Indonesia!

Hey, friends!

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!

Indonesia!

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.

Fun greeting shot.JPG

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.

:Favorite Indo photos:First lunch w Wibowos.JPG

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 room & view.JPG

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!

:Favorite Indo photos:Ika & girls 3/30.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Selene and me 3/30.JPG

First Rehearsal with the children from Christ Cathedral Powerkids.  They had worked SO hard and had all the motions down!

:Favorite Indo photos:First rehearsal w kids at CCC.JPG

Planning dinner with Powerkids team, and snakefruit!  Weird but YUM!

:Favorite Indo photos:planning dinner 3/31 CCC.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Evan & Jana planning.JPG

:Favorite Indo photos:Snake friut.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Peeled Snake fruit.JPG

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!:Favorite Indo photos:Teacher training crowd.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:At training w James (interp).JPGI had a great intepreter, James.:Favorite Indo photos:Teacher training w helpers.JPG

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.

:Favorite Indo photos:Classic Indo spread.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Irwan and Mercia 4/1.JPG

:Favorite Indo photos:Kids Up & Up praise team.JPG 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.

:Favorite Indo photos:Pe-concert hug.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Preconcert photo.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:W/ Up&Up Trolls!.JPG

:Favorite Indo photos:Kids worship team Up&Up.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Adorable little girl close up.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Wide shot from Balcony.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Kids on stage (Selene!) Up&Up.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:kids close up on stage.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Cross behind me on stage.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:B&W Huge crowd shot.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Cute boy on stage pointing.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Sea of "O".JPG:Favorite Indo photos:FAVE Prayer on stage.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Confetti.JPG

Can you find me in here?   They had the team turn around and take a photo with the crowd behind us.:Favorite Indo photos:Up&Up crazy stage shot.JPG

 

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 their leaders!:Favorite Indo photos:PowerKids Sunday.JPG

Heni and Nyoman are incredibly athletic, energetic worship leaders!:Favorite Indo photos:W Heni & Nyoman Powerkids worship leaders.JPG

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 yummy!:Favorite Indo photos:Padang with PowerKids.JPG

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!

:Favorite Indo photos:Padang w Powerkids.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Jakarta motorcycles.JPG

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.:Favorite Indo photos:Ai May and me selfie.JPG 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!!

:Favorite Indo photos:SDH Daan Mogot K-2 shot.JPG

Worship team who did motions with me::Favorite Indo photos:SDH DM Worship team.JPG

 

:Favorite Indo photos:Day by Day SDH DM 3-6.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:One of the older grades SDH DM.JPG

There were lots of selfies and photos taken  (by the way, humidity is NOT my hair’s friend):Favorite Indo photos:Daan Mogot "All for Jesus".JPG

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!

:Favorite Indo photos:Lunch at SDH DM.JPG

:Favorite Indo photos:Signing stuff at SDH DM.JPG

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.

:Favorite Indo photos:Janti, me, Ari at KK.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Banner, Janti, me, Ari at KK.JPG

With Kaija (from Australia), Ari, me, Janti, Rehana and Ai May:

:Favorite Indo photos:Girls team at KK.JPG

Such a joyful group of kids, teachers and staff.  Its truly like a family.

:Favorite Indo photos:Pano of Kiara Karitas crowd.JPG

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 Youtube—adorable!

Audrey (autistic).JPGCuties in lobby.JPG

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.KK Sound guy.JPG:Favorite Indo photos:Signing tech t at KK.JPG

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 SPH Karawaci:

 

:Favorite Indo photos:Backstage w Worship team SPH Karawaci.JPG

Pak Abel and Ibu Hana trying to figure out how to get my headset to work.  They got it—:Favorite Indo photos:Tech challenges at SPH Karawaci.JPG

And then…there was THIS!

SPH screen shot1.PNGSPH screen shot 2.PNGSPH Screenshot 3.PNG

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!:Favorite Indo photos:Aileen shows us saved kid at Papua.JPGYou 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!

:Favorite Indo photos:w Aileen Sidati.JPG

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!

:Favorite Indo photos:SPH Moms, Me Debby Tahir.JPG

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!).:Favorite Indo photos:Goodbye selfie.JPG


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