David Morrison, from Australia, was one of the participants for the first Re-imagine internship in Jakarta this past July/August. He reflects on his experience in this short interview.
-What initially drew you to Servants, and to the Re-imagine internship?
I was drawn to an internship with Servants for several reasons. Firstly it had been on my heart and in my plans to encounter majority world living and the Servants model of simplicity and incarnation is something that I very much respect holistically. For my degree I needed to accumulate some prac hours and sought to combine my prac requirements within the Servants internship and there were just too many ducks aligning for me to not take this opportunity.
-Did you have any fears/apprehension going into it?
The only fears I had were those of self exploration. I was leaving my comfortable life and friends and travelling to a country that I don’t even speak the language of. For me the fear was that of powerlessness and identity crises. In Australia I know who I am and I have a reputation and credibility and I’m known as super Dave, in Indonesia, I’m just regular Dave who can’t even speak two sentences. How am I able to protect the weak and defend the innocent if I can’t even ask where the bus station is?
-How was it like interacting with your host family?
I absolutely loved being with my host family. They were the most hospitable people and they honestly made me their son. Obviously language was a massive factor, but once we got comfortable with not being able to understand each other with language, we began to communicate through life and personality, and developed our own language, but one not dominated by word.
-What were ways that you were able to “connect” with those around you?
I connected with people mainly through being present. I gained many friends from people teaching me the language, or playing chess, or dominoes, or football and even just through my daily chores and walking around practising the phrases that I had learnt.
-How did you connect with God throughout your home stay?
I found myself very dependent upon God throughout this experience, for rest, for strength, understanding and for my health.
-Where there any particular challenges? anything that was much easier then you thought?
The greatest challenge for me wasn’t the conditions, or the poverty, or the lack of privacy, or even the language…the greatest challenge for me is ongoing and that is to determine what is my response to the people I have met and the friends I have made, and the cyclical lifestyle of poverty that I see their families being a part of, while I have the freedom to return to my comfort and lifestyle.
-What is something new you learned about yourself?
The challenge to me is twofold; firstly what is my response personally to the lifestyle and people I have met the past few months, and secondly; what should my community’s response be.
-How do you think this experience will impact you as you return home?
I find it hard to think that this will just have been a season of my life and I’ll go back to supporting the charities I donate monthly to and tell people the horrors of poverty because I spent a few weeks in a slum. But for me, the wrestle is how much of my life can I devote to making a difference, and if I spend my time here, what will I be unable to spend time on as a result?