This week me and the ET were blessed to have the opportunity to spend some quality time to chill and bond together in the island of Belitung. We were there from Aug 7 to 9. When we planned this trip, we (at least I) expected a normal trip, playing at the beach, relaxing, taking awesome pictures, enjoying the amazing nature, getting tan…but I experienced so much more.
We arrived at Belitung airport at 7am, got picked up by a lady driver, Ibu Ria who took us for breakfast, yummy mie ayam at the spot where they have the famous meteorite monument, a huge rock called Satam (which Tina later refer to as ‘the Wolverine’ for sm reason. Since this is a homestay we can basically do anything we want in the house so we decided that we’ll cook most of our own meals. Another reason being the Lebaran holiday and most places will be closed and we live kinda off from the main city area. So we went straight to the fresh market which turned out to be the 1st awesome experience. I’ve been to fresh market before but mybe because this is a different place, I felt different. It brought me back to Papua when we had our culture-exploration trip to the marketplace.
Jnaynay of course blended right in =D
After shopping is done and we had to give our car a little push before continuing the journey…that was the first time I noticed how nice&helpful people here are. A couple of men quickly offered their help.
oh the clouds…
Instead of a boring hotel, we chose to do home stay (and it’s way cheaper too FYI =p). So we stayed in w a family that we got to know quite well (Tina made the point that we got so comfortable w them that it felt like it was our own home…in a good way =D). . Over the 3 days course we got to have little chat w them, hear their stories and they were just really hospitable.
Homestay Kelayang Wisata, home of Pak Muhadir, Ibu Nila and their daughter Mutia
After we got settled in our rooms, the bapak drove us to the Tanjung Kelayang beach, abt 5mnt away and where our boat had been waiting. And the rest of the day we visited like 6 islands, (all of them were beautiful although I think our fave was the Bird Island) Tons of pictures were taken,there were lots of swimming, rock climbing, some scientific experiments on starfish etc… I forgot to ask the boat man’s name but he was just awesome coz he let me dove into the water & swim to one of the island we were gonna land on (my first dive ever dive into sea..I was super excited). He also gave us crackers to feed the fish when we snorkeled. Oh and our lunch on the boat was peanut butter on everything. =D
That was day ONE and if I may quote Eric : “Wow…what a day!”
We got home and started preparing dinner of fish, clams, kangkung, tempe and sambal, and spent the rest of the night chillin in the house and talking to the ibu. She also made us try her Lebaran cookies, ketupat, rendang & opor while we were there.
The next morning we woke up around 4am to get ready to see the sunrise, and the bapak drove us back to Kelayang beach. Even though we never got to see the sun rises because of the cloudy weather, it was so awesome to be able to have quiet time in the Word and prayer at the dock as the morning dawned.
I also got to spend sm time w my mini guitar by the beach before we went back home to make breakfast. Next, we visited the Tanjung Tinggi beach and spent the rest of the day there. More rock climbing…a lot more swimming, and boat rowing. We walked through a small bat cave, a sister got stung by sea urchin (which led to deeper team bonding time hahah), and to finish off the day, we decided to walk further alongside the beach. It turned out to be a great adventure of climbing up and going down in the water, trying to keep our stuff dry (not very successful at that). We probably walked for almost 2 hrs and around 5.30pm we were hoping to find a way back to the main road very soon. Finally we saw behind the last mountain of rocks, rows of fishing boat…and a man! He told us that we’re at Teluk Limau and showed us a path that will lead to the main road. That’s where we got picked up.
And that was day TWO and to quote Eric again: “Wow…what a day!” (Of course I agree with him every time =D).
We got home, cooked and had another awesome dinner…and passed out. We were hoping to get a 2nd chance to catch the sunrise but the next day it was just raining all morning (I think we’re all actually kind of relieved and happy with the extra time to rest).
But the 3rd day I got to spend time exploring outside the house where we stayed. I found out that neighbors here really know eachother. When we visit the warungs, people were always friendly, and talking to us and even in such a short time they would open up about their life there. I spent 5mnt buying band aid and vinegar the night before at a warung w Resha and the ibu was already asking me stuff and telling me about her daughter who is in college in Tangerang. Maybe it’s because we’re not from there and they really like to welcome visitors but they just seem sincere, it’s awesome.
As we were waiting for our ride to the airport I went across the road, wanting to find out if there’s a path that leads to the beach. And there was. Not only that, I got to meet the neighbors coz when I walked by they just came out and started talking to me. Again, maybe they are trying to welcome visitors, but it was really nice. It’s like the whole family came out to greet me and asked me about my holiday and if I needed help with anything, in their Belitung dialect that sounds a lot like Padang’s. Just right there, there’s a family from Palembang, (with the little girl in the picture) and another from Java. They know the family we’re staying with. These people also grew all sorts of spices and herbs and plants in their yard. One man came out w plastic bag and picked some guavas from his tree for me and he showed me the durian, mangosteen and some other fruit trees around there.
I felt so blessed by this trip, which again reminded me about the need for God’s missions for the church. I’m thankful to be refreshed about this after missions trip to Papua few weeks ago (post on this coming up). Yea, maybe I didn’t get to share the Gospel with any people I met in Belitung, but it was great to get to know them, learn about their background, where they came from, what they do for a living, etc. It was very eye opening.
And the big yay God, finally during the flight home, God opened an opportunity to share the Gospel to the guy sitting next to me. To be honest I really didn’t want to. I tried to ignore my conviction…almost blew that chance. But God really helped and gave me courage. The guy turned out to be a Tangerang resident who likes to hangout around Lippo Karawaci and knows few people from UPH including this girl whom I just found out today many of HMCC members used to know. We talked all the way till we landed but he didn’t accept and was still fixed on his believe in ‘good works’. But I got his name card and he said I can invite him to single adults hangout because he wants to get better in his English…praise the Lord.
In the end, some lessons from this trip:
1. I discovered the best way to travel & spend holiday. I’ve always liked traveling by myself, but now I discovered that even when I do, it’s more awesome to meet new people, making connections, hearing people’s stories. I was reminded of God’s love for all peoples, tribes and languages. How He made them and loves them too.
2. God calls His church to work alongside one another . Like pastor Andrew said this morning at prayer, in Luke 5, when Jesus cast the vision to the fishermen about how they would become fishers of ‘men’, he didn’t send Simon alone, because it is not a one man’s work. Jesus is so passionate & committed about building and using His church and no man works or serves alone. Few yrs ago during my trip to the Philippines, I also ventured along the beach from the place I was staying, going further and wanting to find a different way back. It was awesome in the beginning, and I saw a lot of great nature and things. But after a couple hours I couldn’t find any path back to the road and the beach got quieter, tides were rising up and to be honest I got pretty scared hahah (but of course, the story ended well). But this time when I was in similar situation and it got late and we couldn’t find our way out yet, I still felt safe and secure because I had 6 other people with me. At certain times God is still working on my pride and lone-ranger mentality and it’s still humbling to learn how much I need others.
3. Reminded of the principle from Papua SMP few weeks ago concerning sharing of the Gospel : anytime, anyone, anywhere. I don’t think it’s ever gonna be easy for me to start sharing it to someone. Learning to have faith and obey is still the hardest. But without a doubt…when we obey,as Jesus said in Luke 11, we are blessed.
All in all…I’m very grateful for this full experience, maybe I’ll have the opportunity to go back meet those people again. After all, it is a lot faster to fly to Belitung than driving to Ancol on a busy day =D