Experiencing a little slice of heaven

John and I have taught at the Bibel Frau for four years and each time we feel as though we are experiencing a little slice of heaven and unconditional love. Two students are assigned to look after us. As well as clean our house, they cook and bring over a variety of delicious healthy meals enhanced with Indonesian spices, and of course the ubiquitous bowl of rice. Our accommodation is a whole house with two western toilets, two bedrooms and two showers. It now has a fridge and washing machine which are an added luxury for us. Hardly a moment goes by when we don’t hear the sound of angels. The girls are either practising for choirs, or singing as they tend their gardens. The 40-60 first year girls we teach  are aged between 18 and 22. They know their parents have made a big sacrifice to send them to the Bibel Frau and they put their heart and soul into their learning. Despite having to get up at 4.30am to clean, cook and do fitness, they are bright, cheerful and generally full of life and energy.

We teach for three hours in the morning and one and a half in the late afternoon with a three hour break during the hotter part of the day. The Principal Roslinda and her office staff are very organised and accommodating. Each classroom is set up with a data projector and internet which are very handy tools for some of the lessons. The weather at the Bibel Frau, being in the mountains is very pleasant and mosquitos are not a problem. It is situated in the village of Laguboti, where a large number of the  15,000 people living there, are Batak, equivalent to our Lutheran Church of Australia. We feel quite safe walking by ourselves to one of the nearby supermarkets, or further afield just to take in the sights and sounds of the children on their way to school, the mothers hanging the washing on the fence, or the business people in their shops. We are always greeted with a friendly ‘salamat pagi’.

Lake Toba, a couple hours away by car, is becoming a popular tourist destination, and each year we have spent a weekend there, usually with some of the staff.

We were thrilled this year to be able to take Mandy, another teacher, with us to the Bibel Frau. At last someone else could relate to, and experience the fun, love and blessings we received during our four years there; and of course a third teacher made our load lighter. Mandy writes: ‘When Mal and John asked me to go to Sumatra to teach English with them, I had two questions – were there western style toilets and was there WIFI? Answer to both – yes! So without further investigation I was in!

The whole experience for me was fantastic – the setting in the mountains, the staff and pupils at the school,the classroom facilities,  the gardens , the town and the food were all amazing. We worked really hard (I had  classes of 20 students by myself for 4.5 hours per day) but since we were so well looked after it was not a big deal. The students were all polite and of a better level of English than I expected. The time went really quickly and we were taken to the nearby lake at the weekends.

Being the ONLY caucasians in the town, and also in a Christian area in the biggest Muslim country in the world was no issue at all – i always felt safe and respected wherever I went.

All in all it was a very healing and enlightening experience for me.’

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/