Now that we understand the culture a little better than when we first arrived, we are doing our best to fit in and acclimate to the culture. There are different ways to adapt and adjust to a new culture. Different people and different personalities do things in different ways. There isn’t a right or wrong way, and that is part of the fun of moving to a new culture. We have learned different things about ourselves and our capabilities because we must change in order to find abundant life here in Indonesia.
If you know anything about us (and I know most of you do!!!) we are the kind of people who jump in with both feet and figure out how to swim after we are already in the water. We love our neighborhood and have been building a few close relationships with our neighbors. There is one couple in particular who we are getting to spend time with and get to know. This family and their extended family are Christians. They love the Lord and they are very active in their church. Jessica mentioned this young lady in her last post as Ibu K. Ibu K is married to Pak T and they have two beautiful children. (If you have a moment, please pray for their youngest child who has been really sick with a fever. They have seen a doctor but the child is still sick at the moment.)
Ibu K invited us to their church because she was going to be singing in church for the first time. She wanted us to come and see. She also told us that there would be baptisms at the service! We were stoked. One of the things I really enjoy at our home church is when we do baptisms during the service. The cheering and celebration when someone gets baptized is fun to take part in. So, we got our family ready to go and we met Ibu K and Pak T at their house. They were ready to go and led the way to their church. Their church is near the town square (pancasila) and we parked right out front. We made our way inside and shook a number of hands along the way. The way we show respect when greeting people face to face is to shake their hand and then touch our right hand to our heart. It is a way of saying that we care for them and they are in our hearts.
We sat near the front and many of the people wanted to see our kids. The people in Indonesia love to take their picture with our kids, especially Solomon because he has blonde hair! A nice lady sitting near us offered our kids some cadbury chocolate. There is no faster way into a child’s heart than to offer candy. Adelina literally ran over and gave the woman a hug! Jeremiah followed suit and even said, “I love you.” Then, he proceeded to ask her for more candy, which she gladly obliged.
The service began with the baptisms and it was a very solemn affair. All of the people were wearing white robes over their clothes and the pastor wore a purple robe. The pastor prayed over the people and then they were called up to the baptism tank three at a time. There was a baptism tank at the back of stage. it was huge! It was explained to all of the congregation how baptism is a symbol of what happens when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. We are identified with Christ and we die to our old lives and raised into a new life in Christ, as God’s children. These people are making a public proclamation that they are followers of Jesus Christ and they will live a new life because of it.
After the first person was baptized, I found myself ready to clap and shout but I restrained myself just in time when I realized no one else was going to join me. Alas, I was cheering in my heart! After the baptisms, we sang worship songs, listened to the reading of the Bible, and listened to a message on 1 Samuel 30. I didn’t understand most of the sermon but I am looking forward to the day when I can! It was a blessing to take part in the service and worship God with our Indonesian brothers and sisters. I love that there is a unity and connection with a huge group of people because of our mutual belief in God and the work of Jesus Christ of the cross. We are excited about the work we get to do here in Indonesia with MAF. Our main job on the island of Kalimantan is to support the local church and the people who live in the isolated mountainous areas. What a blessing to get to encourage and enable our brothers and sisters in Christ to be effective in sharing the gospel and discipling others. Oh, I almost forgot! It turns out that our friend, Ibu K, was not only singing in church. She was leading the worship songs!!!
We are acclimating and adjusting well. We are jumping in to various activities and learning how to live as Indonesians. We are eating a lot of rice and making the most of the times when we lose power or our water shuts off. In all things, we know God is good and we are blessed to be here on behalf of Jesus to love these people.
Here is something I recently read in “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. It was an encouragement to me as we continue to strive to be used as God’s ambassadors wherever He leads! I hope it is an encouragement and challenge to you as well!
I am called to live in such a perfect relationship with God that my life produces a yearning for God in the lives of others, not admiration for myself. God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He wants.