Some of you have asked how we make the face shields. It’s easy! Check out the instructions below
Disappointment happens whenever reality is not aligned with our expectations. Could God have a bigger purpose in mind?
The world is a different place.
A few weeks ago my days were filled with lesson plans, teaching, meetings and small groups. Lately my days have been filled with a new activity—making face shields for medical workers. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, our school, like other schools around the world has closed and moved to distance learning. However, just a few days in, the principal of our school initiated a project to make homemade face shields for medical workers. How? By finding unused foam puzzle mats in all of the empty classrooms, cutting them up, and assembling the shields with plastic and elastic. Pretty soon, parents from the school started donating supplies.
Brand new packs of these foam puzzle mats started pouring in from donors. So we began cutting. I love these carpets, and would love to have one in my bedroom or living room. In some ways, it broke my heart to see brand new mats being cut up with a knife. But as I cut one, I realized that I wasn’t destroying a foam mat, but rather repurposing it. This mat was created for sitting, working, playing. But now, this mat had potential to be so much more. Expectations no longer in accordance with reality.
This mat, after a painful cutting and reshaping process, would go beyond serving as a tool for sitting and playing. Rather, it would be reshaped and repurposed for something greater—protecting the faces of hard working medical workers in this time of crisis.
As I cut mats I found myself reflecting on my own life. I realized just how often this happens to us as children of God. I hold tightly to an expectation of what my life should be like—what I deserve, what I should be doing, who I want to be close to. But as we release our lives to the work of God, He very often brings us through a very painful process, with a greater purpose in mind. We feel disappointed because reality isn’t in accordance to our expectations. However, He has planned to repurpose us for something far beyond those expectations. He wants to use us to help others, and to achieve things for His Kingdom which we never could have dreamed of. We just have to be willing to be reshaped and repurposed.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
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.
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Last November I found myself on a plane headed for Boca Raton Community Church’s annual WorldLead conference. I truly love traveling alone, the feeling of invisibility in airports full of people, and the unique opportunity to witness people from all over the world cross paths. My first stop was Kuala Lumpur, and I was the lucky one who got to sit at the front of the plane. With only one person in front of me, I relished the chance to get off the plane quickly and beat the crowd. The person in front of me was a Malaysian, polite, and visibly well traveled. As we walked through the jet bridge into the concourse, I noticed the signs which normally indicate which way to walk were absent. As we came through, the Malaysian in front of me turned right, so I naturally followed, as did the large crowd of people behind me. The man in front of me soon after turned around in shock and quickly said “Not this way! I’m only going to the bathroom. Go left to get out of the concourse.” I paused in my tracks, looking left and right. It was unclear which way to go. Meanwhile the flocks of people continued right, following the man who was only headed for the bathroom. I considered. Do I follow the instructions of this man I don’t know, even though it goes against my initial instinct? Or do I follow the crowd, the safe option? I considered for a minute before deciding to go left, against the crowd but in line with the advice of the local Malaysian. Within minutes I began smiling to myself as I realized I had indeed made the right choice. Meanwhile flocks of people continued walking in the wrong direction.
As I sat waiting for my connecting flight I pondered and reflected on this experience I had just had. In so many ways it reflects our lives as God’s children. God rarely calls us to follow the crowd in an easy, safe manner. He is calling us to turn away from the crowd, completely trust him, and walk towards the unknown. His voice is whispering to us daily, giving us the opportunity to follow in faith or turn away.
The past few months have been incredibly full but so rewarding. I was so blessed by the WorldLead assembly last month. Our oldest group of students has already begun teaching. We have made progress on opening a new school on another island. And most of all, God’s voice has been speaking to many of the students. It’s a joy and privilege to grow together with them.
Our teacher training program is growing and developing and it’s so exciting! In just a few months we will graduate and send 12 students to be teachers in remote schools all over the country. Over these next few years we are going to be sending teachers every year to be disciplers of the good news to villages everywhere, and we are only just beginning. Please pray for these teachers in training, as they step out in faith to go to the most difficult, least reached areas of this nation to bring good news and education.
Would you commit to praying for us? Please pray….
- for the adaptation of new students in TransformNation
- for schools and villages throughout Indonesia which don’t yet have the opportunity for quality education
- for our four recent graduates of TransformNation as they go out to serve and lead in under-resourced areas throughout Indonesia
- for Indonesia as it transitions to a historic new president