Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Selzers.
We hope that this Advent Season and your Christmas celebrations have helped you remember the miraculous event of God coming to dwell with humanity. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of relationship with God first and then with all people. Certainly our time in Indonesia has fleshed out a greater understanding of just who ‘all people’ means.
|Christmas Eve 2011 |
(Perhaps our last Christmas photo where everyone is in shorts)
Last Christmas we were blessed to host some of our friends from Nebraska, Jay Dee and Wendy Janzen. It was a good time to reconnect with those from our own culture while exposing them to the culture we now enjoy. This Christmas, we celebrated Christ’s birth with 34 people from our house church and other friends. We fellowshipped with a light meal before worshipping God in song, reading Scripture and lighting the Christ candle in the Advent wreath. The rest of our break was spent getting ready for the next semester and exploring more of Indonesia, specifically a small island off the east coast of Bali called Gili Air. It was beautiful. We enjoyed snorkeling with sea turtles, seeing dolphins from our fast ferry and soaking up some sunshine. In Salatiga, we get very little sunshine this time of year because we are in the midst of rainy season.
The time between this Christmas and last Christmas has gone by fast, perhaps too fast. Here’s a quick year-end review of the family.
|Sunrise on Gili Island|
Jeff continues to teach in the high school at Mountainview International Christian School (MICS). The classes he’s teaching this year include Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Biology 1, Apologetics, Missions and Weight Training. His other responsibilities this year included Dana. The girls’ season ends February 26. On Monday and Thursday nights, Jeff can be found playing badminton at one of the local indoor courts. He has been playing with members of MICS national staff for about two years. For Jeff, it’s been a great way to build relationships and stay in shape.
Dana is in her third year of teaching first grade and continues to enjoy these little people from around the world. She continues to be amazed at how quickly they are able to learn in English when for the majority it is their second or even third language. Dana spends most of her time perfecting the first grade curriculum and finding ways to make learning fun for her students. When she is not in the classroom she is planning events for the school. This year’s events so far have been Book Character Day, the all-school Christmas chapel, and the K-12 Winter Field Day.
Quintin turned 16 and is in 10th grade this year. During our visit to the US this summer he was able to take drivers’ education and practice a bit before we returned to Indonesia. He enjoys playing basketball and is on the JV team. He can’t wait to get back to America. He misses the good food and his books that are in storage though he reads a lot here. He also misses family and friends and hopes to see them soon.
Abby turned 12 in June and is in the sixth grade. Sixth grade is a bit different for her since she now has four teachers instead of just one. Abby’s highlights this past year included going to the beach and snorkeling where she could explore coral and the life that dwells under the ocean. She also enjoyed visiting the monkey forest and having monkeys crawl on her. Abby writes “Although I love it here, I can’t wait to be back in Thomas and Henderson”.
Zach is in the fifth grade this year and turned 11 in October. Zach has a first year teacher named Ms. Lauren. His highlights from 2011 include climbing to the top of a volcanic crater (Mt. Bromo) and petting a lion club at the Bali Zoo. Like Abby, Zach enjoyed staying on an island that you could walk all the way around in two hours and playing in the ocean.
With this being our last year, we’ve tried to see a bit more of Indonesia. These efforts included going to the Gili Islands and to the volcano, Mt. Bromo. Mt. Bromo is located in western Java. It is roughly a 10 hour journey from Salatiga that takes one from the warm moist air of central Java to the cool, thin air of west Java high in the mountains. Mt. Bromo is spectacular to view at sunrise. It is also the coldest place we’ve been in three years.
We were also blessed by Pleasant View Mennonite Church this past year to be able to travel to the US over the summer. Of course we had to get used to driving on the right side of the road instead of the left but that was a small thing in comparison to the opportunity to visit family and friends from California, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. It was especially good for our children to reconnect with friends knowing that we’d soon be returning to stay.
“Staying”. That seems to be a word that we’ve had difficulty doing. For now we plan to finish the 2011-2012 school year in Salatiga and then leave for the US June 4. We’ve chosen to spend a few days in Beijing, China on our way home. Our immediate goal upon return is to see family and friends. After that, we don’t know. What we do know is that God has been faithful in the past. We hope His provision for us will include a teaching job for Dana and some type of meaningful work for Jeff. As soon as we know something we’ll let everyone else know so you can join us in giving thanks to God.
Whether in the US or in Indonesia, we pray that God will continue to call all people to Himself; and that the called will be resolved to live as a new people, redeemed by God for the purpose of living in right relationship with God, each other and all of creation.
Blessings to each of you in 2012.
Jeff, Dana, Quintin, Abby & Zach