Friday, April 28, 2006


We're leaving Manado tomorrow and after a flight to Jakarta, we'll be on our way to the city of Semarang (pronounced 'Seh-madang') and from there after meeting some of orientation team, we'll drive to Salatiga where our house and life for the next two years awaits us. Be praying for safe and sane travels and transfer. We're excited to be on our way but we're thankful for the chance we had to meet our team mates here on Sulawesi.

One more thing. Here in Sulawesi we have missionaries waiting to get into the tribal areas that we work in but for many months now, they have not had any air service (small plane or helicopter) available to them. It's a long story as to why they don't have access right now (ask us sometime). Would you pray for the Lord to provide both the personnel (pilots and mechanics) and the aircraft, so that our teams can get back to doing what they came for.

Even as those who support our tribal missionaries, we're all working for the same end goal and that's seeing indigenous churches planted and we're looking to the Lord to provide the tools necessary to complete the job.

So, know anyone with a helicopter they're not using tucked away in their pole barn??? ;-)

Prayer thanks

Thanks to those of you who have been praying for my family in regards to my dad. The surgery was a success and he is home now and healing well. It is super hard for him to understand why he cannot work on his saws anymore or even be in the basement where they are but he is complying with my Mom’s instructions. She has a lock on the door and my brother, who will be moving in this weekend will be a big help with that. We will fly out tomorrow at 11:45 am our time for home in Salatiga. We are so anxious to get there.
We’ll be in touch after we arrive.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Progress and Rewards!

As I write this I’m experiencing a small dream of mine. I used enough Bahasa Indonesia to get myself to a moderately sized 4 story mall here in Manado so that I could go to a renowned local coffee shop called ‘Excelso’. It’s a quality little establishment. The real accomplishment today is actually using the language. I was rewarded by an excellent selection of brew to order coffees. Brazilian Santos, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Columbian, Sumatra Mandheling, and some other good single selections. Every cup is freshly brewed, so that probably means run through an espresso maker. It’s an awesome experience and one I would of missed had I chosen not to step out a bit.


Prayer Request

Dear Friends,


Just as we sent out the last update today, we were receiving one with some bad news from home.  My mom wrote to tell us that my (Bethany’s) Dad had an accident at home with his woodworking saws.  He has early onset dementia and wasn’t supposed to work on them with no one home (Mom had left for a drama at our home church and Dad knew she’d be gone for a few hours but he forgot) but he went to the basement to cut something and dropped the saw and cut his hand really bad. He ended up in the ER and then had to have surgery to repair 2 tendons and an artery above his thumb.  Thankfully, my Mom works for a hand surgeon and he was there lickidy split and did the surgery. Dad now has a lot of recovery time ahead of him and that will be hard for him.  He will have to be done working at his job now because of this accident and will have to pursue disability too so Mom has a lot to figure out and more quickly than she hoped.  We (Joel and I) didn’t find out till a day or two after it happened, as we didn’t have email access until Tuesday. It was really hard for me to hear when I found out but I talked with mom on the phone the same day we found out and that helped. 


Please pray

that Dad heals quickly and that this doesn’t add to his mental frustration

that Mom has patience with him

that she can find someone who will stay with him during the day while she’s at work

and that God will continue to supply us with the grace to trust Him while so far away


My brother is moving in with my parents this coming weekend so that will be good for my Mom and Dad both to have someone else there to help.  I have thought of this off and on these past few days and as I have, God has given me peace to keep going forward, trusting Him to take care of my family.  I so appreciate your prayers for us as I know God is answering them by giving us strength.  I realize more than ever how I need Him and His enabling to live this life. 


We also have had a bit of a slow down in the process with immigration here and it looks like we won’t be heading to Salatiga today but instead will probably go Saturday.  Pray for patience as we wait.  It’s hard knowing we have a house waiting for us and have limited time to settle in before language school starts and yet we are here waiting with little to do but wait!  Does that make sense?  Ok, well God does so just lift us up to Him and I know He’ll give us peace!


We miss you all and are so thankful for your prayers for us!


Joel and Bethany




Monday, April 24, 2006

Sapi; Sebu; Cow

I looked out the front door yesterday to see a large beast in the road in front of the house.  I asked Sarah what it was and she said it’s a Sebu.  Yes like the song, “everybody likes a water buffalo, a water buffalo, a water buffalo…seeeeebbuuuuuuu!  Jack is learning his animal noises so this was a perfect time for “mooooooooo”.  It seems strange now to see a cow so close, but I suppose that is life here and I’ll get used to it.  Hey maybe we’ll have one as a pet!

Friday, April 21, 2006

This is the Guest House Helper's Daughter, Puji ready for a national holiday celebration in traditional clothing! Posted by Picasa
Taking it all in - and IT'S HOT!!!! Posted by Picasa
Finally here! - At the Jakarta Airport Posted by Picasa
Slowly but surely we are adjusting to the time change. I am feeling pretty good today and Jack is beginning to eat more food. THanks for praying! He is napping at his normal times and so we are hopeful that he'll start sleeping through the night again soon! God is enabling us though as we need to get up each night.

Today we are heading into the city again to do some shopping. We are going to the "mall" but this is no American mall. They have all the normal "mall" stores but also a travel agency, a grocery store, a post office, and so many other things that amaze me! There is even a little haircutting place for kids - really fun looking! Oh, and to Joel's delight, they have a Starbucks - our first since leaving the US. He is very excited about it. We've told our hosts of his obsession but today they'll see it first hand. A funny thing, Joel loves a coffee called Illy from Italy and it's really hard to find and expensive in the US. Well I opened the freezer here at the guest house the other day and low and behold, they had Illy in there. Apartently its super easy to get here! Yippy!

We're finding out about a cell phone plan today and also how to get a crib for Jack. We'll definitely be back to Jakarta soon to get supplies we will need but for now will wait to see what we can get in Salatiga and near there.

Have a blessed day or night - whatever it is where you are!


true confessions

good evening from joel,

I have to say that as I get more and more used to being here, I'm finding a little bit of hesitancy to use the little bit of Indonesian that I already know. It's not easy to 'stick your neck' out there and take the risk of being or sounding wrong, but it's an absolute must if I'm ever gonna jump in here. So this is me asking you to be praying for me to step out and use what I know and be willing to keep learning. God promises to give me the strength I need for even this small area.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

What is He Thinking Posted by Picasa
Our Shadow over Dallas Posted by Picasa


It seems Jack has decided to loose his baby fat a bit early. He isn't too interested in eating food these days. I think he is also cutting his eye teeth so I am sure that is contributing to his appetite. Oh the joys of being one!
He took his first car ride Indonesian style. Now this may be hard for some of you to read, but understand that this is not something we choose but can't change. Here in Indonesia, there are seatbelts in the front seat and it is law that you must wear them. If you don't you'll get fined around $100. The irony is that there aren't seat belts in the back seat at all, so obviously it's not required or possible to wear them or use them. So... how do you take a baby in the car? On your lap! It was a bit shocking to us as we all got in the car without a car seat, but Jack didn't seem to mind. He snuggled into my lap and enjoyed the view of all the cars and motorbikes. I can't imagine what's going through his mind as he takes all this in.
We are learning we need to be even more patient with him as he adjusts, while at the same time, continuing to train him to be an obedient and contented little boy. One more reason to trust God in this adventure.


If not just 30 seconds later, we would have had the loudest wake up call ever. 


We were beginning to feel the effects of all the travels this afternoon after lunch, so we decided to lay down “for just a little while”.  Usually, we can lay Jack down in the afternoon and do the same for ourselves, counting on him waking us up after an hour or two.  So there we went, around 2:30pm our heads excitedly hit the pillow with our “natural alarm clock” set - Jack.  Our hosts had warned us not to sleep too long, that it would hurt us more than help.  “Just a little nap” is best.  We agreed, knowing that if we slept too long, we’d be up very early in the am again.  We didn’t want that so, we went to sleep just to rest for a bit. 

You guess what happened.  Our natural alarm clock didn’t go off as expected.  Jack just kept on sleeping.  He finally did stir around 6:30pm.  I woke, hearing him stir a bit and was frantic as I realized that we had severely overslept.  I then reached over and shook Joel, “honey, it’s 6:30!!!!  We’ve slept way too long!!!!”  The next thing I heard was, cabooooommmmmm!!!!!!  And this clap of thunder began our first of what we’re told will be many thunderstorms!  I have to say, I’m glad I awoke before the thunder clap but even so, it was a rude awakening. 

Bill and Rosie were sitting in the living room as I walked in frantically apologizing for sleeping so long.  They said they weren’t sure whether to knock on the door and wake us or to just let us go.  I guess it could have been worse. We could have woken up in the middle of the night and then been up for the day.  So now, we have to try to keep ourselves up this evening so that we can sleep to a normal time in the morning. 


Oh, to be resettled completely and to have our body clocks reset for good.  I guess you can say we’ve made our first of many blunders.  Fortunately, we’re the only ones who’ll pay for this one!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

3 down, 1 to go!

Dear Friends,

We are now 2 hours from Taipei, Taiwan and are almost through our 3rd and longest flight. Other than getting very little sleep, we are doing great! The trip (24 hours worth) has gone excellently so far and we are so thankful. Even through the turbulence on this flight, Jack and I have not seen the affects of it! Thanks for praying. We did have a little snafoo in LA when we arrived. Maybe just ignorance on our part, but it was easily remedied. When we got to the International terminal, we checked in with the airline and quickly were told that our carry on’s were only supposed to be 15lbs. or 7 kilo each. We were blessed to have a very accommodating and understanding attendant though and she allowed us to repack our bags so that we just had one within the weight and the others we checked all the way to Jakarta. It was a bit of a surprise but I think we handled it ok. So we have just enough diapers and wipes to make it to Jakarta and hopefully Jack won’t need an extra change of clothes. So word to the wise, before you travel internationally, check to see if the domestic regulations are the same as the international ones!

So we have a hour layover in Taipei where we will be in hot pursuit of a Starbucks. Airplane coffee just doesn’t cut it after getting 3 hours of sleep in 2 days! Our co-workers, will be greeting us at the Jakarta airport this afternoon (Indonesia time – early in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday for those at home) and we are really looking forward to finally meeting them. We will rest up there in Jakarta until Saturday or Sunday and then will hop on yet another plane and make our way to the Island of Sulawesi, where we will register our visas. We aren’t sure just yet when we will get “home” but I think it can’t be soon enough!

Thanks for all your prayers for us on this journey. We are delighted with how well it’s gone and we are confident that God had a little something to do with it along with your prayers!

You’ll hear from us in a few days, but until then,

We’re resting in Grace and Peace,

Joel and Bethany Potter

After a nights sleep

Dear Friends,

Well, we made it safe and sound; all 12 pieces of luggage, 3 carry-ons 1 stroller, 1 car seat, 2 backpacks, 1 computer bag, 1 purse and 1 toy bag! Oh, and 3 Potters! The field chairman Bill and his wife Rosie were there to meet us at the airport and oh, was it good to see them waiting there. The last flight was mostly uneventful. Jack got a little sick but I think it’s the result of little sleep and changing 12 time zones, in 4 planes! Other than that, we had a good flight and had absolutely no problems at Immigration and Customs. I would even go so far as to say it was a breeze! Our totes and suitcases were shipped air freight yesterday to Salatiga and will be waiting there for us when we get there next Thursday. Oh, by the way, we are 12 hours ahead of CST, so when it’s bedtime here, you’re just waking up that morning wherever you are. So we have a few days to get our legs under us here in Jakarta (did you catch that? I said “here”, not “there”. Crazy!). Jack still has a fever and hasn’t kept his food down the last few meals, so we are going to have to take it slow with him and let him drink as much milk as he will. I am sure he’ll adjust soon, but please pray with us that he can feel better sooner than later. Sunday we fly to Manado, Sulawesi. We’ll be there till Thursday and then on to our new home! For those of you who are wondering where all these places are, I am going to attach a map with some locaters on it so you can get an idea of the places we’re talking about.

Also, for those of you who want more detail than these emails give, check out our blog site (web site) at We will be updating it as often as possible.

Thanks for praying! We are relying on God for the strength we need and are so confident He’ll supply!

All our love,

The Potters in Indonesia

Monday, April 17, 2006

Indonesia or Bust!

Dear Friends,

Well today is the day. We leave for the airport this afternoon at 2:30 and our flight leaves at 4:30. It is hard to believe this time has finally arrived. We have waited for so long and now God is saying “GO!”. The plan today is to eat lunch, load the truck and car for the airport and then meet our friends there to say goodbye. We are all pretty anxious to get going but are weary to say goodbye. It has been an emotional few days but God is faithful to give us what we need to make it through this.

Please pray as we travel that there will be great safety and especially that Jack and I (Bethany) don’t get airsick as we are prone to do. We’ll be sending updates along the way, so stay tuned for the adventures of Joel, Bethany and Jack Potter as we pursue Christ, His Work and good coffee!!!

Oh, and for those who’re brave enough to attempt sending real mail to us, you’ll find our address at the end of the email.

All our love and gratitude,

Joel and Bethany Potter and Jack too!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

They're in the mail!

We talked with the guy at the consulate today and he said he mailed our passports this morning! We hope to get them tomorrow.

Today our room looks like we're ready to go and we're taking 1 more load to storage. Then we hope to final pack our totes and suitcases and take a day to rest tomorrow.

3 days and counting!!!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Provision after Provision afer Provision

We have such good news today. No, our passports still aren't here but we're still hopeful. The good news I 'm talking about is how God is providing financially for us.
Since our sending service, God has used his people to provide several large gifts for our moving expenses and such! I won't tell just how much, but suffice it to say that we can cover our tickets and excess baggage fees and will help with our set up expenses when we arrive to our house. Thanks for praying for us as we trust the Lord to meet our needs. He is so faithful!
Joel spoke one last time tonight at church and there was a special time of prayer for us individually afterward. Once again, I ended up in tears as I heard my dear friends praying for me. One of my friends prayed who is also preparing for full time service in missions. It was a special time for me, a time I won't soon forget.
Goodnight for now and as Edward R. Murrow would say "Goodnight and goodluck". Well, maybe not luck...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

6 days and counting - "Trust"

Dear Friends,

So much has happened since we last wrote that I hardly know where to begin. When we last wrote, I shared the good news that we had been given the go ahead to buy our tickets and apply for our visas. We have done that and are scheduled to leave next Monday, April 17. We are finishing up the last of the packing and are doing a lot of “getting together” with people to say our goodbyes. Our visas should arrive in our passports today or tomorrow. Let me back up though just a little.

We purchased our tickets on the Thursday following our commissioning service and were so excited to be able to finally do that! The following day, I Bethany, went with my dad to his doctor’s apt. He has been having some problems for some time in the area of memory, social behavior, and cognitive abilities. It was apparent that something was wrong, but we were all at a loss as to what it was specifically. Dad had been seeing this doctor and others for some time but we were getting no answers, just lots of medicines and changes in medicine. I asked that I be allowed to go with him to talk to the doctor this time and am so glad I did. I’ll spare the length of the details and tell you that the preliminary diagnosis we received was that my dad is suffering from deteriorating brain tissue. Our guess from the research we have done is that this is basically dementia or an early onset of it. My dad is only 62 and we figure this has been progressing for the last four years. He doesn’t completely understand what is happening to him but has handled the news pretty well. He is no longer able to drive or cook and is now working only 3 days a week. Thankfully, his employer of almost 20 years has been very gracious and has continued to employ him. This was a very hard thing for all of us to hear and we have all been going through some grieving. My mom is a strong woman of faith in our great God and is trusting Him to help her through this. Joel and I have done everything within our power to help her these past few weeks and are trying to get a 2nd opinion right now. Please pray for my parents as they face this very scary time. God is able to provide for their every need and we can trust Him. Please also pray for Joel and I as we leave next week. It’s very hard to know that I won’t be here to help but we believe God’s timing in all this is perfect, even though it’s hard for us to understand. We will continue to obey his leading in our lives and the strength and courage we all need will be provided through the Holy Spirit!

Several people have written lately and asked about our health situations. My surgery was very successful and I have been feeling great ever since. I am healing nicely and have my final checkup with the surgeon is tomorrow. Joel had his blood tested again the other day and everything came back normal this time. Thanks for praying for us in these things. God is taking care of us and is teaching us more about faith in Him each day.

Jack has also had some health issues. He just got over pink eye and is now fighting a sinus infection. Would you pray that we are all healthy before Monday so that as we fly for more than 24 hours, we won’t have sickness to deal with?

I am attaching a picture of the house we will be living in for our time of language study. It was still being finished up when this photo was taken and now has grass in the yard. We are so excited to settle in there but it will still be at least 2 weeks before that happens. Following is a general schedule of our lives the next 2-3 weeks…

Mon. 4/17 – depart Springfield for Indonesia (we will have layovers in 3 cities before arriving in Jakarta on the 19th – 12 time zones later!)

  • 4/19 – 4/22 or so – adjust to jetlag and meet our field leadership in Jakarta
  • 4/22 – 4/26 or so – register our visas in Manado, Sulawesi (another island)
  • 4/27 ish – arrive in Salatiga, Java and settle into our home for approx. 2 years of language study

Please pray for us as we travel and adjust to the opposite time zone and culture. We were reminded on Sunday that God is always with us and always “shows up” in our times of need. Also, our support level is still at about 85% and along with trusting God to provide the rest of our recommended support, we are trusting him to provide for our one time moving and set up expenses.

I guess that’s it for now. Yet another lengthy email but we do appreciate that you’ve read it and will pray for us!