I bet the title got you to open this thinking I was in trouble….I’m sorry if you are upset with me now but I’m actually doing just fine!
Let me give you an update…..
Yesterday was incredible as I explained in my last blog. We explored the beauties of Bali! At around 9pm we made it back to our villa, packed our bags, rested, and got back on the road to make our flight to Papua, Sentani at 1:30am. You can imagine by now we are exhausted from a full days worth of activities. Honestly this flight was pretty rough. 5 hours of flying in a tiny airplane to another foreign country. We had had enough traveling by now this was our 4th flight in 3 days.
We arrived in Sentani and I want to explain this in a way for you to really grasp what it felt like. So sorry if I don’t do it justice.
Instantly I notice just how different the people here look. Incredibly indigenous looking natives. Dark dark skin and very prominent facial features. Like no other person I’ve seen before. Our group stood out like a sore thumb.
I was scared. People coming up to me speaking their native tongue trying to take my bags to give me a taxi ride. People staring at us like we had the words “WE ARE NOT FROM HERE” across our heads. Homeless women breastfeeding their babies on the streets and picking bugs out of their children’s hair, men staring at us women and lined up waiting for jobs. Apparently there is a plant here that most people chew that has a similar effect as tobacco. The thing is, this plant turns people’s mouths bright red. So many of these people have the reddest mouths that to be honest looks like Blood. I was scared, uncomfortable, and feeling very helpless.
Texting my dad saying “HELP I DON’T LIKE THIS!”
You see, the first three days of the trip were in Bali which is more of a tourist destination. So I was shocked completely when I landed in Sentani. My dad sent me encouraging text and tried to remind me of why I came here. My dad sent me a gift while I was here of a necklace with a peace sign and the Bible verse “Do not be anxious about anything, but with everything in prayer and supplication make your request known to God” this verse kept playing in my head over and over.
Finally we make it to our hotel which is labeled a “resort” but definitely not a Ritz Carlton, not even a Motel 8. I feel slightly relieved to be inside closed doors but still sort of scared. It’s the month of Ramadan here so over the loudspeaker every few hours the prayers are played over a loudspeaker that the whole town can hear. We gather our things and meet up to go check out the orphanage.
We arrive at the orphanage. This building is in shambles. There really isn’t much of a roof, floors are wooden and falling apart, the kitchen is basically the size of a twin sized bed with just a rusty old oven and a sink. The bedrooms (3 rooms to be exact) have multiple beds on the floor with mosquito nets above them all to protect the children from bug bites. The upstairs was the biggest surprise to me. Hardly a roof at all and 1 bedroom for the entire staff to sleep in. With three mattresses on the floor. An old broken motorcycle rear view mirror is what the men use to shave every morning with an old disposable razor. But on each bed was a Bible. This house, although in complete shambles, had more love, grace, and faith in it than any home I’ve ever been in.
When we walked up to the entry way the children were all lined up in a row, patiently and eagerly waiting to meet us. Some of the children were smiling so big that they were covering their faces of embarrassment. The children sang us a song to welcome us and I honestly couldn’t hold it in any longer. Tears came to my eyes. I’ve never felt such joy in my heart from such tiny little people. I didn’t even understand a single word they were saying.
That night when we got back we had a debriefing. We talked about struggles we had for the day and mine was just how uncomfortable I was and that I honestly felt my heart wasn’t in a good place at the time.
That night I prayed asking God “Open my heart more to these children. Make me a servant of humility these next few weeks. Show me what you want me to do for your people. Not what they can do for me.”
So that was my first day in Sentani and boy was it a rollercoaster of emotion.