After a year in Jakarta, I made a trip back home to the US in the spring of 2004. Then, back again in Indonesia, I made this Fields newsletter which highlighted the classes I’d been having with young people there. And these ones I had classes with were themselves learning to be teachers and ministers to their own people.
Hello and greetings yet again. It’s been around 6 months since the last Fields newsletter and I’ve visited quite a number of you in Europe and Texas during that time. In April I traveled from Jakarta to Sweden to see my kids and former wife. The two weeks I spent there was really great, doing almost nothing but just having time with my family, catching up with what’s been happening in their lives.
From Sweden I flew to Austin, Texas, basing there at my parent’s house. They are now in their 80’s and are both doing well. I was able to bring back from Austin, a series of vinyl “banners” that I’ve been using in the classes I teach here. These banners are something I’ve been working on for over two years. But producing them here in Indonesia has proven to be very expensive. So it was a thrill for all the pieces to come together when I was in Austin and to have these done at last.
In the pictures here you can see some of the young people who have been coming to the classes, mostly ones in their teens and twenties. Some of these regular attendees are the people I wrote you about who recently made a “road trip” far into the jungles of the Borneo (now called Kalimantan) to witness to some of the small villages there and to try to bring the “good news” to those of their own nation.
It’s been very rewarding to see these students with whom I’ve been having classes and personal time over the last year begin to blossom into teachers themselves and being able to do much more to minister to people. A good example of this has been Steve and Wulan, the young people who’ve faithful come here to do typing and proofreading for around a year. I’ve started going with them to an orphanage that focuses on the very worst case situations with young people in the city: abandoned kids, living under bridges, beggars and the worst.
The main orphanage has around 100 kids like this. The folks who run the place have rather radical views as Christians so we fit in quite well, ha! They say the thing they need most is inspiration and spiritual input for the young people. Steve and Wulan both come out of a similar background to these new kids but their background was more a foster home type place rather than being real rough cases themselves. So they know how to relate to these street kids and the kids can see them as examples to look up to.
And the main thing that it looks like we are going to try to be specializing in is music. A lot of these kids are 12 or 14 and they can’t read. But I’m really encouraged about this new project and part of that is just that Steve and Wulan are now getting a chance to pour out and use all that they’ve been learning over the last year. We’ve been working on songs they can play and it’s neat to see these young Indonesians finding their feet and being used as they want to be.
In some ways I’m continually amazed at how the Lord has led in my life over the last few years. At times this is not an easy place to stay in. It’s somewhat off the beaten path and not what “I would have chosen”. Having had so many changes so often for many years, it’s rather strange for me that this place and calling seems to remain stable as I begin my second year here. And there seem to be some interesting things up ahead which I’ll let you know about soon, hopefully in the next newsletter.
Your friend, Mark