Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Miracle Update

One of the things I have learned living in Indonesian is that getting upset when things don’t go exactly as I plan is a big fat waste of time. I have to say that living in Pekanbaru has definitely increased my ability to go with the flow. No matter how crazy or backwards things appear to me I have learned to just go with it. It is a survival skill here. It is funny how God often uses these moments to teach me lessons about His provisions and His plan.

Well, today we were told the shipment has been delayed yet again. This time for a shipyard strike. I feel terrible for the Davis family that continues to wait for their stuff. We still feel very blessed they let us put stuff in their container and at some point it has to arrive, right?

Well, that leaves us in a pickle doesn’t it? The Christmas gifts for all the kids are in that container. It is hard for me understand why God would go to such extreme measures to delay this shipment. I have to admit we had a little chat via prayer today. It sounded something like this:

ME: Umm, God! Can you explain this one to me? I don’t understand why you would not want these kids to get their gifts? We have been praying for this for a long time. A lot of people have been praying about this. I have everything ready to go.

God’s Response: Did you ever think this was not the gift I wanted these kids to get? I have something better in mind. Something they will love. “Soccer Balls!”

Me: But God they need school supplies not soccer balls. Where am I going to get a 125 soccer balls? I only have eight days.

God: Why should My children only get things they need? They need to feel My love. You give them the supplies and I will give them soccer balls.

Me: I get it Lord, but where and how?

God: I will show you.

So within an hour my assistant Ida had helped me track down a wholesaler who would sell me soccer balls at a discounted price. He was even willing to help me with a deal to cut the shipping charges.

Kids in Indonesia are crazy for soccer. They play it everywhere. The beauty of soccer is you only need a ball. I have seen kids use pieces of garbage or wood to make the goals. Having their own ball would be something these kids would never think possible.

I have been a Christian for a long time. I know without a doubt that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and it is only by His grace that I am saved. But sometimes, God feels far away and so big that I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. Today, I can honestly say that I had a close up in your face encounter that reminded me of His love for all of us. Not the love of some untouchable being, but that of a father. One who cared if his children received soccer balls or school supplies. I know to some of you this sounds crazy. So if I have offended you I am sorry but this touched me so deeply I had to share it with you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Trimming the Tree

Is there anything more frustrating than getting ready to put up the Christmas tree and realizing that all your lights don't work? When you live in the middle of Sumatra it is enough to drive this type A personality a bit postal. I actually managed to keep it together but over the last three weeks John and I have taken them off and on four times. That is no easy task when you have a 12 foot tree and no ladder. Thank goodness for my Mom! She came to the rescue and sent us four strands of precious lights from the States. Thanks Mom for saving the day! Today we finished up putting the ornaments on and its starting to feel more like Christmas. I can hardly wait to come back from church tonight and sit by the tree and enjoy some hot Chocolate.

Christmas Miracle Update:
We received an update from the shipping company. The Davis shipment is Indonesia. It's about four hours away going through customs. PLEASE pray that God would continue working his Christmas Miracle. We have twelve days until the Christmas Party. Upik, our sewing lady, finished up the bags and we will string them this week. Cookie baking is our next step. It should be a lot of fun baking 600 cookies for the party with our youth group. The kids have been great about helping out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sydney's Sign

Last May, Sydney did some modeling for a local salon and spa. We haven't seen any of the pictures in print till today. It was fun spotting Sydney on the way home from church. Sorry about the terrible quality of the photo. I was seriously dodging motorcycles and cars to get just these two. I promise, I will get better quality pictures soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sydney's Fieldtrip

This year the middle school went to Yogyakarta for a five day trip. Yogyakarta or simply Yogya, is in the province of Central Java. It is considered the most famous part of Java and is, in fact, its cultural center. There are a lot of religious influences in Yogya including Buddhist, Hindu, and other indigenous beliefs, which resulted in the construction of the impressive temples of Borobudur, Prambanan and the Dieng temple complex. It's located at the foot of the active Merapi volcano and stretches to the Indian Ocean.

Sydney had a blast. The kids did more than just visit temples. They picked tea, visited an orphanage, went for a buggy ride, went for a bike ride to a temple, and made some arts and crafts. The highlight of the trip for Sydney was going to Starbucks and hanging out with her friends. Of course all the cultural stuff was cool too.

Sydney and her roomate Aubrey. They had a great time.
Sydney's little buddy at the orphanage.

Sydney and Ella making pencil people.

Visiting Borobudor temple.

Borobudor is the largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia. It was built in the 9th century. For almost a thousand years it was covered under thick layers of volcanic ash. From a far Borobudur Temple looks like a huge but ordinary stone construction. But as you get closer you can see that it consists of hundreds of statues and sculptures, representing Buddhist teachings mixed with images of Javanese life from a thousand years ago.

Sydney playing spoons with her friends.

Another ancient site they visited in the area.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Last night we had to make a quick run to Pekanbaru to pick up some fabric. I have my sewing Ibu (woman) coming this weekend to finish up the fabric gift bags for the Christmas kids. Saturday afternoon our youth group is coming to help me put the 200 drawstrings in the bags. Please continue to pray that the gifts would make it our camp before the 10th.

While we were shopping in Pekanbaru I snapped a couple quick photos of some of the ice cream toppings and donuts that are available at the mall. I bet you will not see these at Krispy Cream or Cold Stone.

Brooklyn waiting patiently for her frozen yogurt. Strawberries are her topping of choice. Right after I snapped this shot the lights went out in the mall. In the US that would cause total panic but not here in Indonesia. People patiently wait for the lights to come back on. It is crazy how normal it is for them.
Corn flakes are not only an ice cream topping but also a pizza topping.
Lychee Jelly??

I love the descriptions. They crack me up.

It's OK to be addicted. Umm...not so much!

You never know what phrase you might find on a shirt in Indonesia.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet the Tooth Fairy

Well it took Brooklyn a while to loose her first tooth but it finally happened. It has been loose for quite a while now. After some prodding from Kathi, Sydney and I, she allowed all of us to work on it a little until finally it came out. She was pretty freaked out at first but then began running around to all of the mirrors in the house checking out the new hole in her smile. She now can hardly get herself to sleep as she waits for the Tooth Fairy to visit and to show her friends in the morning. Ah, to be six years old again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Kade participated in soccer again this year. The season ending game was this weekend. I was impressed with how much his dribbling skills have improved this year. He really enjoyed playing.

Kade and his fellow "Everton Toffees" of the English Premier League played "The Reds" from Liverpool. They played to a draw which in my mind is pointless. Only in soccer and hockey.

The older "kids" played a game with the middle schoolers. I felt like I was sweating to the oldies. Living near the equator is HOT! This one too ended in a tie. Exciting, no?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Trip to the Nursery

One of the many great thing about living in the jungle is that we are lucky to have help at our home. We have a gardener who handles not only the outside of our house but also the washes the floors and cleans the porch. I know all of you in the States are rolling your eyes. Yes, we know we have it good.

Our gardener, Zani, who has been with us for the last three years is the sweetest old man. Last month we had to ask him to retire because he was struggling with the physical labor involved with being a gardener. We saw the terrible toil it was taking on his body and knew it was time to let him go. That did not make it easy though. John and I both felt terrible but we knew his best interest was at heart.

Well, we were lucky enough to find an experienced gardener named Chi Chi. He is amazing and our yard already looks a hundred times better. Yesterday, John and I ventured out to Pekanbaru in search of some new plants and flowers. Our driver took us to three local nurseries. We had a great time picking out new things for the yard. I thought you might enjoy a little glimpse into what we saw.
The first nursery we stopped at was just about five minutes out of camp.

Picture from the window of the Avanza. (The teachers co-oped car)

Many of the trees here flower. The colors are almost always bright and beautiful.

I find the trunks of trees in Indonesia so interesting.
Many of them are twisted like this one. I am sure it serves some kind of a purpose.

Typical House/Store on the way to Pekanbaru.

I love all the different textures and colors.

Poor John was getting ate by mosquitoes.
I can't believe neither of us thought about bug spray before we left the house. We so should know better.

We would have loved to have bought this tree. I have no idea how we would have got it home.

Typical Restaurant.

Beware of the Guard Chicken.

Do you want some of this?

We bought this flowering tree. It was beautiful.

I have never seen a plant this color. It's actually bright pink and evidently the wild pigs love it.
We bought two of them for $5.00.
We are going to try potting it and see if they will leave it alone.

A light traffic day heading into town. It's normally way crazier.

Nursery # 2.

The Indonesian Les Schwab. These tire shops are everywhere.

They have been working on the roads since we moved here three years ago.
In another three years they might be done.

A creative use for broken tile.

Another store kind of like the Indonesian Kwik-i-Mart.

Gasoline - I am guessing not EPA approved.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Wars

The seasons here in Sumatra are hot and less rain and hot and lots of rain. That makes it tough for us to know just what season it is back home. Kathi's favorite time of year is the Fall and so she really wanted our PYP Youth Group to do something Fall related.

Her Idea? Pumpkin Chuckin' (Thanks Ashley L.)! We had a friend of ours here go out and find 30 or so pumpkins, which by the way don't really look like the kind of pumpkins we are used too. Green is the new orange as you can see in the pictures below.

We waited until it was nice and dark and then sent each kid out with a pumpkin, after giving them the rules of course:
1) You must open the pumpkin yourself without a knife or tool of any kind.
2) You can only throw the guts of the Pumpkin, not the rind.
3) You can only use what you can pull out of the pumpkin with your hands.

We had three rounds of battle and the kids had a ball! They used the sidewalk as the blunt instrument for which to slam their pumpkin. They then took the guts and hurled them at one another. An orange storm ensued.

There were seeds, guts and rinds everywhere. The kids were covered from head to toe with pumpkin insides. The insides were definitely orange because the kids were covered in it. In fact most of the parents commented that their cars now smell like pumpkin. If that doesn't scream Fall I don't know what does.

It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed watching the kids have it out with one another. We can't wait until our next get together. Kathi always has a fun idea for the kids.

Let's get ready to RUMBLE!
Finding this many pumpkins in Pekanbaru is not a easy task. Thank Ibu Joyce!

I am not sure if Sydney won or lost this battle?

Take cover!


War Relics.

Enjoying a little post battle refreshments.

Telling War Stories.

Yeah, but you should have seen the other guy.