People might wonder what the life of a missionary is like and assume there must be to it an air of the romantic or exotic. Well, we have had our share of “exotic” scents (usually sewage) and tropical breezes (laden by smog.) But, really our life would be best described as an adventure (meaning not planned and totally out of my sphere of control) with our heavenly Father as the most amazing tour guide!
Consider our recent trip to Singapore to secure an Indonesian visa (permission to live and work in the country.) Our three days turned into five, as the visa process can be painfully slow. I was anxious at this change of plans because this would mean the kids would miss more school, Jim would be absent from church, and more money would be spent on meals abroad. It was a cry or laugh moment, and so I decided to trust that our Tour Guide must have a lot to show us in Singapore!
Being blessed with superior accommodations at the Anglican Prayer Lodge, we set out to see what the city had to offer. We dined with old friends, took in a light-water-music show at the harbor, worshiped at St. George’s, and strolled around The Botanical Gardens. We had a great tour of Singapore and left with a reminder to “sit back and enjoy the ride!”
The kids and I are back in Jakarta and finally starting to feel the effects of jet lag wearing off! What a blessing to be once again in the midst of our PAC family (Providence Anglican Church.) Jim was busy setting up the Lord’s Table with an array of beautiful furnishings provided by St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Phoenix, AZ and the International Anglican Fellowship. What a remarkable visual picture it created in our humble rental space! Upon unwrapping the wooden stand for the display of the Bible, Jim discovered a sticker on the bottom that read, “Made in Indonesia.” Can you imagine this stand, made by native hands here, exported across the vast ocean with years of service in America, then carried all the way back to our little church in Jakarta? We all had a good chuckle and yet this served as a reminder that God is truly at work, connecting believers around the globe. What an encouragement to us. “He’s got the whole world in His hands!”
As our last newsletter explained, we are returning to North America for the sake of Sora’s health and our kids’ education and well-being. But we are stopping in Davao until the 3rd of February to see old friends, resume old ministries, and enjoy a place that is full of happy memories for our family.
We worshipped with Davao Covenant Reformed Church on Sunday. Hosanna was glad to see Ate Flor and Ate Juvie, and they were happy to see her:
Matt got together with some of his former Greek students. They plan to meet five or six times while we are in Davao. Here they are reading Romans 3 and 4 together in Greek:
Hosanna loves Abreeza Mall, so we took her there. She has a big heart:
Matt has been asked to preach at Davao Covenant Reformed Church next Sunday. He’ll be preaching on the book of Jonah.
Sora also is back in the saddle. She’s teaching a class on herbs to the student midwives at the clinic where she used to work.
As we prepare to leave the mission field for the foreseeable future, we are delighted to be here in Davao, and fully expect to return again in later years.
Bandung is a huge city, but there is beauty if you slow down and look. Here are some things that caught my eye in November.
A snail moves across our front porch.
Moss covers hexagonal paving stones at IMLAC.
Sora’s homemade bread, shaped for Holy Communion.
Bandung under the clouds from a warung on Jalan Punclut.
The hem of a batik shirt:
Rainwater courses down a drainage ditch past ferns and stone walls:
Matt with IMLAC tutors Michael, Nelson, and Ricqi:
One of the things Sora and I sought to do in Davao was to labor in such a way that what we did would not cease with our departure. Knowing that our term in the Philippines was likely to be limited to three years, we wanted to leverage our gifts so that they would be multiplied and continue to have effects for years after we left.
The power of missionary work is in the formation of relationships. And in the Internet age, these can continue to be effective.
One of my Greek students, Wayne Dimaano, is teaching a Greek class via his church’s Bible institute. He keeps in touch by FB messenger with questions about grammar:
As you can see from the mention of Quizlet, we also share flashcards and other teaching materials.
Pastor Wayne forwarded this photo of the large number of students who showed up for his first Greek class:
(I recall a similar huge turnout for my first Greek class. There will always be some attrition when it becomes clear that there is no royal road to the knowledge of Greek, but with that many students, Wayne will surely have a good number left.)
Wayne and I continue to share books and discuss exegetical questions and theology. Now that I’m in the same time zone (in Singapore and soon in Indonesia), I can respond quickly while we are both awake.