This is a blogspot updated by SETIA. It’s in Indonesian, but my computer offers to translate it when opened in Google Chrome.
I visit strengthfromgod.com on a regular basis looking at photos and thinking about times past, but it has been a while since I have posted. I am currently attending Wheaton College in Illinois which has kept me relatively busy over the past few months. The transition to an American college I am familiar with was harder than I expected. I am no longer totally American. I am not the same girl that arrived in Jakarta sixteen months ago. In the words of my twelve year old brother I am crazier. I interpret “crazier” as different — different in a strange way and different in a good way.
Trying to describe a way I feel different, I will tell a story from the time I attended the transfer orientation at Wheaton. I remember telling my dad that I didn’t fit in with the transfers because the school I was transferring from (STT SETIA) was so different from the US schools other students were transferring from. Neither did I fit in with the freshmen. I also told him I didn’t fit in with the US born and reared kids or the overseas missionary kids. My wise dad responded, “You don’t not fit in with anyone; you fit in with everyone.”
Since I have arrived back in the states in May, I have spent a good amount of time messaging people I met in Indonesia. Many are fellow students, caring teacher, or just friends. (And a few are complete strangers simply wanting to practice their English.) Most of these messages are in Indonesian, others are in English, and some are in both. I am very appreciative of the internet that allows continued communication with friend so far away. I want God’s light to shine through me in my life. This includes loving people around me in Illinois, people down south in Georgia, and everyone I know across the world. My prayer is that God uses me. I hope to be an encouragement to others as they are to me.
Today I had a professer from my school in Indonesia message me. He sent some pictures from last April when our school help an event at Cibubur, a campground. We left campus for a few days, attended seminars outdoors, played games, and slept in soggy tents. I had a love hate relationship with the experience at the time, but I came away with many great memories. One of my favorite parts of the camp was participating as a flag bearer.
I know many Indonesian have tried to befriend some of you on Facebook. If any of you all have received Facebook messages from Indonesians who are friend with me, feel free to ignore them without guilt. I don’t personally know every one of my Facebook friends any more. Most just want to be Facebook friends, but some genuinely want to learn English. If you have a desire to help some Indonesian students with their English a Facebook group exists (SETIA LEARNING ENGLISH). You could be helpful in this group where friends from my school communicate with other English speakers to practice what they are learning. I could also personally recommend some students to you. The school I attended was not an international school and had limited resources for the students trying hard to learn English.
A lot of the thinking I have done over the past few months has been processing my fast-paced, emotionally overwhelming freshman year of college at Setia and moving forward into my sophomore year at Wheaton. I am adjusting to a newer perspective on life as well as trying to learn what God has for me in every dimension of my life.
I have been back in America for almost 2 months now. I came back at the very end of May to work my summer job I had committed to months in advance starting the first Monday in June. It was a hard turn around, but all it really did was delay my opportunity to rest. Getting an average of 6 hours of sleep for 4 months pays it’s toll, therefore I am glad I came back at the beginning of summer to give my body time to adjust before starting college at Wheaton in the fall. The adjustment is a lot harder and taking a lot longer than I expected.
In addition to teaching swim lessons and coaching, I have done a little bit of traveling with my family. We went to a wedding in MS and a wedding in FL as well as a few conferences. The most important trips I made this summer were to see my grandpa. He lived about 10 minutes from my family for a number of years before he lost his wife last year and moved to Alabama. He has a special place in my heart as I pray he will grow closer to God in these last years of his long life.
One of the things that changed when I moved to Jakarta last year was the fact I would no longer be aggressively training. As a competitive swimmer and a triathlete, I had not been a week without a good swim workout since I was 13 until I left for Indonesia. The reality of the change hit hard at my first meet a week after I arrived in the states for the summer when I added about 6 seconds in every event. This meant I was no longer close to my secret goal of being able to swim on my college swim team. By the end of the summer swim season my times had dropped a bit and I made it to the state meet! Though disappointed my times are still not the same, I know the year in Indonesia was God’s plan and worth every little sacrifice.
Today and tomorrow, Febi and I are visiting my friend in Singapore. I caught a cold the day before I left (and gave it to Febi) and as much as I hate coming to Singapore and being sick, I am trusting God and His plan. One positive of being here is getting more, deeper, and uninterrupted sleep which makes being sick more bearable and should lead to a faster recovery.
This Sunday we have a big children’s event on campus and our ministry team (L4G) is doing most of the preparations. Please pray as the team continues to practice and prepare for the event. Febi and I return to Indonesia late Saturday night.
These days I get asked what feels like every hour and in reality is every other hour what day I go back to America. I very much appriciate it when one of my friends is around and answers the question for me, because honestly it gets very old answering the question and listening to the same response (“don’t go back. we’ll miss you.”) over and over again. I will miss this place, but I believe God wants me back in the U.S. for a period of time.
My ministry team was invited to an Easter celebration where we will perform a drama. I was asked to be Jesus… I agreed at first, but after thinking over the facts that I am a girl, I’m not good at acting, I always smile when I try to act, and other reasons, I went back and asked to not be Jesus. Now, I am playing one of the devil’s helpers.
This morning, I was reminded I was living in a different culture when I walked to the front of campus to start my morning chores and saw one of the students sharpening a knife the size of a forearm. If I didn’t know him, I would have assumed he was preparing to murder someone. He said he wanted to kill some rats. (Don’t know if he was kidding or not.)
Last night I spoke to a youth service about me coming to Indonesia and me studying at Setia. The afternoon before the service I was super nervous. When I got there there were only about a dozen people, making me feel a lot more comfortable. After the service, I found out my mode of transportation back to campus was a motorcycle. Yay! I love riding motorcycles and though I had just met the person driving, I felt confident he would make a good driver.
P.S. This week I have missed my family more than any other time this semester.
Keep my friend in your prayers because her dad died last week. She hoped to see him before he died and flew out of Jakarta after receiving news he was really sick, but he died the day she left. After she texted me telling me her dad had died, I truly hurt for her (mourning with those who mourn) as we prayed for her.
We celebrated Pak Didi’s birthday last week. He advises us with our ministry choices. In the photo, he is showing us some ideas related to making wordless books.
Last Saturday a group of students from our school went to a chlidren’s event run by a ministry called Just for Christ to be assistant mentors. Three boys in my group were a lot of fun to interact with though they didn’t always obey. During the service, all three of them responded to the invitation!
Febi told the story for Sunday school this past week. She told Noah using the CEF flashcards I brought with (I wish I had brought more than one set). I was happy to hear clearly communicate the gospel wihin the story.
One of my best friends birthdays was last week. We celebrated it the day before. She was really suprised and a little mad (because this gave evryone the freedom to dump dirty water on her both the day before and the day of her birthday). I got to experience a little of the dirty water too as I sat next to her during the prayer…
Last week I finally went to the immigration office and signed some papers as well as got my photo taken. They also asked for me to bring photos with a red background (because here in professional photos girls have a red background while boys have blue). Because all my photos have a white background, I had to take new photos. This took place at 10pm the night before the photos were due with a towel, a roll of duct tape, and a few friends. Glad to have my visa finally finished.
This past week a special event took place called Camp National 2013. Monday through Thursday all the students from my school (except the seniors because they are still working on their final papers) traveled to a campground where we stayed in tents, had morning devotions, mid-day seminars, afternoon games, and evening worship services as well as cultural dances mixed in here and there. Students from Setia colleges and high schools all over the country joined us. It rained three of the four afternoons we were there. The day it rained the longest resulted in multiple games of soccer in the rain. Highlights of the week included: running in the woods, participating as a flag bearer in the opening/closing ceremonies, and listening to a testimony of a speaker.
Easter here was nice. In addition to several different class celebrations, we had a 3 hour good friday service and a 2.5 hour Sunday morning service that started at 6am instead of 8am. After church on Sunday, L4G helps with a Sunday school on our campus and Easter sunday I was assigned to tell the Bible story. Preparing to tell the Bible story was harder than I thought it would be because I was not only preparing the story, but also trying to tell it in Indonesian. Saturday morning I spent 3 hours preparing and Saturday night a little more. Still not feeling confident Sunday morning, I prayed and reminded myself God is in control. God can use anything to draw us toward Him.
Yesterday, I went to the theme park, but my bus went to the wrong location so all the students on my bus ended up walking for an hour and a half. The theme park was fun because the lines were short and I got to hang out with my friends.
This week for the Sunday school after church, I was asked at 10:15 to tell the Bible story for the worship that was suppose to start at 10. It started late because the Sunday service ran late and we hold the Sunday school in the sanctuary where the service is held. With approximately 10min. to prepare, I started with a really long prayed before reviewing the story of Jonah. I am glad my God is big because he can use anything. Also, I am so thankful for such a gentle and helpful ministry team. One of the team members wrote me a prayer to pray before the story (because I am still very uncomfortable praying in Indonesian) and another team member told a recap of the story after I was done making it clear to the kids.
Classes have been good. I still feel like I lack the focus in class I remember having in high school. All the big assignments are due next month. Hopefully I can get these done before the night before they are due :)
Thanks for all your prayers! We serve a really big God who uses messed up humans to do work for His incredible kingdom. Not to mention he is my friend and will listen to me anytime.
Wow, I've been really busy the past few weeks. A few highlights include: last week I was MC for a noon chapel, last weekend I was the song leader for L4G (my ministry team), this morning was the first Sunday for a new Sunday school started by one of the teachers met after church and I shared my paper tear which answers the question, "How to get to heaven?" In addition to more or less normal ministry and studying, everyone is focused on preparing for Easter which includes meeting after meeting (with different Easter events for my class, my people group, and the school, we have lots of meetings). This Sunday morning I got up at 4 and went to the market with some friends before church to get meat that we are cooking tonight at one of the teacher's houses for my class's Easter event tomorrow.
Recently our school held a cultural event to celebrate a holiday. I worked with a friend to make a movie with clips of the dances to show in chapel and posted it on youtube.
It was announced in chapel this week that students and teachers would work together cleaning the campus three days a week. The photo above is from day one. Students complete daily chores (sweeping, mopping, washing vegetables) each morning before class, but this scheduled work takes place in the afternoon after class and consists of picking up trash as well as weeding the “garden.”
Last Thursday was my friend Febi’s birthday. We celebrated with apple cake and prayer. Friday she gave a testimony in chapel (which is normal when people have birthdays). She asked me and our friends from ministry to sing with her. We sang “Jesus, Lamb of God” in both Indonesian and English.
In class this week the teacher asked if I was afraid of rats. I answered him, “No.” Well, God had a sense of humor because that night at 3am I woke up to the sound of rats digging through my friends stuff. I tried to scare it away and fell back asleep only to awake moments later by he same sound. I sat on my mat in the almost dark dorm room thinking, “Maybe I am afraid of rats.” I decided I am not afraid if they are on the ceiling or if they run away, but I do not like it if they want to stay next to my mat.
Today was the first time I didn’t go to the worship service held at the tourist site, Monas. This week on the way to Monas one of the four buses full of Setia students fell over. Two students broke their legs and other students have wounds only five students on the bus were not hurt. We praise God no one was hurt any worse.
It’s been busy here. Last Friday, we had a chapel that EVERYONE (all the teachers, theology students, teaching students, nursing students) attended. The director/founder of the Setia system announced that we did not have permission to be on the property we are on. His announcement was followed by prayer and worship. The day after I was invited to join a small group of students who get together specifically to pray for the school. This is still a pressing issue that needs prayer.
This past week I met with a group of students who requested I help them with their English. Also, this week we had a singing competition in which a duet represented each class. My class won : )
Saturday, I joined L4G as usual for ministry. We are currently holding two Sunday Schools (don’t get confused they are on Saturday) in the public class community. We teach the same kids each week which is really nice because we can really get to know the kids.