02.10.2013 - 12.10.2013 34 °C
I’ve been struggling to think of what to write since my return from the province of Papua, on Indonesia’s far east corner.
It was an amazing, sad, beautiful, draining, uplifting experience. I fell in love with the physical beauty of the place and the young women I met along the way, with varied stories of victory and loss.
It was hotter and muggier than here in Malang. We actually had a torrential downpour on our second evening there (and a few more times while I was there). My friend, whose name happens to be Heidi as well, took me and a couple of the “soccer girls” that she coaches, to a volleyball game at an international school. I was enjoying the game (I forgot how much I love to watch!) and I heard a very familiar “ssssshhhhhh” sound. It dawned on me! RAIN! Haha! Haven’t seen rain for months! So I ran right out into the downpour…a 40 year old woman running around with a bunch of 6, 8, 10 year old girls. They said their moms were mad that they were out in the rain and bad me, I just smiled and stayed out there dancing with them. In retrospect, though, I discovered why their mom’s may have been mad, because my clothes stayed damp for the whole rest of the visit due to the incredibly high humidity! http://youtu.be/nLPVHqI1HMw
I arrived in Sentani on the morning of October 3rd. I had almost missed out on this opportunity because of fear. Can you believe it? Frank and I have become close with a family who hail from Germany originally, but have spent most of their time here in Indonesia. When Heidi, the wife and mother, asked me to join her when she made plans to go back for three weeks, my initial reaction was SURE…and then….OMG, what about this, what about that, I don’t think I can do this or that, etc. Then it hit me, in a church service, that I was just making a decision based on fear. Yes, we are to be wise, but we are not to live in fear. This is something I have hammered into my daughters’ heads since they were little. “Be Brave – it’s ok to be afraid, but do it anyway”. So I decided to go…and three days later I was on a plane with my new friend to a place I had NEVER thought of going to.
The flight and the company I was in were delightful. I love flying anyway, but it was just very, very simple and easy and stress-free. Even had Starbucks in one of the airports!! Unfortunately, I was not able to have a window seat on the last flight, but I sat beside a very nice Papuan guy from the Highlands who graciously allowed me to peer out the window over him. As we started flying over the land, I felt the familiar magical thrill you’ve heard me write about before. The thrill of adventure that lies ahead! The unknown…people who are yet strangers, but will soon cross my path; things to learn and things to teach; sights, both wonderful and tragic, to see.
Anyway, looking down on the lovely world below was enchanting. Beautiful rolling hills of various hues of green with the ocean on one side, and rivers and lakes on the other. Stunning Lake Sentani was then below and then we were on the ground. As I got off the plane on the tarmac, two things hit me. A powerful wall of humid heat, and the amount of green foliage that I saw. I really didn’t expect that. Here is a picture of the mountain which is the first thing I saw when I got off the plane.
I had a wonderful week. I got to spend time with my new friend and accompany her to soccer practices with “her girls”, visit a village where some of her "former girls" live, even meet a little girl who was named after my friend.
They are very good soccer players with a lot of potential. I caught the vision for them – and have found myself advocating for some of them to be included in the soccer dorm/sponsorship program that is in the initial stages of development. If you are the praying sort, please pray that we can see this vision come to fruition (If you would like to hear more about it and/or have us do a presentation for your organization…well, please let us know and we will do that when we are home for a few months in 2014). There are so many issues that can’t be covered in one blog post. Suffice it to say, these young ladies could use a leg up. In most cases, they desire Something More, and are willing to work hard for it, but finances and opportunities rarely materialize. And of course, there are a myriad of societal issues that come into play. The problems in the world can seem so overwhelming, hey? I have to remember to “Be Where My Hands Are” and just do what I can with and for the person right in front of me. And sometimes that person is me! Haha! Yes, must remember to be gentle with myself and feed my soul to avoid "crashing". I came away from my trip with very mixed emotions that are hard to put into words. So I won’t even try. For some reason I am driven in life to experience things that force me out of my comfort zone…things that break my heart or make me angry or set my heart ablaze with “do-gooder” passion. This was one of those things…
A special shout-out to my new friend, Rendy, who made my journey back to Malang - alone - not so lonely. He gave up his window seat for me!!
Things are good back in Malang. On the weekend, we will finally get into our own stable housing. We are so grateful to our friends, the Schmidt’s, for putting up with us for most of our time here. We’ve moved a bunch of times, but it’s actually been alright. We’ve been able to have a lot of experiences and practice our adaptability…and patience with each other. Mrs Woods is getting a little snarky these days, so it will be nice for her to have a little nest to make her own, if only for a few months. Mr Woods was asked to expand his duties by substitute teaching a psychology class for a couple of days. (Mrs Woods thinks the mister looks quite smashing in this photo)
On the home front, we are missing our families and trying to find balance. It hurts to be far from the younger kids - Jeunesse, Hannah and Christopher - but we know they are well loved and taken care of, we will see them soon (we miss the older ones, too!)…and we know without a doubt that we are meant to be here for now.
On another note, here are the answers to the Quiz Show:
The Price is Wrong
1) Please place in order of price from least expensive to most expensive:
A) Pack of cigarettes
B) Small pop
C) Chicken burger
D) Can of Friskies cat food
2) A 5 gallon container of drinking water – delivered – costs:
A) $.60 (right answer)
C) 16,000 Rupiah
3) Which is more expensive?
A) Two 5lb bags of rice
B) One 10lb bag of rice (right answer)
4) Which of the following statements is not true?
A) Doctor visit costs $7.50
B) Sushi meals are $2.00 (right answer)
C) Australian bottle of wine is $55.00
D) interior/exterior car wash costs $3.00
5) One hour taxi ride cost:
A) $8.00 (right answer)
So You Want to be a Jutawan (Millionaire)?
1) Soccer fields are lined by a:
a) Lime machine
b) Paint sprayer
c) One person with paint can and brush (right answer)
d) No lines are on the field
2) Which of the following is NOT a restaurant in Indonesia:
b) Hungry Kitten
none of the above? Mr Woods did not know that there is actually an IHOP in Jakarta
3) Man seen driving scooter with one arm while carrying how many 12 ft 2x4’s with the other arm?
d) 6 (right answer)
4) At a road-side food cart, worker had which of the following pets with him?
a) Rooster (right answer)
5) Public transit driver pulled over and stopped in order to:
a) Go to the bathroom
b) Have a cigarette (right answer)
c) Pick up passenger
d) Buy his lunch