Thursday, July 1, 2010

Week 4 in Jakarta / Goodbyes

Puji Tuhan! (Praise God!) Terima kasih untuk doa-doa kamu! (Thank you for your prayers!)

We had a fantastic last week of CI in Jakarta, Indonesia teaching the kids about “Berkat Tuhan” (The Blessings of God). I was a leader last week, and I was blessed to have Mr. Jaedon as my assistant, Miss Lina as our terrific translator, and a team of nine energetic kids! All of the kids on our team came from church backgrounds and more affluent families. Half of our kids were very well behaved, but I am sorry to say that the other half of the kids were the most spoiled kids I have ever taught in my life.

I soon learned that teaching spoiled kids drains my energy quickly, because each kid needs individual attention. Trying to explain to kids who are already so set in their selfishness that they needed to do kind and selfless things was like fighting a losing battle. But there were a few times when I was honored to see a kid take a small step in the right direction, and I rejoice that God is still at work in shaping their lives.

One day we were making bookmarks during craft time. After our 6-year-old-girl finished her bookmark, she wanted another one. Even though each kid should only get one bookmark, Mr. Jaedon gave her a second one. She then decided that she must have a third bookmark. I explained to her that each kid only gets one bookmark (and she had already gotten one more than she should have). If after ALL the kids had made their bookmarks and there were extras, I would give her a third bookmark. (I did not give her what she wanted, not because of the bookmark, but because she needed to learn that she can't always have everything that she wants.) She got so angry because she wanted one RIGHT NOW. So she sulked through the rest of craft time and cried through the whole lesson (about 30 minutes). When she realized that whining wasn't going to get her what she wanted, she forcefully took her older sister's bookmark. So Miss Lina and I took the 2 girls aside. We explained that just because she wanted it, that didn't mean that she had the right to steal someone else's bookmark. After almost 15 minutes of explaining and waiting, she finally gave in and returned her sister's bookmark. I was so proud of her for making the choice to do what is right. (It turned out later that there were extra bookmarks, so I was able to give all our kids another bookmark. You can imagine how happy she was!)

Pheeew! That is why teaching spoiled kids is so draining: it takes so much time, energy, and attention to help just one kid take one small step in the right direction. I have so many more stories of other situations and other kids from this past week, but to tell them all would take too long.

Even though this week was so hard, I thank God for this experience. I know that He is developing patience in me, and I pray that He will use what we have taught the kids this week to teach them good character and grow them closer to Him. Please join us as we continue to pray that God would change the hearts of each of these kids and that He would also give their parents wisdom to train up their kids in God's truth.


Our team of CI teachers spent the next few days debriefing, sharing what God has been teaching us this month, and enjoying our last few days together as a team.

On Monday we all said our teary goodbyes, parted ways, and returned to our respective countries (USA, Singapore, and Malaysia). A month ago, we came together as a group of strangers, but now we part as very dear friends. I praise God so much for the work that He has done in each of us. God has put so much love in my heart for each one of you that I could never find the time and words to write it all out in your memory books. I am so proud of each and every member of our team for enduring through the trials that God has placed in front of you. I am confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun this good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ!

Your fellow servant of Christ,

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