Saturday, December 29, 2007

We're here

Hello from a familiar place!

 

We made it back to our 'old' town. After an early flight on Thursday morning, we arrived safe and sound along with all our baggage, always excess baggage in our case. We arrived to a very pleasant 3 bedroom house that has a really nice and enclosed yard with super soft grass. It'll be a great place to spend the next 6 months or so in langauge study.

 

We're really blessed to have lived in two very nice houses here while we're been studying language. We don't take that for granted when you live this far away.

 

It's been fun to connect with some old friends and some new ones, families who are new here and studying langauge as well. Who knows, some of them could be partners one day with us. We've also had great chances to use our Indonesian in a place that's very familiar. I, Joel, already see an improvement in my language.

 

This won't be a long update, you've had enough of those lately. We'll be spending the next week settling into our house and unpacking and then, I, Joel will start formal langauge study at the language school on Monday the 7th of January.

 

Please keep praying for us, we're gonna be settling in and transitioning back to students again. Our support is also needing to increase as we've got quite a few new needs here.

 

Thank You for standing by us during such an up and down time in our lives! Keep us before the Lord!

 

Joel for the Potters

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Week Till Christmas

What's it look like outside where you are, a week till Christmas.

 

We longingly hear tales about snow from several of you lately…

 

Outside here in Jakarta, it's often times rainy, but we've got our share of holiday ambiance. A tree decorated with ornaments that we've collected for the last four Christmas', yummy smelling candles, plenty of Frank Sinatra Christmas songs and some fun packages under our tree. Surprisingly so, for the worlds largest Muslim nation, there are still plenty of signs of Christmas' impending arrival. We've had the chacne to visit the local malls, (read monstrosities, gigantic modern malls) and they're totally decked out. We can even walk into one of the few Gap stores in the country and totally forget that we're on the other side of the workd from where the Gap was started. The stores even only sell the same winter weather clothes that you can find in your mall. Surprisingly enough. But the real kicker and 'helper' is the Peppermint Mocha's from our Starbucks!!!

 

So, besides all that how are we?

 

I had a productive trip to Papua and back and was able to close up our house there and sort through and then pack things to both ship to Java and also to store there in Papua till we really know what we're doing next. It was a lonely couple of days given our current circumstances, but I was able to get things done som much quicker than if our whole family had returned.

 

While I was gone, Bethany went to the Dr. twice concerning the boys. The good news is that Owen isn't showing any more signs of malaria or it's residual effects. He's till having some stomach issues. Jack's stomach really seems to have calmed down. His persistant several times a day problem with diarrhea seems to really have lessoned. But we're still going to have the boys see a Pediatric GI (Gastroenterologist) next Saturday to get their opinion of what might be causing the symptoms.

 

I think that Bethany and I have both been able to get some much needed rest as well and that helps things as well.

 

So, what's next for us. Our team in Salatiga, the town where we intitally studied langauge has already found a house that will be ready for us to move into with minimal preparation. So on the 29th of December we'll tentatively plan on flying to Salatiga. We'll have several days to move in and then I'll start language study on the 7th. At the stage of language study that we'll be at, I'll be in class for 2 hours a day followed by several hours of homework and talking with neighbors and friends in Indonesian. That will allow some flexibility during our initial time of settling in again. Bethany is planning on waiting a month to start.

 

We anticipate 6-8 more months of study to really get to the recommended proficiency but we hope to be in a place at the end of that time, where we can really evaluate where the Lord would lead us to serve. There are quite a few options that will most likely need filling and having some 'un-pressured' time to explore, ask questions, perhaps visit areas in person, and dialogue with our leadership will be really healthy for us. in hindsight, we really feel like we should of have done much more of those fore-mentioned activities prior to arriving in Papua.

 

That's us right now, and we're so grateful for your prayers and support right now. Honestly, if it weren't for your petitioning before our God on our behalf, there's a really high chance that we might have given up by now.

 

Please keep us in prayer as we make another transition to another area in Indonesia, for the boys and Bethany especially as they've had the most stress lately.

 

We also need prayer for the ability to stepback into the language student role. We're getting to the age where we're ready to kiss the classroom goodbye, but we'll be needng diligence!

 

We're also anticipating the need for increased financial support as we transition and hopefully begin to look towards the future. Please ask the Lord to provide what we need.

 

That's it for now, enjoy this week before Christmas to the fullest possible!!!

 

Joel for the Potters

 

 

 

 

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A plan for now

We got word that there is a house available for us in Salatiga to move into the first few days of January. Classes will begin on the 7th for Joel and Bethany will wait till the next month to begin language study again.  So for now, we'll stay in Jakarta, celebrate Christmas here (the guest house keepers will be on another island celebrating Christmas interior with the tribal group they used to work in so we'll have the house to ourselves), and then either fly or take the train to Salatiga a week or so later. 

 

Joel is making progress packing up our house in Papua.  It's a big job for him to do alone so keep praying he'll be able to get it done by Wednesday.  Thursday the GH keepers leave and that would leave me here alone with the boys till Joel got back. 

Saturday, December 08, 2007

News on Owen

Wow is all I can think to say.  Thank you for praying for our little guy.  In the three days since his last appointment, his liver and spleen have both returned to normal size.  When the doctor examined him she said she thought they were not enlarged at all but we had an ultrasound done just to be sure as it is more objective.  And yes, they were truly both back to normal.  We went ahead and had some more blood work done to make sure his levels returned to normal, especially for the anemia and we'll know on Wednesday about those tests.  She also tested liver function and we'll know that too on Wednesday.  Although this is good news, we are still baffled as to why he is still throwing up so much.  He never really spat up before he got malaria and since then it hasn't stopped.  So continue to pray that we can either see the vomitting stop all together or that we can figure out what is causing it. 

 

The next step now is to get Jack into see a doctor to see if we can figure out what's going on with him.  Joel will be back by Wednesday so maybe we can get Jack in to see the doctor when we take Owen back to see the doctor.  The hospital we went to was very nice and the doctors we spoke with both seemed to know their stuff so that was an answer to prayer! 

 

Joel hasn't called yet from Papua, but I expect a call soon letting me know he arrived there safely.  Please pray for him as he packs everything up and decides what stays there to store, what comes here to Jakarta for the time being, what goes to Salatiga for the next 6 months or so and what to sell.  Lots of decisions to make and only a short time to do it all in!

 

Thanks for upholding our family in your prayers.  We can physically see the results of your prayers and we certainly are feeling them.  Thanks too for those who have written to encourage us.  We know we are not alone and that is so comforting!

 

Bethany

Friday, December 07, 2007

Joel left for Papua early this morning and will arrive there later this afternoon.  Rosie, the lady who runs the guest house here is going with me and Owen this morning to see the next doctor.  Please pray that he will be a comptent doctor and that we can get some possible diagnosis and what tests need to be done to find out what's wrong.  Please pray that he will have a good command of English and if not, that we will be able understand his Indonesian well.  Jack will be staying home with "Uncle Bill" so also pray that he'll be a good boy and have a good time!  We were also able to consult a pediatrician back in Joel's home area of Florida and he gave us some good direction as well.  One of the tests he recommended though, we would want to have done in Singapore, not here so please pray for wisdom for us to know if we should do that test or not.  We know God created our little guys and knows what we are facing.  I was so encouraged this morning in the Psalms that God will go before us in each thing.  That means that he is not only with us but he's not caught off guard by any of our circumstances because he got there before we did! 

 

We'll keep you posted.

 

Bethany

Thursday, December 06, 2007

what's been encouraging lately

This morning, the 7th of Dec. I wanted to add some of what has been encouraging from God's word to us lately. Two people in my family have shared some scripture with us these last few days and the Psams that they shared.

 

My dad pointed out Psalm 27:13,14

 

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD Be strong, and let your heart take courage, Yes wait for the LORD.

 

I was especially encouraged by the idea that the writer, I think was communicating that God wouldn't let him go for a indefinite period of time without showing His goodness. That doesn't necessarily mean that God worked everything out asap for him, but that God's goodness would still be seen. And because of that, the author had the ability to wait. Strangely or maybe not so strangely, I was reminded of an old classic Maranatha praise song from the Praise 3 album from back in 1976 called We Must Wait (On the Lord). Somewhere in those happy gliding flute notes and other classic goodness that I love so much, I'm encouraged to wait on the Lord.

 

The other Psalm that my sister, my incredible sister, pointed out was Psalm 143. I'm gonna just write what especially stuck out to me as a whole passage. Hopefully I won't be totally tearing the meaning out of context.

 

Hear my prayer, O Lord,

Give ear to my supplications!

Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!

For the enemy has persecuted my soul;

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;

I remember the days of old;

I meditate on all Your doings;

I muse on the work of Your hands.

I stretch out myhands to You;

My soul longs for You, as a parched land.

Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning

For I trust You;

Teach me the way in which I should walk;

Teach me to do Your will.

For You are my God;

Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me.

In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.

 

These two parts of scripture are awesome and so encouraging right now. Thanks Pop and Rebekah for pointing me to these! They'll be pondered for quite a bit.

 

changes

Ok so we alluded to some things going on in our lives and we are now ready to share that here.

 

Bethany and I have, for the last four years, looked at living and ministering in the Guest House ministry in the region of Papua, Indonesia. That's quite a bit of time to look forward to something. In those 4 years though, we have recently realized, how little information we sought out ahead of time as to the area and what it would be like to both live and work there. We just assumed that support work was support work and looked the same and took the same as in any area or ministry. That was a wrong assumption. We never took the time to visit the region ahead of time either.

 

The last three months of our lives in Papua have been tough and thorugh it all, we've realized, along with leadership that right now in the present conditions, our family is not the right fit for that ministry. It's a tough admittance on our part, but we believe that we're making the right choice right now in stepping out of that ministry.

 

In the mean time, we'll be returning to Salatiga to complete our un-finished langauge study and to really evaluate where the Lord would open the doors for us to serve next. We're still convinced that the best place for us to serve is here in Indonesia and until we're convinced by Him otherwise, this is where we'll serve. We just want to make sober-minded and temperate choices taking into consideration all the valid factors when we get ready to move into the next place.

 

Guys, this is not an easy update to write. We often feel like we just "couldn't hack it" in Papua, but we know that's not the case. We believe that God can empower anyone to serve in any capacity anywhere for a time, and at the same time, we also believe that He wants us to make wise choices and use our gifts and abilities and even backgrounds in the best fit that He provides. Because of that, we know that there will be needs that we can fulfill here in Indonesia and we're going to be seeking out what those are.

 

In the mean time, we're resting here in Jakarta and awaiting further information on Owen's health. We REALLY need your prayers as we transition into and from such an enexpected situation.

 

Let's all keep intelligiently Serving our God!

 

Joel for the Potters

 

Today's (12/6/2007) Medical Update

We found out that Owen definitely does not have Malaria anymore, which is a good thing. But, he’s got anemia as well as the enlarged liver and spleen that we already mentioned. The blood testing did show some higher and lower than normal levels in some areas, so we’re gonna proceed by seeing a Pediatric Hematologist. There’s one at a hospital closer to our location here In Jakarta and Bethany will be seeing him on Saturday morning, the 8th. We feel confident that we have enough direction to proceed to this next step with this new doctor and Lord-willing we’ll get some good information on what else could be wrong inside of Owen. We’ll be asking for a lot of information on several possible diagnosis and tests to confirm or negate those diagnosis and from there, we’ll take the next step, whatever that may be.

 

We’re so thankful for Bill and Rosie Cork, the guest house keepers here in Jakarta. They’ve been a big help and this Saturday when we have this next appt. I’ll actually be on my way to Papua for a few days. So Rosie is gonna go along and accompany Bethany for probably moral and language support and Bill will keep an eye on Jack here in guest house. It’s reassuring to me that we can do all of that while I’ll be gone!

 

Please be praying for us these next few days. For Owen, that we’ll be able to determine what to do next and get clear direction even here in a foreign country and langauge. For me as I’ll have a lot to do in the few days that I’ll be in Papua. I’ll be packing up our house and in general wrapping up a lot of details there. It’ll be hard to be away from the family but more productive as I can work a long longer by myself.

 

Please also be asking the Lord for some special provision financially right now. All of these un-expected travel plans and moving expenses will start to add up soon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Update on the boys

We were able to get to see a pediatrician today for the boys and we are so glad we did.  So here's what we know…

 

Owen's spleen and liver are both enlarged.  This could be caused if malaria is still in his system.  He's been treated twice for it, but it is possible that the malaria is resistant to the medicines we tried.  So we had his blood retested today (5 different tests in all) to see if in fact he still has malaria.  If he does and it's the same as before, then the doctor we saw knows another doctor who specializes in malaria who can possibly help us know how to treat it.  Hopefully there is another medicine out there that can be tried.  If it's the other kind of malaria present in Papua, then we will need to test Owen to see if he can take the medicine used to treat it (he could have a disorder that prohibits his body from using that medicine) and if he can, we will go that route.  The other side of the coin is, if he does not have malaria then we have something else entirely wrong because something is causing his liver and spleen to be enlarged.  We will then return to the doctor we saw today and proceed to have Owen tested to see what is causing this.  Our American doctor in Papua feels like this hospital we were at and this doctor will be able to help us pursue the other tests if we need him to. The only glitch is that although he speaks pretty good English, communicating about medical things is a bit difficult.  If we don't feel like we can understand him, then we can go to Singapore where English is readily spoken and there is excellent medical care available with all kinds of specialists.

 

Now Jack.  The doctor also recommended that we see a nutritionist doctor friend who actually is close to where we are staying to see if he can help us figure out if Jack has an allergy or if we should see about getting some more in depth tests done to see if he has a fungal infection or parasite that is elluding us. 

 

we hope to have the results of Owen's blood test back today and when we know something, we'll post it here.  Please keep praying for us through all this.  We are spent in so many ways and feeling very much at our end.  There are several other things going on in the background that have drained us mentally and emotionally. Maybe we'll elaborate on that another time.  Please pray for our faith as it is certainly being tested and refined right now.  We are clinging to each other and God right now.

 

Bethany

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Little Update

Hi All,

 

This is just a little update to say that we're in the capital city of Jakarta for a little while. We made the decision to get away for a little break and also to hopefully get our boys checked out by a pediatrician and possibly an allergist as well. Both boys have still been showing some symptoms for quite a while and Jakarta is the best place in the country for them to get checked out.

 

We'll be here for at least a week and maybe up to two. Be praying that we can genuinely get some rest and relaxation and maybe get some answers on the boys heath.

 

We'll keep you updated as we're here,

 

Joel

 

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday

It's Sunday night here and we're heading to bed but before we do, I just wanted to ask you to keep praying for the boys and us as we enter the new week.  Owen finished his malaria medicine yesterday but is still showing signs of not feeling well.  We need to give it a day or two to see if it's just the medicine still in his body or if something else is wrong.  He's still on the antibiotic for his ears and throat.  Jack is on the medicine for parasites but is still having diarrhea pretty often so we're baffled. I know it takes time for the medicine to work but we had hoped to see some improvement.  I know this is all that we seem to be talking about but it weighs heavily on our hearts, so please keep praying for them.

 

We will be attempting to implement some changes into our daily routine starting tomorrow and would love to see some light at the end of the tunnel in that area.  So far, we feel like we're in a pinball machine bouncing from one thing to another without any clear plan.  We are not geared that way and so we are desperate for some sense of normalcy to set in.  Pray for us to have wisdom and clarity of thought as we attempt to live by a schedule in a place that is not so routine.

 

Also, Joel seems to be coming down with some sort of cold or something. He's sneezed like 1000 times today already and is leary of getting sick right now.  Not htat there is ever a good time for it but right now, especially it seems ill-timed (no pun intended J)!

 

Good night from this side of the world!

Bethany

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jack

Ok now for what's happening with Jack.  The dr. thought that even after the blood tests we had done in the states and here last year that perhaps it didn't show a parasite that is extra hearty.  So he's treating him again for it but this time for 2 weeks instead of one.  We'll see after that if he improves. The dr. thought that this could be what is the problem and said that maybe after all is said and done we can see if it wasn't a milk allergy at all but this pesky parasite.  We're hopeful with it but not certain.  Certainly confused by it all. 

 

We also have more info on Owen.  Turns out on top of the malaria he has swollen tonsils and a very red ear.  So we're adding one more medicine that will help with that and it also (by chance) will help with the malaria AND it's liquid so the malaria medicine that is tablet can be crushed and added to it so he'll take it better and not in his bottle which he wouldn't take with the medicine in it.  Did you follow that?  Yeah me neither.  Basically we still need to give him the malaria medicine but now this anitbiotic too and hopefully his appetite will improve and he'll start eating again. 

 

Please, keep praying for us.  This week has been the hardest of our lives and these months so trying.  To know that you are praying for us is such an encouragement.  Thanks for the notes too!

 

Bethany

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Owen

This morning we are taking Owen back to the clinic here to see the doctor. I can't get him to take his medicine as he's not interested in eating or drinking.  Please pray for us right now as we are facing discouragement on many fronts.  I, as a mom, am at my whits end with this and am honestly a bit scared.  I still know Owen is in God's hands but on a human level I see him sick and my  heart hurts.  Please pray for his healing and if that's not what God wants right now, that the Dr would know how to help him.  Thank you!

 

Bethany

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Owen

We got word last night that Owen still does have Malaria.  Apparently the first round of medicines didn't erradicate it completely so we are trying a second kind, which is more powerful and the nurse says she's never known it to not work.  So we are hopeful that he will be getting better soon.  The medicine he is taking has some potentially uncomfortable side effects so please pray that Owen is not affected by them.  He's already had a rough couple of weeks and we just want to see him get well. 

 

Jack is still having diahrreah and we are baffled by what is causing it.  We did find out that there are a couple of doctors here for a few days from the states and the nurse felt that Jack was in need of being examined by them.  We have an appt. for 4:30 this afternoon, our time (3:30am at home). Please pray that he is cooperative for them.  He's at a difficult age to be examined.  Please also pray that we can get some answers as to how to help Jack. 

 

Honestly these two little guys are weighing heavy on us right now. It's difficult to concentrate on other things knowing they are both sick.  Living here is hard enough without having your children sick too.  We desperately need your prayers right now to get through each day.  This job is so beyond us and our abilities.  We are begging God for supernatural strength every day.

 

Thanks for your prayers.

 

Bethany

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Owen and other things

Just an update on Owen.  Thanks for praying for him. I'd say overall he is doing better but he's still throwing up every afternoon.  He is done with the medicine and didn't seem to have any side effects from it so we are thankful for that.  If he continues to throw up tomorrow, we'll call the nurse again and see what she says to do.  

 

Jack's eye cleared up quickly and his tummy issues seem to be leveling out.  The milk allergy seems to be our worst giant right now.  I forgot and fried an egg in margarine yesterday and today, he has diarrhea again.  It's so hard to remember little things like that! 

 

The power was out almost all day today – from 9 am to 5 pm.  We ended up at the guest house where the generator was on for most of the day. We are so thankful there is a generator there!  Joel worked at our house, hooking up a generator that we are borrowing, for the majority of the day.  It was a hard day for him as the wiring in our house is pretty screwed up and so it melted the original switch he hooked it up to. It seems that it takes two times to get things to work right.  So far, with anything we've tried, we can't get things to work the first time.  By the time 5pm rolled around, he got it all figured out and we had power for about 15 minutes before the power came back on.  We'll take 15 minutes over none!

 

An NTM family that has just returned  to Papua from their furlough is staying at the guest house this month.  They and their partners are relocating villages in the tribe they work in so the mom and four boys will be here while the dad goes out to build their house in the new village.  Jack is loving having the boys here – ages 9-3.  Today they played with lincoln logs for like 3 hours!  Jack was in his element!

 

My days lately have been full of baking, cooking, and grocery shopping twice  a week.  I make Jack's bread each week since the bread we can buy here has milk in it, then Owen's baby food, French bread for the guest house meals, granola, yogurt, salsa, etc.  Well as you can see, I'm keeping busy. 

 

We sure miss home this holiday time.  The wallpaper on our computer is fall leaves and we have a pumpkin on the table to make it feel like it's not 100* outside and 85* inside! We can imagine, right?

 

Ok that's all for now!  Thanks for keeping up with us!

 

bethany

 

 

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lilli

Thanks for praying for Lilli.  We got word today that she does have a 3 cm growth on her brain at the base on the right side (behind her ear).  They don't know yet if it is a tumor or a cyst or just what it is.  The family is from Germany and so they are making the decision about where to seek treatment for Lilli, either there in Australia, where she is now or back home in Germany. There are so many things to consider right now for their family. Please pray for them as they seek God in this.  It is surely quite scary to have your 6 year old facing such trying medical issues.  They are all doing well despite this and God is enabling them each step of  the way.  Their names are Ortwin and Regina and the kids are Valentina, Tim, Jasmin, and Lilli.  They and we appreciate your prayers.  It's been an emotional week for them.

 

Bethany

Sunday, November 04, 2007

success!

Ok the small things as a parent can sometimes be big things.  Today Jack went to bed without his pacifier and without a fit for the first time!  Yahoo!  We have had a hard time taking it away with all the changes the poor kid has had in his life. It seemed there just wasn’t a good time till now. He is finally settled in to life here and so last night was the first try.  He did go to sleep eventually but not before letting us know he didn’t like it!  Then today at nap time, it took a good hour and a half for him to stop talking long enough to fall asleep. I suppose since he didn’t have his “plug” to silence his chatter, he felt the need to get it out!  Finally at 2pm he dozed off to sleep.  Then tonight, Joel put him to bed, he asked for it once and then not a peep!  Yahoo!  We were so pleasantly surprised after expecting another battle.  Whew that was easier than we thought!  Now for potty training….  I dread this!  Again for the same reason, we’ve put it off but I believe the time is approaching and my goal is to have this poor kid on track before he turns 3! I know this seems silly to post on the blog, but really with the life he’s had for these 2 ½ years, these tasks aren’t easy.  We need prayer, even for something as silly as potty training!  So thanks for doing that!  Good night from a quiet Potter house!

 

Bethany

Friday, November 02, 2007

answers

Well, we have an answer as to why Owen isn't feeling like himself these days.  He has Tropical Malaria.  Now don't freak out,  I did that already and trust me, it doesn't help.  He will be fine, I am assured by our very capable medical personnel here.  We have caught it early and so with some medication and time, he'll be back to himself.  It's been a tough few days as we waited to find out for sure, but 3 blood slides later, we have our answer.  A less than ideal answer is better than no answer at all, so we will thank the Lord that He has showed us what is wrong and now we know how to treat it.  Please pray for Owen that he'll respond well to the medicines and that he'll continue to be a trooper through it all.   Pray for Mama too. It's so hard to see my little guy not feeling well and to know that despite our strong efforts to avoid this, he still contracted this yucky sickness.  What is reassuring though is that Owen is in God's capable hands and I trust Him with my little boy.  Thanks for praying!

 

Bethany

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Prayer Request

One of our families that works interior is out in town for a few weeks.  They have four children and this morning, the youngest (Lilly) began having seizures.  She has had them one time earlier this year but today seems to be much more severe so that she became unconscious.  They aren't sure why she is having these seizures. Please pray for their family to have wisdom, peace and that God would heal Lilly.  She is 6 or 7 years old.

 

Bethany 

Owen and Jack

Well, we haven't heard for sure what is causing Owen to be sick.  Hopefully we'll know something tomorrow.  In the meantime, your prayers are certainly being heard and we are doing well.  He seems to improve in the mornings and then not so good in the afternoons.  We have a few suspicions but won't post those just yet.  Thanks for praying. 

 

Jack is already doing better on all counts.  As we find out more about milk allergies, we are more baffled as to how to keep him away from milk – it's in EVERYTHING!!!  We have been able to get him soy milk that is pure soy milk so that is helpful.  The medicine for both the giardia and pink eye are working so that is good too!

 

Keep praying and we'll keep trusting!

 

bethany

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sickies

Well we have the sickies at our house.  Jack has what is called Giardia – a stomach type bacterial infection that gives him diaorrhea, which adds insult to injury with us still trying to figure out his milk allergy, which causes the same symptoms.  And now on top of both of those, he has pink eye!  It's been going around here and now it has hit our home. Hopefully we'll be able to keep the rest of us from getting it.  I'm washing everything he's touched in the last two days in hopes to rid the house of it. 

 

Owen has been sick for a few days and we are in the waiting period of seeing what we are dealing with.  We should have some blood work back this evening that tells us what is going on.  Please pray for us as we wait. The possibilites are a bit scary for us with him being so little but we know that we have direct access to the Great Physician and we can trust His care of our little guy.  We'll keep you posted but in the mean time, thanks for praying.

 

Bethany

Now back by popular demand

Jack and Owen are just starting to enjoy one another as brothers. Jack loves to make Owen laugh and Owen loves to laugh at him.  Owen is now up on his knees doing the inch worm crawl across the floor and yes, today he turns 6  months – just 6 months!  Look out world.  He took a fall today while in his walker.  He's got a knot on his head and isn't the happiest he's ever been but I think he'll survive.  Jack is speaking in full sentences now and totaaly loves playing make-believe!  We found some tinker toys at a rumage sale at the int'l school this past weekend and he's really enjoying building things! 

 

Joel is finishing up the grout work in the bathroom today.  Maybe by week's end we'll actually be able to use it!  Wahoo!

 

Thanks for catching up with us! 

Monday, October 29, 2007

brown outs and rumbles

We've had an eventful evening here on our side of the world.  

We had dinner with frineds and then put the boys down and began to watch a movie when all the power in the house went out but the tv and dvd player.  It seems we were the only house in the neighborhood having a brown out this time.  We've had them before and they're not our favorite occurance.  We have to shut the power off to the whole house and the only way to know if the power has come back to full voltage is to keep going back out every few minutes to flip the breaker.  After about 30 minutes, our living room had become an oven and we were just about ready to get the boys up and go over to the guest house for the night where the power was just fine, but Joel checked one more time and wahlah! the power was back and better than ever! We actually had 200 of 220 volts coming into the house.  It's never that good on a normal day so we were thrilled!  It's the small things that make us smile!

 

We started up our movie again and about 10 minutes later, we heard a rumbling coming toward us from outside.  I don't remember earthquakes in California doing that when I was little.  It's like it's rolling up toward the house.  Well, because the structures of the houses here are less than "code" for an earthquake, we both bolted from the couch once we realized that what we were hearing/feeling was, in fact, an earthquake.  "Get the boys" was the unspoken word between us.  Just as we got to their doors, it stopped.  We glanced at each other, waited and realized it was done.  Just like that and our hearts were beating out of our chests.  Whew, so glad it wasn't a big one. 

 

I wonder, when will all this become normal?  I suppose one day we'll have the same thing happen again and we'll not even notice. 

Friday, October 26, 2007

Plugged - In

Today was by far, our busiest day yet here in Indonesia.  With 4 trips to and from the airport, one across town to our "bank", another to pick up food for dinner, 2 families leaving the guest house, one coming to stay for a week, and another just here for 5 hours, plus overseeing lunch preparations and Joel installing a voltage regulator in our living room, I'd say we had a full day.  It was a good day in most aspects but trying as well.  We were able to be an encouragement to one family going through a really tough time and that made it all worth it.  That's why we're here.  We didn't know this family 2 weeks ago and yet God brought them along our path so we could meet and encourage one another. 

 

I keep saying that living here is so different than what we expected.  In some ways it's better, we have access to more 'stuff' than I thought we would and we are connecting with more people than we thought we would but then on the flip side, we are realizing more every day how inadequate we are for this ministry.  So many folks told us how draining it can be – they were right.  But then, I have felt so satisfied too.  God is using us here and we are truly thankful that he counts us as "useful".  The trick I suppose is to stay connected to the Vine so we don't get used UP.  If I disconnect for just a second, I begin to feel the supply running dry.  He is still there mind you but I have unplugged from the source.  Never before in our lives has busyness been such a factor to take us away from what is truly important.  Finding the balance will be something we'll pursue every moment of every day.  When do you sit down and unplug from life and plug in to The Life?

 

Pray for us to know this balance and to live it out each day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Owen in October

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.488 / Virus Database: 269.15.3/1082 - Release Date: 10/20/2007
2:59 PM

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Good morning from a sprinkling Papua.  We like it when it rains here as it takes the humidity out of the air and cools things off a bit.  That aspect of life is one of the many things that is different here than in Java.  There doesn't seem to be set dry and rainy seasons per sey.  It just rains every couple of days or so.  They say here when it starts to get so hot you can't stand it, "it wants to rain".  I suppose that is the silver lining on the cloud of "wow, it's hot"!

 

The past week has been a busy one for us here and we're happy to say, it's because we are actually doing some things in the rhelm of our ministry.  Joel ran back and forth to the ariport about a gagillion times last week, picking folks up that were coming in and taking them back as they leave.   It's not very far to the airport, as a matter of fact, we can usually hear the jet engines starting up all throughout the day, we are so close.  He has really enjoyed being able to do this as he is meeting many new people and getting to spend some time with each of them as they pass through.  Our guest house services missionaries from another mission that flies the helicopters for our folks in the tribes.  Many of the works we are in are heli-only access and so this mission is a  huge blessing to us.  Lately we have had the privilege of hosting several of this missions's folks and we are  so blessed to be getting to know them. 

 

This week the guest house is almost full of people.  One family is here for a week with their three kids – enroute to Australia (their home country) for furlough.  Another young couple with a  baby is here for just a few days on their way to language study in Java, another gal is here for a month on her way to the states for furlough and one more family is here for 2 weeks on their way to the states for furlough.  In all, there are 6 kids and 7 adults here now and we are enjoying having each one of them. 

 

I, Bethany, get the chance to "get outa Dodge" for a day this week.  I'll be heading to our nearby "big city" to do some shopping with a couple of other ladies.  There are many more things available there than we can get here in town but I don't yet know where all the places are to find things.  So Sherry, our co-worker is taking Emily and I there Tuesday to show us around.  It will be a nice day, without kids, to spend together as ladies.

 

As the days go by faster and faster, we realize that we are slowly settling in here to our new life.  We still have a bit of orientation yet to go through and then at some time in the near future we will pick back up our language study again.  We are anxious to begin that soon as it means getting closer to actually being full-time in to our minsitry here.  Thanks for all the prayers you have offered for us and for the encouraging notes you send our way.  We are encouraged!

 

bethany

Saturday, October 13, 2007

earthquake

 yep, we felt it last night.  actually there was one last Thursday too but we didn't actually feel it!  Last night however,  we couldn't have missed it!  We are all fine and no damage done here that we know of. We hear this is quite common so as they happen, we'll keep you posted.

 

Bethany

Friday, October 12, 2007

Holidays

It's that time of year again when all night parties take place here in Indonesia. The countries largest religion has it's feast after a month of fasting, today.  this means last night the sound of men "singing" was heard all around the town. It began at like 6pm last night and stopped at 7am this morning.  It was a long, long night and when you add to it the power going off twice, well, let's just say we will all be taking a nap today~! 

When we lived in Java, this holiday was a much bigger deal, with parades and firworks and the whole shabang!  Because Papua is a much more Christianized province of Indonesia, it's not nearly as ramai (party like or busy).  Christmas time however, we have been told, is much like Christmas with the Griswolds so we will have to see. Maybe we can get in on the action and deck our house out this year with lights and the whole shabang!  Joel will be thrilled. He is the king of Christmas lights.

 

It's weird to even think that the "holidays" have already begun there at home.  I'm sure Wal-Mart is full of Christmas deco and displays of Christmas trees.  Here, when you wake up and it's already 90 degrees, it's really hard to remember it's  the "fall" season back home.  We have put up pictures of fall trees and I have some dried leaves that mom sent last year that I can use to decorate.  We'll do our best to make it feel "fall-ish".  Hey why don't you take some pictures for us of the beauty you see there?  We'd love a glimpse of a red maple or yellow oak.  I can just see it now, if I close my eyes!  Meanwhile, we'll enjoy our fresh-off-the-tree fruit salads, avocados, and all night singing parties!

 

 

Ants

As a kid, did you ever sneak food under the table to the family dog?  We only had a dog when I was very young and too na├»ve to know I could do that so I never tried it but I envied those friends who knew, “if I don’t like what we’re having for supper, Fido does!”.  Here in Indonesia, I doubt we’ll ever have a dog that lives inside with us, so Jack won’t be tempted to sneak him food, but we have something else just as efficient, I’m going to have to keep my eyes open!

 

ANTS!  Yes, I know, big deal, they have those everywhere but the ants at home usually can be traced outside and then cut off at the pass. Here, I am convinced they hide out in our furniture, especially under the dinner table, ready and waiting for the first morsel to fall to the ground.  They are truly efficient little suckers.  They can move a piece of food faster than you can blink your eyes. And they are so tiny that until you are right up on them, you’ll never know they’re there.  Until you feel this tingle on your arm, like when you have a stray hair that clings to your skin and you can’t see it but you feel it there. That’s what they are like.  Little tiny hungry ants.  Oh, but don’t misunderstand, they are picky little things too!

 

I can leave a whole bowl full of sugar out on the counter and never see a single ant, but as soon as marinara sauce comes out of the fridge, they are lying in wait, eager for a feast!  So I am never sure, should I rinse that dish off until I can wash it, or will it be left alone all together?  More times than I can count, I’ve picked up a bowl or plate or morsel of food and suddenly, and shockingly, I feel that “hair” tickling my arm, but oh, wait that’s not a hair that’s ANTS!  The frantic brushing action begins to rid my skin of the thousands of little invisible pesky things and anyone looking on will think I’ve been hit by the crazies bug!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

An Unexpected Luxury

Here's what I discovered while waiting for passengers to arrive here in Sentani!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

All in a Day's Work

That phrase has taken on new meaning for us here. I think we may have to change it to, "All in a few days work". Something we are learning is that nothing happens quickly and so don't have your expectations set too high. As you know by now, we are renovating a bathroom to make it a bit more like what we're used to, with a shower, toilet and sink. A project that, if at home we could hire someone to do it and would be easy, but is not so easy here. So yesterday, I Bethany, found myself up to my elbows in cement! Yes, that's right me, mixing cement and pouring it into what will be our shower. It went well, so I thought, until last night, when our more experienced friend, Tim came over and said, hmmm, your shower floor is cracking… that means you used too much cement in the mixture of sand. Turns out I had the mixture backwards! Oops! So today we will try to fix it by whatever means possible, short of taking it apart and doing it again. Live and learn, right? Oh I must say it's pretty frustrating, but I'm taking it in stride! Where's Matt B. (a contractor/friend from back home) when you need him?

We did have one thing go well and without a hitch yesterday. We installed another air conditioner in our guest room (at our house) so Tim has a place to sleep while he is here from Java. He was our neighbor there and is also our field chairman. He and his wife are dear friends and we're thrilled he can stay with us and now in an airconditioned room. It has helped cool the house a bit more and with the power more consistent the past week or so, we are actually not sweating our way through each day. I'm down to 2 showers a day instead of three!

Nona Ana, our house helper is working out well. she is almost done her second week with us and so far so good! I taught her how to make bread today and 2 days ago, the guest house – house helper Ibu Salche taught her how to make a traditional Indonesian dish. Next week I'll have her try both recipes herself and see how she does at them.

Slowly but surely we are settling in here in Papua. God is teaching us each day that He is our sufficiency and not to set our eyes on human, earthly things to find our strength. I am going to begin reading a new book today called, Calm My Anxious Heart. Another missionary lady here gave it to me and I've heard it's a great book. I'll let you know as I get into it.

Hey, a few prayer requests to share with you all are:

#1, Joel's great aunt Anna, like his grandma, passed away last night. We still don't know if it was a heart attack or what happened but it has hit him hard. Please pray for his family at this time. We will miss her. She was a huge encourager to us!

#2, the International school here is in great need of a 2nd grade teacher in January. The current teacher has to go home to have a baby and so they will be without a teacher come next semester. Please pray with us that God will provide for this need soon! If you know anyone who would like to teach short term in Indonesia, please let me know!

bethany

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Day 1

Well tomorrow brings us to a new phase at the guest house.  Our area leadership team will be meeting for three days to discuss well, our area or region, and to do some planning and so we will be taking a step toward ministry in the guest house.  We have bought all the supplies and groceries for the next week or so and will begin cooking for the guys at the guest house tomorrow, with the guest house –house helper, of course.  I'll be up and over there at 6 am to get things set out for breakfast and then back again to help with lunch too later on in the morning. 

Joel is finishing up more remodeling here at the house as best he can. He ran in to a snafoo tonight while trying to fix the toilet but hopefully tomorrow it will be running again.  We will be getting our bed tomorrow too finally!  Can't wait to sleep on a real mattress again!  Joel will hopefully finish the shower tomorrow and tile it (thanks for the experience Johnny!  It's paying off!) and before the Indonesian leadership team arrives on Thursday (one of them is staying at our house), we'll have 2 functioning showers, that is if all goes as planned.  We won't count our chickens before they hatch but we'll pray! 

That's all tonight! 

Bethany

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sun in Papua

Well, I mentioned my trip to town today and well, this afternoon, I realized
that I came away with more than I thought. I was in the sun for a total of
15 minutes (the time on the bike from home to the store and back and well
you can see what happened! Can anyone say EQUATOR???!!!

Bethany

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.487 / Virus Database: 269.13.32/1032 - Release Date: 9/26/2007
8:20 PM

Below The Waterline

I've been reading a book lately called, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver.  A good missionary girl-friend of mine gave it to me just before we left to come here and said it was a must read!  So I have been reading it.  Let's just say this friend must know me very well!  I am a Martha. Hard-core Martha.  If I am not doing then I feel then I must not "be".  It's tough for me to sit still long. Anyone who knows me at all knows this is true.  As a matter of fact, I tend toward having my plate too full most of the time.  I have learned to say no at times but I just enjoy serving and being busy. 

 

So here I find myself.  In Papua, Indonesia.  Embarking on a ministry that is all about "doing".  Well, that's what I think anyway.  A guesthouse for tribal missionaries, who will be out for a rest or visa paperwork or enroute to and from their tribal location.  While it may be true; I will be doing a lot here, booking rooms, cleaning, cooking, making beds, being hospitable.  There is also the other end of the spectrum that is also necessary.  The ability to encourage those who pass through our doors.  How can I do that, I'm thinking now as I see how BIG this ministry is?  There will be so much to do just to keep the place running.  To be an encouragement to others requires that I, Bethany get out of the way. It means being still and letting God work through me.

 

So in comes this book I mentioned. I just read something today in it that really caught me.  I will quote it here as if I try to restate it, I won't do it justice. I hope the author doesn't mind.  She has just coming to the end of a section talking about balancing the teeter – totter of a life of worship and service.  How do we do that?  Here's her answer:

 

"The secret of balancing worship and work, devotion and service, love of God and love of people is maintaining our connection to Jesus Christ.  Our relationship with him is the fulcrum, the anchor, the steadying point that makes balance possible in the first place.  And the deeper that relationship goes, the more stable the balance will be.

"'It all begins at the water line.' That's how Jeanne Mayo puts it… 'It takes a ruthless commitment to first things first…I'm constantly having to ask the Lord to do the Psalm 139 thing on me: "Live in my heart. Search and examine me.  Know my heart."' Then Jeanne shared a story that has become a spiritual trigger point in her life.  God is faithful to bring it to mind when her life begins to slip off kilter and out of balance.

"In the autumn of 1992, a man named Michael Plant commenced a solo crossing of the North Atlantic.  An expert yachtsman, Plant had made this trip several times before.  His brand-new sailboat, the Coyote, was so technologically advanced there were few like it in the world.

"Plant set off alone leaving his support team to monitor his trip by satellite and radio.  Everything was going well.  Even when a storm disrupted communications, no one worried much.  After all, this guy was one of the best sailors and navigators to be found.  His boat was equipped with state-of-the-art navigational and emergency equipment.  Plant would resume radio contact when everything settled down.

"But Michael Plant was never heard from again.  After numerous attempts to reach him by radio, the Coast Guard sent helicopters out to look for him.  They found the Coyote floating upside down.  It's captain and sole passenger was never found.  Why?  How could this happen?  the experts wondered.  Everyone knows that sailboats are very hard to turn over.  Their deep keels and massive rudders right themselves.  But as the ship was examined, the cause of the tragedy became clear.  For all its technological advances and beauty, the Coyote didn't have enough weight beneath the water line.  There wasn't enough ballast below to outweigh the fancy gadgetry above.  And so it flipped over as it lost its ability to balance in the water.

"'Our lives will capsize as well,' Jeanne Mayo concludes, 'if what lies below the spiritual water line of our lives doesn't outweigh what lies above.' No matter how good we may look on the surface, no matter how balanced we may seem, it's what lies below that really counts."

 

So I read this and was so convicted.  I am a sailboat who often has lots of gadgetry on the top and very little weight below the waterline.  I get so busy, so often in what Weaver calls "Kitchen service" as a Martha, that finding time for the "Living Room worship" gets jipped.  The timing of this book coming into my hands couldn't have been better.  I am far from having it down pat, I don't think any of us ever do, but I am certainly going to keep my heart tuned to how much weight lies below my surface. 

 

I must add here that there is an element we believers have that a sailboat does not.  That is prayer.  I'm no theologian but I know that the prayers others offer to God for me act as an anchor that pulls me toward my source of strength.  I don't know why it works but it does.  You pray, God hears, His Spirit works in my heart and I am challenged, encouraged or whatever is needed that day or in that moment.  Thank you for standing with us in this voyage to unknown waters.  We, unlike the yachtsman mentioned in the story, are not alone on our trip.  God is with us, and you are with us and we are so thankful.

Bethany

HyperMarket - our version of Walmart

Today I made my first treck out on a motorbike since returning to Indonesia.  Actually this bike is more like a scooter but none-the-less, I did it.  Another milestone toward feeling at home here.  I needed a few things from the store and there is a new store in town that claims to "have it all", so I hopped on the bike and braved my way into town.  Mind you I have to cross two very "makeshift" bridges to get there and try not to get sunk in the thousands of potholes along the way but I did it!  There and back, no problem.  The new store is very nice, airconditioned (a  rare thing here) and as soon as the imported items get released at customs in Jakarta, we'll have our very own version of the Indonesian Walmart.  One stop shopping all the way over here!  Who'd a thunk it?

 

Joel is again tackling the bathroom today.  He should be done with the demolition by this afternoon and then will begin to rebuild our shower area.  I covered several of the windows in the kitchen today to try and close it off so it will keep the airconditioned air in and the hot air out.  Right now the kitchen is it's own oven.  Great for rising bread but I don't like to stay in there too long.  Slowly but surely we're getting things done.  I know there will be an end in sight somewhere down the road!