As I sit to write to you, I am in awe of how much God has done in me. Not only these past two months, but also this past year. For it has now been one year of ministry and service in Bali. One thing I am reminded of in life is: Seasons come and go. It is great to see that as life comes to a crossroads of change, God brings other people into our path to bring everything together. He never leaves something incomplete.
Thank you to all who have supported me and travelled along this journey with me. I have learned so much in my time here. With God’s help, the Women’s Centre has grown and impacted many women. Thank you for all who prayed for my trip to Singapore. I had a safe trip and found a gorgeous café where I could just sit and rest and read for 3 hours. Exactly what my tired body needed. I then wandered down the road and found a park with some gorgeous trees. I even spotted two squirrels running up trees, but they were so fast I could not get a photo of them. Even though it was a short trip, it was refreshing, and God showed me he’s looking after me in it all. I even met someone to share a taxi back to the airport for my return flight, which really helped with paying the fare. It’s the small things that we can look back on and know we are never alone, even when we may know no one else in the entire country.
We welcomed in Ibu Monika and two of children – Ing and Igo – mid-May. Monika’s husband passed away a year ago due to an infection and insufficient medical treatment. One of Monika’s relatives joined us for lessons at Bali Life and told Ibu Monika about our program here. This gave Ibu Monika hope for her children and her future. She got on a boat and travelled for four days to get here. When they arrived, her children, Ing and Igo were shy, withdrawn and would barely eat or speak. Almost two months later, they are funny, smiley, happy kids, with extreme appetites for food and for life. Ibu Monika has started English, sewing, computer and counselling classes throughout the week, all part of gaining skills to find a job and put her on a path to independence. When Monika came here, she left her oldest son – Andre, 13years old – with her relatives, so he could finish his school year and get his report. He will join us in the beginning of July and enrol for middle school with the other Bali Life kids as well as his younger siblings. We pray this is a happy reunion for their family and that Andre settles into the Bali Life Women’s Centre Home with ease.
We have finished teaching English at Goa Gong, but once a week Sue or Feny join our volunteer, Ellen, to another community in Bayu to teach English again and build relationship with these women so they can know about our centre and the safe place of learning that we offer. Through our relationship with the women in Goa Gong, two boys have joined us for learning some basic education skills with Feny twice a week. Through these lessons, they will gain the foundation of learning so that they can be accepted into formal school and be set on a path to a brighter future.
In June, we had a visit from a husband and wife – Michael and Cheryl – from Sydney, and they blessed our women with haircuts and new styles. The mum of one of our boys who come for lessons, Ibu Adel, is usually a very quiet, withdrawn girl and lacking in confidence. I was able to pick her up and bring her for a haircut that day, thanks to the independence from having my own transport. After getting her new hair cut, Sue found a dress that had been donated, and it fit her perfectly. When she looked into the mirror, she exclaimed in surprise, “I’m beautiful.” The girl who climbed on my bike in the morning, climbed off it completely transformed and confident that afternoon when I brought her home. Thank you for regular donations that help us build confidence and smiles in these women.
I was looking over my records last month and we have over 70 different children that have come into our centre for lessons and games since July 2014 until June 2015. That is such an opportunity for impacting these children. I am so proud of how much these kids have learned in English. I said in my last newsletter that I can really see the difference in kids that come all the time and the ones who come only sometimes, or have joined us more recently. More than that, though, KidZone opens a place for kids to have fun, share experiences, participate in group activities, and gain confidence and build friendships. These past few weeks our second class has grown with more students. I am excited to see this program continue growing and making an impact in the community. The Women’s Centre has been blessed with Elinor, from Sweden, volunteering her weeks with us these past three months. She has been helping teach, play games, and just being a happy presence in this Centre for the women and children to connect with through KidZone time.
Street Kids Ministry
Monday evenings I join the street ministry team to meet children and mums begging on the streets. We bring food and fun for the kids, talk with the mums, and pray and bring medicine for anyone who is sick, but the real purpose of our visits is to invite them to the Street Centre. At the Street Centre, children can learn to read and write and further their education. Mums
can work, making handicrafts for various businesses we have contact with, and earn a daily income. Through the ministry at the street centre, we get children off the streets. We can influence them with a greater sense of purpose and well-being and hope for their future.
Visiting a Village
Through these visits, we have been able to build close relationships with some of these families. In May they invited us to their home in their village for a birthday ceremony for one of their kids. We woke early and drove up for 3 hours to their village. Up dirt-roads in mountains, then had to park the car and walk or get motor bikes down narrow roads the rest of the way. It was beautiful to see how simple their home is, one-two room buildings, dirt floors. Cooking with a pot on a fire and taking water from a well. They did have electricity. They seemed to have so little in comparison to what we have but they share everything with smiles and joy. I am looking forward to our next invite to see them all again.
Through my visits each Wednesday helping at the street centre, I just fell in love with those kids and mums. I grew a vision for how to help grow the lessons and program there. See the kids in school, off the streets, breaking the cycle of poverty for them. I prayed and talked with mentors and as of June 15th, my ministry in Bali Life has moved from Ungasan with the Children’s Home and Women’s Centre, to Denpasar, working with the Street Centre.
We have two classes, and I teach the younger, or lower level, students. I am teaching letter-sound recognition and joining letters together to make words, and forming letters and words on paper. Also some mathematics – number symbols, counting, addition and subtraction, and other basic level math. I also teach English to the mums and kids in both classes each week. We also hope to bring more to the program by including some more character-building activities. We’ll play group games, share stories, and sing songs. All to impart into the children on a deeper level than just regular education.
Children enjoy painting and drawing with part-time volunteers who visit us
Final Wishes for Women’s Centre
I have not just left the Women’s Centre lessons with nothing, KidZone will continue with other volunteers. Ellen has been teaching these past two weeks and when she goes home, we have other volunteers ready. Sue also teaches the women English. I am glad for my part in the Women’s Centre this past year, but I feel my time is completed. More women from the community know the centre. More women will continue to know of it through word of mouth and the Holy Spirit bringing people in. I am so excited for this next path on my journey. Looking forward to what this next year will bring, what God will teach me and where he will lead me.
*Health and safety in all my travels. This is always a big prayer need because without health and safety I cannot do what I do. So thank you for always praying for me in this area.
*I have a new place to stay which is really close to the centre
*My transition into the centre is going well and settling into the routine there
*Chances to impact people like Ibu Adel and Ibu Monika and their children
*More children come into the centre
*More volunteers come to share their skills and teach at the Women’s Centre, Children’s Home and Street Centre
*Continued opportunity for going to the villages and making connection with families
*Opportunities to pray with the children and women
*That I may be a vessel bringing God’s love to these children and mums
*Strength as I continue ministering in the Street Centre
Blessings in Christ,