By Evelyn Adamson
In the glory days of exploration, men forged new paths across the world under the sails of wooden ships. They embarked on daring adventures, fixing their gazes on the horizon, the pursuit of the unknown at their feet.
The OneIsland project provides the opportunity to step into the shoes of an explorer to discover remote frontiers in Southeast Asia. Adventure awaits the bold spirit willing to take on the task of spreading God’s love by living on an island with those who have not yet found Christ.
The Southeastern Asian air is exceedingly hot and humid, clinging to travelers. The inescapable smell of the ocean draws many to the shore of this island. Adventure lures motored vessels to glide over the water and explore the mysteries within the ocean’s depths.
Emerald trees shroud houses dotting the horizon. These colorful homes on stilts burst out from among the vegetation, boasting of the cheerful disposition of their inhabitants.
Smiling faces, their dark eyes lit with excitement and curiosity at the sight of strangers, emerge from the shadows of the houses. The inhabitants of this island in Southeast Asia offer travelers ceaseless invitations for a place to stay or food to eat. Any home here would be honored to act as a haven to the weary traveler.
OneLife is a program that connects students from around the world to specific missions projects where they can have an impact. Short-term teams involved in the “One Island” project will live on an island with nearly no Christian witness.
A group of Christian men gathers to share their experiences with young adults; they recall the difference that two weeks can make. When they relate the testimonies of past short-term workers who have served through the “One Island” project, they emphasize the importance of the students’ impact.
“I saw God use the guys from the U.S., most important, to share the Good News.” Ananda Pertiwi* says. He says the students are “so excited to share the Good News.”
Another man, Dian Alatas,* chimes in: “I see they are still young, but they can say [anything] about Jesus. I’m jealous, they come from America and share the Good News.”
Perak Parkasa*, a man with piercing eyes, explains the difference that hosting American students has had on their work. He says, “[they] live by example and share openly. The local people respect that.” He describes the way that these students “help those who are seeking” and “strengthen the faith of local believers.”
Pertiwi expounds on Perkasa’s statements. “I know [the] Good News, but I am not able to say for my people,” he says. “They [the students] come from far away, every time they meet people, they say about Jesus. That makes me strong. [It puts] something strong in my spirit to share the Good News.”
When asked about future teams, Alatas answered that he hopes “more students will come [as] the body of Christ, building each other up with spiritual gifts.” His eyes light up as he describes their influence. “I can see they have spiritual gifts, maybe they don’t have [one] skill, but they help with their testimony.”
Alatas says he remains encouraged by the students. “They give me support, no money, [they] send me text messages, Facebook, email, and tell stories of what’s happened. [They] motivate me to share my faith.”
Workers are needed to give the Gospel a push among the islands of Southeast Asia. Partnerships like OneLife’s “One Island” project exist because students should make their skills, talents and abilities available for God’s purpose, whether in Southeast Asia or elsewhere.
While much is still unknown about the residents of the Southeastern Asian islands, students will gather information and report their discoveries, which can lead to strategic and lasting connections with the world’s most remote peoples.
On this trip, students will dive into another culture, taking from it life lessons that can only be learned here. This is a challenging task requiring students who can connect with people and can thrive in a multi-cultural environment.
Students will also act as motivators and encouragers to the believers who already live on these islands. The faith of these local believers is strengthened in the simple act of witnessing the students walk with God from day to day, enthusiastically sharing their faith with those who would listen.
Alatas sums up the purpose this project: We are to “follow Jesus’ example and love all people.”