We continue to experience new things here in the New Year. A couple weeks ago after church I (Greg) attended my first wedding reception. Julie and the kids had attended the international church that morning so they didn’t get the invite. Being the only white guy there I found myself the center of attention which felt a bit awkward being that the bride and groom should be the center of attention. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a 1-2 feet taller than most. So anyway I had my picture taken several times with the bride and groom and probably the worse part was I was way over due for a haircut and I wore a helmet on the way to the celebrations so I have no idea what condition my hair was in. Note to self get a hair cut more often! This coming Sunday our whole family received an official invitation to another wedding reception, this will be a good experience for Julie and the kids. And being that the kids and Julie lebih cantik daripada saya (more beautiful than me) I think I’ll be off the hook a bit maybe for picture taking.
The next new experience we had was one of our neighbors passed away last week. Which means yes Julie and I attended our first pemakaman (funeral). In fact that day 3 people passed away in our neighborhood but we only attended the one as it was a neighbor kitty-corner from us. The lady passed away around 9:00 am shortly after the neighbors gathered to help set up the tent and chairs which in most cases blocks off the road which requires people to find alternative routes and they do this for weddings too. Since Julie was home when she passed away, she was able to go to the house and join the other neighborhood ladies as they supported the grieving family members. This is a very important part of cultural here as your neighbors become your family. The services started about 1:00 pm and then the graveside service followed and by 2:30ish everyone was heading home. Then for the next 3-4 evenings neighbors come and go from the family’s house to visit for a bit. It was a nice and simple service for the lady was apparently Christian. Knowing the demographics of our neighborhood the next pemakaman we attend will likely be Muslim which will be certainly different in regards to the feel of things. A lot of the processes are the same but I sure there will be some differences.
And my favorite experience I think to date was yesterday. Unfortunately I experienced it alone from the rest of my family. Our dear friends (neighbors from our last house) have been experiencing a lot of sickness and so yesterday I had the privilege of visiting them and one of the family members who just miscarried her first child. She was at the local hospital and we went to visit her and bring her home. Long story short they needed some help with somethings including logistics of getting some important documents from South Korea were her husband is currently working to the hospital. Praise the Lord for the wonderful tools of computers and email. The other need that I think was maybe why this has been one of my highlights was they needed help with transportation for everyone back to Kopeng. I wasn’t able to fly them but we were able to loan them Buzz (Julie’s scooter) and I was able to drive JR (our other bike), which allowed for a single trip from the hospital to Kopeng. It felt really good to have the resources and ability to help by a simple way of just providing transportation. I’m really starting to look forward to being able to do this with airplanes later this year Lord willing. If you think of them, you can pray for this family. I don’t quite understand how this works but this young gal has only been married for 6 months or so and then a couple months ago her husband took a job in South Korea which is a four year contract that doesn’t include anytime for a trip home to be with his new bride. Then to have a miscarriage I can’t even imagine what that would be like.
Again we want to Thank each and everyone of you who continue to hold us up in prayer and walk with us through supporting the work of MAF.
Sorry no pictures this time. I’ll be sure to put some up next time.
Greg (Julie and the Kids)