Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Drenching Rain, Flat Tire, Christmas Blessings

It is now December 26th. Christmas is over…mostly. Here in Indonesia, Christmas celebrations continue well into January.

With Ibu Sara, retured director of the children's home
The last two days were full of memorable events. Monday, Christmas Eve, Rachel and I made the 45 minute motorbike drive into town to our international church. A great group of people had been working with me to prepare the Christmas Eve service. I went early to be sure everything was in order.

We arrived at about 3:00 PM, dropped off the small suitcase containing our clothes for that night, and then went out to eat a late lunch. While eating, it started to rain. I left Rachel waiting under shelter while I went to get the motorbike. I didn’t want her standing there exposed to the rain while I put on my rain poncho. I got quite wet before getting the poncho on, then picked up Rachel. She quickly put on her helmet and hopped on the back of the bike, sheltering under the back of my poncho.

We made our next stop at a supermarket. By the time we got there, one might easily have thought someone up there was dumping buckets of water on us. I let Rachel off the bike under shelter. By the time I parked and got inside, leaving the poncho on the bike, I probably looked like a drowned rat. We did our shopping, which included a raincoat and rain pants for Rachel, so she was well protected.

We got back to the church and parked near the office. The music minister had just arrived and got a good laugh over our (my) water-logged condition. He drives a motorbike everywhere, too, so he has been there…done that. (Sorry, no drowned rat pictures.)

With Hastin, wife of the current acting director of the children's home, and a dear friend.
Things started looking up from there. We both got a shower and changed our clothes at the church. The musicians came, and we practiced the music. The various participants came, and everything started coming together.

The one thing that wasn’t cooperating was my left knee. I was experiencing an acute flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis, and was finding it painful to walk. Once in a while, my knee would buckle under me, Once, I almost fell and nearly dragged someone else with me.  I asked some friends who had arrived early to pray for me. I was supposed to MC (for lack of a better term) the service that night, and was praying that my knee would not give me trouble. God answered that prayer. As the service ended, I realized that I had not even thought about my knee the whole time. What a great answer to prayer! What a gift!

Speaking of gifts…that was the theme of the service. God’s Greatest Gift. The Gift of Jesus, His Son, Who came into our world to bring us back to Him. Various scripture readings and carols retold the Christmas story. Our pastor shared a reflection gifts, and we finished by considering what our gifts back to God might be – our hearts, our talents, our praises.  

Rachel and I arrived home about 10:00 PM that night after an hour of travel, and dropped into bed.

Rachel gets kind of goofy while waiting for the tire to be patched.
Christmas morning, we got up and checked in our stockings. Rachel had filled mine. I filled hers. We went to our Indonesian church for their morning service. I was excited to see some of the graduates from the children’s home back for a visit. It was good to celebrate the birth of our Savior with dear friends here.

No need to tell every detail of the day, so I’ll fast forward to evening. We were invited to an Australian-style Christmas celebration. These friends had invited people of at least three nationalities over to their home for food, games, and Christmas carols by candlelight in the back yard. We sat around on mats and blankets spread on the ground and enjoyed a wonderful evening.

While waiting, we discovered that taking pictures of traffic using the fireworks setting on the camera, while moving the camera around made some very interesting effects.

 About 8:00 PM, we hopped back on our bike to head home. Ten minutes later, I realized my back tire was feeling strange. Great! Just great! A flat tire…after 8 PM. It could have been a nightmare. But God was looking out for us. If I had to have a flat tire, it couldn’t have happened in better spot. I only had to push the bike for about half a minute to get to a place that patches tires. Of course, it was closed, but the owner got up and helped me out anyway. I was so thankful for that.

An hour later, with the tire fixed, we were on our way. Yet another hour later, we arrived home. Once again, Rachel dropped into bed, and I followed shortly afterwards.

The same trick works on your Christmas tree. Try it out if you have a fireworks setting on your camera.

Drenching rain and flat tire. A healing touch when it was needed most. Church family celebrating together, and friends singing His praises.  Precious memories add to our collection for Christmas 2012 in Bali, Indonesia.

Christmas 2012 is over. But I trust that the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Immanuel, God With Us – and all that His coming entails, will remain with you and with me all year through.


  1. It's a Christmas miracle that the guy was able to patch your tire after they closed. In the States, that would never happen.

    Have a happy rest of the season Holidays. Nice to see they celebrate throughout the month over there. Pray your knee is pain free in 2013. (My wife has a knee injury that's lasted over a year...sounding more like chronic pain...we'll see).

  2. You are right that I never would have found someone to patch my tire in the States on Christmas Day...after closing time. But here...the majority of people are Hindu with the second majority being Muslim. For most people in Bali, Christmas is just another day. Even so, the fact that this guy was willing to open up shop- after hours is still a miracle.

    I hope your wife's knee pain gets better soon. I am very thankful that my knee is feeling pretty much normal now.

    Well Chris...Happy New year to you and your family!


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