Dear friends, can we talk about the photo above? As God would have it, it has a lot to say about our life in 2020. Let me explain…please bear with me, it might be long, but I hope you will feel encouraged.
This photo is the congregation in Jakarta after evening services in the early 1970’s. Steve and Jean are in the back. Brett is front and center (plaid pants), and Lori is on the right (partially hidden in the second row) near Scott, who is holding Eric. As you can imagine, there were quite a few changes for their family, the church in Jakarta, and all around the world in the decades that followed. No one could have ever imagined how the stories that began in the 70’s would connect our lives and the lives of our friends in Indonesia today. But God knew.
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been quite a year in so many ways. No matter where you live, your life has been touched in some way by COVID-19. We pray that it has not been touched by serious illness, but it is possible that it has. Some have lost jobs, some have jobs that became even more busy and stressful. Some have been extremely isolated. The ways in which we have been affected may differ, but we have all seen changes in our world that no one was expecting. But God knew.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14
I know that social media has pros and cons, but one of my (retired) college professors shared something that was very inspiring from a Facebook account called 728b (Our God, He is alive!). While I won’t tell the full story here, it talked about Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, and what Tutu said regarding Mandela’s 27 years in prison. “When people say to me what a waste it was, I say no, it was not a waste. It took 27 years for (Mandela) to be transformed from an angry, unforgiving young radical into an icon of reconciliation, forgiveness, and honor who could go on to lead a country back from the brink of civil war and self-destruction.” We know that the Bible is full of stories like this, where God chooses to let people suffer some pain to produce good fruit. The author states “So what is God doing in 2020? I don’t know, but it feels like he is preparing us for something important. He is winnowing us like wheat. He is calling us through a storm to see who has the courage to answer. He is tempering and hammering some into people of character. I don’t know what God is doing, but I want the faith to be part of it.”
Yes! While our stories might not be written anywhere now, we are part of His story, and while sometimes painful, we know that we win because He won. And while we wait, we love one another and do good works for His glory.
If you haven’t already read the history, it is quite a story. It spans many decades, and involves several families. It is tangible proof that God is watching and leading, and His timing is perfect.
We had exciting plans for 2020 that had to be put on hold. We are hopeful that we will be able to implement those in 2021, and praying that God will allow that to happen. You see, we keep reminding ourselves that this mission is not just about us and what we can accomplish through our own efforts. God has been working on this story for a long time, and all of the plot twists don’t surprise Him like they surprise us. So, we keep hoping and praying and working toward the same things that we have been, because we know that He has a plan for us, for Indonesia, the world, and Jochebed’s Hope.
Check back here in our stories for more about the relationships God has blessed us with through our time in Indonesia and Jochebed’s Hope.