New Home in Kalimantan

The more places we go in Indonesia, the more we see how diverse this country is. From the mostly Christian Papua in the east part of Indonesia, to Hindu Bali in the south, and now to predominantly Muslim Kalimantan in the middle, we are enjoying learning about new cultures everywhere we go.

For now, we’ll be documenting MAF’s work in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. The Borneo rainforest is one of the oldest in the world and we’re looking forward to getting out and exploring a tiny slice of this vast jungle.

Indonesia Map

We are living in Tarakan, a city on a small island of the same name, just off the coast of mainland Kalimantan. The MAF missionaries are some of the only Westerners here because as the local church began to grow years ago, all of the other missionaries left. But the infrastructure has not changed as quickly, so MAF’s services are still very much needed here. Many interior villages can only be reached by plane or boat, and MAF plays an instrumental role in providing medical services and community development and supporting the local church.

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Last week, we went on our first trip interior to the village of Pujungan to a church conference. Most of the 85 pastors that attended this conference were flown in from their villages by MAF. It was great to hear how MAF helps them in their ministry and changes lives in their villages. We stayed overnight and were treated to some local dishes, including many made with chunks of pig fat. At least we were used to that from Papua!

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We recently visited a little dock community in the city where we live that is built entirely over the ocean on stilts. Motorcycles zip along the boardwalks, weaving around groups of kids playing on the planks. Trash is thrown into the water with the hopes that the tide will take it away into the ocean. A month ago, a domestic dispute started a house fire which quickly spread down the boardwalks in the tightly packed community of wooden houses. Many homes were lost as there is no way any vehicle, let alone a fire truck, could drive over the planks. It was a sobering reminder that many people here live without basic emergency services.

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It’s not hard to see how MAF can make a difference when there are so many needs, both here in town and interior. The next few months will be an adventure learning how MAF is changing lives in this vast place.