It's nearly November 2010, but I need to go back to Feb 2010. Why? That's how much stuff to catch up on.
First off- Credit to Dad and Mom for trying to do the Macedonian switch to Indonesia in they're late 50's. It's hard enough to get healthy young people with no overhead to do it in they're 20's. They came, they tried, but, just a little too much for them. It was my father's fourth time, my mom's third time out visiting. In fact most Americans don't even own a passport and they're trekking to Indowonderland.
Well after it was decided they were not going to be able to permanently serve in Indonesia and the transition of moving became a 5 week trip, it was more about making mom happy. SO??? Search for Batik in Bali. We had gone to the home of Batik in Solo Joygja trip back in 2008, but it was not successful- to find the mysterious cotton print batik that is famous amongst the elite quilters of the USA, Europe and Australia. http://indotom.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html
Of course there are other things to see and do in Bali. Like eating, arguably some of the best suckling pig this side of Tonga and Vanuatu.
(This is the view from the restaurant with little piggy platter)
After years of searching, my mom found her paradise. We met the woman who with her husband invented this batik style on heavy cotton which Indonesians have no use for. But she wouldn't part with any of those samples!!! No worries...we found a shop downtown that sold some!
Indonesia always has music playing somewhere. This is a traditional instrument made from Bamboo. She was trying to get us to buy the instrument to take home. Sounded lovely!
(No quarters necessary. Just 1000 or 10000 Rupiah!)
While doing the market research for sign language last year I spent nearly a week helping out on the Kingdom Hall project here in Bali. Interestingly they are not officially registered as a Kingdom Hall (religious building). The reason is the Hindu religion dominates the masses as well in the political scene. We are registered as a educational center for the Bible. Monthly or quarterly they have to send in a report to the government dealing with the progress of the 'meetings.'
(Finished project, beautiful tempat pendidikian Alkitab)
Mom leaves, Dad stays... Uh Oh? Well, considering it's like 2 C degrees in the US and dad is a pioneer, loves to swim, and the Indonesians always smile and chuckle at him because he's heavy, gray hair, and has a big nose. -For some reasons a lot of Asian women like the big nose-
So dad stayed an extra month to pioneer with me. We went down to the zone overseer's visit in Jakarta. It turned out to be a national convention for all who could attend on the archipelago. It was great to see a lot of old friends that in some cases I hadn't seen since 2004.
I get the news that I will be one of the interpreters for the convention. For whom? A brother on the Governing Body. Of course 2 minutes before the program starts I finally get to meet him to find out what talk he will be giving. When he tells me about Jonah, I say, oh, ya I heard that one before, you talk about Jonah he didn't obey, 40 days more before Ninivah will be destroyed and so on... He say's how do you know that? Oh I have it on my computer. I was given that talk by someone. He cracks up laughing, and after a few minutes of talking he asks again, how did you hear this talk? I repeat my answer and he laughs.
Sure enough the KM shortly after for April talks about sharing recorded talks. But, knowing the talk prior to interpreting helped so much to make the points clear.
(It was in the 90's in the shade and the talk was over 1.25 hours. pheww)
A few highlights of the zone's visit besides having a GB member in Indonesia for the first time in 10 years was a special announcement. BROTHERS- "There is no rule that those in your congregation must wear jackets. Let your reasonableness be known to all men. Colored shirts are also not a problem. To join the Theocratic Ministry School it is not required you own a jacket! It's a personal preference if you want to wear a jacket." It was great! Our sign language congregation didn't wear one anyways, but it was nice to have a national announcement. To make the point clear Br. Lett, the members of the Indonesian Branch Committee, and a helper from US Branch Committee didn't wear jackets. In fact some had on short sleeves.
(Probably a safety announcement would have helped as well)
Back in Batam we always have guests. I met Hyesun in a particular country under ban and then again at the Int Convention in Korea in September 2009. She wanted to get away for the annual Buddhist New Year as it is incredibly chaotic, loud, and well it's vacation time off from work.
We gave her the full-Indo experience including staying with the local sisters a few nights to experience the Indonesian bathroom situation, going preaching in the boondocks, ferry boat rides, and of course exotic fruit. In the picture below this fruit has the effect of Novocain. You eat it and your lips squeeze together and you can't feel anything and you sound like your a little slow in the brain.
(Melly- remember us in Papua, Hyesun- keep laughing wherever you go)
The nice thing when you have guests is you always try to look for the small things in life to bring back to your mind the beauty and happiness that is around all the time.
(Peace of Mind, but where's the fish?)
Well it became time for dad to head back to America. It was a great extra month pioneering with dad, chatting, and just overall everything.
Instead of people inviting him over, we invited over others. He was in a different congregation then me, so we invited some from his congregation. My dad confirmed 18 or 20 people were coming. Which in Indonesia doesn't include, kids, cousins, bible studies, or maid's. So in the end it was right at 49 or 50 people.
So how do you buy food for 20 people and then handle 50?
1. ALWAYS ALWAYS have tons of rice.
2. Willing sisters who take care of cleaning, cutting, slicing vegetables.
3. BBQ grill for fish and chicken, train a brother how to flip over the meat.
4. Watermelon cut really small for dessert.
5. People eat with there hands and use dishes, bowls, tupperware, anything possible for lack of plates.
6. People sit on the floor, balcony, sofas, anywhere.
8. Fill them up beer and get them giddy so there not concentrating on the lack of food.
So we taught them the Insight Book Game. Two teams split in half, strange word no one has ever heard of, everybody gives a different answer, the opposite team must pick which one is correct.
(Liar! Liar! Blushing! Laughing! He's the one!)
After departure from Batam it was nice to take dad over to Singapore and visit some friends and get some of the famous oysters with eggs and pork noodles.
(2 dolla, 2 dolla)
Then it was over to Malaysia to visit the branch and see the Harper's who I hadn't seen in a few years. Amazing couple who were Gilead grads years ago and still going strong. If I'm not mistaken they have served in over 10 different countries. They took dad and I around the town.
(Nothing like the streets of Asia)
(Melacca at Night)
The Harper's skill is translation training. That's what they were trained to do back in 2002 with around 20 other couples who traveled the world helping branches how to more accurately translate.
Their big project was helping to start the Malaysian translation team. A language with some 40 million speakers only started translation a few years ago. Now as you look at this picture how many actual Malay from the Malay tribe do you see?
(Malay is what they learn in school but around the home this team spoke Tamil, Mandarin, English, but there not Malay's. Quite similar to SL translation teams that have non-deaf or no c.o.d.a on the team.)
Now, here's where I can type for hours or just sum up 7 years in two words. -Undeserved Kindness-
2003-First Interpreted Meeting (3 deaf baptized, 0 groups, 0 congs)
2004-First Sign Group
2005-15th Sign Class is taught
2006-10 deaf baptized
2007-7 different cities interpret District Convention. Drama is pre-filmed and sent out to those cities.
2008-4 official Sign Congregations
2009-Circuit Assembly and Special day presented in full sign are held in 3 cities.
2010-June 18-20 First Full Sign District for entire country. 539 attend from 29 different cities/islands. Over 200 deaf attend. 6 deaf baptized brining total to 40 total throughout country. Now 6 congregations and 9 groups. Isaiah 60:17
(I'm sorry, really bad picture. I was too busy trying to pay attention, backstage for things, talking to deaf, old students, friends, crying, assignments, overall shock and awe.)
How did we get there? Our congregation took a 25 hour ferry ride over the Java Sea to get to Jakarta. 3 of the friends flew down. But for the deaf it was too expensive. So to save 40 dollars a person and make it 28 hours longer we had a congregation trip. All together it was about 30 hours from house to house where we stayed.
(Congregations that can sleep on a ferry boat together can stay together)
I have so many more amazing stories for how the deaf got there, the persecution they faced to attend, the sacrifice of the friends, but, I guess, you can get the idea. Time and repetition it seems takes some of the amazing when you start traveling and seeing the outside of the box, and over time that same amazing now becomes a head nod, a good job, and may Jehovah bless you.
One of those amazin's is Rahmad. It was his first time to Jakarta and he saved up all his money to attend. The affect of seeing other deaf Muslims and what they did to attend lead him to immediately join the theocratic ministry school the week after coming back home.
(He put himself out there and Jehovah took care of the rest)
Now if you have seen the blog for a while you know I usually don't end without a good sunset. This time though I want to leave it with the big blue sea.
(Something about being on the open water that just makes the soul smile)