By Cathy Wootton

Please join me for breakfast. Why not try chicken porridge? Hey there are three varieties of bread to toast, white bread, pink bread (strawberry they call it) and a green slice—have your pick! You can also try sweet corn with chocolate sprinkles. This buffet breakfast has it all. Load up with fresh papaya and watermelon and we can try any variety of fried rice or sautéed vegetables, even chicken sausages, an ample supply. I'm getting hooked on hot milk as a morning starter.

I went to the college this morning and what a warm bunch. They try so hard to communicate via the language barrier yet their eager smiles and fervent handshakes really say it all. If I presumed any missionary aura before, one morning with these students is a reality check. You would have choked up together with me to hear them read entire chapters from the book of Daniel in loud enthusiasm, women, then men, in unison, verse after verse.

I might not understand any words but "Hallelujah" but who would not want to join into their enthusiasm. Even the babes in arms receive and bless us. Oh, I did see one little guy who became impatient with the "take another picture" scene, broke free and loudly kicked over several chairs until captured. He'll be just the one who will be the fearsome leader one day. Can you believe that to show their appreciation, they gave both Dave and I four (yes four) pieces of cake in a paper bowl! And Dave is diabetic. Just the day before, this man who never seems to get sick, began to look very green. "Quick, toilet please". He seems fine now.

These students continue to amaze us with their sheer enthusiasm and spontaneous bear hugs. Felt a bit sorry for some who would doze off, but 5 hours of continual class time (even with breaks) can become a little much if you've been up at 4 am, their regular wake up call.

Every day is an adventure. I guess I expose my travel naivety when I admit my flabbergasted response at a landscape sharing endless colossal monster buildings, luscious green foliage, and "hole in the wall" wee businesses. Wouldn't you love to travel these fine highways? Thing is you'd have to settle for grandma speed at 15 mph for endless miles, complete with "learn patience" bottle necks. No problem checking your cell phone or having a conference call while you wait to move one more inch with two inches to spare between the cars or motor bikes on either side.

I have seen only one burka, but most wear lovely face hugging shawls, symbolic modesty of the culture. Wonder how that fits with the "how did she squeeze into those jeans" look? Ah, youth will find a way.

Our new friends scurry like ants to get "one more picture please", then just when your face begins to twitch from smiling, one or two or three more scurry forward, "me too, please". Then the warm kiss on one cheek and then the other. They are such a happy culture with constant good humour. Our translators, while we can’t understand it, appear to add a local spin. Why hilarious laughter? The evident love between AIM president, David Robbins, who visits Asia frequently and these people speaks loudly of "love in any language".

We visited another school an hour or so away through more gridlock traffic. Things have been tough. Political and religious tension, internal struggles— attendance down from 1500 students to maybe 350 with some of the buildings appearing as remains from a war zone. Their motto—faithful—was mirrored in the face of these amazing leaders who seek to stay put and serve. One teacher spontaneously took his tribal scarf from his neck and placed it around mine. These are our brothers and sisters, pain etched on their faces. Join with us in prayer as the school's founder is embroiled in a complicated legal battle where no one seems to know or discern wisdom's path.

We are humbled. How can one cross a language barrier and respond to "pray please" to the Moslem woman wanting to know Jesus but her husband does not. What about the student who was evidently struggling with tears when part of sharing was a plea, "do not allow the seed of envy or resentment to grow in your hearts". We are very desirous to always point to Jesus, the "author and perfecter of our faith". Imagine Dave, in one hour, covering the entire book of Hebrews on the sufficiency of Christ. That is why we are here. Thank you again for your prayers.

Swimming in the rain—try it—especially if it's an outdoor pool in balmly Jakarta. There'll be no luxurious pool when we fly to Kolkata tomorrow. Yet we can't wait to meet old friends. Maybe Dave will even get his hair cut on the street by the same barber.

Until next time/Cathy and Dave

Dave & Cathy Wootton are volunteers serving for two months in Asia with AIM. The above report is an edited compilation of journal entries from their time in Indonesia where they taught at several Bible Schools and spoke at an AIM Leadership Seminar with AIM President, David Robbins.

March 8, 2019
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2019