This is the second Fields newsletter that I sent to friends in 2003, shortly after I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia at the beginning of what turned out to be 5 amazing years in that wonderful country.
Before going any further, I’d like to thank the many of you in Austin who helped make it possible for me to move on like this. Quitting my job with the State of Texas, closing the apartment, selling my car and getting rid of most of my things was all a lot less traumatic than it could have been and none of the things that I was afraid might happen actually did. Thank the Lord and God bless you! I’ve been staying on the Swedish countryside with my former wife and her husband and seeing my children.
A year ago I was preparing to make a video of a Bible class I’d been teaching in Texas.
It’s one I also taught before on the mission field, in such places as Hungary. My son, Ariel, and I prepared a number of charts and maps for the class but, after most of it was ready for videoing, complications arose and the project was shelved.
In March I was saying goodbye to some friends in Texas who’ve had years of experience in videoing. The subject came up about the class and they said they really hoped they could film it before I left.
My schedule was tight but I was able to take 2 days to try to do the filming. The class is on the subject of Bible prophecy and the history of Israel, an introduction to both. It’s primarily aimed at those who are new to these subjects, spiritually hungry but possibly without a background or knowledge of Christianity.
Ultimately it did get done but it was a fight. Do you ever wonder why strange things happen right when you are trying to go forward for the Lord? The first thing was that, 48 hours before we were to start, I came down with a really bad cough, just out of nowhere, the first for me in many months. Hmm.
But since everything had been prepared a year before, mainly what was needed now was that I “know my lines”, the 25 minutes of the class which I needed to quote on camera, like in a theater or play. In some of the pictures you can see me with a text in hand. I’m furiously doing my last bit of rehearsing before the camera roles for the next part of the class.
The first day went well and by the evening I was totally “horse”, only able to whisper. Meanwhile their professional camera had broken down. The backup camera was set up for Europe and so things were looking bleak. I mentioned to my friends that I’d brought my own handheld camcorder and they thought they might be able to complete the filming with that. We prayed desperately for my health and the technical side and decided to try it again in the morning.
The next morning I was rested but still couldn’t even talk. So it came down to one of those “Lord,-we-need-your-help-right-now!” kind of prayers. The Lord promises power for the hour, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25b), for that day.
But sometimes, “as they went, they were healed” (Luke 17:14), we have to do the “wenting”. I kept rehearsing and praying, believing and preparing and they kept getting set up. I had to drive back to Austin in the early afternoon so it really was now or never.
Well, it wasn’t a sudden flash of healing but I got better. By late morning I was finding enough of my voice that I was able to go back on camera. In the end it did get finished, a real answer to prayer and a blessing that this project was able to be completed before I left.
I’ve been in Indonesia now for about two weeks and it’s been wonderful. It reminds me of what Mark Twain said, “95% of all the things I ever worried about never happened.” Here’s a picture, next to a papaya tree. In the yard are also coconut, star fruit, mango and jackfruit trees. So in some ways we don’t have it so rough.
I have had some involvement with the projects my friends have here. On an evening last week I went to a Christian orphanage and I have an appointment to do a Bible study with the young people there next week.
They say, “out of sight, out of mind” but that’s not been the case with my thoughts of you to whom I send these. I think of you often, pray for you and look forward to hearing from you. Please do continue to pray for me, it really does matter and help. And I very much enjoy hearing from you, how things are for you as well as any reactions, questions or comments you have on the things I’ve sent you.
With love and prayers, your friend, Mark