Tag Archives: lifeinasia

Exciting News

Trusting and Listening to Him

Afternoon walks are some of my favorite moments with Ezra. Almost every day he requests we go down to the horse racing track near our house to see the “gate” the horses use during races.

Ezra at the Horse Gate

Last week while on our regular walk instead of turning left towards the horse track, I turned right, planning to make a longer loop back to the tracks. Ezra immediately protested. He was crying, arguing and pleading with me to turn back towards the horse track. I explained to him again and again that if he was patient, we would go to the track. He was not convinced. For 20 minutes as we walked he cried and screamed in his stroller, asking to turn around. At the end of the loop the road suddenly popped out right near the race track. His crying immediately stopped. “We’re here!” Ezra said, “We looped around!” Moments before he was miserable and exhausted, but now a huge smile lit up his face. “Yes Ezra,” I said, “just listen and trust me.”

I laughed hilariously at Ezra, his mayhem and sudden change in response when he realized I had a plan all along. But as I reflected, I realized I do this all the time with God. I make plans, have hopes, have deep desires. But then, when God takes me along a different road, I protest, I’m disappointed, and I resist, only to eventually find out he was leading me all along, just on a different path, to fulfill my desires or fulfill his plan which was better than I could have imagined.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Exciting News

Thanks to each of you who have been a part of our journey here in Indonesia. We have some exciting news and major life events coming!

Erdy and I are expecting baby #2 in early January. This is a huge answer to prayer and we are so excited. After a lot of consideration and prayer, we have decided to give birth in America. We will be heading to America next week to close out the third trimester and await the coming of our new baby.

This trip will be very important for us, because we are also currently under supported and will be spending quite a bit of time fund raising and looking for new supporters. If you would like to learn more about how you can support us, click here. If you are the leader of a small group that might be interested in hearing about our ministry here, please contact us so we can find a time to share. We would love to do this!

New House in Progress

Aside from regular supporters, we are also coming back to raise funds for our house we are finally building. This is also exciting news! For the past three years Erdy, myself and Ezra have been living in a 250 sq. ft apartment attached to Erdy’s parents’ house, but with the arrival of our new baby we have grown out of the space. We are thankful for many who have helped us start the process of building a house which will be our permanent residence for the future. We are grateful to have already been able to build the foundation and walls, and hope to finish the roof before we depart for America. Once we have attached the roof we will take a break in building as we search for funds to complete the house.

Ministry Update

We are very excited about several new developments and growth in our development of Christian schools on this remote island. In July we opened a new school in the western region of our island, working together with another NGO. This is a great opportunity as many kids in that region have no opportunity to go to school otherwise. We are working with and training the teachers of that school regularly.

Ezra at a Village School

One of our existing village schools was recently able to build 2 new classrooms, allowing the school to continue through 5th grade. This is an answer to prayer, and we are so thrilled to see our kids continue to be discipled through elementary school.

Elementary Chapel

Our main school in the town Erdy and I live has also experienced extreme growth this year. We had waiting lists for both elementary and kindergarten as we filled to capacity. We are praying through building a new building this year so our school can continue educating our students through Middle School. We covet your prayers.

In addition, this year I (Faith) worked to implement an emergency response system in our school. This includes a fire alarm and also training students throughout the school about appropriate response in the case of an earthquake or tsunami. This seems like a given, especially since we live in the “ring of fire” known for earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. But, to our knowledge, no other school in the area even has the alarm! We are glad to teach our students about emergency preparedness and our hope is that they also share this with their families. Watch a short video of our emergency drill.

Ezra’s Corner

Hi! I had my second birthday recently. I loved it because I got to blow out candles over and over again. Since I’m 2 now I love talking all the time. I especially love excavators, dump trucks, airplanes, boats, soccer, books and horse races. Every day I ask my Papa and Mama to pretend I’m the horse jockey running around the track. I have a horse too! Her name is Pony. Sometimes Mama invites me to the villages with her to see all my big brothers and sisters in school. I love it because I get to run around with the chickens and cows in the villages!

I can’t wait to meet the new baby. I call the baby “moon” because when I saw the ultrasound from Mama I thought it looked like the moon! I hope I can be a good big brother.

The Little Things

Ezra exploring one of our rice fields

Sticks, stones, thrown away water bottles, old toothbrushes, bottle caps. Little things, all garbage to me. But for our 1 year old Ezra, these things are fascinating, amazing, and open up a new world that he’s never known before. I’m in awe of him, each day living with such excitement and gusto to learn about the world around him. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching him during this stage, newly walking, excited to go everywhere and anywhere and see new things. Ezra’s hobbies include walking around (himself of course), rolling around in the sand, and feeding the chickens and pigs. During our walks, he often stops to pick up something on the ground that I hadn’t even noticed, a small piece of bamboo, a piece of trash, or a little rock. It’s all amazing to him.

Ezra joins the Indonesian Flag Ceremony for Heroes Day
Christmas Cookie Decorating

Watching Ezra live with awe and excitement for every piece of trash and thing he meets reminds me of the incredible moments and blessings that surround me each day, that over time I have come to take for granted. I realized too, that dozens of kids run around my neighborhood each day, never having the opportunity to experience so many things that we in the west take for granted. What experiences have they never had? What stories of Jesus have they never heard?

During this past Christmas season we invited kids from around our neighborhood to come to our home and hear the Christmas story while decorating Christmas cookies and doing Christmas crafts. It was incredible to watch these kids engage with such enthusiasm in something they had never done before (even a few adults joined in)! We thank God for each of them, and are so thankful to have the opportunity to serve them.

In this new year, our family has taken on a few new small ministries beyond the school building and community development that we were already doing. In November, Faith restarted mentoring 2 female teachers from our school. Erdy has been working with a village to help them build an outdoor sporting court with bamboo. Additionally, this past month we started weekly Bible crafts with the kids in our neighborhood, and a monthly small group gathering of about 20 teachers from our school. And as soon as our bookshelf arrives (still on order), we will open our reading nook in the front room of our home.

Ezra’s Corner

Hiiii it’s me! Did my Mama already tell you about me? I’m already 1 year and 4 months old now. I loooove talking and walking and singing. Every day I ask Mama to play music. Sometimes I get confused because my Mama and Papa use different words for the same thing. Is it a pig? Or babi? I don’t know, but I do my best to remember all the words!! My favorite word is bath, because when I say it enough times, Mama and Papa put me in a big bucket and I get to splash around! Every afternoon I help my Papa feed the cow and help my grandma feed the chicken and pigs. Then I love to run around and eat and run around and sing songs and dance! My favorite thing is when my Papa says nennnngggggg and I get to ride on the motorcycle with him. Oh and did I mention books?? I love book so so much, especially the ones my Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop in America sent me! The pictures are so funny. And guess what!! Now that I’m so big, Mama brings me to school sometimes!!! I love going to school with Mama, I have so many friends there.

The New is here!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We praise God for new life and new beginnings. In September, we were thrilled to welcome a baby boy into the world. Ezra Bastian Ranja Nggili was born September 1, 2021, weighing 6 lbs 6oz, healthy and happy. These past several months have been a huge transition for us, but have been filled with laughs, joy, and sweet moments.

Our family thanks you for your patience with us as we have made this transition and have slowed down on communications. We look forward to increased communication in the months to come.

Chapel with our Elementary School Grades 1-3

Here on our little island, we have had the joy to continue to invest in and grow education. Faith’s role is leading our new Elementary School which is currently grades 1-3, implementing a mixture of western and Indonesian curriculum while working with local teachers to shape and guide children’s character. We will add grade 4 this July.

Our school has 16 “offspring” schools, which are smaller startup schools in villages where kids at this time don’t yet have access to education. This year, we are adding another 10 startup village schools. Faith’s role will continue to be leading our elementary school, and mentoring and training teachers from the village schools.

Weekly Science Experiment with the neighborhood kids.

Erdy continues to work for a local company that brings solar lamp solutions to villages without electricity. He has recently transferred to the bamboo division where he helps villagers who grow bamboo in their villages to trade their bamboo in exchange for a solar lamp.

We are excited for rainy season which has recently started. A few weeks ago, we visited some extended family in a village and helped plant rice. It was a fantastic community event and we look forward to returning for the harvest in a few weeks.

Erdy and Ezra enjoy a meal with some extended family after planting rice.
Erdy looking over the rice field

We continually keep all of you in our prayer and are so grateful for the many prayers, messages, and love you have sent us in the recent months. The new is here! God is faithful.

Ezra’s Corner

Hi! I’m Ezra. This is my corner in Mama and Papa’s newsletter. I’m already 5 months old and growing so fast! Mama keeps telling me to stop growing up so fast but I don’t listen to her. I looooove drinking Mama’s milk, can you see by my chubby cheeks? I’ve recently been sitting up and I love going on walks with Mama and Papa. Sometimes they call me “Mr. Bored” because I don’t like to sit around in one place for too long. I also like to wake up way way early in the morning and talk and talk and chatter until my Mama and Papa wake up.

My afternoon walks with the neighborhood kids.

One of my favorite things to do is feed the chickens with Papa. But I don’t like it when people sneeze to close to me, it scares me! I can’t wait for March…because in March I get to taste real food! Hmmm I see all these people putting food in their mouths…I wonder what it tastes like. 

I’m so blessed by so many cousins, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles who hold me all the time. 

Feeding the chickens with my Papa

Tirta Rides a Train

IMG_3843Tirta’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.

IMG_3868Here 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.


Rainy season has come.

I was riding my motorbike in the rain the other day. It’s quite a spectacle–as soon as the drops begin to fall all of the motorbikes pull over and take out these brightly colored ponchos. I was in my bright blue poncho being pelted with raindrops on my way home. In front of me was a man on a bike, seemingly doing the same. However, I looked carefully again and noticed two little feet in pink crocs sticking out the sides of his poncho. His little girl was sitting behind him under the back of his poncho clinging to him as they raced home through waterfall coming from the sky.

(here’s a photo of a similar situation, but with TWO pairs of little feet!)

This brought a huge smile on my face. Here was this little girl completely trusting her father in every way. She could not see where they were going or what was happening around her. She was faced with two choices–she could either ride with full awareness and understanding of where they were and where they were going, but be pelted with rain and mud along the way; or she could rest safely under the protection of her father, but this would mean clinging to him and placing complete trust in him.

Sometimes this is how I feel life is here. Either I am clinging tightly to God and allowing him to direct my every move, or I’m just being pelted. There’s no in between. Unfortunately, all too many times I find I want to grab hold of the steering wheel and drive myself.

God has been teaching me patience. I so badly want to have this culture and language under my belt already so I can move on to some of the things I am hoping to do here, but as I slowly grow and learn about the language and culture, I am finding He is growing me in other ways as well.




KidsI stepped off the boat into a sea of smiling faces; children, whom upon my offer of a simple high five, couldn’t help but erupt into a chorus of giggles. By the time I walked from the boat to the house we were staying at in this small village, we had a flock of beautiful smiling, laughing children following us, absolutely intrigued by the “white giants” that had just stepped into their village.

“Hallo! Hallo!” They echoed the only English word they knew. I couldn’t help but yell an excited “Hello!” back. These children were filled with such joy.


We spent quite a bit of time just looking at each other. 25 or so smiling faces looking up at me, some with missing teeth. While I have been here for 3 weeks, my knowledge of their language is still limited. It didn’t really matter, I was speechless anyway.

Imitators“Bernyani!” I finally said. “Let’s sing!” I reached far back into my memory to recall some fun children’s songs I had learned through the years made up predominantly of motions. Words were not something we had in common, all communication would have to be nonverbal. As I jumped up and down, stuck my hands in my ears, and spun around like a total goofball, the children followed my every move.

After about 45 minutes of this, I finally collapsed on the ground, exhausted. I thought the children may just let me rest for a minute, but I was wrong. Before I knew it, I had a swarm of children who couldn’t stop laughing as they also collapsed on the grass next to me.


Sometimes I get so frustrated with celebrities. They have so much influence, and I feel like a lot of them blow it. They could do a lot of good with their influence. I know it’s unfair, but I frequently find myself casting judgment on them.

Follow the LeaderStanding in that village, amongst those children, it dawned on me that I was suddenly that person with great influence. Those kids wouldn’t have known me from Angelina Jolie. And whatever I did, wherever I went, they would follow. What a responsibility!

Ephesians 5 lingered in my head:

“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us.”

Just as those kids imitated my every move, we are instructed to be imitators of God. It was convicting to me just how much I could learn from these children.


Recap & Prayer Requests

What an incredible month it has been since my arrival! Thank you all for your prayers and support. I have spent much of this month in language school, but I have also been given the privilege of teaching a class for 9th graders at the school for Southeast Asian children. Here are some prayer requests:Sunset on Boat

  • Teaching! This is my first year as a teacher, so please pray for guidance, inspiration and creativity through my lesson planning
  • Language learning: this is a key to my ministry here, so please pray for perseverance and that it would come fairly quickly
  • The coming school year: please pray for the students and the families who are a part of our school’s family as we enter into this new school year
  • Month of Fasting: This month is the month of fasting for the majority religion in the area. Please pray for opportunities and guidance through this delicate time

I appreciate your prayers, I sure feel them.