September 26, 2012


Well, as far as us living in Java and receiving formal language training - the end IS near. Just not THE end of everything, as is commonly inferred in the statement "the end is near". I thought it would help sell papers.

LIVE! BREAKING NEWS!! Read this fascinating update of general and somewhat recent happenings with and around our family...

  • We are (well, mostly Amy is) beginning to pack up our home. The actual planning behind packing and moving began long ago, but the actual putting of things inside of boxes, or the equivalent thereof, is now beginning. We have accumulated some furniture and living items here, as Java is both cheaper and has more options for such 'stuff'. We will be using a shipping container to move it to our new home in Tarakan, Kalimantan, as the local airlines don't let you check bunk-beds.
  • We have an unofficial date for the move! We are hoping Oct. 18th is our get-on-the-plane date. That's about 11 months and 2 days since we arrived in Indonesia. 
  • We thank God that our crates from Canada have been successfully processed in Jakarta and are on their way to Tarakan! We just hope they still have lids on them and don't go for a saltwater drink when being offloaded at the port. It has happened before.
  • I (Ben) will be writing 4 aircraft maintenance related tests this coming Monday in Jogjakarta. These are so I can get the licensing I need to work on aircraft in Indonesia. I would appreciate your prayers for me to find enough time to sufficiently study so that I can pass 'em all. After all this time learning language, it's hard to remember what size propeller thingy needs what size elastic band.
  • Still at No.18...Yes, haven't caught a rat recently, nor have I tried. When business and change descends on a family, often the those simple yet enjoyable activities that can be both are relaxing and character building get neglected and sometimes altogether forgotten.
  • Charlotte can officially climb out of her playpen. She's a climber. Not too cool with tile floors throughout the house (just a little bump, she's just fine). The good news being she will have a "big girl" bed in Tarakan, just like big sister.
Okay, enough of that, time for some various pictures...
 Usually, 1/5th of the bubble juice gets turned into bubbles by a very happy girl, and then 4/5th's get dumped on the ground. No prob, dish soap is cheap.

 Simon, super excited about his new playmobil skater dude from Grandma White!
 Charlotte LOVES running around outside.

 Two kindred spirits...
 Okay, I'm not sure if this picture made the mix because I secretly want to show off my super rad coffee mug Amy bought me, or for merely documenting a common occurrence when living bersama-sama dengan semut (living together with ants). Here, some little ants are using our counter to transport a bigger ant who has recently deceased. Usually, if they show their little ants faces, Amy gets 'em good with toxic cleaning fluids.
The above picture is not great, but it shows Charlotte charming some girls who are from the boarding school nearby. She loves to help sweep, hence the broom. Waving and looking cute transcends language and culture!

September 13, 2012

Almost Done! (dan pasti belum lancar)

Wow! Chalk it up, language school unit 8 of 9 complete!

Four more weeks and Amy and I will be completely fluent in the Indonesian language, we're actually already so awesome only the well trained ear is able to discern us from our Indonesian neighbours and friends.

Yes, I'm joking. BUT! I will say this: I am proficient enough in Bahasa Indonesia to explain to someone that I didn't understand 1/2 of what they just said to me. Not bad. Or as a plan "B" alternative, I now have enough cultural street smarts to know when smiling and nodding my head will just make it easier for everyone involved. It truly is a learned skill to function in a world where bits and pieces of what is said to you constantly fly right over your head. (Maybe the hundreds of hours back in my youth standing in front of a big guitar amp numbing my eardrums has something to do with it. My Mom would say: "Ben! don't forget to wear ear plugs!  I would respond: "Huh?")

Occasionally, there are those special moments when the planets align, and I seem to understand a conversation, and - that's not all! - I even know how to respond in a understandable fashion. Amazing.

No seriously, that is quite amazing for a guy who came from a proud generational heritage of flunking out of French in High-school. This includes:   1. Dad (Post World War 2, but before the cuban missile crisis)  2. My brother Jordan.  3. Me.

The fact alone that I - of all people - would spend a year of my life learning another language (and like doing it) reflects a wee bit of the character of God who has brought us gently along for ten years, to the place our family is right now. A God who can break pride, use the linguistically challenged - in a linguistic manner, and, let's not ignore the situational humour of it all. My lovely French teacher whom is now with Christ, and whom once even had to threaten to expel me from high-school (due my less that stellar behaviour...I blame my parents), deservedly would have (or is having) a good chuckle about my current language acquisition sitcom. Although, I know she'd heap nothing but encouraging words upon me...between fits of laughter.

I now know way more Indonesian than I ever new French!

The truth is, God uses us in our weakness. The bible is full of examples. It keeps our heads from puffing up and becoming clouded from the reality of who really is doing what. If I was awesome at language, I know myself, inside I might just become more and more impressed at how awesome I was, until I was constantly bathing in my own awesomeness. When the truth is - I am now, and always will be: needy and weak, alone and hopeless - without my Creator. But with Him it is so different!  How cool it is that it is really the power of God that accomplishes good through us. It really takes a load off our shoulders. Jesus is no burden, the yoke of Christ is actually light. He's covered our sin with His blood, and promised Himself to us, forever. By ourselves we are weak and prone to fail. With Him we are unbreakable.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2nd Corinthians 12:9 (esv)