Dr. Mike Wetzel returned from a mission to Jakarta, Indonesia, to teach new ministers. Dr. Mike began his journey, flying from Tampa, Florida to Chicago, then to Hong Kong; and on to Jakarta. The daily account of his trip and his experiences in Jakarta is below:
The big adventure begins. All checked in at the airport. Awaiting my flight at 3:00 your time. I walked to McDonalds for breakfast. The temperature in Chicago was a balmy 3 degrees. That makes you walk fast. Thank you for all your prayers.
Hong Kong is unbelievable. The city reminds me a lot of New York City down Broadway. All the lights, stores, traffic and people. Greg and Bertie met me at the airport. We tood a bus to the hotel where they have been staying and I am staying tonight. We ate dinner at Outback; it was great. Walked around the area a little bit and back in the room. It is now midnight and time to go to bed. I fly out to Jakarta tomorrow afternoon.
Thanks for your prayers.
Welcome to Jakarta. I arrived late Wednesday evening. I have a 7:00 breakfast meeting, and teach the first class at 8:00.
Today was a great day. Greg and Bertie took me to see Hong Kong. We road a ferry, a subway and bus. We even saw some of the dancing dragons for Chinese New Year. I then took a flight on to Jakarta. I was picked up by three of my students and brought to the hotel. I am headed ot sleep for a little bit before the classes begin.
Pray that God will use me to teach them how to faithfully and accurately portray God's Word.
Today was the first actual day of class. That is typically one of the most difficult days of any class. The interpreter was excellent. I was very pleased with his abilities. We were able to cover quite a bit of material. We looked at what is preaching, the history of preaching, and how to study a passage of scripture in order to come up with the central idea of the sermon. It was a good beginning.
The weather is hot and muggy, similar to Florida in the summer. The breakfast buffet at the hotel was good, but it certainly has some unusual breakfast food, including curried chicken. It was a little spicy. The food is similar to Indian cuisine, at least so far.
Thanks for being a partner in what God is doing here in Indonesia.
Today was a great one. I was very pleased with how the class went. It normally takes a while to click with a new group and that occurred today. The students seem to be embracing the methods that I am teaching.
The hotel has a huge breakfast buffet. That has been my biggest meal of the day. I have also had plenty of rice and chicken.
The weather has improved some, not as much rain, but it still it hot and muggy.
Thanks for your prayers.
Saturday was a different day. No class, so two students took me around Jakarta. They showed me a theme park that shows the different areas of Indonesia, similar to Epcot with the different countries. We drove through the areas, but we did not stop and get out of the car, which I thought was strange. We went to see a church plant that is six years old and doing well. I met the pastor and his wife. They had prepared some food for us, so I sampled something called lumpr (spelling?). It was sticky rice with pulled chicken that had been roased. It was actually pretty good. I prayed with them and asked God to use them in a powerful way. I am preaching in the morning at one of the local churches.
Please continue your prayers, they really mean a lot to me..
You have heard me say many times the missionary creed; "Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape." I did not end up preaching Saturday, which I had been told I might. However, I preached this morning at a small church; the sanctuary was about the size of our fellowship hall. God blessed and we had 10 people accept Christ. Everyone was so excited. The people were wonderful and my interpreter taught me a few phrases of Indonesian. We had a fellowship supper after the service. I had rice, Asian noodles with some ingredients in it that I did not want to ask about, and some type of soup. They also served me my first cup of hot tea; it was actually pretty decent. I might be attending another church in a few hours, but that depends on the weather.
Thanks for your continued prayers.
Tuhan Memberkati - May God Bless
Today was a wonderful day. I met individually with each student to help mentor them in the sermon writing process. Language barriers can be very difficult, but I believe we did a pretty good job. My interpreters have been pretty good. I must be wearing them out, I have had three interpreters since I have been here.
Each student has to prepare a sermon on the Book of Ephesians. They had to have their outline for today. We made some redo the outline, while others we tweaked. The next stage is the sermon delivery. We will listen to all of them preach their sermon on Wednesday. One of the presidents of the seminary has had to change the plans. He will teach all day tomorrow. He has some obligations on Wednesday. That means I will teach all day Wednesday and leave for the airport after I teach. My journey home starts at 10:05 am Thursday.
Thanks for your prayers.
Today is the day that I will probably remember more than any other day of the trip. There is a couple that own an incredible park called Taman Safari. They are Christians and have started two different churches on the property. One is in a big hotel assembly hall and is open to all. The other is in a chapel on the property and is for employees. This meets on Tuesday afer the park closes. Ten percent of the employees come to the worship service. They showed us the rooms they worship in, some of the park, and shared lunch with us. This was the second time this week where I had to eat what someone else chose. Overall it was pretty decent. A lot of the food reminds me of a mixture between Indian and Japanese. I will have some pictures to show of the day. It is great to see what believers can do in the workplace. The staff treated them not just as bosses, but with great respect.
Tomorrow, I teach all day, and then head to the airport.
Your prayers have kept me going..
The final day of teaching is over and I am now at the airport.
The good, class today went as well as I could have hoped. If this is the future of preaching for Indonesia, we will see God do some mighty things. The students all preached a sermon. We had several preaching their first ever sermon. They all preached a Bible based sermon. I thought the delivery of some of them was already better than I am.
The bad, I am waiting at the airport in Jakarta. I knew the drivers needed to have me there early; I just did not know what that meant. Smoking is apparently allowed, and the AC is not working. The check-in areas rotate airlines. Singapore airline is currently at the area for Cathay Pacific. Cathay will take over next hour. If this the biggest problem I have had on the trip, then that shows you how great the trip has been. Our God is truly great and capable of more than we can possibly imagine. My flight is in four hours. I fly to Hong Kong, have a nice layover, and then fly to Chicago. Finally on Friday I will be home.
Once again, thanks for your prayers that have continue to lift me up.
Dr. Mike spoke about the mission, his students and some of his experiences at the Sunday worship service on February 16th. To hear more about his experiences, view the beginning of the sermon video for February 16, "Nativity Revisited" in the Sermon Videos.