Saturday, September 8, 2018

Meet our Newest Class

September is here again which means we are welcoming a new group of students at our Nursing School.

Say hello to the 2018 freshmen
There are 41 students total. 17 young men and 24 young females. So now I am working to learn 41 new names and tell them all apart. All of the young men had their heads shaved, the girls are required to wear their hair up and they are all wearing black and white; so that is not an easy task.

They completed four days of orientation to life on campus, the academic program and also general topics like healthy living.

With teachers and staff during the opening session

With student leadership during the opening session

They also practiced for the weekly flag raising ceremony with one of our local police officers

As I write this they have survived the first week of classes. They will be taking 22 credits. I will be teaching them English for three hours every Wednesday and also Fundamental Nursing Concepts (topics like nursing theories, nursing process, and critical thinking) for a couple of hours on Monday afternoons, several times this semester.

For four of them I am providing academic counseling, mentoring, and discipleship. More on that in another post to come.

Please be praying for them and all of our 138 students as they live together in the dorms and complete their classes. Pray for our teachers and staff as we work together to educate, disciple and shape these young people to be good nurses with a heart to serve those in need. Please also continue to pray for the addition of at least one more nursing teacher as we are definitely short-staffed right now.

Our freshmen class singing during our chapel service. 

The song they are singing is Mujizat Itu Nyata which can be translated Miracles are Real

Disaatku tak berdaya
(When I am helpless)
KuasaMu yang sempurna
(Your Strength is perfect)
Saat ku percaya
(When I believe)
Mujizat itu nyata
(Miracles are real)
Bukan karna kekuatan
(Not because of strength)
Namun RohMu ya Tuhan
(but your Spirit Lord)
Saat ku berdoa
(When I pray)
Mujizat itu nyata
(Miracles are real)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A trip to WorldVenture Home Office

There is nothing like the blessing of being surrounded and prayed for by those who have walked a similar journey before you. What a delight it is to be amongst those understand the joys and griefs of serving internationally. The unity and community is like a little taste of heaven. That is what it was like last week when I visited the the WorldVenture office outside Denver, CO. Along with four other couples we have served with WorldVenture for a total of 104 years! I was definitely the newbie in the group, although I did celebrate 10 years of service :)

Worldventure recently relocated and downsized their offices (if you would like more info on the why of that decision, I am happy to share with you), so this was my first visit to the new office. There has also been turnover since I last visited almost exactly 5 years ago, so it was good to get meet the new staff.

We spent several hours each day hearing from different departments including but definitely not limited to leadership, finance, health, and communications. This gave us the opportunity to hear and understand the whys of the many changes and also get our questions answered. We also had an opportunity for a couple of hours each day to debrief and reflect in our group. This was led by the member care staff at the office. We laughed and we cried and then we prayed.

So here are a few pictures from my time in CO...
The new WorldVenture office located in Inverness, CO
What a view! The back windows overlook a golf course and mountains. 

Each day at 11:30 am they office staff meet to pray for a country and those serving in that country

Sharing with the office staff about my ministry in Indonesia

Receiving a certificate for serving with WorldVenture for 10 years (this includes previous trips to Indonesia and time in the US doing training and partnership development) 

On Friday we visited each of the offices to leave a little love and appreciation for all that the office staff do. We also had the opportunity to pray with several of the staff members. 

And I left just as it began to snow and was only 12 degrees :) 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Christmas 2017 in the US

There is nothing like a white Christmas at home with the whole family! Such a special time filled with memories made. Our family is expanding with the addition of Laura's husband, Shalom and our exchange student from China, Andy, who is now at university but spent Christmas break with us.

Just a couple of pictures from Christmas...

A concert in Portland the Friday before Christmas with Kristin and her boyfriend
Games, games, and more games! We are a competitive family :) 
Snow! Our only few snowy days this year came that Christmas weekend. 
Of course I had to take a picture in the snow and send it to Indonesia for those who have never experienced snow :) 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kara comes to visit

What fun (and a bit of crazy timing!) it was for my sister, Kara, to come visit. She showed up just one week before I was scheduled to leave on Home Assignment. A week that was crazy busy as I wrapped up my responsibilities and said my see you laters to teammates and friends in Indonesia. She spent a week with me in Serukam and then we spent a week exploring the island of Lombok and its beautiful waterfalls and beaches. Here are a few pictures of our time together...

She is here! A long trip by yourself!! 

Enduring one of her many "paparazi" moments when everyone either wants to take her picture or take a picture with her.

And then we were off to enjoy some time on the island of Lombok (next to Bali)
We stayed at a lovely AirBnB with a pool and we were the only guests for most of our time. 
We also had several beaches in walking distance
And there is nothing like sunset on the beach!
We also explored the jungle and some waterfalls. 
And fed peanuts to some hungry, loud, and bossy monkeys
And then with a transit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Taipei, Taiwan (with its many fun decorated lounges) we headed home to the US

Monday, August 7, 2017

Graduation 2017

With much joy (and a sigh of relief) we have wrapped up another academic year. We celebrated at our Graduation Ceremony last Thursday as 37 new nurses graduated. They started as a class of 45 with one withdrawing, one taking a year off for financial reasons, and the remaining students have not yet passed all their classes. Some might consider having students who didn't pass a bad thing but here we have been working really hard to make sure we hold our students to a high standard and having teachers willing to fail students is a good thing. Many of these students come in with a very weak academic history and just need to take the program at a slower pace with some extra help and tutoring. 

Join us as we celebrate these 37 new graduates. The video below contains a few highlights of the singing, dancing, and speeches that make up a graduation ceremony here. Pray for them as they take their Nursing Board exam in October. We have the highest pass rate in our province but it is still far from 100%. Five of the graduates with the highest GPAs will be able to continue their education and have their bachelor degree paid for by our local government. Pray for us as we continue to strive to hold our students to a high standard in the knowledge that as a nurse they will be responsible for patient's lives. We will be having a meeting sometime this week to discuss several of our students who are struggling. 

For those reading this in your email program, videos sometimes aren't visible and you will need to click the link below to go to the blog to watch it or watch it on YouTube here ( 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ujian Akhir Program - Final Program Exam

We just wrapped up our Final Program Exam for the senior class. This is the second time I was a test examiner. This exam is a three-week process and includes a practical portion, a written paper, and oral presentation/defense. A lot of work for a diploma!

Week 1 - the students cared for a patient for three days in the hospital shadowed by an examiner and graded on their patient assessment, intervention skills, and patient teaching.
First morning - after they picked a card with their patient room number and diagnosis. Before that they didn't know what type of patient they would have. It could be anything from a pregnant woman, to a child sick with pneumonia, to an adult admitted for a medical reason or a surgical case. They had two hours to complete a full assessment and write up a nursing care plan before they were quizzed. They were not allowed to look at any books or resources during this time. 
Some were happy at their assignment :)

Others not so much :(

Phew - first day over! But before they found out how much homework they had to prepare for their shift the next day :) 

Sometimes your nursing intervention test of giving a nebulizer treatment to a young patient with pneumonia can result in cuddles. (I had permission from the patient's parents to take a picture)  

Our team of Nursing Teachers and Examiners. We can be all smiles or we can leave you searching for the right answer for many long minutes ;) Both of these teachers are leaving us next year.

Week 2 - they wrote up a nursing care plan and paper on the disease process their patient was experiencing in consultation with their assigned nursing instructor. I consulted with 7 students.
This what the final result was at the end of the second week. This is a nursing care plan and case report for an adult patient with typhoid. 

Week 3 - they did a presentation on the paper they have written and then faced questioning by three examiners for around forty-five minutes. Only after successfully passing this three-week process are they officially considered graduates of our program.

First day of oral exams.  

One of the students doing her presentation. They are limited to between 10-15 minutes. 
This is followed by answering the examiner's questions and defending their nursing care plan. 
I think we were all glad to be done with the process. Final results will be discussed and announced tomorrow morning. In the afternoon they receive an official letter stating they have officially passed the program. This letter can be used to a a position contingent on passing the nursing board exam. Graduation will be next week, on August 3rd. 
The end of the academic year is in sight! I still have a lot grading for the other three classes I taught this semester and grades are due August 2nd but am making steady progress. A big prayer request for the Nursing School... we have recently lost three teachers, leaving us with just four nursing instructors for 130 students. We do thankfully have several masters of health teachers to help out and we also work with several nurses from the hospital, but still that is a tough loss. One of the teachers will be returning though in a few years after she completes her master's degree. To my understanding, there is not a single program in all of Indonesia that allows you to get a master's degree in nursing while also working anything close to a regular schedule. All require at least partial relocation for at least several weeks at a time. Pray we can fill those vacancies with experienced nurses with a passion for teaching and serving, preferably before the new school year starts September 4th.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Going Grocery Shopping

So you want to go grocery shopping with me? Shopping is a bit different here, although probably not as different as some might expect :) So what's on your shopping list today? Many things we can get locally because although I live in a village, it is on the main road between two bigger towns and has the hospital with many employees living in the area.

Need fruit? We got several choices but probably different choices than you are use to. You can almost always find bananas in all shapes and varieties - so far have counted 16 different types. We even have ones that you are suppose to eat while they are still look green and yet are ripe. Pineapples are also frequently for sale (and we have several plants near our houses too). Oh and oranges are actually green here and have seeds, so watch out. In our village area though you can't find apples, pears, cherries, peaches, berries or grapes etc although we can buy apples in Singkawang (more on that in a minute).  There are days I really miss some of those fruits especially being from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Locally we also have a small canteen that sells ready-to-eat food. No McDonalds here though! For a little less than $2.00 though you can get a nasi bungkus (rice package to go) with some meat (or other proten source depending on how much you pay), vegetable, and rice. Oh and don't forget the hot sauce! You can also get fried rice and noodles here. Most of my students eat here on a daily basis. Our patient's families also buy food for themselves and the patients here.

Don't have time for a trip to the market in town. You can order many things from your motor sayur (vegetable motorcyle - although they deliver more than vegetables). These drivers head into town in the middle of the night and load up their bikes at the market and then have different areas and times when they deliver to different villages farther out. Some go to the morning market and then deliver in the late afternoon. They usually have the basic favorites like green beans, a several green vegetables, peppers, sometimes fish. Your best bet is to develop a relationship with one who you can order food from and know what time he arrives in your area. Course delivery is still hit and miss based on what he can find at the market that day.

Last shopping option near us are several smalls stores down front. Their selection has really improved in recent years, especially one Chinese family who seems to have a pretty good supply chain including things imported from Malaysia. You can buy lots of things including rice, flour, eggs, soap, noodles, umbrellas, buckets, water, liquid propane gas, sandals, towels, and the list just goes on and on. That said things are more expensive than going to town usually. I try to buy the majority of my big shopping in town but then supplement with things from here as needed both to support them and for the convenience. Most of this local shopping is done by my helper. She cooks me an Indonesian lunch daily with usually rice, some meat, eggs, or tempe, and a vegatable. Today for examples that was chicken in red sauce that she calls ketchup with some green beans.

Once a month or so though I head to the town of Singkawang, which is only about 45 km away but takes a little over an hour to get to thanks to the curves and potholes. I don't drive here (yet) so have a car and driver that takes me and I usually make a day of it, eating lunch in town and enjoying the break. Singakwang is considered a town by Indonesian standards but it has almost 200,000 people living in it. About 3 years ago they even got their own mall with a supermarket that has many things that before we would have to travel to the city 5 hours away to get. So I can now get fresh butter, milk, cheese, (although both are expensive so I don't get them very frequently or in limited quantities) and many other things. It even has a bakery that sells hot dog and hamburger buns. Things it doesn't have though include any frozen microwave meals, a good cereal selection, the normal snacks and treats you would have in America. Here are a few pictures of shopping in Singkawang...

These use to be the only supermarket type stores in town before the mall opened and selection was much more limited. They have no refridgerated section, so powdered milk and canned butter were our only options for example. They also do not have any sort of carts and so instead you fill baskets you carry in very narrow aisles stacked with stock. I make quite the spectacle as I only go shopping here about once a month and buy a lot more than the average Indonesian family as most Indonesians only buy enough supplies for a couple of days or at the most a week.

Singakwang is located on the coast of our island, so there is good supply of many types of seafood. I usually try to go to this market and bring a cooler with me to stock up on vegetables and fish. After my monthly shopping trip there is little room in my freezer :) 

And then about three years ago after long months of waiting for construction to finish, the mall finally opened. In Indonesia it is popular for a nice hotel to be attached to the mall and that is still under construction but some rooms opened early this year. At first I thought that was a strange idea but now I like the idea. Most places in Indonesia like to have a soft opening first where just a few basic services or stores are available. For this mall some of the first stores opened were the supermarket and the department store. For awhile there those were the only stores open though and there was fears the mall would fail. Then though the movie theater, KFC and a donut store opened and things started to look more hopeful. Now there is quite a good selection from a bakery to kids stores, to cell phones. Just this month several new stores opened. This place can be completely packed when they have one of their special events (like a basketball court in the center having a tournament) but I like to go on a weekday early enough in the day that kids aren't out of school yet. It is a lovely break in the AC, with some yummy food and there aren't long lines at the supermarket. 

Hypermart is the name of the supermarket and while its stock can vary a lot and they can be months where there is very little in stock, it is a refreshing change to shop here. I am actually really impressed that they can keep things like fresh butter and cheese in stock although in rather limited choices. At the most we have two different brands of butter and usually only one. Cheese here is $50 a pound. Yikes! Hence the need to put myself on a food budget once Hypermart opened :) They also have baskets and wide enough aisles to get through, although they do like to stock in the middle of the day, so sometimes if they have just gotten a shipment, it can be tricky. I definitey make quite a spectacle here and frequently despite other cashiers being open everyone will line up behind me to see what all is on my cart and commenting on it. Most days I can take it in stride but there some days I have to admit the getting stared at and all the comments can be quite frustrating. By the way even at the big Hypermart in the city 5 hours away they still don't have belts of any sort leading up to the cashier so you have load and then push forward all your purchases. 

The final stop on our way home is usually the fruit stand. The family that owns the one I like to shop at use to have a regular motor sayur route out in Serukam and we developed a good relationship with. He then stopped coming to Serukam but opened this fruit stand. It usually has a good selection, including Chinese grown apples, watermelons, papayas, and lots of other fruit in seasons. I have now developed a relationship with this man's daughter and we always enjoy catching up briefly when I stop for fruit. They frequently give me some extra oranges or a discount and it is just nice to shop where you are known and they know what I like. 

And to end up on a funny note, this was the cereal aisle at Hypermart in the not so distant past. How does the variety compare with the US? All that to say I am looking forward to my Home Assignment in a few short months and enjoying some of those things you can only get at home in the Pacific Northwest!