Most of our relationship building on this trip has been through opportunities to help students (of various ages) learn English. Today the team went to Negeri Lima (Village 5) – a Muslim village where most of the houses in the village were destroyed by a mudslide about 5 or 6 months ago. We winded our way uphill 2 hours, driving outside the Ambon city limits, passing nutmeg and cocoa drying in the sun. The views did not disappoint, with glimpses of the bay keeping our minds off of the switchbacks and bumpy roads.
As we made our way to the village middle school (one of the few buildings that survived the mudslide), we also saw the many tents where displaced Village 5 families are now living. Thankfully, most survived the mudslide, but many lost their homes.
The Frees’ vision and our prayer is that the outreach to this village is an opportunity for Christians here to really show the Gospel – helping not only with English lessons, but also some of the recovery efforts. We pray these efforts will be particularly meaningful in light of the Christian-Muslim conflict of 99-2004.
Today was like many days we have had with our team greeted with kind words and genuine smiles. Our group today was junior high students, nervous to meet us, but eager to learn and full of smiles by the time our visit was over. It’s these smiles that remind me once again, that we are all connected by the same Creator. The one true God. It’s these smiles that also give me hope that one day, these children will also come to a life-changing connection with Jesus.
We started our visit walking with the students down to the beach, where we split into groups, with each member of the team using a different activity to try to help the students have fun while learning letters, colors and English words for things. After the smaller group activities, we came back into one big group, with Carolyn leading us and the kids in “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes,” which always seems to get big smiles and lots of laughs and is a great way to learn some key English words, though we realized after a bit, that many of them were saying “shoes” and not “toes,” but Dennis quickly fixed that with one of his jokes.
The time would not have been complete without Dennis connecting it all up by telling these kids why we came to their village. He told them that we came because we love God and we love people; and because we love God and love people, we love them and want to bless them and will be praying for them. As Dennis shared these words with them, I tried to hold back a few joyful tears, as I thought about how awesome it is to be even a small part of God’s plan to bring the hope and love of Jesus to this Muslim village.
We know that so many of you have been praying for the team and for the Gospel to be shared here. Please continue to pray with us for Village 5, and for the hearts of Indonesian Christians to be stirred to continue and multiply these efforts.
– Lynne Wolf