Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wishing Summer Away

A dripple,a drabble,
a rainfall comes.

Drought had reigned.
Drought now perished.

A country town sang and danced,
like a nation rejoicing in its' independence.

The rain fell hard upon the land,
as if kings punishing rebellious subjects.

Floods sprang out upon the land,
like a conquering army seeking the spoils of war.

The sun comes out and rules,
til the moon takes its command away.

Oh, how I wish the weather of summer
would just hurry away.

(Written by Quintin)

Quintin's poem comes on the heels of our first good rainfall. While the rain doesn't mark the end of the dry season, it does signal that a change is coming. The change will be welcome as the temperatures and humidity have risen. Our friends tells us that the transition between the seasons always seems to be the warmest time. Like Quintin, I think we are all missing the simple joy of cool Autumn nights. Shalom. Jeff

The Feast

Rahmadan is over. The fasting month ended September 21 & 22 with a celebration called Idul Fitri. This is also a time to reconcile with family and friends. During Idul Fitri, the cities empty out as people make their way back to where their parents live. Salatiga is one of those places people come back to. Over Idul Fitri the population of Salatiga swelled. On the advice of the school, we didn't venture out. Doing some shopping downtown days before Idul Fitri, Dana and I experienced just a glimpse of the growing number of people to our city. I had no desire to experience the full force of the multitudes during Idul Fitri. Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, Idul Fitri is a time to visit family, friends and neighbors. Our neighborhood had lots of visitors. Dana and I didn't do any visiting this year. Hopefully, our Indonesian will allow us to enjoy this visiting time next year.

In the midst of the Islamic fast, students from Mountainview began gathering Tuesday nights for "The Feast". The Feast is the equivalent of a midweek youth group gathering. I've enjoyed meeting with the leaders of the Feast and was pleased when it transitioned from an idea or concept to an actual gathering. So far, it's been student-led and the students are doing a great job. My role is simply to advise, encourage and be present as an adult sponsor. I'm excited about what I can learn from the practice of a student-led gathering model.

The first two gatherings have been in our home, spilling out of our front room and onto the porch. I can bearly describe what a blessing it was to have the prayers of the local mosque drown out by the praises coming from the mouths of 56 youth. Equally amazing, where the different races and cultures represented by the youth in attendance. During the gathering I remember thinking, this must be what heaven is like. The first gathering introduced the Feast at which time we celebrated Christ by sharing communion. I hope the Feast will continue to be a time of joy and encouragement to all.

It is custom to remove one's shoes or sandals when entering someone's house. We couldn't believe the pile of footwear that accommulated beside our door. Now that I think about it, I wonder where God will guide all of those feet in the future. I pray that our feet and your's are under God's control. Blessings, Jeff

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fridays is Chapel Time

Every Friday the Elementary and the Secondary have a time to come together and worship in the form of Chapel. For the Elementary the teachers take turns planning the chapel time. Last year one of the students asked "Why Jesus?" Meaning... with all of our religious choices why should we choose Jesus? In this part of the world it is very obvious that "Jesus" is not the only choice and there are many around us who have chosen another path. We hear the call to prayer multiple times a day and see women wearing traditional clothing that attest to their Muslim faith. Why should we believe that Jesus is The Way?

The teachers agreed that this would be a wonderful focus for this year's chapels. The first chapel started with a courtroom complete with the judge, the prosecuter and the defense attorney. In the witness stand is a cross representing Jesus. The prosecutor is bent on proving that Jesus is a fake while the defense attorney is confident in Jesus and the truth of the Bible.

For this first semester the teachers at MICS will be walking the students (who are the jury) through a line of arguments that attempt to make Jesus someone He wasn't. On the other side of this argument is the defense attorney who will be making a Case for Christ (Case for Christ is a book written by Lee Strobel).

Abby's class was in charge of chapel this past Friday and she was the judge. Their class presented the argument through the prosecution that Jesus was insane. The defense attorney quickly refuted any and every argument that was made and in the end even the "expert wittnesses" (Abby's Classmates) had changed their minds and turned to Christ.
I will be planning a chapel in October and my argument is that Jesus can't be who He says He is. There is no way humanly possible that He rose from the dead after dying a tragic death on the cross. No one can return from the torture He endured, so He must of been faking. He didn't really die...