Coffee Thoughts

Thanks to my coffee snob colleague – I have been introduced the wonderful world of coffee making. So here is some of my thoughts about coffee.

I might be stating the obvious – but the most important piece of good coffee is the beans. I enjoy tasting different single origin beans. Brazillian Bourbon is my favourite – it has light citrusy flavour – perfect for Aeropress coffee (which my preferred coffee making method). I didn’t find grind or water temperature made any difference – for Aeropress anyway.

I have been roasting my own beans for the last few weeks. I found the process is really interesting – different beans requires different roasting handling. What’s so cool about roasting is you can tailor your beans to your coffee making method – for instance: I think lighter roast is better for Aeropress. I also enjoy waiting for that first crack and second crack.

I think if I have the money, I’d rather get a roaster rather than an espresso machine.

A tale from kerusuhan Ambon

I am holidaying in Ambon at the moment and I thought of sharing a story (a tale?) from kerusuhan Ambon year ago. I cannot say whether this is a true story or just a hearsay – probably something in between?

During this time of kerusuhan – the local army requested reinforcement to help with the situation. A reinforcement battalion was then sent from Bali. This is a good move since the soldiers wouldn’t take side with conflicting parties, the Moslems and the Christians (most Balinese are Hindus).

And so when this Bali battalion came in – they did well, they upheld the justice by punishing the wrongdoers regardless of the sides – not showing favour to either sides. A lot of Jihadists got killed during this time. Unfortunately this didn’t last long, the leader of this Bali battalion was then assassinated (allegedly by the Moslems or the Jihadists – another point of distinction which probably warrants another story). The Balinese troops were outraged and they joined arms with the Christians and dealt a considerable damage to the Moslems. They were no longer able to maintain their neutrality.

Hearing this, rightly the central command withdrew this leaderless Balinese battalion from Ambon. And sent a battalion from Java to replace them. However this reinforcement from Java were not neutral (majority of Javanese people are moslems) and sided with the Moslems in Ambon – they carried out retaliation to the Christians for what they’ve done previously. And so the cycle of hatred lived on.

Again can’t vouch for the truthfulness of the story. And I heard more stories – most of them seems to point to the fact that there were forces outside Ambon that prolonged the conflict in Ambon. Such a sad history on otherwise a beautiful place and very nice people irrespective of their beliefs.

7 Years

Today seven years ago my dad went with the Lord.

We talked about it today (me, Lina and the kids). Jet and Matt told me that they were a bit sad that they don’t get to know their grandpa, yeah indeed it is a sad thing. I am actually don’t feel that sad anymore, I used to regret about those words/conversations that I didn’t have to have with him – but nowadays my main regret is, that he doesn’t get to see Jet and Matt growing.

I took Jet to my office last Friday as he was on his school holiday. He was very enthusiastic when I told him about the idea. Lina wasn’t keen as she thought he’d be bored there. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. He stayed with me from the morning until 3pm – he busied himself with his readings, homeworks and of course playing iPhone games. It was a good time for us, he got to see how I work, got to relate to Chuck, had a good lunch together.

I remember this one day dad took me to his work, this when his office was very close to our house. I was very excited because he had a computer at the office – computer was a rarity back in the days. And he had games on the computer – can’t remember what though, could be digger or some space shooting game. But nonetheless exciting time for me. I don’t remember what he did on the office, I only remember playing computer.

I look forward taking Jet and Matt to work again one day, I am hoping that they will know a bit more about me and hopefully will have more memory about me than me and my dad.

Sunday Afternoon Reflection

Today I had a pleasant time playing soccer with the boys. It was a short kick around for about 15-20 minutes. But we loved it and I am so glad that we did it (I almost cancelled it).

Thing is the boys had been spending a considerable amount of time this weekend playing Wii and mobile phones. And when they do – I tend to leave them playing by themselves and then allowing myself to do my own things. There are countless things to do, from cleaning up and tidy things up to useless activities like checking Facebook.

Going outdoor is fantastic bonding time – I must not forget that, I must not let my laziness and my boys love for electronic gadgets and games to overtake the joy of simply being out there – being active and enjoying God’s creation.

Through Gates of Splendor

Through gates of splendor is a book that chronicles the five missionaries served on Ecuador: Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian. It was written by Elisabeth Elliot – Jim’s wife, she wrote the book based on her recollection of the events as well as notes from the five men journals.

Ecuador consists of different tribes on Indian, here are some of them: the Jivaro indians (famous for their practice of head shrinking tradition), the Quichua, and the Athsuaras.

The five missionaries, initially served separately in different parts of Ecuador for few years. Jim and Ed were serving the Quichuas indians, Roger served with the Jivaro indians. Nate, the missionary pilot and his wife, manned the main post which is the hub that connects the missionaries. Indeed Nate’s job is transporting the missionaries, food and goods from the main station to the missionaries’ stations.

As time unfolds – they were led to reach to group of Indian called the Aucas. Jim and Ed had the vision of reaching them prior coming to Ecuador – and somehow God puts the same concern on the other 3 missionaries. And so they finally decided to leave their own ministries and join forces for the Aucas.

There are reasons why this tribe has not been reached with the gospel – this is a very hostile and violent group of people – murder and killing happens often.
Secondly they don’t settle on the one place for a long time – one of their customs is to abandon their home after a killing for fearing retribution. And a marred past with white people/foreigners who came and exploited them before didn’t help the case either.

Because no one knows where their exact location is – the first thing that they had to do is to actually find where they are. And so they set up a station near the territory that is known as the Auca territory for a couple months. During this time they minister to the indians around the area.

During this time they also periodically surveyed the territory for Auca settlements with Nate’s plane. And one day they finally found one settlement which was a great joy for them.

Again due to the nature the violence nature of the group – the missionaries can’t just walk up to them and say hello. They have to earn their trust first. And here’s how they do it – by doing gift droppings from the plane. Gift dropping is basically a practice where the missionaries fly over the Auca settlement with a basket tied under the plane – the basket is filled with various gifts that they think will be useful for the Aucas. One item of interest is the machetes – indeed machetes is the multi purpose tool that is very useful in the jungle.

So the git droppings continues to take place for few months. One day there were three Aucas came and visited them – this was the initial contact – and it was a great joy for the missionaries. Sadly though, just days after the initial contact, there was another visit by the Aucas – unfortunately this wasn’t a friendly visit like the first – the five missionaries were killed by the group of people that they were trying to reach.

That’s just short story on what happened but I’d like to encourage you to read the book yourselves – as it is very encouraging book to read. Because some of the parts is taken directly from the journals you’ll get a picture of what’s going on through the missionaries head, how they came to be called to serve in Ecuador, how they leave the good life behind, how they struggle, how they make decision etc.

Here is one of many deep insights from Jim’s letter to his parents as he finishes Junior college

There is no such thing as attainment in this life; as soon as one arrives at a long-coveted position he only jacks up his desire another notch or so and looks for higher achievement – a process which is ultimately suspended by the intervention of death. Life is truly likened to a rising vapour, coiling, evanescent, shifting.

How true is that.

There are some points that I took from the book:

  • Although the book was centred around the 5 missionaries – but I found it also highlights the character, godliness and conviction of their wives. You got the strong impression that the wives surely loved Jesus more than their husbands – otherwise how can they follow their husbands (some of them coming with their children), leaving the comfort life to reach people who are hostile to them and even allowing their dearest husbands knowing the ultimate price that they had to pay and indeed did they pay.
  • Missionary work is hard and a long process (needless to say). You don’t just land on a foreign land and start preaching the next day – no, there’s endless of preparation and logistic and when you are there you need to have a lot of patience to see the fruit of your labour – and sometimes it seems that there is little or no fruit – see Roger’s journal excerpt below.

This is taken from of Roger Youredian’s journal when he was struggling with the reality of missionary work:

A missionary plods through the first year or two thinking that things will be different when he speaks the language. He is baffled to find,frequently that they are not.
He is stripped of all that may be called ‘romance’. Day in unbroken succession; there are no crises, no mass conversions, sometimes not even one or two to whom he can point and say ‘There is a transformed life. If I had not come, he would never have known Christ’
There will be those among the Indians who say that they accept Christ, but what of the forsaking of the heathen custom and turning from sin to a life of holiness? The ministry watches, and longs and his heart sickens.