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A Gastronomic Day in Batam

My goal is to keep the posts in chronological order–but since I had a particularly food-oriented day here in Batam, I thought it was worth posting the report on the same day.   I am glad that I had a light breakfast this morning a the hotel!

The day began with a visit from the Rev. Timothy Chong, who is the Dean of Indonesia.  He is the one who arranged for my stay here in Indonesia for the month.  He came over on the Fast Boat from Singapore and we had a long meeting over coffee in the hotel dining room prior to going to lunch.  Tim chose a restaurant that specializes in “Nasi Padang.”   “Nasi”  is just the Bahasa Indonesian word for “rice,” but it can refer to “food”  or a “meal”  since rice is an integral and constant component.  “Padang”  comes from the city on the island of Sumatra, which coincidentally received some damage in a 7.8 earthquake that was off the coast last night.  We did not feel anything here.

The Padang style of serving food is to put many small plates of a variety of foods on the table.  You then eat what you want–and you are charged for what you eat.  The rest of the food is then left over for new customers.  The food is varied:  it can include beef heart, various fish, different types of chicken, fish roe, regular beef, etc.–but the food is prepared in different ways with different spices–many of which are hot and spicy.  Rice, of course, is served along with the meal.  Here is a photo of Tim Chong:


For some reason, this particular item was never eaten:



In the evening, Mrs. Serene Kong, who is the head of St. Andrew’s School here in Batam, along with one of her teachers, Doreen, took us to dinner at “The Duck King”  restaurant.  This restaurant is part of a chain, and it specializes in Hong Kong/Cantonese food, with duck as the main offering.  Accompanying Henok and me were two visitors from Singapore who are working to start an Anglican school in Nepal.

Serene had us start the meal with dim sum–some were dumplings with shrimp or bits of chicken.  There was one that was especially nice:  it had broth inside, so you had to eat it carefully without splashing the contents all over yourself or the table.  Here are some of what we had:

Chicken dim sum with roe

Chicken dim sum with roe

This was a particularly nice bread with goose egg filling:

A special pastry made from goose eggs


There is no good way to eat these chicken feet neatly.  I had to hold the foot with chop sticks and then suck the meat and the spicy coating off.  There were a lot of small bones, but they were really very good:

Spicy chicken feet

Spicy chicken feet

These were chicken rolls wrapped in a thin rice pastry shell and steamed:

Chicken wrapped in a rice flour, uh, torilla?

Here are our host(esses), Serene on the right and Doreen on the left:

Our hostesses:  Doreen and Mrs. Serene Kong

We did actually eat duck:

The duck

Henok with the two guests fro Singapore:

Henok with two guests from Singapore

The entire group nearing the end of the meal:






Sunday Morning at All Saints’, Jakarta

The end of the rainy season in Jakarta seems to be going out with a flourish–or a bang, if you include the thunderstorms.  There was flooding in low-lying areas–areas that attract squatters and the poor, but in the section of the city I was in, there was no problem–other than a lot of rain.  The rain continued on Sunday morning, but the church is right next door to the Vicarage, and there is a sheltered, short walkway to the Sacristy/Vestry door.  I was concerned about carrying my vestments in the rain, but there was nothing to be concerned about in the end.

The first service of the morning was Holy Communion at 7:30 am.  I had learned from Ian that he preaches a full sermon at that service.  Some churches have a habit of abbreviating the sermon then, because the service seems to cater to those who want to get in, have their communion, and then get out.  That happily is not the case at All Saints’.  The 7:30 congregation is a little older, but it is lively, and they do want the full service.  Ian was the Celebrant, and we followed the Indonesian Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer, which came out in 2012, I believe.  The Prayer Book has English on one side and Bahasa Indonesian on the other.

Ian had asked me to continue their preaching series on Romans.  They were up to Romans 3, which gave a wonderful opportunity for Trinity’s evangelism professor to preach an evangelistic message–complete with a prayer of commitment at the end.  As the preacher, I cannot say whether the sermon went well or not–but no one threw rotten fruit and vegetables at me or stormed angrily out of the church.  They seemed attentive to the message during the actual sermon.

The 9:00 am service was Morning Prayer.  Ian had to dash out to cover the Anglican Church in South Jakarta, so Morning Prayer was capably led by a lay person.  The music for this service was a little more contemporary, and the congregation was responsive.

The real challenge was going to be the 11:15.  This was a bilingual Holy Communion service.  All but one of the songs, as I remember (it was a long morning) were sung in English, but the liturgy and prayers were done in Bahasa Indonesian by an Indonesian priest.  Ian said that they were used to 45-50 minute sermons with interpretation, and I know I used the full 50 minutes.  I had looked at trying to shorten it, but since I was following Paul’s logical progression in the chapter, I really needed all of it in order to make the final point. The interpretation went very well. The Rev. Augustinus, who was the Celebrant, had done the interpretation for me when I taught the classes on Global Anglicanism.  He is one of the senior priests of the Indonesian Deanery, if not the senior priest having been discipled and prepared for ordination by Canon James Wong in Singapore.

There were four visitors from the Bible Society who had dropped in for worship at that service.  I suspect that they did not expect a 50 minute sermon., but the congregation overall was responsive.  The church, though was packed.  Not only was the regular congregation there, but two other Indonesian Anglican congregations from Jakarta were invited to attend the service.  We kept running out of communion wafers when the time came.

I took the two photos from the front pew at the 9:00 service–so I could see the music and liturgy projected on the screen.  I did not take any more pictures inside the church since I had covered it fully in November 2014 when I was there for the first time.




Saturday in Jakarta

All Saints’ Anglican Church has a Men’s Breakfast every couple of months that is held at the American Club in Jakarta.  Ian Hadfield, the Vicar, has an extensive and important ministry within the expatriate community.   The one who has been organizing the breakfast is a forester from England , Andy Roby.  Andy recently had an adventure where he was lost in the jungle in Papua, where in spite of 200 people searching for him, he gratefully and thankfully found himself.

Andy gave an excellent presentation that began with a Bible study and personal testimony and then moved on to the conservation methods that are now in place to limit deforesting virgin timber to plant African Palms.  The impact of the industry not only affects the virgin forest, it also destabilizes the peat bogs that dry out and then catch fire.  Last November, fires created significant smog and air pollution in northern Indonesia and Singapore.  The government is now revising laws that will lead to greater conservation efforts.  After ten years in Indonesia, Andy and his family are returning to the UK

An Iranian Christian convert from Islam  named Mo(hammed) then talked about where the Qur’an and the Hadith address environmental conversation.  It was a bit sparse.  Mo’s thesis is that since the Qur’an came out of the Arabian Desert environment, the concept of protecting forests and wildlife would have been foreign to the Arabs.  Their main concern was looking forward to Paradise, the image of which is based on oases found in the desert.  Here is Mo giving his talk:


The Hadfields are excellent hosts and made me feel very comfortable.  I offered to take them out for a meal, and they opted for high tea at the Hyatt Hotel.  Here is the view from our window:


And here are Ian and Narelle:


Further Time in Jakarta

On Friday, Stevanus Anto, one of the Indonesian pastors, took me to the Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church.  This is a massive church building with a 22 story (at least) office block, a symphony hall with its own music director on the staff, a 4200 seat main church, and a smaller 400 seat church for the Chinese congregation.  This was the vision of the Rev. Stephen Tong, the founding pastor.  There is also a very good Christian bookstore there with not only popular books, but a variety of good commentaries–many of which are in English.  Since I knew that I would be doing an expository sermon (somewhat)  on Romans 3 on Sunday, I purchased a good commentary that I was able to use Saturday in my sermon preparation.

Stevanus and I toured just about all of the church.  The staff was very helpful–especially when the lights were off in the Chinese worship area.  We were also shown the symphony hall.  I took quite a few photos, but I’ll only post a few here on this blog.

Here is the exterior of the building:

Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church, Jakarta

Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church, Jakarta

Entrance to the 4,200 seat church:



The interior:


The symphony hall:



Teaching in Jakarta

The class that first afternoon had about 12 students in it:  a mixture of lay pastors, ordinands, and other adult leaders.  I repeated what I had taught in Bandung:  an overview of the Anglican Communion the first afternoon with additional teaching of what was currently happening in the Anglican Communion.  The class actually went beyond 4 o’clock, but the students wanted me to keep teaching.

Apparently I was supposed to have arrived on Tuesday, but I was scheduled to teach the final class in Bandung on Tuesday afternoon, so traveling to Jakarta would have been impossible.  So instead of having two long class sessions on Wednesday, there was just the afternoon class.  I then taught a class on Thursday morning, but because of the adjustment in the schedule, not as many of the students were able to make it.  At that class, I looked at the history of Anglican Mission in Nigeria and Uganda–and did the same for Latin America, which also included a little of the history of the Episcopal Church’s work in Central America and northern South America.  I also taught on the work of the South American Missionary Society beginning with Allen Gardiner in the mid 18th Century.

The class asked good questions and appeared to be interested in the material that I was covering.  The current Anglican Church work is relatively small, so it was encouraging for the students to be able to learn just how big the Anglican Church is around the world and how earlier missionary efforts are now producing much fruit.  I hope that there were some good missiological principles that were helpful to the students not only in Jakarta, but in Bandung as well.

That Thursday evening, Ian and I went to his regular Thursday night Bible study that meets in one of the All Saints’ member’s house.  The group was a mixture of expatriates and Indonesians, and it was led that night by a very capable Indonesian named Yolanda.  The study began with dinner, and then after that we focused on the latter half of Romans 1.  There was quite a lot of discussion about the passage–with questions and answers–and at times the discussions got lively in a positive way.  It had been a long time since I had attended a Bible study like this, and I had forgotten about the manics of having a couple of people there who are not yet convinced about the Christian faith–or have some personal opinions on the matter–and how important that is for them.  Their questions can be answered–usually.  In this case that night they were.

Yolanda leading the study

Yolanda leading the study


Here are some other members of the group:


To Jakarta

The Rev. Yopie Buyung took me to the train station on Wednesday morning for the trip to Jakarta.  It was an overcast, humid morning, but because Bandung is, I believe, about 2500 feet above sea level, it was not that hot.  Jakarta is different:  It is on the north coast of Java and is at sea level, just above 7 degrees south of the Equator.

Since I am traveling for six weeks, I have a medium-sized suitcase, a rolling carry-on, and my backpack.  When I showed my train ticket to board the train, my baggage was weighed and I was some kilos over.  It had never occurred to me that a train would charge for excess weight since it probably really does not make that much difference in the end.  But I guess they need to get their money after all.  Once the fee was paid and I was given a receipt, I boarded the train and found my seat:  1A  by a window.

I was looking forward to this part of the trip because a number of years ago, Gail’s college room-mate, Debbie Gott Keenum and her husband, Bob, had traveled from Jakarta on that train all the way to East Java (and I presume back!).  Debbie had mentioned how interesting it was.  During the trip, I could see the potential:  we went by volcanoes, rice paddies, and small hamlets between the two cities.  The terrain was uneven, and I was impressed with seeing small terraces  for rice built on the side of small, steep hills–as well as large, extensive rice paddies with a dozen or so workers transplanting the shoots.  The day was still overcast, though, and at times there was a thin fog that limited visibility.  I would like to take the trip again with clear skies!  I took some photos to, but I’ll only post a couple because my window was not that clean, but at least they will give you an idea:


Leaving the station

Leaving the station

The train itself gave me the feeling that I was in “old”  Indonesia.  The cars must have been as old as I am with the original seats.  It was still a comfortable ride.  There was a flat screen television in front of me showing episodes of Mr. Bean.  This was followed by a full-length movie called “Against the Sun”–a true story of three airman who spent 34 days on a raft in the Pacific after their plane had to make an emergency landing because it ran out of fuel.  There was no soundtrack, and it was sub-titled in Bahasa Indonesian, but the story could be followed pretty well whenever I looked at the screen.

A little neighborhood mosque that was close to the railroad tracks

A little neighborhood mosque that was close to the railroad tracks

Breakfast came by:  spicy rice, a small chicken leg, a flat, crispy snack, and a small salad.  I did not eat the salad.  It came with an excellent cup of Indonesian coffee that was made from adding hot water to finely ground beans.

I was met at the station by a staff member from the Anglican Church of Indonesia and driven to All Saints’  Church.  More on that later, but forty minutes after arriving there with a quick sandwich for lunch, I was teaching my first class.

Update from Bandung

I’ve just uploaded an album of photos from the past several days.  Most of them were taken with my mobile phone since it has been easier to carry than my “real” camera.  I had written captions for many of the pictures that I took to explain what they are, but I see that when I go to the gallery, all that is showing are the photos.  I’ll have to find out what I’m supposed to do.  As intuitive as this blog is, there are a few things that are not quite so simple.

All is going well, but I have been busy.  On Sunday morning, I was taken on the back of a motor scooter  to St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the first church where I preached. Motor scooters are ubiquitous here–and it was something of a thrilling ride as we wove our way through traffic and made sharp turns on wet streets.  I am glad that the driver, the senior warden of the church, knew what he was doing!  I am glad that my hotel is not that far away from the church.

The preaching took about 40 minutes, which is what the congregation is used to.  Since I was being interpreted, I had prepared material for half that time to allow time for the interpretation.  St. Paul’s, the first church where I preached, has two services. The first service is for the adults, and the second is geared to the youth.  It is a “storefront” church in a short row of other businesses.  The first floor houses the classroom where I have been teaching the class, and the congregation worships on the second floor.

In order to have a stand alone church building, you need to get the permission of the community.  With a majority Muslim population, this is sometimes difficult, although the current (and new)  government wants to eliminate the policy and promote freedom of religion.  You also need to have the money to buy the property and build the building, which can also be a challenge.

I was not present for the youth service at St. Paul’s.  As soon as I finished preaching, I was whisked away to be taken to St. Peter’s Anglican Church, which is also thriving.  They have a single Sunday service and also worship on the second floor of a building.  The fellowship hall is on the first floor, and the lay pastor, Daniel, and his family live on the third floor.  When I was there a year ago November, we were taken up to the roof of the building that gives a great view of the city.

In addition to preaching, I also celebrated Holy Communion.  The churches here do not have a priest yet, so they take advantage of any who are visiting.  The Indonesian prayer book is bilingual, so I did most of it English, but there were some sentences and phrases that I read in Bahasa.  Last July, I was asked to celebrate and do the entire service in Bahasa.  It worked–barely–although I have been told that my accent is good.

St. John’s Anglican Church is the newest of the three congregations.  It meets in the chapel of the local military base and has been attracting some of the troops that are there, so it is still fairly small, but it is in a very strategic location.  All three of the churches are well-located for outreach into various locations in the city.

The class on Monday night went well, and I have one more session with them this evening.  I’m leaving early tomorrow morning for the train station to go to Jakarta.  I will be staying with the Rev. Ian Hadfield, who is the Vicar of All Saints’ Church, and his wife, Narelle.  I’ll repeat the same teaching that I have been doing here in Bandung.  I’ll be picked up at the station, taken to lunch, then begin the afternoon class almost immediately.  I am told that the train trip is very scenic and much more interesting than the road, which was how I arrived here from Jakarta the last time I was here.

My room is on the top floor (3rd), which I chose intentionally just to get the exercise from walking up and down the stairs.  The corner of the hotel lobby was sectioned off in a very intentional way, and I wondered what was behind the  screens.  This is what I saw looking down from my floor to the lobby:


The hotel has provided an area for Muslims to pray at the appointed times.  Throughout the hotel on the walls are framed tapestries made from what looks like silk.  They have no images on them, but are reminiscent of the patterns and designs that you see in mosques.



Anglican Communion PowerPoint

I spent some time today working on a PowerPoint for the class I’m teaching on Global Anglicanism later today.  It is a series of photographs from various places around the world where the Anglican Church is at work.  It is, by no means, comprehensive.  All the pictures are mine except for the very last one.

I saved the presentation in PDF format to make it easier to download.  If you have any problems with it, please let me know.   You just need to click on the link below.  Acrobat Reader will be necessary to open the file.

Anglican Communion Slide Show

Bandung: Days 1 and 2

Bandung is a provincial capital that is SE of Jakarta and has a population of about 2.5 million people according to the census figure I was given.  It most likely has grown since then…It is relatively high in elevation at about  2500 feet, which is just enough to take the edge off the heat.  In the little more than 24 hours that I have been here, the temperature has not been bad.  It was cloudy when I landed, but I do remember landing here almost two years ago and being struck by the acres and acres of bright green rice paddies and orange-roofed buildings and houses out in the countryside.  The airport is small and old, but the government is building a new and much larger terminal next door.

Going through the “Visa on Arrival”  line first and then waiting in line to clear immigration brought back memories of traveling to Honduras over thirty years ago.  There was a lot of noise and confusion with all the passengers of the plane having to pass through a narrow hallway and then divide (more or less) into three lines to be cleared to enter the country.  While we were waiting in line, the bags arrived from the flight–and I could see through a window that there as a jumble of passengers and porters all getting in each other’s way in the baggage area.  When I finally got there, I saw that the baggage area was just a narrow room with a short luggage belt that deposited the suitcases at the end.  A porter was grabbing the bags as they came off and trying organize them, but there were too many people.  I found both of my suitcases,. It took a little doing (I am not making this up) to get through the passengers, porters, and the other luggage that was building up.  Customs meant merely handing an official a form I had completed on the plane–and then I was outside.

Yopie  Buyung, whom I would call the “Father”  of the Anglican Church in Bandung, met me once I was outside.  I had met him on a previous visit. In fact, his son, Rexa, who runs a music school, and I have the same birthday–which we celebrated the last time I was here.

Over coffee after lunch today at a Chinese noodle restaurant, Yopie told me that some years ago he had been approached by Canon James Wong from Singapore and the first Dean of Indonesia, to change his small Bible study into a church plant.  The idea was to train the members of the Bible study to then go out into different regions of the city and plant new congregations.  When Yopie told his Bible study what was going to happen, they agreed to do it “as long as they were sent to Bible school.”   Yopie made the promise and told them to show up at a particular location at a specific time.  Come to find out the only students were the five–and Yopie was the teacher.  Yopie said that he had fulfilled his promise to them.  They were trained, sent out, and eventually there were 2000 Anglicans in Bandung.  What started out as an impromptu Bible class turned into a pastors’ training center called St. Paul’s  that is to become the theological college for Indonesia.

Canon Wong stepped down as Dean, and with the change in leadership there was a change in priorities.  The new Dean felt that the focus for the new Christians should be discipleship and formation within the Anglican Church.  The numbers dropped to about 400, but Yopie feels that there is a solid foundation on which they can now begin to re-build the Church here.

Here is Yopie at the coffee shop this afternoon:



Here am I at the same coffee shop that is named “Coffee and John.”


Going back to yesterday,  I was taken to the hotel where I am staying–a nice, comfortable place that is in a residential area, but not far from restaurants and a four-story department store.  The supermarket is on the third floor, but they do have an escalator.

Yopie told me that he had scheduled the first class for Friday evening–last night.  I had gotten as far as preparing a teaching outline, but I had thought we would be starting on Saturday at the earliest.  Nope.  But at 5 pm he picked me up and took me to St. Paul’s and taught a group of about 12 adult students.  I used the 90 minutes that I had to give the students a synopsis of my background and then used the time to talk about the evangelical/charismatic renewal that started in the 70s and continued into the 80s, which resulted in the founding of Trinity School for Ministry and the South American Missionary Society (SAMS-USA) that is now global and operating under the name of the “Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders.” I also talked about some of the distinctives that we have as Anglicans and finished up with presenting to them the concept of the three streams–catholic, evangelical, and charismatic–and what that all actually means.

Today (Saturday) was spent preparing my sermon for tomorrow in the morning, having lunch with Yopie and Rexa at the Chinese noodle restaurant, doing an explore and finding the supermarket mentioned above–and walking around the area.  I’ll be preaching at the three churches tomorrow.  Two meet in the morning, and the third has an evening service.  I think I am also celebrating in at least two of them.  I’ll see how much Bahasa Indonesian I can still pronounce…

Changing Planes in Singapore

The Flight Map Prior to Landing in Singapore

The Flight Map Prior to Landing in Singapore

When I put together the flight itinerary for the trip to Bandung, I was not able to get all the way to there on the same ticket–at least in a timely way.  In the end, I had to book a ticket on Air Asia, which is one of the larger discount airlines operating in the area.  This is the type of airline where you pay for everything as you go along, although you do not have to pay for your boarding pass or space in the overhead compartment for your carry-on luggage as you do on some.  I had flown on Air Asia a couple of times before, so I knew the benefits (cost and service), but also the limitations:  mostly little space between the rows of seats.

The difficulty was that I was arriving in one terminal with a little more than two hours to change planes. Changi Airport in Singapore is huge–not as big as O’Hare or Dallas-Ft.Worth, but big enough. I had to take a train from the arrival gate to the international arrivals area of the airport.  The line in immigration was short, and the only glitch was I didn’t have proof of what my next flight was going to be.  I couldn’t get the phone to pull up the itinerary for Asia Air because I had turned off the data to avoid downloading all the mail and everything else that accumulated during the flight–and I couldn’t remember how to turn it back on.  The official let me in the country anyway.  It took forever for my suitcase to emerge, and then the bags and knapsack had to be x-rayed in the customs area.  I didn’t have anything to declare and there was nothing in luggage that wasn’t supposed to be there, so there was no problem.  It was just another step that was using up the clock.

I took the tram from the immigration/customs are to Terminal 1.

Air Asia’s counter was at the opposite end of the expansive ticketing area. When I bought the air ticket, I paid a little extra money (like you do on Southwest Airlines) to have a ticket that could be changed without a penalty because of the tightness of the connection.  That meant that I was also one of the “privileged”  ones who could use a special line.  I was the only one in it.  The other line had about thirty people in it waiting to check in.

I thought checking-in was going to be pretty quick, but I had to check my carry-on as a second bag since the ticket person said it was too large and too heavy to go in the overhead.  Also my first bag weighed more than their limit for checked baggage.  The actual weight was 39 pounds, but I still had to pay overage for that, too.  Air Asia is a pay-as-you-go airline, so they make their money by charging for everything and having weight limits below airline standards.  I was charged $147.00 for the extra luggage/weight.  At least the ticket was cheap!  The ticket agent wouldn’t take payment there. Darn. My anxiety level was increasing–and I was very tired from all the traveling.  Thirty hours had passed since I left Pittsburgh.

Map of Singapore and Indonesia.  This shows the places I have taken students on mission discipleship trips.

Map of Singapore and Indonesia. This shows the places I have taken students on mission discipleship trips.

I had to stand in another line for over ten minutes (the clock keeps ticking) in order to pay the bill.  Interestingly enough, the bags had already been tagged and were in the baggage system.  If I had not paid, I wonder if they would have pulled the suitcases  somehow or whether they would have just gone on to Bandung.  When I paid with my credit card, the person painstakingly entered in all the credit card information on a keyboard as she looked back and forth from my card and at the computer screen.  She was  competent, but it was a lot slower than just swiping the card or reading the chip.  With receipt in hand I then had to:

1)       Find my way to departures.

2)      Go through passport control to leave the country I had just entered two hours previously.

3)      Make a dash for the departure gate.

4)      Go through security to enter the boarding area of the terminal.

5)      Continue the dash to a gate that was at the far, far end.

I made it with ten minutes to spare prior to boarding.

Praise God!