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"If God called us to a task, He will then qualify us for the job" - Jack Hyles


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" - Galatians 2:20

Balikpapan is a seaport city on the eastern coast of the island of Borneo, in East Kalimantan. It is known as the “Oil City”. It is a resource-rich region well known for its timber, mining, and petroleum export products. Two harbours, Semayang and Kariangau (a ferry harbour), and the Sepinggan International Airport are the main transportation ports to the city. The city has a population of 639,031 making it the second-largest city in East Kalimantan, after Samarinda.

Prior to the oil boom in the early 1900s, Balikpapan was an isolated fishing village. Balikpapan’s name (lit. balik is behind and papan is a plank) comes from a folk story where a local king threw his newborn daughter into the sea to protect her from his enemies. The baby was tied beneath some planks, which were discovered by a fisherman – (Wikipedia).

Most of my Australian colleagues, family and friends tend to think of Bali when I speak of Balikpapan. Bali and Balikpapan are two different islands in Indonesia. To get to Balikpapan from Perth, I normally fly to Bali (about three and half hours) as my first stop. I then fly to Jakarta (about two hours) and then fly to Balikpapan (about an hour and half). It’s a whole day of travel, considering the waiting times between flights. Actually it would be quicker to fly from Bali to Balikpapan (north of Bali) but there are no such direct flights from Bali.

Ministering at the Harapan Bangsa School in Balikpapan since 2010 and recently over the past few days, has inspired me even more to put this school on the map for it is indeed a ‘model’ school that is thriving in spite of some tough challenges at times. As a private Christian school in a Muslim country, one would think that there can be no such ‘thriving’ but because Indonesians value education, this remains the ‘driving’ force for the pursuit of making life better.

I have seen this school grow and now within two years it is a few students short of its first goal of attaining an enrolment of 500. I have no doubt that this will be achieved soon. Over the past few days, I have done two professional development workshops for the teachers and  other staff. Forty of them have completed these workshops and are now more equipped to serve the school and in a more profound way serve our Lord Jesus. There is certainly a need for more training of this sort and the bar of excellence has been set and being maintained through partnership with EYW.

This morning at the staff devotions, we had a conversation around three points:

God has led us out of slavery and bondage – Gal.5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”;

God leads us through the wilderness – Rom.8:18-39, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”;

God will lead us into the Promised Land – Rom.8:24-25, “For in this hope we were saved. But the hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.

Relating these three points to the Exodus story, the truths became clearer for the staff that  Balikpapan is their wilderness and that they need to move forward in trusting faith and hope for the eternal Promise of God in Christ to be fulfilled when he returns.

Balikpapan, the “Oil City” – This community at Harapan Bangsa School certainly have the “oil of joy” even in their times of ‘mourning/groaning’.

Categories: Article, Devotions, Portfolio

4 Responses so far.

  1. thx 4 became a blessing to our school, Ps Dawson

    • Hi Claudia. you welcome (sama sama). May God lead you as you fan your gift into flame. Be strong and of good cheer for our Lord is with you. Tuhan Memberkathi. Regards to all at Harapan Bangsa and Happy Holy Kids.

  2. Delvi Sibarani says:

    Hi Ps.Dawson….i’m so blessed for your services at Harapan Bangsa and Happy Holy Kids Balikpapan 😉
    Do you still remember me?? I’m delvi and ms agnes is my leader..:)
    We surely waiting for your visit again..Tuhan Yesus memberkati (Jesus bless you)

    • Selamat Pagi Delvi.Nice to hear from you.Yes, I remember you. I’m glad you were blessed with the workshops and devotions. Regards to Ms Agnes and the entire team at the school. Tuhan memberkathi. Keep checking this website.I’m still in Pekanbaru.

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