This is day ten of traveling and so much has happened in such a short time! When I think of all the people we have already encountered I’m blown away. I could have written an individual blog for each day so far! But I will try to summarize all the individual stories!
We left on June 22 and our first flight was to Narita Japan where we would then have to catch a connecting flight to Singapore (we are flying stand-by) then buy an individual ticket to Bali. Suz and I were late checking in at the airport because our ride was late dropping us off. So initially we had seats in first class and were then demoted to coach. However, Malia was in first class and we could see next to her our empty seats. We asked the flight attendant if we could move up since the seats were still empty and he said no but he would let us once the meal service was over, but he never came to get us. So Malia went up to ask him again if we could move up and he sat there and said, “When I’m ready I’ll get your friends.” But he never came for us! Suzanne and I were so confused as to why he wasn’t following through with his word. Towards the end of the flight one of the attendants just kept talking and talking to us, wanting to know about our travels. Eventually he asked if we could send him a postcard from Bali and he would send us one from Morocco. We quickly came up with an excuse because we didn’t want to give him our personal information but then I asked if there was anything we could pray for him for while we were traveling. He looked at us, thought about it for a second and said,”Yes, for the will to do what is right.” Then began to share some of his struggles and his heart with us. Before we got off the plane he asked us if we would really be praying for him and of course we said yes, and then he responded with, “Ok when I’m praying and I feel something different I’ll know it’s from your prayers.” Amen. We hadn’t even landed yet and the intentionality and adventure had already begun.
When we arrived in Japan our next flight next flight to Singapore was full. This meant we would be spending the next 24 hours (actually ended up being 30!) in the Narita airport! We began looking up the flights for the next several days to Singapore and they were all overbooked with large stand-by list. This did not look good. So we began to think up creative new options. As we were doing this in the little wifi hotspot a local Japanese boy and girl came up to us. They explained that they were from the Red Cross and were making a video to inspire support for Tsunami victims in Japan and encourage those affected that foreigners had not forgotten about them. They asked if they could film us saying whatever we wanted to encourage the tsunami victims. I was so stoked on this idea and immediately let them roll the cameras! With a smile on my face I had the opportunity to tell Japan how much Jesus loved them and was there for them! What an amazing opportunity especially since there were so many people in the airport but they chose us to be filmed! God had a reason for our 30 hour layover! After filming we figured out our next move and booked tickets to Thailand because standby flights there were much cheaper! So we got on the plane and were ready for a COMPLETELY unexpected Bangkok adventure!
The next morning when we woke up in Thailand we decided to start having intentional prayer meetings each morning. We would each spend our own hour with God then an hour together. After our meeting that morning we all felt so empowered and went out to see what God had for us in Bangkok! When we got off the train Suz and I went into the salon where she had gotten her hair cut a year ago and the lady Sudah remembered us immediately! It was so cool to reconnect with her! As we were leaving we walked a few steps and this guy with a Tuk Tuk offered to drive us around Bangkok for 30 baht (1 dollar, split three ways!) that was a ridiculously cheap price so we agreed. Malia and I were having so much fun laughing and enjoying it but Suz had a really weird feeling about it so we all began to pray as we were driving. Shortly after I noticed our driver, Watana, had a hurt arm. We all three decided we would pray over him when we got out. So when our ride was almost done we asked him if we could pray for healing over his arm (he had been in a motorbike accident) he agreed. All three of us laid hands on him and began to ask God’s kingdom to flood his arm. Suz specifically prayed for healing of his heart. By the end of the prayer he was teary eyed and thankful. Although we did not see immediate healing we pray for him daily and know that God did something in his heart. When we were saying our goodbyes he offered to lower the price even more (which is UNHEARD of in Asia) but we chose to just bless him. We think that when Suzanne was feeling bad in the tuk tuk it was her discerning the healing that Watana needed. Our time in Thailand was just beginning!
Later that day we stumbled into a little hole in the wall market shop and began talking with the owner. Her name was Niraya and she was SO JOYFUL! Malia felt strongly to pray for her and so again we all three laid our hands on her and began to pray for Jesus to fill her up and make himself known to her and for increase of joy. After we were done praying she offered us to come back the following day and she would buy us Lychee, sadly we never made it! But we are going back to Thailand after August 2 and I’m praying we get to see her again!
Two days later we finally made it to Bali and I felt like I was home. Suzanne and I immediately fell back into our laughing, relational, joking ways with the locals and I was filled with so much joy! However, our first day there we were so tired we ended up sleeping for 14 hours! When we woke up in the morning we began walking around the markets and seeing all of our friends. I felt ALIVE! Our friend Mika stopped working to take us to see our friend Pola and we all spent the afternoon walking around and talking. I felt like they were my normal friends, we were laughing and joking around as if it hadn’t been a year since we last saw each other, and even a year ago I had only spoken with them for maybe an hour! Pola took us to her house to see her baby and we spent the next two hours hearing about her life style. She is the sole provider for her husband and baby. She only makes $15 a day working ten hours a day. Her rent is $45 a month she spends $5 a day on Hindu ceremony rituals and her babys milk is $7 for a week. This isn’t even including a motorbike payment, food and other necessities. Two days before we came she had to take out a loan to buy her baby, Brandon, formula. Suzanne and I were able to bless her by buying her two weeks worth of formula and we creatively provided for her by ordering all our bracelets we needed to have made in bali (I had 52 orders Suz and the other girls had more than 20). It was a really cool way to be able to sow into her business, and meet a need instead of giving a handout. We have continued to meet up with her for the past few days and despite her hardships she is one of the most joyful Indonesians I have met.
Mika is another amazing girl. She is 17 years old and has been working 15 hour days since she was 13. When I look at her I see so much beauty. I want her to live the best life possible, whatever that may look like to her, and walk in her identity knowing how much worth she has. I seriously love that girl and can start seeing the beginnings of a strong bond between me and her. Please pray for me to be able to encourage and call out her beauty. We were all able to pray over both Pola and Mika and continue to pray for them daily during our quiet times and meetings.
Nick is another friend I have had for three years who I got to see on my first second day back in Bali and I actually got to surf with him the following day! He is even letting me borrow his surf board the whole time I am in Bali! This was a huge blessing because I do not really have the money to rent one but it is a desire of mine to surf! He told me, “You always bring me presents I can at least let you ride my ride!”
Our team has spent the past four days at the Bali surf house living in a communitz of awesome full time missionaries! I have felts so refreshed, rested and blessed here! I was able to surf every morning and we had worship night, family dinner nights and awesome conversations. Please pray for the missionaries on staff at the house!
The reason I do short term, relational missions and continue to come back to the same place year after year is finally all starting to make sense to me. I could always feel the yearning and desire in my heart but now I am starting to physically be able to see the fruit from it. The people we meet are just crying out for friendship. If I meet and intentionally talk with someone in Indonesia for 15 minutes they still remember me a year later, even though they see millions of tourist between now and them. People want to feel loved, feel desired, feel accepted, feel wanted, feel like they are full of worth because that is how God created them to be. That is their true identity and it has just been forgotten. We are here to encourage, inspire and show them just how much they are worth. Please pray that I am able to see them the way God sees them!
It’s only been ten days! One month left in Bali then five more in Thailand! The adventure has literally just begun!
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply from the heart.”
-1 Peter 1:22