Dave Gullett

a miscellanea

The first thing you notice….

When you step out of the car is the mass of people hanging around the doors outside baggage claim at the airport here in Jakarta. Especially if it is busy time of the day for arrivals. The people mulling about aren’t expectant friends and family, or even stranded passengers…they are there to make money.

They do this by selling watches, papers, drugs, drinks, or by forcibly trying to carry ones luggage or arrange a taxi. They throng around arriving passengers, vying for position, scrambling for a sale or a fare.  Especially Westerners…Shouts of “Mister! Mister!”  “Taksi, Mister?” carry over the bustling sounds of the crowd punctuated by the public address system announcing the latest flight.

Weaving ones way through the crowd is a challenge, particular if you are a westerner yourself. A few waves of the palm of ones hand and a few strong refusals eases this a bit, and Helen and I position ourselves at the best spot for greeting the last two members of this year’s team and for steering them clear of the waiting pitchmen.

We’ve arrived late on purpose…factoring in the time arriving passengers usually take for getting through immigration and customs and for collecting ones bags. After a few minutes wait we see Fletch and Lauren step out from the gate. After saying some Hellos and grabbing some lunch we grab a taksi and head for the Guest House (GH), where George and the rest of the team, who all arrived a few days earlier are waiting.

The drive there, which can be as quick as thirty minutes in the middle of the night, takes us 2 hours. Construction and heavy traffic conspire together to keep the meter turning until it tops out at over 200000 rupiah when we arrive, which is about $20 U.S.

After getting the two new arrivals settled, we begin to get settled ourselves, moving into a small apartment at the GH which will be our home for the next 3 weeks during the Orientation and Language Learning Phase of the trip.

After moving in, a meeting, and dinner with the team we turn in…completely exhausted. Its the day after our wedding, its been a long week filled with so much to do and because of a schedule change we have cut the honeymoon short (very short) and gone to work today.

When we tell people this they seem surprised, shocked, concerned or impressed. Which is a little weird. And while I suppose it is unusual, is there a better beginning to a marriage that should be built on serving God than, well, serving God?

I don’t mean to sound self righteous or super-spiritual. Its just that Helen and I were involved in thia work before our marriage and plan to be involved for our whole life, so why is it so strange for us to beginning where we already feel called to be? 

And by “where”, I don’t mean Indonesia…I mean a place where we can be used by God to serve others. 

Which should be anywhere. For us, it is here and now, as newlyweds, helping to share what God is doing in Indonesia with the hope that some of this team will be led by God to serve here, too.

And as we impact the lives of the team, we hope to impact the lives of the Indonesians we meet. Whether it is the people in the office working on all the behind the scenes administrative tasks that keep things going. Or if it is the national workers we meet in various places. Or people in churches we visit. Or the people in the village, or on the bus, or working at the stand we buy dinner from.

God can use us to encourage them, to bless them, to challenge them and maybe even convict them…

The Father desires all to come to worship him in spirit and in truth. Everyone.

From the guys selling stuff at the airport to the government officials to the schoolteacher teaching in the middle of nowhere to the disheveled man on the bus….God loves them all.

The other day, Helen and I were riding one one of the buses, going somewhere and an older disheveled man gets on and stands in the middle, and begins to expound on something in Indonesian too quick and complicated for me to follow.

And this isn’t at all unusual. Often when you ride a bus here, whether the low end Metro mini or the comfy air-conditioned feeder bus, there are people you get on and off all the time singing or reciting poetry or playing instruments or even preaching to make money.

And there are also people getting on to sell almost anything, from snacks and drinks (which I sometimes need) to combs and hair clasps (which I never need). It gets to the point you tend to tune them out as a habit.

But there was something different about this guy that felt different. He was polite. And he wasn’t preaching the majority religion. He was just talking about life. Telling his story. I didn’t understand much, so Helen translated some of it later. Then as he was getting off he had a sort of sorrowful look in his eye and said something that I wish I had understood at the time. He said something to the effect of “I am not sure whether I am going to Heaven or Hell”. 

That is why we are here.

That is why you are where you are.

Because people need Jesus.