Incarnation or Isolation

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
Yesterday, Christina and I had a great lunch with a couple who have been coming out to our informal gatherings. They are Chinese-Americans who are working for the U.S. Embassy (expatriates). It was great just hanging out and getting to know each other a little bit better.

One topic of conversation that came up was with the U.S. policy about people working for the embassy. The U.S. only allows people to work at a location for only about 3-4 years maximum. Then they rotate them around to different places. The reasoning behind this philosophy is that they do not want the embassy workers to get too assimilated (or “going native” in their terminology) to the host culture.

Since the expatriates are representing U.S. interests, the U.S. government does not want people to get “comfortable” or “become” like the nationals therefore they had to implement this boundary. When I heard this, I realized there is some value in their thinking. Since they are representing the U.S. government and their interest abroad, they need to make sure that they do not compromise on the mission. They have to be centered on the interests of the United States in order to do their job, therefore there is some significance in what they require.

Then this got me thinking.

It is kind of interesting that for a person who is a Christ’s follower and trying to do missions in a foreign country, the need for assimilation and “going native” is probably more advantageous. In fact, if a Christ’s follower is trying follow in the footsteps of his Savior, they must consider the example of Christ. Christ came into “our” world and became like us – a human being. He identified with us in our humanness, but yet did not sin. Christ became incarnational in order to demonstrate God’s love to us.

Just as Christ was sent by the Father, we are now sent by Christ (Jn 20:21). We are sent with a mission and we are trying to promote the interest of the Kingdom of God. This requires us to be in the world but not of it (1 Pe 2:11).

“We Are the Foreigners”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 
foreigner-at-airport
Photo from Empire and Sleep
 
 
 
I have found myself constantly repeating the phrase, “we are the foreigners, not the Indonesians.”

When it comes to doing cross-cultural missions, it is easy to see everything from a self-centered perspective. Christina and I have been feeling some of the frustrations of not being able to communicate fully in Bahasa and wondering why people cannot understand simple English. But this is when we have to constantly remind ourselves “we are the foreigners” therefore, we are the ones that should do a better job of speaking Bahasa.

Both Christina and I had experiences so far that made us realize that in order to do survive out here, we are the ones that need to go the extra mile. The other day, Christina was asking a worker at a huge store where a product was (she did some pretty good charade motions) and they responded by motioning back to her that they did not have it. Then, when she was waiting in line to pay for other merchandise, she realized that what she was looking for was on the shelf in the checkout line.

Today for me, I was trying to find a simple keychain to put all my keys together. Since many of the employees did not speak English I was trying to use my car keys and house keys to illustrate that I needed a key chain. I thought I was fluent in body language, but apparently I am not that fluent and I need more practice. They directed me towards the auto section (because I used the car keys to illustrate) where there was no keychain to be found! Then out of frustration we just gave up because the kids had to get ready for bed.

Not being able to fully communicate has been humbling on several levels. First of all, it makes us dependent on people to help us. Any thoughts of wanting to be independent or self-sufficient are completely thrown out the window. Every fiber in my body that does not like to be dependent on people is learning to be stretched. We feel bad when we have to text or call various people to help translate or communicate certain things to a national. Sometimes we just feel helpless.

Secondly, it is causing me to become more understanding and patient. Whenever we see things just from our perspective then everyone else is at fault. But when we are able to pause and look at the situation with a bigger perspective, it helps us to understand more. There is a part of me that wonders why people can’t speak the most spoken language in the world. But this is when I have to remind myself that “I am the foreigner” and I am in a host country… I SHOULD be the one learning to speak THEIR language.

The people in Indonesia are so nice that they will not say anything about my limited Bahasa directly to me, but at times I could tell from their looks that they do feel frustration. It is not a good feeling when people dismiss you or even have a look of disdain due to the lack of communication. We still have not been ridiculed, but there have been a few moments when a lack of understanding and impatience has caused people to give us looks.

The more I tell myself that I am the foreigner, the more I take on the learner posture. It has been good for me.

Missing the Simple Things

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
PD*28669509
Photo by Telegraph News
 
 
 
The phrase, “you don’t know what you have, unless it is gone” constantly rings out to me as I try to go through daily life in Indonesia.

There are a lot of things that we are still trying to get set up for the house that we are renting. It has been a slow and arduous process but we are slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

We finally got our refrigerator and other household appliances. We are still trying to figure out about a water heater – we have not been able to take a warm shower in over two weeks. I am humbled by thinking about some of the missionaries around the world who do not even these things. I have a lot of respect for them.

The other day I was just thinking about how blessed we are to live in the States. There are a lot of things I took for granted. It isn’t until some of these are absent when we really notice how much we have appreciated some of things.

Why is it that we need to be separated from things in order to appreciate them?

One day, my family and I were talking and we came up with a quick list – warm showers, beef jerky (the ones from the real beef jerky stores), Doritos (we have searched everywhere), a good juicy steak, fast high speed internet (top speed here is 3Mbps) – but then we quickly stopped listing things that we missed because it doesn’t help to look at the cup half-empty. We have to see it half-full.

This is when we started to think about some of the things that we do have here – meals for $1.50, incredible Indonesian food, Bread Talk (store that has freshly made bread), J. Co (cheap frozen yogurt), diversity of culture, cheaper gasoline, new friends, learning new things, more time as a family – and the list goes on.

A lot of times when we see some of the “inconveniences” in light of the Gospel and the mission at hand, then they don’t seem so bad. It is worth it if we can see one more person come to trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Start of LIFE Groups in JKT

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories

 
The small group ministry has always been our church’s “bread and butter” (colloquialism for describing our basic function for our church’s livelihood). Throughout the history of our church, people have said that various aspects of the church helped them grow spiritually, but hands down, the small group ministry is always in first place.

We have been calling our small group ministry as LIFE Groups because we believe in the words of Jesus when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). The NKJV translates the word, “full” as, “more abundantly.” In the original language, it carries the idea of something being superior in quality or quantity. This is why we can be assured that when we find “life” in Christ, we are experiencing life that is far greater (exceedingly abundant) and beyond measure. It is life that is out of this world.

This is our passion – we want people to experience life in Christ, which will transform even the hardest of hearts. Then they will want to share this life with others around the world.

Yesterday was our first LIFE Group gathering in Jakarta (JKT). One of our alumni who is on assignment with the Singaporean government opened up her apartment. I was blessed when she mentioned that she saw God’s provisions in her life as a means to be a blessing to others.

We first started off with an awesome meal, then I re-casted the vision for the importance of LIFE (Love, Investment, Faith, Enjoyment) in our small group ministry. We broke up into smaller huddle groups; and then, we shared our testimonies and prayed together.

It was a great start. Later this week we are going to start a LIFE Group for Karawaci.

As we were driving back home, I was reminded of the importance of laying down a good foundation when it comes to starting a new church. Whatever we do in the beginning stages will eventually be the DNA and the platform, in which we will grow in the future.

I am amazed at what God is doing.
 
 
 
1st-lg-mtg
 
Our team was excited for our 1st LIFE Group gathering at the Four Seasons Residence

First Day of School in Indonesia

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
Do you remember the first day of school? Whether it was at a new school that you were going to or you were returning to the same school, there is something exciting about starting school. But in the midst of the excitement there is some level of anxiety.

I think our kids were experiencing a little bit of it as the school’s starting date was approaching quickly. So last night before they went to sleep, we had some family time. We went around and shared one thing that we were excited about starting school and one thing that was making us anxious.

The hardest one is always the issue of making friends and fitting in. I think this is every parent’s nightmare – the thought of their kids being isolated and not having any friends. It just breaks every parent’s heart. But we helped them to practice some simple rules such as – “if you want friends, you have to be a friend,” “make sure you introduce yourself first,” “don’t be afraid to ask questions” (these were all my advice). Then, I asked Christina to give a word of encouragement. She said, “You are not there to ONLY make friends! You have to study and do well in school. Focus on learning!” Hmm…

But ultimately what we really could offer them was to pray for them, so we spent some time as a family praying together. It lifted our spirits.

It was quite hectic getting everything ready for school. Christina and I ended up staying up till 1:30AM or so trying to get everything ready, from the kids’ uniforms to labeling their school supplies. And yes, I even practiced some of my domestic skills of sewing as I tailored Josiah’s pants. I am praying that this will not be my full-time calling in life :-)

We got up at 5:30AM this morning because the kids had to be at school at 6:45AM! All the hustle and bustle of school got our juices flowing in the morning (you will only understand if you are a parent). Even though it was crazy, we were able to make it to school on time.

We saw Elliot and Karissa to their classrooms and made sure that they were situated. Then we went to the Senior High (7th-12th) school assembly at the gym. It was encouraging to see the biblical foundations in this school as they started off with prayer and an exhortation. We are thankful that God opened up the door at this Christian international school so that our kids will be able to experience a good education, as well as a diversity of cultures and people.

The kids will never be the same (in a good way).
 
 
 
kids-1st-day-of-school
 
The kids in the latest fashion and ready for the 1st day of school

Another Sunday

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
Sundays are turning out to be our longest days so far. We started off early this morning at 8:40AM because we had to drive out to Jakarta. Our team was visiting another church to get a better feel of the spiritual climate in Indonesia. This church was highly recommended by many people as one of the top churches to visit. One thing that people told us was to get there early because there might not be enough room.

As soon as we arrived on the street where the church was gathering, there was complete chaos. Cars were lined up for blocks. Everyone was trying to squeeze into the parking lot of the hotel – in Indonesia many churches meet in hotels. As I dropped off the team members in the front, there was a huge line just for the elevators. The ballroom where the church was meeting was located on the top floor.

When we got closer to the door, we were humbled to see the number of people lined up to just get through the doors. Christina mentioned that it brought back memories of her younger years when people would line up to enter into a rock concert. The anticipation was huge. People didn’t want to miss out. They wanted to get good seat to worship God.

It just reminded me of what we have been trying to teach in Ann Arbor about coming on time to worship God (even coming early to pray and prepare to meet with God). The atmosphere was electric. I just knew that we were going to have a good time of worship. In fact, this church is known for their praise and worship – they are one of the best in all of Indonesia, if not in the whole S.E. Asia region.

From the first song, there was a difference. Even as we got into the slower set of songs, we were able to experience the presence of God in a powerful way. What captured my attention was the hunger I saw in the members as they worshiped. It is moments like this when I wish every single person in HMCC could have experienced what we just experienced.

Afterwards, we hung out at the mall to have some lunch; then we headed out to have our informal gathering for the church plant. It was encouraging to see new people once again – many of them live in Jakarta. The issue now for us now is to decide whether we have to start two sites right away (one in Jakarta and one in Karawaci) or just have one. I guess this is a good problem.

I talked about transculturalism today. If we are not feeling awkward in the church, then we are not experiencing true community. People will experience the Gospel when Christ’s followers are willing to “go through discomforts and difficulties” in order to develop relationships with people who are “different” from us. It was a good challenge for us to go beyond our comfort zones and to share Christ’s love in a tangible way.

We are itching to start our formal Sunday Celebrations. But first we have to do the groundwork of building relationships and getting things prepared for the launch. It is humbling to be a part of all that God is doing here in Indonesia.
 
 
 
jpcc-gathering
 
People were ready to rush into Sunday Celebration… wow!
 
 
 
ants-in-house
 
Yup those are ants in our home! We sprayed it with Raid and killed the whole colony.
 
 
 

 
This was one incredible noodle making dude – the noodles were delicious!

Basics of Relationship Building

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various

 
In many ways starting a church from scratch is completely different than being in a church that is already established. But there are also a lot of similarities as well. In the last few days, I have been pondering on what are the basics of doing church and what are some of the peripheral things that we can do without.

One thing that keeps on coming back as an essential is relationships. Ministry cannot be done without relationships. It really doesn’t matter how the relationships are built but it is critical that community is experience. It is pivotal that people experience “a visible display and a viable demonstration of God’s love.”

I have been encouraged by the team members and their focus and intentionality in building relationships with some of the people that God has been bringing our way. Even today, the guys and I went to play some basketball with some college students… some of them are studying in the States and are back for summer vacation, while others are students who attend some of the top universities in Indonesia.

Building relationships by playing basketball reminds me a lot of how HMCC of AA got started back in 1996. I remember going to the gym with some of the people who were interested in our church, as well as with people that we met along the way.

I think there is something about guys and sports. Even though we might not say much, there is a bond that develops when we play together. As some of us were substituting in and out, I had a good opportunity to share my testimony with one of the players. The more we make God famous, the more curious people will become about this God that we serve.

One thing we have to keep in mind is that building relationships always require sacrifice. It is always easier to be comfortable and to get into our own little world. Some of our team members started working and they will get tired from a long day of work, but if we are serious about building relationships then we will need to learn how to push ourselves and sacrifice – simply to do whatever it takes.

When we build relationships with people, we have to think less about ourselves and more about the people that we are trying to reach out to and this requires sacrifice. In fact, when we are always trying to be mindful of others, it can get draining, both emotionally as well as physically. This is why it requires sacrifice.

Building relationships in general cost us something, whether it is time or resources but there is always joy at the end when we see people experience transformation through an encounter with the Gospel. Jesus reminded us of this principle when He said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (Jn 12:24). We want to see many seeds planted in the hearts of the people here in Indonesia.

Kids’ School Orientation

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
The whole family and I went to the kids’ school because of the new students and parents orientation. It was a great opportunity for our kids to meet other fellow students who were also new to the school. It was also good for Christina and me to meet other parents.

It was great to see a multi-national group. Some of the students were national Indonesians and others were from Korea, Australia, States, and other nations. It is a complete contrast to the schools that the kids went to in Ann Arbor. I think this is another advantage of moving the family to another country. The international experience for the kids will be invaluable. This is going to be a great way to teach them about the importance of transculturalism (an important value at HMCC).

In a weird way, as I was sitting through the orientation, it made me think a lot about wanting to go back to my junior high and even high school years. I think my desire to redeem those years started to kick in. But I know that we cannot go back in time.

I had some great conversations with a few parents who studied aboard. One father studied at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was great hearing from his perspective on various things as he is now back in his home country working and raising children. I met another family that studied Eastern Michigan University (EMU – 10 minutes away from UM)!

It was exciting to hear that many of these parents were former international students who studied in the States. It once again reaffirmed our vision and mission because now they are the “movers and shakers” in this country. What would it have been like if we had the opportunity to influence them while they were in college?

After all the informational things, we had a nice barbeque together near the swimming pool.

Oh, did I tell you… today was the first day that Christina drove in Indonesia or outside of the United States for that matter! She had to keep on remembering that everything is the opposite compared to driving in America. It was a fun ride back home :-)

Week Two in Indonesia

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
It is hard to believe that we have been in Indonesia for about a week and a half. On one hand, it seems like we have been here for months and then on the other hand, it seems as if we just got here.

With all the busyness in getting the house ready and the preparations for the church plant, it seems as if we have been here for awhile. With all the new things that we have to learn to get around and with all the new relationships that we are building with people, it seems as if we just arrived.

Today, the family and I went to the kids’ school to meet the administrator and also to get school supplies. It was good walking around the school with the kids. Out here, the kids have to wear uniforms, which I think in some ways is a good thing; but I don’t think our kids fully agree.

We also received our KITAS (our official visa documents) today, which is a huge praise. We are now able to open up a bank account, sign up for internet service and other simple services that we take for granted in the United States.

The momentum continues to build with the church plant. We had another informal meeting this past Sunday and some new people who are interested in our church showed up. There will be some new people joining us this coming Sunday. Word of mouth has been our greatest advertisement. News of our church plant is traveling quickly. We have found ourselves constantly reintroducing one another to the group. I have been saying that when we, as a group have to reintroduce ourselves, then that is a good sign of health because we are reaching out to new people. We want to continue to reach out to as many people as possible. We are excited about the possibilities.

Things are slowly picking up as we are getting into a routine and as I am having more meetings with people. God has been keeping us on our toes.
 
 
 
street-food-with-alumni
 
Christina and I finally had some street food with some of our friends
 
 
 
street-food
 
I don’t know if I had a look of confusion or fixing my glasses as one of our alumnus was explaining things :-)

Every Opportunity

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
The Apostle Paul said to the people of Colosse, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Col 4:5-6).

Apostle Paul is speaking to believers and reminding them of the outsider’s perspective. When you are in the “inside” it is easy to forget about what the outsider is feeling. Being in Indonesia has reminded me once again what it feels like to be an outsider. Trying to learn a new language, getting adjusted to a new culture, and transitioning to a new place all fuel the feeling of being an “outsider.”

In fact, Christina and I talked about how our hearts are growing for international students. We have talked about some of the things that we can do for them when we get back to Ann Arbor. Isn’t it amazing how being in someone else’s shoes and having an “outsider’s” perspective increases our understanding and love?

Even though the process of trying to be an “insider” is taking some time, I don’t know if being an “outsider” is completely a bad thing. It is opening up so many opportunities for me to talk with people by asking questions. There have been divine opportunities where God is allowing us to build relationships. I don’t know what it is, but I am surprised at the number of awesome connections that we have had just by following God’s lead.

I have already built some great relationships with our neighbors. I have built some relationships with the securities guards at various places, since I am the official driver for my family and the team. I also built some relationships with some college students who are back in the area for summer vacation (yesterday I had a great conversation with one student who gave me insights to this culture). I have reconnected with our alumni. I have met some new people who fall into the target group that we are trying to reach (expats, Indonesian who studied aboard, and Indonesian who speak English).

The harvest is truly plentiful.

The other day, the team and I went into a cafe to get on the internet. As the evening went on, the cafe quickly turned into a bar and a place for live music and dancing. As we were finishing off and the band was playing, they were calling different people to come up and sing. I saw this as an “opportunity” and therefore talked with the person in charge and asked if someone from America can sing. I was surprised that they were open to it, so we had one of our team members go up and sing. I started to get some ideas of an outreach event in the future :-)

The opportunities are endless if we are sensitive enough to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading. This is how we want to keep on doing ministry. It is just more fun this way!
 
 
 
members-connecting1
 
Some of the women on our team connecting with one of our alumni
 
 
 
members-connecting2
 
Sam building relationships at our informal church gathering
 
 
 
irene-singing
 
Irene getting an opportunity to sing in the open stage
 
 
 
gbi-church
 
We visited an Indonesia church on Sunday to get a feel of the spiritual climate here
 
 
 
internet-use
 
The intensity of team members when using the internet… now if they can be like this for evangelism :-)

Jakarta Bombing Reflections

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various

 
Within the first hour (as soon as the bombing hit), we received texts and phone calls from people letting us know of the situation and checking up on us. We are grateful for people who are looking out after us here in Indonesia. We have also received a lot of e-mails from people in the States asking us how we have been doing. We are grateful for all the prayer support.

The team and my family live west of Jakarta, therefore we were not affected. We are all safe.

It has not even been a full week here in Indonesia, but I have been reminded of several things in light of the bombings in Jakarta.

First of all, I am reminded of the importance of living every single day of my life with purpose and passion (again). When we first heard of the bombing and the specific place where it went off, it was a bit surreal. Christina and I were in that exact area 2 days before because we were meeting up with some people from our visa sponsoring organization. Their building was located right in between the Ritz-Carlton and the J.W. Marriott. I clearly remember passing by the Ritz-Carlton and telling Christina to check out how awesome the building looked.

The bible reminds us that our days here on earth are numbered (Ps 39:4-5; 139:16). We forget that we are mortal and that we will not live here on earth forever. When we live every single day as if it could be our last day here on earth, it will revolutionize the way we live. We will have a greater sense of urgency.

The second thing that I was reminded of was the importance of our mission and the need for sharing the Gospel. Not only is there a sharp divide between the “have’s and have not’s” but there are many people who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The terrorist group who carried out the bombings were from a radical Islamic group, which reminded me of the need for the Gospel.

It has been an interesting to observe that many of the Muslims we have been meeting and interacting with are more moderate in their beliefs. In fact, they are more cultural Muslims (“my parents have always been a Muslim, therefore I am a Muslim”) than anything else. If some of them could experience God’s “radical” love, then their lives would never be the same.

The team and I are more resolved about our mission and the purpose of why we are here. We are also trying to not allow fear to hinder us from living every day with urgency and purpose. Our passion is to see the great nation of Indonesia bow down and worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Our God is Great!

Flexibility is the Key

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 
We are planning on getting our cell phones and SIM cards this Saturday (FINALLY). It is hard to believe that it has been about a week without a cell phone. I have been temporarily using someone else’s cell phone and another alumnus has given us another phone for our team to use.

After dropping Christina off, I was thinking how crazy it has been without a cell phone. With just two cell phones for the ten of us to share has been hard. One positive thing that has come out of this is that we have had to become more creative in communicating with one another. We have been rotating the phone around… we have had to plan things out more… and last we had to learn how to be very flexible.

I was challenging several of our members with the thought of a time period in history when we did not have cell phones and their response was, “Uh Pastor Seth, I think that was when I was like in 2nd or 3rd grade!”… gre-at!

But anyways, I REMEMBER a time when we did not have cell phones and it is amazing how we lived without it. I guess we were able to tolerate the lack of communication a little bit more back then. We had to learn the importance of being patient. We had to learn to live without “knowing” everything that was going on minute by minute.

Another thing about flexibility that we are learning is that what we plan might not always go as planned, therefore we need 2 things: a positive attitude and the ability to go with the flow. Both have to be learned because for many people, it does not come naturally.

But flexibility is proving to be a trait that is needed in a huge way if we are serious about doing ministry in this context. People who are control freaks will not do well here in Indonesia. People who naturally gravitate towards having a negative attitude will not do well here in Indonesia. People who have to have their lives planned out will not do well here in Indonesia.

It has been advised not to plan more than 1 or 2 meetings per day because things change so rapidly, especially when you factor in traffic.

The visual reminder for flexibility is the rubber band. But I like the bungee cord better because it is more fun :-)

Ministry is about Relationships

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
Yesterday I played basketball with our guys and some college students who are back for summer vacation. The guys we played against played for the Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH) high school team (SPH is the international school that our kids will be going to at the end of July), therefore they were pretty good.

I don’t think I have played basketball for months so this morning when I woke up, my whole body was sore. I guess as I get older, my body cannot do the things that it was able to do when I was in college – but my mind still thinks it can.

It was great just building relationships with people. It reminded me a lot of the earlier years of HMCC when I would go to the gym and play ball. We would also play on the outside courts into the wee-hours of the nights, then afterwards go to Denny’s or 7-Eleven and have a cold slurpee. Just thinking about it makes me get a brain freeze!

After two games, we just sat around and talked a little bit about everything and anything. It was awesome. I realized that this is how ministry is done, as we build relationships with people. We are praying as we share our lives that we can ultimately share Christ.

Tonight, the guys and I are going to head out to a Men’s Business Fellowship gathering in Jakarta. It is a gathering of men who represent the business sector of Indonesia. Many of them are expats and Indonesians who have studied aboard. I am looking forward to building relationships with this people group who represent an important part of reaching Indonesia. It is humbling to know that God is allowing me to redeem some of my passion and background for business to build up His Kingdom.

This weekend, our team will be spending some time in Jakarta with some of the people who are interested in being part of our church plant, as well as people that we have already built relationships with, in the last 5 days.

The momentum is building and we are looking forward to see all that God is going to do.

Driving in Indonesia

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
driving-in-traffic1
 
 
 
Getting things done in Indonesia require “connections” – some are divine connections (sovereignly meeting people) and some are connections through people that we got introduced to through our alumni. I am thankful for our alumni because they know a lot of key people. They have been helpful in getting us connected with various people who have opened doors for us.

Today, Christina and I ventured out in our car to run some errands. Without a map or a GPS, we decided go to a megastore (like a Walmart) in a different town. We were told that it was off the tollway in a town that we had previously stopped by therefore I was pretty confident with the location. Getting on the tollway was the easy part, but trying to find the exit for the town was a complete different story.

Let’s just say that we went through the scenic route of two different cities. After 1.5 hours of driving, not only was it a bit frustrating with all the side roads that led to nowhere, but with limited Bahasa language skills, we were once again left with the infamous body language. Thank God, Christina had her little Bahasa language book.

We had quite an adventure.

We almost ran out of gasoline in a rural area… we were led by a man on a motorcycle to a major road that we needed to find… we stopped to ask for directions with broken Bahasa about five times within a half hour period. But at the end, we were able to find the store and find our way back home.

The best part of today was that I got quickly acclimated to the Indonesian driving culture. I think I love driving in Indonesia – lanes are just suggestions, speed limit signs are hard to find, passing up cars is an art, signaling is optional, avoiding the motorcycles make it feel like a video game and aggressive driving is the norm.

The only faux pas today was opening the car door on the left side only to realize that the steering was on the right side. So I had to play it cool and pretend that I was putting something on the passenger seat :-)