Sabang Smiles

18 07 2010

Back in Sabang after 1 year of being away.

I am sitting here at Freddy’s, on the Island of Sabang, north of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. You might remember Banda Aceh from the devastating tsunami of Christmas 2004. We are here to minister/love on/give rest to the workers of this place. How amazing they are. Selfless. Dedicated. Humble. Servants.

Tonight we are showing Toy Story to them all, and cooking a little popcorn for their enjoyment. One problem though, the speakers that we brought to amplify the audio did not work. So, starting yesterday we began the frantic search for plan B. In the corner, we noticed 2 small speakers that we might be able to use. As we were looking at them, we realized that we’d need a 1/8 inch mini stereo, to RCA L/R. Herein lies the problem. How do you communicate your needs to the locals here? Is there a RadioShack here? Not so much.

So this afternoon, our plan was to head to the local electronic store, but we were running into a little problem. No one wanted to give us a ride there. Hmmm. One of the employees at Freddy’s said he might have that cable. I had zero confidence because his English was rough, and I am not sure I described it right.

After 30 minutes of searching, I was proven wrong. He found the cable! So, I took a motorbike to ride from Freddy’s to the Retreat Center, Ujang Karang. Great ride! While there, I got to speaking with Toddy, the host at the Retreat Center. We are building rapport, and I am so happy for that. He’s such a nice guy. But through our discussion, he revealed to me that his sister was killed in the tsunami. So sad for him. He had tears in his eyes as he talked about it. I tried as best I could to tell him how sorry I was for his loss. I prayed a quick prayer for God to speak to him on my behalf, and I believe He did. Thank you God! Toddy’s sister was 5 years older than him, 23 when she died.

As I was walking back, a 15 minute walk on this beautiful island, a thought occured to me. People like Toddy are all over the place here. Everyone lost someone in the tsunami. We can’t imagine that kind of loss, and the people here are moving on but are still very broken. It’s those people that we are committed too. Those are the ones in need of our touch, our solidarity, our God.

Since communicating with the locals is quite hard to do, I am learning the benefit of a smile.  In fact, we are assumed to believe a certain way, simply because of the color of our skin.  When we can’t communicate, show love.  Smile.  Let them know about the LOVE that we have in our hearts, and when communication falls short…smile.

Sometimes, we just need to slow down;  a smile and a hug can be a huge thing for someone. Toddy got one from me today. I pray it ministers to him.

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