Friday, July 31, 2009


A very pregnant cat at a fabric store she's always sleeping on that same bag.

While I am NOT pregnant, this is how I feel, totally wiped out!! I have been sick for two days and had to miss two days of school. When you only have 20 days per unit, two days is a big deal! I am writing to ask for your help in talking to the CEO for health to be restored quickly and for extra grace during our testing on Tuesday, those verbs are killers!

One the upside, while this is no dengue fever, I have made it through a significant sickness and survived. I say this because while I was interviewing for this position my consultant said, "Justine, I mean when you are hugging the toilet and holding onto the sink to keep yourself steady, you have to know that you were called here for a reason and be willing to stay." Well, like I said, it wasn't life threatening, but I made it and without feeling like bailing! Small victories are still victories, my friend! Campbell and Marshall got sick as well although thankfully not as severely. Barry said (with a mischievous smile) that "old" people take sicknesses harder.........thanks Barry!! :(

So please remember us as we test at noon (our time) Tuesday! Thanks for being there and caring, you will never know how much it means to us!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Sad Day

As we arrived at school today we began our daily exercise of chatting about how we are doing. Everyday we are asked, "Apa kabar?", to which we usually reply, "baik baik saja", if we are good. Or "capai sedikit" if we are a little tired. We likewise asked our Pelatih how he was and instead of "good", he replied, "sedih". Then, when he says a word that he thinks we may not know yet, he says, "mengerti sedih?" (do you understand). When we say, "belum" (not yet) he says, "In Ingris (English) it means to be sad." So we said, "Mengapa sedih?" (Why are you sad) He informed us that another one of our Pelatihs, Pak "T", passed away earlier this morning. We never had a chance to have Pak "T" because he worked with the higher units, but he often spoke in chapel or played the guitar while the Pelatihs sang. In fact, a week ago it was Barry's turn to read from the Manual in chapel and he felt impressed to read Isa. fifty three : four through seven, and after that Pak "T" got up to speak and he said how he had not spoke to Barry about his topic but since they were of the same heart and Spirit, those verses went perfect with his message! He was a great teacher with a quiet, kind, and gentle spirit about him. His presence and smile will be greatly missed. I love that we will get to see him again one day and you who know the CEO will get to meet him!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a group of people can bond especially when they are "like-minded"! I already feel like the Pelatihs and the other students are my home away from home. There is such a sweet spirit in the school and every one of those Pelatihs have a kind graciousness to them, and they love the CEO, you can't help but like them!

Classes today stopped at 11 and every student and worker from our school carpooled over to Pak "T's" home for the viewing and to show our respect. I love that they did that, relationships take priority over everything in this country. Here they place the casket, large enough for a body, not big like ours, in the home and people come by, placing money as a gift to the family in a large ballot type box and visit the family. All the while neighbors set out chairs for the visitors to sit in out in the yard and offer you a cup of water while thanking you for coming. I ache for his wife and children. He was a widower who recently remarried in December. He was only 46 years old. Please talk to the CEO and intercede for his family and friends who are grieving.

So may this remind us to live each day as though it were our last could be. What did you do today that mattered and will last through eternity? Something to ponder.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thoughts I've Had and Things I Think

It has occurred to me that it has been a while since I have shared some struggles and obstacles that seem to come at the oddest times and can make adjusting to life here seem hard.

For instance, beggars. They warned us that we would need to come to terms with how we would handle seeing them constantly and in turn handle their different requests. They told us we would see so many that it would seem overwhelming and we needed a plan. Now, from the day we got to our new home we have had a steady stream of people coming by to ask us for money, many of them are there simply because word got out that new foreigners moved in we are fresh meat (so to speak). Fortunately we had friends who were able to point out the career ones who tell lies just to get money. They are the con-artists.

What I am talking about today are the "real" beggars. The blind lady in front of the bread store. The man without legs outside of the electronic store. The disfigured man who sits on the edge of the road that leads to the market. The small frail lady with no teeth who lays across the steps to a grocery store. We have found a way to respond that we feel honors the CEO, yet it is impossible to describe what we feel like as we pass them, carrying out our purchases. Our children are also aware of what the CEO says in regards to caring for the poor, it has been thoroughly discussed and still I can find no good answer to the question, "Why aren't more people giving to take care of them?"

Mind you, the average person in Machiatto earns 20,000RP a day, that is $2.00 (two dollars) U.S. Just from taking a walk down the street you realize there really is little hope of something more to aspire to for the majority of them. Life is hard, and most work very hard and barely earn a living. Recently a native friend came over for tea and he and his wife asked to look at our photo album I said sure and handed him the four inch thick book as I explained how that was all I could bring because of our luggage limit. They often smiled at the silly photos, then we noticed them shaking their heads at some in disbelief. They asked about all the land (of which they have none) that surrounded our home and the spread of food on our holiday table. It was hard for them to comprehend, and I felt embarrassed. I have never felt embarrassed by any of those things before, but at that moment compared to the life of my new friends it seemed awkward. As they left they said they would like to have us over and I said we would love to and we could see their pictures, and he said, "Well, we only have a few". I then shrunk to the size of my album.

I will learn to speak while keeping both of my feet on the ground instead of one in my mouth but my culture and experiences are so different from theirs that I find when I respond the way I normally would it doesn't fit. Then I find myself mulling over what could have been said, or should have been said and can feel a little lost. It is an odd place to be because being an American to them equals having wealth, and compared to them it is true even in our case in which using American standards we do not.
My trainer at language school the other day was shocked when in the discussion on hospitals I mentioned how costs were out of control, he thought Americans had the best health care and that it was free! He was talking about how you have to wait so long to be seen in the ER here, and (putting my foot in my mouth once more) I say, it's the same in America, sometimes you have to wait hours, to which he replied, "Oh, we have to wait days and they still might not choose to treat you." OUCH!! So much for trying to find common ground!
Just a little glimpse into a struggle that we find ourselves wrestling with every so often. It truly is amazing how for all the differences in our lives we have been able to find commonality with the people here. Somethings just cross all boundaries and two unlikely friends become friends. I find it to be a beautiful thing. Thank you for remembering us to the CEO, stay in the Manual, and please talk specifically about language school, Unit 2 is proving a little tougher and we have struggled with the grammar. We test in a week and a half to go to Unit three and we are not feeling too confident at the moment. Thanks for reading this mindless rambling! You guys are the best and I love hearing from you!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Me and my Bali :)

Okay so here are more pictures than you probably have time to see! The CEO was good to us. We had a great time at our FAMS meeting getting to know everyone from our region. The kids made a lot of new friends and enjoyed VBS, thank you HBC, Plano TX!! They made cute dresses to give to the little girls and also gave away their cool Bali tees. The fellowship time and music was sweet and refreshing. They also had a Camp MIKI night with a slideshow! Very cool!
The next week was our vacation and we milked it for all it's worth. Many thanks to a dear friend who padded our account so we could enjoy a few extras! Enjoy!!

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A picture is worth a thousand words

I'm not sure this is the best post to start with but since it was the last picture it goes. Often here in "Machiatto" you get very excited when you see a western toilet. In case you don't they use something that we foreigners refer to as a "squatty potty". I have no idea what it's real name might be. Basically it is a ceramic hole in the ground usually with a grated tile on each side on which to place your feet. You then pour water from a conveniently placed bucket and flush it away. They also have this spray hose thing that is supposed to be used instead of toilet tissue but I am not even going there right now......I just don't get it!

Anyway, to the people here, wet means clean. Now to you and I, wet in a bathroom means something else entirely. We never think that it is just water, no, it is water and, we are sure, something else! So while you are excited to find a western toilet you are almost immediately dismayed to find that it is all, and I mean all, wet because they have cleaned it. Or you will find foot prints, wet foot prints, on the toilet seat because they are accustomed to squatting. Therein lies the reason for the sign. I am all for education!

This is just another glimpse into the areas of change that we are learning to embrace. So we always carry tissue and we love that they have signs to help people understand the concept! More to come............and after this one I'm sure you can't wait! Ha

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


"I hang my children as art."  Yes, those words came out of my mouth in class.  What I was trying to say was that I hang my children's art, this whole sentence structure thing will be the death of me!!  But since we are on the topic of crazy sayings, I am going to share with you some "Haddonisms".  That child can say some of the funniest things without trying!!  So in honor of her sixth birthday.........

" That slide is freaky, but I don't mind all the freakiness!" (about a big water slide in Bali)

"I really want people to know me as being "kindful". (answer to a question in devotions)

"Hey, did God put salt in this water? What'd he use, a shaker?" (Bali, after falling in the ocean)

My brain is too tired to recall more at the moment, but she, like all of the kids, is a huge blessing and I couldn't imagine life without her.  Her constant dancing, sense of humor, and silliness all add spice to our lives.

I still have a lot to say but will save that for when our own laptop is back up and running, right now I am borrowing one.  Pictures of our trip to Bali and my birthday will be coming soon, hopefully next week!  We had a wonderful time at our meeting, the "business" from Texas was a blessing to our family and our colleagues by doing VBS for the kids and in leading our time of "fellowship".  Please continue your prayers, I have missed being in contact with you all and can feel the distance more acutely without access to a computer!  We love you guys!!