On Friday we had our first session. We left the busyness of Jakarta, to go to a retreat centre, called Wisma Binawarga. This conference centre, owned by the church, is a humble location for our training workshop. There is no air conditioning; sweat beads down my back. Our hosts are concerned about the short beds, seemingly inadequate for someone as tall as Homer. (It was fine.)
The training workshop is for 12 people who hope to become trainers for Global Coffee Break in Indonesia. We began with worship – one guitar, and a dozen people singing in Indonesian; songs with words I cannot understand. And yet I feel a kinship with these people as they lift up the name of Yesus.
A few of the participants speak English well; most know enough to respond to simple questions. My hand gestures are bigger than usual. I speak in simpler terms. I smile, and invite their response with my eyes. I’m learning to work with my interpreter (and our host), Untung. Sometimes he speaks much longer than I do, probably clarifying something that I took for granted. At other times, he motions for me to continue without translation. It seems that some of my concepts are clear. 🙂
The leaders are varied. A professional gentleman, who works for a Canadian company, is proud to share that he’s been to Calgary. He speaks perfect English, and wonders how he can share Christ with Muslim neighbours. One of the women is a mother of 2 who works in insurance, and is very involved in her church. A couple of pastors wrestle to know how to engage people in Bible discovery, when parishioners would rather have the pastor to do all the teaching.
A woman named Melanie, who worked for a Christian organization, was eager to show me the books that she had written, for Bible study for youth, in Bahasi Indonesian. I was struck by the fact that there is so little available in their own language, while my bookshelves are overflowing with Christian literature waiting to be read.
I am struck by the humble gratitude of these people. During our meals and breaks they are eager for me to try their food. They are very concerned that Homer is well cared for. Each one came to thank me for coming. I was blessed by having been with these people.
The drive back to Jakarta had us weaving through the traffic, on streets lined with street venders. Horns blow freely, motorcycles zip in and out through jammed traffic. We are thankful for Untung our faithful host, guide and very competent driver.