In all that I’ve seen so far, God’s creation and His people continue to amaze me. I am in awe of the God who created and continues to sustain fruit-yielding plants, animals and bugs, and volcanoes. It humbles me more and more as I am blessed by tremendous hospitality and esteem. Why should I be so abundantly blessed and in a position of such superiority? I know that I am only a sinner saved by God’s grace. Yet He has given me a burning to share His message with a people who have never heard the name of Jesus and of the hope that can only come from Him. I’m so thankful for opportunities to see Him at work, such as here in the lives of many of the World Relief staff.
After one day of training with Project Concern, listening to the Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Javanese languages and receiving some translation, I feel more strongly than ever that the best agent of change is the Holy Spirit. We can do our best to shame, disgust, and convince people that their ways are wrong, but their hearts can still be steadfast causing them to continue in their old ways. As John Dallmann, one of the most influential men in my life, says, “a little bit of Jesus goes a long way.” The more I see of the world the more vividly that phrase comes alive. There is no one else and there is nothing else that bridges gaps, brings conviction, stirs up hope, and ultimately effects sustainable change.
It is my prayer that this type of change would happen in the villages of this region of Indonesia. I wonder how this will happen without a clear message of the gospel, and I ask that any believers in these villages would have the boldness and conviction to proclaim the gospel-I doubt there would be a more effective way to reach the others if believers indeed inhabit some or all of the villages. I’m not certain how this will tie in with the training for community-led sanitation that World Relief will likely begin, but I trust that God has a purpose through it all.
I have truly enjoyed the food here-it is mostly a mix of spicy and sweet. So far I have had an avocado chocolate drink on Sunday afternoon; quite spicy Thai spaghetti on Sunday evening with a berry mango smoothie drink; chocolate peanut butter and bread with orange juice for breakfast; fish, rice, crispy rice flatbread, coconut milk with spinach soup and a small orange for lunch on Monday; grilled ocean fish (kakap) with tasty butter sauce and rice on Monday for dinner with a lemon squash; small hot peppers with fried tofu and vegetables, a bright pink jello made with coconut milk, and sweet & crunchy peanuts for morning snack on Tuesday;Â spicy beef chunk with rice, noodles, “snake” fruit, and “sour” (spicy) star fruit & vegetable soup for lunch on Tuesday; rice, vegetables, grilled fish, grilled squid, and sweet shrimp with a lime squash on Tuesday for dinner; and a peanut butter/strawberry jelly sandwich for breakfast this morning.
As much of the food burns with spice, it reminds me of how my sin burns in the presence of a holy God. I desire to be holy, but I am so far away from being there. My heart longs for heaven, but I desire to live that others might see Christ in me and hear of Him through my words. I cannot boast in my presence here in Indonesia, or anywhere else that God places me. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:15-18, “[my] hope is that as [the faith of those who are close to me] increases, [my] area of influence among [them] may be greatly enlarged, so that [I] may preach the gospel in lands beyond [home], without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
“Abba, I know that I need You and a strong group of supporters for what You have impressed upon me. Please grant them and me an amount of faith that brings You alone glory because of our trust and dependence upon You. May we be satisfied in You above all else and enjoy your presence so that we might overflow with Your joy and Your love into lives that You sovereignly place around us.”
Song To Be Titled (written by John on May 2)
Your gift is unexplainable, inexpressible; uncontainable!
I will lift my voice, proclaiming your fame
To the nations, the peoples You place around me.
Lord, an agent of Your grace let me be.
I give You glory, Righteous One;
Seeking Your splendorous Name!
You rule over all with Your steadfast love;
Always and forever You’ll be above!
(based on Psalm 103; 2 Cor. 9:13-15)