One year ago today, we were beginning our trip to your country. We spent 36 hours sitting on airplanes, wondering around airports, watching movies, and not drinking nearly enough water just to get to you. Our team of eight had spent countless hours preparing, praying, researching, packing, and anxiously awaiting our trip. We sent fundraising letters, recruited prayer partners, and prepared for our English Camp, all in great anticipation of the unknown adventure we were embarking on.
Our amazing team: (bottom left to right) Andrew, myself, Melanie, Shannon;
(top left to right) Linda, Megan, Rebekah, Jayne
Your people are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. In addition to our two in-country hosts, we were greeted at the Semarang airport by one of the most joyous men I’ve ever met. He was our driver for the week and provided humorous stories for our continuous entertainment. From running errands to photocopy English camp handouts to purchasing nausea medicine and extra water bottles for our team, he cared for our group in countless ways.
Andrew helping lead an English small group
We spent the week sharing our native language, hoping to bring encouragement, education, and fun to a group of high school students and their teachers. But we walked away with so much more. Your laid-back “island time” was challenging to my fully Western, Type A personality. I constantly stressed about being late, underprepared or not worthy of the task laid before us. But with a lovely smile and acceptance of us just as we were, we were accepted. People move slower in Indonesia. They take time to rest, to return home each afternoon for prayer and a refreshing bath, cleaning and preparing themselves for the evening activities. For us foreigners not used to the intense heat and humidity, this was such a welcomed break!
I must confess, I’m not sure our team was quite prepared to eat as much rice – especially three meals a day! Us Americans are spoiled by having so many options for each meal and the freedom to eat something different each morning, afternoon and evening if we wish. It also took us quite some time to get used to the traffic – so many motorcycles driving on the “wrong” side of the road!
You certainly know how to provide hospitality, a hospitality unlike we’ve ever experienced. I ended up being sick several of the days but thankfully was able to stay behind in the hotel and get some much needed rest. One of the camp leaders whom I hardly knew heard I was sick and had someone bring me some fruit and water, a kind gesture of “Get Well Soon”. When our housing arrangements changed last minute, one woman associated with the English Camp basically turned over her entire home generously to us, willingly moving in to her parents’ house for the week so we could have more space. Grace was abounding, flexibility immanent, and thankfulness surrounding every person we met.
Thank you, Indonesia, for treating our team well. I can hardly believe it’s already been a year – so much has changed in my heart because of that trip and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. You gave us such a warm welcome, treated us with such care, and shared your beautiful people, culture, language, and land (Oh the trees! The jungle! The greenery! Everything was so lush). While the next time we step into your country is unknown, we pray it comes quickly. Thank you for sharing grace and love and patience with us. We will forever hold these memories in our heart.
// What vacations or trips stand out in your memory?
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