Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Things I Love...

Hi Friends,
It's been way too long since I've updated this blog of mine. I will briefly give you an update and then I have something on my mind to write about!

Things are going well. Thanks again for all of your ongoing support, and encouragements. Sorry I don't always thank you all personally, but know how I much I appreciate you!

Though things were up in the air for a while, as the church offered me a very generous package and the chance to stay here an extra, through much prayer, and thinking I have decided to return home to atleast finish this leg of my education. The youth group is doing well. Flooding here has died down, there is still damage, but majority is over.

Some of you know, that working in an international church is at times similar to working in Canada. I work with english speaking, fairly well off teens, in a nice facility, and I live in a beautiful home, and most times eat familiar food. Often I'm disappointed that I'm not more engaged in the culture and way of life here. So I was thinking the other day as I looked out the window of my taksi cab, and I realised that though I'm separate lots of times, I sure am in another culture, and whether I recognize it or not, I'm sure I've realized lots about it. So I decided to write down here some things that I love about Indonesia:

#1. I love the driving. For the first month here I got carsick even if it were a fifteen minute trip. BUt now I'm quite fond of crazy swerving and near-death experiences. You see people on motorbikes transporting actually hilarious amounts of crap. It's awesome. It does scare me though that ladies will just calmly sit sideways on the back of a swerving motorbike with a new born baby in hand...

#2. I love the call to prayer. Whenever the Islamic publicly blasted prayer comes on, I immediately announce that "my favourite song is on! And I haven't heard this in forever!" Then I start dancing. I think it's funny.

#3. I love that some Indonesians often have one really, extremely long fingernail. This is to show that they are "upper class" because they don't work a labour job. I'm talking like, two inches. They often use it to pick their noses. I don't blame them.. it's a convenient size!

#4. I do NOT like that my taksi drivers will openly fart, burp, crack their necks or knuckles repeatedly in my presence and not think it's rude... anyways that was a negative thing, back to the positives!

#5. I love the contrasts in this city. I love that I can be looking at a fantastic structure of a public mall... and for a minute you think you're in Canada... then all of a sudden you realize there are goats chewing on the side of the signs. There are random goats EVERYWHERE> I STILL don't understand where they come from...

#6. I love how random Indonesian men sell things to people in cars in gridlock traffic. I'm not talking water bottles or snacks. They actually sell the most random things I've ever seen in my life... some examples: Little toys that do flips, full-colour atlas, playboys, blow up globes, A really popular one are these little garbage bins that a REALLY cheap plastic and thrown together. They have pictures of winnie the pooh, barbie, and strawberry shortcake. I bought a strawberry shortcake one. Again... I thought it was funny. Those are just SOME of the many random random things that they sell.

#7. All the guys think you're beautiful just because you're white. You get asked to marry them and their love for you is professed on a regular basis.

#8. I loooove that it rains. And often.

#9. I love that the people (for the most part) are so friendly. They either love you or hate you. They either stare at you because they are slightly in awe of your whiteness, or they glare at you because they think you're a rich, inconsiderate white person. I love that they are either constantly complimenting me on my retardedly small amount of language, or they just full out mock me and laugh at me in their own language. They either apologise profusely and barely look at you when you bump into each other in the mall, or they push harder than they have to and then they don't apologize even if it was their fault.

#10. I like the little warung shops. Though it's annoying to hear their bells at absurd hours of the morning (though I barely notice anymore) it's really fun to always be surrounded by little random shops that sell bad coffee. MY favourite restaurant is called "Abouba" and it's the BEST steak ever in this little outdoor restaurant where you sit on wood stools. Whole meal costs under $5. I'm talking GOOD steak.

#11. I love/hate that the big nice SUV's and motorbikes share the road with little Indonesian men carrying whole shops over their shoulder on a big stick. THey walk like, one kilometer an hour; and no-one cares! That's just always the way it's been. In Canada they would be sued or run over.

#12. I love that music is so important in this country. You can go to pretty much go to any major mall on a weekend night, and there will be a live band. And a GOOD one. Better than most I've ever heard in Canada. And often Jazz. In Dan's words.. "errrm"!

Anyways that's a few to digest. I'll post more later!
Love you all!
Sarah

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Some pics

Ok I thought I would post some pictures here, following Karyn Hill's instructions that she emailed me. But I think I must have a different version of blogger, because what she described is nowhere on this page. for sure.

Anyways! So much for that. It sounded too easy to be true. So how have you all been?

Things here have been fine. Quite busy. To be honest, I have truly been enjoying my life here the past couple of weeks. I mean, there are some stressful times, and I still wish I were more involved with the locals and such, but I do mostly enjoy my job. I live with a totally awesome family. They call me their other daughter, and we all get along really well. Both of my bosses are fantastic Godly men who have really taken their time to invest in my personal growth and character. (don't tell them I said that, lol, we also tease alot) The youth group, as different as it is, is really a good group of kids. They are just a tough group of kids to get to know. I am still quite lacking in the friend department, but I think I can recognize that that has availed me to really pursue some other things this year, and helped me recognize to not take the amazing friendships I already have for granted. I have had a great many opportunities to grow in areas of youth ministry. This coming weekend is the second retreat I've had the privilege of planning (this time with help thank goodness!) and I speak twice a month, and lead worship for a Saturday night round coffee po-mo church once a month. My girls small group is going well, and they can get chatty, (what 16 year old girls don't??) but overall they are young women hungarily seeking God and His Word and Will for their lives.

I think maybe I am just realizing, that this is just a season in my life. And it will end. I thought for a while that it wouldn't for longer than I had anticipated, and that thought scared me! But now the thought that scares me is the time coming to an end in five months or so. It will be wonderful to come home, and I need to finish school, but I am starting to really appreciate what a wonderful opportunity this was, how many mental things I've dispelled about living overseas and stuff like that.

Anyways, that's a bit of what's been going on in my heart lately! I hope 2007 is finding you all in good health and contentedness. If you could all PLEASE PRAY this weekend for our youth retreat. It is on the Southern Coast of the island of Java, which is notorious for undercurrents and the beach there has killed many people. We are of course taking precautions, but still, we have had about over ten people warn us of the state of the waters there. One lady who is quite prophetic gave us a warning as well! yikes!

PLEASE PRAY for the teens safety. We head down with a group on Thursday night (so your thursday morning at 5:30am haha) and also with a group on Friday night. it is a five hour drive on roads that at certain points can hardly be considered roads.

PLEASE PRAY for God to show up in power and conviction and love. We have a number of unbelievers joining us, and many of our own youth are quite apathetic in their faith. Pray that our speaker PETER will effectively preach God's Word with his anointing.

Thank you all!
I miss you and love you!
In our Saviour,
Sarah

Friday, January 05, 2007

Singapore fun!

Hi there friends,

Well I am writing you from Singapore. It's 6:30pm here. I arrived here this morning courtesy of Rocky Mountain House, to meet up with PAstor Dale and the team going to India as they have a quick stop over here. I arrived here early this morning, and have had the day to myself. As much as it's been fun, I"m anxiously awaiting their arrival.

First of all...my taksi driver was falling asleep every three seconds driving me to the airport at 5am this morning...that was rather scary. But I used my limited bahasa to try and keep him talking but even then he continued to kind of snooze. So I prayed hard. And lots. Then the airline I was taking just had one of their planes crash two days ago, so I was a little nervous about that as well. But that's just all to let you know that I'm fine~! I smell quite awful as I've been doing a lot of walking today with a big backpack on my shoulders and in the heat. I don't think I'd make a very good back-packer for any extended length of time.

So I started off my day by taking the MRT line (similar to C-train, or Tsubway) to the famous Singapore botanical gardens. It was breathtaking. Seriously. I wandered through the ginger gardens, then took a nice reflective walk through the rainforest. The birds and sounds I heard were unique to anything I've ever heard before. Though I couldn't seem to get my thoughts sorted out to accomplish anything really deep, I had a nice time trying. Then I paid an extra $5 Sing money to go into the special "orchid" gardens. They have orchids from all over the world. At first glance (to an un-observant person) they are just flowers. But when you get close you can realize the intricate detail of each flower. The patterns, the smells...it was so fun. I am a touch person and I had fun delicately running my fingers over every possible flower, leaf, tree; within arms length. It was a nice relaxing morning though I sweat like a mother.

Then I headed over to little India to try and catch up with some girls from my youth group. They never showed, but I bought some new and glorious Punjabi cd's. And enjoyed a spicy, but delicious lunch at Muthu's curry house. I enjoyed all the sights and sounds of India without ever leaving Singapore. Then I went and saw a movie. (You can take the girl away from the theatre, but you just can't get the theatre away from the girl) Next stop is the (apparently AMAZING) Night safari. The first ever at "night" zoo. It starts at 7:30. I want to take a good look around, and watch one of their feature shows. Then it's back to the airport to meet the team! Yay!

I also jsut returned from a trip out to the coast of Java, where I worked really hard by getting an hour massage with coconut oil on the beach along the ocean, while sipping a fresh fuit smoothie out of a coconut shell. All of this, just to mention, for $4. Smoothie included.

So yeah, life hasn't been too hard lately, I must admit! Christmas was fine...weird without my family, but in the different context it didn't even really feel like Christmas. New years was awesome, had a youth group party. Hm, what else is going on in my life? I am not sure what to write about right now. OF course after a day (well...few days) like this, nothing could really deter my attitude! woot. Oh vacations are good...

Don't worry though...Still missing you all!
Sarah

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas time

Hi friends!

It's been way to long, I reckon, for an update! I'm very sorry!

First of all thank you for your prayers, and emails, and encouragments. Sometimes I do not find the time to write back, but I have been receiving them, and they mean alot to me, so thank you all very much.

Things here have been ok. I struggle with some apathy in my job. The nature of ministry here is very difficult and it's easy to get into an apathetic pattern and keep things the mediocre way they are, instead of putting in the tremendous effort it takes to have things changed and keep things fresh. You can pray for a renewed energy for my job. Things will be slow these couple weeks anyway though, because many youth are away on holiday and stuff. There's not even a youth service this week, because they are just going to the Christmas eve service with their parents. SO it's been a slow week. I've have a foot massage, a back massage, and an hour and a half of reflexology. Working really hard. What a hard week. HAHAHA

New news!!! This is probably the most excitng thing that's happened so far! Well my church in Alberta is going on a three week trip to India. ON the way they are stopping over in Singapore. I thought it would be a tremendous blessing to be able to see them! So now, not only am I seeing them...but as a ChristmS present, the church deposited the amount of money I need for the trip into my bank account! It was the best surprise ever. I am so excited to see thier faces! It will be kind of weird seeing them in this context, on the other side of the world! But I am so excited and looking forward to the trip, I think it's really helping keep my spirits up this Christmas season.

I need to talk to my family more. I really miss them. YOu dont know what you got until it's gone! (and thank goodness they're not gone, but they're REALLY far away!)

And all of you who know my friend Karyn, well I'm close with her whole family, and her sister Karla just had another baby boy!!! Welcome to the world Jonah! Wish I could meet you! (he's kind of like a nephew to me)

So there's a little update for ya'll. Missing you guys so much. Please continue to write emails and stuff. I love getting them, and forgive me if I don't respond immediately.

Sarah

Monday, October 30, 2006

Two months later...

Hello friends!

How are you all? I hope and pray you are doing well and life is finding you in good shape these days. Well, as for me...I am still in Jakarta! Surprise, surprise! Today is my day off and it has been quite delightful. I went to the gym at the hotel nearby, and then read my book in a little coffee shop over a nice lunch. I am learning to treasure my days off, and strictly try to avoid working, or thinking about work. It's a "me" day. And I liked it....

Culture shock...hm. One of my friends put it well the other day. As I was attempting to explain my state, she put it in good words. "It's like you're living two realities. There is the one that is present in Indonesia, adjusting quite well, and managing. Then there is the one, that you forget exists because there is no-one to draw it out. The one that misses home, is feeling exhausted, and cries." It is quite true. I wonder if this is what culture shock is like. Most days I am doing well! I go through my days, try to learn to things, soak up my environment, and somewhat enjoy; somedays love the wonderful ministry I am a part of. Then I get a phone call, or an email, or some contact from home, a beloved friend, and I will start crying! And I didn't even know I was sad or homesick...

Fun Experiences. I am so bad at directions. Any of you that know me; knew that already! But let me tell you, it makes for a whole new set of problems when you're in Jakarta. Even if I COULD speak the language, I still wouldn't be able to direct my taksi drivers. (Don't tell anyone that though, my "excuse" is the language barrier) So I drove around lost for 45 minutes today with my driver when I knew that my home was only a 15 minute drive....close by....somewhere....

I am currently reading three books. I am feeding my mind, soul, and logic. I am reading "The end of faith" by Sam Harris. He is an anti-Theist/organized religion type fellow, with a brilliant mind and quite intriguing arguments. I don't think he's right, however, but it's good to keep up with the mindset of the world. I am also reading 1984 by George Orwell. I am reading this simply because everyone says it's a "classic" and it was yet another book I managed to "get by" without reading in highschool. It's quite interesting. Plus, now I can say I did. And last, but certainly NOT least. I am reading "Captivating...unveiling the mystery of a womans soul" By Stasi and John Eldredge. I know what you're thinking...that doesn't sound like a Sarah book! And let me assure I certainly didn't think so either. I started to read it to get some information for the grade 11&12 girls small group I'm teaching. But as soon as I started reading I was hooked on it, not for "informations sake" but for me. It is a wonderful book about the longings of a womans heart, and how we can find and capture our beauty and identity, in knowing we were made in God's image. Sounds cheesy, I know. Trust me, I am a big "womans lit" critic. But seriously, all you Christian women out there...it is a MUST read. It has spoken to me, and I will continue to read it, and learn from it, and drink deeply of the wisdom it offers.

Anyways, just an update on my life. Miss you all!
Sarah

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Day 37?? Something like that...

Hello faithful blog checkers,

Well it's Wednesday morning, and I'm feeling a little guilty because I've hardly done any work. It's not my fault I say! I'm not sure what to do! Guess what! Hillsong United is coming to Jakarta! That's right...Hillsong United+Jakarta=GREAT YOUTH EVENT!

So today I have to order sixty tickets to hillsong. Yesterday I did alot of study. I am going to be leading a couple of varied small groups. One will be a pretty relational/community one for older girls. I'm pretty excited for that. Another one will be a mixed grade nine/ten group. It will be more of a bible study thing, though still way more personal than a big group teaching. I feel totally inadequate to do these things! I realized, I haven't actually led a very intentional small group before. I'm not sure how to go about it. Like, with four girls...do we play games? Work through a book? (There's no materials here in this muslim country I must remind you) or work through a book in the bible...or just talk! Yikes! I will strongly be depending on my Lord for this task.

I am headed over to the Kristal Hotel to the daylife spa to go for a nice walk, and do some reflecting and thinking. I am a busy girl tomorrow learning how to sneak onto a campus to hang out with kids from the youth group. The school is highly ANTI-relgious so you have to do a real song and dance to get on campus. And my friends, a song and dance is what I'm going to do!

Anywho I need to run,
Sarah

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Day 35 I think...

Wow. In a way I'm like "I've been here 35 days!!" And then in another way I'm like..."Man...I've only been here 35 days?"

Things are going well. I've had a busy last couple of days which has been good. Tonight is the gathering place which is a kind of post modern, round tables and coffee sort of service our church does in South Jakarta. I'm playing my new d'jembe as well as doing a presentation on the youth group.

I've got a pounding headache right now. I'm not sure why, but it's irritating. I dreamt last night that the whole archipalago (sp?) of Indonesia was going to dissipate by either fire or water, and I couldn't find my passport to get out of the country. It was quite scary. But the other day I dreamt I was hanging out with Jack, Kate, and Sawyer from the tv series LOST. It was glorious. I was quite sad to wake up.

Does anybody know how to post pictures on silly blogspot? I've got some gooders I'd love for you folks to see, but I can't figure out how to load them! If you can figure it out make sure you email me! Hey Rocky? How is the mix ministry night going? Has Chosen started up again? Miss you lots!

Elijah...how was your birthday buddy? Do you feel older?

Newmarket and Family. Keep on staying in touch. I am always appreciating your emails and encouragement. Pastor Garry...Mark says hi! And he can't believe you got your ear pierced.