Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Minor" Moving Mishap

What do a traffic jam, two motorcycles, a shoulder, and finger tugs have in common? Last Wednesday and me, that's what.

By the way, this is not my bike. I just wasn't up to taking
lots of photos of my own during this incident.
Original image found here.
As you know, if you read my last post, Rachel and I will soon be moving permanently back to the States. In fact, in a mere two weeks from now, we will be in a plane approaching Taipei, Taiwan, on the first leg of our long journey.

Most of the major busy-ness of closing down our home is done, leaving the last two weeks to focus on people, rather than logistics. That is what had been planned for last Wednesday. Rachel and I were going to visit a family that has a couple children she likes to play with. I enjoy visiting with the parents. Just one of many good-byes.

I had been with the kids at the children's home in the early afternoon. I left there on my scooter a bit before three o'clock to pick Rachel up and drive to our friends' house.

The Accident

Keep in mind that in Indonesia, we drive on the left.

At a four-way intersection, traffic was all jammed up. "Car A" was behind me (the red triangle) in the middle on the road instead of over to the left where it should have been.

"Car B" was coming straight ahead out of the opposite road, but couldn't go anywhere, because "Car A" was in the way,

"Car C" wanted to turn left, but "Car B" was in the way.

The only way to break up the traffic jam was for me to get out of the way so "Car A" could move forward and left to get out of the way of "Car B".

So, I moved ahead into the intersection, for some reason not noticing "Car D" speeding down the road toward me, an oversight extremely unusual for me. I swerved, and "Car D" stopped in time, avoiding an accident that would have been entirely my fault.

Breathing a prayer of thanks, I headed on through the intersection, passing in front of "Car C".

In the meantime, an off-duty policeman on his own motorbike (the purple triangle) approached the same intersection. He saw that "Car C" was waiting to turn left and couldn't go anywhere. He should have stopped beside "Car C", but he wanted to go straight, and figured it was safe for him to keep going.

Well, we both arrived at the same place at the same time. I saw him. He saw me. We tried to avoid each other, but it didn't work. I managed to stay balanced for a few seconds, but finally fell over onto my left side.

Several people, including the off-duty policeman who hit me, stopped to help me up. Somehow, I got to my feet, and realized something was really wrong with my left arm. I couldn't raise it or lower it.  The policeman asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, which was right there on the corner. Well...yeah. Obviously.

The ER

I walked into the emergency room on my own two feet. They checked me over...kind of. I knew from the angle of my arm and the hollow-feeling place at my shoulder that it was either broken or dislocated. As I waited for further action, I made a few calls to let people know what happened.

By this time, the policeman had been back twice to check on me and see if I wanted to report the accident. Really? Seriously? At the moment, dealing with paperwork was the last thing on my mind.
They finally took me to get an X-ray which confirmed a dislocation. Unfortunately, the doctor who could deal with that kind of injury wouldn't be in until the next day. Needless to say, I was dismayed to think I would have to wait eighteen hours to get any relief.

On the positive side, several staff from the children's home came to the ER to help me. In Indonesia, this is very important because someone has to go to the pharmacy, physically purchase any medical supplies such as IV bags and needles that are needed, and bring them back to the doctor.

The Healing Touch
Next to arrive were four of the teenaged boys from the home. They had gotten home from school, heard that I was in the ER, and turned around to race back to the hospital. I was really very touched.

By the time they arrived, I had found a somewhat bearable position for my arm...over my head and supported by a pillow. That position, though, wasn't good for circulation, so I had to lower my arm once in a while.

Hendrik, one of the boys who came to see me, stood by the ER gurney where I was laying. He saw me grimace in pain as I tried to lower my left arm. He gently took my hand and massaged it. Then he gave a gentle tug on each finger.

Suddenly, I could lower my arm all the way without pain. I could raise it, too. The place in my shoulder that had felt hollow wasn't hollow anymore. I don't know why Hendrik's massage and the finger pulls made my shoulder go back into place, but it did. For that, I am extremely thankful.

Even though I thought my arm was OK, the ER staff urged me to stay the night until the orthopedic doctor could check me in the morning. I guess because at age fifty, I am considered kind of old here, they didn't want to take any chances. At my "ripe old age" I might be much more fragile than a younger person. (This is especially funny when you consider that I walked in on my own two feet with a dislocated shoulder, and coherently made several phone calls while in pain. I guess I'm tougher than they think.)

The Procedure Canceled
To make a long story short, I did stay the night. Initially, they put me in a room with a sixty-two year old gentleman with diabetes. Ibu Luh, who was visiting at the time, didn't like this setup and got them to move me to an empty room across the hall. (Thank you, Ibu Luh.)

Wayan, one of the staff ladies who is my good friend, stayed the night with me along with three of the teen-aged girls. Wayan slept in the second bed, and the three girls slept on the floor under the second bed.

The next morning at about 11:00, they finally came to take me to "surgery". I was sure I didn't need it, but I had to wait for the doctor to make it official. The anesthesiologist was the one who finally took me seriously and put the brakes on purchasing the medicines and supplies that would have been needed. 

The doctor checked me over and sent me home. Believe it or not, the whole experience from beginning to end only cost me $80.

I have much to be thankful for
  • Rachel wasn't on the bike with me when this happened.
  • "Car D" didn't hit me.
  • My bike wasn't seriously damaged.
  • God gave me tolerance for the pain.
  • God sent Hendrik to gently pop the shoulder into place.
  • I felt very well-loved by the kids and staff at the home.
Well, it's getting late, and I need to get to sleep. We are going to try again tomorrow to visit our friends. I'll be especially careful to avoid any more "moving mishaps".

Monday, July 22, 2013

Moving Month Mayhem

After twenty years in Bali, Indonesia, a move is in the works. Rachel and I will be flying back to the USA on August 11th...not just for a visit this time, but to live for the foreseeable future. Bit by bit, our home is being dismantled...and a certain amount of mayhem is inevitable.

All our major furnishings have found a home with various friends in Bali and the neighboring island. Thankfully, the friends who have purchased the most-essential items are willing to wait until closer to our departure before claiming them. Otherwise, we would be living in a pretty depressingly empty house.

As it is, with our books being packed, our home is looking somewhat forlorn. In exchange, we have a garage full of boxes.

Our closets have been sorted through and things that haven't been used in a long time are slated for give-away or sale. We will have a "garage sale this Saturday morning. "Garage sale" is in quotation marks because it will actually be held on the front porch of my international church. I live too far away from most of the rest of my friends to expect them to drive out to my house. Boxes for that purpose are stacked in a different room.

A few days ago, I got some help bringing a desk and a large bamboo bookcase down from an upstairs room. The stairs were too narrow to move those items, so they were lowered over the balcony...exactly the opposite procedure used two years ago when we moved in. (The move-in process resembled reeling in a fish.)

This morning, my bookcases and another piece of bamboo furniture got moved out. The same truck took a large portion of the for-sale items into town ready for the "garage sale". Getting loaded up was a challenge because it rained hard and long just exactly at the time we needed to load up. It took awhile, but at long last, that job was done.

The cargo company I have hired to move the stuff I am sending back to the States will come on Tuesday about twelve hours, in fact. Once we are past the garage sale , the majority of the packing up will be done with two weeks to spare.

I think I have had more visitors drop in this past week alone than I have had in the past two years. All are wanting to catch up before we leave. This will only increase over the next few weeks as we wrap up our life here. This, of course, is the hardest part about moving.

In the meantime, Rachel and I both are riding a roller-coaster of feelings about this move. We alternately look forward to this new stage of our life, and grieve what we will be leaving behind.

I find myself getting teary-eyed at random moments as I say good-bye to friends, places, and even activities that have been a common part of my life life.

Rachel's roller-coaster shows up in different ways. A couple nights ago, I picked her up from a friend's house. She wanted to buy some roasted corn from a vendor in the park, but as we already had food at home, I said no. She had a bit of a melt-down which thankfully didn't last very long. Interestingly, she recognized that she was partly upset about not getting the corn, and partly about missing her friends. I understood.

We'd certainly appreciate your prayers for us as we make this transition.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Crazy Camp Schedule Got Crazier

As I shared in a previous post, the second half of June through the first half of July was really busy. I was pleased that my mother could make one final visit to Bali before Rachel and I make our move back to the States. We had a great time visiting some beautiful places in Bali. (I also was able to use that time to make final arrangements for the youth discipleship camp.) Three days after Mom flew back to the States, the team running the discipleship camp flew in from Australia and the USA. The next two weeks was full of non-stop activity. I know some of you were praying for the camp, so I’ll take some time to fill you in on how things went.

Camping Out in an Unusual Place
I mentioned before that rainy season has lasted much longer than usual this year, which presented certain challenges for camping in tents. We arrived at the pastor’s house where we planned to camp only to find muddy areas where we planned to pitch our tents. In fact, just as we were about to set up the tents, the skies opened up and released torrents of rain. Sooooo, we pitched the tents under the carport of the pastor’s house. Not exactly a traditional campsite, and the tents are a bit the worse for wear, but everyone remained dry.

The Advantage of Cloudy Skies
As the team led the teenagers in various activities to prepare them for a couple mountain climbs, it was kind of nice to have somewhat overcast skies so things weren’t so hot. They got in some good practice on hills as the pastor’s house was located in the mountains of northern Bali.

Art and Crafts
This year, we had the special asset of having an art teacher on the team. She had the kids making their own batik designs as well as doing some wood carving.

Sharing Life Stories
During the course of the first week, each camper had a chance to share however much of their life stories with the group. As each camper finished his or her story, the other campers and leaders gathered around to pray for that person, share a scripture verse, or give a word of encouragement. This was a special time for the teens to learn to minister to each other.

Privileges and Responsibilities of Being Royal
The teaching during the camp focused on the reality that as sons and daughters of the King of Kings, we have available to us all the resources of heaven. We don’t need to live as paupers. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that we were teaching the kids a prosperity gospel, let me clarify. It is true that God promises to supply all our needs. The resources of heaven go far beyond the material provision. The resources of Heaven also consist of such things as joy, peace, love, strength, and courage. As children of God we have all these resources at our disposal just for the asking. We also have a responsibility to use these resources for the benefit of others, not just for ourselves.

For me personally, one of the most powerful sessions in the camp happened during one of the praise and worship times. We met on the verandah of the pastor’s house which overlooks the valley where they minister. Instead of sitting in a circle facing each other as we sang, we were asked to face outward instead. We sang God’s praises over the valley - one song after another. The leader then asked us each to pick one of the houses we saw in the valley, and as princes and princesses in God’s family, to pray for the family living in that house. Pray for God’s blessing on that house and everyone in it. Pray for health, harmony, provision, and for them to have a relationship with God. The pastor’s wife told me later that she really appreciated those prayers that went out over the territory where they minister.

Climb Every Mountain - Well, We Tried
Well, not every mountain. We planned two climbs - Mount Agung, the highest mountain in Bali, and Mount Batur.  Sadly, the first climb did not happen. As we headed to bed early to prepare for a 1:00AM start, it began to rain. And it rained, and rained, and rained. Between the rain, wind on the mountain, and the likelihood of cloud cover, it was decided that the Agung climb would be too dangerous. The kids were really disappointed, but it was the right decision.

The next day, we headed on to the second mountain, Mount Batur. We had planned to pitch the tents for two nights near the starting point for the climb and then move to a homestay for the final night. However, the weather forecast promised rain over the next seven days.

This required a shift in plans. We were able to change our reservations at the homestay. Instead of six rooms for one night, we took four rooms for two nights and fit more people in each room. As the Indonesian kids don’t mind sleeping up close and personal, this worked quite well.

The Batur climb turned out to be a really good one, and the teens had time to reflect on the beauty and majesty of God’s creation. The weather was fine. In fact, the forecasted rain didn’t actually materialize. The kids enjoyed the hot springs pools at the homestay. Who am I kidding? I enjoyed them, too.

Early End to Camp
Camp ended one day early, due to all the changes. We returned to Klungkung, and I had twenty-one people sleeping over at my house. Tents and sleeping bags were hung out to dry. We had to move some of these inside at night when…you guessed it…a big rainstorm passed through. All ended well, though. Everything got dry and packed away before the team left for Australia and the USA. It was a privilege to serve with this team and to get to know the special young people God brought together for this camp.

Now…Take a Deep Breath…and Launch Into the Next Month
Right now, Rachel and I have less than four weeks to finish packing up and saying goodbye. There is so very much to do. Please pray for us over this next month for organization, peace, health, and good closure to this chapter of our lives.

Well, I guess that is it for now. I’ll try to send out another update before we leave Bali on August 11th.

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Goes In Is What Comes Out

This segment of "Things I Have Learned From Little Girl" was first shared in my February 2008 newsletter.


Changes happen so fast.  One day, Rachel was saying just one or two words at a time.  The very next day, it seems, she was singing the alphabet song all the way through.  She has picked up on numerous expressions that people around her use on a daily basis.  Of course, we’ve deliberately added some of the cuter expressions.  “Oh man.“  “Oh boy!“  “Oh my goodness!“  “Oh no!“   

More and more often, she puts the words she knows together in unique ways to express her own unique thoughts and desires…just as a two-year-old should.  She doesn’t need to study anything.  She doesn’t have to try and memorize the words.  No one has to teach them to her.  She simply absorbs the language that surrounds her.   

Thankfully, no one around her is in the habit of using language I wouldn’t want her to repeat.  Still, I know very well that if she were exposed to bad language, she would quickly absorb it and repeat it, just as quickly and easily as everything else.

I don’t think we are all that different.  True, as adults, we don’t develop and change as quickly as Rachel does.  Even so, the things with which we surround ourselves have a profound impact on our thoughts, desires, attitudes, actions and speech.   

When we are under pressure, the things that fill us are the things that come out.  As believers, we are to be “in the world, but not of it”.  We can’t totally isolate ourselves from things around us that God would not want us to imitate, nor should we.   

We can, however, make sure that we deliberately fill our minds and hearts with things that are pleasing to God.  If we do, then no matter what happens, no matter what pressures we encounter, the things that fill us are the things that will come out.  Let’s be sure that we fill our hearts and minds with things that are pleasing to God. 

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fool Me Once, But Never Twice

This segment of "Things I Have Learned From My Daughter" was first shared in my December 2006 newsletter.


 Rachel is a pretty smart little girl.  Once she knows where something is, she remembers the location.  For instance, when she eats, I prepare a sippy cup of juice and one of water for her.  The juice cup has a purple lid. The water cup has a blue one.  She very quickly caught on to which cup contained the more tasty drink. She would refuse the blue cup and demand the purple one.  

One day, I tried an experiment.  I switched the cups to see if she would recognize the trick.  I tried to give her the juice cup (with the blue lid this time) and she refused it, demanding the purple cup.  She drank all the water from the purple cup and only then accepted the juice.   

The look on her face was priceless when she realized she had been tricked.  The next time, I tried a switch again, giving her the water first.  She was not fooled this time.  One sip was enough to let her know that THIS was not what she wanted, even though it was in the cup that was supposed to contain “the good stuff”.  She tossed it aside and demanded the other one.  I could fool her once, but not twice.

How easy it is for us to be fooled by things that look good on the outside, but are not all they are purported to be on the inside.  Our enemy is very clever at packaging things to look inviting, when in fact they are not good for us, or at least not the best.   

He would love to trick us into settling for thrills instead of joy, monetary wealth instead of true riches, excitement instead of contentment, the safety of the known instead of trust in our Father to move outside our comfort zones, lots of shallow relationships instead of a few deep ones, empty ritual instead of true worship.   

Let’s be smarter than that.  Perhaps we have been fooled once into settling for something less than Father’s best.  Let’s not be fooled twice. 

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind…, 
able to discern between good and evil…

1 Kings 3:9

Friday, July 5, 2013

That Scary Next Step

This segment of "Things I Have Learned From My Daughter" was first written and shared in my May 2007 newsletter.

Sadly, I can't find any pictures of the time Rachel was just learning to walk, so I'll have to make do with other favorite pictures.
In the months after Rachel’s first solo steps, I saw an interesting facet of her personality.  She was very cautious in new situations.  With even a slight change of elevation, she would hold onto the door frame with both hands and carefully edge her way from one level to the other.   

Still more interesting was watching her move from one kind of surface to another.  For instance, in a friend’s house where we sometimes visit, we cross at least five different surfaces, including a wooden bridge, between the house and the car, with no change of elevation.  Still, Rachel would either hold onto something, or drop to all fours, crawl from one surface to the other, stand back up, and continue on her way.   

Apparently, each new surface looked like a daunting, potentially dangerous challenge.  How different things were, though, when she made the trip while holding my hand.  With her hand in mine, nothing was scary.   

Time has passed, and Rachel no longer drops to all fours…at least not as often.  She handles familiar changes in elevation without holding onto the door frame.  However, she still often waits for me to give her my hand when stepping onto that wooden bridge.

I don’t think we ever completely outgrow feeling anxious when we encounter something new and strange in our life journey.  The challenges, perhaps even pain and heartache, which accompany the unfamiliar may seem overwhelming.  We might feel that in some sense we are “holding onto the doorframe with both hands” or “dropping to all fours” to simply make it through the day.   

The good news is that we don’t have to handle these challenges on our own.  Rachel only needed to reach for my hand to find all the help and confidence she needed to take that scary next step.  We, too, only need to reach out to our Heavenly Father Whose hand is always there.  When we do, we find the things that seemed so overwhelming when we were on our own suddenly are not as threatening.   

Sometimes, the thing that dismayed us turns out not to be such a big deal after all.  Other things will always be a major challenge.  Just as Rachel still reaches for my hand before stepping onto the wooden bridge, we can reach out to our Father again and again when we face things that continue to be bigger than we are.  His hand is always there.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.   
Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Over the years since Rachel came into my life at the age of six weeks, I have learned much from her. In the next several posts, I'd like to share a few things she has taught me. This segment of "Things I Have Learned From My Daughter" was first shared in my May 2006 newsletter.

The month of March 2006 was a fun one for Rachel…and for me.  She was sleeping well, and was very content.  This meant that when I got her out of her crib in the morning, she was bright-eyed and excited to see me.  I could tell by the way she kicked her legs and waved her arms.  I could see it in her big toothless grin and sparkling eyes.  She was happy just to be with her mommy.   

It occurred to me that God must love it when His children wake up glad simply to be with Him.  Of course, as adults, most of us don’t show our joy by waving our arms and kicking our legs. For most of us, big toothless grins, are a thing of the past.  

Even so, do we wake up with a sense of anticipation of what our Father is going to do in our lives in the day ahead?  Or do we stagger out of bed with bleary eyes, and plod through the day, perhaps never even acknowledging that our Father is there ready to take delight in being with us?

I got a tiny sense of what this might be like during the month of April 2006.  Rachel wasn’t sleeping as soundly as before, so she was not as well rested.  When I went to get her up, she just stared into space before even acknowledging that I was there.  When I took her hands she would stand up and go through her morning routines without much fuss, but the sparkle was not there.  No excitement.  No big grin that said, “Mommy, I’m SOOO glad to see you!”  

Of course, the grin did come later in the day, but I missed seeing it in the morning.  Our Father must miss His children, too, when we are too tired or distracted to even acknowledge His presence, much less be excited to be with Him. 

I hope that you will be challenged, even as I have been, to realize that our Father in heaven is there eagerly anticipating being with His children, even as I eagerly anticipate being with my baby.  Perhaps you are like me, and the first thing in the morning is simply not your best time of day.  Even so, I hope to not go too far into the day before looking with delight to spending time with my Father.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  
 Psalm 27:4

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