From 12 – 17 Dec, I went to Malang for a church mission trip with 6 others.
We took valuair to surabaya, we arrived at junda airport surabarya at about 3pm. and then there were two suzuki APVs which brought us to the pastor’s house in Malang where we were going to stay. pastor paul met our drivers and we hopped on and had a long 2 hours ride to malang. Due to mud spillage caused by a construction project, we had to go a detour through the suburbs. The interesting thing is that the kids camp at road dividers and corners to collect ‘illegal erp’, that is small tips, to lead vehicles to the correct direction.
We reached the Pastor’s house at about 5 plus. The house is pretty large, with a huge hall and living room that can hold people for a church session. they were very hospitable and kind and provided ample beds and facilities. The first night, we visited a house-cell-group christmas gathering with candlelight service and dinner. it was quite cool.
the next day, we had to wake up at 1am, which means we only had two hours of sleep or so. lol. we then travelled to see sunrise at 4.30am, and also took the jeep to the foot of mount bromo, took a horse ride up, and see the volcano crater. it was fun, though cold (about 10 degrees), and the scenery was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t know I could see such scenery in South East Asia. A different dimension from Luang Prabang. It’s like a page taken out of LOTR’s Shire, with lush green grass, large mountains and Mt. Doom in the background. lol. (if you like to see photos, MSN me)
After that, we travelled to a suburban village area, where we visited a church there. it was quite well built beside the pastor’s house, and we had a youth devotion time and campfire. we played some games with them, one of them is candlelight soccer which was quite a success. We stayed over in the church, but we had to wake up at 4am for devotion! their culture is to do devotion at sunrise, and we could go back to sleep again (luckily!).
The next day, we travelled to the beach, it was a bumpy and dizzy ride. Matthew got food poisoning/car sick when we reached a kelong area. we had a nice beautiful time when we just waited and waited and did nothing. i could just sit and face the river and stare into space. I even fell asleep. lol. the best time in life is when you can actually find time to do nothing. I’m not kidding you know. No troubles or work to fill your mind. Just relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Finally, the pastor’s church people came, and we boarded the boat at the beach to go to the island across. they were very kind and helped us to set up a huge tent, enough to put more than 10 safari beds! We can some interesting time playing in the sea, sunrise was beautiful, and after that we had dinner, twice. which made me very full and bloated the next day. the stars were beautiful, and it was cool to sleep and face the sky, cos I decided to sleep slightly outside the tent. tho it got cold at night.
the next day, i woke up with a weird stomach feeling, guessed i need to shit, which i did, in the bushes. lol. but still had bloated stomach. ate some charcoal later. lydia had some vomitting too. After we crossed the island, we visited the church at the beach town, and it was a long ride back to Malang city.
That night we attended the Youth Christmas Meeting, and it was a bash. their church is pretty cool and advanced actually, with video screens, lots of nice spotlights, and nicely decorated stage. they sang some hillsong english songs too. we played the balloon game with them and there was a mess but it was a success. lydia was miraculously healed at the service after leading worship with youde.
The next day, we attended Sunday Service, Ps Whit preached, Pauline gave a testimony, and we did Karena Kita (We Are THe Reason), while kaiyin and matthew helped out in sunday school and we did hands. it was quite a fun morning. afternoon we had lunch at this fish pond place in Batu in which we could place our feet into the pond and let the fish nibble at your toes. it was ticklish!
We visited another church during the evening, a simpler one. after dinner which we visited Malang Shopping, but the shops were closing! No time to shop! quite a waste. thought I could get some christmas gifts. the stuff there are quite cheap.
On the last day, we left and went to visit the fountain and hot spring, tho it was raining. it was quite nice scenery too, like lots of foggy area which I thought could only be in european countries lol. we even saw antelopes! quite cute. when we reached the airport after 2 hours ride, it was raining heavily. after a 2 hours flight, home sweet home.
This trip was the first mission trip for me, and it opened my eyes by visiting a third world country with Christ in mind. Even though half the trip was like a holiday, I actually like it because of that. I wanted to have a short escape from Singapore, and this trip offered both sight-seeing as well as being able to do some mission work.
I guess that the expedition to see the sunrise and to Mount Bromo was not without reason. It helped us to realise that amidst all the urbanisation that Man has created, the heavens and mountains still declare His glory. Who compares to Him? He sets the stars in their place. The surreal atmosphere of the mountains, combined with the chilling weather, brought us back to God’s wonderful creations.
Visiting Malang, both the urban and the rural areas, also allowed us to see the needs of the people there. The churches in different places have various needs, and although we may not be able to provide them just by one trip, I learnt that we can bless the people even by our presence. For example, for the village church, it was their first time hosting such a big foreign group, and they are very excited about it. They were curious to know more about Singapore and the people and culture. We were caught unprepared, but we managed to give a brief description. Perhaps in future, we should bring more postcards and photos of Singapore. Our presence also can encourage in their faith, in that they can see other Christians from different places of the world also believe in the same God, same Jesus, same Holy Spirit.
Through the worship experiences in Pastor Marcus’ church Saturday and Sunday services, I also learnt that different ethic groups of people can worship in different languages, but we all worship the same God. The beauty of language is that each is unique, and each brings forth a different description, perspective and manifestation of God’s spirit in praise and worship. Worshipping in Bahasa Inodnesia causes a different dimension to be felt as compared to ordinary worship in English.
Many times, we had difficulty communicating with the Indonesians. Although Kaiyin and Matthew can speak some Bahasa, and we had some interpreters along with us, we often spoke in broken Bahasa and English. Nevertheless, we could still understand each other most of the time, despite some miscommunication at times. God destroyed the Tower of Babel and confused the languages of man, so that we will not overthrow Him. However, even though we speak different languages, we can have unity in Christ, and we can speak and worship as one body, in reverence of God.
The hospitality of the Indonesians also surprised me. Most of the time, they treated us like VIPs. They always let us eat first before they eat themselves. They try to provide as many things as they can in order to make us comfortable in our rooms and beds. I guess it is in their culture. In retrospect, do we do this in Singapore? Do we treat our visitors like VIPs? Better yet, do we treat our fellow friends (and even enemies) like VIPs? Do we love them like Jesus? Perhaps we can learn from the Indonesians, in that we should give priority and treat others in the best possible way we can. As Jesus said, as often as we do it for our brothers, we do it for Jesus. Do to others what you want others to do to you.
All in all, it was a memorable trip. Although we did little, we experienced much.