The second day spent at the school was great. We did our morning teaching, the guys helped on the work project, we came together and shared songs and Bible stories for a couple hours, we had lunch; everything was flowly as smoothly as smooth could get in a relational culture. Plans were constantly changing, and we all were learning as we went, but everyone adjusted whenever the plan changed without complaint or struggle.
After lunch, we took a couple hours to rest at the Wisma, get cleaned up, and have our team Bible study. Once that was done, a van was to pick us up and take us to the school again. This time, for a men’s Bible study. The three guys were all asked to prepare their testimony to share, and the girls would do a prayer-walk around the neighboring village.
The time rolled around for the van to show up, and indeed it did. We planned to take the van in shifts because eleven people would be a tight squeeze. The first group piled in the car, and off we went down the driveway.
We didn’t make it very far.
Right before we approached the opening to the street, the van broke down. The car began to smell a lot like….car processes, maybe engine or exhaust or something, but we all knew something was not right. We sat there for a while.
At last, they were able to get the car running again, but the driver was not comfortable using it to take us. He feared that the van would have another breakdown and that it wouldn’t be in such a convenient location. We all imagined the prospect of the van suddenly stopping in the midst of Jakarta traffic. Thankfulness set in, that we had broken down close to the Wisma, and not miles away.
Still, while we were happy that the breakdown was close to home, the problem still lay in that we weren’t at the Bible study. We weren’t at our ministry sites. All we were doing was sitting and waiting for a replacement vehicle. At the moment, it partially felt like wasted time. We knew that we had no control over the situation, but everyone wanted to be serving at the sites.
Little did we know, that this was the beginning of a lesson that would be taught over the course of the trip; ministry is a lifestyle, not something confined to a certain area or time. Every minute and every breath is an opportunity for ministry. Ministry is a verb, not a noun.
During the time we were waiting, a man came out and introduced himself to Ken and Linda. He said his name was Niki; he was the owner of the Wisma and wanted to know how we were enjoying our stay and if there was anything that could be done to improve it. Through this conversation, we found out that he was a Christian. He introduced us to his staff and told us if we needed anything, we could ask the staff and they would do their best to help.
As a result, we were able to start having conversations with the staff whenever we were waiting for the van to come. A couple of them really wanted to practice their English. They also offered coffee (no, it wasn’t Starbucks, but it’s the thought that counts) and would try to accomodate any need we had. One great thing that happened, was that they offered to do our laundry. In the heat and sweat, we had been going through outfit after outfit. For the guys who worked all morning, they usually went through two or three a day. A test load was sent out first, to check and make sure the clothes wouldn’t be ruined, and they came back smelling great and fresh and clean. It was wonderful, being able to have clean clothes and not worry about it on the field. It was an unexpected blessing, because we didn’t know whether or not laundry would be available at all over the course of the trip.
Eventually, a replacement vehicle came, and we were able to get to the school. By then the men’s study was over, but we were able to enjoy dinner with the teachers who were waiting for us.
If the van hadn’t broke down, we wouldn’t have met Niki. We wouldn’t have had such wonderful conversations with the staff. Maybe we’d be stuck with piles and piles of dirty laundry.
Was it worth it? I think so. God used a bad situation, and turned it into good.
Was it simply a breakdown? Or was it a blessing?