Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ;
Dear senders and partners,
After recovering from my first serious case of jetlag. I have finally prepared a synopsis of the trip I took to Asia-Pacific.
I am so thankful for your prayers and financial support of this ministry opportunity. I could tell I was being nurtured along by our Father the whole trip.
My “Traveling Buddy” and I made it to Jakarta, the final major stop, with no problems in our plane changes or the arrival of all our luggage! Passage through customs was truly smoothed over by the Lord. There was a short battery of questions, even “Are you Christian?” However nothing hindered us getting through. We didn’t have to pay any customs fees at all! Pugi Tuhan!!! (Indo’n for Praise the Lord – which I used frequently on this trip after I learned it).
I was able to visit with former classmates in Jakarta. Steve and Penny will be changing assignment really soon and moving back to the island where they will join their finally completed team to begin survey work. I have been invited to assist them, if possible, when they get to the point where they will be establishing their tribal homes. Don’t know when or how the Lord will guide them there, but we rejoiced together knowing He is making things happen toward that end.
I left Java for Sulawesi, where I would meet the project lead for the interior trip. Alan was up to his elbows in tasks that needed to be finished before we would leave, the majority of them was shopping for the remaining parts that would be transported interior with the team. I was able to experience some of Northern Sulawesi’s culture with he and his young family. It was wonderful to share the time with them again. They were in the graduating class ahead of us from the Training Centre here.
We left North-Central Sulawesi in a fully loaded Kodiak. The single lady I was to be working for was with us. We had an impressive flight into the little port town airport. The terrain was very green and mountainous. But this was just the last stop (including a little more important shopping), before we boarded the transport ship that would take us to the island where the tribal village was located. With LOTS of baggage and freight we joined a shipful of people heading to the island that was a two hour boat ride away. Side note: we saw a HUGE pod of dolphin along the journey. Some raced the vessel and others breached the ocean surface in seeming frolic, but it really looked like they were chasing a feast of supper fish – whatever those could’ve been.
Arriving at the little sea port on Pulau Peleng, I got a different taste of the culture. We saw a lot of men hoping to earn a few thousand Rupiah (couple bucks at most) by offering to help unload. Our trip had been prearranged, so we did ‘hire’ a couple of men to move Elke’s effects to the pickup truck that had been contracted. There was also one man (a member of the tribal team) who had his motorbike there to take Elke to the next stop – he and his wife’s home – before we made it to Kaht on Pulau Peleng. The pickup truck, which Alan and I rode in, had to make an additional stop before we got to the village. We had to drop off the metal that would be used for the solar panel frame.
We were able to make it to Kaht and drop off all Elke’s freight and the solar electrical equipment I had brought along just before it got dark. It took almost two hours from the port to get to the village, including the stop where the metal frame would be welded. Batteries, sulfuric acid, cables, DC refrigerator and freezer units all were left for the night. We then went back to our hosts’ homes below the village where Elke’s home is. Alan and I stayed with Opah Joshua, while Elke stayed with Pak Arman and his wife. We met for supper at Arman’s place after dropping off our bags.
Next morning, about 4:30AM, the roosters and the local m’que went off like I had been experiencing since I arrived in the country. Alan taught me how to make coffee “villager style” and we went to Arman’s for a morning meal of bread, butter and a little more coffee. Alan drove us up the steep mountain almost-paved-road and we bagan taking inventory of what we’d be using and doing. This would be the morning ‘ritual’ most days until we left to go our separate ways later.
It wasn’t until this next morning, up at Elke’s place, that I noticed a VERY significant part of Elke’s system missing. This was a HUGE dilema for me. How would I ever get this system installed and working correctly without the proper parts?! Thus began the numerous times the Lord reaffirmed, this trip was being undergirded by His faithful hands! More earnest and fervent prayer for wisdom and provision was the best I could come up with and turns out, it was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be.
The system connections, the battery initialization, the solar panel rack being completed, panels mounted in it and then raised and situated to get the most sun exposure possible, were clearly guided by our mighty and wise God. Everything went into operation JUST withing the allotted time table, thankfully, not a moment too soon or too late. Elke’s paperwork required her departure and so we left with her system installed and only BRIEFLY tested, but operational. She will return to Peleng and her home in Kaht this coming week. She will begin the monthly maintenance schedule we rehearsed before I left. She has lots to do and it is a comfort to know the Lord will continue to care for her there.
After I left Elke and her project I was able to reconnect with my ‘traveling buddy’, Bert on another island. Although air travel is the preferred method, it is expensive and not as well scheduled as flights are in the States. In fact, it took over 30 hours to get to where Bert was, via 4 flights and the 2 hour boat ride back to the mainland of Sulawesi. I learned about the stamina required for inter-island travel. I had hoped to be a help to Bert. He and his family have returned to Canada to serve at the Main Offices and Training Centre, in the maintenance department. After four long days of packing and cleaning we left Bert’s house in Papua, making the trip back to Java and then home to Canada.
When I begin writing it just seems like there’s SO MUCH, it is overwhelming to share all the details. I was able to capture some ‘kodak’ moments which I hope to share in the days ahead. Perhaps we can consider this the first installment?
Thank you, again, for your prayers and notes of encouragement to me and my family! We are grateful to represent you and the Lord Jesus as we serve with New Tribes Mission.
Roland, for the Shafer family, too
= = reaching tribes, transforming lives = =
Eph 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.