On a Friday morning in July, our team of five left Memphis on a delayed flight to Chicago. Forty-something hours, five airports, and four out of four delayed flights later, our plane descended (right on time) over the coast of Timor.
The team: three men, two women, connected by unexpected loops of friends, schools, and home churches, looking forward to using our collective mix of theological, educational, and artsy skills and passions to support, encourage, and equip local believers
The destination: KPACT’s House of Hope, a children’s home paired with a theological primary/secondary school
The plans: pastor training sessions on discipleship and church planting with a local pastors, art and English classes with students, teacher training sessions, one mural with the kindergarten students, and hopefully some unplanned time to just play and have fun with the kids!
Selamat datang: Welcome
Our hosts met us at the airport Sunday night. Bags were loaded into the two vans, we piled in, and we were off, zooming through the dark on smooth, freshly paved main roads that gave way to more bumps and gravel with each turn closer to the KPACT campus.
Pastors from surrounding cities would be on their way the next morning to begin the first of eight discipleship modules they’ll be completing over the next few years.
Teachers at the school on campus had come back a week early, giving up part of their breaks, some to join the theological training and others for teacher sessions on integrating the arts into different subjects or specialized training for English instructors.
Before the sun came up the next morning, the children of House of Hope were already awake. (4:45 a.m. wake up call? Whaaat?!) The sounds of singing and music and laughing drifted through the two long hallways and open windows of the dorm-style building—our accommodations for the week. The house parents were up, breakfast was done, and the students were dressed and off to school in their uniforms.
A little background
We each knew some background about KPACT and House of Hope before we trekked half way around the world to spend time there, but over shared meals with the directors and casual conversations with staff throughout the week, we learned more of the story behind this ministry.
House of Hope (HOH) was started under the leadership of KPACT, and to date, it is home to fifty children, preschool age into late teens. Most of the children come from broken homes or situations where the parents are unable or unwilling to care for their children; a few are truly orphans. The kids come from several of the surrounding islands. Some have been there for years and others are relatively new to the home; a new little boy arrived the same week of our visit.
The school is fairly new, added a few years ago as the result of the founder’s ever growing vision to not only provide a loving home for children in need, but to also provide solid academic and Christian education in a country that is 87% Muslim.
The director explained that they had started with 7th grade and added grades each year since. This year’s classes include primary (kk-2nd) and secondary (7th-10th) grades. Originally open only for HOH residents, the school has expanded to provide a Christian education for children from the community as well.
The good kind of exhausted
As we sat down with the director that first morning to go over the schedules and plans, it was clear it was going to be a packed week for all of us! Each day was full of the requested teaching and training…exhausting days that left us feeling spent, but satisfyingly so.
The guys rolled through back-to-back sessions with the pastors, pouring out the Word through the voices of multiple translators, praying with the pastors, answering theological questions, (breaking briefly for strong coffee and fried snacks on the breezeway!), and then moving back into the packed classroom for more.
In classrooms nearby, the ladies started each morning teaching art and English to students, and then lead combined teacher training sessions through the afternoon. They were able to share lesson ideas, model strategies, answer questions, and have fun watching the teachers get creative and make art themselves. Afternoons and evenings were spent painting the backgrounds for the murals the kids would work on the next day.
And…yes, we even got to just play and have fun with the kids. Sprinkled into our planned and scheduled trainings, we were blessed with volleyball breaks, attempts to teach us language, children wanting to help with mural backgrounds, time to visit the refugee camp, tons of smiles and laughter and pictures…plenty of sweet, unplanned moments to connect with staff and students.
So, five days, four(!!) completed murals, and many potato donuts later, we said our goodbyes and see you laters, piled back into the vans, and began our bumpy ride back to the airport.
The team: a little tired, but satisfied, glad to have been a part of an intense week of equipping men and women in the work they are striving to do well… and excited already about ways that the Lord is working through the connection to this place and in our hearts
The destination: home, but with our hearts marked by this little corner of Southeast Asia
The plans: pray for the people we have met and the people they serve, continue sending leaders for pastor training, spread the word about the teacher training needs and opportunities, share other ways people could get involved…
…And, of course, watch and anticipate that even in the good of our best-laid plans, the Lord has already laid out more beautifully unplanned blessings to come.
For more information on this trip or our other trips please visit our website, www.catalystmissions.org. You can email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to connect with you and see how you might become part of the Catalyst community.