Saturday, February 13, 2010

My time in Indonesia....

I've had some people ask about the time I spent in Indonesia in 2007. So I thought I would write up a post about my adventures for anyone who is keen to read to it.
During 2007 I was involved with Youth with a Mission, which is a worldwide christian organisation. As part of the course I did with YWAM, there was a 2 month overseas mission component. So our team, which consisted of 4 staff members, and 7 students, went to Borneo and Papua.

(Photos clockwise from top left: Our welcome to Indonesia when the van broke down; organising a games day carnival for orphans in Borneo; a small wooden house we stayed at; some local village kids playing in the river; and us washing our dishes in the same river.)

This was my first time overseas, and I was none too eager to leave the comforts of home and life in Australia! And let me tell you, the culture shock was immense! I remember arriving in this tiny and dirty airport in Pontianak (capital of Borneo,) and being picked up by the local YWAM team in a rather old and very sad looking van. Well, soon into our hour long journey, the van broke down, and there we were, pushing it along the side of the road. And this was our introduction to Borneo!

We primarily lived in remote villages, and just lived and worked with the locals. We often stayed at a pastors house, and by house, I mean a wooden shack. We were very fortunate if we had access to a 'squatty potty' and more often than not we would bathe in the river, wash our clothes in the river, and wash our dishes in the river. Goodness knows what people were doing further upstream in that river!! It didn't bare thinking about!

(Photos clockwise from top left: Myself and Anna the girl from the Leperosy hospital; a beautiful beach in Borneo; a common form of transport in Indo - by dump truck! Incase you can't tell, there are about 20 people in the back of it; And finally, our missions team, with a local pastor, center.)

We preached in churches, held kids ministry times, did open air evangelism, led worship, slashed rice fields for the locals, planted cocoa trees, led christian seminars, painted an orphanage and fixed their roof, visited homes, prayed for people and played volleyball, amongst many, many other things. Actually, we played alot of volleyball. They are mad about volleyball over there!!

All through our time there, again and again, we would see God's grace in action. We were completely naive, and had no idea what we were doing. But God knew. And He worked and spoke through our sometimes feeble attempts. He touched hearts and changed lives. All up we saw 94 people come to know Christ and have a relationship with Him. And we were able to baptise 4 people. We saw a mans leg healed after praying for him. Amazing things happened, and I have so many stories I could share with you all. Hopefully some of these photos might give you a glimpse.

(Photos clockwise from top left: Myself praying for a young girl in Papua; playing with kids; our turn to ride in the back of a dump truck {incredibly fun and scary at the same time!}; Myself and my friend Rachel baptising a young man, Wanto in the river; preaching in the open air in Papua; and the center photo is me and my friend Kim singing an Indonesian song we had learnt.)

And whilst it was an amazing and wonderful time of my life, it was also the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I missed my family dreadfully. There were no comforts there. The electricity was frequently not working, the heat and humidity was immense, and drinking water was either boiled or bought. The boiled water tasted like smoke and was hot to drink. The food was incredibly spicy (which some of our team loved!) Me, on the other hand, lived off white rice and fried chicken for 2 months! No such thing as a fridge over there either, so the chicken that was cooked in the morning, was left outside for lunch and dinner. 'Twas truly a miracle that we didn't get more sick than what we did!! And let me tell you, going to those places made me truly realise how much we take our lives for granted. To be able to turn on the tap and drink clean water is such a blessing.

(Photos clockwise from top left: our knights in a leaky tin boat! On our return from a village our boat ran out of petrol. Thankfully some passers by saw us and gave us a tow!; standing in front of the monument built to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of missionaries coming to Bukisi, a small remote village; kids ministry in Papua; Team member Jimmi found a water snake right in the spot where we bathed!; and last but not least - me holding a python Jimmi found outside where we sleep! And no, I don't make it a habit of holding wild snakes!)

Even though we were going with the goal to help and bless others, I really think that we were helped and blessed more. I remember going to a leperosy hospital run by Catholic nuns in Borneo. I admit, at first I felt quite uncomfortable, seeing these people in such horrible condition. Most of them were missing fingers or legs or arms.
But I remember this beautiful girl, Anna, who came up to me and put her hand in mine. I looked down at her hand in mine, and noticed she was missing most of her fingers. But I looked into her face, and that was shining with such incredible love and joy. It was like her face was shining a reflection of Jesus. And I felt so ashamed of myself, that I cried and gave her a hug. And well, she never left my side the whole time we were there. I was able to play chess with her (another game the Indonesians love!) and pray for her. I will never forget the impact that Anna has had on my life. As much as I was there to help her, I think I got the most help.

And I guess that is why I just want to go back and continue to help them. There is so much need over there, and I just feel so honoured that God has entrusted this mission to my care. That He has the faith in me to carry it through.

I think it would be fitting to finish off this post with my saying/motto for my time in Indonesia, which was "Puji Tuhan." Which in english, simply means, "Praise God."

If you would like to see more photos from my time in Indonesia, I have some albums on facebook, here, here and here.

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