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*Sentences in blue correspond to pictures immediately following each report.




Friday, July 8
This was probably the largest group of family and friends who came to the airport to see us off. We were humbled and thrilled by this show of support. By the time we got in line to check in at about 7:30 PM, the last Vision member had arrived so we were able to all check in together. After checking in, Pastor Tom prayed for us and after a few more minutes, Jessica Cheng and Alex Yeh arrived soon after, having driven all the way from Riverside to see us off. Debbie Lock who happened to be in LA from Arizona even came to see us off. Pastor Dan Harmon than prayed for us, we took a group picture and sang "O Praise Ye to the Lord (Cantate Domino)", after which several of the passengers sitting nearby came to chat with us. Again, the Lord showed us that music is a wonderful tool for breaking down barriers. We then passed through security with no problems at all, praise the Lord! While waiting at the departure area, we were informed that our flight is going to be delayed 30 minutes (we actually left about an hour late), but because we were no longer going to stop in Honolulu, we arrived in Manila more than 2 hours earlier than planned, so we have no problems making the Jakarta flight connection. The flight was a little turbulent toward the last hour or so of the flight so some of us were queasy and skipped breakfast on the plane, but God showed His graciousness to us by giving everyone in the group a free pass for breakfast at the Cafe France in the airport. We spent a few minutes to pray in small groups and thanked God for the uneventfulness of the trip so far then went to eat our free breakfast. We made it to Jakarta with no problems, although Janine was stopped at the customs office and one of her luggage (which contained all the soap) was opened. They sniffed at the soap and one customs lady even opened up a tube of toothpaste and smelled it to make sure it was toothpaste. When I explained it was for the orphans, they let us go. We thank God that they did not open up any of the other dozen suitcases because we would really have a hard time explaining why we were bringing in all that soap and toothpastes. We met up with about ten of the twelve students including their director and sang together for a few minutes and went through the rules of behavior for the team. We then ate a nice dinner with a few of the parents of these kids and sang a short program to them. Alice and Andrew shared why the joined Vision again this year. We then returned to our dorm rooms to rest up for the night, a well deserved rest since most of us were really tired, having slept about 4 to 6 hours over the last 40 hours.
 
 

Vision and family and friends at LAX.

Combined Vision team singing for Indonesian families.

 
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Saturday, July 9
- As a group, we were quite energetic this morning, having slept reasonably well last night. We gathered for breakfast about 7 and started our group worship and devotion about 7:30 and first rehearsal about 8:30. We went through about 8 songs in a little over an hour, returned to our rooms to get ready to leave for Bandung on two medium sized buses.

A couple of comments. We had a joyous time reuniting with 5 of the six Indonesian singers from last year (one girl is in Thailand and will not join us until we return from Bandung) and meeting the 6 new Indonesian kids. It was like a long lost reunion even though we had known each other for only 2 weeks last year. It is quite amazing how our oneness in Christ makes us feel like family. During devotion time, a couple of the Indonesian students shared how being Christians here made them feel outcast and isolated by their society and how they are made to feel inferior and marginalized. This is something we in the US don't really understand and we are so glad we can be here to empower the local students who are with us.

The ride to Bandung, only about 140 km, took over 4 hours due to heavy traffic. We ate our box lunches on the bus. The last 3 km to reach Bandung and the 3 to 4 km from the toll booth to the Hotel Trio took over an hour and a half to traverse, but we all arrived safely. After settling in, we met at the Hok Im Tong church across the street to practice a bit more before dinner. The room echos well so we sounded really good there. We then broke into 3 groups to practice our skits, especially those skits where our Indonesian friends speak their parts. We then ate dinner (box lunches delivered to the church) and then debriefed and prepared for the mini-VBS starting Monday. Our debriefing time is spent sharing how we saw God work. Since this is our first debriefing, some shared how they were blessed and loved by the crowd that saw us off. One of the Indonesian kids shared how he saw God in each of us, while another shared how he saw God in the unity of our combined group, something we had asked you to pray for us, and indeed, God has already answered this prayer. One young Indonesian student also shared how he only had 3 weeks of vacation and how he wanted to spend more than 1 week with his family, but felt God wanted him to spend the two weeks with Vision and ministry, and we were touched by his deep love for God and willingness to put even his father and mother behind Jesus' call to serve Him first.

 
 

Some Vision members practicing a non-speaking skit.

 
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Sunday, July 10 - Well, we've been here for 2 days and have spent them mainly to minister to one another and in preparation for ministry. Today is our first "outside ministry" as we went to the GMK church and was given the whole time to sing, testify, and do a skit at their youth service of over a hundred young people. After an hour of very energetic worship where they sang songs mostly in English (for our benefit, even though most of them do not speak English), we did our program with Joyce sharing her testimony about how God answered her prayer during a stressful time in her life and Ronald shared how God opened the door to allow him to join Vision even though he had classes this week and next at the university. We also performed our skit showing how Satan traps us in our addictions and Christ can set us free with Adi doing the narration in Indonesian. After Pastor Ben preached about Daniel's three friends in the fiery furnace, the Senior Pastor of GMK asked us to pray for their youth who came forward for prayer. At least 50 young people came forward, including at least one who came to receive Christ as savior. During the one-on-one prayer time, several of the young people being prayed for were in tears; some asked for salvation for their family as there were quite a few new believers in the group. The entire service took over 2-1/2 hours. We then had lunch together in a small room below the sanctuary with spicy noodles, curry chicken and assorted cold vegetables and fruits (mainly watermelon). We then returned to our hotel to debrief over the service we just attended and have our group devotions. After dinner, we completed our mini-VBS training and met with Peter, who had arranged for all the places we will be visiting the next 3 days in Bandung. Peter gave us a brief run down of what to expect and we requested that he try to arrange for us to visit the women's prison on Thursday morning before leaving Banding since we had such a great time at that prison last year. Please pray for open doors for this late request since we feel led to return to this prison. We then started to sort all the soaps, shampoos, toothpaste and toothbrushes into separate gift packages for giving to the prisoners and children we will be visiting in the next few days here in Bandung. Health wise, we are all pretty good. A few have mosquito bites, one girl has a headache, several have minor sore throats and coughs, nothing serious, thank God, but please remember to pray for God's healing touch on them.

 
 

Vision singing at the GMK youth service.


Vision members praying for GMK church members.


Vision with members of the GMK church.
 
 
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Monday, July 11 - After an early breakfast, we went to a place which is helping the Sundanese people preserve their culture and music. This very interesting group is doing some very innovative work. We had lunch together and left to go back to Hok Im Tong to do our daily devotion. We have been using studying the different names used in the song "I Am" and asking 6 simple questions (like what I liked about the passage, what I didn't understand, what I learn about God, etc.) and everyone in the team is getting an opportunity to learn to lead these small groups. Today's passage is about the Lion of Judah and generated much discussion as well as praise. We then left for the orphanage run by the Presbyterian Church. We had expected 50 kids but there were only 26 kids there, about 16 elementary and 10 high school/college kids as many of the children are on holiday (those who are not true orphans) before school starts next week. As planned, we divided into the younger kids and older kids with En leading the younger and Pastor Ben the older with half the Vision team supporting one group or the other. The older kids, after playing the name game, got into some serious sharing with not only Vision but several of the orphans sharing their stories. We realized that although our backgrounds are so different, our struggles are not really very different (divorced parents, etc.) but one young man said his parents reconciled after 15 years of divorce and are now just waiting for him to finish his last year of college so they can be reunited as a family. Another girl shared how her sibling's goal is to reunite as a family, and we realized how much God wants us back in His family too. One poignant sharing is how one girl said she is grateful for all that has happened to her (being brought to this orphanage) because she found Christ here, even though it was not what she would have wished for. Thank God for the 5 older and a similar number of younger kids who raised their hands to indicate their receiving Christ tonight (although all 16 elementary kids prayed the sinner's prayer and said now Jesus is in their hearts when asked that question after prayer. Janine shared how as group leader, one little girl who was kind of the trouble maker in her group of 4 was the one who was praying with the most sincerity at the end. Today was a long and very eventful day, praise God.

One final item of praise. Last night, we asked for prayer that we can go to the women's prison on Thursday morning. Tonight, we just received word that the prison authorities gave us permission to go even on such short notice. We did find out that another church was scheduled to go there Thursday morning so pray for Grandma Wisa, who is trying to negotiate with this church to let us go in their place this week.

A couple of comments: We have been buying and bringing box lunches with us when we visit the orphans which has added to our expenses in an unplanned way, but our God wants us to be generous as He is generous, so we happily feed these children. Last night, it was interesting to see these little ones, maybe 5 or 6 years old, manfully stuff the whole box lunch down, probably because they have been taught never to waste food. One little girl smilingly said this is so good, because they almost never get to eat meat, in this case a piece of chicken maybe 2 by 2 inches and a half inch thick, which we might eat in two bites.


Greeting children at the orphanage.

Part of the high school group at the orphanage.

 

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Tuesday, July 12 - We had another early start today, leaving the hotel a few minutes after 8 AM to head off to our first prison. We picked up Grandma (Oma) Wisa and found out that all the arrangements had been made for us to go to the women's prison before we leave Bandung Thursday. Thank God for answering all our prayers. This men's prison is a different one from the ones we went to last year. There were about the same number of prisoners as us and we completely filled the chapel. The prisoners led worship and then 9 of them sang a song to us, well blended with harmony. It was led by a man of Chinese descent who said he used to sing in a church choir, left Christ, got in trouble, divorced but found Christ in prison again. Our program just blended together beautifully, each song and testimony and skit seemed to touch the prisoners' hearts, orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. Janine and Brian Lee shared their testimonies and we performed two skits (the puppet skit and a new skit about being burdened down with the temptations of this world) before Pastor Ben preached from John 3:1-6, about being born again. When the invitation was given, about half the prisoners raised their hands. We then asked who wanted to be prayed for and perhaps a dozen prisoners came forward. The time was pretty intense: one older man with scraggly hair and beard teared when Jeremy and Jeff prayed for him while Andrew translated. One young man wept when Brian Kuan, Josh and Glory prayed for him. Thy were joined later by Pastor Ben and he really broke down as God was doing some deep work in his heart. At the end of the meeting, the chaplain came up and surprisingly, he shared that God was moving in his heart and that today, he also raised his hand with the prisoners to accept Christ as his personal savior. Even though he had all the training and been chaplain for many years, this was apparently the first time he had given his heart to Jesus, praise God! He then prayed a powerful blessing for us.

We then returned to our hotel to eat the box lunches which we had been carrying with us all morning. We then had some worship time and then did a quick debriefing before our group devotion (in small groups of about 5 people each where we meditated on Jesus being Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. During the devotion time, the heavens opened up and it really poured. Marshall remembers simply asking God if He could stop the rain at 2:30 when we needed to walk from the church to the bus across the street. At 2:20, the rain slowed down. We prayed the spiritual armor prayer for protection together. At 2:25 it stopped, and we could cross the street completely dry. We then drove to the Kinderdorf orphanage, part of a world-wide group of orphanages started by an Austrian; a non-sectarian orphanage so that if the children were from other faiths, they did not have to come to our meetings. We were told to there were 90 kids at this orphanage so we brought food for them but when we got there, only about 30 young children were there. Due to a misunderstanding, they told us the number of kids at the orphanage but many of them were in the city while this orphanage was in the north part up in the hills and trees, a beautiful place. But when we told the ladies (several obviously Christians) running the orphanage of our plans to sing and share, they texted the neighborhood kids, and God added to the orphans so we ended up with a total of 53 elementary and 30 junior and senior high school kids there, many of them children from M families. All in all, about 14 high schoolers and a similar number of elementary kids raised their hands to accept Jesus. One very cute boy repeated what all the bead colors in his bracelet meant and said, but I am a M, can Jesus love me too? When told Jesus loves him and died for him, he happily agreed to have the bracelet put on his arm too. This happened to several more of the kids of different ages. One girl said in a soft voice that Isa (Jesus) was now her God. An older boy told us we were the "best" group to ever come and visit, because the other groups came and just played games or do things, but we brought the good news with us. Last year, we were kind of disappointed that we could not share with the M. people and this year, God brought them to us. One other exciting news to report is that much of this was done by the Indonesian team members! God hand picked those kids to come (and we used up almost all the food we brought) and touched many young lives tonight. Pray for them, especially the M kids, that they will know how to grow up in their culture and yet follow Isa faithfully. One other factoid. The skies started to darken when we started VBS (about 5:30 PM) but the rain never came and we had to walk perhaps a kilometer from the bus to this orphanage but it stayed dry the whole way, although apparently it rained only a few feet from where the bus was parked. God is gracious and good. We had a great day of ministry, and can't wait to see what surprises God has in store for us tomorrow!


Children listening to Vision at Kinderdorf.

Holy, Jaspher, and Jeff with some kids.

 
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Wednesday, July 13
- Another early start (and an even earlier one planned for tomorrow since we also need to pack and check out) as we headed out to a drug prison in Bandung. Drug offenses are considered the most serious (even more serious than murder) crime here and we met with about 30 prisoners at the prison, accompanied by Oma Wisa and a young man who it appears she is training (this 75 year old lady seems to be training lots of young people all the time). Our program is quite similar to the other prison, 30 minutes of worship led by the prison team members, our singing and skit and Pastor Ben giving another challenging message but it felt differently here. Today, Marissa and Ronald gave their testimonies.
After his message, about 12 people raised their hands to indicate their desire to receive Christ, but only about 8 asked for prayer from our team members. In chatting with the inmates later, we found out one reason might have been the life of the worship leader. although a very gifted singer and guitar player, we found out that he is continuing to do several illegal things in prison, like owning a cell phone (inmates are not allowed cell phones) and taking pictures of the girls in Vision. It showed us again how our life needs to be pure when we serve God or we are only serving in our flesh.

After lunch on the bus, we returned to the church across from our hotel to do our group devotions, do a little practice singing to fix up the little things that make for a good performance, and then headed out to the Salvation Army orphanage. We were surprised when we got there to find an additional 25 or so kids there since we had bought enough food for the smaller number. It turned out where we sang was the girl's home and we were given the number of girls living there but at the last minute, the leaders of the orphanage decided to bus in the boys from the boys' orphanage. For some reason, the Salvation Army folks bought 12 more lunch boxes for us, and after feeding all the children and giving Rian and Ronald their boxes so they could catch the bus back to Jakarta for their school orientation Thursday morning, it left us with 22 lunch boxes for 33 of us. We leaders decided to just share the food between us so we do a partial fast and go to bed a little hungry tonight and appreciate what it feels like for the majority of the people here. But somehow God multiplied the food for we all ate and were satisfied and even had a bit of rice left! We had a great time ministering there. Almost all the 51 elementary kids and 16 of the 17 high schoolers prayed to receive the Lord (although it is likely that for many of them, it was only a re commitment). Tonight, Andrew led the elementary section, after having observed Auntie En doing this for the past 2 days and Brian Chioy and Icha shared at the high school section. The actions of the Indonesian team has been such a blessing to see, as they really stepped forward to teach, share, pray as well as sing. It has been a good day but quite different from yesterday and we could see God working and in full control of everything that happened.


Prisoners raising their hand after Pastor Ben's message.


Paul, Brian Lee, and Rian praying for a prisoner.


Outside the Salvation Army orphanage.

Children from the Salvation Army orphanage.


 
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Thursday, July 14
- We left a few minutes after 8 AM, having loaded all our luggage on the bus, eaten breakfast and checked out of our rooms, a minor miracle!
After picking up Oma Wisa, we then headed to the women's prison where we went last year. Surprisingly, only a handful of women were still there from last year. Most of the 40 plus women had been transferred there within the last year, including 4 or 5 women who had just been transferred there from Jakarta only a few days ago and still in quarantined (they wore pink shirts) but allowed to join us since we were an outside group and this was a special occasion. The Chinese lady who spoke almost no Indonesian was still there but she happily told us she would be released in a month. She was not a believer last year but a lady from the Chinese church had faithfully been doing a Bible study with her and she accepted Christ within the last year so she was very joyful. We also met a second Chinese lady who told us she also became a believer in prison and said going to prison was the best thing that ever happened to her since she found Christ in prison She is gung-ho to evangelize the rest of her family when she gets released. We had a great time worshiping and singing. Katie and Nadia shared their testimonies and we also performed two skits. Pastor Ben preached from John 4 about the Samaritan women receiving living water. 30 of the 40 plus women prayed to receive Christ, including all the women in pink who were the recent transfers to this prison in quarantine. Clearly, God had divinely led us to visit this women's prison at this time. Praise Him!

We then got back on the bus and dropped off Oma Wisa to and drove back to Jakarta. The ride again took about 4 hours due to heavy traffic as we got to Jakarta, but we made it safely to the school (UPH) and met up with Ronald and Rian. By now, Joni should have left Los Angeles and be winging her way to join us tomorrow. We checked in, walked across the street to the mall to have dinner and returned to the MYC apartment where U Marsh and A Mei are staying to have our evening devotions and debrief our day. Everyone is staying at the school hotel, ten rooms which UPH uses to train students who major in hotel management (where the guys stayed last year). The rooms are quite nice, like those of a 4 star hotel, but since most rooms are set up for 2 persons and we have 35, the school had to add mattresses on the floor to fit 3 or 4 per room. However, the Huangs are staying at the MYC apartments, a two bedroom, two bath unit with living room and kitchen which is used by visiting faculty, a first class luxurious apartment of about 1500 sq. ft. They are being spoiled here, an unexpected blessing provided by a loving Lord for His children. The plan is for the group to meet in this apartment and eat breakfast here.


The Vision team with Oma Wisa outside of the women's prison.

 
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Friday, July 15 - While we were debriefing last night, Jessie, who was on a family vacation in Thailand joined us so we are now 36. During debriefing, we heard many stories from the women prisoners and learned that several of these women in prison were framed by their "friends", or were given unusually long prison sentences for what we would consider relatively minor crimes, like carrying a very small amount of marihuana, but we also believe that God allowed them to be put in prison for His own glory - to find abundant life as many did yesterday, so indeed we can learn to give God thanks in all things. We met to eat breakfast and head off to the senior home we visited last year, but Pastor Ben stayed back because he went to the airport to pick up Joni, who arrived safely by herself through Manila and Singapore, so our team is finally complete. At the senior home, since Pastor Ben wasn't there, Marshall spoke so Slim led the program. A further complication arose because there was no keyboard, so Slim had to lead only songs we could sing acapella, but the group sang well, so well that we are going to try to schedule some time to record our singing. Natalie, Andrew, and Tia shared their testimony and Marshall shared from the parable of the lost coin from Luke 15. What made the sharing more interesting is that Marshall lost one of his contact lenses last night and he and Meiring spent over a half hour looking for it, using a flashlight, like the woman in the parable. Our God has a sense of humor and gives us unexpected trials to make His word even more relevant. Three old men responded to his invitation to receive Christ into their lives as a result. We ate our box lunches at the retirement home and did our small group devotion and then drove over to our fourth orphanage this week. This is the same orphanage we visited last year, that played the angklung, really more like a home as they do not put their children up for adoption, but grow the kids from infancy to adulthood. We sang a little, they sang a little and played the angklung, and broke up into two VBS groups as we did in the other orphanages. Czrilla led the high school group today because Pastor Ben wasn't with us and did a great job of presenting the Gospel. Throughout these 4 orphanages, almost everyone in Vision had a chance to share their testimonies, some more than once and God used each person to touch these kids. Today, almost all of the 50 or so children prayed to receive Christ although it is likely they are mostly believers already, but we thank God for the work of grace in these kids lives. We ate our dinner from the box lunches on the bus driving back and welcomed Joni when we got back and did our day's debriefing. We also had a chance to pray for those in our group who had coughs and sore throats. Interestingly, almost half of the Indonesian kids are experiencing a bad throat while only one of the American kids is having a problem. Health-wise, we are quite healthy this year (so far, so keep praying). Thank God for another tiring but meaningful and fulfilling day.


Joyce, Nadia, and Adi praying for some men at the senior home.


Holy and Yosi praying for a woman at the senior home.

 
The team walking to the orphanage.

Kids at the orphanage making bracelets during VBS.

 

 
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Saturday, July 16 -
Today was something like an emotional roller coaster ride, very dramatic, in fact traumatic. After breakfast and some group pictures, we first went to the Siloam Hospital in Karawaci, just down the street from our dorm/hotel. We sang in the lobby of the hospital for about 45 minutes straight, with lots of patients, hospital workers (even someone dressed in a Pooh Bear costume) listening. We had a chance to talk to some people afterward, then in groups of two went to pray for some of the patients. Eighteen of us went to 9 patients' rooms to pray for the children there. We were allowed only to pray for those who asked for prayer but one team missed the person they were supposed to pray for as he was discharged a few minutes before. But another boy (who said he was Muslim) in the room asked for prayer for his asthma so they got a chance to pray for someone after all. One team prayed for healing for a young girl who has seizures and had to come to the hospital once a week or so. The plight these patients touched our team members quite deeply. We then took our bus (eating on route) to the street kids ministry. They meet in a former garden nursery just off a busy road with lots of people passing by, but almost no one took notice of these poorest of the poor. These kids (about 30) and their parents (mostly moms were there) are street beggars. We sang to them, did a couple of skits and did our mini-VBS, then passed out some of our gits of soap, toothbrushes, etc. including a snack. A church donates school uniforms so some of these kids can go to school and there is a lady who comes weekly to do Bible study and a young man who himself was a former street kid who ministers here. This man wants to go to Bible School and we prayed that God will open the door for him to do that. When we sang, someone started a fire and thick smoke started coming our way. This young man dashed over there to put out the fire. It seems the fire was started to dissuade us from singing, but we were able to complete our program and several of the kids seemed quite serious about praying to receive Christ. We then bused over to Stephen Tong's church where we listened to their choir practicing the Bach Mass in B-minor for about a half hour. We also sang Cantate Domino to them. When we were almost to our bus to leave, we were asked to come come back and meet Rev. Stephen Tong. He greeted us, shared some remembrance of Rev. Eddie Lo, and then took us to the concert hall to listen to an orchestra rehearsing for their concert that evening. The sounds were so wonderful there. He then took us on a personal guided tour of his soon-to-open art museum. What a rare privilege to see this museum which will open tomorrow for the first time for only his church members (then the public later). We got to walk through and see replicas of hundreds of famous paintings and then to another floor to see very rare Chinese artifacts, some as much as 7000 years old. By now, we were all tired so we got back on the bus to return to our dorm and eat our box lunch/dinners. So far, we had seen the poorest of the poor and some magnificent paintings and hear great music, kind of the poles of society; the most marginalized and the best of the culture, juxtaposed, yet God loves them all and is glorified somehow through all this.

Then on the drive back, on the limited toll road at about 7 PM, our bus struck a man who was dashing across 3 lanes of traffic. We don't know who he was or how he got on the freeway or why he was running. There was just no way to avoid the man as he just ran right in front of our bus. We felt the bus jerk as the driver slammed on the brakes and heard an awful thud. The bus stopped on the shoulder, the driver and his helper carried the man to the luggage compartment under the bus and we pulled into a rest stop just a few hundred feet from the site of the accident. An ambulance showed up almost immediately to take the man to the hospital. The driver was one we used last year to take us to Bandung and he remembered our joy and kindness to him from last year. Even though he was so shook up, he only asked his supervisor to make sure we, he called us his guests, were taken care of. What love shown by a non-believer! When we returned about 9 PM, we spent almost an hour to process what happened and pray for the man who was struck (we found out he died shortly after getting to the hospital), his family, if any, the bus driver, his helper and their families. We know God's sovereign hand and timing was in all this and though many on our team members were shocked, we were able to worship and give thanks in the bus on the ride back. We believe God will use this to bring the bus driver and his family (he has a wife and 4 children) to come to know Jesus. We will determine if and for how long the driver might lose his license (even though the accident was no fault of the driver) and might take a love offering for him. Pray for both mercy and justice to be done in this matter. So that is our day, very dramatic but God's hand is over all of it. Praise Him!


Vision
singing at Siloam Hospital, Karawaci.

Vision members looking at all of the trash next to the street kids ministry's meeting area.


Pastor Ben and Rev. Stephen Tong.

Rev. Tong giving Vision a private tour of the concert hall.

 
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Sunday, July 17
Today is kind of a sabbath day for us. We met at 8 for devotions (since we missed our devotion on Saturday due to the accident) and had breakfast and a short practice with Fanny (the Indonesian director leading "Shout to the Lord" and then we proceeded to go to the Jakarta International Baptist Church for an English service. Because of traffic, we arrived 15 minutes late, just at the end of the singing time. We sang a total of 3 songs and Czrilla shared a strong testimony about our experience from last night (with the accident). We then had a light lunch at a nearby noodle shop and returned to our dorm for some R&R, but almost everyone went to the mall across the street from the university to do some shopping, mainly for snacks. We then went to a seafood restaurant where Marshall and Meiring treated the whole team for dinner. The restaurant had really fresh seafood which one selects from all varieties of fish, shellfish, etc. and they are cooked wonderfully with their special sauces. We then returned to our meeting place at the university to do our Sunday devotion and had a short debriefing which mainly focused on the bus driver. We found out that he was held at the police station all night and will probably continue to be there for a few more days. He met with the family of the deceased and the police informed the family that the bus driver is completely innocent (one answer to prayer) but due to Indonesian custom, the bus driver is still responsible to pay for the funeral cost of the deceased. We will take a collection to help him when we find out more details). So Monday, he has to remain in custody to work out the details of the funeral and then hopefully on Tuesday, they can complete the paper work and release the bus driver. Pastor Ben had a chance to pray for the bus driver via phone today and he was very grateful. We learned that he talked to his wife and told her not to worry but stay home and take care of his 4 kids, what a caring man he is as he showed in his concern for us last night and not for his own welfare. We as a team are praying for 3 things: 1. That Isa (Jesus) will appear tonight in a dream so the bus driver will come to know the true God and the same thing will happen to his wife. 2, That justice will be done and he can be released quickly and not have to bribe his way out (even though he has already been declared guiltless). 3. That we can see him again as our bus driver before we leave Indonesia and we can rejoice together that he has become a family member.

 
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Monday, July 18
- We were scheduled to go to the home for cancer kids (YKASI) this morning but that has been rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon instead, so we had a late 9 AM breakfast cooked in the Huang's apartment unit's kitchen, scrambled eggs with spam sandwich. So before that at 7:30, about a dozen kids went swimming at the outdoor pool located just below the apartment and made so much noise they could be heard 3 stories above them through closed windows (but sign says the school pool is open at 6 AM so it is OK). However, we found out later that we should have asked permission to use the pool - we are finding out that in the Indonesian culture, control and authority is highly valued, so asking first is important in this culture. After breakfast, we had a time of worship together and our small group devotion to prepare us for our second seek of ministry before we left on the bus to do our second street kids ministry this afternoon.

This ministry is also coordinated by Ibu Etna who we met on Saturday but it is quite different in that a group of churches in the central city have teamed together to support the squatters. These churches of all denominations, from Pentecostals to Baptists support two men who have in fact started a church among these most marginalized and they take care of over 50 widows among their members, who are mostly a mix of M people and minority groups from the outlying islands. The 57 kids we met were bused in from the slum area because the churches take turns hosting the kids whose parents have been taught working skills and are now working as maids or laborers and slowly improving their lives as they continue to grow as believers. We had a good time mixing in with these children immediately and the workers there commented how well our kids connected with the slum kids (in contrast to another group from the US who were there 2 weeks ago). It is probably because our kids had no problem taking off their shoes and sitting among the kids and hugging them. We performed several songs, Joni and Paul shared their testimonies, we did the puppet skit and a skit we taught the Indonesian team members about how a believer is picked on by her classmates but they come to appreciate her lifestyle when one of them is killed in a drunken car accident. In fact, since Vision came up with this skit during our retreat in January, it is kind of eerie how it has many characteristics of what we went through Sunday night. Over a dozen children raised their hands to accept Jesus into their lives. We then went to En Poli's mom's home for a wonderful dinner prepared for us by En's mom. We debriefed about the ministry we just did. One little boy named Simon asked for prayer that his dad would come home at night not drunk and a little girl named Hanna said her father was Christian but her mom a follower of Islam and would keep her so busy she could not even read her Bible. Their stories touched our hearts. Joni had been encouraging her schoolmates to raise funds by recycling and her school had raised $400 through her efforts. She thought she would give the money to the cancer children home but after learning about these street kids ministry coordinated by Etna, decided to donate all $400 to this ministry. Etna was very touched and thankful and said the money would be used for a short term mission to reach 4000 children in an outlying island in Indonesia. As we debriefed, Pastor Ben called our bus driver and learned that he would be meeting in a few minutes with the family of the deceased, bus company representatives and police and asked Pastor Ben to pray for this, repeatedly saying "amen" as Ben prayed. As a group we also supported him in prayer. On the bus ride home after dinner a couple of hours later, Ben called to find out that everything has been kind of settled and the bus driver was already released and home with his wife! They had not quite settled on the funeral payments: the widow wanted 20 million rupiahs (about $2,400) and the bus driver said he could not pay that much (and he also needs to pay the police another $200 for the police support) so he has to report to the police every Monday and Thursday until all parties are satisfied and negotiations completed. So we will take up a collection tomorrow and continue to pray for his salvation. Thank God that one of our 3 prayer items for this man has already been answered, in fact he is released even earlier than anyone expected. We will of course invite his whole family to our Indonesian Home Concert Sunday night and feel he is very close to coming to Jesus. Continue to pray for him.


Joni giving her testimony with Tia translating.

Jaspher crew leading at VBS during the street kids' ministry.

 

 
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Tuesday, July 19
- We met at 6:30 in the morning to warm up our voices and then went to sing at 7 AM for the Tuesday morning chapel service for the faculty and staff of UPH, the university in which we are living. Although it was early, the beautiful chapel was quite well filled and we sang "Soli Deo Gloria" and "I Am" which really prepared us for the rest of the day's activities. It is always good to worship at the day's start. We then ate tea eggs and bread which Meiring cooked the day before in the Huang's apartment and at 8:45 went on the bus to head off to a men's prison, one which we visited last year.
After we got processed, we went into the chapel which soon filled up to over 100 prisoners. The sweet presence of the Spirit was there and we started the service after worship singing the Palestrina "Holy, Holy, Holy". We sang several songs after that, Glory gave his testimony and we also performed the heavy burden skit which we made up earlier last week. Pastor Ben then preached from Luke and over 40 raised their hands to accept Jesus as their savior. We then had prayer ministry time as over a dozen prisoners came forward to ask for prayer. One man was from China and he came forward in tears. Meiring and Brian Lee prayed for him in Mandarin and he also prayed to receive Christ at this time. We then came back to the dorm to change and clean up a bit before heading back on the bus to eat our lunch boxes while driving to YKASI, the home for families of kids with cancer. We got there and were reminded again not to sing any religious songs, so we sang "The Orchestra Song" and ad-libed "Doh, a Deer" from the Sound of Music, Old McDonald Had a Farm, and a few other songs, and spent most of the time playing and praying quietly. St. Francis of Assisi said something like preach the good news, and use words only when necessary, so we had to learn how to share the good news with no spoken words. Most of the patients' moms were M people, but two M moms asked Pastor Ben quietly and specifically to pray for their child. On the bus ride back, we found out that the normal price to pay for a funeral is 5M rupiahs so the 20M asked for by the deceased's family (it turns out he is single, so it is his family) is quite outrageous. We ate our box lunches at the dorm, had our small group devotions and debriefed. We then collected a donation to give to the bus driver, a total of over 1 M rupiahs in US dollars and 2 M in rupiahs with a couple of Vision members wanting to pray about how much to give, Thank God for the generosity of our kids in Vision.


Vision singing for the UPH faculty and staff at Tuesday Chapel.


Prisoners raising their hands after Pastor Ben's message.
 
Vision with YKASI families.

 
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Wednesday, July 20
- After breakfast, we got on the bus to head out to a doubly-handicapped children's home run by the Catholic Church. We got caught in traffic and ended up getting there 40 minutes late, but we were able to sing several songs and do the puppet skit before 240 handicapped students, mostly children although there were also some adults there. With a staff of 160 giving them a student to staff ratio of 1.5:1, we could see a lot of joy and confidence in these kids in spite of their handicap. Pastor Ben preached a short sermon about Jesus being the living water and about 40 raised their hands to indicate their desire to receive Christ. There are a lot of children here from Buddhists and M families as there are very few schools or facilities to take care of these people. This place is expanding and building a multi-story dormitory for some of the children to stay. They also provide schooling and therapy (like speech therapy) as well as vocational training for the lesser handicapped, (IQ for the kids we were told range from 30 to 75). This visit changed many of our prejudices about handicapped people as we saw God's image in them through their innocence and joy although marred by their handicaps. After the meeting and a tour of the facility, some of us had a chance to talk to several mothers who were waiting to pick up their kids after classes. We learned that these moms get up at 5 AM to bring their kids here for classes and sit around for hours waiting until class is over to bring them home (and they had no complaints but just gratefulness). One lady said her daughter is now 26 and has been attending classes at this center for 4 years. She is so grateful that whereas before coming, her daughter could not talk and now can communicate and is working at the center (they do weaving, sewing, etc. and actually make money for themselves after learning some vocational skills. This center is a good example of God's shalom coming on the severely handicapped and turning them into useful members of society, giving them dignity. In contrast to YKASI yesterday, it was such a relief to be able to speak of God's goodness before a mixed group and even talk to their moms (we even got to pray for a few of them). Sometimes, God puts us in a place where there is no place else to turn and then God is able to break through. Some of us bought some souvenirs made by the students to also help their ministry.

 

After the handicapped home, we got on the bus to eat and go to a different Siloam Hospital. Again, we sang in the lobby for about 40 minutes with both Slim and Fanny conducting several songs, but the audience seemed busier and less interested. However, after that, all of us had a chance to go the patient's room to visit and pray. We had 13 Indonesian members (12 singers plus Fanny, their director who was able to join us all day) and 26 US members (including the Poli's son Aaron), 39 in all forming 13 teams. Again, we could only go to visit the patients who asked us to go in so they were all Christian. We were surprised how welcoming most of them were and several patients also prayed for us so we were encouraged and blessed by them. One lady was there to get her blood sugar balanced properly - she goes to a Pentecostal church - and she was tearing as we prayed for her healing and for her college age daughter who is studying medicine. It was exciting to hear this young lady also visits and prays for patients in the hospital with some of her schoolmates. One group visited an old lady (in her seventies) who was very grouchy and complaining of pain in her side from a tumor but she was all smiles after prayer and wanted us to come back in 3 days to see how she is doing (although we can't do that). A tourist from New Zealand was injured in a motorcycle cab accident 3 weeks ago and couldn't walk but could now take steps with a walker, We then returned to our dorms, ate dinner, debriefed our day and thanked God for another good day.


Pastor Ben giving a message at the children's home.

The team at Siloam Hospital.

 

 
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Thursday, July 21
- Today is our last day of ministry since we plan to debrief Friday and Saturday (there are 38 of us plus Aaron Poli who has been with us the last week) so it will take a long time. Sunday, we are singing at 2 churches and have our Indonesian Home Concert for the parents and friends of our Indo-Vision team. We have also invited the bus driver to bring his family over as well as various people we have met (like Ibu Etna) so we are hoping to get something like 100 people for our Home Concert. Slim is busy putting together a video to show so she looked really sleepy today. Anyway, we loaded up the bus (38 of us - only Fanny was missing) to go to the juvenile prison located reasonably close to Karawachi Lippo Village where we are staying. For once we got there a half hour early, met up with Ibu Etna and a couple of her coworkers but we had to wait over an hour before they would start processing the girls (this is a boy's prison). Another half an hour passed and then all the girls came out. It seems our paper work for permission to enter the prison did not pass the desk of some higher official in the prison system so he said only 5 of us were allowed into the prison. This was a disappointment for 33 of us but we selected Pastor Ben, and 4 Indo-Vision members to go in, soprano Holy, alto Yosi, tenor Andrew, and bass Ronald. The rest of us prayed for them and empowered them to be our ambassadors. This prison used to hold over 100 (Christian) inmates - remember that M prisoners are segregated from the Christian ones - but we were told there were only a dozen inmates left there, the rest having been released for good behavior or completed their prison sentences. We went back to sit in the bus and pray more for these 5 who went in at 10:30. Almost 2 long hours later, they came back. During debriefing time, we found out that 6 more prisoners had just been released, one was in a cell, so only 5 prisoners were there for our 5 team members. Clearly, God has a sense of humor and was teaching us some valuable lessons in humility. We heard that 4 of these young men were in for rape, one also committed rape and murder, and one accused by the parents of a girl who wanted to run away from home and the boy was accused of kidnapping. Several prisoners testified that they have repented of their crimes and thankful that God has disciplined them to bring them back to God. One was a worship leader before falling away from God and finding Him again in prison.

We then returned to our dorm, eating lunch on the way. After a few minutes to rest, we asked the team that went to the prison to share what they learned and had our small group daily devotions. We then divided up the guys from the girls and spent about an hour discussing the museum next to Stephen Tong's church which expanded to how we are to use our resources best for God as well as practical issues of dating and flirting. We then drove to the radio station where we spent about 3 hours recording our singing. This combined group of 34 singers is one of the larger Vision groups and sings very well so we wanted to do some recording while we still had a chance to do that. During break, we ate our box lunch dinner and in the 3 plus hours, recorded all 20 of our songs. We returned to our dorm around 9 PM, had a snack that Fanny bought for us before going to bed. We start our debriefing tomorrow.


The soprano section during a recording break.

 
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Friday, July 22 - As planned, after breakfast, worship and devotions, we started our debriefing by sharing how we got to know God more during this trip. Answers to prayers was mentioned by several members, but the bus accident and its effect on us was probably mentioned by more people than any other item. Thoughts shared by the team members included the realization that our lives are very uncertain and the resolution to make the most of every moment we have for God's glory; the sovereignty and perfect timing of God in everything that happens; gratefulness for God's protection for each of us; and God's goodness. Another common topic was the orphanages we visited and how that changed our views of our families and how grateful we are for our parents. This took us to lunch which we had at the school food court located just below where we were meeting. We then spent the afternoon and evening sharing what we wanted to bring home, received affirmation from the rest of the team members, and formed accountability teams to follow up these commitments and prayed for each person. We only got through about half the group and will continue this process on Saturday. During dinner, we also celebrated Brian Lee's birthday. After meeting for almost 12 hours with break for lunch and dinner, we all went to bed to gather energy for tomorrow's debriefing.

Just a quick update on the situation with the bus driver so you can pray more specifically. Although he has been released from policy custody, until he settles with the family of the deceased man, he cannot get his driving papers back so he cannot work. He is quite depressed since he does not know how to proceed. The deceased's family is still insisting on 20M rupiahs and not yielding. He has promised to come with his family to our Home Concert Sunday night. Please pray that God will bring him and his family to a knowledge of the true God as our theme verse says in John 17:3, "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." We believe God has put him in this hopeless situation to bring him the good news so uphold him (and us). Thank you.

 
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Saturday, July 23
This has been a reasonably healthy Vision tour so far. In fact, the sickest two are Adi and Kitin who respectively have a bad throat and an infection for which she is taking antibiotics prescribed by a doctor in the hospital we visited. But now that most of the ministry is over, most of us are feeling tired, having run on a lot of adrenalin for the past two weeks so after debriefing (which ended at about 4 PM), several of us stayed back to just rest and relax while about 2/3 of the team went shopping and eating dinner at the mall. God is doing some deep work in the team. Several members mentioned the need to do regular daily devotions when they return. Some have responded with the desire to serve God and go where ever He calls them to go and to prepare themselves accordingly. There are a couple of young men from the Indo-Vision team who are preparing themselves to be teachers but we feel a couple of them really has a pastoral heart and calling and should strive for a higher calling. One young lady quoted from our devotion passage from Isa. 6 saying "Here I am, Lord, send me." It was a blessed time even though the last two days have been quite long and arduous.

We received back a CD copy of our recording session from the radio station studio of Thursday night. One CD has all the individual tracks taken from the recording session which we will re-mix and balance a little better. The second CD is the studio technician's edited version from these tracks which one can plan on a CD player or computer so we listened to a few of the songs. We were excited to hear how we sounded, not perfect, but quite wonderful and we are so grateful to God for the abilities He gave us to sing and for all singers He has assembled to form this year's team. Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the glory!

Tomorrow we sing at two churches and then our Home Concert. This might be the last message sent out since we will be busy packing after Home Concert and grabbing a few minutes of sleep before heading out to the airport Monday morning. Brian Lee and Eugene will be leaving right after Home Concert to catch the 1 AM flight from Jakarta since they are going to Hong Kong and other places. The Poli's with Joyce and Paul are staying for a few more days in Jakarta before heading to Taiwan for the short term mission trip there. The rest (18 of us) will be leaving early afternoon from Jakarta to Manila to catch the flight back to LA although several are staying in Manila for a few days.

 
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Sunday, July 24
Today is our last day in Jakarta.
We left on the bus at 7:30 to head downtown to Kitin and Icha's church, a Baptist church where Pastor Ben and En used to attend and where Nadia was baptized. Jaspher and Janine stayed behind since they were not feeling well (achy and stomach, respectively). We sang "Soli Deo Gloria" with their youth choir of about 20 singers and "Fairest Lord Jesus" before the message and participated in the Lord's supper after the message. The sanctuary was quite packed (at least 250 people). It was great to have a choir of over 50 singers sing Soli. After the service, we had fellowship with this youth choir, sang Cantate Domino for them and talked about what we did on tour. They in turn showed a slide show when they went to Kalimantan two weeks ago to do 4 days of VBS in some remote villages 5 and 8 hours away from the capital city where their plane landed. It was very encouraging to see how this church is reaching out and planting new churches all over Indonesia. They have a thriving discipleship program and require their members to all be either attending Sunday School or teaching it. We then ate a wonderful lunch they prepared for us. After lunch, we headed to a Pentecostal church which is holding their initial youth service on Sunday afternoon. Although there were only about 20 youths there, we sang, did a skit and Holy shared her testimony. Pastor Ben spoke, even though he is feeling very tired and is probably a little sick. We then returned to our dorm to do our last devotion, debrief Slim (who was really tired yesterday and skipped her debriefing) and got ready for our Home Concert. At this time, we also found out that all 12 Indo-Vision team members want to return and continue doing ministry with us next year. Fanny has also said she will volunteer to direct the choir but asked for help so we need an administrator/spiritual leader for this group. Pray for this as we believe God will bring it to pass in His time.

We met at 6 for a catered dinner. We had been expecting 100 for Home Concert and there were about 70 family members and friends of the Indo-Vision team, so together with our whole team of 39 members, we had well over 100 people. The bus driver came with his wife and 3 of his children (his oldest, a high schooler did not come). Before dinner and the rest of the guest arriving, we had a chance to present him our collection, almost 4M rupiahs (about $450) which we collected. He again asked us to pray for the settlement of his case so he can go back to work. Marshall gave him a Bible and told him that has the answers to his problems, so please remember to pray for him. Unfortunately, he and his family left after dinner as he had to get his kids home to get ready for school on Monday, but we know God's timing is perfect, just keep praying. As far as Home Concert itself, we had 6 of the Indonesian kids give testimonies, showed a short video (which you can see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuJ2SgRocX0) and sang for about an hour and 15 minutes. We ended in time for Eugene and Brian Lee to catch a cab for the airport. Endang brought Janine to the hospital as she continues to have a stomach ache but praise God, the doctor said it was not appendicitis but a stomach infection so she was given a prescription of antibiotics. Some of us will try to get some sleep tonight although most of the kids will spend the night saying tearful good-byes and sleep on the plane tomorrow. This will definitely be the last update from Indonesia.


The team at Kitin and Icha's church.


Pastor Ben presenting our gift to the bus driver
before our Home Concert.

Some of the audience during the Home Concert.


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Thursday, July 28 Pastor Ben is still in Indonesia (on vacation) but it is more ministry than vacation for him. Here is his latest update on what happened to the bus driver (praise) and you can continue to pray for him:

I just got a text message from Pak Nur (our driver) telling me that he had settled the monetary matter with the family of the deceased for a lesser amount than what they originally demanded. All parties agreed and the police has returned his license and registration which means he can go back to work as early as monday, August 1 which is the beginning of the Ramadhan, the fasting month. Pak Nur really thanked us for financial and prayer supports during this ordeal time. We still continue to communicate with him and pray for him.

I spoke at grades 7 and 8 students chapel at Sekolah Pelita Harapan this morning and had an opportunity to show our Vision video to them. Jessica's younger sister was sitting right behind me and she screamed.'that's my sister' when she saw Jessie's picture in the video. I was sharing on what Vision choir did during the mission trip last week or so. Then I spoke from Philippians 2:12-18 on how they can shine as stars. At the end I invited everyone who wanted to accept Jesus and more than ten hands were raised up. PTL! Sekolah Pelita Harapan invited me back to speak for freshman, junior and senior high school chapel on August 2. Jessica will be in the chapel. I will show Vision video again to them. Pray for me as I will be speaking on Romans 12:1-2.

I spoke at the Ambassador church this evening and they sent their greetings to all Vision choir members. They have scheduled me to speak on Sunday, July 31 for three services in the morning at 7, 9, and 11. Pray for me.

 
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