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Summary of the Remaining Time in Batam

Once I left immediately after church with Henok and Kamty for Jogjakarta (Yogyakarta), the time has gone quickly, and this is the first opportunity I have had for a posting on the blog.  I’ll upload some photos to the Gallery, but those are only if you are interested in scrolling through them for a more complete visual image of what I have been doing and seeing. Wednesday, March 2, was spent attending a meeting with the Principal and other key administrators for the four Anglican schools that are now in Batam.  Until recently, there were only two, but supervision of two Christian schools that were previously in the Assemblies of God Church was transferred to the Anglican Church of Indonesia.  Henok is the main supervisor for all four schools.  We met in the main office of one of the new schools.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss getting the required text books for all the students.  Mrs. Serene Kong, head of St. Andrew’s School, was there to provide her insight. Here is Henok:   Outside the school: All the schools are Christian-based, but they are open to receiving Muslim children.  Sometimes the Muslim parents want their children to be taught the Koran and other aspects of Islam, but the overall feeling is that since they are intentionally Christian schools, they should remain that way and not be mixed. Thursday, March 3rd The Rev. Timothy Chong, Dean of Indonesia, took the Fastboat over from Singapore in the morning to meet with Henok and me.  We sat in the hotel dining room for a couple of hours reviewing all that is going on in the Deanery.  Tim had officially started his sabbatical, but here he was working.  It was good to see him, and we then made a return trip (for me) to the new campus of St. Andrew’s School so that he could see the progress of the construction. Some thoughts on the schools What has impressed me with these visits is the depth and commitment of the missionaries from Singapore–and the Indonesians, too, of course–who make significant personal sacrifices to minister in areas that are extremely challenging.  There has been no real hostility towards the work, which...

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A Quick Visit to the New Campus for St. Andrew’s School in Batam

One of the important ministries of the Anglican Church in Batam is the running of several schools on the island.  The largest one, St. Andrew’s, is hoping to move into their new building/campus later this year.  Mrs. Serene Kong is the Principal of the school, and it continues to grow. Here is the building under construction: As I have mentioned in a previous blog, 90% or so of a local community has to give approval prior to building a house of worship.  For building a Muslim mosque, there is no problem.  However, for Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus, it is another matter altogether. The new school building, though, is coming with a chapel that the Church of the Good Shepherd will be using for their Sunday morning worship services.  Here is where the chapel will be: Access the building was up this ramp.  I was feeling my age when I walked up it: The construction workers were all brought in from Java, so they build their own temporary housing out of plywood:   The building is four stories high–and it will provide ample space for all the students, teachers, and administration.  The building was originally going to be three stories high, but the contractor recommended a fourth floor for expansion. I have noticed that many of the schools in Batam do not have much area for recreation, other than a playground for the younger children.  The current location for St. Andrew’s School is actually in a “sub house”, and their recreation area is entirely inside.  I think (and this is just conjecture) that with land as scarce and expensive as it is, there is just enough room for the building(s) and not much else....

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A Visit to Church of the Good Shepherd’s Children’s Ministry and New Community Center

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.  ...

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Ferry Trip to the island of Tanjung Balai Karimun

On Tuesday, Henok wanted to take me to Tanjung Balai Karimun, an island that is (best guesstimate) about 30 miles east of Batam.  The boat we took there was fast and sleek with interior seating that was air conditioned and top deck seating under a canvas roof that was in the open air–and provided a great view.   Our route took us by the Straits of Malacca, which historically was one of the most heavily contested trade routes in the world.  It was also the site of the last surface naval battle of World War II when British ships sank a Japanese cruiser.  It took just about 90 minutes to arrive at our destination. I spent a lot of time at the top of a short flight of stairs that accessed the back deck (would have been the poop deck on an old sailing ship) that gave me an unencumbered 360 degree view, overlooking the roof of the top deck.  Just my head and chest were exposed, so it was actually a secure place to be at the few times the water got a little rough.  I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo of what I am trying to describe–just know, I guess, that it was very satisfactory.  What did strike me was the complete absence of any sea birds.  I talked about this with Henok later, and he suggested that they were probably eaten by the Indonesians. On a second trip (to be described later) to another island, I did see six birds that had the shape and look of gannets–and were probably the Australasian variety. I have posted photos on the Gallery section of the Media page.     Most of them are self-explanatory, but the purpose of the trip was to see the Anglican work that is taking place on the island of Karimun.  For the past five years, a lay pastor from Singapore, Karen Choo, has been heading up a Chinese congregation of about 80 that meets on the ground floor of a store-front church.  There is a second, youth congregation that worships in Bahasa Indonesian. Karimun has a large Chinese population, and worship is in Hokkien.  I believe Zhuzhou is also spoken, but I didn’t quite...

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A Gastronomic Day in Batam

My goal is to keep the posts in chronological order–but since I had a particularly food-oriented day here in Batam, I thought it was worth posting the report on the same day.   I am glad that I had a light breakfast this morning a the hotel! The day began with a visit from the Rev. Timothy Chong, who is the Dean of Indonesia.  He is the one who arranged for my stay here in Indonesia for the month.  He came over on the Fast Boat from Singapore and we had a long meeting over coffee in the hotel dining room prior to going to lunch.  Tim chose a restaurant that specializes in “Nasi Padang.”   “Nasi”  is just the Bahasa Indonesian word for “rice,” but it can refer to “food”  or a “meal”  since rice is an integral and constant component.  “Padang”  comes from the city on the island of Sumatra, which coincidentally received some damage in a 7.8 earthquake that was off the coast last night.  We did not feel anything here. The Padang style of serving food is to put many small plates of a variety of foods on the table.  You then eat what you want–and you are charged for what you eat.  The rest of the food is then left over for new customers.  The food is varied:  it can include beef heart, various fish, different types of chicken, fish roe, regular beef, etc.–but the food is prepared in different ways with different spices–many of which are hot and spicy.  Rice, of course, is served along with the meal.  Here is a photo of Tim Chong: For some reason, this particular item was never eaten:   In the evening, Mrs. Serene Kong, who is the head of St. Andrew’s School here in Batam, along with one of her teachers, Doreen, took us to dinner at “The Duck King”  restaurant.  This restaurant is part of a chain, and it specializes in Hong Kong/Cantonese food, with duck as the main offering.  Accompanying Henok and me were two visitors from Singapore who are working to start an Anglican school in Nepal. Serene had us start the meal with dim sum–some were dumplings with shrimp or bits of...

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Sunday Morning at All Saints’, Jakarta

The end of the rainy season in Jakarta seems to be going out with a flourish–or a bang, if you include the thunderstorms.  There was flooding in low-lying areas–areas that attract squatters and the poor, but in the section of the city I was in, there was no problem–other than a lot of rain.  The rain continued on Sunday morning, but the church is right next door to the Vicarage, and there is a sheltered, short walkway to the Sacristy/Vestry door.  I was concerned about carrying my vestments in the rain, but there was nothing to be concerned about in the end. The first service of the morning was Holy Communion at 7:30 am.  I had learned from Ian that he preaches a full sermon at that service.  Some churches have a habit of abbreviating the sermon then, because the service seems to cater to those who want to get in, have their communion, and then get out.  That happily is not the case at All Saints’.  The 7:30 congregation is a little older, but it is lively, and they do want the full service.  Ian was the Celebrant, and we followed the Indonesian Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer, which came out in 2012, I believe.  The Prayer Book has English on one side and Bahasa Indonesian on the other. Ian had asked me to continue their preaching series on Romans.  They were up to Romans 3, which gave a wonderful opportunity for Trinity’s evangelism professor to preach an evangelistic message–complete with a prayer of commitment at the end.  As the preacher, I cannot say whether the sermon went well or not–but no one threw rotten fruit and vegetables at me or stormed angrily out of the church.  They seemed attentive to the message during the actual sermon. The 9:00 am service was Morning Prayer.  Ian had to dash out to cover the Anglican Church in South Jakarta, so Morning Prayer was capably led by a lay person.  The music for this service was a little more contemporary, and the congregation was responsive. The real challenge was going to be the 11:15.  This was a bilingual Holy Communion service.  All but one of the songs, as I remember...

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