This country! This life here! It continues to amaze me!
Two weeks ago, Mark and I had the privilege of spending a few days with the other heads of school and our founder and his wife. We toured a number of SLH and SDH schools, some Siloam hospitals and had a few other adventures along the way.
Our school is called Sekolah Pelita Harapan – School of Light and Hope. There are five SPH schools in Jakarta that work in partnership with other levels that are spread throughout Indonesia: Sekolah Dian Harapan and Sekolah Lentera Harapan. The schools are named after different light sources, describing their reach from furthest – SPH International schools, to national – SDH, to that of smaller communities within the country – SLH subsidized for underprivileged families. These schools were begun with a vision for a network of schools that would transform Indonesia by raising the standards of education at every level of society.
The vision is the same in every school: True Knowledge, Faith in Christ and Godly Character.
SPH is part of the Yayasan Pendidikan Pelita Harapan education foundation. This includes the three SPH, SDH and SLH school level, as well as a College and a University which educates and trains the national teachers for all three school levels. Graduates of the teacher’s college are assigned to a school upon graduation and will serve for a minimum of two years.
I am still flying high on the thrill of witnessing first hand the joy and faithfulness we saw in the students and teachers at these schools. We were honoured guests in these places, being greeted by song, dance, questions, eagerness to interact and wide smiles.
(click the photos for a slide show)
These schools are often in remote areas with populations that have little access to quality education and no access to high-quality Christian education. The SPH schools provide monetary and professional development support to these schools through the Yayasan Pendidikan Pelita Harapan.
Our visits were to schools in Kupang on the Island of Timor in East Nusa Tenggara, Rote Island and in Labuan Bajo on the Island of Flores.
One principal, Lince, runs a school of 86 children from Kindergarten to grade 2. Next year she will add grade 3 and expects 124 students. She had some of us in tears as she expressed her prayer that we would visit her school, and showed her heart for the students and teachers in her care. There are only three classrooms and there is need for more space. The community loves this school and wants to send more children but there is no room for expansion. She shares how the parents ask “‘What do you do to our children at school? Even when they are sick they want to go to school.’ This is because of how the teachers love their children”, she says. “My teachers love them so much!” Adults see the difference in these children and want to know where they go to school. There is so much desire to send their children because of the light that is shining through the students and the way they are loved by the teachers.
I am proud to be a part of an institution whose mission is to provide holistic Christian education across the breadth of this country.
I am excited to see how our schools can further partner together, bringing hope and joy to one another.
My prayer is that our schools would be filled with the pure joy of Christ like those we visited. I pray that we will have before us the work of God in the lives of the kids and parents we see each day, in the communities we live in, in the special community of teachers and staff that we work with each day, and recognize that we are a part of a larger mission throughout Indonesia, touching very real lives and sharing with them hope through the gospel and through our real physical support.
One last thing. Mark and I also get to be a part of an incredible support system of leaders. I have been so grateful for the team of school leaders that he has joined this year. Thank you to our founder and the Yayasan for your vision and humble hearts.
Please pray for our schools, that God’s work would not be hindered in this country and that He would enlarge our faith and expectation of His work here.
Below are some more photos from nearby these beautiful communities. (click for a slide show)