Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Getting in the Java Groove

With Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Line, and whatever else people are choosing to use; it's still nice to sit back and think what to type on a blog. Instead of a mili-minute update, this is a monthly monologue. 

Let's think back over the last 4 months...
Nature and Animals, Preaching, Friends and Family.

A long time ago the island of Bali was apparently connected to Java. East Java used to be predominetly Hindu until the Islamic traders came in some years ago. Bali still has it seems some of the last holdouts of this long gone time.
Something about Bali... In Western Bali the clock still runs behind.

(It's not Google glass, it's the view from my dad's special sun glasses he got at a yard sale. This is the view while riding a motorbike)

Wherever your going around the island you need to take a step back and take it in.  My parents realized this and came for a holiday. It was great to meet up with them, and give the talk in Bali English cong which has just become two. When preaching you still talk to people who have never heard the truth. How about the food? How about BBQ fish on the beach with Bintang, Calamari, Shrimp, local veggies all for $10.00.

(The serenity of Bali)

If you can get yourself there, you gotta take in a sunset. Jembaran is famous for BBQ on the bay, but take a turn somewhere. You never know where your gonna to end up. In Indonesia you realize that no matter how many places you see in this country, you still won't see it all. Learning Bahasa allows you to ask questions, follow local knowledge,and let it take you where it's going to take you...

Case in point. 

(Surf, Sunset, Skyline, Serenity)

Being on a motorbike allows flexibility that a car doesn't always provide. In this case a hunch leads to a rice paddy. Then it leads to smiling people working in the fields. Leads to big clean cows chewing on the grasslands. That leads to some random surf camp and fishing port. From a walk over the rocks, this is what you get. 

(Get an intuition and go for it)

We were trying to get to the meeting on time, so were moving along, passing bikes, trucks, religious services that slow the road down. 

(Nothing to see here, nothing to see, just a gigantic truck tipped over)

To get back home we mixed many forms of transport. An unfortunate event happened at the bus station. They wouldn't let us on the bus. Too many bags... Funny looking back at it. Two people with 9 bags, a 3rd with a 10th.  My mom was on the bus as it was driving away, i'm running slapping the side of the bus to get it to stop, yelling to my dad to watch the bags. No harm, no foul, just a prejudice bus ticket jockey. 

It worked out, because that night we stayed with a special pioneer couple who translates literature into the Bali language.  One hitch. One bed and 3 of us. Nothing says a road trip with family then lack of beds. 

The next morning all of us had great conversations informal witnessing at the train station and on the train.

(Train ride through East Java brings Paradise Perception)

From a 4 star resort in Bali, to the meeting, to a friends home, a rent a car, a ferry, a bus disaster, a train, now to a hired driver. If your in East Java, Mt. Bromo is a famous place to be. On the way there's an option for the tallest waterfall in the land. 

Our driver had to pay some 'tips' to the local govt official, then drive through the teak forest to a path that's wasted away. On arrival to this beautiful spot we pass an old lady in her 60's. I told her please prepare the hot milk when were back.  Here's what we saw.

(If you look down low and closely you will find a white buffalo with a stick; that's my dad)

On the way back the old lady had our local hot milk ready. Milk, Egg, Honey, Ginger with some fried bananas. Talk about hitting the spot. So she starts walking back about 5-10 min after us. She catches up to us in her flip-flops, passes us, all while carrying 2 full bags of glasses, banana's, and milk dispenser. 

We try to catch up to her and my dad takes the lead loses his step, goes knee first into the river, loses his shirt, camera underwater, and then i follow. His knee is throbbing and he's shirtless with now a probably broken camera. 
Meanwhile, the old lady is practically home. That's probably why they had teenage kid guides for 5 bucks that could take you to waterfall. 

Now soaking wet, it's on to Bromo. It is really a unique place. Beautiful green scenery and vegetables paddies, trees, fields, and winding roads through the mts. Then you get to this place and it just changes. It was cold and rainy, but at the same time like being in a desert.

(I was intrigued. These girls do all their work everyday to provide fodder for their 1 horse)

When my parents came to Sby it was a reunion of sorts. Back in October there was a trip to US with a bunch of Indonesian friends. So they wanted to take my parents out for seafood. Twice. It was good. So good. But to much. Way to much. 

So it starts with shrimp, 3 or 4 plates. Then shells with spicy sauce. Then broiled fish, then bbq fish. Then fried fish, then squid, then 3 spicy crabs, veggies, and rice, and then more fish. Oh my word. THANKS! 

(Good food, good laughs, good people)

The more dense, populated, and polluted a city becomes, the more you need the occasional trip outside of it.  It was a random friday and I wanted to get away, and see if there were any english speakers a few hours out of the city. Actually out our window you can see a mountain range on some days, and not see it for a few weeks again. That range has some beautiful waterfalls, rice paddies, hot springs, and other nature. 

On the drive for some peace and serenity; suddenly you stop because history is staring you in the face. A good time to take a step back and think of the past and think of the future. 

(Yes, population wise; Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. You will see relics of forgotten empires spread throughout the archipelago.)

Now when I arrived, what to do? Whatever you want. I had a list to do that day. Top 2? Smile and breathe...

(Just needed to get away; rewarded with a rainbow)

(And; Nature's Massage)

So after swimming in a waterfall you need some lunch. I found a once 5 star hotel now a shadow of it's former self. The menu had a whole bunch of western food. I was shocked to see a calzone so I ordered one.  Although I was the only one there, they said it would take them 45 minutes. No problem. I wasn't in a rush. 

(Go swim in the pool while awaiting a calzone..."Costansa? Where's my calzone?")

Not to far from the mts is Malang. Malang is a small group in East Java that doesn't have any native speakers yet; although it has many Universities and people who speak English. Since were the closest congregation, we need to help support them for Public Talks. 

For the week of the special talk, I gave it in our congregation here in Surabaya. I get a phone call on Saturday that the speaker is sick and can I fly to Jakarta to give it the next day. So I give it twice in English. The following week I have to give it in Sign Language. I will say, the longer without Sign Language the quicker you forget. It was tough to give. 

Now when the talk is finished I'm sitting there and get a text message from Malang (2+ hours away). "Hey Tom, look forward to your coming!"
UH OH! It wasn't confirmed, now there expecting a talk. After a few phone calls, and noones available to drive or reschedule. I leave the sign langauge meeting early, I drive on my little 115cc moped to Malang. They do the WT first and I make it just in time. I probably had enough dust on me to sell a vacuum, but the drive was really nice and no traffic. 

(Only 30 minutes away from the public talk)

I have enjoyed snorkeling over the years. One of the things I have noticed is that you can briefly overview it or you can really get into it. That principle of taking time to really notice things and watch them helps to do it outside the water.

(Sometimes you have to see between the lines to find a hidden perspective - Spider Web between the rocks)

This is a place you just wanna come back to. Going over a bridge that's destroyed. Going though villages with people still wearing Javanese outfits and speaking the local language. Vegetable fields, fresh air, blue skies, and green, green green. On the path you had to hop skip and jump since it's not a official govt spot yet. Only locals know about it. That makes it all the better since you can still see nature with plastic cans and wrappers thrown around. 

(They were sleeping, they were flying, they made you imagine life with wings)

If you see Jakarta, you need to quickly see outside Jakarta. The Taman Safari is one of a kind. Laws, rules, out the window. Do what you want with the animals, let them in your car. 

(This guy didn't look aggressive or angry, he just wanted carrots. 10 points for every shot in his mouth)

Anyways, outside of the safari there are lots of other animals to see and enjoy. You need the time to enjoy the whole show. When you see the details in Jehovah's creation it never stops us from being amazed. 

(At first he looks quite scary, ready to attack, bite, claw, in the end; he's a work of art)

Sometimes I wonder if when people are being nice if theres a catch. In this case, hugging an elephant and feeding him carrots I was expecting them to have a charge. They explained to me that they need to feed Mandy (forget the name) some 200 kilos or more of carrots everyday. So me feeding them is no big deal.

(I was shocked how warm and fuzzy an elephant trunk could be. Although tremendous power, she knew how much to squeeze)

As mentioned before; Indonesian weddings are big. It feels like your a a convention. You see bethelites, co's, old friends, make new friends. All the while, get your food and get it fast. Why? Although Indonesians are modest and shy by nature, not at a wedding buffet line. They probably eat half of their weight on one plate. I didn't even know you could stack food that high. I made the mistake of forgetting I was at a wedding and not at someones house. I didn't fill my plate. I was hungry at the end of the night. Normally 30% more of whom you invite comes to the wedding. So food goes fast...

Another thing at Indonesian weddings is the fact that the women in the bridal party and the bride themselves look like queens. The traditional dress, the makeup, the accessories, the gold, it's amazing. On a day-to-day basis you don't see women with much makeup. Weddings, wow. 

(Guess which one is the single guy?)

After a wedding it was time for a painfully joyous road trip with a friend serving in Guam. You get thrown into Indonesia when you hop on a local bus, eat food on the street, and not knowing where your going. Tod did a good job. He and I were rewarded for our actions by seeing waterfalls, hot springs, meeting local friends, eating local foods, and whatever came along. 

(You know your a tourist when...)

Along the roads in and around Java you gotta keep your eyes open. Case in point people breaking the law. It's funny how here the perception is that if you have religious garb on your head it makes the 'helmet law' obsolete. If your a kid and you need to get somewhere, you can just hop on a bike; whether you know how to drive or not. Point is, keep your eyes open, camera ready, and never be surprised. 

(If you don't look fast you may miss a purple phantom and two 13 year old smoking on a bike)

(I think you can find room for one more bunch of bananas)

I always gotta keep a hat on my head for obvious reasons. {So my mom doesn't say I- told-you-so when I get skin cancer} 

I would recommend Batu Raden in Central Java as a clean place to take your hat, sunglasses, and whatever else you want to do to relax. 

(A hat has many, many, functions)

I still have decades of things to see here in Indonesia, but this was definitely going down as one of the best. At the slope of Mt. Salvation is this place. It comes from the underground volcano. It pushes itself up and becomes a waterfall. Imagine your bathing in extremely hot sulphuric water. A little too hot, so you go down a bit. Now your at a waterfall with a little cave. From here you can just lay there and get a massage. You can take some grounded down sand from the ash and clean your skin. From there you climb down a bit more and now your bottom half of your body is in cold mountain river water and your top half in the same hot water. 

(Enters my top 5 places in all Indonesia)

So we get back, all soft and gooey from the hot waterfall. Then we find the local brothers are waiting for us. Now, here's a great language story. 

I text message the brother saying saya tak bw hp. (I don't bring my phone in Indonesian) In local Javanese saying tak - the shortened form of tidak/no means not that you don't bring it, but you do. I get back with 11 missed calls and like 20 message. 

So they tell us they don't want us to leave because they have a young people party that night with all the young people coming over. Now they want to interview me and Tod. Until then they want us to rest if that's ok. I said, i'm sorry we want to explore. He said, well,,, I have a village nearby with 9 deaf RV's and apparently there is a waterfall there if you want to hike to it. 
I said: "best of both worlds, preach and see nature.  SURE! 

(On a walk-on a rice paddy-on a day-on a moment-in a life) 

After seeing a deaf boy, walking through the rice paddies we travel through an old dutch water plant that takes the water from the mountain to supply the city. Then, your in the jungle. Once in the jungle we are off the path. There was an old 74 year old man as our guide. 

It takes 2+ hours of hiking through jungle to get there. On the way back it starts to rain, and rain bad. When we get back to the house we talk to the old man's wife and grandkids who tell us stories and give us tea. 

Apparently it only takes the girl 1 hour to walk there. Not only that, but apparently we were the first ever white people to go to that waterfall. Unless your from that village noone goes, nor does anyone know. 

Was pretty neat to be in the year 2014 and be the 'first' to see something in Indo. 

(History was made... yet, it's really anticlimactic. Although this is probably the first picture on the internet)

So we had this great time with the young people in Purwokorto. We interviewed Tod in English and I signed it into BISINDO. Then they voiced it into Indo. All were encouraged. Ironically they became an official Sign Language group last week. Then a long train ride at 1am. A wrong bus, then we hitch hiked. 

This was classic. We trying to hitch hike since no buses are around. We finally got picked up by a young couple in an old Toyota Kijang. The car was an old diesel and stalled on us twice. So Tod and I had to walk out the car with Tod's bag and meet them at the top of the hill. Nothing like it. 

We stopped and ate rabbit on a stick with fresh strawberries and ginger tea. The couple got quite a witness. 

(Wasn't so bad having to walk out of the car for a few hundred meters) 

Our destination was this town in the mountains with this beautiful blue lake. The Jogja English cong was helping to preach with public witnessing in this town.  We made it and starting preaching right away. It just starts with hello. 

(How are you? I'm fine Mister. Please come here, I have something for you)

We took Tod and some of our new foreign need greater's to a spot for white water rafting. The locals use this river for life. The smart business men make up eco tourism. Us? While preaching at a East Java tourism show at a mall  I got a special discount of $13.00 for a 3 hour ride with lunch and snacks. 

(We used the river for adventure, the locals for bathing, washing, and doing their doody)

We laughed, made jokes about the French and Americans, and of course chuckled seeing all the old men and fat ladies bathing down stream and using the bathroom in the river. 

(What would you do after drinking Milk, Egg, Honey, Ginger with a fried yam snack)

Since we only became a congregation back in January, there still are a lot of firsts. One sister in our hall asked if she could bring her staff. She did, brought 20 some people. I went to a University on Sunday and just took one of the invitations and posted it on the info board for the students. A girl came up and asked what was it about.  I explained and herself and her sister both came although from a different main religion. 

(1st English memorial in Surabaya) 

For many years now I have had the privilege of buying the memorial wine. Normally bring it home and enjoy it. Not this year. I noticed a lot of giggles, smiles, and laughs by the friends. 
Why? Wine gone. 

(Is a memorial selfy allowed?)

Surabaya seems to be known for one thing- HOT. To be honest, I think Batam was hotter. Or maybe my blood has thinned out and I'm more use to Surabaya? I don't know. I used to be drenched with sweat in Batam. Maybe because here were always in malls? I don't know.

But, recently it was hot. I wouldn't change it though. The skies were SOOOO blue. You could see the mountains crystal clear all the way from the island of Madura. But it was hot. 

(This is after dropping a couple. It was over 115 at max)

Sunday mornings are our big preaching day. I can't say enough about CFD (car free day). It's a circus every sunday a.m. before it get's hot. :) We have monkey's on motorbikes, we have falcons and owls flying around.There's people giving massages, theres political campaigns, specials on drinks, dancing, soccer,  we have a whole bunch of things. ;)

(I'm not a McD fan, yet still has A.C. and clean bathrooms. It's a good place for a svc group)

The local animal groups love to promote their animals at the CFD. It's never a dull moment. 

(You see that? It's someone who speaks English)

(Is that Daniel Boone promoting mammal's rights? No he's just a sidewalk massage therapist)

We also see at CFD people campaigning for issues. These college kids always are selling, buying, promoting. So it's easy to come up to the groups and present a issue that may interest them. 

(June 1st magazine- Smoking. Food at the Proper Time? I think not?!?)

How do you get around? 

(If only there was a engine on this thing...)

Were up to 19 local language activities here in Indo. On jw.org there are memorial outlines to download in languages I have never heard of. In Javanese we are Seksi Seksi Yehuwa. :) 

(What language do you speak? Fingers, and hands...hmmm not sign language!)

While walking around I noticed a bunch of kids with the Tetragrammaton written on the shirt sleeve. HUH? In the middle of a park for a Sunday school lesson? Easy preaching. 

(I know it's hard to see, but if you zoom in on the kids shirts you will see the Tetragrammaton) 

While walking along one week I started preaching to this family. It turns out they had studied with practically every missionary who had ever been in Surabaya. 

(You know the truth, good. Wanna do it?)

I'm not at the cart much because I can never get there for 7 a.m. Too many people say Hello Mister on the way to the stand from where I bike. If they say Hello, they may speak English. By the time I'm at the cart it's 7:45. So when I do get to  the cart people always want to say hi. 

(Mr. Shitzu meet Mr. Tom)

The new arrangement of 30 hours of auxiliary pioneering helps so many to take part in this exciting work. We had our CO visit Cris and Andrea come and visit Surabaya. That enables a meeting with all our Aux. Were getting good support, new rv's and studies, and the friends are following the lead. 

(The annual pioneer meeting had around 75% of our congregation) 

After the meeting we invited everybody up. Were on a apt on the 17th floor. Provided we have a breeze to cool down over 30 people. It was a nice time. The tough thing is feeding everybody. So what to do? Order a whole suckling pig... 

(The meeting in the ping pong room,  the smiles everywhere, the pork nearly disappeared...)

I of course have a good time in the ministry here. A Muslim missionary man who is also a fortune teller and does some work for politicians. He has his own branch of Islam and carries around a magical sword for protection. He came to a meeting sang the song, and even put money in the contribution box. I have a few other young chinese men who just soak up the scriptures. After one heard about paradise he went home yet couldn't sleep that night. He prayed we would meet again for the next study for understanding... It goes on and on... 

Although the ministry is almost always good, sometimes life kicks you around here. The James family had it all happen and need to write a book about their Indonesian experiences. Immigration, police, malaria, misdiagnosis, misunderstandings, broken promises, mold, moving, in-laws, lost items, etc, etc...

(Miss you James family, was great to have you!!!)

In the ministry we sometimes travel out and about in the area to see if theirs interest. We went on a holiday to the mts to go preaching. So nice to have 3 car groups go. You go door to door with areas that haven't been preached to. I was offered a nice rice paddy field to buy with a stream near-by. We talked to a poor village family with a house on stilts that you was afraid was going to tip over. 

(Avel our 7 year old has his presentation locked down. For people it's hard to reject when his confidence is sky-high)

During the ministry it was time to preach where the tourists were. While the sisters were preaching, the boys were getting a massage. 

(Brothers that bathe together, stay together??? )

We also have to preach to the island of Madura. There's millions of people here and only 1 group.  We went there recently for preaching during a holiday. It was very successful. Found some young men and woman who really wanted to discuss spiritual things. We of course went to a famous Broiled Duck restaurant. The lines are super long, the taste is super good!!! 

(View on the bridge back to reality. You can notice the mts and city in the background)

In and around Surabaya preaching in the malls there are always festivals and shows. One day after a bible study in the mall, someone yells out "Hello Mr. Tom." It turns out he is a professor who I had talked to before a few times. He goes in between two cities for work. We had a nice conversation and him and all his staff took his magazines.  He is a historian who knows the history of East Java. 

(Hello Mr. Tom, huh? Umm, yes)

At the same festival for East Java tourism they had a traditional dance and music show. These girls practice, practice, practice. It was easy to give a bunch of high schoolers a witness. 

(I still don't understand Indonesian's shyness when a group of 7 girls can dress up like men, dance in front of an audience of hundreds, yet get off stage and be a totally different person. Which is the actor?)

(Here's a clip or two of what they did)

Some C.O. that I met in Germany 10 years ago had my email. I still don't know who he is. He gave my email to a couple of German brothers traveling around Indonesia. They joined us for service, joined us for beer, and had a general great time. 

They got thrown into the fire with our typical 10 hour service day on Wednesday's. For them it was amazing as so much interest, and so many people to talk too. 

That night for dinner they took our picture. The manager of the restaurant wanted to take our picture too. No problem, but give us a voucher. They did, and our pioneer sisters enjoyed their pizza and ice-cream the next week. 

(Sometimes you forget were in a spiritual paradise, then random events bring it back)

While in the ministry I suprised Gio with a famous German buried in Surabaya. Who? Adolf Hitler. It was hilarious as it's a sort of tourist attraction. We placed tons of tracts on hellfire, hope for the dead and other tracts in Javanese. 

The funniest bit was having a tour-guide to walk to a grave site. Literally walk on graves to get there. Even better was the locals pulling up the weeds on Hitler's grave. They also hang their laundry over the fence. After giving a witness and them taking tips, Gio did some research. In fact it seems to be possibly one of Hitler's body doubles that in fact died in Surabaya. History shows that the Vatican got this body double the Visa for Indonesia...

(Judge for yourself, but makes an interesting read. Google Hitler Surabaya) 

Not  everyone is to bothered with history. Most are concerned with having a job. Here in indo, advertising and pictures are cheap and easy. It's also amazing what these kids can do. 

(How many indo boys does it take to frame a picture of a pretty girl?)

Other foreigners that have come by to visit Indonesia. One my sister, another Eli who grew up 20 minutes away. Eli and Jordan thinking of the Bali bliss, but not before our last Special day in Jakarta. Jordan and I got some good Indian food, and good association. 

They both said something interesting I hadn't thought about. When you meet hundreds of new people you don't know in a short period of time = exhaustion. It's been so many years of doing that in Indo that I always wondered why you are wiped at the end of the day. That's a huge factor.

Indonesia just had the first and last S.A.D. in Japanese and Mandarin with both attendance around 150+/-. There are a lot of Japanese workers and retirees in Jakarta and Bali. I thought it was special for our Japanese missionaries, Bethelites, need-greaters finally got their own convention. They need help. For the Mandarin language they plan to recruit speakers from Taiwan and Singapore for future speakers at conventions.

(Meet a lot of people?)

Tthe S.A.D had 485 were in attendance. It's starting to become like Ecuador and D.R. was years ago. Foreigners from all over coming to help the field. Probably we will never get as many as those countries because of the VISA situation and many are reluctant about S E Asia. Those who do though are certainly blessed. One Aussie brother in Bali has 25 Bible Studies. He linked over 50 bible studies from one student. He tells them if they don't prepare by writing one paragraph review of the previous weeks study then the study stops. There's too much interest. 

That night we met up Simon and Mel who had just seen my sister on the same flight. Nothing like getting together in Jakarta. Although pollution and overcrowding unfortunately ruin Jakarta's fine reputation, there are highlights. Culinary, history, museums, malls, and spots that you couldn't touch in Paris, New York, or LA. 

(A must see in Jakarta...top of the building downtown at BCA)

Jordan needed to test out the waters in Bali. At the convention she met a family who I had met before at the meeting in Bali. Of course, we knew some of the same people in California and in Laos.  One morning at breakfast they started to tell this story-

A young woman in North Carolina who went to Mexico had 2 kids, got contacted with the truth, wanted to do the truth but was wanted by authorities in US. She had to turn herself in to authorities back in NC in order to make progress spiritually.  But it meant the kids would go to child protective services unless someone took the kids in. Pretty touch choice.  This family who adopted/took in temporarily the two girls were the family in Bali for 2 months with their 3 biological children. 

I interrupted them saying, "HEY, I know this story! I remember saying to myself that it is so kind and loving for that witness family to take in 2 random kids. It was one of the exp from a email from Weldon I receive that really stood out and touched my heart." Well, let's just say the story isn't over on this one. 

(Love- cannot be completely defined)

Anyways, proof that this family is giving is they paid for this house but checked out with a day left on the contract. They gave the villa to myself, my sister, another sister and the CO and his wife for a special chef's dinner who they paid to come. The next morning banana pancakes, bacon, and fried rice. weren't even around but still giving... 

(Andrea doing her bible study over skype at the empty villa)

Last week celebrates the 10 year anniversary mark when Jakarta became the first SL group in the country. Every-time I think i'm out of sign, i still get pulled back in for a bit. While there in Bali a sister in the English met a deaf student, and the next day I had a presentation at a deaf school with some 50-75 kids in the classroom. 1. Control Emotions (Prov 17:14)  2. Don't Gossip (Matthew 5:25)  3. Avoid Problems (Prov 22:3). I thought the teacher was watching me, or I would have taught some other simple Bible truths. I found out later the teacher was sending text messages and smoking a cigarette. 

Sign Language is still doing it's thing. 8 congregation, 17 group, and 15 sign translation spots. Finally after many years, the SL Regional Convention is at it's own place and time in September. Much after Ramadan (Muslim fasting month) and other Indonesian conventions. Should be a big crowd. They translate even talk outlines now in Indo Sign. 

(jw.org kiddies)

Again, like I mentioned before, if in Bali, you gotta see a sunset. How about a rooftop bar with good people, and new friends. Only way to leave...

(Wherever you are there is something to champion)

Although we have faith the sun sets everyday, there are a lot of factors for seeing it in Surabaya. First, it's not often that I"m home around sunset time. Here it sets around 5:30. Second, there has to be a clear sky. Third it has to be angled just right from the building were in.   

(View from my apt window. When the rain stops the sun shines)

The Regional has already come and gone. It was fast-moving, action packed, video friendly, and spriitually motivating. Since we have so many missionaries in and around English now we had 25% of all missionaries attend this convention. 

It was a priv to be interviewed on the first part on friday about the joys of full time service and why we made that choice. A big laugh from the Audience when Rick and I were annouced as a couple. More like Jonathan and David. 

(Back stage view of the interview. Rick has got tons of field experience)

The problem is there is never enough time to talk, catch up, or meet new ones. Your busy trying to keep up with friends. There were people from 29 different nationalities with over 700 in attendance. It's growing all the time. We had the nice announcement that our next circuit assembly will be in Bali and then in Bandung. 

(New friends, old friends) 

(Where everybody is your friend)

One highlight was the new meeting for those desiring to go to KES. We had 55 in attendance. It was funny as since it was a new meeting for everyone the Branch Comm member read certain requirements twice. As certain people realized they didn't qualify you heard ohhh, and hahahaha knowing certain ones couldn't attend. 

(Oh well, I don't qualify, but it was nice to see who does)

On dinner Sunday night after the program one of the sisters said so what do you want to do in paradise? It's right out of a demo on Sunday morning. What a question to ask. With such a wide variety of people in the room it opened up to a wide variety and encouragement of answers. 

(I wanna...)

One night we were invited out to dinner with a good friend and his family. He works in a high position for Adidas Indonesia. It was treat to be invited out with them for an expensive Italian dinner. Well the next day while driving in the heart of the country I see a protest. Who?

(Adidas slave labor - Adidas steals from us- Adidas blah blah blah. That was great brochette!!!)

Here  in Jakarta the branch has moved into it's new home on the 31st floor skyscraper. It's a similar set-up with Hong Kong bethel, but each bethel room has it's own laundry machine. They still have some things to work out, but it seems to be going well. A month or so ago was the first opening day with food delivered from a kitchen bethel outside bethel. From their apt to office they walk through a 5 star mall. You also have bethelites who are I believe the 'highest' in the world some 40+ stories up in their apt. 

Our roommate Tas was a 'causality' in this busy change. Not in a bad way, but from his assignment in Surabaya. It's encouraging to hear so many who are pulled into Bethel service from the miss field all say how much they love and miss the field. From the time I came to the time he moved out was only about 10 days in a period of 1 year. 

(Great to live with you Tas! Never had a argument, missing food, or loss of food!)

In the last post I mentioned about the English village in Pare. I can't talk enough about the great ministry it is here. In a few hours we placed over 300 magazines. Kids come right up to you once they see you talking with a fellow student. Then they all ask; please can I have one. I was able to place 100 magazines that day not including a 1 hour Bible Study with a Muslim history teacher. They just keep asking when you coming back?

One man received our magazines and we pointed to the JW.ORG website. From there 2 other sisters went to some business and found a young man on the website. They asked him how he knew about it? He replied his friend had recently pointed out the website on these magazines he just saw. He asked "How do I get someone to follow up with?"

(Some of the students)

(The Teachers are Entertaining as Well)

This is the fourth time we went to the fish restaurant. Every-time the staff wants to take pictures with us. 

(OK. You can take some. Discount on the bill?)

(Some new need greaters here in Indo)

On the 4 hour drive home we stopped at my rv. We went door to door trying to find him. We had the address but that's usually useless. You need the name. Turns out he owns a big club. 

(It was a long service day, nothing like finishing it a bible study while singing  Karaoke)

We also recently starting sharing the good news at Universities. We just conducted the first session on "Why and How to Study." The students liked it. All the info came from our publications. Hopefully we can get it going at other places.

(Mr. Tom and Ms. Gloria sharing with the ESS Club)

Well that's a little bit of the Java Groove. So many other stories and happenings that I can't keep up. I hope all is well where ever you are and where ever your groove is going.  It wouldn't be a post if I didn't end it with a sunset or two. 

(Just for guesses, but what do you think the sound of the machine guns?)