Spring has sprung in the southern hemisphere and whilst I only experienced about a day and a half of cold weather this winter (when I was in Perth) it certainly is still exciting to see the flowers bloom, the baby calves in the fields and the general energy that the month of “Musim Semi” offers.
This week has been another fabulous exploration of cultures colliding in this melting pot that we call Bali. Tuesday was just another day, spent going to yoga, lazing in the sun, researching for the trip and also on Tuesday afternoons I visit a small community in Denpasar to teach English. But I’ll tell you about them another day. They deserve a blog to themselves. This was about what happened after class.
My friend Deidre drove me to my local church’s monthly Worship evening and this time it was extra special. Pastor Don, Pastor Jason and the team have been working tirelessly to raise funds to build a brand new church building in Kuta right on top of the Galleria Mall. I have heard a lot about the plans and thought I should go check it out, since they’d decided to hold this month’s Ignite worship service on the site. I don’t always make it to these worship evenings, in fact this is my first and I’ve been here 6 months (my bad). So I arrive late (of course thanks to bail traffic) and there on the 4 th floor of the multi-story car park is maybe 40 devotees of God, Jesus and in support of this great project.
Strangely it reminded me in a way of the scene in Independence Day where the alien lovers are on the rooftop welcoming the creatures from another planet and ok they get blown apart in the end but the same euphoria was present on this rooftop. Except the participants on this occasion were men and women of God singing their heart out, worshipping the lord, praying for the project, for Bali and the world as a whole. I must admit it was quite intoxicating especially when we started to sing in Indonesian (Bahasa to the locals). No I didn’t know at all what was being sung but I was overwhelmed. It was beautiful watching the devotion flow passionately from their mouths and their souls. I appreciate the attitude of the Balinese, a predominantly Hindu Island in the highest Muslim populated country on earth. Yet, if a bunch of Christians want to shout from the rooftop (quite literally) their love for Jesus. Knock yourself out.
I’ve been attending ICC Bali since I first moved here and the good work they do in the community all over Bali and the welcome I have received from them is a real testament to their mission of people helping people. I thoroughly recommend a service at ICC Bali currently being held at the Harris Hotel On Sunset Road. If your feeling like you want to put your hand in your pocket to help, make this amazing project develop and grow feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe a fundraiser could be held in your home town to help the community here in Bali?
I left my friends on the roof and headed home for a well-earned rest and what I faced in my street was definitely not going to be conducive with an early night. There was a mighty commotion going on with, music and sound systems, street lined with motorbikes. It was loud. Another wedding I thought, so with a soft nudge from my mates on facey. I wandered tentatively across the road.
I started chatting to one of the ladies watching the fanfare from outside the gate of a paddock I didn’t even know was there. I noticed every one wearing their sarongs and in my short shorts thought it best not to go in. I spoke to the lady in Bahasa for a few minutes with the intention to go back to bed having satisfied my curiosity. However she invited me in to have a closer look, “Saya Tidak Punya Sarong” (I don’t have a sarong) I said. “Tidak apa apa” (no worries) she insisted. Ok I’m going in! Well Holy Bananas batman. It was the craziest thing, crowds of Balinese laughing their back off at the spectacle before us. Two beautiful women singing and giggling on stage (Not ACTUALLY women!) and two masked men going along with the chaotic carry on. They dragged unwilling participants from the crowd onto the stage, I kept my head down!
What I was watching was a traditional Balinese Drama and Comedy show called a Bondres. Think Drag queens, stand up comedians dressed with awesome masks on and singing and dancing of course, A really eclectic mash up of performing arts and I didn’t know what they were saying either but I liked it. I managed to find a nice inconspicuous spot under a tree behind the crowd and I thought I was out of the way until….
His eyes locked mine and it was on. The main comedian shouted something in Bahasa and 200 eyes turned and looked at me. To which I responded with an awkward “Selamat Malam” (Good Evening) He humoured me and asked where I was from in English. I shouted Australia in an accent that even sounded broad to me. We had some banter in English and then he said heaven knows what but the crowd were in hysterics and all still looking at me. Probably, stupid white girl, where’s her sarong? Doesn’t she know she not in the tourist district. So after being “forced” to take a seat in the front row, he had his fun and continued the show and it was brilliant! I wasn’t at the $50 tourist show I was with all my neighbours and they welcomed me with open arms albeit after taking the mick out of me first. The beautiful woman singing offered to take a picture with me afterwards and I went to bed. An evening of Christian worship followed by Balinese Hindu stand-up comedy show. Just another day in Bali.
Check out the link for more on Bondres.
Or follow the great work being done by ICC Bali.
Yours in Faith,
The Unlikely Pilgrim