Homeward Bound

Hello from Karley, Daniel, Danny and Michaela! We hope this blog post finds all of you well – our feelings are pretty bittersweet over here in Indonesia. Tomorrow we leave our base camp to spend the night in Singapore, and on the 17th we’ll be coming back to the US. We are excited to see our wonderful friends and family again, but let us tell you what. When you fall in love with a country and all of the precious people inside of it, leaving is not an easy task. This morning we returned from our final island stay, which was filled with good conversations, beautiful sunrises, awesome food and lots of laughter. Though we don’t have the time to put many details on here tonight, be assured that God is AWESOME and is working in this island in mighty ways. Please pray that the men and women we talked with will see the love and grace that God has for them through Jesus. Please also pray that our travels over the next couple days will be safe, and that God will give us peace to make the transition smooth.

I know we’ve said this every time, but again, thank you so much for your prayer and support. We really mean it – you all have been a huge part of this trip. You rock. God rocks. Indonesia rocks. What the heck, we’re just really blessed by a lot of things that rock.

Sincerely,
Team Indo

Home soon!

Hello, friends!

After a month in Indonesia, the team will return to the States Sunday night.  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

Here’s flight information for those of you meeting students at the airport:

  • Danny and Daniel return to LAX on August 17 at 4:45 PM on EVA Air #2
  • Michaela returns to Pasco on August 17 at 11:58 PM on ALASKA #2100
  • Karley returns to Boise on August 17 at 11:55 PM on ALASKA #2268

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives.  It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

  • Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
  • Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
  • Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
  • And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives.  The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and we’ll encourage them to keep meeting together to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories.  Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time.  We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account. 

You might appreciate this perspective on returning to America in a blog post from Emily Brown, a former SPRINTer who spent the past year in Zambia with the Mennonite Central Committee.  As Emily looks forward to her own return home she brings up a number of feelings that will also be relevant to SPRINTers in this season.  http://emilybrowntozambia.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/the-countdown-begins/

I’ve mailed team members a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship to help them think through their experience as they move forward.  If you have time I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.  Take a look at some of those articles here: http://www.kristafoundation.org/index.cfm/page/the-global-citizen-journal-5/

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.

Owen Sallee

SPRINT Advisor

owen@spu.edu

Second Island Update!

Let me start this post by painting a picture for you: Imagine 20 older Indonesian women (some still in their pajamas) sitting in a huge circle around a simple living room floor with eight clueless Americans, all playing traditional kompang drums. The young children are either banging their own makeshift instruments or crying from the noise, while the local teenagers stand in the doorway taking pictures. A few women sing over the drums as our translator sits in the middle of the circle yelling instructions back and forth and pouring the tea and coffee that our host family brought out for us. Beautiful chaos, right? Welcome to our Wednesday night.
We’re coming out of this second island stay with lots of stories, some funny and encouraging, others more somber, but all pointing to God and the crazy adventure it is to follow Him. Daniel and Danny had some opportunities to spend time with the village leaders, and were even told by an older man who’s been present for multiple groups like us that he’s seen a positive impact in the community. What an awesome thing to hear! Karley and I also had some great conversations in our house about faith, death and deliverance from fear; with our host family including one of the two village leaders and the local witch doctor, discussion was far from boring.
So, praises! We’re all still healthy, which is WONDERFUL. Also, the people that God has created here are some of the most beautiful and hospitable people we’ve ever encountered, and from the henna to the drum lessons, to the late night discussions over tea and cookies, we are very thankful for these friendships. Praise God for allowing us to come to this awesome country, and for working in ways that far surpass our limited abilities.
Prayer requests: With all the love we have for these people, we also see their great need for a savior. It’s hard to see so much fear, obligation, and darkness in this area when we know that God’s love, grace and power through Jesus is right here for them. Pray that they would see clearly this truth. And as the large amounts of white rice, fried foods and sugary snacks are beginning to wear on our energy levels and feelings of wellness, pray that we can remain fully present and able to set those discomforts aside for the sake of building relationships.
Here’s something fun, though: Last night we were all surprised by encouraging cards and gifts from our prayer partners, so to those of you involved in that, know that they are so so appreciated. Seriously, reading those cards and sharing goodies by moonlight on the deck was probably the best way to spend our Friday night.
Thank you, everybody, for praying for us and supporting us in this trip. Please continue to do so as we head our to our last and longest island stay tomorrow, and pray for the people here, that they would see God’s super-awesomeness. When we get back, make sure to ask about our work project in a rainstorm, the danger of falling coconuts, how difficult it is to shower in a sarong at a public well, our goodbye karaoke party, or the every-day hilarity in using a squatty potty and taking bucket baths. For now, though, just know that although following God is never easy, it’s always an adventure and He’s always with us. Have a fantastic week, friends!

-Team Indo-

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

First island update

Hello! We have had an awesome week over here in Indonesia – it’s amazing how fast we’ve grown to love this country and these people. Since our last post we can now all claim great health (kami sehat – praise the Lord!), as well as lots of wonderful new experiences. We had the opportunity to do three day trips on July 27-29 to surrounding islands for the Lebaran celebrations, where we were fed INCREDIBLE amounts of fish chips, soda, and cookies, and got to talk with locals about religion and culture. On July 30 we left for our first overnight island stay, where we spent three nights totally immersed in village life. This particular one was veeeery very small, so a walk around the island took all of maybe 10 minutes, with the houses built right over the water and the land hosting only a rocky soccer field, a single elementary school and the cemetery.

Karley and I stayed in a house with the two girls from Westmont and had opportunities to have some really awesome conversations with the women who hosted us. The local knowledge about Christian culture is completely reliant on whatever is showing on TV, so simply sharing the real meanings behind our holidays, or the symbolism of Christ and His people in marriage is all new. We realized, too, that one of our hosts had given a prayer request to the last group that went to their island four years ago that she would be given children, since she and her husband are medically unable to have their own. We had seen her name and even prayed for her last week, so get this. Are you ready? She now has two beautiful adopted children! Please pray for this awesome woman – God is doing something in her heart and it was just a blessing to spend time with her.

The guys stayed in a different house and had a whole different kind of exposure. On our first night there a young man died of diabetes, and because the burial process must be completed in 24 hours in Muslim culture, and only involves men, Danny, Daniel and the other two guys on our team were present as the body was wrapped, buried, and prayed for. It is said by the people here that entering heaven is as hard as walking on a path 7 times thinner than a strand of hair, so the community prayed that the man’s good deeds might be enough, and gave advice for while he’s questioned in purgatory. For such a beautiful and joyful group of people, it’s heartbreaking to see how much hopelessness sets in when they’re faced with their own faith. What a good reminder of why God is pursuing them.

And trust us – it’s impossible not to love these people. We all had a crowd of children who followed us, went swimming and played soccer with us, and held our hands from sun up to sun down. Please please pray for these precious kids, and that God would be working in their hearts as they grow up as the village’s next leading generation.

Funny story time before we sign off: We’ve had quite a few crab encounters… Karley and I found one in the sink while we were doing dishes (luckily a brave young boy nearby came to our rescue), and later Karley found one in the shower room with her. When I was swimming in the ocean with the kids, there was a point when their eyes got big and they yelled, “Kakak! Kepiting!” (“Sister, crab!”) while pointing to their behinds. Again, I was rescued by a couple young’ns who dove underwater to check my hiney for the eight-legged enemy. Even yesterday when we returned to base camp and got out our laundry to wash, Danny had brought one back with him on accident! So if anyone finds a way to train crabs and use them for ministry, let us know – we have a lot of them.

Thank you all so much for supporting us – please be encouraged by the fact that God is SO powerful and is working far beyond just our month here. Seriously, keep praying. We love and appreciate you all so much! Terima kasih banye!

First Island Stay Today!

Here’s a quick note from our team’s host.  Today begins the team’s first island stay.

 

Just wanted to let you know that the teams are all doing well and are eager to go our first island stay today. They have been on two islands already doing work projects, and joining in Ramadhan activities and staff visits.

Please keep them in your prayers as we head to the first island. All three island stays will be coming up so pray for strength, wisdom, boldness and for men and women of peace.

Update from basecamp

Hello from Team Indo! We’re over a week in! After arriving on the 20th, we spent 3 nights at base camp where we joined the four other students that we’ll be with for the trip, and then came to our base camp on Wednesday. It’s been an awesome opportunity so far to talk to the locals and practice language (kami sedung belejar bahasa Indonesia) as well as to just pray, journal, and spend time in the word. On Thursday we visited our first village where we started a work project of adding a bathroom onto a house and building a septic tank. Unfortunately, I (Michaela) wasn’t able to work due to illness, but trust me when I say that Karley, Daniel and Danny worked like champs! After (frustratedly) praying for a way that I could serve, God answered me in the form of 16-20 young children who were eager to teach me games and help my language skills on the porch. So humbling. On Friday we returned and were all able to finish the project, thanks to the leadership of some wonderful locals and the medicinal power of prayer. Danny actually came up with an awesome septic tank analogy about life, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Praises: God is awesome. Seriously. We’ve all just been in awe of how big He is and how He’s already been working here. It’s also super encouraging to see Him work and teach through one another, our new friends that have joined us, and the other believers here.

​ *Side note mini-praise: Adapting to a new culture is always an adventure, and sometimes the adventure has fun surprises like squatty potties and no toilet paper. That’s right. So Daniel and I are officially a part of the “left hand club”… I trust you can figure out what that means.

Prayer Requests: Firstly, for health. It’s hard to be fully present when your body isn’t at 100%. As of now we’re all feeling pretty good (and are very thankful for it) but we’re having to be very intentional about hydration, food consumption, and trusting God with our physical well being. We also request prayer for:

​Patience as we enter very new situations,

Unity between the 8 of us here,

That God would open our hearts to the awesome mysterious ways that He works and speaks,

That He would give us hearts for His people, and

That he would make Himself known to all the beautiful people here who don’t yet know of the AMAZING grace and love that’s already been given to them.

Now for the septic tank analogy! When we dug the hole for the tank, a lot of nasty sulfur-y water came up as we got deeper. In the same way, we’re finding that the deeper we go in our relationship with Christ and our quest to know and serve Him, the more nasty stuff comes up – our pride, insecurities and hesitancy to trust Him are made visible. And just as we had to clean out the mud and replace it with bricks and concrete, we have to clean our our nastiness, and can only keep it out by replacing it with Christ. And you can’t do it alone! So while they may be a little bit cheesy, it’s true, right??

Anyway, we’ll be heading out for our first overnight island stay in a couple days, and we’re super excited. We love the food here (in fact, most of the fruits look like they came out of a Dr. Seuss book!), and we LOVE the people. Thank you so much for praying for us and supporting us – it really does mean a lot. We are so thankful for our awesome God and the people He’s blessed us with, and we’re so excited for the weeks to come. Sampai jumpa!

Reunited!

Here’s a quick note from our host:

Karley is reunited with her luggage as of a couple hours ago. She is very fortunate because the responsible airline is actually the domestic airline in the states, not EVA. But they delivered it here and I met them at the ferry terminal and picked it up. Good Job EVA!

The group has been spending a couple days here in the main city learning some of the culture, traditions as well as having language classes.