When You Don’t Believe

When I came to Indonesia, I was full of enthusiasm for the volunteer work that I had committed to spending the next large chunk of my time dedicated to doing.  I had done my best to prepare for the changes in circumstance that I knew came with this move and I think that I did a fairly good job of getting my mind ready.

Despite my preparation, there were still some things that threw me off my game a little.  The first thing was the lack of cleanliness in my initial living and working environment.  But I prayed my way through that and found a solution that I could live with.  I rallied and powered through, my enthusiasm unbroken.

I faced the bathroom situation and the immigration situation with aplomb, I think.  The immigration situation was aggravating but it didn’t faze me and it didn’t reduce my commitment.  I faced ethnicity issues and they were shocking and hurtful but I prayed my way through them too.  I rallied and powered through all that, my enthusiasm a little shaken but still unbroken.

I came to Jakarta and I started off here encountering an unusual work situation.  On top of that, the living situation was not the most comfortable (shared room, squat toilet, no place to sit and relax, more above-the-floor grime, RATS & ROACHES!), but I rallied and powered through.

By the time I arrived in Jakarta, I had already come to realise that the organisation for which I am working is a straight up patty shop.  It does great PR and makes itself look very good from the outside (I did my checks before I left Jamaica) but once I got on the inside, I realised that things are not as they seem and I’m actually surprised that this whole house of cards has lasted as long as it has.  The organisational structure is a complete joke and the most critical processes rely on 1 man, which is bad business in any context.  On top of that, the 1 man is boorish, disrespectful and arrogant, which rubs me wrong in ways that I have only barely begun to describe here.

Him.  He’s the one that did it.  He broke my enthusiasm.  I found it difficult to rally and power through because I just didn’t want to.  For a few weeks after our…encounter…other than my teaching, I was phoning it in on the job.  I did every piece of online and centre-related work for which I was responsible and no-one could complain about the quality or timeliness of it.  But I did it out of duty and obligation, not because I felt happy to be contributing to this place.  This was for a very simple reason.  I no longer believe.

I don’t believe in the motivation of the organisation.  I don’t believe in the ethos of the organisation.  I don’t believe in the leadership of the organisation.  I don’t believe in its hype or its PR.  I’ve seen its underbelly and I no longer believe the “truth” that it tells.  I just don’t believe in this place and I couldn’t be enthusiastic about something that I don’t believe in.

And yet I cannot deny that, despite itself, it is meeting a very real need in these communities.  While the organisation is an absolute joke, the work that it tries to do is not.  I believe in my students.  I believe that they want to learn, despite their poor learning habits.  I believe that I can do even a few small things to help them. And  I believe that I can learn from them how to be a better teacher.  I believe in the local volunteers.  I believe in their kindness and generosity of spirit.  I believe that they give freely of their time and talents for the good of these children.  And I believe that they believe in the work of the organisation.

More importantly, I remember who my real boss is.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people. For Christ is the real Master you serve.  Colossians 3:23-24 (GNT)

So I pulled up my socks and got back to working with my heart and not just my hands, because no matter what’s going on around me, I know with absolute certainty that this is a part of God’s plans for my life and in Him I absolutely do believe.  He’ll move me again when He’s ready.


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