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MAF missionary Indonesian helper and Ringenberg boysOne of the things we Westerners have to get used to while living in Indonesia is the idea of having a helper. I can remember first getting to language school years ago and thinking how strange it felt to have someone else in my home doing household chores while we went to school all morning.

In Kalimantan, we had live-in helpers who were high school girls coming out from the interior villages to go to school. We housed them and paid them a salary so they could attend school in a larger city. Each day after school they would help with dishes and food prep and occasionally watching my kids. I soon learned that some helpers possessed good character, and others not—so—good character. If they came with personal problems, they would become our problems too. But I quickly realized that without a helper I just couldn’t keep up with the workload on my own. Shopping at the market, cleaning meat and vegetables, washing and hanging out all the clothes, ironing, doing dishes after cooking from scratch, and trying to raise young kids in a tropical environment was too much for me! So I am thankful for helpers.

Sometimes, I admit, I do long for a little more personal space. I have found that I can either choose to look at my helper as just someone to help me with chores, or embrace them as a person and take the time to find out what’s going on in their life as well. It’s pretty eye opening to delve under the surface and try to see life from their perspective. When I am operating in God’s Spirit, He uses my helper to teach me compassion and patience, and to have more of an open door into the community. Helpers truly are a gift.


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