Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

Dear Indonesia,

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.

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching UsOur amazing team: (bottom left to right) Andrew, myself, Melanie, Shannon;
(top left to right) Linda, Megan, Rebekah, Jayne

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

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.

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching UsAndrew helping lead an English small group

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

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!

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

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!


Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

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.

Dear Indonesia: Thank You for Teaching Us

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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3 Replies to “DEAR INDONESIA”

  1. Hey Amanda!

    Indonesia sounds like a great place! I hear that Andrew’s parents have moved their permanently. Good for them.

    The best trip that I remember was when my family went on a cruise in the Caribbean, but it was unlike what most people consider a cruise. We were on a rather large sailboat rather than a big resort on the ocean. The weather was great and the water was wonderful. We went snorkeling once and it was amazing. Still, Indonesia – or at least your description of it – sounds better. What a great culture!

    Do you think you and Andrew will travel there more regularly now?


  2. Miss you so much this last week. We had English Camp Phase #1 up in the mountains outside of Pekalongan. It was cool and beautiful. We truly needed you! Your bright smile and tender heart would have been an added blessing to the event. Tomorrow starts Phase #2 at a different mountain location. You’d love the beauty and quiet places. ~


  3. Just loved this post (also that motorcycle selfie? Too perfect!) and it sounds like you had a phenomenal trip! What an amazing gift to go on such a wonderful adventure! My brother met his wife when they were both teaching English in South Korea, and I know they had an amazing experience traveling and teaching as well. Very cool!



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