2019 is my first year in Indonesia. I used to live in Europe or the United States. 2019 is the first year in Asia. I always wanted to work in Asia as a missionary. But I had to wait for a long time to get permission from the Superior General of the Society of Divine Word.
2019 is a year full of new Indonesian friendsa. A year full of special experiences. From Java I flew to Flores and began to live in Ledalero at the Major Seminary.
During this year I also became a student. Slowly I learned word by word, sentence by sentence in the new language. The process was interesting but sometimes also boring. There were days when I was excited and there were days when I felt tired.
Moreover, I had to learn the Indonesian weather and cuisine. I experienced the rainy season and the dry season. Sometimes I got sick and went to the doctor. Last March I had a problem with my stomach because of the different food. Then while I swam in the Flores Sea I stood on sea urchins. Therefore, for almost a month I could not walk.
Also in 2019 I toured the islands of Flores and Timor. I visited many cities such as Maumere, Bajawa, Larantuku, Labuan Bajo, Ende and Kupang, Atambua, Dili. Every six months I had to leave Indonesia to apply for a new visa. It is still the very difficult process for all missionaries in Indonesia.
I am very happy because I can live with Indonesians. There are definitely many things I'm still learning. But Indonesian people are friendly and kind in my opinion. So even though living in another country can be difficult for foreigners, I am grateful for the last year.
I also had an amazing experiences at the Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta. For three months I learned Indonesian there with friends from all over the world - from East Timor, China, Japan, Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon and Brazil. In the city I visited several places and caves of the Blessed Mary around Jogja.
There was time to travel to Surabaya, Jakarta, Malang, Batu, Batam and Singapore. In all those places I met good people. They invited me to their houses and we often ate together. I got gifts and blessings from God, the Society of Divine Word and also from people in Indonesia. Now I pray for each of them and keep a pleasant memory. Thank you.
Prayers of SVD
May the darkness of sin
and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word
and the Spirit of grace
and may the Heart of Jesus live
in the hearts of all people.
(Saint Arnold Janssen)