Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank you PVMC!

On Thursday, August 27, my class arrived at school to a surprise...Pleasant View Mennonite Church sent a package of school supplies to us! During Bible School in July the children at PVMC raised money for school supplies to send to us and we are extremely thankful. You can find some supplies here but the quality is not always very good and there is no variety. So the markers, crayons, colored pencils, erasers, and stickers are going to be very helpful. We are very excited about the writing pencils because we have yet to find pencils with erasers on the end (one thing we always took for granted in the states, pencils that come with erasers!). Besides the glitter...the favorite item pulled out of the box was the Crayola markers! In fact we used the markers as soon as we could get them opened! The kids were also fascinated with the cool pencil grips and the erasers that go on the end of the pencils. We are going to have a ton of First Grade Fun with the supplies that you sent...Thank you!

My class consists of eight students; three are from Korea, one from Australia, one from England, and three from the states (unfortunately there are only 7 in this picture, one student had not arrived from Korea yet). Of those from the states one just moved to Salatiga from Oklahoma! What are the odds of that? The majority of my students are MK's (missionary kids), and their parents are studying at the language school which is located at the edge of Mountainview's property. The student population is made up of MK's, BK's (business kids, their parents have found employment here on Java so that their children can attend an American school without having to move to the states. Salatiga is a much cheaper place to live than the US.) and teachers children (which are MK's). It makes teaching interesting when your students are world travelers at the age of 6. They have seen parts of the world that I have only read about in books or seen on tv. There is one thing that I can promise about this year, with these students class will definitely not be boring!

Thank you PVMC for sending us supplies to help us learn in class!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Help from above in a helper from here

I find it hard to believe that it has been over a week since our last post. School is in full swing which means everyone is busy. Dana and I teach and then spend a few hours each night preparing to teach the next day. It is good to have meaningful work and the ability to do it. The beginning of school has been more significant for the kids. It has given them the opportunity to meet new friends and more importantly new playmates. The infusion of new playmates has lead to increased harmony at home. Before school started I think we had too much together time. When the kids aren't playing with friends they're doing homework or amusing themselves with something around the house. The pattern is familiar, just as in the states.

Well that's a brief update on the goings on here. Now I want to introduce you to one of the people God has blessed us with in this time of transition. Ibu Pasira is our pembantu, or helper. Ibu is the English equivalent of Mrs. It is a sign of respect for someone who is older or in a position of higher authority. At school, the Indonesian staff always call me Pak (Mr.) Jeff. If I were single they would call me Mas (Mr. for a younger man) Jeff.
While we are scurrying off to school, Ibu Pasira is making lunch, doing laundry, sweeping, mopping and shopping for food. I don't know what we would do without her. Again, Salatiga is not like living in the states. You can't just jump in your car, drive to the nearest super center, do all of your shopping and then go home. For starters, we don't have a car here, nor is there one stop shopping. Knowing where to get what your looking for is very important, however it doesn't mean that you'll find what you looking for. The availability of products comes and goes.
Our kids, especially Abby and Zach, have taken to Ibu Pasira. In many ways, she is our Indonesian Grandmother. Ibu Pasira has a number of grown children who are married and a daughter who just graduated from Indonesian high school last year. She comes at 7 AM and works til 2 PM Monday through Friday. We fend for ourselves on the weekends, during holidays and when Ibu wants off. Without Ibu Pasira, both of us could not teach. Maintaining the home and shopping is indeed a full time job in Salatiga without a car. Ibu Pasira is God's answer to our prayers regarding Him preparing a place for us in Salatiga. Our continued prayer is that Ibu Pasira may come to realize that she is a gift from God and come to faith in Christ. Blessings to each of you, Jeff

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Day of School

We've finished our first day of school and I think everyone in the family was exhausted! Our morning started early because Jeff & I were supposed to be at school by 7:15. Let's just say that 50% of us made it...okay so I was late my first day! I hate to admit but three of my students beat me to school... The bell rings at 7:40 a.m. and students are to be in their seats by that bell. In elementary our day is done at 2:45 and for secondary at 3:00. The kids and I made it to school by 7:35, before we left I convinced Abby & Zach to take the traditional first day of school picture. Don't they look ready for school?

We started the day with a K-12 chapel. It was awesome, we got to begin our day praising God through worship songs. Then the superintendent spoke about our school theme for the year which is B.E. R.E.A.L.
  • B - Bold

  • E - Expectant

  • R - Redeemed

  • E - Extraordinary

  • A - Authentic

  • L - Loved

There is a song by Matthew West called "The Motions" and it talks about "not wanting to have any regrets...I don't want to go through the motions, I don't want to go one more day, without your all consuming passion inside of me...I don't want to spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?" It is a song with powerful words. The school is going to use the song as kind of the theme song for the year.

Upon returning to the classroom I had a room of eight first graders, six boys and two girls. It will be an interesting year, three are from Korea, one from Australia, one from England, and three from the states. In fact one of the girls is from Oklahoma, what are the odds. I am looking forward to this year with these students.

As far as the rest of the family...I'll let them respond at a later time. Dana

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Independence Day Celebration

August 17th is Indonesia's Independence Day. This day is widely celebrated because it is the only holiday that all of the relegions represented in Indonesia can agree on. In fact everyone goes all out...they paint the fronts of their homes as well as their gates with vibrant colors. The curbs throughout town are repainted yearly in anticipation of this holiday. They hang flags everywhere. Each neighborhood celebrates together, but you don't have to necessarily have your party on August 17th. Our neighborhood, Dukuh Krajan, has it's celebration right in our front yard...we have heard it's quite the party.

In anticipation of Independence Day, the national staff at MICS (Mountainview International Christian School) planned an afternoon of games. All staff along with their families were invited to participate. Our family had a great time taking part and in just watching. They started out the afternoon with "tug-of-war" which is known by everyone no matter where you're from. My team proved to be the strongest at the end of the day.
Then there were the games that we had never seen before like the "greased watermelon" game. Jeff got to participate in this one...and he was excited! The object of the game is to extract the most coins out of the greased watermelon. They cut slits in a watermelon and then stick coins in them. After that they "grease" the watermelon with sweet soy sauce and hang it from a pole. Each team had 3 participants who took turns extracting the coins with just their mouths...unfortunately they use the same watermelons over and over again and Jeff's team was the last to compete. (This isn't exactly the most sanitary game, same watermelons & the same coins used for the different "heats"!) Jeff was the third player on his team to go and there were only 5 coins left...he only got 2 because the last 3 kept sliding up into the watermelon and he couldn't latch onto them.
Then there's our favorite game...the "eel" relay! I'm serious, they used real eels. You had to dig them out of the mud and run them to the other end and put them in a bucket. Abby and her friend did it for my team. They loved it! It may sound easy but the eels don't exactly cooperate. They are extremely slippery and once you drop them in the grass it's hard to get them picked back up. Abby and Naelyn won with 7 eels in the bucket!
There were a few other games such as "teklek" (looked like a 3 person cross country skiing team/on the same set of skis!) and bust the water bag (blind-folded). We're planning to introduce a few of these at our next big bash in the states! So everyone be ready to enjoy some Indonesian Independence Day celebration games! Dana