Magical Bali and a Gathering of Friends

Blue Sky, Blue Sea Separated by a Band of Clouds and One Island

How do I begin to describe the island of Bali? How can I begin to share the significance of a week with Presbyterian Mission Co-Workers and how it renews the spirit? It all began with the flight to Bali, which took me over the ocean from Thailand to Singapore. Singapore’s Changi International Airport is a wonderful facility. Spacious, clean, user-friendly, and filled with everything from designer boutiques, bookstores, coffee shops and people-movers. What they have included – that Thailand does not have in their newer Suvarnabhumi International Airport – is delightful places for people to sit and pass the time between flights – with WiFi, comfortable seats, beautiful arrangements of orchids (see thumbnail below), Koy ponds (see thumbnail below), and foot massage machines (see my grateful feet in a thumbnail below).  The time passed too swiftly to really enjoy all of it, but I learned long ago not to wish for a longer layover on any trip!

A Peaceful Retreat on a Beautiful Beach in Bali

We landed in Bali after dark and I went to get my Visa-On-Arrival for my one week stay.  Since I had limited US currency, I paid for my visa in Thai Baht.  Surprise, surprise!  My $25 visa cost me $40 in Thai currency (1200 THB), which I only figured out after I got to the Resort and had the chance to convert the money from Thai to US.  The receipt they gave me was the same $25 receipt that everyone else received, so that will hurt the pocketbook.  That was the only negative, though, as the island and the week with Presbyterian Mission Co-Workers surprised and delighted me, beginning with Dhyana Pura Resort in Bali. A Christian retreat on the beach, its beautiful grounds, lovely pool (see thumbnail below), and beach frontage (see thumbnails below) offered the perfect place to shift into a different gear and enjoy a time of reflection, refreshment, renewal and learning that really recharges the batteries.

Doug and Liz Searles Tasting Coffee Blends

On the first day, I met Doug and Liz Searles who invited me along on a visit to a coffee plantation on the island. It was a hot and muggy day, especially deep inside the coffee plantation where the ocean breezes could not reach us. But I learned a lot about coffee and the process of preparing coffee beans for public consumption (see the woman roasting coffee in the thumbnail below). I also tasted some delicious blends of coffee and tea – buying only two as they were a little beyond my budget. And I got to know two new co-workers who will be stationed in Thailand next year! Their 35 years as mission co-workers in several different countries gave me confidence as I followed them around from coffee plantation to an incredible restaurant with a close-up view of rice fields (see thumbnail below) to shopping opportunities on my first day in Indonesia.

Musicians and Dancers in Traditional Dress Who Welcomed Us

When the conference began that evening, we were all welcomed with a traditional Balinese ‘Welcoming Dance’ performed by musicians on traditional instruments and gracious women trained in the classical dances (see thumbnail below).  Indonesian batik, which is recognized by UNESCO as the world standard for this Southeast Asian textile art, was in evidence from the time I arrived to the time I left. And I left with several pieces of this cotton cloth which exhibit the intricacy and vibrancy of this unique art that I am still trying to decide how to use.  I am grateful that Bernie Adeney-Risakotta, a long-time Mission Co-Worker in Indonesia, arranged our lodging and this wonderful welcome into the culture of this unique island in the Indonesia archipelago.

Roger Dermody Meets a New Friend Opening Night

What Del Braaksma planned for us was truly a great gathering!  Why do I say that? Because we had the opportunity to meet with the leaders from PC(USA) – such as Roger Dermody and Hunter Farrell; to meet with our support team from World Mission – such as Mienda Uriarte, Nancy Cavalcante and Del Braaksma; to meet fellow Co-Workers in other parts of Southeast Asia – the list is too long to include here; to learn about the new Strategic Direction of World Mission and discuss its impact on our ministry; to hear leaders in mission speak about specific topics – such as H.S. Wilson on Missiology in Asia and the Pacific; to worship with fellow Co-Workers each day – with the leadership of Rev. Kristin Frederich and Del Braaksma; to explore the island of Bali and learn about its history, culture and traditions (see thumbnails below); to taste Balinese food (see thumbnails below); and to rest and relax and enjoy the beach (see thumbnails below). We also celebrated significant events – such as Cobbie Palm’s birthday (see thumbnail below) and Bill Yoder’s retirement (see thumbnail below).  It was the right mix in the right sequence with the right leaders at the right time. Thanks, Del.

Unity in Diversity – A Tapestry Created at the Conference

What I take home with me from this PC(USA) Gathering of Mission Co-Workers is the sights and sounds of this unique island (see thumbnails below); wonderful memories of good friends (new friends); a sense of support and camaraderie I never had before from the staff of World Missions in the USA; the joy of worship in a setting filled with God’s presence; and a renewed commitment to the endeavor to which God has called me here in Thailand. My memories are best expressed by the tapestry we created on our first day in Bali from strips of cloth that each of us brought from the places where we serve. Each strip is unique, but together, they make a beautiful tapestry that is bound together by PC(USA) in this part of the world.  How blessed I am to be a part of this tapestry at this point in time!

Thumbnails of all those images of Bali that I could not include in my post:

Orchids and Palms at Singapore Changi Airport

A Profusion of Orchids at Singapore Changi Airport

Orchids and Koy at Changi Airport

Foot Massage at Changi Airport

Places to Sit in Changi Airport

Balinese Art and Architecture

More Balinese Art in Denpasar

Drive-By Photo of Just One Statue

Esther’s REAL Foot Massage

A Pillar of Cloud by Day

And God’s Fire at Night

Monkey Family in Special Forest

On the Roof of the Van

Art and Jasmine in a Bathroom

The Leading Man in the Dance

Restaurant Overlooking Rice Fields in Bali

A Tasty Lunch at a Restaurant in Bali

More Great Food at the Same Restaurant in Bali

Thundering Surf in Bali – a Surfer’s Paradise

Late Afternoon on the Beach in Bali

Sunrise on the Beach in Bali

Flowers in Temple Pond in Bali

Roasting Coffee Beans in Bali

Marketplace for Tourists in Ubud

Children Playing in the Rubble

The Bridge to a Restaurant

Nancy Joins the Opening Dance

Bill Retires from PC(USA) Again?

Sunrise Over Denpasar in Bali

Lovers on the Beach at Sunset

Swimming Pool at Dyana Pura Resort

Cobbie and Dessa on Cobbie’s Birthday

About ladypreacheratwork

For more information about me and my ministry in Thailand, please select the 'About' tab in the header above.
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2 Responses to Magical Bali and a Gathering of Friends

  1. Donna Bowling says:

    So glad you were able to take a break in a beautiful place and refresh your soul and body. The Lord be with you!

  2. What a beautiful place to renew your spirit! Just looking at the pictures made me feel as though I had taken a vacation there myself. I could “feel” the stillness of the mornings in the sunrises, the textures of the architecture/statues, the food looked delicious…..and to think you did this all with fellow Christians! It must have seemed a little bit like Heaven! Praying for you and by following your blog, seeing how God is answering! Awesome! PTL!

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