A Day in the Life... by Kali Wood

Now that we’ve been here for a couple weeks I’d like to give you snapshot of what a typical day looks like for us.

6:30am: Wake up to Eleanor crawling into bed with us, followed shortly by Laurel. Eventually get out of bed to make coffee and start getting ready for the day.

8:00am: Coffee ingested, make breakfast in our outdoor kitchen, usually consisting of scrambled eggs and toast.

9:00am: Our Indonesian “helper” arrives. Matt and I work on our Indonesian homework while the girls play.

10:00am: Our Indonesian nanny arrives. We order a Grab car (like Uber) and say goodbye to the girls. In the car we spend a few minutes stumbling through introducing ourselves in Indonesian to the driver and asking about his life.

10:30am: Arrive at the Language School for class. Matt and I spend the next 2 hours with our Indonesian teacher learning Bahasa Indonesia. About 75% of the time is spent in Indonesian. We are picking it up quickly but not without its difficulties. We are introduced to about 50 new vocabulary words a class which means we spend a lot of time reviewing and memorizing for homework.

12:30pm: We walk home or order another Grab car to take us to a store if we need to run an errand. If we run errands we try and introduce ourselves in Indonesian to 2-3 new people and ask about their life. We feel like we are making complete fools of ourselves in front of these people, but they are so gracious to us as we try and learn their language.

Once we arrive home we eat a quick lunch of whatever the nanny has made. Usually some kind of chicken, rice and vegetable concoction. She is a phenomenal cook and it’s such a blessing to have lunch made for us when we return home each day from class.

2:30pm: By this time the nanny has gone home and the girls are anxious for our attention. They have been home for the last 3-4 hours with no one who speaks English.

I put Eleanor down for a nap and then Laurel and I work on some homeschooling. After that Laurel and I spend some time playing cards. Go Fish is her current favorite. After a couple games of cards I usually try and get an hour of homework done. During this time Matt works in his office on homework, catching up on Emails or working on a continuing education module. Our Indonesian “helper” goes home for the day.

4:00pm: Eleanor usually wakes up by this time. I let the girls either play or watch a movie while I do a little more homework then start to get dinner started. Preparing dinner usually means cooking outside on the gas range, though we now have a large toaster oven inside that we can use.

5:30pm: Dinner is ready and we eat in our un-airconditioned dining room. After cooking outside I’m usually a hot, sweaty mess. I’m hoping I’ll get used to the heat soon.

6:00pm: Once we’ve finished with dinner, Laurel helps wash the dishes and we retire to the den for some family time. Usually this involves some card playing, book reading or wrestling.

7:00pm We have family devotions and put the girls to bed.

7:30pm: Matt and I spend about a half an hour or so doing homework then we spend quality time together before bed.

10:00pm: By now we are exhausted from the day and we go to bed.

The next day we have to explain all of the above in Bahasa Indonesia as part of our language class.

 

 

First Day of School by Kali Wood

LCE.jpg

No, not for Laurel. Matt and I began our first day of language classes at the Language Cultural Exchange (LCE) Center on Monday. Matt hasn’t had a first day of class in nearly 6 years and I haven’t had one in 11 years. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

We will spend 2 hours a day Monday through Friday in class, 2 hours speaking to native Indonesians, and 2 hours doing homework/studying. Each unit for class is 4 weeks long and the goal is to complete all 6 units by the end of the year.

After class on Monday Matt and I walked to a restaurant nearby our house called, My Burger Coffee. Minutes after we sat down a table of ladies came over and asked if we would take a photo with them. We ordered our food and I pulled out my class notebook and walked over to “interview” them for my homework. They were very gracious of my horrendous pronunciation and even exchanged phone numbers with me.

While I spoke to the table of ladies, Matt was swarmed with the other patrons in the restaurant. An hour later one of us had finally spoken to every patron in the place. And yet our food had not arrived yet. We looked through our class notes to find out how to say “We need to leave,” (Kami harus pergi) and get our food to go.

It was a humbling and exhilarating experience to speak with the people. Humbling because we know so little Indonesian yet exhilarating because while we know so little we can still communicate. The people were so excited to speak to us. I hope we can learn more, so we can listen better.

Please pray for our language learning. Pray that we study hard, practice much and learn to love the language.

First Day in Medan by Matthew Wood

This is our home in Medan. Pictured on the right is Cheryl Ferry who lived here previously. Behind the gate is Ibu (Mrs.) Nana our land lord.

This is our home in Medan. Pictured on the right is Cheryl Ferry who lived here previously. Behind the gate is Ibu (Mrs.) Nana our land lord.

On May 14th we moved into Medan. The day was packed end to end with a flurry of activity. Here’s what it looked like:

  • 4:30 Wake up in Singapore, get the girls ready, finish packing, and check out of hotel.

  • 5:00 Get in a cab and head to the airport.

  • 5:40 Retrieve 180 kg of baggage from the airport luggage storage, check into flight.

  • 6:00 Grab breakfast and chase the inexplicably energetic girls around the airport.

  • 6:50 Arrive at gate.

  • 7:15 Board the plane. Traveling with young children gets you to the front of the line!

  • 7:40 Depart Singapore (gain an hour because of the time zone change)

  • 8:00 Land in Medan, go through immigration, collect baggage, explain to immigration and customs officer why we have so much stuff for just four of us.

  • 8:30 Meet Pastor Aladdin, load luggage into the car, depart the airport, and head for home.

  • 10:00 Arrive at our new home in Medan, unload luggage, talk with land lords, hire house help, take a short break. The house is a bustle of activity as workers are doing some general repairs outside the house.

  • 11:00 Head to the local super market to pick up essentials: dishes, utensils, and food. Head to local Indomaret (like a 7-11) and pay the power bill.

  • 13:00 Arrive back at the house. Prepare a quick lunch (PB&J, bananas, frozen peas).

  • 13:30 Matthew goes with Pastor Aladdin to sign up for internet services. Kali and the girls stay home to rest and start unpacking the girls’ toys.

  • 15:00 Matthew and Aladdin return home and share a coke and conversation. Pastor Aladdin returns to his family.

  • 16:00 Begin attempting to order food for dinner. The internet service provider arrives to install internet.

  • 16:40 Successfully order food for dinner. The internet service provider leaves without installing internet and will return tomorrow. (But he didn’t)

  • 17:15 Dinner arrives. A&W with an Indonesian twist. Matthew’s burger had red cabbage, mayo, pineapple, and beef bacon. It came with a free side of chicken and rice. Kali ordered a mango chicken taco which came in something like a big green pita. The girls had chicken tenders. We all enjoyed some root beer.

  • 6:00 Workers and house help leave. We have the house to ourselves.

  • 7:00 We have family devotions and prayers and put the girls to bed.

  • 7:30 We begin to unpack.

  • 9:30 We sit down and reflect on the day.

First Impressions by Kali Wood

View from the airplane window of our soon-to-be new home.

View from the airplane window of our soon-to-be new home.

[Editors note: This article is from April and reflects on a visit to Medan. We moved to Medan on May 14th.]

On the morning of April 9th we finally got to meet the city we will soon call home. As we flew in I was filled with mixed emotions. We have been preparing for this for months and it was finally here. Because we weren’t going to live in a city full of expats it was difficult to do research on what living there would be like. All the research I could find for living in Indonesia focused on living in Jakarta or on Bali. Neither were very helpful. So we went into this a little blind with a lot of trust that the LORD would provide.

So here are some of our first impressions after spending only 5 days there.

We’ll start with an obvious one that we expected. It is HOT and HUMID! It really is everything we didn’t like about St. Louis summers, but it will be all the time. We pray our bodies will learn to adapt.

Traffic is its own kind of organized chaos. I know there is a rhyme and reason to how it goes, but I don’t get it and I don’t know if I ever will. There were a few times in the taxis that we got a little too close for comfort to a nearby vehicle but the drivers all seem to know what they are doing.

The Indonesian people love children. We visited Indonesia with another family who also has young children. These kids were oohed and aahed over by many. People would stop us and ask to take a photo with the youngest children. Lots of cheeks were pinched and many people shed friendly smiles upon our children. I’m most surprised by the men who openly made silly faces trying to get the kids to smile.

Speaking of the Indonesian people, everyone we met were so kind and helpful. They all seem to genuinely want to help us and want us to love their country. We were blessed by a local pastor who took time out of his schedule to drive us around looking for houses for rent. We were blessed by our new landlord who is looking into hiring household help for us. Not to mention the taxi drivers and restaurant staff who were kind and understanding even though we had a lack of Bahasa Indonesia.

Doctors, Doctors and More Doctors by Kali Wood

Baby at 19 weeks!

Baby at 19 weeks!

Traveling to a foreign country is one thing, moving to one is another. Going to the doctor in one is a totally different thing. In the last 10 days we have visited 3 doctors with one more visit coming up.

While in Singapore last week I scheduled an OB appointment for myself. With all of our travel in the states I only had one appointment with my OB at 9 weeks. So I was anxious to get a check up on baby at 19 weeks. She did an ultrasound and everything looks good and healthy! The major difference I noticed between the doctor in Singapore and my OB in the States was the lack of questions she asked and the lack of tests she did. As this isn’t my first baby, neither of these things concerned me.

Next week I will be going to a hospital here in Taiwan for the big 21 week ultrasound and scan. This is the appointment where many parents find out the gender of their baby. We will be waiting for that news until baby’s birth date instead. I had help from a member at the church here to schedule the appointment with one of the doctors who can speak enough English. I’m so thankful for the people God has surrounded us with to help us along the way. I don’t know what we would do without them.

While in Singapore we also took Eleanor to a walk-in pediatric clinic for her 2 year check-up and vaccines. The walk-in clinic posted that they were open from 9am-11am on Mondays. So we arrived at 9:15am to check-in. They took Eleanor’s height and weight and instructed us to have seat. There seemed to be a lot of kids there waiting to be seen, and as we waited we noticed that no children were being called in to see the doctor. Finally at 10am a man in a white coat breezed through the door. The nurses acknowledged him with a “Hello Doctor!” as he headed into a patient room. Apparently even though the clinic hours were from 9am-11am, the doctor only worked from 10-11am.

I had to go up to my OB appointment and couldn’t wait with Eleanor any longer so Matt took over from there. He said that she was seen shortly after I left and the appointment was fairly quick. He also noticed that the doctor didn’t ask too many questions and he didn’t even take her vitals. He did ask, “Does she beat up on her sister?” and “Can she climb up a ladder and then go down the slide?” A big YES to both of those! But questions our previous pediatrician never asked about Laurel.

Today I took Laurel to the pediatrician at a local hospital for a fever. I don’t normally take my kids in for a fever but as we walked through the “Quarantine” area of the airport yesterday they flagged Laurel for having a fever and require you to see a doctor within 24 hours. Luckily, she was diagnosed with the common cold. And the appointment cost a whopping $10 US dollars and took only 30 minutes.

SOLD! by Matthew Wood

Lohmeyer Sold.jpg

One of our frequent prayer requests over the last few months has been for the speedy and carefree sale of our house in Maplewood. In 2012 we moved into a fixer-upper, and over the years we didn’t do much fixing. Even so, it was always a good home for us and we learned to love it and be thankful for it. Unfortunately our love for the house and the memories of bringing home two beautiful daughters from the hospital don’t add to the resale value or the curb appeal. We were concerned that we might have to hold on to the property long term or possibly even bring tens of thousands of dollars to closing in order to pay off our mortgage. So we needed a special someone to look at the ugly pink house on the corner of Lohmeyer and Valley and fall in love, or at least see the potential to make a buck in the booming Maplewood housing market.

We knew this could be a tremendous source of stress. We also knew that there wasn’t anything we could do about it other than list the house for sale and pray for God’s blessings. If I may be so bold, God answered the prayers for our house to sell. We listed the house for sale with Magnolia Real Estate on February 14th and received an offer on February 28th. The buyer asked that we fix the sewer lateral, which we did. We closed on March 29th. Even after fixing the sewer lateral (not cheap!) we were able to walk away from closing with a modest amount of cash in our pocket. What a blessing!

Prayer request update: Please give thanks to God with us for His gracious answer to prayer by blessing us with a speedy and carefree sale of our former house in Maplewood, MO.

A New Hymnal with Timeless Worship by Matthew Wood

The Cover

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

The Small Catechism: The Ten Commandments.

On Monday, March 18th, I had the pleasure of attending the unveiling and dedication of The Chinese Lutheran Service Book Pilot Edition. Deaconess Sandra Rheign, who is working diligently on the project, noted that worship is a confession of our Lord. She’s right. When we worship we ourselves become witnesses, proclaimers, and confessors of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. A hymnal, then, is a profoundly important aid to the congregation in that public witness to our Lord.

What an honor to be at the dedication of this new hymnal! As this is a pilot edition, there is still more work to be done. Many more Psalms and Hymns have yet to be completed. Even so, this is wonderful fruit of our work together with our Church partner The China Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Our family has already been greatly blessed by this project. At Salvation Church in Chaiyi, Taiwan (where we are attending until we make our final move into Medan), they have used this Hymnal. The familiar liturgy allows us to follow along with the service. With the aid of our own English Hymnals we can sing the hymns in our language alongside our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am so excited to be working with Deaconess Rheign on a hymnal in Bahasa Indonesia. This will be a great tool for the Indonesian Christian Lutheran Church, which will aid their worship and confession of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord grant that pictures of the Bahasa Hymnal will be ready to share in 2020!