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