From the Classroom to Revitalizing a Fire-Ravaged Community
We're blessed to share with you another inspiring story from a Mustard Seed school in Kalimantan:
The humming of the approaching ferry motor cuts through the thick Kalimantan air, as we await our trip across the river. After an early-morning flight and a steamy 4-hour drive from the city, our destination is finally in sight. K’village rests at the edge of a river – a murky river that serves as the lifeline of this village. As the village comes into focus, children are heard playing gleefully beyond the perimeter of the water, roosters crow in the distance, and women gather at the ends of the docks to wash the dishes from their morning meals. Soon, laughing and smiling, the people of this river village greet us in their broken English, extending a genuine, loving welcome to us outsiders. We are struck with the joy radiating from these warm, gracious people.
What is it that makes this place so vibrant? How can people with seemingly so little live with such fullness of life? How does this transformation take place? The answer lies in the way one man is living out the gospel in his community.
For Pastor Santosa, the goal is not simply education, from preschool through high school. But rather, the greater goal is transformation – the long-term effect of a gospel-centered education that ministers to the whole person, just like Jesus did. This is apparent in how he lives. Years ago, Pastor Santosa started a school, to provide a Christ-centered quality education for the children of the village. Currently, there is a thriving school in K’village, and a new preschool building is under construction. Stability. Growth. Impact. One can see the life that flows out of these children as you interact with them – again, despite the fact that they have very little. The joy they have in Christ far out-weighs what they do not have.
So just how does the reach of a Mustard Seed school go beyond the classroom? Since beginning the school, Pastor Santosa has also successfully taken a swampy piece of real estate and turned it into a thriving haven that is transforming an entire community! Along with a school and church, there is now a successful fish farm, as well as another plot of land across the river, which he has turned into a flourishing farm. The ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of one man has resulted in the development of land, provision of food and jobs for others, and the opportunity to bring change and economic growth to his community. Even amid devastation, God is enabling Pastor Santosa to move forward and thrive. Specifically, when fires ravaged large portions of land throughout Kalimantan last year, the rubber trees on Pastor Santosa’s land were destroyed. Yet, instead of focusing on the loss, he and others removed the burnt stumps by hand and planted cassava. Now this once-fire-ravaged area is producing an abundant crop! God is honoring Pastor Santosa’s faithfulness and his heart for the people in his community.
Imagine the potential for the students who complete their education and move into adulthood in K’village! They have the incredible opportunity to turn around and follow Pastor Santosa’s example: re-investing back into their own community, living out the gospel, whether through education or through business, or working the land. The example is clear: Use what God has given you to reach out to others and meet not only their spiritual and educational needs, but their physical needs as well – spirit, mind and body! God is obviously blessing the work of Pastor Santosa’s hands, and a community is experiencing transformation as a result!