Our adventure of a lifetime began at 5:00am on Thursday 13 April, at Perth International Airport. We boarded the plane all rugged up in jumpers and jackets, but the sweaters soon came off when we were welcomed by the sweltering heat of Indonesia in Denpasar, Bali.
After a two-hour stopover in Denpasar, we arrived in Surabaya around 2:00pm. We were picked up by Mrs Anggadjaja and after a short break we headed to a children’s home. On arrival, we were greeted by excited children staring at us. We got to hold the children and cradle them and learn about each and every one of them. As sad as some of the stories were, we were all amazed at how God has used these people to save these children and give them hope, and a future. We took the Primary and Secondary children to dinner to an Indonesian Restaurant.
It was Good Friday and we went to church with 35,000 people. From there we headed for Mount Bromo, which is an active volcano.
Finally, at 5:00am, we slowly saw the sunrise from behind the mountains! What a breathtaking view. God is good.
Easter Sunday. We left Surabaya and headed to Jakarta, and finally arrived at SMAK Penabur Kota Wisata (one of our sister schools). We were welcomed with a flood of warming shouts and general yells of excitement. A group of at least a dozen students were waiting for us outside the school on the steps, many were students that had visited Rehoboth last year and we were excited to see everyone again.
After the opening ceremony, we all headed to our homestays. My homestay was amazing and my buddy made me feel very at home and we became friends quickly. The next day we hopped on two buses and headed down to Cidokom, a small remote rural village. The people of Cidokom made us feel right at home, despite few of them being able to speak English well, but they tried their best and we tried ours and it worked out.
We stayed with the locals in their homes in the village, as some of the villagers had kindly offered these for us to stay in. The homes I personally found a little challenging. Everything was traditional – the toilet (squat) the shower (bucket and scoop). It was an enjoyable but challenging experience.
The next day, we had breakfast and then started construction. We were doing the finalisations on two blocks of toilets, so we split into two teams. That day we did two sessions on the blocks – both were filled with mixing cement, and throwing it at the walls. It was fun – a lot of fun actually – and although it was messy I think most people enjoyed it. Lunch was between the sessions, a traditional meal, and after that we headed for a waterfall.
Our last day in Cidokom. We worked on the toilets again, this time painting them and doing the finalisations – along with painting our names on the finished building (we were asked to do so, so it wasn’t graffiti!). We returned to Penabur to our individual homestays in Jakarta.
The next morning we were due to leave for Perth. It was fun and I think that I speak for everyone when I say that we will miss Indonesia.
Here are some testimonials from our team members:
“My highlight of the trip, was the night time activities in the village. We made Indonesian crafts, ate an enormous amount of fried bananas and sang worship songs. Although the people we stayed with were not rich, they still provided for us in their own way. I am blessed” – Luritha Martens
“I really enjoyed being able to experience a very different environment, meet new people and learn so much about the Indonesian language and culture. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget” – Heleema Rawlings
“Indonesia was such an amazing experience. There were many challenges (such as doing construction in broken thongs!). Although many of us were not used to living the way the locals lived in the village, friendships were made and for me, I have a new little brother who will be in my prayers every day. God’s love and blessings were evident through the whole trip” – Gloria Kennedy
“The trip was quite an experience, especially our time in Cidokom village. It brought unity among the team and helped us to appreciate the things we so often take for granted” – Moses Budiman
“This trip exceeded my expectations and I am beyond grateful and blessed for the opportunity. A highlight for me would be going to the Children’s Home in Surabaya and just spending some time and laughing endlessly with the kids. The village in Cidokom was challenging with torrential rain one minute and sweltering heat the next, but it was all for God’s Glory. Stay Blessed!” – Shona Bonnington
“Indonesia was amazing – aside from the heat. However, everything else made up for the heat. The people are really nice. The friends that I made there were amazing and I am extremely glad that I met them. I was lucky enough to be put with an amazing buddy from our sister school in Penabur that I got along with extremely well with. I am thankful for all the love and hospitality that we received in Indonesia and I will miss it dearly” – Sean Gibbon
Indonesia is a wonderful nation, and as a team we felt so blessed to have been able to go and do God’s work for His glory. A big shout out to Mrs Anggadjaja, for all her hard work in looking after us in Surabaya.
This trip allowed all of us to step out of our comfort zones and experience the lives of people who are less fortunate than us, which made us realise how fortunate we truly are. As a team we were able to bless others with the blessings we have, and it was such a rewarding experience.
If the opportunity arises to go on this trip, don’t brush it off, God is providing you with an opportunity to serve him. Grasp it and you will be grateful.
Finally, a massive thank you for all those who supported us and helped us fundraise through the Sausage Sizzle! It really meant the world to us.
Shona Bonnington and Sean Gibbon
2017 INDONESIAN TRIP STUDENTS