The morning started with the news we all were hoping to hear - 'Flight GA623 has departed!' Stav FINALLY got on his way to Jakarta for the first part of his long awaited journey home.
The morning then continued with a drive out to the Donggala area to visit a campsite in Pusat Laut that the Palu School are interested in purchasing from THQ. This site would provide an ideal location for a proposed campsite to host retreats and camps not only for The Salvation Army but other Christian groups. Once we got past all the mining along the coastal road, the views were beautiful and they got even better as we headed inland among forests of coconut palms and stunning mountain and coastal views. We parked at a government run campsite neighbouring the property of interest, and it wasn't hard to picture the potential for development. A walk along the beach to view the boundary lines revealed why this location was chosen. Although the local beach goers seemed as intrigued by our presence as we were theirs. Oh, did I mention that the beach goers were cows?! True! Anywhere else in the world that might seem strange but somehow with the frequent presence of cows wandering around the streets of Palu, this sight didn't seem all that out of place.
The afternoon changed pace and mood as we attended the one year memorial service of Bapak Oscar Hohoy, whose funeral we participated in last year. Like at the funeral, a large crowd of family and friends gathered outside the Hohoy's house for a time of worship and remembrance. Oscar's wife Ibu Deasy displayed courage and strength as she shared the difficult journey for her and her family over the past twelve months. It really was a privilege to once again share this time with the Hohoy family and observe another stage of the grieving process in this culture.
From sadness to joy, we continued into the evening by attending the Youth Christian Community service at Palu #1 Corps. It was so exciting seeing this massive hall filled with passionate young people from around the city of Palu who had gathered for a combined praise and worship service. On Sunday morning at Towua Corps a couple of the youth leaders asked me to share a word of encouragement at this youth service. Their theme was great! #SelfiesWithJesus, which I had a bit of fun with as I invited the youth to take a selfie and tell me what they saw. I then spoke about how they are made in the image of God and as God's children, filled with His Spirit, reflect the glory of Jesus. It was an awesome night of worship led by the youth and a passionate message shared by Major Erik Kape. God is clearly at work in the lives of the youth in Palu!