Happy Birthday

The first day started as soon as we landed at 6:30 in the morning. In order to adjust quickly to the time zone, we had to stay awake for the rest of the day even though we’d already been up for 36 hours.

The original plan was that we were supposed to drop off our bags and head straight over to the school.

Thank goodness that plans change, and that they change frequently in Indonesialand. (That’ll become a recurring theme over the course of my posts)

Fortunately, we found out we were able to take a few hours and rest at the Wisma before going to the school. Some showered, some unpacked a little, but we all took an hour and slept. We needed it. In fact, I didn’t want to get up once we had to leave. We were all pretty tired after having to stay up so long. By the end of day one, we had been up for 50 hours before a full night’s rest on an actual bed.

Our destination was the school where we would be serving for the next six days. The school, named Sekola Gracia, also functions as a church meeting place. That night, the seven ladies on the team were to attend a women’s prayer meeting while the guys walked around the adjacent village and prayed.

We arrived, were greeted, and soon later the study started. We sang songs, and they were all English worship songs and we were able to sing along. Afterwards, we moved the chairs from a row configuration into a circle. Each girl on the team shared why she had come on the trip, one girl shared her testimony, and Linda shared a short devotional.  Of course, this all had to be translated, so it was also an experience of figuring out the balance of how much to say before letting the translator do their magic, as well as adjusting our speed and vocabulary so that it was translated effectively and accurately. After all of us had shared and it had all been translated, a few of the Indonesia ladies shared about why they were happy our team was at the school. Once this was all done, the Indonesian ladies circled up around our team and prayed for us. Then, we did the same for them. We ended the study time with more singing and praise and prayer.

This was all supposed to take one hour.

It took nearly three.

However, nobody noticed until afterwards. We had been having such a good time with the ladies, sharing our hearts and they doing the same, the clock didn’t matter anymore. Meanwhile, the guys were outside walking around, and a plethora of children began to follow them throughout their walk. They told us it was enjoyable for them as well.

When the meeting concluded, it wasn’t quite over, for there was a special event needing celebration. One of the ladies, Ibu Duma, had recently had a birthday, and all the ladies in the study pitched in to buy her a cake. They lit the candles, we sang the song, and then they proceeded to cut it.

The cake wasn’t all that big. Compared to our gargantuan, monster Costco size bricks, it was fairly small. I didn’t get a very good look at it, but it didn’t look any bigger than an 8×8 square, and it had to be cut into about 25-30 pieces.

I’d do the math, but that’s beside the point, that being: the pieces were extremely small. Yet, the ladies were gracious and offered the seven extra guests a piece as well. Let’s just say, that cake was pretty hard to eat. Of course, we weren’t going to say “no” and, yes, it tasted fabulous, but those ladies had put in their hard-earned money into buying  that cake. Money that could be part of buying new fabric, shoes, food. It was evident that each lady had sacrificed some in order to get that cake for that night. That was probably the most special piece of birthday cake I’d ever had.

We were able to talk with Ibu Dewi, one of the teachers at the school. She was so delightful and had very good English. She was extremely happy to see us.

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