Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Steak on a Stone, a Wreck, and a Wedding Outfit

With summer ending and schools all over the world getting back to business, "Folgers" is no different. People come and people go, but we especially like when people come! For us that means that the teachers from the school at the Oil Camp in town have returned and that makes life here more fun. Friendships are renewed, youth group starts up for the boys, and life falls back into a form of a routine. Our friends, John and Kathi G. who are teachers, recently returned from spending the summer in the States and invited us out to dinner. They took us to a hotel restaurant.  Barry and I had eaten there before, but we never knew they had such a fun meal on their menu. As we arrived Kathy said that if we liked steak then we had to try the "Australian Steak on a Stone." Then she told a story about a time that several teachers ordered it at one time and set off the smoke alarm!! LOL

Right away they seated the four of us as a table for 10.  Ten!  All of the tables had "reserved" signs on them so we asked if we could change to a table for four but they said no. By the time we left, all of the tables that seated four still had reserved signs on them and none were ever used...ahhh, such is life in Macchiato.  You quit trying to understand and just go with it, it will never make sense to you anyway.  It just is what it is.  The first thing they do after you place your order for the steak is to bring out a bib/apron for each person and tie it on you. SO FUNNY!! But trust....you need this as the steak on the stone will splatter you! Next they bring out the "stone" which is square and is hot enough to cook your raw steak and several veggies on. So you sit at your table and cook your steak to your liking and throw some of your veggies on and grill them as well.    Add to that some fantastic mashed potatoes and that, my friends, was one of the best meals I have had in over two years!  It was SO GOOD! We had a great time catching up, laughing as we cooked, splattering ourselves, and trying to figure out what all the sauces were.  Kathi, if you are reading this...a big THANKS again for such a great evening!  Here are some highlights:

Upon entering the hotel we were greeted with the gigantic Ramadan statue of a man reading the Quran

As we were being seated we heard the banging of this large drum which was to symbolize that the fasting for this day was over, "Buka puasa".

Barry and John looking dapper in their aprons!

The "Steak on a Stone" as it first comes out

Kathy, John, and Barry surrounded in smoke

We cracked up because Barry's steak came out in a wad, but it turned out great

Ta da!!  One perfectly cooked "Steak on a Stone!"

The stones in the aftermath, wish you could see all the splatters that were everywhere!

Obviously, I enjoyed my meal :)
Next, a few Sundays ago we were headed to services at the International church when the inevitable happened.  We knew it would happen one day and we knew that when it did it would not be fun or convenient.  We were right.  As we traveled down a very crowded road, made even more crowded by the people who were out preparing to break the fast that evening, a motorcycle ran into us from behind.  It was two ladies, and they hit us hard.  Both flew off the bike and flip flops and bags of produce, one being oranges, flew everywhere.  We immediately stopped and got out to check on them. 

Before I go on, I need to clarify a few things for you about the "rules" here when something like this happens.  First, no matter who is at fault, the person with the better vehicle pays.  I know what you're thinking, those are my thoughts exactly, but that is not how it is done here.  Secondly, if you are driving a car, you are expected to load up the injured in your car, take them to a hospital and pay their fees.  Lastly, when an accident happens you will often find yourself surrounded by a crowd, maybe friendly, maybe not.  The crowd being the numerous people on the street, buyers, sellers,
passersby-ers (?), etc. all of whom will have an opinion of whose fault it is and what you should do.

Oh, did I mention that Barry was to pre*ch that night?  Or did I mention that as we were about to walk out the door I noticed that my phone needed charging so I decided  not to bring it with me but leave it charging?  I didn't?  Well, that is an important part of this story because what I didn't know was that Barry was out of "pulsa" (minutes) and decided not to bring his phone thinking that I would have mine.  Ugh...not a good time to be without a phone!

So, back to the story.  The crowd immediately gets the driver and mover her off the road, she is obviously in a daze, her bell must've been rung, because they hit us without any use of their brakes.  This is not a road you can go fast on, it is really crowded.  We think she pulled out and just ran straight into the back of our van.  I am checking on the second lady, picking up oranges as I go.  Before I can even get my bearings, they have loaded these ladies in our car, with my kids, and telling us to go to the hospital.  By this time the ladies have their senses back.  We are trying to figure out where the closest hospital was they would like us to take them to, but we also need to let someone at the church know that we are running late and why.  So we asked if they would ride to our house (which was nearby) with us because we needed to call someone and explained our situation.  They reluctantly agreed, mind you, these are M*slim woman in a car full of uhm....us...and this is during their holy month where things in that department are a little tense, if you know what I mean.  So we get our phone, call the ch*rch and explain we will be late, and take them to the Sanders house so that we can have help negotiating the price.  Steve talks them down to about $45 USD,we pay it and then they decide to just go home and not the hospital, so Steve took them home so that we could get to ch*rch and he even shared Truth with them. :)  What else do you do with a captive audience?

If I am 100% honest, I had a bad attitude about this ordeal.  We were headed to the service, Barry needed to get into a mindset  to pre*ch and I was praying for the CEO to refocus his mind, to bind the enemy who tried to stop him, and also to get my attitude of resentment in check.  You see, I still struggle with my American mindset and my "rights" as I perceive them.  I have the right to say, "No, we won't pay you, this was your fault not ours.", or "No, that's a lie, we were not stopped when you ran into us, we were creeping along with the rest of the traffic on that road and you did not look and therefore rammed into us, damaging our vehicle.",  "When you hit from behind, you are at fault!"  And last but not least, "You want me to buy obat (medicine) for your busted lip?  Get an ice pack on it and take a panadol (Tylenol), no one uses meds for a busted lip."  Wow, just keeping it real here, but that sounds ugly doesn't it?  The truth is that sometimes these people are not easy to love....but then again, sometimes, neither am I.  And I know someone else who paid a price far greater than $45 for something that was not His fault either.  What if He had had the same thoughts I did and acted on them?  I (we) would all be in a world of hurt with no hope.

So in the end the CEO taught me a valuable lesson and in the end I chose to look at it as though we paid $45 for two people to get to hear the Truth.  It doesn't look so bad in that light and now they are responsible for what they will do with what they heard.  Hopefully, they will receive the Truth.  Who can get mad about that?  The enemy didn't win the battlefield of my mind that night, now to just stay on guard for all the other ways he tries to distract me from my purpose here, he's sneaky, but not in control!

Finally, on our way to Ch*rch we were re-living all that had just transpired, and who we thought hit where and how,suddenly Campbell looks out the back window and says, "Hey look!  There's  a lip print on our back window!"  And sure enough, there it was, lipstick and all! Which is totally not funny.....but was kind of funny later.  (Sorry, it was raining when I got out to get a pic!)

Last but not least, as R*m*dan is winding down, the wedding preparations will begin.  The date is set for October 2.  For those of you not on Facebook, Barry volunteered me to work on the neighborhood wedding committee...needless to say, I was thrilled!  (Right!)  This ought to be very interesting.  Anyway the father of the bride stopped by to give me the material for my matching wedding clothes.  Yes, I said matching.  :)  We asked about the pattern, he said there wasn't one (okaaay)  but was so cute as he tried to assure me that the gold material was to go under the lace as a top, not for a head covering.  Good to know! LOL

Here is my neighbor's house.  This is obviously not a typical home here, so I imagine this is going to be some kind of shindig.  They have been making improvements and adding outside lights to the house all month.  You will be amazed as how they transform it for the wedding. 



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wishing and Hoping and Dreaming and Praying.....(sung like the Dusty Springfield song)

As I wrote about it being R*madan in my last post, I started to add this but decided it warranted its own posting. I ask that you pr*y for the millions of M*slims in our country, and particularly the ones in our city as they enter this, their "holy month". As they fast daily, do good works and seek forgiveness during this month. As they look forward to the "night of power" where they are often encouraged to stay up and may be visited by angels and spirits carrying out the will of All*h since it is believed he more readily hears their pr*yers on this night. I ask that you pr*y that the Truth will visit them and that blind eyes will be opened and deaf ears made to hear. That they will understand that they cannot earn favor with the CEO but that they need to believe in the Son and the work that He did on the cr*ss to set them free, truly free.

Our family and Katrina went to visit the grand m*sque in our city

Even now as I type, I can hear about ten m*sques as they teach and lead the "call to pr*yer" over their loud speakers. Their loud long mournful wail of crying out to All*h. For their rituals to be received and good deeds to be enough for the forgiveness of their sins. Pr*y that we can be light in the darkness. That our relationships are fruitful and bear not just a good friendship but bear fruit for the Kingdom.

Just the other day after the girls spent the afternoon playing with their national friends I overheard Haddon tell Campbell, "I had so much fun! I hope they are able to go to Heav*n!" That is when I knew that they were "getting" it. You see, Haddon wanted a drink of water and as usual she asked them if they were ready for one too. The girls usually respond eagerly with a "yes" because of the heat and all the running around they do, however this time they said they couldn't because the fast had started. It was very sobering for her because often the kids don't participate in the fast, even though they are still encouraged to do so, and it was a very personal experience for Haddon to see her friends trying to earn their way to Heav*n. We are hoping to be able to share Truth with the girls' family in the coming days.

I cannot express enough just how grateful we as a nation need to be that we received the Truth and built a nation around it's principles. There but for the grace of the CEO, go we.

I love this picture....out of the darkness into the light!!

by Charlie Hall

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. now I'm free!

Lift my hands and spin around,
See the light that I have found.
Oh the marvelous light
Marvelous light

Lift my hands and spin
See the light within...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Basking in Bali

Well.....did you think that I fell off the planet? I am so sorry for being delinquent in keeping up with the blog this summer. I think it was a combination of many things but......I'm baaack! :)

We had a great time again this year in Bali. You will notice a disproportionate number of pics of the girls versus the boys, that is because the boys are always gone with a crowd of friends and come in only for sleep!! LOL The teens had a great time having two and a half weeks with each other, it is such a treat for all of these tck's. Not to mention for the parent's as well!

A big shout out to the B*ptist General Convention of Arkansas for again bringing a great group of people over who served our families with such love! Many of them were the same ones from last year so that was nice, the youth had the same leaders and that made for such a great time for them to establish and keep those relationships. Campbell and Haddon's teacher was back and Haddon was in her class again. Love her, Miss Debbie is so sweet to my girls! The WMU lavished us with all kinds of treats that we could pick from so we came away with handmade pillow cases for the girls, velveeta, a card game and...pencils with erasers!!! LOL All treasures!!

Thanks also to the anonymous donor who gave some money for us to take a little vacation this year. We had to come a few days early because of meeting the kids from camp, and then stayed a couple of days after the meeting. It is truly a blessing to get out of our city for a while, catch our breath and get some family fun and B*blical refreshment in such a place of beauty.

However, while there we received the sad news that one of our teammates, the Whitakers, would not be returning to the field. That was tough to swallow, I wept through the sermon the morning I found out, I'm sure the speaker must've thought I was really moved by the Sp*rit, but I was grieving. They have since returned and packed up their house and now reside in the States...they are missed here for sure.

More posts are coming, I promise. Although things won't be too adventurous this month since it is R*m*dan and that brings a different atmosphere here. People are a little less friendly to us foreigners and their is constant teaching over the loudspeakers at the m*sques. Pray for us during this time, it is a hard month to go through.

Thank you for your continued pr*yers, they truly mean the world to us. Hugs and blessings to you all!!
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