Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bulan Puasa (Month of Fasting)

We have now moved into our new house! Our house is concrete grey with a Kentucky blue roof. It has a black gate in front and concrete in back. Pieces of glass stick out from the top of our concrete wall as a means of protection. We have an outdoor stovetop and water tank. Inside we have tile floors with a bamboo mat and pillows. It is located within walking distance to a traditional food market. This is our new home. There are aspects from our homestay that we truly have missed but also we are so very thankful to now be here. We have a wonderful roommate named Rachel. Our neighbors are friendly as well. Whenever somebody moves, it is required by law to register with the community leader. We do not have a position in the States that would serve as the equivalent but if we were in a tribal setting then the chief would serve as the community leader for example. If a problem arises then it is the community leader that one should report to. When it came time for us to report to the community leader that we had moved into the neighborhood, our next-door neighbor, who is an older woman, noticed that we were going. She is not from our city and therefore she speaks a different dialect than we are learning but nonetheless she loves to talk and we love to listen. We have had three nights in our new home and each has been spent listening to her chat while we laugh and hold hands. She has taken good care of us so far as she is always watching us (this is an example of the communal society that our country offers). When she saw the three of us ladies that live in the new house walk towards the community leaders home, she felt the need to personally escort us. Not only did she take us right to the house but also she followed us inside and joined our entire registration process with the community leader. Once our registration was over, she escorted us back to our house. On the way back, we again listened to her speak in her local dialect, attempted to speak to her in the language we are learning, laugh and then with my arm around her shoulder and her’s around me, we returned home. She is a feisty older woman that has brought us much joy.

Once a week we gather in a home with those of like-mind. This past week however we decided to not meet in a home but rather we decided to meet on a private island just off the coast of the island in which we live. After our boat ride there, we picked a spot on the sand, opened our books and began to study with one another. It was encouraging to experience this time with nationals. The presence of my Father was so powerful as the ocean waves joined us in our song to Him. It was extremely refreshing to experience this display of His radiance.
There is a specific sound that numerous times a day is played from one of the many loudspeakers throughout our city. The loudspeakers are similar to a megaphone that has the ability to reach the ears of those many miles away. Five times a day this sound is heard. After hearing this sound, those who are covered gather and begin to perform their ritual of prostration once they have cleansed themselves through the act of washing in water (it is not the water that is holy but the act of washing). This is a sight we witness on a daily basis, as it is an element of normalcy in the life of our city. Recently, however, we have noticed many more people beginning to take part in this ritual. Many people have stopped eating during daylight hours. The sound now resounds more frequently. We are currently experiencing the month of R*m*d*n. This is the month of fasting for followers of the majority religion. I ask that you remember these people always but especially at this time. At the beginning of this month, I spoke to my Father in regards to this time. He reminded me of Jeremiah’s words, “It is He who is True.” I ask that this understanding of Truth would be revealed to those I see performing everyday.

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