is your mind playing tricks on you….hmm….nope. lauren is back in cyberspace. but oddly enough, without my shift key. as most of you know, i spent the first three months of this year in england studying at missions school. what many of you didn’t get is the continuing story of my adventures. for the last month and almost a half, i’ve been serving god in indonesia. thus the missing shift key. the indonesian humidity is playing tricks with my computer. nothing that some tlc back in the states can’t fix, but in the meantime i am without capital letters, and any form of expression like exclamation or questioning.
oh well, at this moment, i am ensconced in a chair at starbucks in kuala lumpur, malaysia, writing to all of you back in the u.s. some might say, but lauren, aren’t you there to soak up the southeast asian culture…question mark…what are you doing in starbucks….question mark… well my friends, i have spent a month in the relatively primitive wilds of nias island off the coast of sumatra, complete with bugs, bucket showers, dengue fever…not me, a teammate…and squatting toilets. i deserve a little westerness. yes i do. bring on the frappucinos…exclamation mark… anne and jessica, who are looking wonderfully sweaty after a hard day of work, agree with me.
as for my adventures on nias, i worked with the eleven other people on my team leading church services, working with youth on the island, painting a church, bagging food for the needy who are struggling a year after the earthquake, and tons of other ministry work. even just sitting with people around the house in gunung sitoli with the local workers was ministry, tending to the needs of long-term missionaries who can always use a shot in the arm from a bunch of christians from halfway around the world. i have been greatly blessed, and this was my chance to turn around and be a blessing. the picture is of my friend steven who works at the base. amazing story, amazing friend.
last week was the best week of my time on the island. we went to sorake beach on the south end of the island. mainly it’s known for its surfing. the waves there are ridiculous. some surfing publications have put it in the top three in the world for surfing. i even got a chance to practice my surfing skills, although i must say it is harder than it looks. actually, we were catching the smaller versions of the waves in the bay next to sorake, but hey, i was close. when we weren’t surfing, we were helping a phillippino doctor run clinics in the local villages. we entertained about 50 to 60 village kids so she could hold clinic in peace. picture this….we’re playing duck, duck, goose…a classic kids game that normally wouldn’t draw much attention from adults. but before we know it, the majority of the village was standing outside the ring of children, cheering as we chased each other round and round. it was like a day at the races, and honestly such a picture of innocence and unadulterated joy that i wanted to take a picture and hold it in my memory wherever i go.
so now, our time here is halfway finished. a two day trip including boat, van and plane landed us back in the center of modernity that is kuala lumpur. tomorrow we’ll go see the kl towers…you know, the tallest building in the world. then the next day we’ll go to a water park with our school leader who is coming from england. and then we’re back in the thick of things in bandung, indonesia. i’m ready for it. the joy i feel giving myself away is worth way more than starbucks and comfort. although a little pampering goes a long way to lift your spirits…