Let’s do a tally shall we?
Number of people on the trip to Indonesia: 12
Number of outright fights spawned by living so close together: 0
Number of people crammed into a 12-person van: 19 (including luggage and food for 10 days.)
Number of rivers visited: 2
Number of beaches visited: 4
Number of trees climbed: 1 nice coconut tree
Number of people saved: Approximately 12
Number of lives changed: I’ll never know in this lifetime
I’m trying my hardest to get my fingers to frame the words necessary to describe Indonesia and all that took place, but where do you even begin to describe such an experience? I’ll start off by saying that I think I was impacted more than the people I went to minister to. That is not always the case, but God spoke to me in such a real way while I was there.
Our whole group spent a lot of time talking about dreaming, and what society truly thinks of people who dare to conjure up a world beyond their current existence. In Indonesia, people don’t dream. Government corruption and poverty have them in such a state that they can’t imagine a life beyond their simple village, where they get married, have kids, wash clothes, farm for rice, subsist, and eventually die. One of our girls would ask a village girl what she dreamed for herself, and the response, instead of a coy smile and a list of things she wishes to be, was often hurt anger. Because this girl knew that her fate was sealed: marriage and kids, living and dying in the same village.
We think we have it so much better, but we started thinking about it, and we had to wonder, is that really the case? We are encouraged to dream as children, and dream big. Then as we get older, we have to narrow it down, pick something practical and realistic for our skill level. Choose something that makes money, and you’re set for life. Pick art history, and people look at you funny. Then you get in a job, and start creating car payments, mortgages. You need health insurance, because who would walk around without it, right?
Then God comes knocking. He asks you to give it all up, to be a missionary, or surrender to a calling bigger than your job and your car and everything you own. You tell people what you think the Lord is telling you, and they look at you like you’re off your rocker. Why would you give it all up? they ask. You’ve got to quit dreaming and get in the real world, make some money, and be responsible for yourself. You have a dream, and it gets stifled out by cultural expectations. So was it worth it to dream in the first place, to dare to go beyond what is required, and get what is imagined and longed for? If we don’t take the dreams that God has given us and put them into action, maybe we’d be better off in a village, where we don’t have to dream at all.