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
Together Posted by Picasa
The Keris Posted by Picasa
The Bride Waiting Posted by Picasa
The Brides Party Posted by Picasa
The Brides Procession Posted by Picasa

The Wedding

Around 8am Sunday morning we (Jack included) walked down the street to Pak Gandung’s parent’s house. Already, there were many people there talking and eating breakfast. Their breakfast however is a bit different than ours. They were serving rice, baked chicken, vegetables with Sambal (their hot sauce), boiled eggs and assorted fruit. Not exactly what we are used to eating first thing in the morning but we tried a bit, so as to be polite, afterall, this was a very special occasion. Once everyone was finished eating, 3 taxi vans came and everyone loaded in for the 45 minute ride to the town of Boyolali. This would be our first outing with all Indonesians!! I was a bit nervous!

When we arrived at the place where the wedding would be held, there were large canopy’s covering the road and “yards” of several houses. I put yards in quotation marks because they are really just dirt. There were already about 250 people there sitting on plastic chairs that had been rented for the occasion. Scattered throughout the groups of chairs were tables with glasses of hot tea on them and boxes of snack foods to be handed out later to the guests. Here when you hold a meeting or event, food is always a part and not just at the end; all throughout the meeting! Joel walked in with one of the men from our kampung (neighborhood) and I with a lady and we each sat in our respective places; men with men, women with women. Jack joined the women and children of course! All together, we have estimated that around 300 people were there.

And there were more people arriving all throughout the wedding. Rubber time is a favored idiom here! While we waited, there was a semi-tradition Javanese band playing music. The style is called Krocangan. It’s similer to Gemelan which is the style of music that Indonesia is world-renowned for. While Gemelan has a large, many pieced orchestra, the music here was primarally played on a keyboard with several smaller drums accompanying it. Different and pretty cool.

After about 45 minutes of waiting, the procession, led by the brides father and mother, came out. The bride was accompanied by about 6 attendants as well as two little girls who I think were holding small fans. Very royal. The whole ceremony was patterned after the traditional Javanese wedding which comes from the old Kingdoms of Java. Check out Java on Wikipedia for more info.

Soon, the groom's procession came out and he was also accompanied by 4-6 attendants, all of whom wore the mystical Keris (pronounced Krees), a short sword that supposedly holds some magical qualities.

The bride came from where she was seated on the stage to meet the groom and some more ceremonial exchanges took place. One thing of note is that the bride washes the grooms feet in water covered with flower petals.

After that, both bride and groom were led to the ‘throne’ by the brides father. There was music all this time as well as prayers in I think both Indonesian and arabic from the Islamic Holy book prayed by the local Imams (Islamic Priests who lead in the mosques).

After that, the bride and groom together ‘paid homage’ to both sets of parents, and then fed each other as well as gave tea to each other. All while not saying a word to each other and while on display for the whole audience to see.

Oh and also all of the guests got to eat a full mean as well while all this was happening!

After a bit another ‘character’ appeared. He was a middle 20’s aged guy dressed maybe like an old Indonesian military officer, like from the 1800s. He played the role of a jester and danced an elegant Javanese style dance and led the bride and groom away but only to lead them back to the stage after the whole wedding party changed clothes. After returning, he danced a bit more and dismissed all of the attendants starting with the male guards and then the female attendants, but not without a healthy dose of flirting with the female attendants.

After that was the ceremony was done and when we walked out from under the tents, we really felt like we had just spent 4 hours back 150 years in old colonial Indonesia. It was the most interesting cultural thing we had ever seen.

Oh and for those of you who notice from the pictures, tell me that George Lucas wasn’t inspired by Javanese culture when he created Queen Amidala in the first 3 Starwars movies.
Green Sulawesi Utara Posted by Picasa
Roasted Kopi Jawa Posted by Picasa
Roasted Sulawesi Utara Posted by Picasa
ready to be ground Posted by Picasa

Cup Tasting #1

The final product was finally tasted last week and today. When I learned from a friend the basics of coffee roasting, we tried it with both the beans from the backyard of our house as well as with some better quality beans from Sulawesi.

First of all, I have to say that it was very fun to finally roast my own coffee. Watching the beans get darker as they passed through each stage and finally when they cracked open slightly and the oil reached the outside. I couldn't believe it, I had roasted my own coffee and the beans looked like what I get when I open up an 8oz from Starbucks.

'It Worked!'

So, the coffee from my yard, when it was ground, had a sweet smell to it, nice. When brewed, it also has some sweet notes to it, but it lacked the punch that I expected. Not bad for a first attempt though. I can always roast a bit darker.

Today I ground some of the lighter roasted Sulawesi Utara. It's aroma after grinding wasn't as strong as the Javenese that I grew here, but the flavor was far better. I really enjoyed it. It still had some sweet notes, but it had a good rounded flavor from the get-go. It's a good coffee to drink quickly. Some coffees taste better after they've sat for about 7-10 minutes but this one's 'bouquet' of flavor blooms right away. It was good!

So, there's my notes after my first 'cupping', thanks for all the interest and questions I got on this subject. I'll hopefully get many more opportunities to try my hand at roasting. Makes you want to join us here doesn't it ;-)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We're back!

Sorry it has been so long since we published a post. Time got away but we are now back in the information loop. If you are trying to catch up from where we left off, may I suggest that you read this blog from the bottom up. The photos are in order from bottom to top. Sorry if it's a bit confusing! Enjoy reading and looking! We'd love to hear from you. Oh and hopefully I'll add some more tomorrow.
Good night from here and Good morning to you there!

Our Pembantus

I thought it would be fun for you all to see a photo of our Pembantus (house helpers). THe one in the patterned shirt is Ibu Sumini. She is our cook and house keeper. She is the quieter of the two but is such a sweet lady and wonderful helper to us! The one in the light shirt is Ibu Nur and she mainly takes care of Jack while we are at school but she also helps Ibu Sumini with things too! They work for us from 7:30am until 1:30pm and I can't imagine what we would do without them! Posted by Picasa
Then what you have left are the beans! You do this over and over until all the beans have been removed! All that is left is to roast them and brew them! Stay tuned for the final results of Joel's first attempt at growing and roasting his own coffee! Posted by Picasa
...tossed in the air like removing the chaff from the wheat! Posted by Picasa
The beans are then placed in a shallow basket and... Posted by Picasa
When you have a good bit of separation, you can then remove them and separate them. Posted by Picasa
Then pound this very heavy post into the hole and this de-husks the coffee from the berry. Posted by Picasa

The Coffee Roasting Process - part 2

First put the dried beans in the concrete block Posted by Picasa

An update on Jack

Thank you for praying for Jack! He recovered after a few days of fevers and feeling miserable and is now back to his ornery self! He is beginning to really enjoy being read to and he loves watching his little videos! Funny story! Joel was out in town one day picking up a few things and noticed that one of the stores we regularly shop in had dvd's. So he decided to buy a few for Jack - Dora and Thomas the train! He was so excited to bring them home and he got a great deal! So we opened them up, sat down to watch and ... were surprised to hear....Indonesian dubbed over the voices. Oops! Maybe next time we'll look more closely at the packaging. Now Jack has 2 videos to help him learn Indonesian and well, I guess if we want to, it's a good tool for us too! Who'd of thought we could learn this language while watching Dora and Thomas!
Weeeeee! He loves to slide! Posted by Picasa
Jack's early Christmas present from the family! Posted by Picasa
Jack's new rocking horse! Posted by Picasa
Jack on the porch with our neighbor boy, Samsul - An afternoon of play! Posted by Picasa
Our silly little man! Posted by Picasa

Independance Day - Indonesian style!

These past few weeks have been a whir of activity here in our little neighborhood, well actually all over Indonesia. Indepenance Day is coming up on the 17th but these people are seious when it comes to having parties for things. Two weekends ago was the kickoff here with games on Saturay for the little kids and then on Sunday games for the ladies and men. Sunday's activities started earlier than we thought and so we missed the biggest of the events – the greased banana tree climb. The day before, several men came to our yard asking to cut down one of our many banana trees and then carried it away to a nearby empty lot. That day, Saturday, they worked on trimming it down to where it was just the under layer of "skin". It's very slick once you remove the outer layers. They then put a ring around the top and hung prizes from it and then hung it (upside down) over an open pit that would later be filled with muddy water.
So then Sunday morning the fun began. There were several teams each having three men on them. They could use any means necessary to get one of their team up the pole to the top to get one of several prizes! Not something I want to ever try nor do I want Joel to try it!
One of our co-workers here also lives in our neighborhood and was participating in the contest. Tim, is a bit more broad shouldered than the average Indonesian man and so he was put at the base for his team. As the game continued, new strategies were put into place. The bottom man was to push the stalk over so it would be at more of an angle, helping the guys make their way up further. Unfortunately, as Tim was able to, he swung the stalk over to the bare ground and the middle guy, unable to readjust his grasp, slipped and fell right onto the middle of his back from about 10 feet high.
Narno, the guy who fell is now in the hospital with a dislocated backbone. Thankfully it was not broken. Because our neighborhood is like one big family, they are all very involved in what happens in the lives of one of their neighbors. So, the whole neighborhood is taking turns staying with this man at the hospital. Tim has been able to go to the hospital now several times, each with his car loaded with neighbors, to visit Narno. It's been hard on Tim as he feels more responsible as it was “his doing” but the neighbors are not feeling this way and keep telling us all that we are all in this together and that it was their game.
We have been praying for Narno that he would heal quickly and recover the use of his legs again. He is of the other religion but has asked Tim several times to pray for him. This is definitely not something anyone would ever wish for, but we do know that God will use times like this to bring people to the realization of their need for Him. We are praying now for open doors to share about the hope we have. Please pray for Narno and his family as they face a long recovery, he is still in the hospital.

Please pray with us for close ties with our neighbors as we work together in this situation. Pray also that our light will shine brightly and they will see the love and compassion of Jesus Christ in our lives.
The kids all decorate their bikes for a contest! They were actually pretty creative! Posted by Picasa
This is the final look at the tree before the contest began. Except that they grease it up with car oil! Anyone up for a try? Posted by Picasa