It is our second full day in Ambon City. Today was our day to plan in more detail what our team will do for the rest of our time here. Before we began to plan and spark ideas off of each other, we took the Lord’s Supper together and reflected on the first few days. Listening to the team share, I drew on Lynn Free’s observation about the value of small things. The small things can make a big difference whether it is the way of life here in Ambon, or ministering to people. Things we take for granted back home – hot showers, drinking water from the tap without getting sick – are out of the question in Ambon City. Even a ritual as simple as brushing one’s teeth, means remembering to use bottled or filtered water. Bathing often means ladling water. Showers, even colder ones, can be a luxury, and let’s just say that our “Western toilets” are different.
On Sunday, when we walked through one of the Muslim neighborhoods in Ambon City, we also saw the big impact of small things, like cracking jokes, or trying to practice our Indonesian with kids who were trying to practice their English. It’s what Lynn Free refers to as “the beauty of people.” For me, this means remembering that we are all made in God’s image, and no matter where you are, a small act of kindness, like a smile, can open the door to sharing the Good News. In less than 30 minutes, we met a family, who eagerly welcomed us to chat and shared their names so that we could pray for them. Not a few minutes later, we happened on a huge group of children, whom we wandered and laughed with a bit before ending with Dennis Free praying for them and their families.
In just a few days here, we have seen what a fascinating city Ambon is – crowded, seemingly buzzing with activity all through the night, and so many motorcycles you feel like you are always in the middle of an Indonesian bike rally. At the same time, Ambon is also surrounded by breathtaking bays and lush green trees, and has gifted our team with lots of delicious food (including some of the best squid you ever tasted) and friendly greetings from many of the locals. I am sure, just as anywhere, we will not always be greeted with smiles, most likely due to the painful history of conflict described in our previous post. Yet, I know that as God goes before us, and as we seek to obey Him by loving the people of Ambon, that we will continue to see His hand all over our journey here…. And along the way, we will definitely enjoy some more Es buah segar (fresh fruit ice).