Saturday, August 03, 2013

Jakarta Goodbye; Surabaya Hello

Well, Well, Well. Time has moved so fast that it's almost time for another District Convention. My last post highlights last years district, so I better update this one now! (New Zealand Special District still being edited...) What's going on in the picture below? Going away party for Cris, Andrea and myself. Huh? Why? On to circuit work for them, and on to Surabaya English group for me. 

(The friends went above and beyond, we were touched. Songs, Food, Games, Music, Gifts, and at the Ritz to top it off!) 


For the first time since receiving my assignment in Jakarta, I went back to my home in Batam. Here Cris and Andrea were helping to set up the English group officially. It was the same group that may parents help to start but over time fizzled out. Besides helping the English, it was touching for me to head back to the congregation we were part of which the sign was part of. Seeing old faces and young faces was very meaningful for me. All the hugs and smiles meant a lot. The funny thing was seeing all of the kids. Most were babies when we became a sign congregaiton... Now?

(Kids have grown UP)

I was asked before about leaving sign language for English and how I felt. Personally, the English ministry in Indonesia is incredible like I have never experienced before. It's amazing. The sign language  ministry is time consuming, but the meetings are extradodinary. Case in point; in this meeting a few deaf men showed up for the first time. Although having never been to a meeting, these muslim guys commented about brick laying. It was on point with the paragraph. Only in sign. 

(ONLY in sign can the power go off at the meeting and have no lights and say the concluding prayer by-- putting a motorbike at the back door and side door and shine the lights on the speaker)

Batam was famous for Puja Sera. It's an open area with tables surrounded by different stalls selling different foods mostly seafood. I had to go for a family style meal at least once while being back. It was nice to go out with some of the crew that I spent so much time with. We laughed, joked, ate good seafood and had nice berverages. They were all laughing as the typical beer girl just tried to hit on me the whole time to buy more beer. She threw out every English word she knew.  

(A lot of new deaf, a lot of continual progress, feels good to know our labor was not in vain in Batam. Wanna help English or Sign?)

Kompleks Angkasa Utama No.24
Jodoh - Batam

Group: English
Bahasa Isyarat Batam
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Kompleks Angkasa Utama No.24
Jodoh - Batam

0813-6468 9865

A trip to 'home' in Batam wouldn't be complete without a sunset. For years I would watch the sunset here in Batam. After years of watching this sunset, one thing remains the same...  

(I've never seen two the same)

After a trip to Batam, but before we jump to Surabaya; a lot to catch up with in Jakarta. The city never seems to give you a dull moment.  Indonesian tradition dictates blocking off a random road on your wedding day. Since everyone on the street and village is invited anyways, you might as well shut down transportation.

(A small Indonesian Wedding can be around 500 people. In this wedding one tent went Arab. Better to move to the wine tent)

It seems long ago we were enjoying our memorial. And in a sense, we were! Here in Jakarta we enjoyed having persons from 20 different countries and nationalities. That does show the scope of our work here in the English preaching. I don't even remember how many we had now. But it was good. The funny thing is how early everyone was. No one wanted to show up late because of traffic.

(I was happy to have 10 people attend. Five of whom are from a persecuted Islamic group. They were happy to take many of our literature items and bring it to their Mosque Library. Including NWT, BStories, YPA, and others!)

To find people who speak English in Jakarta you look in all places. Malls, Homes, Business's, Parks, and of course 7-11's. You always have people who speak English there. If not, you can at least watch monkey's go hunting, ride motorbikes, wear masks, or do other tricks. 

(Watch video below to see a monkey playing dead. Who said we haven't advanced)

(Monkey- play dead. Human, collect the money for the monkey)

Another way to reach people is go to the festivals. Jakarta has scores of free events, festivals, trade-shows, international business meetings and the like. This one had a ??mardi gras meets Disney?? theme. The costumes were over the top crazy including the drag queens? Huh? In a country like Indonesia? 

(They also had a wine and cheese exhibit-much more down to earth) 

The brothers do there best to make it to the meetings on time. We all try, but we all pretty much know there will be time and unforeseen occurrence on your way somewhere in Jakarta. Case in point- on one Sunday there was some type of Monas festival. (Giant Ziggurat aka Babylon that looks like D.C. monument) While the worshipers were taking in the summer festival these guys were on the road causing road traffic in the middle of the city. I wonder how they get off?

(I like the witch hat with a Batik. Heart in the middle not to bad either. Nice touch. )

I have loaded a picture similar to this before, but it never get's old. We get floods here in Jakarta, blah blah blah, what else is new. No one can figure out who causes it, or how to end the floods.

(As beautiful as Indonesia and her people are,  the DNA gene for don't throw trash must have got lost by the Java Man)

While in the ministry you have to keep your eyes open. Not just because you can fall through cracks in the sidewalk, demo's, motorbikes, monkeys, beggers, but also for nice things too!

(The giant beauty in the sky is only eclipsed by the beauty of the small)

On the metropolitan witnessing program we got a good location in a mall. A brother who owned a kiosk agreed to allow us to use it for the magazines. I only worked on it for a month, but it's a great way to get to know the friends as well as give a witness to those who don't know us.

(Many brothers and sisters from all over Jakarta would come for a peak...)

Taking over a small kiosk doesn't mean everything was a clean and nice. We needed to help it, and help it a lot. We kicked in and went to work. The mall staff were shocked seeing a white buffalo (bule) actually doing manual labor.

(Scrape, scrub, pick, paint- BTW the blue motorcycle jacket was to avoid paint on my meeting clothes)

The big target is to get he airport on the approved list for the Public Witnessing campaign. The airport in Jakarta is loaded with thousands of people going through every hour. Somebody, somehow, somewhere has got a jump start on the preaching.

(Random, but good for you whoever you are)

A while ago we set up a booth at a school. It went big really big. I don't remember the count. But it was hundreds of books magazines in 3 languages. 

(English was the most popular language!) 

Being an international congregation and in an international city it gives us the opportunity to do things not common in other places in Indonesia. One of our International Servants used to be a race car driver of sorts. Well, now that he's busy in Bethel we can do the next best thing- Smash into him so he can get knocked out of the race. 

(You sweat, you have fun, and it's a workout. Indonesian Go-cart has no rules of course)

The best part of course is getting closer to your brothers and sister... Good for Cha Cha racing. I think she did better then a boy or two.

(Nothing like a Saturday morning service right to the race. Then finding people who speak English there so keeping on the 'clock.')

In the mix since this time we had a SAD. Safeguard Your Conscience. Since English is now an official circuit we are getting people coming from all over. We are also increasing our need-greaters coming to assist. Martha, Jacques, Anne come from US, Germany, Jamaica respectively.

(Wanna make the jump? We need jumpers!)

That special day was definitely special for my bible study Tim. He decided to make the most important jump of his life. That of baptism. Since he was the only one getting baptised the speaker from the branch repeatedly used his name Tim during the talk. A big plus that Tim had +- 20 members of his non-witness family come and visit the event. The Indian colors and dresses were shining throughout the program.

One of the things we discovered in Jakarta is the numerous types of restaurants. Here is an all-you-can eat $9.00 Italian a'la carte restaurant in Citywalk mall.  That day the man on the right Rahmad came to a meeting. Yosia, (in between us) came up and talked to him. He asked him who he was studying with, and he said no one. Yosia came up to me and told me. I replied: "First come, first serve, -he's yours, good job!" His first discussion was that day at the buffet. Interestingly enough he works at the US Embassy and he said he's tired of 'handling people.'

(I think his hands are deadly weapons, so we might as well train him to use a sword?!?)

Around this time we also enjoyed our annual zone visit. This time from Guy Pierce of the G.B. We had nearly 13,000 in attendance on a really nice day. It's special for the friends to have an opportunity to see and hear one of those from the GB with their hope. Not many here profess that hope, so it's a real treat for the Indonesian friends. He made it so clear the best choice- theocratic education over worldly education. We heard it right from the horses mouth. 

After all these years, I still enjoy sitting in the Sign Language section. See old friends, meet the deaf, see the signs, and bump into Indonesian friends from over the years. 

(Some of the sign crew still going strong...!)

Not too long before the zone visit we had a wedding visit. Leo from our hall became the 5th wedding from our hall within a 6 month period. I got to say, this one was right up there. On a cliff overlooking a famous surfing spot. Only 80 some people, that almost were all friends. Food had traditional balinese pork and some good meatballs. It was hot out there in the sun, but the sunset view's were priceless.

(Mr. Fu and Yasui the talk and translators. Nice illustration about how love is like all the individual threads that blended together that make up a jacket) 

For the first time in my life I was the MC of the wedding. After a day on a motorbike and some sun, I got to do some singing, jokes, and dancing to Japanese/Hawaiian hula. 

(People laughed and had a good time. I guess that was my job)

One of the nice things is a big chunk of our congregation in Jakarta all flew down for the wedding.  We ate out together, chilled, did some tourist things. It shows how much of friends we all have become.

(Case in point- For my services; I got picked up and thrown in the pool with the groom and 5 groomsmen. Actually it felt really good except the wet 45 minute ride home on a motorbike.)

While in Bali it was always good to go to see the English group. This was a special meeting for the Bali Enlgish group because it was there last meeting in Nusa Dua. It also was announced they are officially a group!

             (Wanna serve where there is a greater need in English or sign? Can't go wrong with Bali)

Jl. Tukad Yeh Ho 1 No. 1A
Banjar Mandala Sari
Desa Dangin Puri Kelod

0361 264146

Group: Indonesian Sign Language
Group: English
Contact the congregation for details about the group.

While in Bali, I went back to my old wind down place at the jazz cafe. Wish I could sing because they always allow people up to sing. Here two of our quit sisters in the hall did what they did best. Sing and Smile.

(Cha Cha and Ray Ray Sing Sing)

While in Bali, I went to an old stomping ground at a black sand volcanic beach. You still have the Balinese come by and the morning and leave the sacrifices around. But, if you hit it just right, this is the view you can get. 

(On the left you can see the mountain range. When the surf is up, its up and rough)

Another first here in Indonesia was the first graduation of BSCC. Bible School for Christian Couples was a nice treat to be able to attend. There we had 3 couples that I knew, 2 of which served in the Islands of Mentawai as special pioneers. Another couple was in Sign Language in the past.

My memory is getting bad because of the time since attending, but I remember a few stories in brief: 
One couple. Just had to sign a big contract that would have taken them overseas and make a lot of money. Another couple. Father really sick, no one to take care of him, hospitalized sure to die. Mom encouraged them to go, amazingly recovered and walked out of hospital. Another couple. No money, didn't know how to get to the school, some money appeared out of no where didn't expect it.

(A foreign Japanese couple attended, and guess what, it seems possible to preach Japanese in Jakarta)

Attending the graduation brought back good memories of my own graduation. Around the same time I bumped into one of my classmates who I hadn't seen since graduation in 2010. Anwar was living in Borneo before the school, then Papua after. His island where he serves has no cell phone signal, electricity for only 6 hours a day, and on and on. His view is of palm trees, turquoise blue ocean, and the starts at night. His diet is king crab, fish, and rice. With only 3000+ people on the island the territory is covered quite regularly. No temptations, no cars, the closest bank or post office is 5 hours away by boat.

Anwar comes to Jakarta and asks "Tom, what's your territory?" Everything you see right now.

(Anwar my friend, the building in front of us has more then 3000 people in it alone)

From the same view as the picture above is the view below. My roomate Erik and I had a nice couch with a view out the window. It was a great nap sofa and good to chat up deep spiritual things. You can watch the rain storms come in, the floods, the pollution, the traffic, the smog, and occasionaly...

(More of a chance to be killed by a lightning bolt then a fanatic teroris... Another reason to come and serve in Indonesia) 

From the front of my apartment building you can get a glimpse of Jakarta without the smog. Then you hit where the sunsets... The smog line.

(Nature always tries to find a way through)

(A rooftop sunset)

On the skyscraper theme; Singapore is now known not just for Merlon but for the Hotel with the pool on the roof. It truly is an impressive view, but Jakarta has it's own spot. One night I saw some type of lights and things from a rooftop and was wondering what it was. Well I finally got to find out. 

On the 59th floor of the BCA building is a restaurant/lounge that has views of the entire city of Jakarta. For the view, the prices are worth it. The funny thing was looking at my own apartment how it looked like a little shack from that height. I lived on the 36th floor, but it still was tiny! That's the thing about Indonesia, never stops to make you shake your head. 

(One thing to go up there, another thing to be with good friends!!!)

Good friends and good views are everywhere in the Jakarta region. From 1 hour to 5 hours {depending on traffic} you can see beautiful beaches, waterfalls, tea plantations and many other of natures wonders. Unfortunately on this day it was not a day to be in traffic. Daniel one of my best friends was getting married. I took advantage of the opportunity to get some fresh air, do a hike to a waterfall and get in some green. Everything was going good. It was 9:07 am for a 11:00 wedding only about 15 miles away. Uhhhh ohhhh. Not in Jakarta. I arrived at 1:52. Yes, nearly 5 hours for 15 miles, by myself in a car. The police stop the road and make it one way. I made the best of it by getting some corn on the cob, going for a hike in the tea fields, and watch people hang glide. But, boy, ahhh Jakarta. 

(It's nice when your in the middle of it and alls you see is green. Its nice knowing your late but have at least good scenery)

(Tom's late!!! The crowd went wild)

Since Cris became the CO for English he can't serve us here in Jakarta since he is 'from amongst us.' We got the privilege of getting one of the old work horses of Indonesia. Rainer has been in Indonesia since the Nixon Administration. When Indo was under ban he was sent over to Taiwan for 20 odd years and now he's back. What language? Chinese. He's the Chinese version of Cris. Traveling around getting the Chinese off the ground. Somehow he get's thrown in with Pioneer schools, Metropolitan Witnessing, Chinese congregations, English congregations, Indonesian CO visits, and 3 District Conventions. 

(Well, he may be an old Gilead Grad but it doesn't mean he still can't hop on my motorbike)

One of the results from the new 30 hour requirement for CO's visit's is the opportunity for more to pioneer. Rainer started the meeting by giving us the encouragement that this was the largest amount he had ever seen. That's saying a lot... Our English Congregation in Jakarta does have an incredible ministry spirit. Hopefully we can always keep that going!

(Tim in the front row. Just baptized, so took advantage to pioneer. 55 in attendance)

Now that Cris is traveling around, it opens up opportunities for other brothers and sisters to travel to cities to help open up English. Recently they traveled to Semarang and Jepara. Of course, there are plenty of people who speak English. Jepara is world-famous for it's wood work. Possibly furniture in your very house was made in one of these little woodshops in Central Java. It's a skill passed on from generation to genrartion that by the young age of 10 they may already know how to do carvings. (Duet 6:6,7)

(India taking a pic for what gave her the money to buy the camera...)

From Jepara, it's close to a national park in Karimun Java. While being delayed 5 hours 2x, I thought back to a recent conversation in Jakarta. A brother was talking about Indonesian staple foods. Indo mie (instant noodles) are at the top of the list. Others were some fried bananas with a cup of coffee. Since the ferry was delayed and no other food was available but food at the terminal. Well, why not test out my friends theory. Noodles, a coffee, and some fresh fried sweet banana. While everyone was yelling and stressing at the ferry's delay, rain, and possible cancellation; i'm happy as eating a nice snack listening to some music watching a typical scene of lateness onfold. 

(The longer i'm here the longer I wish I learned 'sudah biasa' -thats the way it is- earlier)

In Karimun Java, I was able to informal witness to even some young people from RI! Yes, small world. This island is getting on the map even in NY Times advertising page. The coral and water is beautiful. I worked it out to rent a boat to go to some distant islands for pure bliss snorkeling. The coral was pink, blues, greens, purples, shells, turtles, nibbling fish in the thousands, the whole 9. 

That very morning I had a nice prayer on the ocean asking for where to go serve and live. My contract was running out here in Jakarta and I needed a place to go. That very evening I got my email for the move to Surabaya. The assignment would start the day before my contract runs out. {Nice Timing}

(Even a starfish works as a good hair piece.) 

All the while this is going on I was again pulled out of retirement for sign language. 
Some say that learning a sign language you got to be a little 'different.' I forgot, yes you do. Case in point the picture below- Nothings says months of preparations, filming, makeup, late dinners, lighting, shooting, for a drama. Then when you finish after the last day? You buy a bunch of bbq fish, squid, rice, noodles, and ...

(Jumping around in brown murky water throwing mud on the top of each others heads. Good job team! Future pictures in a following post)  

So we have caught up to where we started...

Two years ago we received the letter we were moving to Jakarta and serving in 1...2...3... English? For the three of us it was a shocker, but the shock was on our end. The love, success, friendships, joys and pains were never dull during this time.

It was a beautiful thing to watch the English develop, grow, and blossom into the beautiful flower it is now. It was nice to provide some humus to this growth.

(A bag, A purse, and for me... a whole bunch of newspaper clippings with nothing inside but a...)