Monthly Archives: April 2010

Volcano

Late Wednesday night last week, our good friends David and Cameron arrived to visit us here in Bandung! Cameron just completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience and as a celebration they took a 2 and a half week trip to New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia. It was so great to see some friends again! They had two full days here in Bandung before we had to get them back to Jakarta to catch their plane back to America. We talked and talked, got caught up on a lot of news from our Sunday School class and church back in Houston, ate lots of yummy food, and saw lots of sights! By the end we were all really tired, but we sure did have lots of fun together :).

One of the things that we did with them we had never done before – a trip to the volcano that is pretty close to Bandung. You can drive right up, park next to the crater, and walk around. Here we all are up at the top.

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It was something to look down into that crater!

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This volcano, Palabuhan Ratu, last erupted in 1983, and is 6,000 ft. high. There were gases coming out of vents in several places around the crater, and the entire place smelled like sulfur (rotten eggs). It was nice and cool up there and we hiked about half-way around the crater. Here are a few more pictures:

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From up on top you could look out over the surrounding area and see the clouds forming below. They moved really really fast and were really cool to watch!

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Elizabeth is really into playing with rocks lately, and she loved having me pick them up for her so that she could throw them down into the crater. It was a pretty steep drop-off.

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Then we hiked some more! Elizabeth ended up falling asleep and taking a nap in the carrier.

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But then we had to stop because we ran into this sign (poison gas!):

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So as we were walking back the clouds started coming up really fast and spilling over the edge of the crater. Not the best weather to be out hiking in, but it sure was beautiful! It is so amazing to see all of the awe-inspiring and unique places that God has created on this Earth.

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We are so thankful for our friends and all of their encouragement and support. It is one of the greatest blessings in life to see friends after a few years and it feel like you just met yesterday. We so miss all of our friends and family back home, but are so thankful for the opportunities that God has put before us. Our home is always open to anyone wanting to visit!

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Sundanese Dance

We saw this performed on Saturday when we attended the wedding of one of our neighbor’s children.  Weddings here are a huge affair, and this was no exception.  The girl performing is also one of our neighbors, though until now we had no idea she knew these dances.  At some point we hope to be able to ask where she learned them and if she is studying traditional dance somewhere.  The music accompanying the dancer is a recording of gamelan, a traditional Indonesian ensemble made up of gongs, xylophone-like instruments, flutes, drums, and the occasional stringed instrument.

I apologize for the quality of the video and sound – it was very crowded and lots of people were constantly walking around, and they had the sound system cranked up extremely loud.  Although the quality is less that great, we still want to share this interesting glimpse into the local Sundanese culture. 

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11018061&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Sundanese Dancing from Matt Menger on Vimeo.

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Sulawesi Island

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Beautiful, right? Yeah… there are some really rough things about having a ministry on an island in Southeast Asia, let me tell you! Yesterday we all went to the beach. This beach was in a bay about an hour drive from the city we are visiting, and it was just perfect. Clear water, no waves, snorkeling, a little hut where we could sit in the shade and the kids could rest. It was such a wonderful day! Since it feels like 100 degrees constantly here with no A/C, swimming was a great way to get out, do something, and cool down at the same time.

Here is our family – we all had such a fun time!

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This past weekend our regional team leader was here visiting us and after lots of discussion our team has been adjusted to include four families now: us (the Mengers), Paul and Krisanne, Derek and Kristie, and Max and Janet.

Max is from Indonesia and Janet is from America, they have two children (Penny, 2 and Jethro, 7 mo.), and they have been here in the area the longest of anyone. They also have been so gracious in opening their home to us to stay during our visit here!

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Derek and Kristie are from Canada, have two boys (Jayden, 7 and Cedric, 5,) and have been working here for a few years already also. This is the first time we have been able to meet them, and we’re so glad to know them in person now!

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Paul and Krisanne are in language school with us in Bandung and are expecting their first baby (boy) this summer.

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It is such a blessing to have so many Western kids that Elizabeth can play with here! They all had so much fun splashing together in the water and the older ones are really good at playing with and watching out for the little ones.

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This time Elizabeth was brave enough to walk into the water and splash all by herself, and we would have to stop her once the water got almost up to her chin. My girl is growing up!

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And, did I mention how beautiful it was?

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We have one more day here before flying back to Bandung on Friday morning. It has been a wonderful trip and such a blessing to have this time here on Sulawesi. We have a much better idea of what it will be like to live here, what we can and cannot get, what our team will look like, and what/where our village allocation will be. It has been so encouraging! Thank you so much to everyone that is praying for us – they are all really felt! It is exciting to see each step revealed before us, and thank God constantly for his provision of everything that we need to take each step, even when what we need is a relaxing day at the beach!

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Village Trip!

On Sunday, I (Matt) had the opportunity to travel to a village in the area we will be working in soon.  We were there to meet people, ask questions, and ask them what they would like to see happen in their community.  This was a wonderful opportunity for us to get a little taste of the area we’ll soon be involved in, and I really enjoyed seeing the area, the people, and the culture there. 

We attended a church service there, and then met with some local leaders in the afternoon.  Here’s a few pictures from the trip:

A view out over the village:

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Meetings in the afternoon:

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Trying to learn some local language…

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Meetings…

Writing this from our future home!  Today we were thrilled to finally meet and talk with some local church leaders who we will be working with here.  It was so exciting to get to know them a little and to share our vision for what we would like to accomplish here.  This Sunday we will be travelling out into a village with some church leaders to visit a church in an area where we will probably be working.  All of this is a little crazy, since it is the first time we are actually seeing the end goal since we started working towards this several years ago!

Here we are meeting with the leader of the church synod and with Derek, our other teammate.

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Here is everyone that we met with at the office there today (no… this was not the first time we met Jesus):

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This is a beautiful area, and I(Matt) have been pleasantly surprised by what is available here.  There are lots of Western things available in Bandung, so we were prepared for very limited selection here.  However, our visits to various stores have been encouraging!  So far the main thing we know will be difficult to find is cheese (oh, how we miss good cheese!).

Also, it is HOT here.  For those of you in Houston, think July but with no A/C.  We are only about one degree south of the equator, so the sun is pretty intense. Oddly enough, this is one of the driest areas in Indonesia due to some mountain ranges nearby.  Although it’s hot, the view here is beautiful!  There are some very high mountains nearby, and we’re close to the ocean so there’s a great afternoon breeze.  Just tonight, I looked up and realized I could see the stars!  Bandung has some serious air and light pollution, so it we nice to look up and see something up there again.

We’ll try to post more as we can here, though it may be intermittent.  I will definitely try to take lots of pictures and video this Sunday when we head out to a village. 

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Easter!

Elizabeth also got an Easter basket in the mail from Grandma (I mean the “Easter Bunny”). She got a book, a frog that makes a frog noise, a quilted bunny, stickers, a lollipop, and a chocolate bunny.  And the Easter basket can be re-used for many years to come!

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We gave it to her this morning before church while she still had her jammies on.

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At breakfast this morning we decided to eat some of the eggs that we dyed yesterday. We cracked and peeled the first one to give to Elizabeth and found a double yolk!

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After that, we got ready to go, and were so blessed by the church service this morning. There was a wonderful sermon reminding us that it is the power of the Resurrection that enables everything that we do – from our faith to our speaking. After church, we went to the Sheraton Hotel here in Bandung which is walking distance from our house. They had a nice buffet at the restaurant, and very yummy desserts. All of our friends here in Bandung ate there together to celebrate Easter. Here is everyone eating:

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As I said, the desserts were very yummy, and Elizabeth thoroughly enjoyed eating her very first ice cream cone all by herself. It certainly did get everywhere – even up her nose!

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Here is our pretty girl in her Easter dress!

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There were supposed to be activities for the kids including an egg hunt at the Sheraton also, but apparently they were over by the time we were done eating :(. Some of our friends here have three little ones, and the two girls are just a little older than Elizabeth. So, instead of hunting eggs, they all wanted to play in the kiddie pool water there at the hotel.

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Elizabeth just went swimming in this same pool yesterday, so today she didn’t understand why she couldn’t just walk right in with her diaper and Easter dress on! It was challenging to get her to stay on the edge.

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Elizabeth and Adeliade had a lot of fun kicking and making big splashes together!

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And in the end, Mommy gave in and she got to go swimming :).

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Here is another picture of our whole group together. You can see the storm clouds looming in the distance!

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Now we are home in the afternoon, Matt is reading, Elizabeth is napping, and it is just pouring buckets outside! It is so strange to think that most of the people that will read this are still sleeping and waiting for their own Easter morning. We love you all and miss you! Praying that you have a blessed Easter filled with the power of the Resurrection of our King!

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Easter Eggs!

Mom sent us an egg-dying kit from America (along with other goodies) and it arrived safely and in good time last week. I had totally forgotten about dying Easter eggs, and it hadn’t occurred to me to ask for someone to send it, so it was a wonderful surprise! Today I sent Matt to the store on a quest to find non-brown eggs, and he was successful! These eggs are only slightly colored, nothing like the brown ones that are available EVERYWHERE here, and the colors worked really well with them. So.. here was the set-up:

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Elizabeth loved the colored water and at first kept saying “drink!”, but after a small taste (vinegar water) she changed her mind.

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We went for the all-natural look with just a diaper and some wild post-nap hair! After she understood what we were doing, the game turned into how-many-eggs-can-I-fit-in-one-bowl, with Mom and Dad frantically trying to keep the colored water from spilling everywhere on the table. You can see how many eggs she got in some of the colors!

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Here is the finished product!

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Later, while I was making dinner, Daddy and Elizabeth found some funny shoes that someone had given her for her birthday back in December.  And very appropriately for this weekend, they are bunnies! Such a happy girl with her Daddy!

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We are very excited for Easter tomorrow! It is amazing to me how much I get into the little activities for holidays now that I have a little one. They really do help us feel like we haven’t completely lost our home culture :). I am everyday so thankful for the reason that we celebrate Easter – and astounded that our holy and merciful God would send his Son to die for us and rise again to conquer the sin and death that we are enslaved to. Amen and Amen! He is RISEN!!

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