Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's been 3 and a half months! How are you?

Blogs, great idea, but who has the time?

Well, were still smiling here in Indonesia.

Since the last blog we have experienced some earthquakes, jungle trips, guests from China, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, America, England, orangutans, perfect surf, beach volleyball, district conventions, rice paddies, waterfalls, poisonous insect bites, back to teaching, car accidents, and whatever else I forget to write down.

Back in April I went to Jakarta and so of course had to visit the SL. This meeting they were announced as a ‘official’ congregation. This photo is from when the groups were pre-recording the WT on disc.

(It was good training while it lasted)

What was great was a fellow need greater from U.S. who lives in Malaysia happened to be doing a visa-chop the same week. Funny enough about 3 months earlier through the witness grapevine she got my email. I then gave her the contacts in Jakarta and apologized that I can’t meet her but I will have Daniel meet her and help her out. Well, well, look who ended up meeting in the airport because I happened to be around…!

(You never know… (if you know ASL, Malaysia could use your help)

Back in May

This picture is kind of funny. This character is in the drama. He’s not a nice guy, so they recommended Tom to play his act. What wasn’t good was the friends said I look better with gray hair then I normally look. Thanks… I’ll make a note of that.

(The mustache is my favorite part. Maybe Skolios was of French decent?)


In typical lost-in-translation fashion, I thought my overseas guest's were going to be 3 people, and so I invited 2 local friends. They showed up as far, and the locals came as 4. So we were packed 9 in a van doing a scenic tour of Batam.

The local single sisters felt bad so they climbed up some trees about 30 feet high and gave us all coconuts. Hmmm…. Don’t see that often in the states as a hospitable gesture.

We of course took the friends to the jungle. If you come to Indonesia, you need to meet the jungle dwellers. The funniest part though was the city dwellers. When we went to the famous 'Barelang Jembatan" the locals saw 4 white people get out of the car, and that started the chants.


What would you do do???

(Would you get fined if you did this in the U.K.?)

Then we had some more visa-choppers come from Malaysia who are on standby from there resting place in China and new assignment. Interestingly enough that two of them were in the same hall as the Ives who did the same visa chop in Batam the year before.

(It was nice to speak in English for 3 days, and compare experiences from ‘other’ country service.)

-Summer’s big trip-

After the C.O. came the first week in June, he asked me to go and assist preaching in the islands of Mentawi. These islands have 6 special pioneers and 3 baptized local publishers spread out over the 4 main islands for some 70,000 people.
Christianity ironically enough is the main religion on the islands. The issue is that because there are so few JW’s and no KH, they don’t consider us a legit religion. The C.O. felt by having a white witness from America who speaks Indonesian may open up some opportunities and their eyes that we are a global brotherhood. {Good idea}

Before we discuss that I would like to mention that to go to Mentawi we had to take a 5 hour ferry ride, 6 hour bus ride, have a birthday, interpret at a 3 day convention, take another 6 hour car ride, preach in the mountains, another 2 hour car ride, cross the equator, take a 12 hour ferry ride, then a 30 minute motorbike ride. No sweat…

The only way to do this trip justice is to show you some of the footage. The trip to finish trips.

(Batam to Western Sumatra)



--------------MOVIE COMING SOON-------------------------
Hopefully before Sept 1st.

I hope that came out OK. I doesn’t show the amazing surf, snorkeling, or the experiences in the jungle or the poisonous bug bite that left me in the hospital. That was a good story.

I think it was a reminder from above. On the first morning after arriving, I wanted to get right out to the surf. Right when I was about to hop in the water I reached in to grab a glove and in my glove was a deadly millipede which proceeded to bite my finger. I had to be rushed back to land while sucking and spiting out the blood from my finger and stumble my way to a clinic where I dropped onto the bench, and they proceeded to inject me with antivirus before I would need to have my hand amputated or worse as the venom can go to the heart. Anyways in the clinic they asked me about my religion and in my half-baked nostalgic Indonesian I proceed to give a fine witness in my bathing suit while covered in seaweed and sand. The next day they accepted around 20 magazines. The point was, I could see my goal of a little preaching and a lot of surfing was wrong. In 2 ½ years of living in Indonesia I thought I was going to have my first surf trip. Nope.

It finally hit the heart that is all new system living. Here you are set with a choice. A. Hop on a board and experience a perfect left wave in tropical turquoise blue water with nothing between you the wave and Africa. B. Use some money to rent a little boat so you and the brothers can go on there first ever preaching tour together and open up an area that has never heard the good news. C. Try and do both.

I always try C. The thing is after this trip I realized you need to do B before A, because A will be there forever in the system to come. If we don’t do B now, we can’t do A in the future, or we hold back that gift of A to someone else.
It was hard though. This thing called conscience can be a downer.

Anyways, it was an amazing adventure and eye-opener. I will say it was great to get back to Batam and have a hot shower, sleep in my bed, and reflect.

Then the following weekend in July we had around 30 brothers from the congregation come over to my home to play beach volleyball, kill the man with the ball, chicken fights, and eat some rice and noodles.

(It’s great to have everybody smiling)

Recently I purchased a used car, which in the first week I was in a accident when a man backed into me. Police came, lies were told, and a bunch of magazines were placed and the cop admitted we are the true religion.

Just another day in Indonesia.

Lastly, we started full sign meetings in Batam. We are doing a one month trial and if all is well we will be the 5th congregation some time in September or October. We are 21 publishers in total.

(Come on out and visit!)