Wednesday, October 7, 2015

We Are Doing This!

Indonesia.  Wow.   We are here.  For THREE weeks already.  We are TWO weeks into language school.   We have our house all set up and cozy.  We have already figured out the basic places to shop for our needs.  We can navigate Sentani with the taxi’s fairly well.  I’ve washed our sheets three times, baked cookies….. WE ARE DOING THIS!   We have been to the beach twice, a river, and a waterfall.   This place is beautiful. It is rugged.  A westerner like myself at first glance would say it is an ugly place.  Sentani is dirty.  There is garbage piled up on the sides of the streets, there is garbage everywhere, it is not glamorous.  You can’t deny the fact that you are in a third world country.  There are dogs and pigs and cows that roam around.  There are broken sidewalks and trenches filled with sludge and garbage.  When I first saw Sentani I thought it was an ugly town.  

I have been here three weeks, and I don’t feel that way about it anymore.  Sure there is garbage, but I don’t notice it as much now.  Not much here is like it was back in the states, but that doesn’t bother me.  The driving here is insane.  There are pretty much no rules.  And from what I hear Wamena is even more wild.  The motorbikes are the king of the road.  There are more bikes than cars.  They swerve, they come so close to you, they don’t look, they just go.  They drive on the other side of the road here….that combined with the wild driving, it is probably a good thing that Helimission has a rule we can’t drive for 3 months.   

Our greeting upon arrival at the Sentani Airport.  
Everywhere we go we are stared at.  I wasn’t expecting that so much in Sentani.  We are the “show” each time we step out in public.  We have had dozens of people ask to take their pictures with us, or of us.  Countless more don’t even ask, they just whip out their phones and take photos.  It almost feels like “I’ve read about people this color, there is a live one! Quick take a picture!”  =)   Usually I don’t mind, usually I am happy to take a picture with them.  Usually being called to, and stared at is no big deal now, something to get use to but not bad.  Sometimes it gets old.  The people here view light skin as beautiful.  While shopping for face lotion for the first time in Indonesia, I had a hard time finding one that wasn’t “lightening”.  Most of the things they put on their body are to lighten their skin.  I even have seen whitening deodorant.   So different from America where everyone is going tanning, and using bronzer.   It makes me think that in every culture the enemy will ALWAYS tell us we are not good enough, pretty enough, just not enough.   I don’t want to be idolized by these people, but if Jesus has given us a platform I pray that He teaches us how to use it for Him!

First time seeing our new place.  Super jet lagged but excited to have a place of our own! 
God has us in a place like never before where we can ONLY lean on Him.  When I first came to Indonesia I thought EVERYTHING was going to kill me.  I wouldn’t drink juice, even bought at the store.  I cried in the shower our first night in Jakarta because I thought the water would make us sick…..I think through the tears I called it “ameba water”.   I was scared to eat watermelon, or any fruit that had lots of water in it.    I was pretty much afraid to eat anything or drink anything.   But that is changing.  I have branched out slowly.  We go to the local market for our fruits, veggies and now our fish.  This was a big step for me.  The smells, the flies, the complete insanitation, the garbage.  It was hard for me to envision anything from the pasar on my plate.   But now, lots of our food is from the pasar. And we are still alive.  =)   It is all a big learning curve here. 
Our neighborhood street.   

Our friends Jared and Teresa (matt grew up with Jared)  have introduced us to street food.  Something I would never have been adventurous enough to try on my own.  But it is amazing!  The food is delicious and so cheap!  It almost makes cooking obsolete.  ;) 
Our water tower in our backyard, and our shed.  =)  
My friend Fawn (who just finished language school and is headed to Wamena soon!)  teaching me to navigate the taxi system here in Sentani. 
They have these awesome bug zappers here.  They look like a tennis racquet. You turn it on and whack the bug and it is FRIED, sometimes you can smell smoke.  The first couple of days we were waiting for a fly to come in so we could try it out.   Oh and don’t worry folks, I have not seen another BIG spider in my house since day two where I woke up eyeball to eyeball with one.  Apparently he wasn’t used to houseguests and I had to remind him that this is now OUR place.  I’ve also had to remind three cockroaches that they are not welcome houseguests.  Two nights ago Matt and I were sleeping, the kitty kept partially waking me running around on our bed.  I thought it was just hyper.  NOPE!  Finally at 2am it’s jumping around woke me ALL the way up.  I felt something run from my neck down my arm to my wrist.  The cat instantly pounced right where IT stopped.  I realized all this jumping was a dance around our bed with whatever just ran across me.  I jumped up!  “MATT!! Something is in our bed!!”  We flipped our covers back and there was a massive cockroach.  He had been running all over us.  Yikes!   When we were hiking out in the jungle we came across several spiders that were as big as our hand, and the web was about 4 feet.  Kinda cool…..if it’s not ON me.  =)

Aunt Jacinda finally gets to meet Grace and watches her for our first day of language school! 
The ants are no joke here.  They find EVERYTHING, so everything must be sealed.  We had an army pouring in our window….our neighbor saw matt trying to fight them off and came over with lime chalk…he jumped up on our counters and drew lines of chalk all over our walls, and we have not had ants since.  =)   Our neighbors are a huge blessing to us.  Septi and Ratu.  They have lived in their place only a week longer than us.  They have had us over twice and have a new baby girl a few weeks old.  Her name is Queen (pronounced Quinn)  Septi has made us doughnuts and brought us movies and brought medicine for Grace today when he heard she was sick.  He helps us with learning Indonesian. They are so kind and becoming good friends quickly. 

My friend Dunya giving me my first ride on a motor bike in Sentani! =) 
Language is hard for me.  But it’s not suppose to be easy.  So it’s all good.  I am certainly trying to drink from a fire hydrant right now.  Half of the time I don’t know what is going on.  But I am picking things up.   The first week I think I looked like a deer in the headlights.  My brain went to mush and all I could hear was static.  LOL!!!!  =) I was so intimidated by the language and by the fact that I am the furthest behind.  But God told me that I am not hear for anyone else, only Him.  And the language is the biggest gap between the people and myself.  Learn the language for Him.  Redirect my vision.  I love how He always does that. 
Grace and I at the Pasar buying some vegetables. =) 

The waterfall we hiked to with the Helimission team! Oh my it was SO beautiful. And we all jumped in off the big rocks! It was like a scene from a movie!  This brought back memories for Matt, he remembers coming here when he was young. 
God has been doing lots in my heart here.  I have struggled with my personality.  Asking God questions like….. “Why am I such an introvert?”  “Why am I socially awkward sometimes?”  “Why can’t you make me differently?”  “Do I fit in here?”  “Will I have a good friend?”  “Will people like me?”   He is teaching me that I am WHO HE MADE ME TO BE.  And to just get over myself.  (Thank you Bishop Turner, if you are reading this ;)  Have courage, be kind, and trust Jesus.  He has told me he has me in this season for a reason!  Refined.   It’s good!

Being vulnerable sucks.  But it is beautiful.  What other God views weakness as a good thing?!  What a wonderful savior Jesus is!  We don’t have to be perfect to be called, we don’t have to be flawless to be used.  He comes and meets us where we are.  ALL OF US.  I am not an exception of what His Grace can cover, and neither are you. 

The three stooges......I mean Helimission Pilots! =) Having a good time! =) 
Earlier this week Grace sucked on the end of a vegetable I bought at the pasar…before it was washed.  One part of me said “it’s probably going to be okay, take this in stride”  the other part “don’t freak out, don’t freak out! I’m freaking out!!!!”   For the first 10 min the freak out side won…….But gently Jesus reminded me of who He is.  I came home, did what I could, fed her vitamins like everyday.  Perhaps unrelated but the past two days she has had high fevers and been a sick little lady.  We had her blood tested for malaria and it was negative!  Thank you Jesus!   We prayed over her and gave it to Jesus.  What else can we do?  We have to do our best and give it to Jesus.

When I think back on any time in my life where I have been stretched…..I remember that…
I’ve been the one to shake with fear and wonder if You are even here.  I have been the one to doubt your love, and I’ve told myself that you are not enough.  I have been the one to try and overcome by my own strength. I have been the one held down in chains, beneath the weight of all my shame.  I’ve been the one to believe that where I am You cannot reach.   I have been the one to fall apart and start to question who You are.  

YOU are the one who conquerors giants! You are the one who calls out kings! You shut the mouths of lions! You tell the dead to breath!  You heal our brokenness!  You alone save our souls!  Your voice calms the raging seas.  You take the orphans hand!  You alone triumph over death!   You woke up my heart and made me truly alive.  You are the ONE messiah! You are I AM!

When I start to look around me I shake,  when I look up to Jesus I am reminded GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN ME THAN HE THAT IS LIVING IN THE WORLD!  I have that same power living in ME! 

Indonesia, it challenges me.  It  makes me run to Jesus, it stretches me.  I love it here already.  The people are so kind, there is such a need for Jesus.  Tribes out in the bush who need Jesus,  muslims immigrating from other islands in mass numbers who don’t believe in Jesus.   As I write this the call to prayer is blaring on loud speakers.  Each time I hear it I am reminded to pray.  There is no other God who LOVES so completely.  Who is so personal, who heals hearts, hurts, and makes you whole.  No other God who makes the blind to see, who gives Grace, mercy, and love.  No other God who gives salvation as a GIFT that does not have to be earned.  He freely gives to us what we don’t deserve.   Amazing Grace. 

Jesus, You make me brave.  I am in Your hands.  

Much love,  Amanda

Simon and all the kids being goofy at a Helimission dinner night before Simon went back to Switzerland. 

Grunkle Wally (grandpa & uncle Wally)  Grandpa John, Jennika and Grace.  Love these people! 

Hiking in the jungle we found a few of these spiders.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but they are as big as my hand and their web is about 4 feet! 

The beaches here are amazing!  We went with Jared, Teresa, Jenika, Sebastian and Dunya. We have to hire a boat to get to it, and we had it ALL to ourself all day.  Not another soul to be found. 

Girls spear fishing outing! 

Brought these back for Grace to play with!  They are everywhere! SO beautiful!  God's creation is fascinating! 

The spear fishing catch of the day...about to be grilled up on the beach! 

Little fishy is loving the beach and swimming!  Also the hermit crabs

Fun day at the beach with Jared, Teresa, Jenika, Sebastian and Dunya.  My first time to a beach in Indonesia.  It lived up to  all the hype! 

This place is rugged and beautiful! 

Pigs are a big deal here!  Everytime I see one I can't help but sing the song from the lion king. "Are ya achin' Yep yep! for some bacon? Yep Yep!  He's a big pig! Yep Yep! You can be a big pig too! 

A friend at Kali Biru who was really sweet and befriended Grace and I.  =) 

The girls jumping in at Kali Biru (blue river) 


We got a kitty!  We have not named it yet! HAHA! But Grace loves her kitty! 

At the Pasar (local market)  buying yellow fin tuna.  It is SUPER cheap here.  We caused quite a scene here.  LOL  The people got excited that I was taking photos of them! =) 

Fuzzy, but I love this photo. Buying tomatoes from a kind papuan lady. 

They dye the chicks here.  Grace thought a pink birdie was pretty cool.  And the locals thought it was funny how fascinated we bules (westerners) were with them.

Headed home for our pasar outing with Vee, Layla, Oakley and Zeke. 

At the beach with all the Wiley's and the dorm students from Papua Hope School.   This school brings Papuan kids from rural interior villages and teaches them and raises up leaders! So cool. 

Roasting the days catch. 

Grace loved playing in the sand with her.  <3 td="">

These girls and guys are SO KIND.  They stole my heart! 

On a boat headed home from the beach! 

Home from a wonderful day at the beach!