Our first trip, we went directly to Jakarta where Daniel was waiting at the airport. Before we reached him, we were inundated by hopeful taxi drivers needing a customer. “No thank you”, we said as we walked by. We knew we stood out among the sea of brown faces with dark eyes and dark hair. Scott grew up here for eight years of his childhood, but I was feeling unsettled in this unfamiliar place. Outside the baggage claim, we found Daniel, the local preacher whom we help support. We were greeted with enthusiastic smiles and handshakes, offers of help with our bags, and a ride to his home, which houses both the church worship area and a children’s home. Daniel speaks English to us, but when we arrive at his home, everyone else speaks only Indonesian. It doesn’t matter, however. We are greeted with smiles, handshakes, and hugs by Daniel’s wife, Naomi and the hired help who assist her in caring for the children. They show us to our room, which thankfully has a window air conditioning unit. We are thankful as it is hot—tropical! And in the rest of the house, there is no air conditioning, and the doors and windows are open.
I was able to make my first trip to Indonesia in 2011. It was with great anticipation that I made my first international trip, but I really had no idea what to expect. Before the completion of the 23 hours of flight time, not including connections and airport layovers, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be worth it. What can we DO that will make this worth the time and expense of making such a trip? And I’m so tired already!
For anyone who has not been to a third world country, I would like to describe a bit of what I/we experienced in that first trip, and in the trips that followed, because I believe without a doubt that it was, and is, worth it. Beyond the numbers and the factual information that we want a supporter to be aware of, I think that what we want to share and give every effort to explain, is what it is really like to BE THERE.
At first, I was somewhat nervous. I am an outsider here, a minority. We were treated politely, but it was different than being at home. The signs in the airport were in a language I didn’t understand. What am I doing here?