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My growing Obsession: Part 2 - 2004

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S: Borneo: My Growing Obsession ~ Part 2 (March 2000) and November 2004

FC: Borneo | 2000 and 2004 | My Growing Obsession

2: INDONESIA - a growing obsession A lesson learned ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT! I learned that lesson the hard way. In 2000, another opportunity to visit Indonesia came about. Dave Bonney, Dave Syer (a parishioner of DB), Nathan Bonney, Dave's 17-year-old son and I, were to travel to Pontianak as members of a CBM sponsored short-term mission team. Part of our preparation included a meeting with Frank and Jayne Byrne (CBM Far-East Co-ordinators) for an orientation session. At the end of that meeting, Frank presented us with a package of additional information which we were to review before our departure. The two Daves were scheduled to leave for Indonesia mid-March and Nathan and I would follow at the end of the month. And so, on the afternoon of March 28th, Nathan and I caught a flight out of Detroit Airport bound for Los Angeles. There we would board a China Air 747 for a midnight LAX to Jakarta departure. We arrived in LA and waited for the China Airline counter to open. Eventually, we were able to check in and were issued boarding passes. At 11:30 pm., the boarding call was put out and we, and about 300 other passengers, began the boarding process. Our seat numbers placed us in the front section of the plane and we were the last group to be processed. The boarding passes were fed into the scanner - Nathan's passed through but mine didn't. The check-in clerk tried twice more to scan but to no avail. I was then asked to show my Passport. Suddenly, bedlam broke out. I was quickly surrounded by several highly agitated China Air staff all trying to make sure I did not get on the plane. At that moment I was at a complete loss as to why I wasn't being allowed to board. My check-in luggage was quickly located and returned to me. While all of this was going on, Nathan had started down the gangway but turned back when he realised I wasn't following. The staff were beckoning Nathan to get aboard as the plane was ready to taxi out. I was trying desperately to make myself understood to the staff that I still had Nathan's passport and return tickets in my carry-on bag. Tempers were becoming frayed all round but I was determined that I wouldn't be forced to leave the area until I had made sure that my young nephew had all the documents he needed to be able to enter Indonesia - and get home again. After making certain that I had given all the documents that Nathan would need, things began to calm down and I was directed back to the check-in counter where I would be given two vouchers: one for a night's lodging at one of the local hotels; the other for a taxi to get me to the hotel. In addition to these vouchers, I finally received an explanation as to why I was not being permitted to board the plane. The Indonesian government require that all passports be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of entry into the country. With the midnight departure and the loss of a day crossing the International Date Line, the flight would arrive in Jakarta on March 30th. Thus my passport needed to be valid until September 30th. It's expiry date, unfortunately, was September 10th. I had lost the opportunity of a second trip due to a 20 day discrepancy. I had missed seeing this vital piece of information in the review package that Frank had handed out.

3: I got to my hotel room around 1:30 am. and tried to think clearly what my options were. First of all I needed to inform my wife what had happened. She would then contact Dave's wife, Janet, who would need to get in touch with Dave who was in Pontianak. 1:30 am in Los Angeles is 4:30 a.m. in Ontario and so I waited until it would be 6:00 am. in Ontario at which time wife would be starting her day. I was concerned a little that I might fall asleep and miss that 6:00 am window but with the adrenalin flowing to the extent that it was I had no trouble staying awake. I made the phone call on time generating a flurry of activity including numerous phone calls to and from Pontianak between Dave and Janet. My main anxiety was for Nathan. He spoke no Indonesian and I wondered how he would cope once he arrived in Jakarta. Because this flight would arrive in Jakarta too late in the day to get a connecting flight to Pontianak that same day, we had previously booked a room at the Jakarta Airport Hotel and then would catch the plane to Pontianak the following morning. I spent most of the early morning hours in my hotel room praying that God would protect and guide Nathan. I would later find out that those prayers were answered. The seating arrangements were such that the passenger next to Nathan on the LA to Jakarta flight was an Indonesian man who spoke excellent English. This gentlemen also was very familiar with the Jakarta Airport and, upon arriving in Jakarta, accompanied Nathan to the Hotel Lobby and made sure that the reservation had been confirmed. Meanwhile, Nathan’s dad, Dave, had learned that a colleague from STK was in Jakarta. Arrangements were made for this colleague to meet up with Nathan at the Airport the following morning to ensure that he would make the connecting flight to Pontianak. Of course, all these arrangements were occurring without my knowing any of what was going on. All I could assume was that a teenager was now forced to travel half way around the world all alone. That thought made for a very anxious day for me. After checking out of my Hotel, I took a taxi to the British Consulate (I was travelling on a British Passport at that time) but they were unable to extend my passport validity. I also took a 50 minute bus ride along Wiltshire Ave. to the Indonesian Embassy but I received no help there either. All that was left for me to do was to lick my emotional wounds and limp home very disappointed that I had missed the opportunity to return to Indonesia and extremely anxious about Nathan. I arrived back in Ontario to find out that Nathan had been well looked after. I also began to question how this situation had arisen. Certainly, I was at fault since my passport was invalid as far as the Indonesian government was concerned, but the one question that screamed out was how could the boarding pass have been issued when the information embedded on the reader strip showed the invalid status of my passport. All four of us had submitted our pertinent passport information to CBM and onto China Airlines a month previously. Why I was not alerted at that time was confusing to say the least. The next opportunity to visit Indonesia would not be until 2004.

4: Part 2: - God’s flair for the dramatic In early 2004, Dave Bonney received an e-mail from Ronny Welong, President of STK, asking if there would be the possibility of forming a team to help with the construction of a home in a small interior village. Ronny is a multi-gifted visionary. Originally from the city of Manado, Sulawesi, Ronny has been a driving force at STK almost from its inception. He has overseen its growth, not only with regard to the number of students but also in the upgrading and expanding of the curriculum. Not content just to educate young men and women for ministry, Ronny and his wife Rit, have themselves ventured into many remote areas of West Kalimantan with a goal toward establishing local Christian congregations. More recently, Ronny saw the need for a broad based vocational facility at which young men and women from the villages would be taught a variety of farming techniques in combination with Christian theological studies. Many villages lack the necessary knowledge to raise animals and grow crops in an efficient and hygienic manner. The location selected for this training centre was the village of Adong, lying just off the main bus route about 20 minutes from Ngabang. In 2000, two Daves (viz. Bonney and Syer) had formed the team - in 2004, we added a third Dave as well as a Daniel. Dave Clark, a long time friend of Dave Bonney was a pastor in Ogunquit, Maine. Daniel Konzelmann, originally from Switzerland, owns and operates an organic farm near Petrolia, Ontario, and like Dave Syer, is a parishioner of Dave Bonney. Dave Clark had flown in to Toronto Airport; Dave Bonney, Dave Syer and Daniel had driven up from the Sarnia area; I had come from Niagara Falls, and on the afternoon of Monday, November 15th, all five descended upon the home of Blair and Janet Clark (no relation to Dave Clark) where we would spend the night before catching an 8:30 a.m. flight from Toronto Airport to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Blair and Janet had, themselves, been missionaries in Pontianak partnering with the Bonneys. Janet had prepared a delicious Indonesian supper which set the stage beautifully for what we would experience over the following three weeks. Tuesday, November 16th. During 2004, Dave Bonney's younger son, James was a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. About a week before the team was to leave for Indonesia, James found out that his lecturers were taking several days off for professional development purposes. The period of time allotted for the professors' PD coincided with the first week that the team would be in Indonesia. James, who was born in Pontianak, had a desire to return to where he grew up and, with classes having been suspended, expressed a wish to accompany the team.

5: Several months earlier, Dave Bonney's Elder Board had approved the establishing of a travel fund to allow church members to contribute toward alleviating some of the expenses that would be incurred by the Indonesia team. The membership had been generous and the fund, having reached the point of covering all costs, had been closed to further donations. The total cost of the trip was around $3000 per person which was prohibitive for James. But God opened the door by means of a lady member of Dave's church who, although too late to add to the fund, none-the-less, still wished to donate a sum of money toward any other mission project that would be sponsored by Dave's church. Later, when James had called Dave explaining the situation at Moody and his desire to go to Indonesia, Dave spoke with the lady donor asking if she would approve the money being used to cover James' expenses. She agreed to the request; the sum being the exact amount needed. The CBM travel co-ordinator was then quickly contacted to see what flights were available for James. With less than a week remaining before the team flew out of Toronto, it appeared likely that James would have to travel alone. But God intervened and the CBM co-ordinator was able to secure tickets allowing James to travel on the same three flights on which the team would be travelling. Our itinerary would take us from Chicago to Tokyo, onto Jakarta and finally Pontianak. The word miracle is often an over-used and frequently mis-applied term. But the circumstances that all came together to allow James to fulfil his wish were more than mere co-incidence or luck. And it would seem, at least from James' perspective, that there was one more 'miracle'. However, the other five team members were perhaps not so inclined to attribute to the Lord the good fortune that befell James while checking in his luggage....unless, of course, the Lord is no longer the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and now does show partiality (Acts 10:34) particularly to hard-up theology students. Being a Chicago resident, James arrived at O'Hare before our flight from Toronto had landed and, therefore, was able to check his luggage and have a boarding pass issued before the rest of the team had arrived. The clerk at the check-in counter began to engage James in conversation asking why he was flying such a distance alone. James explained the circumstances that had led to his being able to take this trip, whereupon the clerk had James hand back the boarding pass just issued and promptly tore it up, remarking that he could offer James something more suitable. A new boarding pass was printed with a new seat assignment. James was delighted to discover that he had been upgraded to the first class section of the Japan Airlines 747 that would carry us all to Tokyo. The Bible encourage believers to rejoice with those who rejoice (which we did for James, magnanimously) but it also mandates one to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and we reminded James, as he took his seat in the palatial surroundings of the elites of this world, that he had a Biblical obligation, if not to mourn, at least to empathise with those who would be travelling 'steerage' for twelve long hours.

6: This leg of the trip saw us touch down at Narita Airport in Tokyo. After checking into our hotel rooms and enjoying a refreshing shower, we took a hotel shuttle bus to a nearby mall where we did a little shopping and also had supper. We boarded the last shuttle bus of the evening to take us back to our Hotel, one of several in the complex. The bus made several stops to pick up other hotel guests including five young ladies who were wearing the uniform of Thailand Air. We were all seated in front of the rear bench seat and these Flight Attendants sat down immediately behind us. James, as was his wont, very quickly began a conversation with these young ladies. They asked why we were travelling to Indonesia and James answered that we were on a short-term mission trip. We were staggered when one of the ladies expressed a desire to know God and had prayed that she would meet somebody who could explain to her who Jesus is. | Father and Son, Dave and James at O'Hare Airport | She remarked that Buddhism is a religion with no hope in its teachings. We were already aware of James' developing evangelistic gifts and he started to speak to them about the Lord. We eventually arrived at our hotel and we headed for the exit at the front of the bus. All, that is except James, who indicated that he wanted to stay on the bus to continue sharing more about the Lord with these ladies and assured us he would catch up with us later. Before we fully realised what was happening, the bus had pulled away, disappearing into the night. Now what? Dave and I decided to take James at his word and we spent an hour in the hotel lobby waiting for him to return. At midnight, a father's concern motivated us to go looking for James. We had a vague idea where the next hotel was located and began to walk there. About 15 minutes later we reached the hotel and asked the receptionist if a young man had entered the hotel accompanying five Thai Air flight attendants. The receptionist replied that he had not noticed such a group and further added that Thai Air did not use that particular hotel. Again, now what? It was past midnight; we were in a Tokyo suburb, neither of us knew a word of Japanese and we were missing a son and nephew. I suggested we look for the next hotel (based on what the receptionist had told us) but Dave preferred to wait a little longer. And his instincts were correct! After some twenty minutes, James casually strolled out of the hotel and proceeded to tell us that he had lead two of these ladies to a saving knowledge of Christ. We were relieved to be re-united and that relief allowed us to mentally give the receptionist the benefit of the doubt why we had been lied to. Presumably his motive was to protect the guests from two furtive and suspicious looking characters. All's well that ends well, we determined - for a man and his son...and especially for two new believers.

7: The next morning (Thursday 18th), we boarded a Japan Airlines 777 for the six hour flight to Jakarta. We booked in to the Airport Sheraton and had an early night in preparation for a 6:15 am. flight to Pontianak. Friday, November 19th. & Saturday 20th: Arriving in Pontianak at 7:30 a.m., we were met by Ronny Welong, Janice Dyck and Vabro (Ronny's son) who would be our interpreter during the week in Adong. This was the first time I had met Ronny. During my time in Indonesia in 1991, he and Rit had been in the USA visiting the main supporting church in Fresno. We went straight to STK, where we were introduced to Bill Dyck, Janice's husband and the Bustin family, Darrell, Laura-Lee and their children, Bronwyn and Caleb. Bill and Janice hail from the Winnipeg area and the Bustins were from Eastern Canada. After settling in to our rooms, we joined the students and staff for the morning chapel service. We gave greetings and a short testimony. The balance of the day and most of Saturday were spent relaxing and enjoying a walking tour of the vicinity of STK including the market located opposite the School. Sunday, November 21st. One of many pleasant memories of our stay at STK was the pre-breakfast conversation time. Adjacent to the main hall was a small open vestibule and each morning we would begin the day discussing various topics stimulated by a mug or two of excellent coffee. A very refined and relaxing way to begin each day. STK, is also home to one of many church congregations in the city and during this morning's service we again gave a short testimony translated by either Dave Bonney or Ronny (who is fluent in English). In the afternoon, there was a short commissioning service for the team. Dave Bonney and Dave Clark would stay in Pontianak while Dave Syer, Daniel and myself would spend the week in Adong. During their week at STK, Dave B would teach two courses with Dave C assisting. Both men would also preach during the daily Chapel services. They would then come up to Adong for Saturday and Sunday. Dave Clark had been asked by Ronny to preach the message during the Sunday morning church service. Monday, November 22nd I had first met Dennis and Janet Kirkley and their four daughters in 1991. After their return to North America, they made White Rock, British Columbia, their home. I had been able to maintain contact with them during business trips to Western Canada. On one of these occasions, earlier in 2004, I had mentioned that there were plans for a trip to Indonesia in November of that year. Dennis informed me that he and Janet were also making plans to visit their daughters who were ministering in different parts of the world. The culmination of these plans was to be able to all be together in Pontianak.

8: This came to fruition when all six of the Kirkleys arrived early this Monday morning. Unfortunately, we didn't have too much time to visit with them as we were preparing to leave for Adong around midday. But we would have more time to spend with them after returning from our week in Adong. Adong is about a twenty minute drive beyond Ngabang so we were travelling the same route as the bus that had brought us to Pontianak 13 years earlier (except, of course, that we were travelling in the opposite direction). Some of the names of the towns were familiar; Sungaipinyuh (where the road turns east), Mandor (the Mass Graves), Pahauman (the Longhouse) and Ngabang. We reached the village of Tubang Raeng where we turned off the main road onto a narrow track which led us to the village of Adong. The training centre complex was to be built on a piece of property a short distance away from the village proper. We arrived to find one completed home, which would be our lodging for the week, and a second one that was just at the completion of framing stage. This building would be the one we would be helping to complete. There were also several lagoons that had been dug out which would eventually be used to stock fish. The completed home that would be our lodging was a duplex. We would occupy one half while the other half housed a married couple and their two boys. Play video clip 1 | It was almost dark by the time we reached Adong and supper was waiting for us. We met several people who we would be working alongside as well as the village pastor and his wife who also was a teacher at the elementary school in Adong. She also helped to prepare our meals during the week. After supper, we bid farewell to the drivers who would be heading back to the city. We were effectively land-locked and Ronny then took the opportunity to inform us that we would be attending a house church every evening and each one of us would be expected to share our testimony at one of the meetings and, at another meeting, give a short devotional. After we had recovered from that shock we headed to our room, found our Bibles and started looking for a passage of two of Scripture that would form the basis for our message. Since I had some experience at teaching Sunday school and leading Bible Study groups, I offered to take the first one which would be on the Tuesday.

10: Tuesday, November 23rd Our first full day in the village gave us an opportunity to see the site and the project that we would be working on. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of making comparisons between what one is used to and what is unfamiliar, with the unfamiliar always coming off second best. But it is important to understand why things are done in a certain way before making such comparisons. And when it comes to building homes, there are good reasons why they are not built the way homes in Canada are built. First of all, there is nowhere near the affluence that we enjoy in Canada. Second, since the climate is the same every day, hot and humid, there is no need for insulation, furnaces or air conditioning (although, the latter would certainly be a blessing). Third, in the village, we sensed that ownership is less rigid than what we are used to. People wandered in and out of each other's homes without restriction it seemed. Homes in Adong were not seen as strictly private possessions nor were they symbols of status. The first thing we noted when we began the work was that there were no power tools. Everything was done by hand. But what we did see was skill and hard work. The Master builder was a gentleman named Ulai. Other men included our neighbour Damat, his brother and their dad. We also became immediately aware that safety equipment was conspicuous by its absence. The bulk of the framing had already been completed. There was still a need for some additional cross-beams to be formed but the main task was to build a lath framework using 1/16th chicken wire and planks that would be the basis for building the walls. The framing was built out of Ironwood. Being a very hard material, there is a bit of a learning curve to being able to hammer a nail into it. Be too heavy-handed with a hammer at first and all you will get for your efforts is to watch the nail cartwheeling past your head as it bounces off the wood. A level of finesse is required to break the surface of the wood before the heavy pounding. Play video clip 2 Wednesday, November 24th. We worked during the morning but were given the afternoon off. We used the opportunity to take a drive through Adong and out to the Palm Oil plantation. We returned, had supper and got ready to attend another house church. This evening the meeting would take place at a home in Tubang Raeng (the village where we had turned off the main road toward Adong two days before). The meeting lasted about an hour at the end of which we were offered some refreshments; water, juice and two kinds of fruit that were in season - langsat and rambutan. I was sitting between Ronny and Vabro and while we were enjoying the food, Ronny directed my attention to a lady who was sitting in the doorway opposite us. He mentioned that this lady was originally from Bandang - the village in which we had spent a weekend during the 1991 trip. It was rather dark in the home making it difficult to see her clearly. Fortunately, she came over to offer us more food. Now that I could see her better, I was fairly confident that I recognised her as the young lady who had held the scissors for the ribbon-cutting at the church dedication. I requested Vabro to ask her if she was indeed that young lady. From the expression on her face as he asked the question, I knew right away that I had guessed correctly. I felt I had just found the proverbial needle in the haystack, so to speak.

11: I once heard the definition of a coincidence as that which happens when God doesn't mind who gets the credit. This to me was an astonishing turn of events. Before leaving Canada, I had prepared a ring binder containing photographs from the 1991 trip in the hope that it might be possible to return to Bandang during our time here. Were that to happen, I would have expected to meet a number of the villagers that I had met thirteen years earlier. But I had certainly not expected to find someone from that village living this close to Adong. Ronny then informed me that her name was Nurmiati and it was her home we were fellowshipping in and she and her husband Norman Omboh were, in fact, the pastor couple of the Tubang church. | I had brought the binder of photos with me to Adong but I had no reason to bring it to this house church meeting. So I looked for an opportunity to meet again with the Ombohs to give them a chance to see the photos. The schedule for this week included a Saturday afternoon visit to a high school in Sosok, a town east of Adong. Saturday morning would see the arrival from Pontianak of the two Daves and Dennis who were to spend the weekend with us. The journey to Sosok would take us through Tubang, so we agreed that, on our way back, we would call on the Ombohs and show the photos to Nurmiati and Norman. But I am getting ahead of myself. | Nurmiati

12: Thursday, November 25th. The couple who were our next-door neighbours were Pak Damad, his wife, Ibu Maria and their two boys, Donald and Joel. We had first met Donald and Joel plus a couple of other children the same evening of our arrival. As word spread that there were visitors who owned cameras, more and more children would come up to the centre once school was over for the day. Those cameras proved to be an irresistible attraction to the younger children and they were constantly 'demanding' they have their picture taken - "meester, meester, one, one, click click". If the camera was irresistible to the kids, the kids became irresistible to me. All in all, about a dozen or so would always be close by. I found them to be constantly full of joy and laughter. They were so well-behaved and unselfish. At one point I allowed several of them to use my video camera. I was concerned that it might cause conflict as everyone wanted to hold it. But as the camera was passed around from one child to another there was no squabbling or selfishness or reluctance to let the next child take a turn. Right: Nyoman, Donald, John Joel

13: Thursday was another work day. Each day there was generally a siesta time after our lunch. I had brought a New Testament with me and I wanted to read through 2nd Corinthians and I would read a chapter while the other men were taking their nap. This particular afternoon, I was sitting on a bench on the little veranda at the front of the house. Pak Damad came and sat down beside me and said in English "my daughter dead". I was stunned! For a moment, I didn't know how to react. He knew I couldn't speak Indonesian and I doubted that he knew much English. All that I could do was to run to my room where I had small English/Indonesian dictionary. I found the Indonesian word sedih, which means sad or tragic, and I pointed out that word to him. It bothered me greatly that I could not respond any other way (Vabro was sleeping at the time) but I believe that Damad wasn't really expecting very much from me because of my lack of Indonesian. I assumed that the loss of his daughter was fairly recent so I intended to meet with him later. It was obviously something that he wanted to talk about and I was hoping that there would be a suitable time when I could meet with Damad when someone was available to translate, be that Vabro or Dave Bonney. Much to my regret, our schedule was so full that I never had the opportunity to speak with Damad before our return to Pontianak. | Sarah, Ijul Debora, Eva

14: We attended another house church in the evening and enjoyed more fellowship. By now, we were recognising not only the men with whom we were working but their wives and children. As much as it was possible, we were beginning to form friendships with several people including the pastor couple of the Adong church, Wimfried and Anneka Kossoh. As I have already mentioned, Anneka was also a teacher at the school in Adong and was helping Damad's wife Maria prepare our meals - a busy lady. | Friday, November 26th This would be our final work day so we continued to pound nails, hack away at the bank, trowel on cement and drink gallons of juice. I was given part of the morning off as I wanted to go down to the school to photograph and video the children. The excitement was intense as long as the children were in a group; single them out and they suddenly became quiet and a little unsure who this stranger was and why he had this peculiar instrument in his hand. But once they see the results.......... .Play video clip 3 | At the Thursday night house church | Pastor Wimfried (white shirt) and Anneke (glasses) Does the lady in the green dress look familiar?

16: I returned to home base for lunch, after which I began to head over to the job site with my video camera when, out of the blue, little Joel flashed past me, picked up the soccer ball and flashed past me again. He was covered from head to toe in mud. Curiosity trumped responsibility and I forgot about my obligation to the work crew. I followed Joel who I discovered was on his way back to one of the lagoons. This is what I witnessed. Video affords sight and sound! Fortunately, it doesn’t capture the rancid smell of the mud in the lagoon. Play video clip 4

18: Saturday, November 27th Vabro suggested we take some time during the morning to drive into Ngabang and buy a few souvenirs. Being late November, the Christmas theme was prominent in many stores. Some were even playing Christmas songs and carols over the PA systems. Santa was a frequent subject for window displays with the reindeer and snow added for authenticity. I was surprised that in a Moslem country Christmas imagery would be so prominent especially considering that Ngabang could hardly be considered a town catering to western tourists. But the most difficult adjustment I had to make, despite the Santas, the Christmas trees and even the Nativity scenes, was trying to "feel Christmassy" when the temperature was a blistering 95F. We returned to Adong and were drawn into an impromptu soccer game with the children. In such heat and humidity my participation was short-lived and I very quickly excused myself and retired to the comfort of a chair to capture the balance of the game on video tape. Play video clip 6 | I am constantly amazed at the beautiful smooth facial skin almost every child possesses. The food in the village would not meet North American quality standards but it doesn't appear to effect the complexion. It is well known that mud baths are good for the skin. Perhaps an Adong-based entrepreneur might develop a business to compete against the up market mud bath Spas that exist in some parts of the US. 10% discount is offered if you bring your own close-pin. After the children had washed off, I was pressured (willingly, I must add) into an extended photoshoot after which we held a review of the pictures. My little Fuji camera had a very small viewing screen but the children were still amused by what they saw of themselves. Play video clip 5 At the final evening house church meeting of the week, I happened to notice that there was a TV in the corner. I had taken some video of the service as well as the refreshment time that followed. To get a little technical for a second or two, the TV broadcast system in Indonesia (PAL) is different from that of Canada (NTSC) and they are incompatible. However, I saw that this particular TV was a multi-system unit which, since I had brought the necessary cables, allowed me to play the footage that I had taken that evening. There was a lot of self-conscious laughter especially from the adults who were seeing themselves on "air" for the first time. I have already mentioned the abundance of langsat and rambutan fruit. Bananas and coconut trees are also common and we enjoyed these delicacies almost daily. Another very popular fruit in Indonesia is the infamous Durian. It has the odour of well worn sneakers and a somewhat slimy texture; neither of these attributes being particularly attractive to the western palette but very popular with Indonesians.

19: Later that afternoon, the contingent from STK (Pontianak) arrived: Daves Bonney and Clark along with Dennis Kirkley. We ate lunch then hopped in the cars that would take us to Sosok. There we toured the High School for well over an hour. I had reminded everyone that on the way back to Adong, we had planned to stop at Tumbang to visit with the Ombohs and let them see the binder of Bandang photos (which this time I had remembered to bring along). We met them in their church building which was situated across from their home. I handed the binder to the Ombohs and they appeared to be enjoying reminiscing over the photos. They had looked at several pages of pictures when, suddenly, Nurmiati looked up and said something to Dave Bonney. What I thought I heard her say was "ijah". I didn't know what this word meant but Dave told me it was the name of someone pictured in one of the photos. The photo that had caused Nurmiati to react was the one taken during the Bandang dedication service showing two young ladies seated together. | Nurmiati was one of these young ladies; Ijah the other. There was nothing significant in Nurmiati recognising a friend from her home village until she added that Ijah was now living in Adong. Play video clip 7 These two ladies had grown up together in a remote jungle village, accessible only by foot, two hours from the nearest road. Given such circumstances, it was remarkable enough that each, having re-located far from their home village, would end up living less than two kilometres apart. But the probability of three North Americans (Dave Bonney, Dennis Kirkley and myself) meeting these ladies again some thirteen years later is beyond calculating. God does indeed have a flair for the dramatic!

20: But we still had yet to meet Ijah, and we only had Sunday morning to do so. When I say “still had to meet”, I do, of course, mean that we had yet to be introduced formally. Refer back to the Thursday evening house church photograph and the answer my somewhat rhetorical question should now become apparent. The lady in the green dress was, in fact, Ibu Ijah but neither of us recognised the other that evening. Sunday, November 28th We donned our Sunday best, batik shirts purchased during one of our shopping sprees, and headed for the church. Each member of the team gave greetings and Dave Clark had the privilege of presenting the morning message. Dave had the unenviable task of adjusting his thoughts to accommodate an interpreter (Vabro) but both did a remarkable job and Dave appeared to relish the occasion. Play video clip 8 As I shared my parting words to the congregation I made an attempt, albeit halting, to conclude with a benediction in Indonesian. I had earlier asked Dave B. to write out the passage found in the Book of Numbers (6:24-26). He also helped me with the pronunciation and where to place the emphasis. Also in the clip is part of the song performed by the children. I hope it is as much a blessing to you as it was to me. Play video clip 9 | We finally made contact with Ijah, or rather, she made contact with us. Possibly word had already reached her that we were to attend the morning service or perhaps she had recognised Dave or Dennis. During the 1980s when both men were serving in West Kalimantan, they would have visited Bandang several times. As guests, we were asked to form a 'receiving line' to shake the hand of everyone who had attended the service. You will hear a lady say to Dave B. "saya dari Bandang" - "I am from Bandang". We had little time to converse as we were on a tight schedule but I was able to take a couple of photos of her and her two children before we were invited to lunch at the Pastor's home. As soon as lunch was concluded we were on our way back to Pontianak. Play video clip 10 Without being aware of it at the time, I had in fact seen Ibu Ijah earlier in the week. She had been in attendance at the Thursday evening house church - she is the lady wearing the green dress - but neither of us had recognised the other. | Nurmiati and Ijah Bandang 1991

21: We were on our way immediately following lunch but there was one more stop to make on our way back to Pontianak. In Part 1, I made mention of the friendship that had developed, via letter-writing, between myself and the then Pastor of the Bandang church, Pak Kalam. As a result of two debilitating strokes, he had been unable to write and I had not heard from him for over three years. However, I had been told that he and his wife, Melan, were living in Pahauman. Since we would be passing through Pahauman on our way back to STK, we took time out to visit them. This reunion was very important to me since it would be the first time Pak Kalam and I actually spoke with one another. The only interaction between us in 1991 was when we shook each other's hand upon our arriving at his home after our walk in from Pahauman. That was the extent of our relationship until I received that first of many letters. I would, of course, have preferred to have seen him in good health but, none-the-less, the important thing was that we met and further cemented our friendship. Before returning to STK, we stopped at the Equator Monument as this was the first trip to Indonesia for both Dave Clark and Daniel. We finally arrived at STK where a lavish farewell party had been arranged. Many of the staff and wives were in attendance and we enjoyed food and fellowship, singing and prayers for our safe return to North America. Each of us received beautiful gifts, not only for ourselves but for our wives also. We were very spoiled.

24: Monday, November 29th. And so, my second time in Indonesia had come to an end. During the long flight back across the Pacific Ocean, I had time to reflect on the ten days we had been in Indonesia. Yes, we had helped in a construction project; yes, a couple of short theological courses had been taught and I don't dismiss those accomplishments as insignificant but it is the relationships built while completing those tasks that remain. | Visiting Pastor Kalam and his wife in their Pahauman home

25: What was significant for me was the miraculous 'coincidence' of being re-introduced to Nurmiati and Ijah which most likely would not have happened were it not for a casual comment by Ronny. Also significant was the three word conversation with Pak Damad that remained unfinished business. Of course, the reunion with Pak Kalam was so important. And then there were the free-spirited children of the village. These were, and still are, precious memories. It is tradition that at the conclusion of occasions such as this, everyone gathers together for a group photo before bidding farewell to one another. And this we did! | Men: Dan Konzelmann, Bill Dyck, Dave Bonney, Dave Syer, Ronny Welong, Sperry Terok, Vabro Welong, myself, Seth Terok Shem Terok Ladies: Regina & Wie Wie, Laura Lee Bustin, Rit Welong, Janice Dyck, Lidia Terok, Bronwyn Bustin w. Karen

26: It is also tempting to finish a slide or video presentation with a sunset symbolising the end. But for me, I did not see this trip as an end but rather as a beginning, already prepared in my mind to return to Indonesia as and when the opportunity presented itself. So, I conclude this part of my story not with a sunset but rather with a sunrise -- also symbolic of a new day and of future days all of which the Lord will make and in which we will rejoice and be glad. Hari (or Malam) ini, hari ini, harinya Tuhan, harinya Tuhan Mari kita, mari kita, bersuka ria, bersuka ria Play video clip 11 We brought a number of surplus soccer shirts which we gave to the villagers to distribute. We received photos of the children and adults several weeks after our return to Canada. I have also included other photos that were taken during our week in Adong.

29: Eva, Debora, Ijul

30: The Omboh's home

32: Myself, Dave Bonney, Norman and Nurmiati Omboh and son

36: Dave Syer, Dan Konzelmann, myself

37: Dave Clark Dave Bonney Dave Syer Dan Konzelmann Myself

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  • By: Bob T.
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: My growing Obsession: Part 2 - 2004
  • A record of a non-trip to Indonesia (yr.2000) and the first STM trip to the village of Adong (yr. 2004)
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  • Started: about 5 years ago
  • Updated: over 2 years ago

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