Category Archives: Week Two

It’s the 4th of July, how ’bout some Thanksgiving?

Late one night, the girls are in our room throwing thoughts around about the upcoming Fourth of July.

Problem: it’s basically impossible to celebrate the 4th of July in Indonesia because of the 14 hour time difference.

When it was the 4th in Indo, it was the 3rd back home, so that felt weird. But once it was the 4th in America, it was the 5th in Indo, so that felt weird too. Yeah, we could have planned it so that it felt in the window of time where the date is the same, but there was no excess energy for that.

Then the thought popped out, “You know what sounds really good right now?”


“Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and stuffing just sounds perfect!”

I’m pretty sure everybody’s mouths salivated right about then.

And then we chuckled and let the dream drift away into the dark recesses of our mind.

After we left the orphanage, we piled our stuff on the bus again. This time, we were going to stay at Pak Phillip and Ibu Mega’s home; they had been our contact in Indo and coordinated our ministry sites. They lived in the heart of Jakarta, so once again we had to deal with Jakarta traffic.

Three hours.

We passed the time by singing worship songs and sleeping, but it was around 9:00 PM by the time we arrived and unloaded the bus.

We get in the door and Ibu Mega is happily there to greet us.

First question, “Are you hungry?”


“Okay good. For your dinner tonight, we wanted to give you an All-American meal for a little taste of home.”

Well, All-American can really be anything. Pizza? Burgers? Fried chicken?

While the househelp was bringing out the food, the team settled down in the foyer and waited. Then all of a sudden, one person caught a glimpse of what our dinner was.

“You’ll never believe it! We’re having Thanksgiving dinner! Turkey and stuffing!”

“WHAAAAT!!?!?!?!? You’ve GOT to be kidding.”

We all had the jitters. SO COOL.

Ibu Mega had no idea that we had been talking about having Thanksgiving dinner only a few days earlier.

And there it was on the table, hot and steamy and oh so perfect!

Thanks, God. 🙂

Ready to eat


Cutting the bird (sorry for the blurriness)

Lindsey’s still so in shock and SO happy. 🙂


True prayer warriors

I’m guilty of underestimating prayer so much.

This fact was proven even more so through this trip.

I’ve never seen the power of prayer more active than in Indonesia.

It’s not just another thing for them; their lives depend on it. At the orphanage, the church that is supposed to support them doesn’t do a thing. They make do with what they have when things break, and when they don’t have what they need, they pray.

And the coolest thing is watching God provide.

A few days before the trip, Ken and Linda had gotten word from our contact that the orphanage we had planned to go to was unable to take us. Something having to do with the summer holiday, it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but nevertheless we couldn’t go there. Now we had a week with nothing planned.

At the same time, Ibu Mini who runs Abigail, was praying for something special for her kids this summer. She was wondering “How in the world am I going to do this? I have no funds,” but she prayed fervently and trusted God that He would provide an opportunity for her kids. Very soon later, she was asked if she wanted to receive a team from America.

Our team itself was an answer to her prayer.

The next question, though, was “How are we going to provide for our guests?” The only food she had on stock for us at that point was just rice. Once again, she and the rest of the kids went to prayer. Over the course of time between accepting our team and our arrival, several carts showed up with food asking if she wanted it…for free. Abundant supplies of meat, husks of corn, vegetables, delicious giant kiwis, apples, bottles of Sprite and Fanta, even little rolls of Ritz crackers.

Material was also provided for them to embroider towels for us and to give us refillable waterbottles.


More stories like this were told to us throughout our time at the orphanage. One day after the work project, we all came in for a snack. On one end of the table was stacks and stacks of chocolate milk cartons. Apparently, for three years, the dairy farm has been overproducing milk in ridiculous quantities. They tell the orphanage “Hey, we can’t get our cows to stop producing all this milk. Do you want it?” For three years, they’ve had a full supply of milk for the kids.

Ibu Mini shared her testimony on the last day. She told us of a time when she had no food, no money, and was desperately hungry and cried out to God “Help me!” Right then and there, a bird flew overhead and dropped a fish at her feet.


The kids prayed that they would be able to receive the funds to go to school this upcoming year. Because our team overfundraised, we were able to give monetary gifts to both places we worked at. We presented Ibu Mini with the gift for the orphanage; she was ecstatic that the kids’ prayers were answered. They’re able to go to school now.

We were able to see God’s provisions right in front of our eyes.  One time, a team member needed a personal item. It wasn’t just any item though, which makes the story so much cooler. She needed….wait for it…. feminine products. Yeah, see what I mean?  We didn’t know how we were going to carve time out of the schedule to get to the store, especially since we didn’t have a vehicle on hand and policy required us to take a certain amount of people. We get to the orphanage and mention to Ibu Mini that we needed to get to the store. She asked us what we needed, we told her, and she’s like “Well, you don’t need to go to the store. Last night after you left, a guy came by with a whole truckload of what you need” (P.s. for team members reading, this story was shared with permission)

Yes, a whole truckload. Of exactly what we needed. And it’s not like what we needed was very common either like soap or something like that.

For the orphanage, prayer is not just a tool, it is their PRIMARY tool.  Sometimes, it is their only tool. Our team was able to see the value to prayer in a tangible way. It was pretty cool to see how God provided for their needs in so many ways, and how their faith is rewarded.


Swimming pools have always been great.

The jumping, the sliding, the cannonballing, the splashing, the pre-pool shower, the post-pool shower, the racing, the pushing people in, the games. Basically everything about the pool is pure greatness.

Swimming pools are even greater in 91 degree, tons of humidity weather. 🙂


The place is conveniently just a hop and a skip down from the orphanage. Unfortunately, the kids have to save and save to be able to go.  It’s about 88 cents for one person to go. After the first evening’s swim, all the little kids really wanted to go again. However, there just wasn’t money to pay for them. The only way they’d be able to go is if the older kids would pay for themselves and the little kids.

The little kids sighed. THAT was never going to happen. The older kids could hardly pay for themselves to go.

The lady who runs the orphanage, Ibu Mini, has such huge faith, and she trains the kids that come through the orphanage in the same way. So, as with other things, “Well, you might not have money, but you do have prayer.” So all the little kids went and started praying that somehow, the older kids would be able to take them.

It just so happened that our team had planned to reward the older kids for helping us so much with the work projects. How were we planning to treat them? By…taking them to the pool again after work was done one afternoon.

When Ibu Mini heard the news, she was ecstatic! Since we were paying for the older kids, the older kids could cover the younger kids. Everyone could go to the pool again! 🙂

We took them again one last time on our final day at the orphanage. The pool became a symbol of family fun time. A place where we could just relax and have fun together. We were able to help teach some of the younger boys how to swim and we played tons of volleyball and frisbee. There was also a big-ish slide that we went down constantly, trying to find the fastest way to slip down it.

The pool was also one way we were able to break down cultural barriers. When we went to the pool the first time, there was some concern about the girls’ swimming attire. Most of the exposure that the Indonesians get about Americans comes from television, so they were expecting something similar when it came to our swimsuits: skimpy bikinis, lowcut one-pieces. But when we came out of the changing room wearing T-shirts and board shorts, as they do in their culture, they were pleasantly surprised. Something little like that was able to benefit our interactions and relationships.

Pools are fun, simple as that. The team was glad we were able to turn something simple and fun into a form of ministry.

And it was nice to get a cool down.

Washin’ each other’s hair 🙂


Such a fun group! It was fun to get some “family time” at the pool!






The Painting Project

After lunch every day at the orphanage, we did a work project. The girls had the task of repainting the walls surrounding the orphanage entrance and the boys went to do repairs and maintenance.

Repainting. Doesn’t sound too difficult.

The kids had never painted a wall before. The balance had to be drawn between making this a teaching experience, but also getting a good result. We started by scraping and sanding off the layers and layers of peeling paint off the walls. We taught them how to manipulate the scrapers to their full potential. Dust got everywhere.

It was a learning experience for us girls too. We had Indonesian partners to work with and we had to get past the language barrier without a translator. One (somewhat amusing) difficulty that came about though, was that Ken would come over and give instructions to the group, but only in Indonesian. However, the girls from the team had no idea what he said, and we were supposed to lead! This happened a few times, and then one girl finally mentioned something and we began to receive instructions also in English. It helped a ton, not surprisingly.

Then the paint buckets rolled out.

Right around the same time, we got some additional help. The boys had more people than the work needed, so the younger ones came back to help the girls.

Let’s just say, painting is a lot more fun than scraping. However, painting requires a lot more precision than scraping. Everyone wanted to paint, and paint was getting everywhere. It was dripping on the ground, going outside of lines, we couldn’t manage it. Linda had a hard time saying “Uhm, sorry, but no, you really can’t paint right now.” It was an impossible task, to both include everybody and make sure the walls looked good. We’d hide the painting supplies, but they’d be brought back out. Poor Linda; she was in charge of overseeing the project and she had to do a lot of communicating, but her Indonesian isn’t fluent as much as if used to be. Finally a system was developed where only a few people would paint, and the rest would go scrape or wash and prep the other walls.

The kids could see that the team was starting to wear out a little after the first day of work. Not that we were physically weak in general or anything, but working in the heat still trying to adjust to the time zone and such quickly tired us out. The kids wanted to help with that, so they decided to get up extra early the next morning to prep the walls. Then we would come and not have to worry about the prepping and just start painting.

Well, normal rise and shine time for them is 4:30 AM for morning prayer. Bedtime is around 11 PM when evening chores are complete.

So what’s getting up early?

Some woke up an hour early, but several just didn’t go to bed that night. WOW. It was so sweet, how they wanted to fill our needs. It really helped a ton though, because we didn’t have to spend hours on the tedious prep work. It sped up the process wonderfully.

Along with prepping and painting, another job that came with the painting project was cleaning. One day, Haidang and I volunteered to wash all the paint trays, rollers, and brushes. That was so much fun! We trucked all the messy paint dripping things down around back to a faucet spigot, turned the water on, and started rinsing and washing. Haidang and I are both theatre people, and also very fond of musicals, so we decided to pass some of the time by singing our favorite songs from musicals and Disney.

For all of you Les Miserables fans, singing “One Day More” with two people is not an impossible feat. We divvied up the 7 roles and sang the whole song out (maybe not perfectly, but it was sure fun).

We belted out Tangled, the Little Mermaid, and Phantom of the Opera. Some of the younger boys were playing soccer nearby and they saw us frolicking in Disney while washing the paint trays. They asked, “Is your hobby singing?”  “Uhm, yyyyessssss?????? I guess you could call it that.”

Over the course of the project, one thing several team members were convicted on was on the topic of music. After the first couple days, the kids would bring their little music players out and listen to songs while they painted. They listened to the mainstream songs we listen to in the States (Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber anyone?) But we would get a little wary when a borderline song came on. Or even a “clean” song. It felt so weird, being on a mission trip and listening to and singing along to mainstream music. We’re like “HEY! We’re serving Jesus here!” but then the realization set in. Shouldn’t we be serving Jesus all the time? Shouldn’t our choices reflect that, not just while we’re on a mission trip, but 24/7? Realizing at the same time that not all mainstream music is bad, many of us decided to watch what we listen to and how that’s affecting our testimony.

Painting was just another way we were able to develop relationships with the kids at the orphanage. By doing work with our hands and not being afraid to get dirty, we were able to break down cultural barriers fairly quickly. It was a pathway to becoming family; ONE group, not Americans over here and Indonesians over there.

And the walls look pretttty nice now 🙂

Getting started! Many hands didn’t exactly reap light work, in this case

Lots of sanding and scraping!

“Okay girls! Assemble! We need a new game plan”

Wonderful ladies! We showed them how to do the painting first

Joanna and Nicole!

The finished project

Shopping and the Fun Day

There are so many more stories about the school, and I fully intend to write about them in the near future, but I do want to start writing about events from the second week. 🙂

After a very teary, sad departure from the school, we rushed over to the Wisma to get our stuff out and hop on the big bus. Checkout time was somewhere around noon; we arrived back at the Wisma about ten minutes before our checkout time. However, thanks to our relationship with Nikki and his wonderful staff, we were able to ask for a little extra time to clean up if necessary and finish packing up our things.

We still had to rush. Even though Joanna and I woke up extra early that morning to get the majority of our things packed, we were still searching for time. At last, after a buzzing twenty-five minutes, all our bags and backpacks and team were on the bus and off we went.

The next stop was a mall in Jakarta. When the bus drivers were told the location of where we wanted to go, they said “But that’s in….J-j-j-jakarta!” Okay, maybe not like that…but they obviously did not want to go through Jakarta.

Ken and Linda told us it was because traffic is TERRIBLE in Jakarta. The team was like, “Heh…how bad can it be?” One person was like “It can’t be worse than Seattle traffic.”

Once we got out of the suburbs and into the city…we found out why the drivers didn’t want to go through the city.

Yes, it was WAY worse than Seattle traffic.

Bumper to bumper, mirror to mirror buses, cars, and vans. Then, squeeze in as many motorcycles and scooters and rickshaws as you can possibly fit. You’ve seen gridlock in the States? That’s NOTHING compared to Jakarta gridlock.

After a couple hours we made it to the mall. We were split into three groups, each with two girls and one guy; in these groups we HAD to stay together no matter what. Half the time, the three groups ran into each other, so we were often one big group. The mall was eleven levels high, with a different category on each level. At the very tippity top were the Indonesian cultural items, where most of us spent our time looking for gifts and souvenirs.

I shopped with Ashley and Jesse. Poor Jesse. Ashley and I were SO stressed the entire time we had to shop, because we had a long list of people to buy gifts for. We felt so bad for Jesse who had to follow us around. I wanted to buy him like twelve Cokes after the shopping extravaganza.

Once our time was up, we stopped for dinner at..wait for it. Good ol’ McDonalds! While I loved the Indonesian food, don’t get me wrong, it was great to have a little taste of home in a big not-so-good-for-you Big Mac. 🙂

We piled back into the bus for a little ride through Jakarta. It took only three hours. We arrived at the home of a lady named Ibu Ayun and her family. They had furnished a couple rooms for groups coming through, and were in the process of building an add-on to their house to put up even more people. The bags were all put in the rooms and then we had a team meeting to decide where we’d go for our fun day.

The options:

1. The beach as planned. Total travel time, at least 6 hours round trip, leaving only 2 hours for swimming. We’d also have to rent a bus.

2. A different beach which was closer. Total travel time, at least 4 hours, and the beach was not suitable for swimming.

3. Staying local and going to a cultural museum and then a swimming pool. Total travel time, around 2 hours, and we wouldn’t need a bus.

After talking it out, we decided to do the cultural museum called  TangMini and then go swimming later in the afternoon.

The next morning, we received an invitation to go to the orphanage in the afternoon and see the kids. It worked out perfectly, because the orphanage was right next to the swimming pool, so we could do one right after the other. After breakfast, we set out for TangMini in two separate cars, and that is when the series of unfortunate events started to unravel.

About ten minutes into the drive, one of the cars got a flat tire. Not a big deal, just an inconvenience. It gets fixed and we move on.

As we’re approaching the area of the TangMini, our driver refuses to listen to the directions given and ends up driving onto a highway going the wrong direction. It was a little frustrating, because there were signs all around showing the way to go, and yet they were ignored and we ended up getting lost.

While the driver is trying to find his way back into familiar territory, we lose sight of the second van. We don’t know where they are. They don’t know where we are. There’s only one cellphone between the two vans. We pull over to the side of the road for a few minutes trying to figure out if they were behind us and if they’d caught up. Thankfully, they were just up the street looking for us.

Nobody’s complaining, but the whole “detour” had taken a good half-hour to an hour of time, and the situation was completely avoidable.

We unload and start exploring the museum together. The heat was beating down ridiculously and we were all pretty drained from the eventful car ride. Even though the museum was very interesting, we ended up spending only a couple hours because everyone was extremely tired, both physically and mentally.

Next stop: the orphanage. They were SO happy to see us. Due to some miscommunication, they had been expecting us for the past two days and when we didn’t show up, they began to think we weren’t coming. The delight in their faces when we did come was ecstatic. We spent about an hour getting to know the kids a little bit (more names) and we did a lot of songs together. They taught us some of their songs and we taught them some of ours. It was great. Everyone agreed that spending time at the orphanage beat out the leisure part of the day.

Ministry > everything.

We still wanted to go to the pool; it was still our fun day and it was really hot out. After about an hour and a half, we walked down to the pool. Unexpectedly, but awesomely, the kids from the orphanage came too. We paid for their admission and we were able to continue getting to know the kids while having an immense amount of fun as well.

At the end of the day, Ashley and I were talking and came to the conclusion that ministry was so much more satisfying. Shopping and doing touristy things was fun, no doubt, but it gave off a different aura than spending time with the kids did. Those couple extra hours with the kids that day helped so much, in retrospect. If we hadn’t started building relationships then, we would have showed up at the orphanage the next morning as complete strangers. We probably would have struggled to connect when we did our program and it would have been harder. But we had a relationship budding and we were able to come the next morning knowing names and faces. It was the start of something great!

This wasn’t too bad for traffic. 🙂 Lucky motorcycles can just squeeze their way to the front.

We did find an elephant at the TangMini that was pretty legit

What to do while we’re sitting in the car waiting for a flat to be fixed? Make faces!

They zoned out after the first hour.

Lindsey was happy to get french fries 🙂

Doing songs with the orphanage. They taught us one called “The Train of Love”

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