Welcome to the world! We are so excited and blessed to announce the birth of our second son, Noel Dustin Ranja Nggili. He made his appearance two weeks early on December 23, 2023. We are so thankful to God for a smooth and healthy delivery and baby.
As I sat in the hospital shortly following Noel’s birth, I was reflecting on so many miracles that God has done over the last several months for our family to get us to this point. Travel logistics, healthcare, finances, and the list goes on. We experienced some complications during Noel’s birth that made me wonder had we gone through the birth on our island in Indonesia, would he had survived? But God was and has been with us throughout the journey and this process. Thank YOU for all your prayers.
We have enjoyed seeing many of you during our time here in the states and we look forward to meeting many of you in the days and weeks to come. Right now, we are working out Noel’s passport and immigration to return to Indonesia. We estimate we will be heading back around March, if all goes smoothly. We are looking forward to jumping back into our lives and ministry in Indonesia, we miss it a lot!
Florida has been so fun! I’ve seen so many new things like a fire truck, excavator, police car and choo choo train. But my absolute FAVORITE thing to see is the garbage truck that comes down our street! Twice a week I convince my Mom-Mom or Pop-Pop to stand with me and watch the garbage truck man pick up the garbage. It’s SO COOL! I’m also learning English a lot. My Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop read books with me and I’m picking up new vocabulary, even though my Mama says I speak English with an Indonesian accent. But Papa says I speak Indonesian with an American accent, so I’m confused. When I first came to America I only wanted to eat fish and rice, but now I’ve learned that Mac n’ Cheese and pizza are SO YUMMY!
Hi I’m Noel! My Mama and Papa said they gave me the name Noel because I was the best Christmas gift since Jesus, whatever that means. I love my new family and being in the world. Mostly I love milk, sleep and being walked around outside. I’ve learned how to hold my head up and sometime I can even smile! I’m a good sleeper and love to be held by anyone. Mama says I have her eyes but Papa says I have his hair.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Feeding the chickens with my PapaVisiting my Grandpa’s peanut farm!I loveee sleeping and dreaming about Mama’s milk
I’m experiencing an overwhelming abundance of blessings and new beginnings in my life here in Indonesia.
Locally woven traditional cloth
In July, I made the move from my long time home of Java to a smaller remote island in Eastern Indonesia. Rolling green hills, luscious waterfalls and white sandy beaches are now part of the incredible panorama I’m privileged to witness every day. This island, less developed than Java, is a hub of deeply rooted cultural traditions. Most women spend their days weaving traditional cloth while the men work the fields caring for livestock and looking after crops.
This place is incredibly beautiful, but lacking in education. Most adults are not educated beyond Elementary school, and the schools which are available are plagued by low teacher attendance and insufficient funding. This is a huge opportunity for us.
With my move to this island, comes a new role as well. Our organization started a small Christian School here 3 years ago, and we are striving to develop this school into a lab school which will plant schools in villages all over the island. So far, our school is Kindergarten-Grade 2 and has already planted 14 Christian schools in villages. We will continue adding a grade each year, God willing until our school is K-12.
Neighborhood kids join afternoon English club since they are prohibited from going to school.
Like in America, Covid-19 has significantly affected our school here. Children are not permitted to attend school in person, and connectivity challenges limit our ability to conduct school virtually. Instead, our teachers prepare learning materials for students to take home and work on during the week.
Since kids can’t come to school, we sometimes invite the kids living in the neighborhood for English club in the afternoon.
Local teacher tutors a student at our new school.
Of all the changes, one in particular has been the greatest of all, bringing immense blessing in my life. On September 6, 2020, I married the most incredible amazing man. Erdy is native to this island and is the answer to many prayers over the years. Although Covid-19 prohibited us from celebrating our wedding day together with family in America, God still amazingly opened the way for family from all over the globe to take part in this special day.
Many of you have sent us greetings, participated in the Photo Booth, and were a part of this special day. We send our deep thanks and gratitude for each of you and for the congratulations, blessings, and prayers you have sent.
We thank God for technology which allowed for family to take part in this special day.
My heart overflows. We look forward to the day we are able to come to America and celebrate with you.
Last week I took a group of our teacher trainees on a hiking trip up a local mountain. The goal was just one: grow in character. With 30 students and 2 nights on the mountain, we divided into small groups to coordinate food, tents, and making sure everyone got to the top safely. I tasked each student with something specific from first aid to paying the guide. I asked one student, John, to find a machete before we left so we could cut fire wood at the campsite. John’s a quiet student who doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. He’s committed to learning anything put in front of him and works extremely hard.
As we started to hike up the mountain John approached me and confessed he wasn’t able to find a machete to bring. “Don’t worry Teacher Faith, last night I went to the woods behind the dorm a cut some wood.” I looked and slung over his shoulder was a big bag filled with chopped wood. “You’re going to carry that all the way up the mountain?” I asked. He convinced me he could do it.
Carrying wood up the mountain.
About 2 hours into our 8 hour climb to the first campsite John started to lag behind. The wood was clearly weighing him down. In my mind I kept thinking, Why not just dump it, we can get wood at the campsite. We are SURROUNDED by trees! But committed to our goal of growing character, I let John carry on. “Let me carry it”, said one of his friends. John looked relieved. Over the next 6 hours we all switched off carrying the wood up the mountain.
While carrying that wood may have brought our group together, it felt so pointless. To walk amongst trees carrying wood. It made me reflect on my own life. How many times do I carry pointless burdens, worries, grudges that are totally unnecessary and that weigh me down? I know that God will provide for me. I know that once I overcome and conquer this mountain He will be there waiting. I know worrying just weighs me down. Yet in my own stubbornness or pride I refuse to cast off my burden to God and I carry it; slowly and painfully.
“Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
We have a phrase in our dorm that we constantly remind each other at the end of each day: Give it to God and go to sleep. I’m learning. He’s taken care of me this far. Will I trust Him to carry me the rest of the way?
A quick update on S-village: we are sending one of our national partners to S-village for a couple of months to see if it would work for her to be a teacher there. Please pray for her as she makes the extreme transition (village life there is drastically different from city life here), and continue to pray that God would provide wisdom, discernment, and workers to send to this village. If you missed the last update, read about S-village here.
Teaching has been really fun over the last month as my students and I have gone through the books of Esther and Nehemiah and learned about what made them fantastic leaders. Recently, they were each assigned a character from the book of Esther and had to dress as their character and answer questions about what life was like for their character. Consequently, that day was my sister Joy’s birthday, so here is a short video of them in the costumes saying, “Happy Birthday Teacher Joy!”
We have spent the last few weeks preparing for a short term m-trip we are going to take to serve some schools and a mental hospital up in an area a couple of hours away. This area was affected by a volcano a couple of years ago. Please pray for the students as they prepare and that God would really work in them during the trip, opening their eyes to the immediate needs of the community around them.
I just finished teaching CPR and first aid this week and I am so proud of my students! They worked hard, studied hard, asked good questions, and are now equipped with basic CPR and first aid. It was a lot of fun for me too.
I have good news to report about language! Thank you all for your prayers. I finished formal study and will move to class just two times a week. I have truly felt God’s grace on me over just the past week or two as I have felt somewhat of a breakthrough. I’m not quite fluent but I think I’m flirting with fluency. I have been recently surprised at being able to completely understand people who just a month ago I could not even understand one word. Thanks again for the prayers, continue to pray for diligence and continued breakthroughs in eliminating language as a barrier to ministry with the wonderful people of this country.
One major blessing has been being a part of small group made up of nationals from a local church. It has brought me great joy to meet with them each week, pray, share and laugh together. This has also been a huge part of my language learning. This group is made up of people from different areas of the country who all live on this island, so we unite in a shared feeling of being outsiders in this culture yet at the same time one family in Christ.
This month has been a month of transition and I am looking forward to the months ahead. I am currently house sitting for a family who is in the US and will be here for a few more weeks as I prepare to move into a dorm to help with our groundbreaking Teacher Training Program (read about it here). As teaching and language wrap up for this year I am really praying and thinking through what my specific role is going to look like over the next year in connection with our network of schools.
Last December I was challenged to “hit the ground running” in 2012. Sick with Dengue fever, tired, and overwhelmed, all I could think of was “hitting the ground”. However I find myself in the month of March having sprinted through the last 2 months, and I don’t dare look back! Read about some of the incredible things God is doing here. Seriously, you gotta read it. It’s nuts!
What’s the best way to create quality schools? Create quality teachers. Years of work previously done by the team here is culminating as ground was broken to build our new teacher training and early childhood development center. The program will be multifaceted, including training for teachers from all over the country as well as training teachers who will later go teach in one of our schools out in the villages. The need is pressing, the vision is great, and we step out in faith trusting that God will provide the funds needed for this center. (If you are interested in helping sponsor the building of this teacher training center, send me an email and I’ll get you in contact with the right people.)
old dorm new dorm
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in this dorm with local college students but am excited about my upcoming transition to living with and developing students in our teacher training center. We are still praying through the details of this, but my ministry will be making a transition into greater involvement with the residence life of those involved in our new teacher training program.
S-Village is a tiny village nested in the mountains of a remote region of this country. S-village has practiced a local religion for all of it’s existence, but as times change this village struggles for survival. To save themselves they beg for education. With the new generation thirsty for a new religion, will they be quenched by a government majority religion school, or will we be able to open a school there and teach them the ways of the kingdom? Pray for S-village and for our team as we search for ways to save the souls of this village.
I’M ALMOST DONE!!!! Well with formal classes that is. Language learning has been a test of perseverance for me. I’m not fluent yet but I am encouraged as I near the end of my formal language classes. I’ve appreciated the prayers, keep ‘em coming!
Despite all that is going on, I am still teaching grade 9. It has been a great semester so far as we just finished a section on Worldviews. We will be taking a short trip to a village school up near one of the volcanos later next month. I have also begun teaching CPR and first aid to four 11th grade students hungry to learn. It has been fun for all of us.