Learning About Life in a Way You’d Never Expect

August 9 2007 / ShareHim in Kalimantan (Borneo), Jul. 13 - Jul. 28 '07 #177
by Amanda Moore

Campaign Site Narrative from Bukit Moria, Balikpapan in Kalimantan (Borneo). The speaker assigned to this site was Amanda Moore.

I’ve always been the one to sit in the church pews, dreaming of what it might be like somewhere else. I guess you could say, I always want to be somewhere except where I am. My name is Amanda Moore. I was born and raised a Seventh-day Adventist, and although I’d like to say that I don’t have a story, I’m afraid everyone has some sort of story. Little did I know, mine began a long time ago.

In order to understand the experience I had on my recent mission trip, you have to understand where I come from. Thinking about my past brings back bitter memories, because I was always the kid who got picked on. I didn’t have many friends, and I felt useless. I used to wonder why God even made me. I would go to church, and the one place that you would expect to be treated with kindness, was one of the places that I didn’t like. The kids there didn’t play nice. They would always tease me, and it hurt a lot. So much in fact, that I almost gave up on religion and God. I felt like nobody liked me, and that I had no purpose to live. I was so depressed to the point of feeling as though no body would miss me if I were gone. But something kept me hanging in there. At the time I didn’t know what it was, but now I do.

It was about 3 years ago that my life took a dramatic change. I met my best friend Lisa. Although she was 37 and I was only 17, that age difference didn’t matter. Lisa showed me the love I longed for all of my life. She accepted me for me, and it felt so great to know that somebody loved me. She understood what I was going through and I could tell her anything. Lisa helped me fall in love with who I am, and who God is in me. She showed me Jesus! Every time I was around her, I just wanted to be closer to her, because she was the only glimpse of Jesus I got to see in such a cruel world. It took me a while to accept the fact that she loved me, despite her constant reminders every time we’d see each other, but when I finally understood, it felt great to know that somebody cared.

Lisa, my best friend, was diagnosed with cancer about 2 years ago. The day I found out, I cried, then I prayed, and a sense of peace came over me. She was a strong woman, she had the love of Christ in her soul, and she wasn’t going to let that go. She kept her faith strong right up until the end, even when it was the toughest thing she’d been through, and when she passed away on March 6, 2007, I cried for hours. I was angry. Not at God, because I know it was never in his will for us to die, but I was angry because I felt that I could do so much more than what I did for her.

How do you repay the one person that impacted you the most? She showed me it is possible to love someone you just met. She was the one person that was there for me, when I needed a friend the most. She was the person that would drop everything just to make me smile, when I was having a bad day. It hurts a lot to think about Lisa being gone, but I finally figured out how to repay her, and it took me traveling half way across the world to figure it out.

When I signed up to go to Indonesia, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had never gone on a mission trip before, I had only dreamed of them. I dreamed of the day that I would be able to go to some place like the Dominican Republic or to Mexico, but never in my life had I dreamed of coming to Indonesia. I signed up for this trip, not thinking that it would actually happen, and now as I sit here and type, it is my last day in Balikpapan.

When I arrived in Balikpapan a little over 2 weeks ago, I was amazed at the loving kindness that was shown to me by the church family here. I was a little disoriented the first day here in Balikpapan on the Island of Borneo, but after we got settled into our hotel, things began to sink in. I was still in shock, that I was halfway across the world.
When I came to Balikpapan I was expecting a life changing experience. I was expecting something that I would be able to share with everyone. I was expecting something that would be life altering and faith building, and although I received that, it wasn’t in the way you’d expect.

The first meeting that was conducted, there were only about 5 or 6 visitors. I was thrilled at the thought of even just one visitor, until I heard how many visitors the other sites had. Many of the sites had up to 50 visitors and more on the first night, and I was sort of depressed. Working my heart out for the Lord, and here I have a messily 6 visitors? That didn’t make any sense to me. It felt like my time was a waste. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for the six people that were coming, I’m sure they were blessed from it, But I was expecting something different.

By the end of the meetings we had one person who wanted to be baptized and another who wanted a rebaptism, and when I found out that I had just one that wanted to be baptized. I cried. Because then it hit me, my work was not in vain, it had a purpose. My tears were tears of joy, because I finally felt like I was doing something for the Lord.
You see, I allow God to speak through me, when I’m in my home church. He’s used me to preach several sermons there, and when I’m up at the pulpit, I feel as though I’m finally becoming who God wants me to be. The only time I feel worth anything is when I’m sharing with others what Jesus has done for me, and I am able to do that through preaching His word to the people in the congregation.

The re-baptismal candidate shocked me. I didn’t know at first who it was going to be, and then I found out that it was the man that had been driving me to the meetings each night. I was so happy for him. And realizing that God used me to touch someone else is just the most amazing feeling in the world.

Although I am extremely happy that we had some baptisms at the site I was at, that is not what changed me the most. I was expecting my life changing experience to be through some sort of baptism story, or of some amazing experience that happened while the meetings were going on, but that is not how it turned out. My life changing experience happened behind the scenes.

When you come to a foreign country for the first time, you never know what to expect. So when I went to the Adventist school for the first time here, I was bombarded with children all around me. I was able to teach some of the classrooms, the song “Who’s the King of the Jungle?” and I think that they really enjoyed that. I allowed them to ask me some questions and then just as I was getting ready to leave, the unexpected happened. They all ran up to me with pen and paper in hand, saying, “sign, sign, sign.” They wanted me to sign their pieces of paper, and give them my e-mail address. There were so many of them, and they were all surrounding me like mosquitoes in the forest, only they weren’t pesky. I actually enjoyed talking to them, and writing encouraging phases on their papers. In a way, I was reminded of Jesus, when he was on the mount and the children came to crowd around him, but the disciples didn’t allow it. Then Jesus told the disciples to allow the children to come. And I can just imagine Jesus paying close attention to each one, giving each one the same amount of love and kindness. I can see Jesus watching the children light up with laughter and happiness because they got to spend a short while with Him. I reflected on these thoughts as the kids swarmed around me and it made me happy.

So when the nightly meetings came, it was almost expected that the children there would want my autograph too. I knew it was all but impossible to remember each kid, and each face, of who asked for what and what I had written. I tried remembering what each kid looked like, but I have a memory corrupted by sin, and thus is more short term than I’d like it to be sometimes. Many of them had asked for my e-mail address, and I gladly gave it to them, not thinking that any of them would actually use it, until one night I opened my email box.

Usually I don’t open e-mails from names of people that are unfamiliar, but I had remembered that of all the times I’d given out my e-mail address, maybe someone could have written me, although I don’t understand why they would want to. So I opened the email from this unfamiliar name, and it was a message that would change the way I see my world.

The message was from a little boy that I had come into contact with. He was 14 years old, and as I read his message I was instantly discouraged. He said, “Sometimes I wish God hadn’t made me. I only have a few friends, and I know what everyone thinks of me. I don’t like my life.” My heart dropped. How on earth do you respond to something so, sad? Lucky for him, I knew exactly what he was going through, because I was just like him when I was younger—hating my life, because no one would be my friend. I wished for all the world that I could just hug him, and say, “Jesus loves you, young man, he loves you so much! I know how you feel, but you can’t give up on God. You were made for a purpose. Jesus loves you, and so do I.” I wanted to just tell him not to give up on life and love, because once you find that love, even if it’s from one person that you least expected, that feeling is worth all the pain in the world.

I felt just like he did, until I met my best friend Lisa. After I met her, her love for me embraced me, and changed me. She showed me my value, and ever since then I’ve never second guessed God, or his purpose for my life. I told this young man my story, and how I was just like him when I was a child. I told him that one day maybe he could help show love to someone else and give someone else hope. I told him that maybe someday he would run into someone who was just like him, and then he would understand why he grew up the way he did. This young man and I did eventually get to meet before I left the city of Balikpapan, and I got to give him that hug, showing him that I truly loved him. I pray that he understands.

Then it dawned on me. The way to pay Lisa back, could only be done in the manor that she paid me…LOVE. Showing this boy that somebody loves him for him. Giving this boy something to hope in. Making him understand that the world may be full of mean, stubborn, selfish, rude and inconsiderate people, but that doesn’t mean you give up on it. You can always find someone in the world who has good in them. Someone whose motives are not self-seeking. There will always be people like Lisa in our world, but you have to search for them with all your heart, and pray to God that one day you can be one of those people to someone else.

I will pray every day for this young man. We will keep our friendship until Jesus comes, because I want him to know that someone cares about him for him. This is the only way I can think of to repay Lisa, and it does not seem like a burden to me. It’s a joy knowing that I have new friends that live halfway across the world. Friends that I refuse to say goodbye to. Friends that I say, “see ya later” to. My prayer is that one day we will all see each other again in Heaven.

When I left this young man’s house the last night in Balikpapan, I will never forget the words he said to me. He said, “Amanda, I’m so happy you are my friend, and I hope there are a lot of people like you in this world.” I almost cried, because I knew then and there that I had made a difference in this boy’s life, and that was all I wanted from day one, is to make a difference to someone.

Going on this trip has changed me. I’ve figured out who I am, and what I want from life, but it came in a way you’d never expect.
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