Yes, friends, I have reached my fourth island on this trip.
We have traveled from the island of Java, to Borneo, continuing to East Timor, then down to the Australian island state of Tasmania.
What a trip it has been!
The contrast between Borneo and Jakarta was… well pretty massive. We left the crazy bustle of Jakarta for the slower island of Borneo. Our trip started in the city of Pontianak, where we stayed at the YWAM base for a few days before heading out to villages.
The island reminded me of Florida with waterways and palm trees lining the roads. As we headed out to the villages, on our three hour bus ride, we approached mountains covered with trees and many tough, bumpy dirt roads. The villages were an interesting mix. Our first place that we stayed in was built of wooden slats and had a roof made of palm tree fronds.
It was a spider paridise. I have seriously have not seen bigger spiders. I thought the ones in Australia were bad. The rule in this house was never look up – more than once I would lay on the floor to sleep only to look up and see a massive spider peeking at me from the palm roof. I even woke up one morning to find the remains of a spider who had been squashed by my legs. Yuck.
We went to three villages, staying in three different homes with varying amounts of water, electricity and spiders. We held church services, kids programs, taught English and prayed for many people. I even preached for the the first time, speaking about the plumb line in Amos and how God measures us. I was a bit nervous but I think it went okay. Noboday ran out crying.
After 10 days in villages, we returned to the base in Pontianak and had a chance to repack and reorganize before flying to East Timor.
East Timor is a beautiful island surrounded by clear blue water. The terrain has many mountain and the people there have an islander look – darker skin compared to the Indonesians who have the classic Asian look. We arrived in Dili easily and spent a day or two adjusting to the culture before heading out to the mountains. There we stayed in a mountain village for a week, teaching daily Bible studies, running a daily kid’s program and having a church service/house meeting ever night. It was a tough place. The houses there have been sponsered by the government so that they have partial stone walls and then wooded slats with a metal roof – which means less spiders but you do get rats (we found two). The people had consistent electricity and some running water but unlike the Indonesian villages, no television. The feeling is a bit isolated and the culture of the community is very strong – there was not much western influence.
After our time in the mountains, we spent another week in Dili, helping with English and Portugese classes, doing a church service and teaching Drama to some teens in a home called Casa Vida. Casa Vida is a home for childern and teens who have been sexually abused. They are given schooling and job training and counseling. It was heat breaking to hear the stories. Many of the stories invovled incest. It was such a blessing to see the girls and hear how the ministry is reaching out to make a difference.
So now we are in Tasmania in a small southern community called Geeveston. We are parterning with a church, blessing them with practical work, being involved with the youth and going around to visit neighboring communities. We will be here for another week and a bit then will head back to Sorrell for a few days before going to Melbourne. From there we have a bit of debrief and the school will be done.
I am so blessed to have been on this amazing, crazy trip. I love seeing God’s world!