That’s how many seconds each of us are gifted every single day. Sometimes they seem to go by so fast, like when I’m having a great conversation, eating a yummy meal, or laughing with my second graders. But sometimes these seconds can feel so slow, when I’m sitting still at a long seminar or can’t fall asleep at night.
I’ve been learning that these seconds are so valuable. Since I first arrived in Indonesia, there have been many moments while riding my motorbike through the city or the villages, I catch a glance of something or someone so interesting, so fascinating. These moments pull at my heart strings. It’s just a second, but these seconds are filled with information and meaning, pushing me to grow. A child carrying water from the river. A mom with 5 kids loaded onto her motorbike. A child running through the village with his friends
These seconds are so powerful.
Marcus Aurelius said, “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”
86,400 opportunities every day, to be the best, most God-fearing individuals we can be. Let’s be better.
This concept has caused me to reflect on the amazing children of this country. Check out my recent video “The Power of a Second” to take a dive into the lives of Indonesian children for just 60 of these valuable seconds.
Rainy season here can mean big thunder, bright lightening, and massive wind. Whenever a big wind comes and knocks down a tree, I smile as everyone freaks out and I calmly remember all those memories from years of Florida hurricanes.
As March and April approach, we keep wondering, “is this the last rain of the rainy season?” A few weeks ago the afternoon approached, the sky was still bright, and I leaned over to my friend, and said “I think the sky is out of gas. No more rain this year.” Famous last words. Not even an hour later, it was suddenly dark and the biggest rain of the year began to descend on us. It was the kind of rain that hurt when the drops hit your back. 1 hour. 2 hours. 5 hours. By the time I went to bed it was still torrential downpour. I woke up in the middle of the night because it started raining in my room. 8 hours. 10 hours. Finally, after 15 hours of intense downpour, the sky was exhausted and the sun started to peek out of the clouds.
8 years in Indonesia and a lifetime in Florida I had never seen a downpour like that. Every roof in East Java was exhausted. The mops came out, and we cleaned up the evidence. But I was just waiting, because I knew what would happen the next morning. You see, after the biggest rains, the sky clears, all the smog, trash, pollution, and junk is cleared away and what’s left it just God’s beautiful creation. It’s my favorite part. The bigger the rain, the greater the view.
Sure enough, the next morning, all 3 of the volcanoes that surround our city popped out. Wow. Sometimes we even see the smoke popping out of the active volcanoes Bromo and Semeru.
After the greatest storm, comes the most incredible beauty. A theme of my life.
I’ve seen this happen over and over. God places struggles, hardships, pain, difficult people or difficult circumstances, and these are the exact things that bring growth, beauty, happiness, joy, revelation, and ultimately my closeness with Him. The greatest victories always comes after the big storm.
God’s been doing amazing things. Last year we brought 17 villagers to our city to prepare to open kindergartens in their villages and they went home and opened 8 schools which are now blessing over 200 kids who last year had no school. The communities are engaging and helping to build the schools which are so badly needed. We have brought 27 more villagers to our city to receive training and we will send them back at the beginning of April to hopefully build more schools and get more kids high quality Christian education.
We are continuing our teacher training program that is hoping to build up leaders and school builders who can ultimately be principals for new schools across Indonesia. So far we have sent 18 and this year we will send 6 more. We are strategically planting hub schools which will grow to be K-12 schools in certain cities of Indonesia that can serve as training centers for our village schools. This year in July we will open a new hub school with a few graduates of our teacher training program.
I can’t thank you enough for your prayer, your support, your love, and your investment. Today, there are kids getting an education because of you. Wow.
If you haven’t already, subscribe to my YouTube channel! I frequently upload videos of all that’s happening here.
Click here to subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4YbsBqxCjfPEQ_Zx813PeA
As I type this I have just returned from a trip to recruit new students for our teacher training program and I’m about to get on an airplane to go out to some villages and recruit more. I thank each of you deeply for how you have supported me thus far and the incredible things God is doing in growing education throughout Indonesia. God has continued to open my eyes more and more to the dire need for education throughout this country. This education doesn’t just give knowledge but it’s empowering entire villages and transforming the lives of families with the Good News to those who have never heard it. Please continue to pray for us as we look for and train high impact teachers who will ultimately bring life changing education to children throughout Indonesia who so desperately need it.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I stared at this prayer each day before I tucked into bed, pondering its deep meaning. For my 13th birthday my mom cross-stitched the prayer and hung it beautifully there for me to look at and contemplate. But what did it really mean?
For years it was always the third part of the prayer which captured my attention the most. Wisdom to know the difference. The words reverberated through my mind during my moments of failure, both small and large. A scoreless basketball game. Being rejected for a job. Financial stress. Being told by my university that they wouldn’t support me moving overseas. Wisdom to know that these are things which I must accept and which I cannot change.
A few weeks ago I found myself in the back of a pickup truck barreling through dirt roads on the island of Flores. We were on our way to visit a school, but as we got further and further from civilization I found myself struggling to accept the fact that small children would walk such distances in the rain and mud just to receive an education. As our truck tumbled up to the school, children poured out of the classrooms. Their smiling faces and joy-filled eyes distracted from the dirt caked between their toes and their mud-stained clothes. Good morning Mister! Good morning Mister! Gleeful laughter erupted from their little cliques. As I peered into their faces I allowed myself to take a moment and dream about their futures. These kids had already sacrificed so much just to get an elementary school education. Would they survive through middle school and high school? Become leaders? Become doctors, engineers, businessmen, on teachers? My heart broke as I realized the reality that for many of these kids dreams for the futures couldn’t happen because the education they needed just didn’t exist.
Wisdom to know the difference. The words rang in my head again. But this time I saw these words in a different light. Wisdom to know that I CAN DO SOMETHING. The serenity prayer immediately took on a whole new meaning to me. Instead of focusing on all of the ways I was powerless, on all of the things I needed to let go of, my eyes were suddenly opened to all the responsibility I have as a child of God. The courage to change the things I can. Bringing education for the poor. Loving the unloved. Feeding the hungry. There is just so much we can do to serve God’s children. But do we have the courage?
With this renewed ambition and excitement we have been growing out teacher training program over the last few months with the goal of getting more Christian teachers into more schools in more villages in order to influence and share the Good News with more kids.