I was encouraged and re-motivated the other day as I watched a video of a newly completed Bible translation being handed over to a tribal group who had never had the Word of God in their own language until now. It’s so easy for me (Abby) to forget why we are here and neglect to keep my eyes set on the end goal – a people group to know and accept Jesus Christ, but the video brought me back to that reality. We have become comfortable and accustomed to the people and ways here in Java, and we have come to love it as well. That is such an encouraging thing to be able to say after struggling through all the new and different parts of life these last 8 months, but at the same time it’s sad since we know we won’t be here permanently. The relationships we’ve made and the little city we like so much will be left behind as we head to a new region and desire to live among an unreached people group. Sometimes it seems like the only consistent thing in a missionaries life is change!
The holiday season around these parts is finally over and it ended with quite a few interesting events. The month of July was Ramadan (where Muslims fast during daylight hours and refrain from anything impure) and it ended with a celebration called “Idul Fitri”. This is a time when people travel home to visit their families, friends and neighbors as well as ask forgiveness for any wrongs that they may have committed, intentionally or not. There is lots of eating and celebrating, along with fireworks and parades! We visited some friends and neighbors for Idul Fitri and everyone enjoyed seeing Noah and serving us food.
August 17th was the Indonesian National Independence Day! That was a full weekend for sure. There were small parades in the villages and several neighborhood wide ceremonies to celebrate the holiday. One of the most fun parts of the festivities was a game called “Panjat Pinang”. In this game a huge bamboo pole is mounted in the ground and lots of gifts are hung from the top of the pole. Then axel grease is smeared all over the pole to make it slippery. Men are divided into teams of 4 or 5 and each team gets a chance to climb the pole to reach the prizes! Sounds fun, right? Nathan thought so, and joined in on the game and was the “base” of the tower of climbing men as they scrambled up the slippery pole to grab the prizes above. It was very entertaining to watch but Nathan sure felt the pain in his muscles for a few days afterword!
Below are some pictures of a cultural "Kuda Lumping" horse dance.
The whole month of August has been a busy one as we had to make a trip to Jakarta to get Noah’s passport process started at the American embassy. We travelled by train since Noah is still too little to fly, and had a nice time in the city while we got our business done. Abby’s Aunt Charlotte who is a missionary in Papua, Indonesia happened to be in the city for some medical work and we were lucky enough to be able to spend almost a week with her! This was special since she is the first of our families to meet Noah. While in the city we got to learn more about the different regions in Asia Pacific at a park called “Taman Mini”. This park had cultural villages set up replicating all the different regions in Asia Pacific! We also got to learn about the history of this Country at the Monas Tower monument in the center of Jakarta.
Next week we will have another opportunity to learn more about the regions in Asia Pacific and where we want to go after we are finished with language study here. Please pray that the Lord would make it clear where He desires we serve. We are also planning some trips to visit different regions in the coming months to see the needs up close and hopefully decide on which Island we want to serve long term.