This coming week, a chapter is closing on our lives at this end, and I plan on this being the final prayer mail related to our mission work. Of course, we could always use your prayers in the times ahead as you happen to think of us.
The following is based on my final note to people involved in the distance learning program, sent Saturday:
Distance learning update for Saturday, 24 September 2016:
1) This is planned as my last weekly distance learning update before my attention will be focused in other ministry directions, with a few exceptions. Aside from individualized emails, for any future distance learning updates please look to the announcement section of the distance learning Web site.
1a) As one of my remaining connections, I am currently revising the Christian Doctrine/Christian Theology course to be a Christian Doctrine/Christian Theology course with an Anglican perspective, instead of an additional course focusing specifically on Anglican Doctrine/Anglican Theology. It may be finished in a few weeks.
1b) When I have finished that project, another of my remaining connections that I am planning will be to work with the Main Administrator to turn the current notes and slides from the individual courses into Kindle-based documents that can be downloaded from the Internet.
2) One of our students is nearing the very end of the final course in the program.
3) These courses will be open for the rest of 2016. Beginning in 2017, I plan to be the Benefactor of the course Web site, to keep it open for all of 2017 and for as much as I can beyond, but I won’t know for sure how this will work until January 2017.
4) Three people have stepped up as my replacements in the following capacities:
Curriculum Design Director.
Dean of the Faculty.
This has been a full week in other aspects of ministry and in family life as well.
1) For guidance on the path ahead are appreciated, including a smooth transition, and also for people in Belize in the wake of my departure.
2) For the transition of the Diocese of Belize Web site to the creation of a new one in due course.
3) For the publication of the Spanish Prayer Book, scheduled for this month, but I have not heard anything about it.
4) For the parishes and other matters that we are involved with. Julie continues as a hospital chaplain. I continue as an Interim Rector. Lydia continues as a student.
And mission work? As you can see from the above, there is a small bit to do yet. In the near term, Julie and I both continue as Associate Missionaries with SAMS, probably for as long as we have a missionary connection of some sort with Belize, unless something changes.
My prayer for you, this week, is that you would be open to what the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do and say.
God bless you, in Jesus’ Name,
Fr. Shaw, and on behalf of Rev. Julie and Lydi
Now, don’t get me wrong. It is absolutely fabulous to be in the US with my people. That is balm to my soul. The smooth, lit roads and snazzy internet speeds are only perks of being here. However, over the last few weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve realized that there are several things I miss about Uganda.
1. Full serve petrol stations. There is no such thing as self-pumping stations in Uganda. Not only is it a blessed convenience, it prevents one from entering the ZIP code from where she used to live vice where she officially lives (vice where she actually lives when here) while using her debit card to purchase gas. Truth.
2. Doreen. Let’s be honest. Domesticity isn’t hard, but I’m a wee bit out of practice. Doreen washes, irons, cleans, and generally takes care of me. I *can* do these things, truly, but it’s just so… daily. I’m horribly spoiled.
3. Being recognized. If you had told me five years ago that I would miss being recognized, I would have fallen apart laughing. Though it still freaks me out when a store clerk or Askari (security guard) at a mall addresses me by title (“nice day, Reverend”) when I’m *not* in my collar, I’m sufficiently acclimated to it that I’m surprised when no one in this country knows me.
Continue reading Things I miss about Uganda at Here I Am.
We’ve been in Bandung since July 29th now, and we have our plates full with language learning. That’s our main task this year: get the language down well so that we can do the things God has prepared for us to do, both those we already have planned – teaching pastors Greek and Hebrew, pastoring a church – and those we can’t know yet, but which are all already known to God.
Here is a sort of medley of photos from the first two months, with captions. They’ll give you a flavor for what our life is like here.
Here’s a panorama shot of the IMLAC (Indonesian Multi-Language Acquisition Course) campus where we spend four hours every day working on Bahasa Indonesia with several different tutors.
This shot is taken from the perspective of the ping pong table that Matt uses during our 20 minute break. As you can see, it’s a really lovely environment in which to study.
IMLAC has a sense of humor. Its classrooms are named after islands of Indonesia, and there is one called “Kalimantan” (Borneo). “Kali” also means “multiplied by” or “times” in arithmetic. So we get this label on the room:
While driving in late August, we passed any number of roadside stands selling goats for the Idul Adha sacrifice (commemorating Ibrahim’s narrowly-averted sacrifice of Ismail):
Here’s a typical view out our car’s windshield on the way to school. Our street is narrow, about 1.5 car widths across, so we have to “take turns” with other cars. But most traffic is not cars at all: motorcycles are ubiquitous in Bandung.
The number on the dashboard is our carpool pick-up number for Cahaya Bangsa Classical school, where Ezekiel is enrolled in 9th grade. He has probably made the best adjustment of any of our kids, which is a welcome surprise given how hard a time he had when we moved to the Philippines almost 4 years ago. He’s doing great in his classes and enjoying playing on the basketball team, where his height serves him well. Here’s his team at an away game at another school:
Speaking of height, here I am with Pastor Henry S., assistant pastor at St. Paul’s. This photo was taken at the reception for the wedding of another pastor in the GAI, Raphael B. Being 6’3″ is not an advantage off the basketball court: I have hit my head on low lintels and doorframes many times over the past two months.
Here’s a wider view of the huge reception room at the Grand Pasundan hotel (Sora and fellow pastor’s wife Deborah G. are at the far right):
This batik clergy shirt of mine has done duty for over a year now. I want to get some more made here, and we know a tailor who made the kids’ school uniforms for Cahaya Bangsa. But I’m shopping around for the right pattern. I liked this blue in one shop, but I’m hoping to find something even more colorful:
We have spent more than one Sunday at each of the three GAI congregations – St. Paul’s, St. Peter’s, and St. John’s. This last is located on the campus of the military police barracks in nearby Cimahi, and is the smallest of the three congregations. They have given us a very warm welcome. I have preached through a translator twice (Ibu Ridha and her husband Pastor Denny K), and administered both sacraments in halting and mispronounced Bahasa Indonesia.
Baptizing the youngest member of St. John’s:
Here I am with members of the congregation after one service, including both pastors (Pak Denny in grey jacket, Pak Yacob in suit) and the senior warden (Pak Dickie in purple and white batik):
Here are our boys receiving communion from me and Pastor Yacob:
Our family is making an effort to get out of the city once a month or so, to escape the noise and pollution and traffic and decompress in a more beautiful environment – something we didn’t do often enough in the Philippines. Most recently, that meant a trip to nearby Lembang, about 45 minutes away from Bandung proper. We passed this awesome house on the way:
We went to Maribaya, where Sora and I had lunch and enjoyed the sound of the waterfalls while monkeys played in the trees beyond:
Later, we took the kids to the hot springs, which were very relaxing:
So that’s a slice of life for us here in (and out of) Bandung.
We won’t pretend this isn’t a harder cultural adjustment for us than the Philippines was. For one, the stakes of language acquisition are much higher: without the Bahasa Indonesia, I won’t be able to help the GAI with pastoral training in the ancient languages or the Scriptures. It’s not like the Philippines, where most men with sufficient education to benefit from my instruction had sufficient English as well. Here, the language is make-or-break for our ministry. We’re working hard at it, but we need to find more ways to get out and about in the city and strike up conversations with Indonesian folks whom we haven’t met before. We appreciate your prayers for our family as we continue to live and study in Bandung, West Java.
I am a quintessential oldest child. I went to school 12
hours from home, refused to go home after graduating despite being jobless, and
now have moved abroad to the middle of Africa—alone. I can have a lot of things
taken away from me but take away my independence and I am somehow less April
Sylvester than I was before. I
love striking out on my own, traveling, learning about new places and
experiences. So some
might say I am a strong independent and adventuring woman. But I’ll let you in
on a little secret: going to live in a different culture means giving up my most
prized independence and becoming a child again. And that is REALLY hard!
You see, as kids basically our whole lives are
informal (parents) or formal (school)
enculturation—being taught our culture, the nuances of what we do and do not do
in certain situations and the logical reasoning of the world around us. And “The result of the enculturative process is
IDENTITY: the identity of the person within the group. Society seeks to make
each member a fully responsible individual within the whole.” (Meyers) So no wonder your
sense of self goes out the window when you are parachuted into a new culture. I
have to learn to speak, eat, spend money, travel, and live in a completely new
way. I am a living breathing product of 25 years of that enculturative process
in America–I know who I am and how I fit in in society there–but then I
decide to move to Zambia.
While I love celebrating my baby steps to independence here in Zambia (from getting dropped off at the grocery store by myself to taking the bus from
one town to another alone), maybe the goal isn’t actually independence but the
process of getting there. I have wonderful people here who help me in my
infantile state. I cannot count how many shopping trips Nanna and Maria have
gone on with me. How many times Chisenga has translated what someone is saying
to me. How many times Yves and Geoffrey have cooked for me or welcomed me into
their homes. Or Chewe and Kambuta have driven me places. While I am in the
process of building an identity here so that I can finally be independent, what I want more is a community.
it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a village to raise an