Whitewave by Jen Sparks
ell I’m back in Darwin after an amazing three months in Indonesia. Thank you SO much for your prayers and financial support. I was so overwhelmed by your generosity every time my Mom would send me a financial update. I was able to come back to Darwin debt free with a little in savings for flights for my next trip home. Indonesia was an experience. It was the first time I have been there, the first time I’ve done ministry in a Muslim country, and the first time I have led a group of students for more than a few weeks! From being able to encourage a small church in the middle of the Borneo jungle, to prayer walking the streets of industrialized Batam, to praying for persecuted Christians in Java, God completely opened doors along our trip that I didn’t even know were possible. One open door was the opportunity to meet with the anti-trafficking department of the Indonesian government while we were on Bintan Island, in the Riau Islands Province. We felt to go to Batam Island which is about 20km south of Singapore to pray into the issue of human trafficking. Batam and Bintan Islands are next to each other and are one of the main areas where trafficking of women and children happen out of Indonesia and into Singapore and Malaysia. Every year thousands are taken across the open water border through the 3,200 islands in this province. As I mentioned God totally opened a door we never thought possible. We had one contact in the region – a girl who is working undercover. She lives with another Christian girl and while her room-mate was on a flight, a month before we came, she met a lady who worked with this anti-trafficking department. The women wanted to meet with our team and show us the government run shelter for girls rescued. She had no idea we are Christians but as we met with her and visited the shelter we were able to pray silently over these girls who may never have been prayed for before. It was an eye opening time for me and the team as we stayed in a hotel where trafficking and prostitution took place. We were woken up in the night a number of times to girls screaming. One morning while I ate breakfast in the hotel’s lobby I saw three young girls being swept away into a van by men who definitely didn’t look like their father. I was able to report the incident to another organization investigating trafficking but the situation left a deep burden in my heart for these girls. Meeting with the anti-trafficking department
Another opportunity we were given was to encourage and practically help two families in East Java who were being persecuted due to becoming Christians. The first family we met was a family in which the father was the local witch doctor before he received Jesus. The whole family followed him making decisions for Christ themselves, but the local community has completely rejected them. With no income, (he gave up practicing obviously), the family is now relying completely on God for their needs. Also, their neighbours are spreading rumours about them and will not do business with the family. We were able to pray with them, encouraging them to stand fast and we were also to bless them financially. The second family we met were persecuted because they are Christians but also because they are a minority group in the area where they live. They had little money as the only work the father can get is separating garbage at the local dump. He brings the garbage home to sort at night and has made their front room the garbage room. Their house was old and falling apart and their two daughters were getting rained on as they lay in bed at night due to holes in the roof. Our team came together and took up a collection to in order to buy plastic to completely cover their roof. We would have loved to have built them a new roof (or a new house!) but we didn’t have the money ourselves in order to do it. Jared and Matt had a great time getting the plastic on while the girls met with the wife and daughters and gave them a donation of food for their Christmas dinner. One surprise was meeting their Christmas meat – the dog that was hiding under the couch! They were getting ready to kill the dog the day after we visited (I’m glad it wasn’t on the day I was there!) Here are some pictures of our time fixing the roof and hanging out with the family.
Top 10 prayer requests... 1. That I would be able to rest during this next season in Darwin
2. For renewed friendships here in Darwin 3. For wisdom as I step into more leadership here on the base 5. For peace and joy over YWAM Darwin 6. For continued vision for future women’s ministry in Darwin and Asia
4. For continued good health
For wisdom over my Australian visa process
8. For Dave & Mia, my leaders, who have gone back to the USA to be with Mia’s Mom who is ill 9. For the rest of the $ to come in for my trip home and to Salem
10. For continued vision as a base for the youth here in Darwin if you would like to be part of my monthly prayer group let me know by e-mail! firstname.lastname@example.org
I spent my Christmas this year with the team and we had a lot of fun working at a King’s Kids orphanage in Pandaan, East Java. We felt to make Christmas stockings for each child and staff member working there, which actually took a lot of time since we had to make the stockings by hand! It was well worth the effort on Christmas morning.
Our team Christmas Eve!
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.” – Isaiah 1:17
What does 2010 hold in store? Well, I’m still trying to figure that out as well, but I do know that for the first half of this year I’m staying here in Darwin to get some of our base procedures put back into place and paperwork caught up on. I’ll be overseeing HR and administration here in the office and also working with registrar and immigration – helping missionaries to come and join us here in Darwin. We are having some set-backs with immigration so a lot of paperwork and prayer needs to be done in order to see visas released. I’m also going to be working a bit with the local community – prayer walking with a local woman who also has a heart for women’s ministry, continuing to run a youth radio show on the Christian radio station, helping to run a youth bible study and also helping to lead a women’s accountability group on base. It’s also a time for me to settle back into Darwin life, rest after this last busy season, get back involved with the local church and build relationships. I’m looking at visiting home probably for the month of June so I’ll see some of you then! After home I’m travelling to Salem, Oregon to staff the Justice Has a Face workshop. This is the same workshop that I went to in Switzerland run by the Women and Children’s Advocacy Centre and they have asked me to staff this one coming up. I’ll let you know as soon as I know the dates that I arrive in Canada! One of my favourite experiences on outreach! Being in the middle of the Borneo jungle and having to bathe in the river. All of us girls had to buy local sarongs to wear in the river so we would ‘fit in’.
YWAM is a non-profit organization and I am a full-time staff volunteer with them and therefore raise all my own support. If you would like to donate towards my trip home or towards my monthly expenses then there are a few ways to do that! In Australia: Donations can be made into my account: Commonwealth Bank, BSB: 064819 Account # 10254958 Name: Jennifer Sparks In Canada: For a tax deductable receipt donations can be made by cheque to: Project Funding PO Box 57100, 2480 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5K 5G6 Canada. Please make the cheque payable to YWAM and include a separate note saying that it is for Jennifer Sparks. NEW!!! You can now also make donations on YWAM Darwin’s website. Check it out at: http://www.ywamoutback.org.au/page/finances-1 Thanks so much for your prayers and financial support! Contact: Jen Sparks Po Box 290, Darwin, NT 0801 Australia E: email@example.com P: 61 0432 158 147 W: http://www.facebook.com/jen.sparks