Kamis, 20 Januari 2011
Greetings from the land where air means water! With our first unit of language study already halfway over we have comprehended a ton of new information, but can only say a little. I am surprised at how well I can follow a conversation, but when asked a question to come up with the words to answer is tough! When talking with neighbors I often have to say "tunggu, kamus" which means wait, dictionary. Then I run into our house to grab our Indonesian/English dictionary.
Our first two weeks of language school has been exhausting, but today Wes said, "it really is amazing how much we know only after 9 days." We feel so blessed to be going to this school where the teachers are Christians and they really want us to understand. Our homework everyday is to go and talk with 10 Indonesians. At first I dreaded this task. After the first day or two I could say, "Hello my name is Caren. I am from America. I am married. My husband's name is Wes. We do not yet have children. We live in compound Rancabentang. Goodbye" Imagining doing that in my own language made me laugh! It was a lot easier once I could say I am studying the language Indonesian, so that they didn't think I was completely insane. Actually, the people around here seem used to foreigners learning their language and coming up to them with monologues, and they are very forgiving.
One day I was sitting on the steps outside a neighbors house talking with some kids. They were helping me expand my vocabulary. One of them mentioned the word "titing" but it was not in my kamus. I told her that I would ask my teacher at school tomorrow. When I brought it up in class the teacher didn't know either, and said it was probably an impolite slang word. That didn't settle right with me, because that girl has seemed quite happy to help me, but I thought maybe I'm naive. Finally, a week later I was sitting outside another neighbor's house talking with some older ladies. I was asking about their families and finally asked there names. Wouldn't you know it, one was Ibu Titing! My teacher got a good laugh when I told her the next day.
On our way to the Immigration office Wes was practicing his Indonesian with our driver. The topic of food came up and Wes asked what his favorite food was. The driver then asked if Wes liked the spiciness of the food in Indonesia. He told him he did, but when he tried to tell him that I didn't he said, "My wife doesn't swallow swords!" The driver graciously corrected him!
Our house is starting to feel more like a home. Thanks to those who have supported us we were able to get a big kids bed that we can both fit into. For the first 2 weeks we slept in a bed just a little bigger than a twin.
We also now have a house helper, or a pembantu. It is really weird for us to have a nice older lady cleaning, cooking, and doing our laundry for us, but we are really happy that we are able to give her a job. Her name is Ibu Ema. She is married with 3 grown children, and 4 grandchildren. She is really sweet, and seems to be a hard worker. She is a Muslim, so please be praying that Jesus would use us to plant, water, or whatever it is that she needs in her life to come to know him. I pray that she would know his love for her.
We have been so blessed by the workers already here, our teachers, fellow students, neighbors, and by you! We cannot express our gratitude for your prayers and encouragement. It really does get us through any low time of doubt or homesickness.
I have been reading through the Gospels and am just once again overwhelmed by the love of Christ. The more I come to know who he is the more I realize I need him. John 12: 46 Jesus says, "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness." I know that I do not want to abide in darkness, and I pray the same for each of you.
"Grazie, Signore, for Your lips twisted in love to accommodate my sinful self; for judging me not by my shabby good deeds but by Your love that is Your gift to me; for Your unbearable forgiveness and infinite patience with me; for other people who have greater gifts than mine; and for the honesty to acknowledge that I am a ragamuffin. When the final curtain falls and You summon me home, may my last whispered word on earth be the wholehearted cry, 'Grazie, Signore'." - from the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning but the words of Anotonio Salieri