I returned last week from a 12-day trip to Indonesia. Representing Dr. Ben Abraham’s 127 Legacy Foundation, and joining a team from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Snellville, GA, we planned to spend our time at the Rebana House of Joy, an orphanage on the island of Timor that we have adopted to sponsor. Our goals included helping them a build playground and soccer goals for a soon-to-be-cleared field, and get pictures and short bios of all the children for possible sponsorships back in the States.
The flights and layovers to get from Atlanta to Kupang on West Timor amounted to a total of over 30 hours. Exhausting travel. Our route took us to Houston, Texas, then a 14-hour flight to Tokyo, Japan, then into Jakarta. We stayed a couple of days in the capital city, adjusting to the 11-hour time difference and jet-lag. We enjoyed the company of our friends at Getsemani Baptist Church, our partner church in Indonesia and the church founded by Dr. Ben’s father many years ago. Pastor Raymond and his people are wonderful and inspiring. We shopped some, ate way too much delicious local food, and enjoyed a Sunday worshiping with them. I spoke at a youth and parent event, preached Sunday morning, and Dr. Ben’s son-in-law Greg did Sunday night.
We flew into Kupang and were met by Doni Wijaya, the founder and president of Rebana Ministries, and some of his staff. They drove us out of town to the orphanage, near the coast, and we settled in to get started. House of Joy currently has 30 children, ages 5-17, boys and girls. Their dedicated staff were very welcoming. We bonded with them immediately. We also met the precious children, and fell in love with them all. We were looking forward to a wonderful week with them.
During the day, as the children were off in school, we worked with the staff in the heat and humidity to erect their first-ever playground. In the evenings we enjoyed down-time with the Rebana children, eating, singing, doing games, arts/crafts, and Bible stories with them. While there, we also helped purchase new uniforms for the children, gave them gifts from supporters in the USA, bought a new washing machine for the facility, and installed ceiling fans in all rooms. Wednesday night I preached at a small church across town, whose name I think translated to “Chosen Ones Baptist Church.” We had a wonderful time with them, in their beautiful South Pacific building with a tin roof and thatched bamboo walls, shaded by tall palms. I loved it.
We awoke each morning to the sound of the children singing before going off to school, and each day ended with the same. We completed the playground our final full day there, finishing at 8pm under a full moon. The children played on it until well past their bedtime, then were up at 5am playing on it before school! The sounds of their laughter and play made all the sweat, sunburn, and sore muscles well worth it. The most difficult part was, in fact, saying goodbye.
We flew back to the crowded metropolis of Jakarta, spent some final moments with the lovely people of Getsemani Church, and started the long journey home from the far side of the world. With a camera full of pictures and video, and a heart full of memories and friendships, I hope to return next year to this beloved place. In the meantime, I will work to raise awareness and support of the good, God-honoring work Doni and his people are doing, and the precious children the home is ministering to.