Friday, March 10, 2017

Capping Day 2017

It was a special Friday at the Nursing School on March 3rd as our freshmen class who had just completed their first semester had their Capping Ceremony. This is an old tradition (pretty sure it was imported somewhere along the way) where students get to wear their white uniforms for the first time. Female nurses still wear caps here and this is their first time wearing them, hence the name the of the ceremony. One of the best parts is we got to meet their parents and families. There is no parent orientation at the beginning of the school year here, so we do a meeting on Capping Day for them.

This ceremony also signifies that they will be allowed to do clinicals in the hospital this coming semester. We were talking in the office at the Nursing School this week how just wearing the white seems to give them more confidence. It was a really rough first semester with more students failing more classes than ever in recent years, so we can hope that will change this semester as they continue to mature. I don't teach them in their first semester, so I am looking forward to getting to know them and teaching them Nursing Fundamentals this semester like how to take a blood pressure and do a physical exam.

Ok time for the pictures and a couple of short videos (for those reading this in your email you might need to click the link to go to the blog to watch the videos).

Our freshmen class. The student dressed in yellow in the center represents the Florence Nightingale Pledge they take

One of the parents shares that they are entrusting their kids to the Nursing School, which is important culturally here
Dr. Paul shares some words of wisdom about surviving school and the responsibilities of being a nurse

The three students with the highest grades

This is our official Nursing School song that talks about how the school was founded by God and they want to be students here to be shaped and educated by teachers and staff who will lead well and give them lots of work so they can be professional nurses.

They then sang a second song about our motto that is from Ephesians and speaks about how we were all created by God, so that we can do the good works He has prepared for us.

The final song was for their parents. It is a classic Indonesian song that talks about how their parents raised them, loved them, and cared for them and how they are the best. As you can see, we lost "Florence Nightingale" to tears before we even finished the first verse and most of the first row and many others were crying by the end. For some of these students it was especially hard because their parents weren't present because they have passed away already.

Please be praying for us teachers and the students as we seek to not only help them become knowledgeable nurses but model a servant's heart that has compassion for others.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Field Fellowship 2017

Oh what fun it was in late January to gather with our whole team for our annual meetings! We have a growing team, which included three new arrivals - two long-term women and one short-term young man. While we serve on different islands and in different ministries it is so good to get together, share our joys and burdens, and pray together.

For those able to, we spent the first day and a half just enjoying time relaxing, shopping, and eating fun places together. Then the remaining few team members joined us and we spent three full days in meetings and wrapped up with a time sharing Communion. I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was just enjoying being with everyone but here are a few taken by other members of our team...
We spent the first evening praying for the unreached of Indonesia, each other and our ministries

We also took time to pray for our two newest long-term team members. They are settling in and tacking language and culture study. 

We also spent time with men and women meeting separately to do some more in-depth sharing where where we focused on hope. 

And I got to spend time with some of my favorite people - the young members of our team. 
Hanging out and taking selfies with Beatrice. Her big sister Annie is behind her.

Hanging out with our youngest team members. I was present at all of their births here in Indonesia. 
Please be praying for the baby I am holding in my left arm. There were concerns about his development during our time in Jakarta and further testing in Indonesia has shown what may be a major problem. He is being evacuated to Singapore in a few hours for further testing and possible surgery. His name is David and he is two and half months old. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Christmas Celebrations with Students

 *Very late post :) *
One of my favorite parts (but also very time consuming) of the Christmas season here in Serukam is the opportunity to invite the Nursing School students to my house before they leave on Christmas vacation. This year because of the accreditation visit things had to be moved up by a week leaving me scrambling a bit to get enough food baked but in the end it was fine. So for three nights I hosted an open house at my place. Here are some of the fun pictures from those open houses... 

You can tell where the party is by finding the house with all the noise and shoes outside
A necessary requirement is a lot of food! 100s of cookies and at least one cupcake and can of soda per student required. 
And after that is all about fun, singing and eating...


I keep busy keeping food on the table and taking a lot of pictures with all the different students. By the they are ready to head home my smile is wearing a bit thin :) 

These two young ladies (Dolina in the center and Gusniati on the right) are two of my "anak PA" or students that I provide academic counseling for. In this case they are both 2nd year students. We meet regularly through the semester to make sure they are doing well physically, spiritually, emotionally, and academically. Both of these young ladies consistently get the top grades in their class. Unfortunately, my other student from this class, Nimrod, routinely receives some of the lowest grades in his class and is struggling to pass. Please pray for all of our staff and teachers as we seek to teach and mentor these young nurses-to-be. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Christmas 2016 in Serukam in Pictures

Bethesda Board Christmas (Hospital, Nursing School, Village Health Program, and MedGo).

Hospital Chapel was decorated with a waterfall and snow (cotton). The theme this year was "One in Christ" 

What Christmas celebration is complete without cute kids singing :) 
These kids also wanted to get in on the action when the adults were on stage
Candle Lighting. This is staff from the Nursing School and we were all a bit tired as we had just finished day one of accreditation.

Nursing Students with their candles

Christmas Eve service at the church. The theme this year was "Good news for a world full of fear" which seemed very appropriate to me. This year because of an increased level of discrimination against Christians by some Muslim groups, including the stopping of a Christmas service in one of the big cities, all churches were guarded by police officers on Christmas Eve and Day. 


On the way back to the hospital I took a picture of the hospital Christmas tree which was made from recycled plastic IV bottles.

After the Christmas Eve service a group of us, including mostly young doctors and staff, gathered at the hospital to go caroling and give gifts to any of the patients in the hospital. This year I think there were only 11 or so with the majority being children. 

All dressed in our Santa hats and ready to go


Each patient also hears the gospel message, if possible from their primary doctor

Then it is off to one of our senior doctor's house for a meal and fellowship. By now it is getting pretty late and it is usually past midnight by the time we get home and officially Christmas

Christmas day we headed to church again, which of course fell on a Sunday this year, followed by a lot of visiting. That first day in the first round (until about 4 pm) we went to 7 houses. I was fighting a bad cold though so that was the end of the visiting for me. Most went out that evening and again the next day. 

Our car full for visiting. I think we had 9 adults and 2 kids with us
One of things I did this year was some special Christmas baking and cooking to help celebrate the season. I haven't done this before because it has seemed so busy already. I couldn't have done this without help from my Grandma who sent a package filled with fun things like peppermint candy and Christmas sprinkles. 

One of my favorite Christmas recipes - Peppermint brownie bars
I also for the first time attempted making lasagna here with some homemade ricotta cheese, which was actually easier than I thought it might be. The hardest part was getting my hands on fresh milk. 
Letting the curds and whey separate

Yum! Fresh ricotta cheese

All ready to bake. 

All done! It was an expensive but yummy special meal

For those reading this in your email, this is one of those blog posts with videos and you should click the link below to watch them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Graduation 2016 at the Nursing School

On August 9th, the Nursing School held its 2016 graduation ceremony. 47 students graduated. 40 from this year and 7 from last year who had to make up some of their classes. As you can imagine graduation is a formal ceremony with lots of pomp and circumstance. It technically is convened as a Nursing School Senate meeting, or council meeting. Also those participate in the ceremony and graduating dress up a lot - so much so - I sometimes have a hard time recognizing them! The ladies spend hours in the morning doing their make-up and getting their hair done, usually with extra hair added to create quite the up-do. So here is the graduation in pictures...

It starts with a traditional Dyak tribal dance performed by younger students

We all stand for the entrance of the flags and the graduates
The Senate members enter and sit at the front

Dr. Kristiyan (Nursing School director and also our hospital's Ob/Gyn) opens the graduation ceremony

Three students representing the three religions of those in our graduating class go forward to take the nursing pledge. We usually have three of the six religions recognized in Indonesia represented in each class. They include Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic. 
The rest of the class also repeats the nursing pledge. 

Then short (we hope!) speeches are given by several government officials. This the Chairman that runs the Board responsible for the four ministries including Bethesda Hospital, Bethesda Nursing School, PKMD (Village Health Program), and MedGo 
The fifth and final speech is made by the Bupati, the man responsible for our Kabupaten (county). He is an elected official who is responsible for a large area and budget. 
Awards for the top three students in the class
The valedictorian, Eunice, gave a speech
Post ceremony comes picture time! This is one with all the graduates plus teachers and staff at the Nursing School. FYI Indonesian custom has you not smile during photos like this :) 

Several teachers and staff together after the ceremony. It is a chance to get dressed in your best :) 
After the ceremony and pictures, the invited guests and government officials eat together. This is separate from the graduates and the families.

I do wish the families were more involved in the ceremony. They have worked hard to get their student through the program and many have had to sacrifice a lot to pay for it. This year I attended as an invited guest, maybe next year I will be up for attending as one of the teachers/staff, which means leaving early in the morning and returning late in the afternoon. We are a small school, so they are in charge of set-up and take-down of everything and they all get dressed and do their make-up together. First though I will need to get a kebaya (the long tops the ladies are wearing) sewn. So that is something to look forward to next year. I should also thank my teammate for the majority of these pictures and the video. As an honored guest, he was sitting farther forward than I was, so was able to get a better view.

Next up for these 47 graduates will be a nursing board exam held sometime in September. To work in a hospital or with the government they must pass this test. The test is new in the last three years so still a work in progress and quite difficult to pass. Please be praying for them as they take their test and transition to the workforce or consider further education to get their bachelor's degree in nursing.

(This is one of those blog posts with a lot of pictures and a video. If you are reading this in your email chances are you will not be able to see everything, especially the video. If you click on the link to read the post on the blog itself, it will all be accessible)

A Happy Birthday

How can it already be that time of year again - time to celebrate another birthday?! As an adult, birthdays are different but I have to say this year it was more like being a kid. I got spoiled from beginning to end and thanks to the time difference, beginning to end lasted several days :) I am so thankful for a team that knows that sometimes the days that should be the happiest can be the toughest when you are far from my family and friends back home. So they kept me busy, kept me laughing, and made me feel loved. So my birthday in pictures and videos...

It actually started the night before, when our expat Serukam team got together for dinner to celebrate our two July birthdays. 

A cake for the two team members with July Birthdays. Ignore the fact that the banner caught on fire before we could blow out the candles :) 
Then came a yummy birthday morning breakfast from my teammate. I was busy Skyping with my parents and grandparents when she brought it by. 
Then it was off to the Nursing School office for at least part of the day. Here the birthday guy or gal supplies their own treats for the office staff. This year I had my helper make cinnamon rolls with frosting. They were a hit! But first the birthday gal had to give a little speech. I talked about how much I felt like the staff was becoming part of my family and I felt honored and privileged to work with them. I also mentioned several prayer requests. Then it was time for the birthday song. I should mention that this is the end of the academic year, we are all tired and busy (you can see the graduation invitations we were all busy folding in stacks on the table), and oh the camera didn't record the first time so they did it again for me so it could be recorded :) 


This is the traditional Christian Indonesian birthday song they are singing. Translated it means this:
I wish you happy birthday, my dear sister
I wish you happy birthday, may Jesus Christ bless you

I always pray for you
That you'll always stay faithful
To serve Jesus Christ as your Father & King

And I thank Him for your life
That He guided your steps
For you my dear one
I wish you happy birthday

Then we prayed together for the things I had mentioned in my speech. 

And then we ate cinnamon rolls :) 
After lunch I headed to our nearby town (one hour away by car) of Singkawang with the Underhill Family, my other teammates. We enjoyed some shopping, dinner at KFC and then a movie in the newish theater in town. It was my first time to a movie theater in a long time! 

We got to watch Jason Bourne before it opened in the U.S. :) 

I should say the guys (and me) enjoyed this movie but their youngest kiddo and mom went to see the new Ice Age
We didn't get home till late and it took me days to respond to all the Facebook, What's App, email etc greetings. In fact I still have some emails I think I need to respond to. Plus the birthday gifts are still arriving :) All in all it was a good birthday!