Yesterday and today we revisited some of the slums we have been to previously. Yesterday we were at the Chinese grave slum and had a time of playing with the kids, singing with them and coloring. When we first arrived, I had two boys immediately come up to me, one giving me a big hug and the other chattering in Indonesian. These kids simply want love and attention. The ministry that connects with them is so good at coming weekly to see the children.
Last night we went out on a road where you can find a number of prostitutes. They mix between simply standing on the side trying to get customers to having a small stand that provides a point of “business.” Behind the road, runs the train tracks where you can also find a number of women. My group walked along there and came upon a woman who was sitting, smoking a cigarette. We chatted with here for a while and she share a bit about her life and also warned up that we were in an area that could be pretty dangerous. There were sometimes gang members who would come by and rob you and it was very dark where we were. To add to the “fun” of the night, as we were chatting a train pulled up and, packed with people, it randomly stopped. So here we are, talking with prostitutes and I am with one of my students who is Brazilian (she has very light skin.) The lights of the train were shining on us and out of the packed train we heard many calls of “HEY!!! HEY!! Where are you from? What’s your name”. The joy of being the bule caught in the light. The train moved on after a few minutes and we found our way back to the streets to chat with some more people and girls before heading home. Many of the girls on the street are young (mid to late teens) and very broken in their identity and worth.
Today we went back to the train slums and I got to be in the group that went home visiting again. It had been pouring rain before we showed up and when we finally arrived (traffic made the trip about two hours to get there) there we many people outside. We came upon the woman whose house I got to go into last time. She shared with us that her husband was back at work. What great news! He had been sick for three weeks and that was a concern for them as he was not able to go out and collect trash. She didn’t have much time to chat as she was doing her wash since it wasn’t raining.
Then I got to chat with the same couple that I talked to last week. It is difficult to know that their situation does not change in a week. I honestly don’t know how you can even begin to help. We just chatted about how they were doing and feeling and asked if we could again pray for them. The wife especially. She is blind in one eye and has the other eye clouding over. Her husband said it was cataracts but our translator thought it may have been a virus. She started losing her sight when she was only in second grade.
It shouldn’t, but it always continues to amaze me how willing people are to receive anything – especially when they are in a difficult situation. I so grateful that they let us pray for them. I also let them know that I had put their photo on here and checked to make sure it was okay that I shared their story.
We finished off tonight with another Christmas party. This one was with a youth group of whom a few of the children’s ministry team is a part of. We had a good time of singing, listening to a pastor from South Africa and sharing a drama with them. The party ended with the typical, “Take a picture with the bule”. We are quite the attraction with our team of six.
We have just about a week left here in Jakarta. Here is to next weeks’ adventures!