Jeremy’s Indonesia Trip

Oleh: Jeremy*

12th Feb, Wednesday – Touch Down!

I was looking forward to this trip as I have never been to Indonesia before. Soon, that day came and Daniel and I found ourselves arriving at Yogyakarta airport in the early afternoon. We proceeded to take a 1 hour train ride to Solo accompanied by our host, Yulia‘s husband. As soon as we got out of the train station, we were also greeting by dozens of cab drivers who were eagerly touting for customers to hitch a ride with them. We loitered for a short while outside the train station before our transport came to pick us up to Yulia’s residence. Once we arrived, we immediately put down our stuff in our room and were given a quick orientation around the compound.

Apart from being a place of residence, Yulia also shared his house with SABDA, a Christian organization that publishes scores of Christian materials in Bahasa Indonesian on their websites to aide learning and understanding of the Word of God for the Indonesian people. We were briefly introduced to the diligent staffs of SABDA and were shown around their work place.

Soon, it was dark and dinner time was around the corner. Yulia’s husband drove us to this favorite fried chicken rice eatery which was located pretty nearby. The fried chicken was pretty good. It was so good that you can eat the entire thing including the bones. Amazing stuff….

After dinner, we drove around Solo for some sightseeing. After that, we headed back to the house to get briefed about what we are going to be tasked with and what was to take place the following day. One of the things we were going to do was to help out at Stephen Tong’s rally. We ended the night with a round of prayers and it was time to hit the sack.

13th Feb, Thursday – Stephen Tong

After lunch, we head out to the stadium where Stephen Tong’s rally was to be held. We were immediately task with setting up the venue by arranging chairs. It was really tiring as we had to unpack the metal chairs and the weather was really hot. I prayed the weather to be nicer to everyone that was helping out. Soon, the skies began to turn darker and it started pouring heavily. Looks like I got more than what I had wished for. However, this was no ordinary storm. We were actually witnessing spiritual warfare as the heavy rain lashed down on the field relentlessly. It was the devil’s attempt to hamper our preparations for the rally and to discourage people from attending the rally. The rain soaked up the entire field and it was very muddy. All the chairs were wet. Daniel and I decided to help out by wiping the water off the chairs. It was a lot of work as we had a few thousand chairs to take care of. But we still managed to wipe off the rain water from most of the chairs.

The rally went on without any hitches. Praise the Lord! Even though Stephen Tong preached in Bahasa, I was able to understand him thanks to Yulia who tirelessly translating every word from the preacher. I was also very privileged to be able to hear Michael Liu delivered his testimony about how he became a Christian.

14th Feb, Friday – Kelud

Mount Kelud, which is one of 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia erupted overnight, throwing tons of ashes up into the air. This resulted in volcanic ashes raining down over the surrounding cities and towns. Solo was not spared.

I woke up to a strangely beautiful sight. It looked like it just snowed except the “snow” is grey in color. The air was still and the surroundings were pretty quiet probably due to the fact that almost everyone stayed indoors to avoid inhaling too much of the ashes. Despite the city being covered in ashes, we still attended Stephen Tong’s seminar at the Novotel Hotel. Unfortunately, I did not have a translator for the seminar. However, I could somewhat grasp what he was preaching about.

After the seminar, Daniel and I joined the rest of the staffs from SABDA for lunch at the fried chicken rice eatery. Since the volcanic erupted caused quite a bit of inconvenience and health hazards, Yulia decided to let the staff end their work early and spend the rest of the day (and the weekends) with the family. We didn’t do much for the rest of the day. Daniel and I were mostly holed up in our room and we took the opportunity to catch up with some more sleep.

15th Feb, Saturday – Countryside

The initial plan was for us to see Borobodur and Prambanan that day. But due to the Mount Kelud eruption which resulted in ashes falling all over many cities, the 2 attraction had to be closed for clean up to prevent damages to the ancient monuments. we had to change plan and we drove into the countryside to experience what it had to offer; greenery and fresh air. It was a 2 hour drive from Solo. We arrived at a huge lake where we took a boat over to the other side for lunch. The lunch was pretty good. Fried fish that was covered some black sauce complemented with white rice. It was the first time I ate the tail of the fish and I also learnt how to open up a fish head and eat it brain. After lunch, we all bonded over some scrabble and a board game.

It was almost evening time when we decided to head back to Solo. Another 2 hours of drive and we’re back home again. We had fried chicken (kinda like KFC) for dinner and caught a couple of episodes of ‘The Mentalist’ while we tucked into our meal. We ended the night with another round of prayers before heading to bed.

16th Feb, Sunday – Another low key day

It’s a Sunday and we attended church. After that we had a mini tour of the city and also the Keratons. While we were looking around at one of the Keratons, there was a sudden gust of wind and it picked up a lot of ashes. The wind was heading our direction. We decided to run back and head home. Back at the house and I was tasked to deliver a presentation in a couple of days to the staff of SABDA. It was about how social media could be used to attract more people to connect with SABDA also to make use of the online resources that were created by SABDA to aid the learning of God’s word. This presentation posed a bit of challenge to me as the presentation has to be at least 1 hour long. I was worried that I wasn’t able to present for 1 hour as I have never done such a long presentation by myself before. I spent the rest of the day just thinking about how I should go about doing the presentation.

17th Feb, Monday – Busy Day

I did not doing anything else apart from sitting in front of the computer and collecting information for my presentation. Apart from the lunch and dinner time, I was glued to the computer, desperately looking for information to be used for the PowerPoint slides. I was really tired from all the reading.

Benny took Daniel and I out for supper in town. It felt really good to take a break from all that reading and just chillax over some “dim sum” and sweet peanut soup.

After supper it was back to working on the presentation slides. I finished everything at about 2:30am in the morning. It was time for bed.

18th Feb – D-Day

I woke up early in the morning to have breakfast. After breakfast, I went back to my room to rehearse the presentation and get myself psyched up for it.

I went across the road to the other building which was owned by SABDA. Yulia shared with us how much trouble they went through before they managed to acquire that land and the building. It was nothing short of miraculous. The way the events unfolded and how the funds were made available for the acquisition of the land and building.

Anyways, I went to a room which resembled a small library due to the huge collection of books of various topics. The staff of SABDA were already there awaiting my arrival. I felt like some important person. Like a VIP. They were my audience. About a dozen of them.

I proceeded to deliver my presentation in English after Yulia had opened with a prayer and helped to elaborate my points in Bahasa Indonesia. Everything went smoothly. Eventually the entire presentation with a short question and answer session took about 3 hours. It lasted way long than I had expected. Praise the Lord! It was almost 1pm and lunch time couldn’t have arrived sooner. I was happy with how the presentation had gone and I was able to maximize my time effectively. I was thankful to God for his guidance throughout the entire presentation. I was also happy that the guys from SABDA appreciated my presentation.

Later that night, I was happily packing my belongings to prepare for my flight back to Singapore the next morning. There was news that some airports had already reopened following a massive clean-up operation that was the result of the Mount Kelud eruption. However I received an email from AirAsia that my flight has been cancelled and I had to reschedule my flight. I quickly informed Yulia about the news and she said she’s going to take me to the airport in Solo the next day to reschedule my flight.

19th Feb –Rescheduling of My Flight

Yulia’s husband took me to the airport early in the morning to reschedule my flight back to Singapore. After breakfast we headed back home and I was tasked with another assignment. I was asked to do another presentation on how the social media strategies can be used to help the Open Community grow. I sat down with Philip and we had a fruitful discussion. After that we proceeded to work on our PowerPoint slides for Friday’s presentation. I spent the rest of the day working on the slides.

20th Feb – Full Day

I continued working and refining my presentation slides with Philip. I did not do anything else noteworthy for the rest of the day.

21st Feb – Presentation Part 2 and Tawangmangu

I gave short presentation on the different ways we could use social media to help the Open Community attract more followers and also to engage them more effectively.

After lunch, we packed our stuff and prepared to head out to Tawangmangu. We were joined by 2 American who were based in Thailand. They were friends of Yulia and they will be staying with us over at Benny’s holiday home in Tawangmangu.

After we loaded up all our stuff into the van, we proceeded to pick up Benny before heading to the mountain area. The air quality improved significantly as we got further away from the city. It was also quite cooling. What a relief from the stifling heat and humidity in the city.

22nd Feb – Tawangmangu

Woke up to the crisp and cooling air of the Tawangmangu region. I played a bit basketball with Jesica at a small makeshift basketball court. After breakfast we headed to the farm areas and hiked downhill towards the national park. It was a slightly challenging hike for us because there was no proper walking path and it was steep and slippery at some parts. I was glad we all made down without any incidents. The highlight of the day was the Tawangmangu Water. I managed to climb to the foot of the waterfall and admire it.

After lunch, Yulia’s husband drove everyone up the mountain. We went as far as to the border of east Java before making a u turn back to where we came from. We weren’t able to see much from the mountain due to poor weather conditions. After we had dinner at a place selling soto, it was time to head back to Solo.

23rd Feb – Car Free Day

I got spend another Sunday in Solo. This time, I got to visit the car free day which was a strip of road someone in the center of the city that was closed every Sunday to allow the locals to just have fun (exercise, eat, play and even join a protest). There were plenty push carts selling local food and also lots of small stalls selling various items ranging from clothes to toys.

We attended church service after the car free day. After lunch we headed back home and I took an afternoon nap all way till dinner time while Daniel worked on his presentation slides.

We dined out and had seafood for dinner. I found it really hard to enjoy my dinner as I was busy shooing away small little flying insects that were flying all over our food. But the dinner was good and it made up for the poor dining experience.

After dinner we headed back home for more of “The Mentalist”. I also got my stuff packed up before heading to bed. I went to bed early because I had to get up very early in the morning to go to the airport.

24th Feb – Home Coming

I got up at 3am to prepare for my departure. After a brief farewell, I was accompanied by Daniel and we boarded Yulia’s SUV and headed for the airport. Along the way, we stopped by the Prambanan for a little bit of photo taking. At least I got to see the Prambanan before I left otherwise this trip would have been in vain.

After stopping by Prambanan, it was time to head to Yogyakarta airport. I bade farewell and made my way across the customs to wait for my flight.

As I waited to board my flight home, I reflected upon my entire time spent here. It has been a meaningful and memorable experience for me. There wasn’t a single day when it was dull. I got to know many good people in Indonesia and I pray that God will continue to guide each and every one of them as they continue to do the Lord’s work. I also enjoyed the local cuisine very much.

I’d like to thank everyone for making my trip so enjoyable especially to Yulia’s family for providing Daniel and me with a nice accommodation and introducing us to the delectable range of local food.

The only thing that I definitely won’t miss is the constant attack of mosquitos. I get bitten the moment I step out of my room. Those critters seem to be especially attracted to me. God knows why.

Alright! I shall end my blog here. Hopefully I’ll be able to have the opportunity to visit everyone that I have met again real soon.

Thank you!

*Jeremy adalah salah satu sahabat YLSA asal Singapura yang beberapa waktu yang lalu sempat berkunjung ke kantor YLSA. Ia bersama rekannya, Daniel, ikut berkontribusi dalam pelayanan YLSA, khususnya dalam pengembangan komunitas YLSA dan desain grafis.

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  1. Thanks for coming, Jeremy!

    Hopefully, the mosquito never make you have any traumatic to go to Indonesia again…hehe…Thanks for your contribution to our ministry. May you also be blessed to share the Word of God wherever you are.

    God bless!

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