Sabtu, 24 Desember 2011

Elijah was a man just like us

I have been in Indonesia for almost a year now!  Throughout this year I have been blessed by older women investing their lives in me.  They have mentored me, shared stories from their lives, and even shared mistakes and regrets of theirs with me in hopes that I wouldn't make the same ones.  When I see these women and see what the Lord has accomplished through them I sometimes feel out of my league, like these women are "spiritual giants" and I'm just a spiritual worm.  When I start to dwell on this, I tend to focus on how my life lacks faith compared to them, and that I haven't done anything worth while for the glory of God.  However, I was reminded while reading James that Elijah was a man just like us.

James 5:17-18  Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!  Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

And Elijah was serving the same God I am.  A God that put on the flesh that I am so ready to be done with.  The flesh I struggle with every day of my life.  He came out of heaven and put on that flesh, and did not sin. Then He took the death that I deserve, but He rose again in glory! And He, in His grace and mercy, allows me to live through His Spirit.  And even when my faith is lacking and I don't want to do what He wants me to, I can do it.  I can do all things through Him.  There's a saying that goes like this, All people are weird until you get to know them.  I think it's the opposite.  I look at these women I was talking about and think they are "spiritual giants," but as I get to know them, they are people just like me.  They mess up, but they trust that God has redeemed them and that He continues to form them in the image of His Son.  This is my hope.  I will continue to run the race, even if I stumble or turn the wrong direction every once in awhile.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Kamis, 22 September 2011

Will I Follow?

I sit here writing this after hearing the news that a missionary pilot in Papua crashed today with either one or two passengers.  I sat with a worker from Papua as she told me some stories about this pilot and his love for the Lord.  Flying a plane into the interior of Papua is not an easy task, in fact it is quite dangerous.  This pilot, Paul, actually kept a keychain of pieces from other planes that have gone down.  This keychain was a reminder to him that if the Lord calls he will follow, even if his plane crashes.  What a witness, he did just that leaving a wife and two children behind.  We praise the Lord that Paul is now with Him, but we join in grief for those left here.

God really convicted me through this.  Last night I was pretty upset because I will be missing one of my best friend's wedding.  Yes, this is a sacrifice.  But, seriously I just got to skype (what a wonderful thing) with her, see her face, hear her voice, and continue to be a part of her life.  Is missing a wedding as far as I will go to follow the Lord?  Am I willing to sacrifice my life?  I want to surrender all, like Paul, like so many that have gone before.  

"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." Phil. 3:10-11

Will I obey God even if I don't see the promise, like Abraham?
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth." Hebrews 11:13

I surrender all.  

Sabtu, 30 Juli 2011

Boleh Bermain?

I am going to miss hearing these words everyday.  They mean "can we play?"  I am leaving about 15 kids here in Bandung when we move to Jakarta.  Some days I hear these words, cringe, and think I have better things to do with my time.  These better things usually end up being Facebook or Pinterest.  Unbelievable.  How much time did I lose with them?  Oh, but how much gained by knowing them!  They are eager to learn. Willing to Teach. Creative.  Energetic.  Hungry for Love.  Content.  Forgiving.  Fun.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
 Matt. 18:3

Kamis, 07 Juli 2011


It has been quite some time since I have updated you all!  Let's see...what has happened?


         On Monday we will start our sixth and final unit of language.  This is both exciting and terrifying!  We are both ready to move to Jakarta and start our "official" ministry there.  Wes has been without a job for about 3 months too long, we both need to him to be working on something!  Although language could be a full time job it lacks the accomplishment feeling that men need.
        How am I doing with language you ask?  Well on some days I feel like a rockstar who can understand and reply to everything people throw at me.  But then there are those days, which are more frequent, that I wonder if these people are even speaking the language that I have been studying for the past six months.  I will say that I am at a point where I can at least describe what I am thinking, in a very roundabout way.

Field Forum

      For one week in June we had the privilege (and obligation) of attending the annual field forum for the workers in Indonesia.  We even had the president of the CMA and the VP of IM attending.  It was so great to get to know the workers which we are here to serve and hear their amazing stories of how our King has worked.
Almost all of the Toccoa grads in Indonesia
        Did I mention this forum took place in Bali?  That part was just an extra bonus.  Wes and I stayed for two days after forum.  The first day we spent exploring Ubud which is up a mountain and had all sorts of artwork.  The second day quite a few CMAers went to a waterpark called "waterbom."  The day was epic and lots of fun!


       We have had the last two weeks off of school for summer break.  One neat thing that we did was make pottery.  There is an org here started by Indonesians that teaches people with handicaps, mostly deaf, how to make pottery, paper, batik, and carvings.  These are the people that taught us!  It seemed mostly normal to be communicating with hand gestures and facial expressions.  We had a great time and hope to do it again!

     I am thrilled that I am able to go home for my big brothers wedding in August!  I have yet to meet his bride to be, but inside sources say she is a "gem".  I am overwhelmed with joy for him and cannot wait to be there to celebrate!  Wes and I hope to be moved into our new Jakarta home before I board the plane to America.  This will have to be done between our final evaluation on August 8 and when I leave on August 11!  Should be an exciting couple of days!  While I am in the States, Wes will start his training with Larry in the office.

Current book that I am reading: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp  
    She also has a blog at  I am joining in the memorize Colossians in a year.  I am  just in week one.  A guide is available under her tab "Free Gifts for You."  For those of you that are slow at memorizing like me, I think this is a great tool! 

Senin, 09 Mei 2011


Prayer is a powerful and mysterious gift.  I will admit that I really don't understand prayer.  I don't understand how God can be sovereign, we can have free will, and yet prayer changes things.  It boggles my mind when I sit and think about it.  I don't understand why some prayers are answered and others seem to be ignored.  I don't know why Danny died when I pleaded with God to save him, and why others are saved from facing death at that moment.

However, the more I seek God, the more I realize that prayer is going to be a large part of my ministry here in Indonesia.  Praying for the workers here and that their work would be fruitful.  Praying that people are healed from physical and spiritual ailments.  Praying without ceasing for Indonesia.  Although I don't understand prayer I believe in what the Scriptures say and I cling to God's promises.

Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matt 7:7

The veil was torn in two so that we may approach the throne. Matthew 27:51

Many before us, like Abraham, never saw the promise but were obedient Hebrews 11

All things work for the good of those who love him! Romans 8:28

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. Matt 21:22

And the list goes on and on.  I choose to cling to these passages.  I choose to believe that God hears our cries and that He answers.  It may not be the way I would do it, but he has good plans for us, so I trust him.  It may not even be in my lifetime, but He has shown Himself faithful.  I know that God answers prayer.  I know that during the dark times of my early adolescent years when I seriously considered suicide that my mother and a group of women were praying for me, so instead of finding death I found the One who gives eternal life.  I know that while the faithful were praying Peter escaped prison and death.  I know that through years of prayer someone dear to me has turned back to the Lord.  God hears our prayers. If you believe this will you join with me this week in praying for the nation of Indonesia, the nation with the largest population of Muslims?  Will you pray for people like my friend Ibu Ema and Ibu Emas who are living in darkness?  Will you pray for the workers that are here and that God would send more, because we know the harvest is plenty but the workers are few?  Let us have faith that God is going to move!

Rabu, 13 April 2011

Pesta Ulang Tahun (Birthday Party)

I had been anticipating this event for weeks.  I was so grateful that my birthday fell after a few months of language school, but before we moved to Jakarta.  In Indonesia it is expected that you throw your own birthday party. Perfect.  I needed something to bring the women from my compound into my home.  Just any meal would not work, because they think it is rude to talk while eating.  So a birthday party it would be!

Our helper, Ibu Ema, was so excited to throw this party, and she worked so hard. She worked so hard that the next day she worked, she said maybe just a few guests for Wes's birthday.

Ibu Ema making Yellow Rice
Between 15 and 20 women showed up to my door around 4:00 all dressed up, and of course a bunch of children.  I was so excited.  Ibu Ema's daughter had written a speech for me, so that I would not forget to say anything.  After everyone had entered the house and had taken a seat on the floor, I gave my speech.  They were very gracious when my pronunciation was totally off, as they always are.  After my speech they sang "Selamat ulang tahun" to me and I blew out my candles.  Next, as if we were getting married again, Wes and I fed each other cake (their idea, not ours!)  After this everyone filled up on the delicious food Ibu Ema had made!
Reading my Speech

Meal time!
The ending was a little strange.  After everyone was finished eating I wanted a photo of everyone.  As soon as the photo was taken (thanks Wes!) they said goodbye and went home.  

Unfortunately you can't see everyone!

Since my party the women have been more open to me.  Not that they were harsh toward me before, but now they invite me in their homes, hug me tight, and seem to care more about our lives! Praise the Lord that He answered your prayers and my prayers.  We serve a Great and Powerful God!

Please continue to pray for these women and for LOTS of opportunities to talk about faith.  Blessings to you all!

Jumat, 25 Maret 2011

Little Blessings

Wes and I were on our way to the mall to grab some lunch and a Dairy Queen ice cream cone after church on Sunday.  We still haven't figured out the most direct angkot route to get there, so we went a little out of our way and had to walk more than was probably necessary, no big deal.  (Angkots are a form of public transportation.  They are vans with benches on the sides in the back.  There are lots and lots of different routes.  You just jump on and then tell them to stop when you want out.)  We were feeling pretty good about ourselves, because we actually understood some of the sermon and could at least come to the conclusion that like a banana tree, God has to "cut" at us to allow us to bear more fruit.  It also helped that we bought an Indonesian/English Bible, so we can actually find the passages and read them.


Anyways, we finally find an angkot going in the right direction.  We are hot, sweaty, tired, and ready for our Dairy Queen cone by this point.  As we hop into the van, I acknowledge the woman with her two kids who seem to be heading home from the market.  As we are stopped at a red light two little boys hop on, one with a ukulele and one with envelopes asking for money.  My heart breaks a little every time I see this, but especially this time.  The youngest boy, probably 6 but looks like he's only 4, has sandals on that are about 4 sizes too small for him.  Because of this a huge knot has formed where it rubs his foot wrong.  I couldn't stop the tears and my stomach started churning.  Part of me wanted to take the easy route and just put money in the envelope, but then I thought about who might actually get the money.  I knew the Spirit was leading me to do more, but what could I do?  And plus, I really wanted an ice cream cone.  As soon as I thought that I wanted to throw up at my selfishness.  Wes and I got off and I immediately asked if I could buy them some shoes.  They looked up at me with their eyes full of hunger, hunger for food, love, and the feeling of belonging, but didn't respond.  I thought maybe they only knew a tribal language, so I played charades with them until they understood.  We started walking towards a store, about a half mile walk.  They followed us, the older boy with his arm around the younger one the whole way protecting him, encouraging him.  We made it to a store and the younger one got some croc-like sandals with Spiderman on them, and he started to jump up and down clapping-the most life I had seen in him.  More tears.  The older one picked out some flip flops.  We stopped to get them some fruit and then we were on our way.

Can you tell how small and beat up his old shoes are?

I hated leaving them.  I wanted to know so much more about their lives, and tell them how much they are loved by the one who created them.  I've been pleading with God to give me another chance, and to give me more words.  Their faces will forever be imprinted in my mind.

God gave me such peace after this.  I am so glad I didn't ignore the Spirit moving like I have so many times before.  I'm so grateful that I was given another chance, that maybe this time I wouldn't let him down, maybe this time I will push myself, my fears, my insecurities away to trust what I know to be true:  That I am nothing, yet God chooses me to bring him glory.  That this life is not about me at all.  I am thankful to be reminded and humbled once again.

Please pray that no one takes those shoes away.

Selasa, 08 Maret 2011


Sometimes I yearn for something familiar.  Most of the time I can echo Paul's words and say that I am content wherever I am living.  It is truly by God's grace that I have been content living in all the various places He's sent me.  However, I have days, sometimes just hours, of longing for something familiar.  That's why once a week we order pizza or go get McDonald's (which by the way, tastes a lot better in foreign countries).  This happens when I get frustrated with my inability to really communicate with people, to tell them my heart.  Sure I can tell them my name, but that's about as deep as it gets.  Or when it takes an hour to do something that in the USA it would take five minutes, like washing clothes.  Usually I love this way of life, I don't think I am one to complain or even wish I had it easier, but sometimes I want something familiar.  While reading the Psalms I ran across this passage, "You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are FAMILIAR with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely."  This is from Psalm 139.  When I reflect on this passage I realize I don't need anything familiar. My God, the one who created the earth by His Word, and then came to dwell among us and then sacrificed Himself for my sins, and yours, and then defeated death by rising from it knows me... is familiar with me, with all of me. I take comfort in that today.  What are you taking comfort in today?

Jumat, 11 Februari 2011

Parks & Friends

We have finished unit one of language study!  On Tuesday we went into our evaluations severely nervous, but once we started talking with our teachers we were amazed at how much we had learned!  Needless to say, we passed.  After each unit we have about a week off to recuperate and let what we have learned sink in.  The Lord was so good to me with the timing of our break!  My friend from college came to Jakarta to see one of the other workers here who comes from her home church.  Wes and I were able to go down and spend a few days with Sarah Mabee!  It was such a blessing to have some familiarity here.

Not only did I get to spend time with a dear friend, but we got to see a few neat things that Indonesia has to offer.  We spend one day at a place called "Taman Mini,"  which means mini park.  I would compare it to Disney World's Epcot, except for Indonesia.  We got to see what the culture is like on different islands.  They also had a Protestant Church, Catholic Church, Mosque, and Hindu Temple to signify the religions of the country.  The church is used every Sunday for worship.  

The next day we went to a park similar to Animal Kingdom, but in Indonesia they don't have as many rules.  It was a really nice park!  First, we drove through a section that had all sorts of animals hippos, lions, tigers, llamas, giraffes, and of course zebras!  After driving through they have places you can walk around.  There are also a variety of shows.  We only had time to see the dolphin show, but it was really neat!  We also got to hold a baby tiger and baby orangutan!  We had a blast! 

That day we also had the privilege to visit Judy Gaskin's Awana camp and retreat center.  She spent many years fundraising and building this camp.  It is used in the summer for AWANA camps and then is rented out by various people for other children's events.  The Lord has really used this property for his glory and to call many children into his family and into his service.  Judy is a very wise woman, and I look forward to learning from her and working with her to reach the children of Indonesia.  She also told me about an accredited master's program that is given on another island in Holistic Child Development.  Please pray for me as I consider taking this program, and that I will have the time to do so.  

On Monday we start Unit 2 of Language study!  Please pray as we know it is going to be challenging.  No more directions in English!  Also pray for our relationships with our neighbors.  I have been able to have the children in our home playing games, but still cannot communicate well enough to have significant conversations with their parents.  We are looking for some way to show them we care about them, so please pray that we would find a way that is meaningful to them.

Kamis, 20 Januari 2011

What is Titing?

Greetings from the land where air means water!  With our first unit of language study already halfway over we have comprehended a ton of new information, but can only say a little.  I am surprised at how well I can follow a conversation, but when asked a question to come up with the words to answer is tough!  When talking with neighbors I often have to say "tunggu, kamus"  which means wait, dictionary.  Then I run into our house to grab our Indonesian/English dictionary.

Our first two weeks of language school has been exhausting, but today Wes said, "it really is amazing how much we know only after 9 days."  We feel so blessed to be going to this school where the teachers are Christians and they really want us to understand.  Our homework everyday is to go and talk with 10 Indonesians.  At first I dreaded this task.  After the first day or two I could say, "Hello my name is Caren.  I am from America.  I am married.  My husband's name is Wes.  We do not yet have children.  We live in compound Rancabentang. Goodbye"  Imagining doing that in my own language made me laugh!  It was a lot easier once I could say I am studying the language Indonesian, so that they didn't think I was completely insane.  Actually, the people around here seem used to foreigners learning their language and coming up to them with monologues, and they are very forgiving.

One day I was sitting on the steps outside a neighbors house talking with some kids.  They were helping me expand my vocabulary.  One of them mentioned the word "titing" but it was not in my kamus.  I told her that I would ask my teacher at school tomorrow.  When I brought it up in class the teacher didn't know either, and said it was probably an impolite slang word.  That didn't settle right with me, because that girl has seemed quite happy to help me, but I thought maybe I'm naive.  Finally, a week later I was sitting outside another neighbor's house talking with some older ladies.  I was asking about their families and finally asked there names.  Wouldn't you know it, one was Ibu Titing!  My teacher got a good laugh when I told her the next day.

On our way to the Immigration office Wes was practicing his Indonesian with our driver.  The topic of food came up and Wes asked what his favorite food was.  The driver then asked if Wes liked the spiciness of the food in Indonesia.  He told him he did, but when he tried to tell him that I didn't he said, "My wife doesn't swallow swords!"  The driver graciously corrected him!

Our house is starting to feel more like a home.  Thanks to those who have supported us we were able to get a big kids bed that we can both fit into.  For the first 2 weeks we slept in a bed just a little bigger than a twin.

We also now have a house helper, or a pembantu.  It is really weird for us to have a nice older lady cleaning, cooking, and doing our laundry for us, but we are really happy that we are able to give her a job.  Her name is Ibu Ema.  She is married with 3 grown children, and 4 grandchildren.  She is really sweet, and seems to be a hard worker.  She is a Muslim, so please be praying that Jesus would use us to plant, water, or whatever it is that she needs in her life to come to know him.  I pray that she would know his love for her.

We have been so blessed by the workers already here, our teachers, fellow students, neighbors, and by you! We cannot express our gratitude for your prayers and encouragement.  It really does get us through any low time of doubt or homesickness.

I have been reading through the Gospels and am just once again overwhelmed by the love of Christ.  The more I come to know who he is the more I realize I need him.  John 12: 46 Jesus says, "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness."  I know that I do not want to abide in darkness, and I pray the same for each of you.

"Grazie, Signore, for Your lips twisted in love to accommodate my sinful self; for judging me not by my shabby good deeds but by Your love that is Your gift to me; for Your unbearable forgiveness and infinite patience with me; for other people who have greater gifts than mine; and for the honesty to acknowledge that I am a ragamuffin.  When the final curtain falls and You summon me home, may my last whispered word on earth be the wholehearted cry, 'Grazie, Signore'."  - from the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning but the words of Anotonio Salieri