During my latest trip to Indonesia, I was privileged to form many wonderful relationships. The people of Indonesia are so friendly, hospitable, and generous. My way of thinking and seeing has shifted through each personal experience of getting to know individuals for who they truly are, and not the countries they come from. I realize that in the world we live in it is so easy to build up walls and have preconceived ideas about others.
// six cups of tea //
After dinner one evening, our translator invited us to visit some of his friends in their home. My friend and I didn’t know who we were going to visit or what it would look like, we just knew that our translator wanted us to share something to encourage them. We prayed during the car ride over and some verses came to mind about loving God and loving your neighbour; That the love they have for one another would be a testimony of their love for God.
We arrived at the house close to seven thirty and all of us stood outside as our translator knocked on the door. A young woman opened it with a big smile and a warm greeting, inviting us into the home and introducing us to everyone inside. After a few minutes, we were all sitting on the floor drinking tea. In the room was a mixture of people, everyone with a different story and experience to tell.
A young woman expecting her first child with her husband at home, not wanting her to know about Jesus or to read the Bible. The bright smiling girl who welcomed us in was receiving threats from roommates at school because of her change in beliefs. A 19-year-old boy, who two months earlier was threatening his own sister for reading the Bible and meeting with followers of Jesus. And our translator — a man in is fifties who seemed to be like a father figure to everyone. We were unaware of these dynamics at play in their lives before walking in the door, but we were ready to encourage them in any way we could. Our translator asked me to share the Bible verses we got on our way to visit.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
[ John 13:34-35 ]
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”
[ Acts 1:8 ]
// moving forward together //
A few questions came up right away which sparked a long conversation between the three locals in the room and our translator. My friend and I couldn’t understand what they were saying but we knew it was important from their body language. Every now and again our translator would pause the conversation to fill us in and ask us to pray while they continued talking. One of the things that really impacted me from this time was the genuine willingness of each person to face their difficult circumstances together. Our translator encouraged them a lot and committed to stand with them throughout their trials — he even told the girl who was having a hard time at school that he would talk to her headmaster. After leaving this home, I had a few things on my mind.
I like that every one of us has a place in God’s plan and in God’s love.
I like that in a simple way we can testify and be a witness of this love.
I like that we were able to sit and drink tea and share together.
I keep thinking about the love of God and how things are different when we love each other.
// love one another //
We met these three lovely men and women for one evening and I don’t know if we will ever have the opportunity to meet them again, but what I do know and believe is that they can encourage and pray for one another.
God is there and everywhere.