I am not quite ready to move on from the Thanksgiving holiday yet! There is too much to be thankful for. I am grateful that Denise from SAMS made her way to Jakarta last month to visit our family. Living half way around the world from “home”, a familiar face and encouraging words are very precious indeed. I was happy to introduce her to Hope Special Needs School, an institution very near and dear to my heart. Ibu Lingkan, the school’s founder, asks, “Who will tell them God loves them, if we don’t do it?” I am so thankful for her servant’s heart. Please watch this short clip of the children singing at their Thanksgiving Service and be inspired to carry on this holiday season with an attitude of gratitude!
Have you ever heard your grandparents tell you, “Back in my day, we used to walk to school five miles each way in the dead of winter with no shoes?” Of course, the exaggerated story was to inspire you to count your blessings. Allow us to inspire you with a non-embellished tale of our refugees from Afghanistan. Desperate to find a church where they can freely worship, this ever resilient group, travels by car from the mountains outside of Jakarta to Providence Anglican Church every Sunday. The trip takes almost three hours each way! Can you imagine how hungry for the Word and Christian fellowship they must be to go that distance? Can you imagine how physically hungry they must get during the long day away from home? We strive each week to make sure that we fill them with good food to eat and a meal to take for the road, but more importantly, God is sustaining them with his Word and satisfying them spiritually around the table of Holy Communion. God’s family from many countries at the banqueting table. His banner over us is love!
Providence Anglican Church is a multi-national fellowship in Jakarta. God has seen fit to add to our small group people from America, Australia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Iran, and the Philippines. How beautiful that on any given Sunday, the sermon or scripture reading might be translated into one of the languages spoken by our members. One particular Sunday, something really special happened. Our American-Malaysian co-worker, Sandy, helped our Iranian believers lead the congregational singing in Farsi. All of the songs were familiar, but with lyrics in the Farsi language. Sandy must have practiced night and day to master this in a tongue so foreign. Our hearts and voices lifted as one as we cried out “How Great is Our God!” Pedar rahim bar ma, Masih monjiye ma, Setaim namatra, Setaim namatra. The Godhead Three in One, Father, Spirit, Son, The Lion and the Lamb, The Lion and the Lamb.
I can’t say we expected to worship in Farsi when we first journeyed to the far seas to minister in Indonesia. How thankful we are that God always exceeds our expectations. Truly, how great is our God!
“None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good” is such a simple yet profound statement found in the hymn, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy.” Listen now to the song in it’s entirety:
We sang these lyrics as a church family, coming together to witness and celebrate our sweet sister’s baptism. As the picture proves, there could not have been a more beautiful spot for this joyous service! To add to this, we were honored to host the Archbishop of Melbourne (Primate of Australia) along with his lovely wife, Joy, and their associates for this special occasion. His message encouraged us and the fellowship of believers from around the globe gladdened our hearts.
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!”
It is less than three weeks until I depart for Thailand. Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me financially and in prayer. I have less than $500 to raise before being fully funded, and I am amazed by God’s provision and the generosity of my family, friends, and church community.
The purpose of this mission goes beyond my 9-10 month internship, and it is a gift to see God’s people coming together to help the church in Thailand make an impact on the community. You are each a part of this ministry and I would not be where I am without your support and involvement in this process.
Please continue to pray for me as my departure approaches, especially for preparations to continue smoothly and for safety as I travel. Please also pray for the ministry in Thailand and for the university students that I will be working with. I am praying that we are able to overcome language and cultural barriers to build genuine friendships, and that the love of Christ will be evident to them through the work that I do.
Thank you for your love, encouragement, and prayers as I step out into the [somewhat] unknown and follow God’s call. I am continually grateful for the people in my life, without whom I might never have taken this step and who have played a huge role in the discernment and preparation process.
I plan to keep up with blog posts pretty frequently during the course of my internship to keep you all in the loop. Stay tuned to hear more about my ministry in Thailand!