An Introduction of Sorts
An Introduction of Sorts
Hello! I’ve never written a newsletter before and don’t really know how to begin one, but I feel like some sort of introduction is in order. I’m Hutton, Scott and Tracey’s son, and I’ve just begun my senior year at Lipscomb University. As many of you know, I spent two months this summer in Southeast Asia; I was on the island of Nias for the majority of that time, with a short, week-long excursion to visit some of our friends in Singapore—a trip that was also necessary to renew my Indonesian visa exemption. In all honesty, I’ve been putting off writing this newsletter because I don’t know what to say. Thinking back over my time there, I have the same thought I remember having the first time I rode in the car through the city of Gunungsitoli, coming from the airport: two months is a really long time. Many things happened. Preconceived notions and false expectations that I didn’t even realize I had were destroyed within the first few days, leaving me fearful and discouraged; then God went to work building experiences and relationships more beautiful than anything I could have designed or accomplished myself. By His grace, my time was nothing like that which I had planned it to be; it was so much better.
Having now been back in the United States for over a month, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to talk about my experience with many people, and each time I’ve been asked the same question (understandably so): What did you do there? Similar to this question’s cousin, which I was often asked before my trip (What are you going to do there?), the answer isn’t as straightforward as one might hope or expect, but I’d like to share it with you all to the best of my ability. In short, I did many things. I assembled bunk beds and painted a small portion of a wall. I helped cook meals (if dumping spices into a pan or pulling stems off peppers counts as helping), and I went to the market regularly (I love going to the fish markets. I even made some friends there.). Most importantly, I filled the essential role of jungle-gym on a daily basis.
All that and much more considered though, the most fulfilling and most important thing I did was build relationships. Whether joking and laughing with the kids or getting to know the wonderful individuals who serve on our staff there, the best part of each of my memories is the people with whom I shared it. I tried to serve them in any way I could; I don’t know if any of them realize how much they impacted me.
The Happenings and the Goings-On
According to God’s planning, I happened to be around during a time of some major transitions for the foundation. Likely the most significant event of the summer took place at the end of June when we moved the children’s home into the city, away from its original location in a village about 30 minutes away. There are many benefits to this transition. The children’s home is now on the same property as the church that everyone affiliated with our foundation attends; previously, there was a separate church on the old children’s home property that was too remote for many people to come. The children are now part of a much larger church family. The new location is also within walking distance of the three dormitories and is situated close to the different markets from which we buy food and other necessities. This is particularly helpful for our staff, both in terms of facilitating communication with one another and fulfilling their responsibilities as they care for the children. The new facilities are also an improvement on the old. In preparation for the move, we converted a would-be-unused building into an extra bathroom for the boys, installed a special dishwashing space in the kitchen, and made some repairs to the bedrooms.
All that is wonderful, but I believe the greatest benefits of moving the children come from the schools they’re now able to attend. Many of the children in our program excel in their classrooms; during my time there, three of them won awards for their test scores—one of them as 2nd in her grade (Rini), one them as 1st in his grade (Risi, pictured above), and one of them as 1st in the school (Natan). While it was wonderful to see them succeed, it was also evident that they weren’t receiving great instruction; even some of the children commented that their teachers were not very active. I was able to visit the new schools in the city several times, and I’m excited that our students are now enrolled in them. It was clear that the headmaster of the elementary-level school takes her role very seriously, and the middle school-level students now have the opportunity to take classes that weren’t even offered previously, like computer skills courses and higher level English. It was fun to talk to them as they started at their new schools just before I left for home. They were daunted some days, but also determined; I would walk by their bedrooms after dinner and see them studying in groups.
Knowing that better instruction sometimes means more difficult classes, we’re doing everything we can to support the students as they adapt to their new schools. Before I left, we bought English-Indonesian dictionaries, notebooks and other supplies, sports equipment for their new PE classes, and hymnals for their religion courses, in addition to new uniforms and shoes for those who needed them. On top of that, Scott has been raising money these last few weeks to buy a few computers during his trip in October so that the students can print assignments, do online homework, and practice the computer skills they learn in their new classes. These are exciting developments, and I’m excited for more opportunities to support our students as they progress through a high quality education.
Sampai bertemu lagi
(til we meet again)
I think that’s about all I’ve got for now! I feel honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to spend my summer on Nias with so many wonderful people, and I hope to continue to be involved in the work there moving forward. Maybe you’ll hear from me again! Until then, thank you for your continued prayer and support for Jochebed’s Hope. I hope you know that the Lord is doing incredible things through you and all others participating in this work, for His glory and the good of His children.
*All operating costs are covered by designated funding. 100% of your donation goes to supporting those whom we serve in Indonesia. If you prefer to make a donation by mail, please send to: Jochebed’s Hope, PO Box 1881, Fremont, NE 68026