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!



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.



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.



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.