Dave Gullett

a miscellanea

Ah the Cool. Crisp Mountain Air

Ah, the cool crisp mountain air of Bandung was so refreshing last weekend, after the sticky heat of Jakarta. Of course by cool and crisp I mean 80 F and dry as opposed to 90 F and humid…but sometimes you just take what you can get.

We were in Bandung to visit an urban church there. We spent Saturday with some of the students from the church’s college group. A few of the students were there from our visit last summer, and it was good to reconnect with them and see how God has been working in their lives. We also meet some new students as well. Please pray for these young people. Most of them are from middle to upper class families and have been taught that a career that brings financial security is the most important thing in life. Many of them realize that God is calling them to more, but many factors hold them back. A few of them have expressed interest in serving in the villages either as teachers or as translators, but face oppostion or indifference at home. Sunday we attended the teen, adult and college services of the church along with the students. The whole weekend was a great time of building relationships and encouraging the students in their walk with God.

Monday afternoon the participants left to stay with their Homestay hosts. For the next two weeks they will be staying with Indonesian families to learn their way of life and better understand their culture and language. Please pray for them because this can be very stressful and very exhausting. They still commute every day to the office for class in the morning, and back to their hosts every afternoon.

And please pray for the Discovery leadership. While the participants are in Homestay we are also preparing for the village phase of the trip. There are a lot of logistical details to work out with our Village hosts, as well as figuring out how to prepare the participants for what we will be doing there.

The person my group will be visiting has been fighting dizziness and other difficulties lately that are hindering him…please pray for his health…not only so our trip to his area will go well, but so that he will be able to continue his regular work as well.

Also, please pray for the participants with respect to health and homesickness. They have been here almost two weeks and are beginning to feel the stress of being in a new culture (the emotional high is wearing off) and the intense schedule leaves them physically and emotionally tired.

Blue Skies in Jakarta this morning…

and that is a rare treat indeed. Yesterday’s rain has kept the pollution down and, while there are forecasts for thunderstorms later, it is quite lovely outside right now. This morning the participants are learning about personal security and contingency here in Indonesia. Its interesting to hear their ideas and feelings about security. I learned about situational awareness back in my student pilot days, and so I tend to take it for granted. However, some of our group seem to struggle with this. They are learning about managing risk, strategies and such. I find it interesting though that this is primarily a Western or maybe merely American concern. Not that we do not have the responsibility to be stewards of ourselves and the things we have, just that there is too much of a concern for this. And while we need to do what we can to blend in, to fit in and be as unobtrusive as possible… some of this, at least it seems to me, can lead to paranoia or unnecessary nervousness. And not that I am an expert, but it seems to me that we should do our best to think and act like Indonesians. And so we would think differently about security. Further, it seems that our trust in God should eclipse our desire for safety and security. Not that we would take unnecessary risks. But that we would focus on the relational, the organic, the communal. And not the personal. At least not ourselves.

Hari ini Rabu di Jakarta…

Today is Wednesday in Jakarta, and it is raining, well, its absolutely pouring. More rain than I have ever seen here. (Of course, during the rainy season it rains more than I can imagine.) And it brings (at least for me) a welcome break form the usual afternoon heat and smog.

This afternoon has been spent in class as the participants learn about telling time in Indonesian, as well as the days of the week. They are also working on basic sentence structure.

This morning they learned about the history of Indonesia and the religons practiced here.

Earlier this week they learned about the work done here at the office and around the country from some of the staff here.

They also began learning basic Indonesian such as greetings, directions, numbers and the alphabet.

A few of the team who weren’t feeling well are better, some of us (due to an unfortunate encounter with a yogurt drink) are belari ke kamar kecil sering. (I’ll let you figure it out) And our leader has gotten the flu..no doubt a present from one of we Americans. We love to share everything on Discovery.

Pray for us this weekend, for we may have the opportunity to visit a church in a nearby city and spend some time with college students from that church. Pray that we can be an encouragement to them and pray that we have safe travel and that all the details will be worked out.

It has been Quite the Eventful Week

It has been quite the eventful week here in Jakarta. After arriving here on Monday, I spent Tuesday recovering from jet-lag and the fatigue of the long flights from the U.S.

Then Wednesday was spent in going over the preparation and planning for the seven weeks of Discovery 2007. As you can imagine there are many details that have to be worked out: events, travel plans, housing, ministry opportunities as well as many other things. I have been learning a lot about logistics and contingencies (plan B’s) here in Indonesia.

On Thursday, we made the long drive to the airport to pick up this year’s participants. The combination of weariness and excitement on their faces as they stepped out of the airport reminded me of my first arrival here last year. After getting them settled in back at the Guest House, we shared dinner with some of the office staff who will be helping teach them about Indonesian culture and life, as well as the work that is done here involving linguistics and literacy, as well as the other areas that are involved.

Friday was a day of recovery for them, while we finished some preparation. That evening we took the participants out to an Indonesian shopping center to let them get some air and get a feel of the city. It is good to ease into life here, for even though Jakarta can feel like ay other city, the culture is very different than what we are used to and the way one carries oneself can be very different.

We “played tourist” on Saturday. In order to help give the students a foundation for their learning of Indonesian culture we visited a few historic and cultural sights around Jakarta.

You should be able to click on the pictures to see a larger image.

Cimg1903_2 First, we visited Sunda Kelapa, this is the harbor for the remaining traditional sailing fleet of Makassar schooners. They still transport cargo through out the islands, particularly between Java and Kalimantan.

Cimg1929_3 We visited the original VOC headquarters in Batavia, the first permanent Dutch settlement in Indonesia.We know the VOC as the Dutch East India Company, and you might remember them from history class with their trade missions to the “East Indies” or the “Spice Islands”. Those are old names for Indonesia.

Cimg1908_3 This is a replica of a traditional Batawi house in the square behind the VOC building.

Cimg19351_2 This is the Jakarta History Museum located in the old city. It contains artifacts and exhibits of Jakarta’s early history.

This is the Monas, or Indonesian National Monument. It is 435 feet tall and is topped Cimg0368_2 with a gold covered flame. It is a symbol of Indonesian independence.

Cimg1946_2 This is the Istiqlal Mosque, seen from the top of Monas, it is one of the largest mosques in South East Asia. The blurriness in the picture is from the persistent smog that hangs over Jakarta.

Sunday morning we went to the Gereja Baptist Indonesia in Cilandak (Cilandak is a neighborhood in Jakarta). Its a fairly typical Baptist church, with Indonesian services and music.

Sunday evening we relaxed around the guest house, letting all recover from the busy weekend before they begin their cultural and language classes Monday morning.

Please keep the team in prayer as they continue to adjust to the time change, the climate and the food. Some of the team have been struggling with sickness and some with the heat.

Selamat Datang

“Selamat Datang” that is to say “Safe Arrival” or “Welcome” proclaims the giant banner hanging across the road as you leave the airport in Jakarta.

Its been almost a year since I last saw that sign, almost a year since I stepped off a plane into the heat and the bright sunlight, and almost a year since I last had to navigate though passengers, immigration, porters and taksi drivers to find a familiar face among all the friendly (and not so friendly) unfamiliar ones.

Riding in the back of a Blue Bird taksi while it weaves this way and that as the driver vies for position on the Jalen Tol, I get the impression that Jakarta hasn’t changed much in that year.
Its a paradox that near constant, frantic 24/7 action doesn’t produce much visible evidence for all its frenetic effort.

There has been some change though…there are more sepeda motor darting about (thanks to easier credit plans) and a few more high rise apartments poke their way through the expansive skyline.

For the most part, my first impression on returning here is that life here continues much as it has for years. The call to prayer this morning served to underline that impression, and to remind me that despite the familiarity and the welcome of friends I am not “home”.

It is a good reminder. When we feel like we are at home we relax, we drop our guard, we get comfortable…and that often means we become complacent.

And the last thing anyplace or anyone needs is a complacent follower of Christ…especially these people, in this place.

So while I am thrilled to be back, I am also cautious. I am excited, but also reserved.

Please pray for me as I have much to be reminded of and much to learn as I readjust to life here and help make preparations for the rest of the team to arrive.

And pray for the safe arrival of the team….they begin traveling soon.