Dear Pastors and praying friends,
One of the questions that sits in the back of your mind when you move to a foreign country is, ”What do I do when something goes wrong?” How are we supposed to handle those situations which don’t follow our nicely planned script? In the States, there are numbers to call and procedures to follow that we are somewhat familiar with, but how do we handle situations here? For us, the learning curve has to be factored into almost everything we do. A simple trip to get groceries can turn into days’ worth of questions for our language teacher. How to ask for these items, or what is the culturally appropriate way to handle this, and so on.
A few Sundays ago, we didn’t find out till we arrived at church, that the Pastor Gunawan was in the hospital. It was a minor stroke, and even now he is almost fully recovered. We made a visit that afternoon and prayed with him. He and his family have been the biggest help to us, and they would be the ones we would call in a time of need. Something we’ve experienced in the past several years is that God is actively laying out our path before us. He is constantly orchestrating our lives. Just a few hours in to sleep that later night, I awoke with tremendous pain in my abdomen. For some, that’s not unusual in a foreign country but hours later, when I was certain it wasn’t the meal from the night before, I knew something was wrong on the inside. The list of friends we would call were all unavailable. Pastor Gunawan himself was in the hospital across town, so I left for the hospital myself.
I wouldn’t have guessed the blessing appendicitis would turn out to be. It’s the first health issue I’ve ever had. It was my first surgery and overnight stay in a hospital. Through losing a small organ and staying 3 days in the hospital, God taught us so much. The blessings are too many for a letter, but in short I was forced to talk my way through subjects I had never experienced with dozens of different people. God was giving confidence to my wife who worries for our daughter, and showing He can take care of us in Indonesia. He showed us that we have genuine friends when they showed up at the hospital to ask about us. After all this, the pastor asked me to preach for him. So while he was still recovering on the front row, I made a feeble effort to preach my first message in Bahasa. It was terrible, it was embarrassing, but it was a start.
Please pray for us. Pray God would continue helping and giving us grace in the language. Pray for more opportunities to broaden friendships and leverage our lives for the Gospel’s sake. Pray for God to raise up more laborers for Indonesia, from both here and abroad.
To Indonesia with Truth,
Jesse, Faith, and Ava