04.12.2013 29 °C
It is with mixed emotions that I write this blog. This will be our last post in Indonesia until next July. I know some of you will read this with surprise, but we are coming back to Canada for some very positive reasons. We leave behind precious new friends, yet look ahead with excitement at the thought of seeing friends and family that we have missed. We will greatly miss the humid warmth of our mountain home in Malang, but we’ve heard there may be snow when we arrive back in Canada, which is just perfect for Christmas! I will miss the Indonesian food, the friendly faces, and the challenge of learning a new language. I can’t wait to grab my first Tim Horton’s coffee when I get off the plane!
When the opportunity came up for us to come to Indonesia, Frank’s role was pretty defined. We were introduced to a small soccer dorm that had a lot of potential, but hadn’t had the manpower to really develop into what it could be. High school aged boys were accepted into the dorm based on their need, soccer skill, and willingness to embrace the program. Some of these boys have graduated and have gone on to play soccer professionally, but the program could be oh-so much more. The husband and wife couple who started it (Timo and Devi Scheunemann) have put their lives into it, sacrificing a lot personally. The dorm is partially funded by Mustard Seed International, and Hilfe Fur Bruder, a German organization. But it is clear, that to give these young men a great future, they need champions to walk beside them, both financially and personally.
We spent the first month or so getting our bearings, observing what was going on around us, and trying to wrap our heads around language, food and cultural differences. I made friends with a lovely lady with a lovely name (Heidi),
who had lived in Papua for 17 years with her husband and children. She was planning to go back to Papua for three weeks to speak at a conference, and to re-connect with the many girls she had coached and mentored over the years. Out of the blue one day, she said I should come with her. After some inner debate and friendly cajoling from her teen aged boys, I decided to go. The results of that trip were many, but the most important for me was the birth of an idea. The thought that kept swirling through my mind was, “ok, we have the boys dorm, why don’t we create something for girls?”. I was disheartened about some of the stories I’d heard in general about the future for Papuan girls; saddened while visiting some of Heidi’s former players in villages along lake Sentani – girls who’d almost had a fighting chance; a brief vision of freedom, then sunk back into poverty and horrific situations. I figured we could start small and even if we helped change the future – or at least offered an opportunity – for a few girls, it was worth the effort.
Fast forward two months – only two months – and we have our dorm project for both girls and boys off the ground! Charis National Academy has graciously offered full scholarships to our first four girls who will arrive on January 2. Mustard Seed International has been kind enough to help with the upfront costs of the initial dorm set up and flights (quite costly, as you can imagine), and the Scheunemann family are opening up their home to mentor, train, encourage, challenge, love, and most of all, give HOPE to these precious girls. We are so excited! We cannot believe how it has come together so quickly. It is definitely meant to be.
Which brings us back to Canada. We understand that we in the west are inundated with pleas for help and cries for assistance. We are coming home to share our story, and the stories of these girls. We will be making presentations in the New Year. If you or your family, church or organization would like to take part in this opportunity to drastically change the lives of these teenagers, we would be more than happy to let you know how to do that.
We have really enjoyed our time here, and have learned an enormous amount. We are planning to arrive back in Indonesia in mid-July, 2014. Until then, we will make periodic updates to let you know how the dorm program is developing and who knows, maybe more travel announcements to other interesting places...