We were lead by Paul Beeston from Compassion Australia. The team were an impressive bunch of people. It was a privilege to spend time with them, see them in action and share lots of laughs.
Back: Andy, Justin, Jen, Paul, Colin, Riley & Tom.
Front: Tom, Me, Sam, Jon & Michael.
Absent: Marcus (Visiting his sponsor child)
I’m almost at the end of this series of pictures/posts from my recent trip to Indonesia. Stay tuned…
Jesus loves kids. Compassion loves kids. Kids in Indonesia now love Jesus because of Compassion’s love “In Jesus’ Name”. What precious work!
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16 NIV)
Vicky’s family were given critical support by Compassion after a typhoon ripped the roof off their house two years ago. It was a privilege to be welcomed into his home and see how Compassion has restored their home and loved this family.
One framed photo stood out on their wall. It was an Italian couple: Antonella and Roberto, Vicky’s sponsors.
When asked if he had received any letters from them, he dashed around to his bed and pulled out a precious tin box. Proudly he presented the letters he’d received from his generous friends from Europe.
A consistent message from Compassion staff and kids in the projects is that letters make a difference.
We met a veteran letter translator in the Compassion office. She passionately pleaded with us to write letters and encourage other sponsors to write letters.
We’ve got 2 sponsor children in Swaziland, Bandzille and Silungilie. We regularly pray for them but have been pretty slack in writing letters. The plan? Start writing to them. We want to share our lives, share our hope in Jesus and let them know we love them and are praying for them.
At #KYCK2013 I urged young crew from 1 John 3 to see that LOVE IS NOT OPTIONAL in our response to God’s love shown in Christ Jesus.
Check it: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18 NIV)
Christians must love their brothers and sisters in Christ. This happens as we meet the needs of those local to us.
As I have met Indonesian brothers and sisters living in poverty, I’m convinced that as those with means (98% of Aussies) our love ought to also reach out more globally.
So many Christians around the world have so little. We (rich Aussies) have so much. Our means can actually release a child from poverty.
Manado was hot and humid, thirst-inducing weather! The water in taps is sketchy so I had about 8 bottles of water a day. (Side note: so much plastic dumped and in waterways!) Water is cheap for rich westerners, it works out at about 10cents per bottle.
Each drink reminded me of the gap between home and East Indo and the need to continue to find ways to provide suitable water.
We saw some of the wells that Compassion have provided and also communities in desperate need of a water source.
I’ve done some water projects with Compassion in India and Uganda in the last few years. If you’re interested in doing a one off project like this, do it, it’s worthwhile. Check out http://www.compassion.com.au for info.
The cool thing with all that Compassion do is that it’s centred on Christ. They point to THE Source of water and THE water never leave you thirsty.
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13, 14 NIV)
My ability to speak in Bahasa Indonesian is limited. It means that conversations with kids who have limited English is always going to be with a limited vocab.
From previous work with kids with limited English (in Vanuatu) I worked out a phrase – JESUS IS NUMBER ONE – that was useful in verbal communication.
YESUS NOMOR SATU was a phrase I used lots of times with kids (and adults) that I met.
Here’s why I like it:
It’s simple and fun
It’s verbal and visual (one finger in air)
It’s an opportunity to speak joyfully about Jesus
Manado is a city where there is a large number of people who profess to be Christian. It means it is easy for the next generation to assume the gospel. I think the speaking of the supremacy of Christ is one way of, from even a young age, helping young people put Jesus ahead of anything that might compromise their discipleship.
On our second last day I was talking to a local lady who had very good English. She asked me how much Indonesian I knew, I said not much and then gave the YESUS NOMOR SATU phrase. She said ‘he’s more than number one, he’s the one and only!!’ She then tried to teach me to say that in Indo. I struggled. She said my phrase was good enough :)
Andy and Tom, from Compassion Australia, have been capturing this trip on camera and film.Colin (and Riley) have been followed for most of the time, but we’ve all had opportunities on camera formally and informally.
I’ve been really impressed with the skill of Andy and Tom in what they’ve captured, their thoughtful questions and how they’re telling the story.
I’m looking forward to the documentary and different vids coming out afterwards.
#CompassionINDO @CompassionAU “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58:6-12 NIV)
Manado is a busy city, there’s a bit of tourism, but mostly locals. Of those who are tourists, we’ve only seen a handful of other Western looking people.
It means that even walking to the shops is almost a celebrity event! It helps when one of our team members – Sam – is about 9 feet tall! The locals are very friendly and enjoy practising their English while we practise our Bahasa Indonesian.
We regularly pose for photos in town (away from the Compassion projects) with random people.
Riley, our youngest team member, has been asked a number of times if he is Justin Bieber!! He is winning when it comes to posing-for-requested photos count.
Today I met Jun. He’s a cool 12 year old kid. I enjoyed hanging out and getting to know him. Like me, his favourite sport is soccer. We had fun beat boxing and making up songs about how Jesus is Number One!
Jun lives in Surawet, North Sulawesi with his mum, dad and brother. He is part of the Compassion project in his area. Unfortunately he no longer has a sponsor.
His father is a rural worker, but work is seasonal. It mean his family lives on $25 a month.
A Compassion sponsorship for Jun would be an incredible support to his family and Jun continuing in the program.
Do you have a sponsor child? If not, prayerfully consider sponsoring Jun. It’s only $44 a month.
Interested? Let me know ASAP and I can line it up.
Sometimes Christians unhelpfully put evangelism (sharing the good news of Jesus) and mercy ministries (caring for the sick, sad & suffering) on opposing ends of a spectrum.
In one of our team meetings someone suggested that it’s like cutting a baby in half. Implication, we do both… So don’t cut the baby in half! We love people by proclaiming the death & resurrection of Jesus AND by loving people practically.
Sometimes organisations like Compassion are critiqued for not sharing the good news of Jesus, only on about the physical and not the spiritual.
The evidence on the ground is that the good news of Jesus is central to the work of Compassion and the communities they work with.
On Thursday we visited a Child Survival Program (CSP). It’s a program where mothers are supported from pre-birth until their child is 3. We had the privilege of sitting in on one of their weekly meetings and hearing some of their stories.
It was kind of like a noisy women’s bible study. It included: a bible reading; singing; Jesus-centred preaching; prayer; a call to turn from superstition by coming to God in prayer and seeking medical care; partnership through financial giving; eating food.
If it was only about physical support, most of those things would have been unnecessary.
But lives are being impacted now and for eternity.
Visiting communities impacted by the generosity of Compassion supporters has been a privilege. One of the things that has stood out has been the gratitude shown among children and their families. They know that they have been shown grace and mercy.
Knowing the grace we’ve been shown by Jesus also shapes how we ought to show grace and mercy toward others.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV)
One of the things that was clear in Compassion HQ is their desire to partner with churches in local communities in caring for those in need. This has become even clearer after visiting a number of projects.
It means that, while Compassion has a good name, it’s not about Compassion’s name. The individual churches are the store front for the real care that is taking place in Jesus’ name.
The churches are central to the holistic care received by children in the project. Families are able to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually.
(The pic is of a welcome dance/song at the Ekklesia church and project… It was awesome!)
On Wednesday we visited the East Indonesia Compassion HQ in Manado. Visiting an office might sound boring, but it wasn’t! It really was an amazing privilege to meet the incredibly godly people on the ground in East Indo.
I was struck by the systems, processes, accountability and how each staff member knew their role within the whole. What this means is that when money is provided by donors, you can be confident that it is being spent wisely, with precision and genuinely helping children.
Compassion East Indonesia currently has 39,000 children within their projects but only 30,000 have sponsors.
Prayerfully consider becoming a sponsor of one of the other 9,000 kids. Only $44 a month. See www.compassion.com.au for more info. It’s worth it!