to eastern Indonesia I go…part 1 (the journey)

     Since coming to Indonesia two years ago I have been talking with Korry (my housemate and my Indonesian sister) about visiting the Maluku Islands, where she is originally from. When the opportunity to take a team from IES there for a building and kids outreach trip, we both jumped at the chance to join! The trip went above and beyond anything I could have expected.
     The trip can be broken up into roughly three parts – the journey, the village, and the return. Over the next three posts I will share each part of the experience.
Seram 2015 – Part 1: The Journey
     The journey to Seram began at 11pm when our team met at the airport to check in and then  board our midnight flight to Ambon island. One thing I learned very quickly about our team, is that they were definitely a photo-friendly crowd…we stopped for pictures about every 10 minutes through the airport, hahaha.
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     After a four hour flight (which surprisingly left early from Jakarta), we landed bright and early in Ambon, where we ate a quick breakfast and boarded a speed boat for our 2 hour ride across the water to Seram Island, where we would be serving for the next week.
IMG_4456     Having gotten very little sleep the night before due to the crazy plane schedule, the whole team fell asleep almost the moment we sat down in our seats on the boat…with a short wake-up time to go to the deck in the front of the ship and get some good pictures and fresh sea air.
     When the boat docked in Amahai, Seram, we piled ourselves and all our luggage into three vehicles and made our way to the guest house, where we would stay for the next two nights. After settling in a little, we went to get lunch and then proceeded directly to our afternoon kids program.
     One of the first signs that we were far from Jakarta came that first afternoon after the kids program. In Jakarta people are much more used to seeing bules (white people), so I was a little surprised when after our program, all 130 kids rushed towards me and wanted a selfie with the “bule”.
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     I figured I had two options, either say no, or get fully into character and embrace the moment. Since I was their guest, I figured it would be best to just go for it. It ended up being a blast taking pictures, getting into it with them and making funny faces and the peace sign. While it was quite fun, I must say, I am glad that it is not a regular part of life and just an occasional experience.
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     After the kids program, we went back the house, changed, and proceeded to our evening service. It turned out that at the church we went to, they had the same type of dance team that I was in when I was growing up in Mexico and Spain. It was so cool to watch!
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     The second day in Masohi, started quite abruptly. At 5am very loud music started playing. I awoke quite startled and a little confused. At first I thought it was someone’s alarm…but it kept playing over and over and over for over an hour. I tried everything to block it out, plugging my ears, putting a pillow over my head, playing my own music, but nothing could drown out the sound. At 6am I finally gave up and decided to get up and get ready for the day. I learned later that the sound is from one of the churches in the valley that plays it to call people to come and pray before they start their day…very interesting.
     After breakfast, we split up into two smaller teams—one to train Sunday School teachers, and the other half to do a seminar on family and leadership in the morning (which was my team). We had about 45 people attend each seminar, which I think was pretty good attendance.
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     Once the seminar was done, my group went back to the guest house to rest up before we had our evening service. Instead of resting like we probably should have, some of us decided to hike up the ridge across the street from the guest house where we were staying. We wanted to see if we could get a better view of the ocean. We got to hike up through beautiful greenery and we did end up with a great view. When we got back to the house we sat and chatted and then took a short rest before leaving for the service.
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     During the evening service I was able to share my testimony, and then help pray for people after the sermon. It was so cool to be able to share how God had been faithful in my life through healing me, and then challenge them to believe God for the impossible too.
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     After service, I got to chat and take selfies with the girls who were on the dancing team, which was a blast! They even invited me to join them next time I came back. I thanked them, but know that I am no longer any where close to as good as they are, and probably couldn’t even keep up anymore…but it was still sweet of them to offer.
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     After that, we had a snack with the Pastor, and then met up with the other half of the team for dinner. By the time we finished and got back to guest house it was almost 11pm. We had just a few hours to sleep before we made our journey in to the villages where we would be spending the next three days.
     Bright and early the next morning I was up and ready to go. After a quick group photo, we loaded our vehicle, piled in, and began our two hour ride to the village we would be staying in for the next three days, Samasuru…
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(to be continued)
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