!  “The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God!”  - Oswald Chambers, MUfHH, Aug. 2


I will be having gallbladder surgery on the 9th of March, removing the silly thing.  We’re hopeful this will eliminate the stomach aches and cramping I’ve had for so long.  My regular doctor believes it will make a world of difference for me and so we’re going forward with it even though the surgeon says it’s a 50/50 chance it will make things better.  It’s outpatient surgery and they say it takes about a week to recover, give or take.  Mom will have Jack at her house that day and the next and over night in between, if we’re still in our apartment.  If we’ve moved over there, we’ll all be there but she’s taken off work either way to keep him so I can rest.  I haven’t handled anesthesia well in the past so please pray it’s better this time. 


Well this is a long blog but way overdue.  We are doing well and encouraged that God is truly worth it all – no matter how hard things seem for us.  He sacrificed His all and we owe Him our lives.  We love you all and miss you too!