Now that we've been here a few months we have moved beyond settling in to longing for deeper connections. We believe that our work is most effective when done in the context of relationships, and it's not until we have friendships here that we will feel at home.
School: At the first staff event we went to there was an announcement about monthly staff and professor gatherings that would happen this year. Good thing we were listening - the first event was to be at our house. Surprise! We are thankful for friends among the staff and professors who could help us know what it is we were hosting and help us cook 5 kg of rice for the 40+ people who came! It was a great way to introduce ourselves and begin to be a part of this team. We got to share our story with our co-workers and they got to ask all the questions they have about us and our lives. We also played an ice-breaker game that had everyone roaring with laughter.
It is really important to us to be working as a part of a local ministry rather than independently. We are thankful for the leadership of the school and our fellow staff and professors, and the chances we've had to get to know them all so far. Isaac is also getting to know his students and pondering ways to connect with a few of them in deeper ways.
Church: We have picked a church and it is filled with people from many tribes and people groups and is not far from our house. However, we are still trying to figure out how to get to know people outside of Sunday mornings. We loved going to one home Bible study, but each week they are at a new home. Since there's no such thing as street addresses or google directions, we often have no idea where this meeting is happening. Please pray that we would get to know our church family.
Neighborhood: Without the all-neighborhood events that helped us connect to our community in Java, Kacie is finding meeting neighborhood friends to be a very slow process. The neighborhood is filled with recent immigrants from all different Indonesian people groups and so they don't necessarily connect naturally with each other either. Please pray for open doors to friendships around us.
Kids: This is simultaneously the best and hardest area. When we go out in public our kids are often swarmed by people that want to pick them up, pinch their cheeks, and take selfies with them. It's pretty overwhelming and our kids now avoid attention and assume it will make them uncomfortable. Most people mean well, think our kids are cute, and don't understand why the kids are resistant. We totally understand why our kids are overwhelmed (we are often overwhelmed by it too!) and so try to gently move away from overwhelming situations for their sake. Unfortunately this tension means that Kacie rarely gets to chat with people when we're out in public, thus making relationship-building harder. We long for our kids to love and feel comfortable with the Indonesians around us. Especially in light of all of this we are SO thankful for the abundance of four year old boys around the school that have become Judah's best buddies. A couple of them are at our house almost daily, which is SO much fun. Please pray for our kids' hearts and friendships.