Sunday, July 05, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Surabaya

And just like that, it's goodbye to Surabaya. One day your in the routine, the next day you get a email and life changes. You start as strangers, but you leave as friends and family.

I'm sure many of us have moved. It's said to be one of the most stressful things people experience. More then being stressed out, I looked it this time as finish strong and finish with a smile.

(Probably the best roommate I have ever had. Will miss Rick to be sure.)

In the miss apartment we always, always, had people coming through. It seemed a day didn't go bye without someone or something happening. The pool at evening was great. The lights, the cool water swim before bed bring a smile to me even now thinking about it. The breeze that brought a chill through the home. Service groups at the homes, meetings with brothers, shepherding calls. So many nice memories in the home. Yet, it was always the people.

(It wasn't like the sunsets in Batam, but when Surabaya was just right, the skies were priceless)

Before it was time to leave, I received a unexpected invitation was to take the Accelerated Language Course. This class is being done around the world to help teach methods to brothers to teach languages faster to help in the spreading of the good news. I took the secular class 11 years ago, and I remember learning about my own brain and laughing a lot. This time I laughed so much I got headaches. VERY ENJOYABLE. What a privilege. 

(The happy crew, ready, set smile!)

According to our instructor, we had the most students ever from a sign language background. That made me say a quick prayer of thanks to Jehovah. Time really does take care of so much. Why? Go back and read some of these posts from 8, 9 years ago. Jehovah's hand. WOW. 

(It's amazing to think that we really do try to reach people in every tribe, language, tongue)

(Finishing the class with a song, the best way to go!)

Song 142 - Searching for People of All Sorts. Using the Junk playing around to play spiritual treasures. 

Another big thing on the agenda here in Indonesia after the Branch Dedication, Memorial, was the Headquarters representative. This was the first time it was arranged to be streamed. So with a lot of effort we arranged for it at a sister's home in the congregation. 

One experience that people talked about was an experience from Africa that Br. Breaux related. A brother was so poor that he couldn't afford shoes. He wanted to look good for Jehovah, so he came up with an idea. See the picture below. 

(His decision led to a little thing that can change people's lives forever)

A lot of good reports from Bethel including that every year Indonesia plans to have 2 schools for Kingdom School for Evangelizers. It also plans to have even more RTO"s in more local languages. It was brought out as well that we need to have more young people reach out and be used. They are Indonesia's future. 

(Largest connected gathering in Indonesia's history-29,000+. Here is our cong at Stephanie's home )

In the meantime some visitors have come. One German brother wanted to see Indonesia and the potential to serve here. So in and around Surabaya there are some nice places to get some fresh air. 

(There is nothing like a place to read when this is your view)

Many are told, DON'T eat street food. Don't eat what the local people eat. In some cases that's definitely true. The thing is though, you would definitly miss some fresh vegetables you can't find in a supermarket in America. You can also eat some meat with unique sauces. 

(Then of course lunch for $.75 with a priceless view)

Good friends Cris and Andrea came to do the C.O. Visit as well as a 'special pioneer' week. A few times they had wanted to see Mt. Bromo but it hadn't worked out. Now it was finally time. You have to leave really early. 3:00 a.m. or so to get up to a area that is really cold, yet provides you with a glimpse of the viewpoint from the heavens. 

(Tons of people, lot's of noises and people, but still a beautiful way to start the day)

Toursim has many good faces as well as bad. This has become one of the bad. Really crowded with a lot of people trying to sell things. Some unfortunately throw their trash. The most hilarious part to me were the people taking selfies. The selfies were not the problem. In reality the problem was they take selfies with not the mountain, sunrise, or volcano in the background, but only of themselves. 

(Taking it all in, but- (edited sound because in reality everyone was chatting killing the moment)

Not to far from Mt. Bromo is Java's Madakaripura. The government stepped up and put a walkway. That's nice considering last time I was here my dad fell in the river losing his shirt, turning his knee and getting the camera soaked. It's nice to now have a easy way to a really breathtaking waterfall. 

(Java's largest waterfall puts me in my place like a little guppy in a big ocean)

We did a lot of preaching that week. In the mix were meals, studies, and local tourist spots. One of the spots is the Transportation Museum. It really seems like a collection of antique cars that some a bunch of friends got together to store and make some money.

(Is this China? Is this Singapore? It's a remake of 75 years ago, but in Java)

Back in the congregation we enjoyed the part that I think every congregation in the world enjoyed- interviewing young people on who is their favorite Bible Character. Two of the boys pictured here are studies of mine. The third one on the right said this. "My favorite character is Samson." Why? "Because he's strong like my dad." -His dad is the one giving the part. :)

(The part enjoyed around the world)

Surabaya is famous for a few things. Unfortunately one of it's claim to fame is the smoking orangoutang. He's part of the worlds worst rated zoo's. It's called the Death Zoo. After years of hearing how bad it is, we decided to check it out for ourselves. It wasn't even near how bad I thought it was going to be, and for $1.25 for the entrance fee, you can't really complain.   

(Instead of chain smoking, he now just begs for snack food)

Another animal 'tragedy' that many organizations complain about is the treatment of monkey's. I would agree the chain around the neck is rough. Maybe the NGO's could give them a dog collar. In Jakarta a few years ago the practice was finally banned. So they of course just moved to different areas. They captured the monkey's and tried to bring them to the zoo's, but they wouldn't take them. They complained that the have rabies, etc so they wouldn't take monkey's. Just an idea, these monkey's have skills, and maybe could be used in schools to teach kids lessons.

(YOU MAY LIKE WATCHING- Humans are better decision makers than monkey's right?) 

There are other animals that are flying in the wild at all times of the day without anyone having time to take notice. But they are there. There always doing something. In fact I just sat down on the edge of a rice paddy at the border of the woods and counted about 20 different types of animals and insects all going about their daily business. 

(Small things make big things fly)

(All day, all the time, these things are happening without you and I even being aware of it)

(There are other animals that we have not even seen before. 5 seconds of dancing spiders)

I have had a random desire that popped up a few months ago. I want to ride a horse. If possible ride a horse on the beach. I had a scheduled talk in the island of Madura. Small, small congregation with a BIG BIG territory. There is an estimated 23 million Maduranese people and NO congregations in their language. One or two of the tracts will be released soon. So this congregation that I visited is actually a isolated group. It's always fun for me to give a public talk with
A. No shoes.
B. No jacket. 
C. Less than 20 people
D. Not in an official Kingdom Hall. 

After the talk we had some time to jalan-jalan "travel around." We went to a white sand beach in the middle of know-where but had thousands of people at the beach. Why? A contestant in Indonesian idol just happened to be from this village and was back campaigning for votes. 

(Ride um cowboy, ride um too ma'am. BTW- you gotta love all the motorbikes on the beach in the background. It was about 80cents for 10 minutes, but had to take about 10 minutes worth of pics.)

After the celebrity singer left it was a sunset time on the beach. I was the only one who went swimming in the ocean about his ankles. So nice having the Java sea for myself to play in.

(A moment in time, at the right place, time and light)

Before coming to Surabaya, Jakarta was the original to have the English congregation explosion. There was quite a bit of love stories that blossomed. My temporary former roomate Hans end up with a wonderful wife named Mari from Japan. Her dad Konno was in my service group. Konno's story of how he came in the truth is quite interesting. He was contacted while a student in Californina in the late 60's. He never forgot the kindness of the sisters. They arranged and paid for the subscription to the magazines in Japan. His wife read the magazines and she came in the truth. His daughters came in as well. He finally came in nearly 40 years later.

I used to have a good laugh with him. After years in the jungle sleeping with tigers, snakes, and jungle animals, he was living in the Four Seasons in Jakarta. Even with all the facilities, and amenities that 4 Seasons had to offer, he couldn't sleep anywhere near as good in a 5 star apt compared to the natural sleep in the jungle.

(Another Jakarta Love Story)

Indonesian wedding's are generally big, lavish, and lot's of rice. But there area always a few different things that each one offers. This wedding had violin's... 

(It was a titaniumesque wedding)

My old home in Batam needed some help. Needed a good cleanup, needed a new kitchen, to prepare to sell, rent, or whatever. Always interesting in Batam. Met some of my old Bible Studies. These guys are Muslim scholars, as well as serious Bible questions. Who is Gog of Magog, who is the antichrist, Greek words, Great Tribulation, Armageddon events. You know, the ususual. After that, you need a good sunrise. 

(Sunrise in Batam on a golf course, on a ocean, on a day in a moment in time)

Back in Jakarta for the R.C. And for the 2nd time the English convention was the first convention. You get to see old friends, new friends, hear encouraging stories, and get a big boost spiritually. One of the new features in many conventions is the make-up department. Yup, seeing that many programs are  recorded, use projects, you may need to look at the camera.  Well, you may need make-up.

(I needed a lot of make-up before going on camera)

The location for the convention was moved suddenly to downtown Jakarta. In preparation the night before many people went to go get a snack inside the mall. It's touching to me to see how many families have decided to move where the need is great. This family from Canada has decided to move their whole family to Indonesia and continue to work via online. The family is quite the riot including the littlest ones. The oldest daughter got baptized on that Saturday. We decided to draw some pictures of Bible characters and make a mind map out of it. 

(New Friends, tons of laughs)

I met Vladimir and his wife over 10 years ago in Bangkok English congregation. He's got a great story how he was a olympic athlete for Russia and gave up that life for the truth. 

(It's been years, but always nice to have a reunion)

If your in Jakarta, still the number 1 thing to do is the malls. They really are world class. Super expensive, super glamorous. The funny thing about these malls, is somewhere within walking distances are still really simple wooden shacks.

(Sometimes it's nice to see the obvious right in front or right above you)

Now we have caught back up to the present. Arriving back in Surabaya after the R.C. I find out I'm  being reassigned to Semarang. A big shock, but that's the way it goes. One of my last meetings one of my studies decided to come for the first time. He's a DJ, a thinker,  and always a really enjoyable study since we use mainly only the Bible. All three of these men come from the majority background here and have lot's of questions.

("Continue in the things learned and were persuaded to believe...")

The congregation threw a lovely going away party. With some pics, videos, stories, and of course some food. Two others, Rut and Steven will be heading to Evangelizers school. So it was goodbye for all of us. We really did become the SUBECO family.

(Bye, Bye Surabaya, it was great while it lasted. Never forget you...)

While I'm packing, arranging, and do all those things. I get a sms that I had a talk scheduled at Malang sign. After 2 years of being in Surabaya I finally visited the sign. It was really weird giving a talk in sign again. It was enjoyable as always to see the deaf participate in the meetings commenting. 

(Was a welcome back and preview to sign)

While in Malang, it was time to say good-bye to some of the English friends.  More and more foreigners are helping out in many ways. When you chat and joke about many of the same things it can form and instant bond.

(Goodbye to friends with a smile)

It seemed every time I went to Malang it was always a opportunity to see a waterfall. This time I gave my buddy Igor and Lisa a text. 
"Hey, how about a waterfall. 
"Yes let's see a waterfall on the beach!" 
"Your joking right? A waterfall on the beach? Absolutely!" 

(Some dreams are actually reality)

Just around the corner, this is the beach we went to... We also snorkled at a coral reef and eating fresh tuna sashimi that fishermen just caught. We bbq'd them up on the beach right there. So fresh. 

(When 1 dream isn't good enough, you receive a 2nd dream)

You have probably heard of an infinity pool. It makes you feel like your in Paradise. Being in the water and seeing the water all around you makes time just disappear. You can't tell where here begins and tomorrow ends. I can't thank Jehovah enough for this practically perfect ending to my 2 years in East Java. I have always imagined a house in Paradise having this type of set up.
1. Turquoise Ocean
2. Waves to surf in.
3. Mountains in the background.
4. A waterfall on the beach to wash off in, get a drink of water, while making electricity for my home.
- Who knew it actually existed and could come true- 

(This is gotta be one of the most unique spots on earth)

I conclude this post as the conclusion to a extremely beautiful chapter of life. The people your with, the place you sleep, the scenery you see may change... 
The food you eat, the ones you preach too, the streets you drive on may be different....
Yet, it seems things get better. 
The smiles are a littler wider, the joys are a little bigger, the understanding expands, the friendships get a little stronger, and the God we serve teaches us about him to else a little bit deeper...

Suwun Suroboyo - It's time for Semarang, Central Java Sign Language

(A fitting way to say goodbye to Surabaya)