Check out the dance one of my kids did at a recent talent show:
These are two of the first questions I learned in language school when I moved to Indonesia just two years ago. They are important questions when making small talk with someone you’ve just met.
Are you married? How many children do you have?
I never would have dreamed when I first moved here that just two years later, at the age of 25 I would answer, “Eleven! I have eleven daughters!” But every morning, at 5:30, I wake to the sounds of my daughters bustling around the house, cooking breakfast, washing their clothes getting ready for their day. Today, they are one step closer to becoming a teacher. And today, they are one step closer to changing the world.
We just recently opened our second dorm as a part of our teacher training program. This dorm is my new home, and these girls call me mom. As we sat in a circle that first night, after a busy day of moving and getting settled, I couldn’t help but smile as I looked around the room at each of their faces. Each one had a sparkle in her eye. Each one was ready to learn. Each one was now a part of my family.
A few days into my new role as mom I was feeling a little exhausted. I went from having zero children to having eleven! I walked out of my room one morning with my hair mangled, my eyes barely open. But as I opened my door, my soul was instantly given life. Hati was in the living room teaching Risa and Sati to dance. Elti was in the kitchen teaching Ati how to cook breakfast. Tia and Sara were washing clothes together out back. The girls froze and looked over at me, wondering if they were in trouble for dancing in the living room or making too much noise. But such joy spread across my face, and we all burst out laughing together.
Just last week 9 of my daughters started freshman orientation at a university that we partner with in our city. “Mom I’m so nervous!” Ati said to me. I peered into her eyes, the most gorgeous eyes I have ever seen. Ati’s mother died years ago and her father deserted her. I knew it was a miracle that she had found our program. But I also knew she was born to be a teacher. She is a teacher to every person she interacts with, and is daily selflessly pouring into those around her. “You’ll do great,” I said to her, giving her a kiss on the forehead.
As I peer in to the eyes of each of my daughters, I know I am peering into the eyes of the future. These girls are going to impact this country. These girls are going to go out to schools all over Indonesia and transform them. The children are ready, and waiting. Today, I get to live life alongside some child’s future teacher.
What is God’s plan for me?
What did God create me to do?
What am I most passionate about?
What is that one thing that weighs heaviest on my heart, that I want to devote my life to?
These are all questions I pondered through college, and the days immediately following. As the days ticked by and this daunting concept called “The Rest of My Life” closed in, there was a voice that whispered in my head, Faith, you have to find these answers. Your whole life depends on them.
This past summer I was reflecting on all that God has done over the past two years since I arrived in Indonesia, and I had a stark revelation: I had already begun “The Rest of My Life”. Panic!!! No!!! I don’t have the answers to my questions yet!!!! What if I could be doing more? What if there is a cause I am more passionate about? What if I could be more strategic with my life?
But somewhere in the midst of my freakout I remembered an encounter I had with God last January. As language school came to a close, I had really been grappling with and wrestling with what my role would be here in Indonesia. I had a list of 50+ ideas, but no clarity about which direction to go. God spoke:
Stop thinking. Stop waiting. Start doing.
It’s such a lie that we have to have ourselves, our strategy, and our plan totally figured out before we can begin “The Rest of Our Lives”. That “voice” that demanded answers was not the voice of the Spirit. But there is a Voice that says Jump off the cliff. Dare to dream. Take action. Be a part of what I’m doing in humanity. And trust Me for the parachute.
God is moving across the earth in search of men and women who will dare to take the leap of faith. He is offering us the chance to rise up and actuate his dreams for our generation. You and I were born into days of adversity stirred together with unprecedented opportunity. The signs are everywhere. Our times distinguish individuals who live their faith at the edge from those who shrink back. Does your soul cry out for a faith that sets you free to voyage into the depths of God’s dreams? Do you crave a faith that drenches you with hope and breaks open the floodgates of God’s movements through you? The words on the pages ahead are written for you. Will you stare down a certain risk and take the jump? Who knows? God might be waiting on the other side.
Training teachers?? This was never even on my list of possibilities of “Things I might want to do with my life.” But I was made for this. There’s nothing more fun or fulfilling than jumping into God’s dreams and being a part of what He is accomplishing.
Stop thinking. Stop waiting. Start doing.
Would you consider joining my team? I’m looking for people who are willing to come together with me in being a part of what God is doing in Southeast Asia. I’m willing to go, will you help send me?
(Faith Wilson Account #111497)
Thanks for coming together with me to change the world! I love having you as a part of my support team. I can’t wait to discover what God has dreamed for Southeast Asia in the coming months and years.
6 days a week Tirta bounded through the jungle sleeping under rocks and living off of the land. Once a week he returned home for a shower. Tirta had all the potential in the world, but no opportunity.
Indah’s parents told her she was stupid and that she would never make anything of her life. The reality was that Indah had all the potential in the world, but no opportunity.
Dian dove into the river to catch some fish for dinner. He too was told by his family that he was the stupidest of his brothers. Dian had all the potential in the world, but no opportunity.
Students who once had no opportunity are coming from all over the country to join our brand new teacher training program. In four short years, these students will be sent back to their villages equipped to teach and build schools that spread God’s love to children.
I am so excited about all that is happening here in Southeast Asia and I am honored to be a part of it all. I can’t believe that my 2 year commitment to serve here is already coming to a close. I will be coming back to the US in early April and I cannot wait to see you all and touch base with many of you.
By God’s grace I have been given the opportunity to extend my time here in Southeast Asia. I feel as if my work is only beginning, God is preparing great things for the future of this country and I have the opportunity to be a part of it. Following three months in the US, I will be returning to Southeast Asia with an indefinite commitment. Each one of you has been an important part of my journey, and an important contribution to God’s work here in Southeast Asia. Would you pray about continuing this journey with me?
I will see you soon! Looking forward to enjoying time with many of you.
Tirta’s tired eyes popped open at the sound of his cell phone ringing. It wasn’t often he got a call, but as he lay in a hospital bed, he hoped it was his family calling to check on him. A smile spread across his face as he heard the comforting voice of his brother.
Tirta grew up in a tiny village far into the jungles of a remote island. When he was 12 years old he decided he wanted to go to school. Usually the journey consists of a 2 day trek through the mountains followed by a short plane ride into the Highland valley. Tirta, however, didn’t have the money for the plane ride, so he and his brothers hiked for 2 weeks up through the peaks and down through the valleys of the mountainous terrain before arriving at his small middle school. Tirta has never taken his education for granted. He worked hard through middle and high school, and upon graduation, we invited him to join our brand new teacher training program.
Here Tirta was, 2 months into the program, when his appendix ruptured. Thankful to be in a city with hospitals, he patiently endured the surgery to get his appendix taken out. Within just the last few years, radios had made it to his tiny village in the jungle. Someone had radioed in that Tirta was in the hospital. Not knowing any details, Tirta’s brother hurried to find cell phone service. Usually the trek to find cell phone service takes two days, but this was an emergency. Tirta’s brother didn’t stop and was able to make the trek in only 18 hours.
Relief overwhelmed his brother as Tirta reported that the appendix surgery was a success and he would soon be released from the hospital. As Tirta hung up the phone he looked up to see one of his teachers sitting beside him in the hospital. Jules leaned over to Tirta and said, “When you get well, I’ll take you to do anything you’d like. What’s your dream?” Once again a smile spread across Tirta’s face. “I want to ride a train. I’ve never seen one and I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like.” Yesterday Jules and I took the three students in our teacher training program on their first train ride. When the train pulled into the station I looked over at Harta as awe consumed his face. Tirta smiled. Kashi giggled a little. As we boarded the train, they were anxious to learn. “How do the wheels work without tires? Can you walk from car to car? What happens if one of the cars gets disconnected?” It was such a joy to experience this day along side them.
Once in the big city, we took them to the biggest mall. They were grateful that they had learned how to use an escalator a few weeks ago because this mall had so many! They marveled at the restaurants, automatic hand dryers, and a store that only sold stuffed animals. Every time I looked over at Tirta, he was grinning from ear to ear. It was so refreshing to be reminded of the many things I take for granted. I have so much to learn from my students. Let us never forget to find joy in the ordinary.