On the 19th of July Suzanne and I walked outside of the airport and spend 10 minutes bargaining with a guy to take us to our hotel, I immediately felt the familiar welcome of Indonesia. We spent a day in Kuta and then we were off to my favorite island in the whole entire world: Nusa Lembongan.
This past year I have been anxiously awaiting the moment I stepped off the slow boat from Bali and onto the beautiful beach of Nusa Lembongan. Last year I spent an amazing 14 days on the island. During this time I had built so many relationships and have committed to praying for the island and the people who live on it. However, the main reason I was so exited to go back was to see a family I became very close to last year. There names are Eka (dad), Nyoman (wife), Eka (son) and Sumi (daughter). God specifically put Sumi on my heart, and this past year I spent so much time thinking about her and praying for her anticipating the day I would get back to Nusa Lembongan.
So as soon as we settled in at Bungalow Agungs (where I got to see all my friends that work there which was really cool), I started walking over to Sumi’s village. When I got there I found a fancy new resort in it’s place. I’m not really sure what I felt that moment. The past year I was so excited for this moment when I would finally get to see Sumi again but she wasn’t where I had always known her to be. I was really upset, but at the same time I felt like maybe somehow her village was still there. So I went back and waited for Kristina to come to the island with Surfing the Nations so that she could ask around in Indonesian where Sumi and her family may be.
So when Kristina got here she asked around and the Indonesians told her that they had moved and told her a rough estimate as to where they could be living now. I knew I wasn’t just going to leave Nusa without at least trying to find Sumi and her family. So, Kristina drew me a map, then Suzanne and I rented a motor bike and went off to explore the island and go search for Sumi.
When we got to the area where Kristina said they may be living we stopped and asked some older ladies if they may know the family. I brought out a picture that had about a dozen kids in it and Sumi’s head really small in the background. I was showing the ladies and they just waved me off saying they didn’t understand English. Then they started pointing at a guy passing by on a motor bike and I waved him down for help. He got down and told us his name was Donnie, I was so excited to hear that he spoke English. I explained my situation to Donnie, showed him the picture of sumi, and asked him if he could help. He said yes he would help and told us to follow him to a village where he thought they may be living. So we got back on the motor bike and followed Donnie.
When we got to the village he showed the picture to some locals and kept asking in Indonesian if they knew a family with the names Sumi, Eka, Eka, or Nyoman. No one had ever heard of them. So after about 10 minutes of trying to talk with them we got back on the motor bike and Donnie took us to another village. We did the whole routine over again and still no one had heard of them. So then again, we got back on the motor bike and Donnie took us to another village. Donnie told my story in Indonesian and showed my tiny picture of Sumi’s head, and again no one had heard of them. At this point, Suzanne was pretty certain we weren’t going to find them, and I will admit I was a little worried, but I was relentless. I would not give up. So instead of driving to any more villages Donnie started to make some phone calls to people he knew. He called a few friends, no one had heard of them. Then he called the local teacher in the area and she even didn’t know of a sumi. I could tell everyone was getting over it and was about to give up, when Donnie made one more phone call and one of his friends said she knew of a Sumi in a near by village. So we hopped back on our motor bikes and went to investigate.
We were driving and when Donnie was pulling up to the place we were going to stop I was looking down and spotted two girls washing clothes. I looked a little harder and realized one of them was Sumi! I jumped off that motorbike so fast and ran to her screaming SUMI!!! When she looked up and realized who I was she said EMILY and went to hug me. I was hugging her and crying and so happy to see her. I started talking to her in English so fast telling her how I looked everywhere for her and almost didn’t find her. She just looked at me not understanding anything so in the end I just smiled and hugged her.
Then I asked if I could go see her family. She led me to her village and as soon as I turned the corner I saw Nyoman and Eka and they yelled EMILY! I was elated. Eka was holding a chicken like he always was and Nyoman was tying fishing wire. Little Eka was flying a kite and came over to say hello as well. They came over and hugged me, then Sumi ran inside to grab pictures of me and her from last year. For the past year that I hadn’t seen them I was so worried that they would have forgotten about me, so to see that they still had the pictures I had given them really touched my heart.
I went over to their little hut made out of woven leaves, brought out my Indonesian book and tried communicating with them for awhile. They told me that the seaweed was better for farming where they are located now, and that their business was good. Sumi and Eka are in school and Sumi is now 13! After we had talked for a little bit I brought out a bag of donations for the family and they were so thankful. Sumi’s family has NEVER expected anything from me and everytime I give them something they are so grateful. I had brought Sumi new underwear, bras, a purse, a notebook, crayons, slippers, and some of my old clothes. Little Eka I bought new boardshorts, some guys hand me downs, a notebook, crayons. Then for Nyoman and Eka I brought clothes and boardshorts. And of course I tied bracelets on everyone. =]
Then it came time to say goodbye. I hugged everyone told them I wouldn’t forget them. Then Sumi looked at me and said, “Sumi ingat Emily.” This phrase brought tears to my eyes because it means “Sumi will remember Emily”.
When me and Suzanne got back on the motor bike I couldn’t help but sit in awe of how great the God I serve is, and how lucky I am to be a daughter of the most high. I went out on a motorbike with Suzanne not knowing any English, or any other villages on Nusa Lembongan besides the normal one I stay at. Not only did I find Sumi, but God provided Donnie who was an amazing guide and translator. Then I found her on the side of the rode when we were about to give up. God knew my heart because he gave me the connection to this family so how could I ever doubt that he would bring me back to them. Eka gave me his phone number before I left, which I have now passed on to my friend Kristina who is an Indonesian missionary to Nusa Lembongan. She will now be going down to Sumi’s village to give english lessons and teach the Bible. I’m so excited about this because I really want them to start to hear the gospel. So now I am committed to this family. God has placed them in my life for a reason and I am determined to find a way back to Indonesia and have them remain in my life for years to come. I see Sumi as my little Indonesian sister and I have a dream to one day be able to communicate with her and help her accomplish whatever her dream may be. Whether it’s going to university, seeing Hawai’i, or becoming the best seaweed farmer in Lembongan I want to help her make it happen. Please pray for Nyoman, Eka, Eka, and Sumi! Thank you God for that family and for placing them in my life, AND for always taking me on adventures. =] Amen