INDONESIA OR BUST
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
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
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
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
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