Everything seems new!
Wow, so much has happened, where to start?! Ok, Ok, Ok, I gotta try to get all the good stuff into this update. So Ruth and I with the kids wanted to pack up and leave Salatiga early in the morning and check into a hotel for the day/night to have a chance to relax, swim, and watch a movie with the kids before getting some sleep and having to wake up (as a family) at 4:30am the next day to get ready and catch our morning flight. Well, it was a good idea.... While were were in the airport town of Semarang one of our close family friends called and wanted to visit us because he was in town. He of course came at the worst time of showing the girls and getting them into bed early. We all hang out for a while and then said our goodbyes. Then later at about 8:45pm his sister (who we met once...) decided that she too (with her family) wanted to come and visit us before we left. Because she knew where our room was (her brother told her) she came up to our room and just started ringing the door bell! All the girls were asleep and Ruth too was almost asleep. So everyone was up again and saying good byes once more. The funniest thing for me was his sister wanted to give us a good bye gift. It was two big (20''X15') framed pictures for the girls. Here we were with ALL our things packed up to move and now we have two big framed pictures to bring on the plane with us!!! C'mom, who does that?! :)
We then arrive at our new home in Manado and after enjoying a nice lunch with our fellow NTM friends they take us to our new home (about 25 min away). OK, how to explain this part...... We drive in and our first impression was 'thank you God' the house looks awesome! We really had no IDEA what kind of place we were going to be living in for the next year or so. But.... This house has been a building project of a pastor for about 7 years now and it's still is NOT finished! LOL, basically we live in a really nice/big home that has no kitchen, door locks, screens, or window Bars! We are supper excited though to have an agreement with our landlord/pastor in that we are paying for the needed finishing's as our rent payment. This is really nice in that it is very common to pay rent and HAVE to fix up a house! Although, we have been a bit concerned with safety because of the lack of window Bars, and locks there is SOMETHING as a lock substitute.... there is a little piece of plywood with a nail pounded in the middle that you can hand turn shut or open! Ha! It's such an allusion of safety that it really is pretty funny! But, before you get too worried/scared for us our situation really does seem to be awesome. Our pastor here has been working in this church/neighborhood for the last 27years and seems to have done a great job. Everyone around us loves the Lord and live as one community, taking care of and watching out for one another. Chloe and Gwen are beside themselves in the best way possible with huge amounts of new friends! In our last house/neighborhood they had ZERO friends and now Chloe told me today, "Daddy, I now have hundreds and hundreds of friends!", I would say more like 20...
So some of you might be a little confused and asking why we as missionaries are now living in a 'Christian Community'? Well, this is a good question to ask! The quick answer (who likes long emails) is as NTM missionaries our first objective is to learn the language of the country we now live in. The language school that we were attending was in 'Central Java', which has a very large mixture of religions and people which was nice. But the biggest complaint that Ruth and I had was we found there to be too many 'English speakers' living around us. It was WAY to easy for us to hang out, play games, hang out, our have over our English speaking friends! There is also a 'study English' school is town and we found many friends that enjoyed speaking English a little more then we wanted.... But, with that aside after we become almost fluent in language we then MOVE AWAY to our region of service. With us wanted to work with the Taliabo people our region of service is 'central Indonesia' and not central java where we were before. After a person/family moves to there new region they Begin to learn the local dialect of that region and make long lasting friends there. We just though it would be a good idea for us to move to our region of service sooner then later and finish our language study with soon to be long term friends and companions in the work that God is doing here in Indonesia (NTM leardership also thought this to be a great idea). What better place for us to learn culture and language then beside fellow believers who crave for us to learn and grow! We have only lived in our new neighborhood for 2 days and we already see an amazing change!!! People are coming over and wanting to help in anyway possible and just want to be our friends. AND I have yet to see another white person! Our intentions for the next few months are to become 'learners only'. What I mean is we want to go to church, our neighbors homes and just watch and study, what do they talk about? How do they say it? How do you ask for something? Who starts and who ends things? How do they discourse? How do they argue? There are so many things that we assume are the same but are really so vary different here. These are the things that we are to learn to 'become' one with our new friends.
I will try to update more but right now that too is fairly difficult! I told our neighbor that we wanted to get Internet in our house. He says, "oh, you want Internet? Oh, you will fist need a phone line...."! This is the new world we find our selves in! :) Getting internet alone could take forever! To write this update I had to walk 15min down the street to a Internet store (If our email account gets hacked you'll know why....). Then I had to wait 1/2 an hr for 1 of the 10 computers that were being used for 'Facebook & online games'. Once someone was done I was able to snag a seat!
Thank you so much for your prayers and concerns for us and our girls! You are appreciated!!!!
Off the grid for a while,
~Ben for Ruth, Chloe, Gwen, Addie, and baby belly.
P.S. the picture above shows where we moved to and the island the I squared is the island of Talaibu where we will be moving next, Lord willing.
P.S.S. Sorry if this doesn't read well. It's 10:05pm and I'm exhausted!