February 11, 2011


Today, I met Nona.

For several years now, our church has supported a Baptist school and children's home in Bantam, Indonesia. A group of women will go once a month to spend time with the children and to work on their English skills. This has been a trip I have been trying to go on since moving here and today, I finally got to go.

There were only 6 of us that went today. We got on the 45 minute ferry ride to Indonesia and I was nervously anticipating what I was going to find when I got there.

We made a quick pit stop at the school to admire some new windows that had been installed. Apparently a lot of work has been going on there and the kids now have a roof in their classrooms that doesn't sag along with ceiling fans and fresh paint.

They were all very busy cleaning up outside from all the construction work that had taken place.

As soon as our van drove up many of the kids greeted the women by name and were happy to see us there.

We left the school and headed to the home nearby where 33 children currently live. It is only run by a pastor and his wife, whome the children call Ibu. Some of the kids are orphaned, some abandoned, and some still have limited contact with their parents but because of work or money their parents can not provide for them.

We walked through the gate and we were immediately greeted by the pastor and his wife who hugged and kissed each of us. I was the only new girl so they were seeing familiar faces that they have grown to love.

Many of the children filtered in and out during the day as some would come home from school and others would go. We were testing the extent of their English skills today so there was a lot of one on one time with each child.

We were there about an hour when this little girl with curly hair plopped herself beside me on the floor where I was playing a game with another child. I have no idea how old she is......they know she was born April 6, but I'm not sure they even know which year. I would guess her to be about 5.

She has curly hair and gorgeous brown eyes. I pointed at her hair and then mine and told her we were the same. That seemed to seal the deal with her because before I knew it, she had me by the hand and we were settled in on a couch with a dry erase board and two markers to do some serious drawing.

She sat right next to me for the next hour looking through books and drawing pictures of houses and flowers and people with smiley faces. I was so happy to see the smiley faces.

She drug me by the hand into the kitchen to see some of the boys eating lunch before they headed off to school.

It was amazing how small the kitchen was for so many people. The pots and pans are all outside and there's no running water anywhere in the house. I loved opening the door to the outside wall and seeing all the pans hanging on the brick so I took a couple of pictures. Ibu walked into her kitchen and was gesturing to me that she was embarrassed by me being in there. I told her I thought it was really beautiful several times and she started to cry. So I hugged her because in that moment we were just two women living here on this earth, loving children God has given us and wanting to know that sometimes, another woman thinks our kitchen is beautiful.

It was fascinating to watch how incredibly well organized and behaved the children were. There was a system for everything. No yelling, no fighting....they each knew their jobs and they did them. This is honestly one chore list I would NOT want to keep up with!

When it was time for lunch, all the children sat in two rows while Ibu served plates and the older girls distributed them to the children.

After lunch, each child cleaned up after themselves and went right back to playing.
There was some arm wrestling....

and reading....

and very cute puppies that were just begging to be played with.

By this point, the kids were getting used to me and I heard a lot of "Miss, Miss", calling me to take their pictures. I was more than happy to oblige!

I looked right into the eyes of this teen girl and told her she was beautiful. About 10 times. She and I don't speak the same language, but she knew what I was saying to her.

Throughout the afternoon, my little friend was never far away. Several times I would feel her hugging my legs and I would look down to see her sweet face.

This was after Nona had finished her chores. One of the other ladies quickly came and got me to tell me that Nona was outside. I snuck out there to take her picture. She was on her tippy toes putting the dishes away all by herself. I was rewarded with a big 'ol grin when she caught me out there spying on her.

Then it was cupcake time. I am a firm believer in quality cupcake time and these women pulled out all the stops. Icing and sprinkles galore and the kids loved it!

It was almost time for us to go. Karen has been with these kids for a couple of years and had brought her iPad with pictures on it from one of the first times she was there. The children loved looking at themselves and friends that no longer live there. They were glued to her side.....how precious for her to be surrounded by young lives that she has poured so much love and energy into.

Judith pulled out her guitar for a quick song session and was an instant hit with the boys. One of them asked if he could play. She gave him her guitar and he started to play. Then he started to sing. That was it for me. I didn't understand a word and I didn't need to. It was amazing.

The women I was with, along with others who could not be there today, have worked tirelessly to establish relationships with many of the children. What a precious gift to hug those kids good-bye and be able to look them in the eye and tell them that you will come back. And you do.

Because there is going to be a certain little someone that I am going to be very, very excited to see again.


  1. Oh my word, Keri. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. I don't even know what to say. This is my Cambodia. So beautiful, so precious, so wonderful. THRILLED that you got to go, THRILLED that you get to go back. THRILLED that our hearts beat in tandem. SO THANKFUL that you're helping us realize THIS EXACT DREAM.

    I love you and I'm crying full-on now and I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET YOU!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful day with beautiful people. I am glad you have made a new friend. I am sure there is a reason that God put you in each others paths. Be safe!

  3. Beautiful, Keri, just beautiful:)

  4. What a wonderful opportunity to minister to those kids!!! Precious little girls and boys. Are they up for adoption or just waiting in transition until their parents can care for them? There is no way I would be able to go there over and over again without wanting to take one (or more) home with me. Love the heart pic at the end!!!!
    Love you friend!

  5. Keri, this is amazing! Is it through IBC? I wold love to hear more about this ministry and how to get involved. So very touching.

  6. Each time I read your blog, I am truly amazed by what you see and get to experience! Thanks for letting us take the journey with you. Seeing the faces of these kiddos and learning about their lives is very humbling for sure! Nona is precious! :)

  7. I think you have met your daughter!



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