One of the two areas of ministry that I have been doing with the Trinity students for the past two years is to spend several days in a predominantly Muslim slum area in Batam. The slum area has all the challenges one would expect: single parents, deep poverty, domestic issues, and so on. It is also the location for a cock fighting arena where, I am afraid, a lot of what little financial resources the residents have, disappears. We are only there for a few days each time, but the response to the “English Camp” we offer has been very positive.
Here is a typical house. The residents of this area are mostly squatters, so their future is uncertain as land prices increase and Batam continues to grow. We passed one area where the residents were evicted and their houses bulldozed down.
The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd has been working there for several years. Kamty has been teaching at a children’s center there, and this is where we have held the English Camp:
Since last June when we were there, there have been some changes. The Church of the Good Shepherd, where Henok is the Vicar, has since built a community center not only for children’s programs, but for community needs as well.
We arrived just as the children were leaving their afternoon program, but some of the kids remembered me from previous visits:
Over the past couple of years, they have been cleaning up the property (other than the construction debris you see in the foreground. Work continues…) in order to be able to provide a comprehensive ministry to the community. The vision is to have eventually–and I think fairly soon–a church congregation for the residents.
Here are the ministries that the new center offers:
We will be returning again in June to work with the children.