Here is a follow up on my trip to Indonesia with some more
photos. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement…I/we could never
do this without you! And if you don’t already, please follow me on Instagram
(@janaalayra). I’m finding it easier to do those quick photo pohests immediately
at or after events. I try to keep up with Facebook too. My personal page is
full (I can’t take any more friends unless some “unfriend” me), so please go to
my Jana Alayra Music page! Patti is good about keeping me up to date on that.
Oh, and I do have a Youtube page. Look for some major additions and changes in
the coming months!
I’m finding it truly difficult to put into words the
experience I had in Indonesia. In short, I served with people I loved
immediately and who will remain my “family” forever. Thanks to lots of prayer support,
my voice hung in there the whole time and even at a concert the day
after I returned home (Whittier Area—I love you!). Only by the power of prayer!
I was blown away to see what God has done with our music in Indonesia. For
those of you who know my testimony (if you don’t, its available on my Youtube
channel, thanks to Newsongchurch), I felt like I was seeing Lynnie’s legacy
before my eyes. Every place where I got to speak or sing, there was so much
joy and volume…clearly the Lord has turned my sorrow and mourning into a LOT of
joy and dancing, all to His glory.
I will be returning to Indonesia and Singapore in August (with
RON this time!) to do some of the same kinds of things—share about leading kids
in praise and worship, and put on concerts. In August I’ll also have the
thrill of sharing my testimony for a group of women.
The trip in March/April really came about when my dear
friend and Chandy’s godmother, Rehana Rodriguez mentioned at church one day
that she and her husband Tyson were planning a trip there (she is Indonesian
and has millions of friends there and ministry connections), and she felt like
she was supposed to ask me to come. Ron and I already have a trip planned to
Indo and Singapore in August, and I knew he wouldn’t be able to come on this
trip for several reasons, but for some reason I looked at my calendar and said,
“…I would love to.” This is my year to say yes, and my heart just knew it was
going to happen.
I’m convinced that when the Lord nudges us, especially when
it means getting out of our comfort zones, its very good to say “yes.” It’s outside
those comfort zones that we are blessed with big gulps of His goodness and
faithfulness. In the process there may be trepidation, hard work, and discomfort.
But truly it’s in these places of vulnerability and trust that we see God more
clearly and experience His goodness richly.
It would take me several volumes to sum up the trip in
words, but here are some photos and captions to give you a taste.
My greeting team in Jakarta! Counterclockwise from upper
left: From Christ Cathedral Powerkids (childrens ministry)-- Tasha (my
assistant all week!), Mercia (Powerkids pastor), Rival (Powerkids director),
Me, Ari Wibowo (more on her later), Rehana Rodriguez, and Debby Tahir
(children’s director at CC’s mother church in Jakarta; organizer for my Christ
Cathedral events). I’ve known Ari and Rehana a while, but upon first glance of
these new CC people, I adored them.
First meal…among ALLL delicious ones! Classic Indo food
with Ari, Trie, Rehana and Tyson. Yum. I ate WELLLLL in Indonesia! Ari has
SUCH a heart for Jesus, for children, and for teaching them to love and worship
Him. You will see her in a lot of these photos. Get this: her niece is named
“Alayra.” They call her “Ayra” for short. I got to see her on a Facetime while
we were eating together one night.
Here is the little Airbnb studio that was home, and my view
of Karawaci/Jakarta. Woops, I guess I hadn’t straightened my bed, sorry!
My fist encounters with kids in Indonesia and I was in love—Kayla
and Jamie (Ika’s beautiful children) dropped by to help me deliver some CDs to
the school and asked me to sign their little prayer books. They were on the
worship team at their school (SPH Karawaci) and Ika helped me in hundreds of
ways! Sweet Selene is the daughter of a friend of Rehana’s, and also a student
at SPH. Look at her darling face!
First Rehearsal with the children from Christ Cathedral
Powerkids. They had worked SO hard and had all the motions down!
Planning dinner with Powerkids team, and snakefruit! Weird
Teacher’s workshop on Saturday. They were originally thinking
that 200 people would come…1400 came from all over Indonesia! They are so hungry
for resources there! The church is growing rapidly in Indonesia. I was so
honored to share with them!I had a great
Then came more amazing food and fellowship. It’s an honor to
be the one to remove the palm leaf covering the rice on this classic Indonesian
party platter (below).
Powerkids ministry leaders Irwan and Mercia are two people I
immediately loved. Their hearts for Jesus are so precious! Irwan is a runner
too…in Indonesia heat and humidity? That’s true grit.
The Up & Up
kids who helped me lead the motions were so sweet! I wanted to hang out with
them all day, but time flew.
“Kids Party Up & Up” followed at 4:00 the same day. The
amazing team of volunteers (Everyone volunteers at that church, even the
pastors!) put together such a fun time, and with no admission fee. The 3500
seat auditorium place was packed out to overflowing with beautiful kids and
adults from all over. My concert was the last of many fun things for the kids—followed
by prayer, confetti and lots of amazing photos.
Can you find me in here? They
had the team turn around and take a photo with the crowd behind us.
What an amazing day! It ended with
a beautiful dinner at the pastor’s house, and all of us going to bed bushed in
the best way. Tired out from serving the Lord with all our hearts, minds and
bodies for His kids!
Sunday morning I ran all around
the different children’s rooms in Christ Cathedral greeting kids and families
and leading some songs of worship and praise. I would just grab either Rival
or Tasha’s hand and they would lead me to the next place. My heart was so full,
I couldn’t sing or hug enough. Leading in the PowerKids room was something I
had been looking forward to for a long time. They have SO much joy, including
Heni and Nyoman are incredibly
athletic, energetic worship leaders!
We all celebrated after church by going out for classic
Padang food. They put dozens of little dishes of tasty food all over the
table. My friends kept worrying that some of the food would be too spicy for
me. Nothing was too spicy—guess it all that salsa we eat in Cali, but it was
By the way, the guy with his arm up behind us (below) is
helping with parking. All over the streets there are people like him who jump
out in the middle of crazy traffic to make way for people to make turns, etc.,
and find you a parking place, all with their own whistles. They practically
risk their lives doing this (they would in the USA), but people all yield. Of
course the tips they live on are well deserved!
Traffic in Jakarta is wild and often brutal. The streets
are packed with motorcycles, cabbie vans (the green one), and all sorts of cars
that sort of flow along in a constantly shifting mass. There are no lanes,
really—you make one, find one, motorcycles go up on curbs to create them. It’s
wild and wonderful…but all pretty peaceful. So different than in California
where there is so much road rage. No one seems aggressive on these roads.
People just gently honk to let someone know they are coming up or about to hit
you if you don’t move. But no rage. Its really pretty amazing. And they drive
on the left side of the road, right side of the car.
Monday was a rest and visiting day, then Tuesday, Wednesday
and Thursday I had the complete thrill of singing for children at 3 Christian
schools. The organizer for all of this (and actually wound up being my voice/organizer
for all of these events) is Ai May Ong. Ai May and I met when I
was working in my office one rare Saturday 5 years ago and I responded to an
email from her. That was the beginning. Ever since then, Ai May has been
asking for me to come sing at these Christian schools where her children have
gone. It turns out that my friend Rehana TAUGHT there years ago, even taught a
few of my songs to her students before she met me! I know, crazy God
connections. So, I thank God for Ai May, who wound up organizing the events
that followed and becoming such a dear friend and respected sister in Christ. I
could never thank her enough!
The first school I got to sing for was SDH Daan Mogot.
These kids didn’t speak a lot of English, but they sure knew my songs! They
were so loud I could barely hear myself!!
Worship team who did motions with me:
There were lots of selfies and photos taken (by the way,
humidity is NOT my hair’s friend)
And I had the thrill of signing a huge pile of pieces of
paper and Bibles and such kids had left for me, while having lunch with the two
school moms who accompanied me (Ika and Lisa), the junior school principal and principal
(Ibu Connie and Ibu Lucy). I know I keep saying this, but I LOVED allll of
these kids and teachers, staff and moms soooo much!
On Wednesday there was dear Ari Wibowo’s school called Kiara
Karitas Montessori school. Rehana, Tyson, and the gang all came. What a
precious school! Such love!!!! Here I am with Janti and Ari, the school
directors, in front of a huge banner they made for the day! How I love this
verse, and boy do they live this out.
With Kaija (from Australia), Ari, me, Janti, Rehana and Ai
Such a joyful group of kids, teachers and staff. Its truly
like a family.
Ari blows me away—she shines in the crowd in every photo I
have of her (see her in the pink?). She also invited her sweet student named
Audrey on the stage with me. Audrey is autistic, and was such a blessing to
all. She later made this giant painting for me! What an artist! And these
two little girls in the lobby…too sweet. I posted them singing for me on
Thanks to some very dedicated tech staff, we managed to get
my head set working (a trick without Ron and with different electrical sockets
there)—after frying several converters, blowing the fuses and shorting out the
lights! We had so much fun praising the Lord together, I think we may have
blown a speaker or two! I hope not.
The final school was SPH (Sekolah Pelita Harapan; which
means School of Light and Hope) in Karawaci. This was the one that actually
drove the whole trip. Ai May’s children used to go here, and she recruits
teachers in the US for this is the amazing Christian school. Entering the
campus made my jaw drop. It is gorgeous! If you know anyone with a teacher’s
credential looking for a change of scenery, maybe they should consider applying
at this one, or any of the schools in this system. Just amazing people, and
the Lord is at the center.
Backstage with the kids who helped me with the motions at
Pak Abel and Ibu Hana trying to figure out how to get my
headset to work. They got it—
And then…there was THIS!
What’s captured here by my camera from the stage at this
moment is something more than just adorable kids having fun praising the Lord.
It’s also one of the most profound moments I have had personally in a couple of
decades. This last song of the chapel (and by the way, the faculty requested
the kids’ favorite songs, and this just happened to put them in this order) was
“Rain or Pour.” It’s the song the Lord downloaded into my brain a few months
after my daughter Lynnie passed away. It was as if the Lord was saying, “See,
Jana? I told you that you could trust Me. I promised I would turn mourning to
dancing and sorrow to joy.” This moment to me was an exclamation point on that
message to me, which I had been seeing come to fruition all these years since,
but in a profoundly unexpected way all week in Indonesia. He has turned my sorrow
and mourning into LOTS of dancing and joy! Just look at these kids!!!! I was a
little overwhelmed, to say the least. I don’t deserve such goodness.
I greeted as many kids as I could (not enough), hugged as
many of the staff and parents as I had time to (not enough) before being led by
Ai May to a beautiful time of food and fellowship in the office of Ibu Aileen, who is the president of this system of schools. She is one powerful
lady with influence around the world. It was an honor, and especially
wonderful to hear her share one of her deepest joys. It is the furthest arm of
these schools, way out in Papua (shares a border with Papa New Guinea) where
they are establishing medical clinics and schools. It tribal, to say the
least. Kids show up naked and dirty, and their staff is not only teaching
reading and writing and the love of Jesus; they are instructing them in all
kinds of life-saving ways. In the photo below, Aileen is showing us a video of
a little boy who was left in a net with a noose around his neck to die—due to a
superstition that he was cursed for some insignificant thing that occurred
during his gestation. A missionary nurse snuck out and saved him, and in the
video he is singing a song he made up about Jesus saving his life and giving
him life—it was now his 5th birthday. Wahhh!You can see,
we are all moved to tears. Ibu Aileen is heroic, as are all the teachers and missionaries
who say “yes” in self-sacrificing ways. How the Lord must smile at hearts
that are wholly His!
Afterwards, there was more great food with the SPH moms and women
who worked to make these events happen. Ai May, The SPH moms, and Debby Tahir
who finally got to meet Ai May (they had been planning by email and whatsapp
for months). Such sisterhood!
I was so filled up, I can barely put it into words. There
are many more words to share…but it would take forever. Watching Rehana in her
world, speaking the language, ministering to people and seeing her old friends,
was so inspiring. Seeing her hubby Tyson support her was so sweet, and he just
makes everything fun! Seeing the faith and hard work of all these people was
inspiring and challenging to me. Indonesians all get up before dawn, their
school days are long, and they all work hard. They are a sweet, friendly,
gentle and respectful people. From the food servers to the security guards
everywhere, to the guys would worked the front desk at my apartment…they are a
dear people. And when you add to that the indescribable bond in Christ we
have…come on! Such joy. There were many more blessings, and I’m sure there
will be more when we return in August. I can’t wait to have Ron meet these
people and see how the Lord has used all his hard work to bless so many.
Goodbyes are hard. There were tears when we left for the
airport in the middle of the night and all these dear friends came to see us
off. I left a huge chunk of my heart over there in Indonesia with my new
brothers and sisters. I’m fired up to finish the CD we’ve been working on
forever, and somehow we’ll get another DVD done because at the very least,
these folks are waiting for it. I know many of you are, too. So, please pray
for us! For now, sampai jumpa (until later), friends, and Tuhan memberkati
(God bless you!).