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!