Category Archives: #lifeinasia

Looking for Greatness

“1 in 4 millennials think they will be famous by the time they are 25,” I heard one of my favorite speakers say while listening to a podcast this morning. Guilty, I thought to myself. Not that I thought I would be reeling in the dough, but deep down I thought maybe CNN Heroes would be knocking on my door, wanting to report to the world of how I’m changing it for the better.

Greatness.

I think we all crave it to some degree, some of us more than others. We want our lives to be worth something, for the world to look at us and go beyond acknowledging our existence, but stand up, give us a high five, and acknowledge that the hard work and fruits of our life will surely live on long after we do. But what makes greatness so great is that not all of us achieve it. But could we? Is greatness something reserved for a certain few?

If greatness means being famous, winning, receiving accolades and high-fives, or even accomplishment, then yes, it is reserved for a certain few. But what if greatness is something much bigger than that? What if greatness is not about how the world views us, but how well we live, and how well we respond to God’s call in our life?

Greatness is overcoming the fears we face.

Greatness is intentionally pursuing things which are uncomfortable and cause us to grow.

Greatness is caring for and fostering the dreams which God has planted in our hearts.

2015-10-08 06.07.53I’ve been challenged to this definition of greatness by my brothers who currently are enrolled in one of our programs called STREAM. STREAM stands for Skills TRaining in Engineering And Mechatronics. It’s a two-year, highly intense program which truly challenges each student to greatness. Teenagers are recruited from all over Indonesia with only two minimum requirements: 1) no opportunity and 2) a desire to learn. When they arrive at STREAM, every one of their possessions is taken from them. They are given a haircut, a uniform, and a wooden slab to sleep on. Students of STREAM may sleep on a mattress as soon as they can sew one themselves. Each day they wake up and work hard. They learn how to take apart a motorcycle and put it back together. They learn industrial sewing and how to make backpacks and laptop bags. They learn computer programming and engineering. They are discipled in the Word of God and are given intensive Bible training. They are each day reaching oustide of the comfortable life they always knew, and striving for greatness.

After the first year, students from STREAM go out and work for their second year in order to gain the necessary training and experience to go back to their villages and not only survive, but bring change and growth. No part of this process is comfortable. Each day students of STREAM are challenged to dig deep within to face their fears, pursue things which are incredibly challenging and uncomfortable, and respond to the dreams which God has planted in their hearts. This is true greatness.

What are you doing today to pursue greatness?

Stream 2
Students at STREAM learn Computer Science
Students at STREAM receive daily intensive discipleship and Bible Training
Students at STREAM receive daily intensive discipleship and Bible Training

A Summer of Learning

11232027_1609281972653475_1813605448349787972_oThank you all for your prayers over these last few months since our new students have arrived! We have had an incredible few months of orientation and our most intensive training of the year which we call Foundations. During this time, we offered 99 different classes and activities to our students, teaching them things from industrial sewing (they went over to STREAM to learn that!), leadership, the 5 love languages, teaching strategies, classroom management, geography, hikes up volcanos and waterfalls…..the list goes on and on. The theme of our Foundations this year was “Reap what you Sow”, and as an illustration of that each student planted a seed at the beginning of the term and were tasked with caring for and growing their plant. It was an incredible summer and our TransformNation students truly attacked it with courage, initiative, and a desire to learn and grow.

2015-08-30 08.34.14The amazing ways God is moving and working here are so many that sometimes I forget to stop and realize just how incredible it is. About 6 months ago I took on the position of leading our TransformNation program. It’s been a huge blessing and joy to get to lead what is now 33 students in their quest and pursuit to be the most incredible, influential teachers this nation has ever seen. I’m so excited to be a part of this movement. God willing, we will be opening our own university next year, allowing for students from all over Indonesia to come and study here. Check out some photos from this summer, and please keep us in your prayers!

Photo Gallery:

Sharing a Cup of Java

My dear friends and supporters,

My students teaching me how to cook
My students teaching me how to cook.

I can’t believe how many months have flown by since the last time I sent you an update. God is so alive, moving, and as His work is moving forward. Each morning I wake up feeling overwhelmingly blessed that today I get to run alongside my Savior, follow Him, serve Him, and serve His people.

Here in Indonesia their favorite coffee is called “3in1”. It’s instant coffee mixed with dry creamer and sugar, packaged in one little packet ready to go. I must admit it’s difficult for me to call that coffee, let alone consent to swallowing it. In my office I keep an Aeropress, a most precise coffee making device which produces a delicious, aromatic, bold, smooth cup of the most delicious black liquid in the world. I’m so thankful for this device.

I love it when visitors stop by my office, but each time this happens I’m faced with this puzzling decision. Do I share my precious Starbucks beans, which I drove 3 hours on my motorbike to retrieve, and press them with my Aeropress making them a delectable cup of coffee they probably won’t even appreciate? Or do I simply stir up some 3in1, hope they don’t notice my coffee making materials, and get past the meeting? A petty question, perhaps, but questions concerning coffee can quickly become wrestles of the heart.

“And if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.”

2014-12-27 10.03.06We talk so often about giving our best for God, but are we giving the best we have to those around us? “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

I’ve been so convicted lately. Am I giving my absolute best to everyone around me? Can I give more? Can I give better? What can I give today, that I didn’t give yesterday? Recently I heard a pastor say, “On this earth, the beginning is birth, and at the end is death. In between, there is only service. We can always serve God more.”

I’m challenged today. Serve more. Give more. Love more.

1 Teacher is Worth 400 Souls

Have you ever stopped to think about the people who have been instrumental in shaping you to be who you are today? The way you think, your ability to solve problems, overcome challenges, breathe creativity? I’m not sure I truly appreciated that until I came here. I’m a graphic designer, not a teacher. My first few weeks in the classroom, I felt way out of my league. What could I possibly teach my students? But I quickly realized, I had already experienced years of teachers pouring into me. The teachers in my life had already equipped me with knowledge and skills, and it was time I gave what I had back to my students.

Teachers are some of the most pivotal, instrumental influencers a child has in his or her life.

If one teacher teaches 20 students in his or her class, and that teacher teaches for 20 years, that teacher is worth 400 souls.

I’m convinced that the classroom isn’t just a place for education. No, the classroom is a laboratory for discipleship. I estimate (conservatively) that a child spends 16,800 hours between Kindergarten and 12th grade in the classroom. That’s 16,800 hours a teacher has to influence, disciple, train up, and prepare a child for his or her future.

I love what I do. Why? Because in TransformNation, our teacher development program, we are preparing, discipling, and empowering future teachers to go out into the most remote areas of Indonesia and train up the next generation of leaders. After four years of training, we send our teachers to under-resourced villages to be salt and light. Just last month, we sent the first graduates of our program out. Check out this video of our celebration of how God is transforming this nation through teachers!

Volcanos, Rappelling, and Tribal Villages

  • IMG_1447On February 13, 2014 Mt. Kelud, a volcano located less than 40km away from our city, erupted. Due to favorable winds, our city did not experience any effects. Shortly after the eruption we brought several of our teachers in training into the effected area to deliver food, water, and dust masks. View the photo album here. Please continue to pray for the people of Kelud as they rebuild.

teambuilding

  • One of my highlights of the past months was a day of team building we did with our students. The day started with a series of problem solving group exercises, and ended with rappelling off of a 100ft bridge. I watched as many students learned to face and overcome their fears, grow in leadership, and depend on one another for help. Click here to view the photo album.
  • papuaThis fall we will graduate three students from our teacher training program, and they will go out to villages in Indonesia and become teachers who teach with heart. Over this past month I had the privilege of taking these three teachers in training to a remote village to see what their life is going to look like next year. It was a joy for me to walk alongside them as we grew and learned together. Check out the photo album here, and watch this amazing video of our experience of a new school being opened in the middle of a very remote village.