Hello Family and Friends,
We hope that you have had a rejuvenating summer and were able to enjoy the good weather. It has felt like “forever summer” with the heat and humidity in Indonesia. There are only two seasons here, the wet and dry seasons. While there is more mold and rainy weather in the wet season, the dry season also means “snake season”. There are many different creatures and creepy-crawlies that emerge in the dry season that we are getting used to.
We have successfully completed and passed the evaluations for Units 1, 2 and 3 at our language school/ It has been a joy to get to know our language teachers as they have become our friends. They have helped us immensely, not only with learning the language, but also with understanding the culture on a deeper level. We have acquired a good base knowledge of Bahasa Indonesian and it has been great practice talking to our neighbours and local Indonesian friends to increase our vocabulary. We went to a local church for the first time, and although we could pick out certain words we knew, it was challenging to understand the meaning of the sermon.
Learning About Community and Culture
There are six major religions observed in Indonesia: Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
There are “red-letter days” which celebrate the major holidays associated with these religions. There is a lot of respect between people of different religions and people groups, and it has been interesting seeing the ways Indonesians interact with so many different belief systems. We experienced how the local people celebrate Islamic holidays, one such being an event that included the sacrificing of a cow and a goat on the street in our neighborhood.
Living in Indonesia, we started to realize the pace of life is slower than we were accustomed to in North America. We usually expect things to take longer. One such example was when we were waiting in line to get our pictures taken for some official documentation. We were told it would take “3 minutes” which changed to “30 minutes”, which then resulted in a 2.5 hour wait. However, this long wait resulted in us engaging with a family we would have otherwise not met. We enjoyed chatting with them and they even helped us with some of our homework. It was exciting to be able to communicate with them in Indonesian, and they were very patient with us as we tried to find the right words to correctly convey what we were trying to say.
A Temporary Return to North America
After years of preparation and waiting to finally arrive in Indonesia, it is with heavy hearts that we have returned temporarily to the US. During our four months in Salatiga, we faces many unexpected health challenges and other ongoing difficulties that were unsustainable for a thriving ministry life overseas. After a great deal of prayer, discussion, and consultation with MAF, the decision was made for us to return to the US for a time of healing, counselling and rest. We hope that investing this time working on some deep issues will equip us with the necessary tools that will enable us to return to the field. We are trusting God’s plan, even if it is not as we imagined and planned.
Praise and Prayer:
- Praise for our supportive MAF teammates in Salatiga
- Praise for safe and smooth travels back to the US
- Praise for the continued support and prayers
- Prayer for rest, healing, and fruitful counselling sessions
- Prayer for wise counsel and strength for what is to come
In His Love,
Jonny, Mel & Willa