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Stories: Five Mile Follow-up

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Five Mile Follow-up 24 Nov 2010
While serving in Jakarta in June 2009 my companion and I were proselyting on the Busway mass transportation like we often did. It was a great place to proselyte: air conditioning, seats (if you were lucky), new people constantly getting on and off, and you only had to pay once and you could ride it all day, transiting onto different busses and lines at different stops. It was towards the end of the day, so our bus was relatively empty as we headed home. I was sitting in the very back when I noticed a family sitting closer to the middle. A father, a mother, two twin daughters and a small boy. I didn’t notice any signs that they were Muslim, and they looked to be Chinese which usually meant they were Buddhist or Christian. There were plenty of empty seats near the father, but I couldn’t see a way to move over to him without it seeming strange. Tall white guy in a shirt and tie sits next to you on the bus, I suspect a lot of Indonesians’ first thought would be something involving the CIA. I thought I saw my companion get off at a stop so I moved to get off, and once I got to the door I saw that he was still sitting down near the front. This “mistake” was actually a blessing in disguise because I was able to easily sit next to the man and strike up a conversation. His name was Bapak Thomas, he was Catholic, and lived in Surabaya, on the other end of Java. He said he was interested after I shared a bit of a message, so once we got home I sent off the referral to Surabaya, feeling happy that I’d been able to finish off the day with a good contact. Six months later I was serving in Eastern Surabaya and I took a look at the record of old referrals. I found that Bapak Thomas still hadn’t been visited. It took me a while, several months actually, to get a hold of him. I found out that he lived in Western Surabaya, but at that point in my mission because of a temporary reduction of missionaries in Surabaya, my companion and I were covering both east and west Surabaya. We set up an appointment with Pak Thomas and headed off. My companion said that the housing development, Citraland, was near a mall by the missionary apartment in western Surabaya, about an hour’s ride from where we were, uphill, in hot weather. After pushing our way uphill, and stopping for directions a couple of times, we got to the housing development. We talked to the security guard at the gate, and got some very interesting news. Bukit Palma, Thomas’ specific neighborhood, was owned by Citraland, but wasn’t part of that development. Bukit Palma was part of another housing development, another seven kilometers away! We’d called that morning to confirm the appointment, but Thomas hadn’t answered. We really didn’t want to go seven kilometers only to find an empty house, so we went hunting for a pay phone to give him a call. We finally found one, but again he didn’t answer. We decided to try for it anyway and headed off for Thomas’ house. Another forty-five minutes of riding in the heat of the Surabaya sun and we got to his house. We knocked on the door and were greeted with “Oh hi. I forgot you were coming.” I was expecting that after all that sacrifice, we would be rewarded with a rather good lesson, but sadly he didn’t seem all that interested. He left for a vacation with his family a few days later, and when he came back he said he’d only let us come over because he thought we were Catholic, and didn’t want to learn anymore. So even though we didn’t get an investigator out of the whole thing, it was still a memorable experience: riding so far, uphill, in the heat.
David Xander Hacking Send Email

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