Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lessons in Trust


Although I often think I am the one with the better end of this deal, the system seems to work well for us.  One person sits watching the bags, enjoying a cold drink while the other person scours the town searching for a place to stay for the night.   I bet you can guess which role was mine.  :)  The benefit of this system (besides getting to relax with a cold drink while my husband searches the area) is not having to walk around with our large backpacks on, which helps you feel less desperate when trying to find a place so you don’t end up settling for the first room that you find. 

During our entire two weeks in Bali (and the following three weeks in Thailand), we did not ever plan where we would sleep in advance.  I became accustomed to the “fly by the seat of your pants” type of traveling in which we never knew where we would rest our heads for the night until that day arrived.  At first it made me nervous but in the end I think it was a real lesson in learning to trust.  It stretched me to learn to trust my husband and to trust God in new ways.  Things always worked out, we always had a place to stay.  One part of learning to Love Well is learning to trust as well.

Matthew and I have grown much from our times of serving and seeing different ministries around the world, not to mention from the incredible people we have met along the way.  But we have also grown much during our times of rest and reflection.  Our time in Bali was definitely that.  It was a great few weeks of relaxing together and enjoying the culture and beautiful landscapes Bali has to offer, as well as a time to rest and reflect and learn to trust.

We rented a car to explore the island and found ourselves hopping from place to place … Kuta, Panangbai, Candidasa, Amed...  no matter where we ended up, I thoroughly enjoyed the quality time with my husband.  

Our rental car

Driving in Bali proved to be a slight challenge but Matthew handled it like a pro.   Circling the roundabouts when driving on the left side of the road takes some real brainpower because all your instincts are telling you to go the opposite way.  There are hardly any street signs and even when there are signs, the names of the streets suddenly change.  Two-way streets suddenly turn to one-way streets without warning or signs.  The streets are also full of mopeds and motorcycles weaving around, piled high with people (including women holding babies) and random things.

An entire family on a moped 

 A moped carrying a load of balloons
 
Matthew and I found many wonderful little places to stay with some gorgeous beaches nearby.  

One of our rooms near the beach


Many of our days flew by while we sat on the beach, surfed, snorkeled, read, wrote in our journals, and watched the amazing waves.  It was my first time seeing black sand beaches which are beautiful although really hot in the sun.

One of my favorite beach spots
 
Matthew surfing some amazing waves

 
Beautiful black sand beach

Snorkeling

During one of the snorkeling adventures, Matthew saw a ship wreck and captured it on video...

video

 
As we were driving around the island, Matthew and I also saw many Balinese people taking offerings to the temple.  We also toured one of the incredibly large temples.  Our tour guide stopped and played some music for us. 


One section of the large temple we toured

Our tour guide playing music

Another section of the temple

 
People bringing offerings to the temple

A highlight for me was the day we visited a volcano.  The black lava covered the ground surrounding the volcano even though it last erupted years ago.  I went a little photo crazy because I had never seen a volcano or lava before!

The black lava is in front


The black section in the middle is lava

The lava is in front on the left


Matthew and I decided to take a boat to a smaller Balinese island, called Nusa Lembongan.  This small island does not have any cars on it.  We stayed in a bamboo hut overlooking the ocean.  Matthew went surfing and we enjoyed watching some incredible sunsets.

Our bamboo hut - we were on the 2nd floor

View of the sunset from our bamboo hut

Bali is a beautiful country and we saw some awe-inspiring sunsets almost every day.  Here are pictures of some of them:




Ok, not a sunset but still beautiful :)

I have to end this post by sharing another story of God’s hand of protection over us.  As you know from previous blog posts, we have been spared in several countries from riots, protests, and even an earthquake in Nepal; all events that we missed because our plans divinely changed at the last minute.  In Bali, we were headed back to Kuta where we started our trip, in order to take the boat to the island.  Matthew and I had decided that we would buy a small computer to replace the broken one.  The day that we were supposed to pick up the computer and head back to Kuta, we received a phone call from the computer store.  “The model you purchased was not in stock so it won’t be ready until tomorrow.”  This meant that we would have to spend a day waiting in an area where there was not much to do, delaying our trip to the island.  Matthew made an effort to comfort my disappointment when he said, “Don’t worry, everything happens for a reason babe.”  It was practically a passing comment that flew by as we decided to explore the area and make the best of it.  I looked at it as another lesson in learning to trust.  We would spend an extra day where we were and head to Kuta the next day.  It was not until later that we would realize that the computer delay was again God’s hand of protection over our lives.  That night, we learned that there was an earthquake in Bali.  Where in Bali?  Kuta.   

Next destination on this grand adventure…three weeks in Thailand

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spontaneity


Rows and rows of stalls line the streets at the night markets in Kuala Lumpur.  Our few day stop over was again a last minute plan.  It seems that the more we travel, the more spontaneous we become.  It was a quick trip to Malaysia, only a few days, but we enjoyed seeing the city Kuala Lumpur.  We decided to splurge and find a nice hotel for those few nights.  The one we chose was right near the twin towers so we could see the towers lit up at night from our room.  We explored the city, ate satay from street vendors, walked through the night market, and snapped photos.  Unfortunately, we lost all our pictures from this portion of the trip and haven’t been able to recover them yet.  Once we get home we are hoping to recover and post them.

From Kuala Lumpur, we decided to head to Bali Indonesia for two weeks before heading to Thailand for three weeks in hopes of avoiding monsoons in each country.  We frequented the airline Air Asia which is the inexpensive way to travel around Asia, with its hub in Kuala Lumpur.  



On to Bali….