A Travellerspoint blog


Elephas maximus

Rocking along on a howdah

sunny 87 °F

The elephant jungle park in northern Bali is beautifully landscaped and very well run. We attended an elephant show, got educated in a nice elephant museum, enjoyed a large Balinese buffet at lunch, fed the elephants --- and were very intrigued by the intelligence and interaction of these beasts. We were not enchanted by riding them. Nor did we purchase any of their original art (seen below).


Posted by HopeEakins 20:21 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Worship and Sermon

February 17, 2019

sunny 86 °F

Worship Service aboard the Silver Whisper, February 17, 2019

HYMN: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

The congregation joins in reading the parts in bold.

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ says: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. === (Matthew 22:37-40)===

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray. O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 25

Show me your ways, O LORD,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me;
you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.
Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love,
for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;
remember me according to your love and your goodness, O LORD.
Gracious and upright is the LORD;
therefore he teaches sinners in his way.
He guides the humble in doing right
and teaches his way to the lowly.
All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness
to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.‘ ===(10:25-37)===

Homily The Reverend William J. Eakins

On Tuesday we’ll be in Sandakan, in the Malaysian province of Sabah on the island of Borneo. There some of you may visit the Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Over the church’s main door, you will find the stained glass window on the front of this bulletin. The window tells the familiar and dramatic story of the Good Samaritan recounted in today’s Gospel. Let me tell you how that window came to be over the church door.

It was here in the church of St. Michael and All Angels that during World War II the Japanese confined British and Australian prisoners of war, men, women, and children captured in the surrender of Singapore. From the church the prisoners were taken out on a long death march. Of 2700 prisoners who left through the church door, only six survived. The rest died on the road.

The stained glass window was put up for two reasons: first, to memorialize all those prisoners of war brutalized by the Japanese and secondly, to honor and give thanks for the citizens of Sabah who tried to ease the prisoners’ suffering. Muslims and Hindus risked their lives to give comfort and help to total strangers. They smuggled food and water to the prisoners and gave them clothing and bandages for their injuries. When these helpers were caught, they were beaten severely or killed. What could be more appropriate to commemorate the compassion and bravery of the people of Sabah than Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan?

In Jesus’ day, the Samaritans were a people that the Jews regarded as foreigners and heretics. The irony of Jesus’ tale is that it is the outcast Samaritan who comes to the aid of the wounded man left by robbers at the side of the road, not the victim’s fellow countrymen. The priest and the Levite avert their eyes and hurry on. Perhaps they are afraid of being attacked themselves. Perhaps they do not want to be rendered unclean, unable to function in the temple by getting blood on their hands. So both the priest and the Levite find it prudent to ignore the wounded man. But when the Samaritan sees the man lying by the side of the road, he goes immediately to his aid. Heedless of the danger of lurking brigands, the Samaritan throws himself into cleansing the victim’s wounds and bandaging him up. Then he carries the man off to an inn and arranges for him to be cared for until the man recovers.

Jesus tells the story to answer a lawyer’s question, “who is my neighbor?” The lawyer wants to know the answer because he knows that God commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The lawyer wonders just how far this neighbor business has to go. The Good Samaritan story insists that the neighbor we are to love is anyone who is in need.

We live in a world filled with divisions. Religion, political affiliation, education, race, and cultural differences all too often separate us from one another. In such a divided world, Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan reminds us that no matter what we believe or how we worship or how we live, what God requires is that we love one another, especially that we love those who are in need and that we put that love, that compassion, into action.

It was costly for the people of Sabah to help the prisoners of war passing through their country, but they did it anyway. They didn’t question whether these British and Australian strangers were their neighbors. The people of Sabah didn't ignore the prisoners because the prisoners were Christians and foreigners. The people of Sabah just saw suffering human beings, and their hearts were moved to do what they could to help them, whatever the risk.

We are unlikely to run into any prisoners of war, nor are we likely to come across robbery victims lying by the ide of the road, but if we open our eyes and our hearts, we shall find neighbors in need all around us. What then will be our response? Jesus told us the story of the courageous, compassionate, and generous behavior of the Good Samaritan so that we will “go and do likewise.”

Prayers of the People

Open our eyes, O Lord, to see the needs of the world around us.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Open our ears to hear the cry of the poor.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Open our hearts to respond with compassion and mercy.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Open our hands to share the blessings which are ours.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for the world’s leaders, for the United Nations, for the World Court, for those in civil authority, for armed forces, for magistrates and officers of the law.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for soup kitchens and food pantries, for missions to sailors and the addicted, for homeless shelters and food banks.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for hospitals and clinics, nursing homes and hospices, senior centers and public parks.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for teachers and mentors, clergy and therapists, bereavement counselors and social workers.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Give us wisdom to discern the ways we can serve the world in your name.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Give us courage to abandon our prejudices and think and act in new ways.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Give us strength to minister where you call us.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Give us trust that we have enough to share because your blessings abound.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We lift all our prayers in thanksgiving for your Son Jesus who taught us to pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge of God and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

HYMN: Love divine, all loves excelling

Officiant: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
Preacher: The Reverend William J. Eakins
Altar Guild: Jane Kline, Directress; Jill Ingham
Music: Alex Manev

Expected time of next service: Ash Wednesday, March 6th at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 01:43 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)


Some observations

sunny 86 °F

We were welcomed to Bali by exotic dancers, a gamalan orchestra, and stunning flora. Bali is the only Indonesian island (remember, there are 17,000 of them) that is predominantly Hindu. As we travelled around this fascinating place, en route to an elephant camp (stay tuned for photos tomorrow), we learned a great deal about the life and customs here, not much of which can be made into a coherent story. So here are some factlets ...

1. The folks are preparing for New Year’s Day on March 7. On March 6, they will celebrate Noisy Day and 1) prepare dinner for the next day, 2) make a heck of a racket and 3) parade effigies of the evil spirits and burn them at the sea. On March 7, they will be quiet. No work can be done; no one is allowed to travel, and there will be no moon. Everyone stays home and reads and meditates, and tourists are confined to their hotels.

2. The life of the young is strenuous. All high school students are required to climb the highest mountain. At puberty, boys and girls undergo a tooth-filing ceremony. It seems that canine teeth are too pointy for the gods, so they need to be evened off and made flat. Generally six teeth are filed down, and that evicts six evil spirits: greed, lust, jealousy, anger, confusion, and ill-will. Sort of like the Six Deadly Sins. Pointy teeth are animalistic; flat teeth humanize you and make you able to control extreme emotions. Actually, the Balinese seem universally cheery and charming, helpful and kind. Who knows?

3. Babies have a hard time too. At the sixth month of pregnancy, the fetus is blessed and made a “good child”; without this blessing, terrible things happen. The child’s feet cannot touch the ground until 105 days after birth, and its birthday is calculated as the 210th day after birth. The placenta is considered a sibling to the child and is buried in the family compound. (I am not making this up.)

4. Naming is not simple. Each child has a family name (caste name) and a formal (family) name and a nickname (by which they are called). The first child is called “One”, the second child “Two,” the third child “Three” and the fourth child “Mistake,” and then they start all over again, so if there are more than three kids in a family, they share a name. And I am guessing that fourth children have some self-esteem problems.

5. Death is also pretty complicated. The body is cremated and placed in the family compound until the family saves enough money to bring the ashes to the sea for a ceremony. Once in the sea, the soul is released from the body but is “dangling” in a kind of limbo. That poor soul then undergoes many reincarnations until it finally collects enough good karma to go to heaven.

6. Motorbikes clog the roads. There are more motorbikes registered than residents, because most people have more than one. These are very SMALL bikes and they dart in and out of traffic, most with more than one rider. We saw one bike carrying a father, a child and a bathroom sink, another with a mother and THREE little children. Helmets?? Don’t be silly. On the rear of many bikes little pop-up shops are strapped on, complete with their merchandise.

7. The roads are dotted with shrines, mostly looking like fierce stone animals on pillars. In the morning, women bear trays to these shrines, each with fifty or so little squares of banana leaf topped with flowers. The women dart around placing their offerings on the edge of the shrines. The bottom of the shrines is often covered with large sheets of black and white gingham fabric (big squares) symbolizing the balance of good and evil. The Balinese are very concerned about keeping evil in check and not letting it get ahead of good. I guess they have never hoped for the triumph of good over evil.

8. Also seen along the roads are shelves filled with small bottles of benzin fuel, so that the bikers have drive-thru gas stations. One amusing collection was offered for sale in (obviously emptied) Absolut vodka bottles.

9. The Balinese are the producers of the world’s most expensive coffee: Luwak Kopi. They place coffee beans before civets (a kind of cat) and the civet chooses only the best beans to eat. After a while... the civet poops out the beans and some lucky soul gets to sort through the poop for the partially digested beans and roasts them. Sorry, we can’t tell you what this tastes like. We're eating on the ship, H&B

Posted by HopeEakins 22:38 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Komodo, Indonesia

Going head to head with a dragon

sunny 99 °F

It was a beautiful morning when we sailed into Komodo, Indonesia, one of the more than 17,000 islands that compose this island nation. A gentle mist rose over the mossy green hills, and we were eager to see this place. But we were not to be fooled. WE knew that the fierce Komodo dragons lived here and danger lay ahead. So we dressed in long pants and long sleeves (nothing red because red excites the dragons) and slathered on insect repellant (because this island’s mosquitoes carry ZIKA virus). Our ship’s instructions were clear. We could only go off ship if we were with a Park Ranger, and menstruating women could not disembark because the dragons can smell blood from 6 miles away. People with open sores couldn’t go shoreside either. We checked ourselves very very carefully.

Our first attack came as soon as we got into the ship’s tender. Tenacious and assiduous vendors old and young pushed their wares right inside the boat, but we were strong and avoided a purchase. Then we entered the National Park and heard the rules: no loud talking because it incites the monsters, never step off the path because the dragons can dart out and attack quickly. The guides promised that we were safe because they were armed with brightly painted sticks ; they assured us that they could stave off any assault by pinning these 300+ pound 10 foot long beasts with their sticks and then snapping their necks. You can see a photo of one of those (green) sticks next to Bill’s walking stick below. We were not reassured.

Off we went on the path. It was very very hot (about 100 degrees). It was very very humid. “Stop,” we heard the guide cry. “There’s fresh dragon poop.” (Photo below) The brown center, he explained, was digested meat, the chalky white surrounding it was digested bone. The dinner of choice for a big dragon is a deer, which can be completely absorbed in 24 hours.

On we went through the jungle. It was hot. Humid. Nothing stirred. “Stop,” the guide said, and we saw a baby dragon skitter through the brush. Then a large wild boar. Then a yellow bird. It was hot. Humid. Finally we arrived at a watering hole where many Komodo dragons lay in the shade. They never moved, never blinked an eye. We stopped being scared. Then one dragon got up and started walking and flicked her tongue in and out. We all moved – quickly. Hope put her arm on Bill and he jumped in terror. The guide laughed.

It was hot. You can see how hot by checking out Bill in the before (by the park entrance) and after (with his walking stick) photos.


Posted by HopeEakins 02:15 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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