a year in review…

I can’t believe I’ve already been here in Jakarta for a whole year! Here are some highlights of the past year…

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love is a VERB…

What I’ve been realizing lately is that love is a VERB. Love is more than a feeling, it is an action—it is going beyond yourself to do something for others. It is sacrificial. It requires something of you…

Love is playing with kids in the poorest communities of Jakarta…

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Love is serving as part of the medical team in the slums of Jakarta…

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Love is working on a nutrition program for kids who live in a trash dump community…

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Love is volunteering every week to play futsal with street kids…

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Love can even be taking the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of ALS….

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Love isn’t just something that involves feelings and roses—because love is doing something beyond yourself. As I reflect on the people I work with here in Jakarta, I am constantly amazed at how they really do treat love as a verb. I am honored to be serving with them side by side.

meet Istra…

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to go to the trash dump community to deliver books to our kindergarten. While I was there I met Istra.

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Istra has lived in the community for about 13 years. As we were chatting she told me that she and her family were one of the three original families that lived there. When they first moved there, their house was bordering a beautiful rice field instead of a trash mountain. It’s hard enough to imagine people moving to live near the trash dump, but I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to see your beautiful view turn into a pile of trash.

IMG_1893People come from all over the Island of Java to work here, she told us. Many of the men who pick through the trash don’t bring their families…but rather commute back to their kampungs (villages) where their families live on national holidays.

Istra has three kids, the youngest of whom attends our morning kindergarten class. While the kindergartners are in class, Istra sits outside with a small cooler selling packets of flavored milk that the kids can buy during their short breaks. In a community that suffers from such malnutrition, this is the best possible item that could be sold outside the school.

IMG_1915I love visiting our different communities and hearing the stories of the people who call it home. 

the symbol of a melting pot…

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As I was on my way to the IFF Retreat in Lombok, I came across this really cool piece of architecture. According to my taxi driver it is the symbol of Lombok. The small building has pieces of each of the five major religions in Indonesia and apparently it represents how Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism can peacefully coexist. I thought it was very symbolic of Indonesian culture, so I thought I would share it with you all.