6 Examples of God’s Kindness: Lessons Learned on our Family Trip to Indonesia

family travel Sep 24, 2023
The Weichel Family with a group of high school students.

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

PSALM 96:1-3


Back in 2018, the two of us decided that we wanted to be more intentional in our practice of giving. We sat down together and discussed what specific types of ministries we wanted to support, and narrowed it down fairly quickly to organizations that specialize in supporting and developing Christian education and healthcare for children. Then, our research began.

We had heard of an organization called Kingdom Workers (KW) and gave it a closer look. The little we knew about it tipped us off that it might be just the sort of ministry we wanted to invest in. Their head office is in Wisconsin, and so we set up a time to meet with part of their team so that we could learn more about what they do and the heart and philosophy behind their organization.

We were able to meet with the CEO of KW and also the coordinator of their Indonesia mission. They were personable, professional, and gave us excellent information about several of their ministries. The specific focuses of their Indonesia mission are literacy, healthcare, and water solutions; exactly the kinds of things we wanted to support!  After heading home, we did some additional research, prayed and discussed our options as a couple, and finally decided to commit to financially supporting their ministry. We were especially impressed with their work in Indonesia, and decided that we wanted some of our funds to be put specifically toward that country’s projects. We hoped to visit Indonesia ourselves and help with KW’s mission, and before long were planning a trip.

And then, Covid hit.

Our plans were postponed, then put on hold indefinitely. When the spring of 2022 rolled around, we spoke with the CEO of KW and finally rescheduled our journey for the Fall.

We were in Indonesia for nine days. Most of our time was spent on the eastern islands, but we were also able to do some sight-seeing on our final day in Bali. Unlike many of our previous international travels, we didn’t do physical labor. Instead, we wanted to meet the people and experience the culture that we have helped support for the last several years. We knew this would help us learn how to pray for them and their communities. It was an absolutely amazing adventure, perfectly planned by our loving Father. We were able to see firsthand God’s kindness in six specific ways, and our family was incredibly blessed by witnessing His providence and provision.

Lesson #1: God’s Word unites Christians from all over the world

While we were in Indonesia, we were able to attend a Christian house church service at a small home. It was so incredible to be sitting with other believers on the opposite side of the world, singing familiar Christian hymns (in a different language, but the tunes were the same), hearing God’s Word from the pastor, and participating in Holy Communion as one body of Christ. Truly, it was a taste of heaven!

A young man from their congregation happened to speak English and was able to translate for us as well! We were able to hear all of the Bible readings and the sermon in our own language. We later found out that this was the first time the KW coordinator had ever seen them translate for guests. It was so thoughtful for them to provide this kind service to us so that we would feel more connected and included during the worship service.

When the service was over, we stayed for a little while to fellowship and meet others in the congregation. It was an amazing experience, to see how God unites Christians from vastly different cultures because they are bonded through one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. The simplicity of the worship also underscored this. The house wasn’t fancy and there wasn’t any organ music. There was simply a pastor strumming a guitar and a group of people gathered to worship the King of heaven and earth.

Lesson #2: God always provides

We also visited a Christian high school that educates about 45 students (both male and female). Many of the boys who attend there desire to become pastors and will have an opportunity to go to seminary after they complete their education. The school is in a rural location without a consistently reliable water source. They primarily rely on rainwater to supply their needs and use a water solution system of tanks provided by KW. Rainwater is not always plentiful, and while we were there, their tanks were empty. Yet the people fully trusted that God would provide according to their needs. We were happy to hear that a new spring had been discovered nearby and that there are plans to tap into that water supply soon.

The Weichel Family with a group of high school students.

The school building was extremely different from anything we’ve seen in the United States. Built of concrete walls and a tin roof, the school was fortunate enough to have electricity but did not have any indoor plumbing. The number of books available to them was very limited and they only had a few computers for the students and staff to share. (KW is also helping supply the school with more educational resources.)

The school also houses the students in dorm buildings: one for the boys and one for the girls. Both dorms are very small. The boys all sleep in one room together and the girls sleep in two. The privacy is extremely limited and the furniture is sparse. The school is only able to provide the students with bunk beds. We did see a couple small dressers as well, but these were personally brought to the school by a few of the students.

The bathroom consisted of a few squatty toilets and small bathing area. The kitchen was outside and in the open. They cook their meals over open fires and the food was absolutely incredible! They even made us spaghetti (which also included rice). To contribute to their diet, the students grow their own food on the property as well.

The staff and students at the school seemed very happy that we were there to meet them and see the work that KW has been able to do. They were visibly appreciative and thankful for our time. They presented us all with Selendang – a special scarf that is given to welcome honored guests.

Lesson #3: God is the One who provides the people, skills, and resources to sustain a community

We did a lot of traveling around the eastern islands and were able to spend time in several villages. For years, the residents of one tiny village had to walk half a mile into the forest for their water source. Their government had tried to provide a water solution for them a while ago, but it broke down after a year of use and no one had been trained to know how to fix it.

One of the water tanks for a water solution project that was done.

Through family connections, the community learned of KW and the work they do, and a partnership was able to be formed between the organization and the churches of the village. Solving the water problem was a high priority, and a solution was quickly planned: Supplies were provided, community members were trained, and the entire village came out to build a new water system. Because their own hands made it, the village has complete ownership of it and many people understand the ins and outs of the mechanics so that it can be fixed when it breaks down. This village now has enough water for everyone’s basic daily needs and villagers take turns accessing the water tanks once per week.

Unlike the previous half mile walk, the distance to this water system is much shorter and more easily accessible. The villagers would like to have more water available so that they can water crops and gardens for additional food and income sources, and we were thrilled to learn that a second water source has been located and will help meet this demand. Their plan is to begin working on the source as soon as they have the supplies to do so.

It was such a joy and blessing for our entire family to hear the stories of these people and see their excitement and eagerness about working together to provide something as critical as water for their entire community. Everyone in the village benefits from this project, regardless of age, education, financial resources, skill set, talents, or religious background.

Lesson #4: God is the One who unites communities

Church in a rural community in Indonesia.

After starting a new Christian church in another rural Indonesian village, one of the pastors felt like his life – and potentially the life of his family – was threatened. Members of his community did not originally see the need for a new church and were distrustful of its founding. In these rural areas, it is very unusual for members of these villages to change their religion or even their church throughout the course of their lives. Whatever they were born, they almost always remain.

The pastor and his congregation worked with KW on a local water project and helped bring a new system to their village. When it was completed, the community was much more accepting of the pastor and the church because they understood the gravity of the gift and the kindness shown by the congregation. Since that time, other nearby communities and their leaders have learned of the work that God has done through KW and are now interested in working with them on similar water solution projects in their own communities. It is a stunning picture to see physical water bring people to the knowledge of the Living Water!

The pastor has also started fish ponds at his own home and other houses in the area, with the goal of connecting and building relationships with other villagers. He shares his equipment, knowledge, and skills with anyone who wants them. This has also given him a prime opportunity to share the gospel with many people. The son of one of his neighbors became a Christian and is now in training to be a pastor as well!

Lesson #5: All of the blessings we enjoy come from God’s hand

This may sound like an obvious observation, but this was a truth that was driven home for our family on this trip. There are many things we enjoy as Americans that we don’t even think about, and yet they are not automatic realities for many Indonesians. We can turn on clean water at whatever temperature we want with the turn of a faucet. In Indonesia, water is not always available and even when it is, it is often not clean enough to drink and only available at room temperature (there are limited cooling and heating options).

Our bathrooms are very different as well. Usually, they only have a squat toilet (no sitting!) and they may or may not have water available to wash waste down the sewer. They also don’t use toilet paper, nor is it even available for tourists. If a shower is included in the bathroom, it is very small and only provides a place for you to stand. There is no shower head; you simply use water you’ve collected to dump over your body. If you want to take a bath instead of a shower, you can choose the nearest river or stream (which is also where most of the laundry is washed).

Amy Weichel painting the girl’s nails at the high school

Transportation was more complicated in Indonesia as well. Many of the villagers we met lived in rural areas and cars were scarce. Modern cars in particular are a huge luxury. Motor scooters are much more popular there, though not everyone has access to one. The roads are poorly maintained and there usually aren’t enough helmets to go around. But this doesn’t stop people from piling on these small bikes. It isn’t at all unusual to see four people all riding together on one little scooter!

With three daughters, we do a lot of typical “girl stuff” at our house. When we visited the girls at the high school, we wanted to do something fun for them. Plans were made for us to paint everyone’s fingernails after dinner one night. A few of the girls knew English and it was so much fun to talk with them. They asked Amy a lot of questions about what life was like in America and they loved seeing their hands come alive with different colors! When we finished, we gave them the rest of the nail polish so that they could paint more after we left and they were thrilled to have it. They said there should be enough for them to wear for the Christmas holidays. It was something very ordinary for us, but an extra special experience for them.

Lesson #6: The absolute beauty of God’s creation

Beach on Island of Timor

The landscape of Indonesia is absolutely incredible! We saw towering mountains, beautiful beaches, and even a volcano as we were taking off from an airport on one of the islands. It seems that whenever we got out of the cities and into nature, the views were astounding. We could be gazing out over a beach and the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean, then look behind us and see majestic mountains stretching high above. We got to spend some time as tourists in Timor and Bali, and the beauty of both areas is just gorgeous. The kids enjoyed finding beautiful rocks on the beaches of Timor and we all loved watching the many surfers of Bali.

Looking to the Future

There are many opportunities for service to rural villages in Indonesia, not only with water solution projects, but in other endeavors in the future. It was a great encouragement to us to see how God has used these projects to improve the lives of the residents of the villages, unite families, and point more people to Jesus as their Savior. Many villages have seen the government and other non-profits come in and provide temporary solutions, but without additional supplies or trained workers, these measures eventually failed. This is a big reason why these communities appreciate organizations like KW that are committed to their families and villages for the long-term and want to equip them for success.

Most villagers live in these areas from generation to generation, and the impact that can be made by an organization like KW has the ability to reach far into the future. We want to see KW continue to thrive and bless countries like Indonesia, and so we have committed to do several things for their ministry.

First, we PRAY: For their staff members, local volunteers on the ground, and for the leaders of KW who are coordinating the teams and raising funds for the work to be done. We also pray for the specific pastors of these communities; that they will use their gifts, their members’ gifts, and the support provided by KW to help their congregations grow in faith and evangelize the lost. Additionally, we pray for the leaders of the villages, that they may be able to use their skills and resources to improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare of their people.

Second, we GIVE. Ministries need financial support, and KW is no different. Staff members and local community volunteers often have the desire and skills to work, but lack the monetary resources to complete the most necessary projects. Financial gifts help provide labor and supplies for these important endeavors. Giving is a great way that God blesses us with the opportunity to assist in this vital work that He has planned and is doing in these communities. More resources will mean more projects, and therefore more improvement in the lives of the Indonesian village people.

Third, we VISIT. This won’t be possible for everyone, and we completely understand that. However, if God has blessed you with the ability to visit a place that you financially and prayerfully support, we encourage you to take advantage of a trip like this. This opportunity opened the eyes of our family to better see the blessings that these communities have received through the work God is doing through KW. We also saw just how much farther there is to go, and how there are many more opportunities for new and expanded projects in these areas. Putting faces to the country we have supported for years was incredibly special. We were able to meet village members, community leaders, and pastors that have directly benefited from this ministry. This trip was very personal for us, and has given our family a whole new appreciation for the work that is being done in Indonesia.


6 Examples of God’s Kindness: Conclusion

Visiting Indonesia was unlike any other family trip we’ve taken, and we had the privilege to see the amazing work that God is accomplishing through Kingdom Workers and the ministry of the Gospel. We are so happy that we get to partner with this organization and the exciting projects they’re continually putting into motion. Visiting Indonesia also drove home for us how spiritually and materially blessed we are. First, we know and love Christ as Lord and Savior. And second, we have so many comforts and luxuries here in America. On the flip side, we saw how content and happy these people were with the blessings that they have been given by God, even though it was much less than our own reality. It helped us remember that we do not need all the “stuff” we think we do in order to be happy and content, and that ultimately, the purpose of our lives is to point others to the reality of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Key Points

  • God always provides 
  • The worship of the Living God can unite people from different parts of the world
  • God’s world is full of beauty
  • God blesses us with the opportunity to participate in the work He is doing in other parts of the world by supporting organizations like Kingdom Workers through prayer, financial support, and time
  • We should remember to thank God for all things that we enjoy and strive to not take even small things for granted

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