Indonesia is evolving quickly. Not many people know its population makes it the fourth largest country in the world. It also has a strong ecomomy. But, it’s still old world meets modern world.

The immigration department can be especially frustrating. they have an up-to-date website to speed up the process, but behind the scenes are rubber stamps, paper clips, hand-filled forms and off-the-cuff answers from the staff. I wanted to get everything done and out of the way on my schedule. It doesn’t work that way here. I need to focus on patience. So, plans are on hold until I have kitas in hand.1 Meanwhile—deep breathing.

Beat the frustration Cikanyere Karmel Valley Retreat House

Christina suggested a stay at Lembah Karmel, a retreat in the mountain area of west Java only a couple hours from Jakarta. They train Brothers to be Priests and Sisters to be Nuns. They are a too-rare-breed of Catholics—the charismatics kind. They put greater emphasis on the Holy Spirit than other Catholic rites. We attended a four-day retreat on inner healing and forgiveness. It was just what the doctor ordered. $70.00 included a room for four days and three meals a day. The room was primitive by American standards but perfect for the occasion. It was like a cabin in the woods—no hot water and no air conditioning. But, AC wasn’t necessary at that elevation. By the time morning rolled around we were under covers—unfortunately in twin beds. The water on the other hand, was really cold. A morning shower was like drinking 10 cups of coffee.

I am glad Christina had the presence of mind to suggest this getaway. The spiritual lessons learned were both healing and revealing.

1: I received the Kitas a couple weeks after the retreat.

Walking the stairs to one of the convents.
There are eight rooms here, we stayed on the top in back. The construction is typical Javanese here—Tile roofs with large overhangs. It rains hard here. There is no hot water and the shower is ice cold. No air conditioning either. Thats ok, by morning we were under blankets—unfortunately in twin beds.
Our little Toyota, Gabriel, did fine in the mountains.

This was a happy, happy person. They get scooters? I’d consider priesthood for a Ducatti Scrambler.
Notice, no pews…instead, little stools and a kneeling pad. you can sit on it, or kneel and rest your butt on the stool. I sat cross-legged on it (something I can’t do on a flat surface.

Boiled peanuts…mmmm

My favorite Indonesian food is sate ayam (chicken on a stick). Its tender chicken morsels grilled on a skewer and smothered in peanut sauce.Usually, coconut shells are used instead of charcoal.

Sometimes after a song, the keyboard continues playing the cords or corus softly. Everyone hums or sings words from the song or other words in no particular order. I call it singing in tongues. It’s random but still harmonious.

This boy is yelling “drink coconut juice.” This family didn’t have much but were happy as can be.

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