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Indonesia Jones

Missionary builds relationships with tsunami victims

Missionary builds relationships with tsunami victims

August 04, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

CLEAR SPRING - Amanda Jones covered her hair with a scarf and dressed in conservative, drawstring, long pants and long-sleeve shirts and set out on a mission trip to Indonesia in June.

Jones, 20, endured the 24-hour plane trip to visit the tsunami-devastated region because, "after the tsunami, you see the pictures and I feel like God was really giving us an opportunity to go," she said.

"God just really opened my heart and said, 'You may never have this opportunity again.'"

Jones graduated from Clear Spring High School in 2003 and now attends Washington Bible College near Washington, D.C., which sponsored the trip through Evangelism Explosion, Jones said.

The trip was "relational-based," which means the missionaries did not preach their faith or focus on construction projects. Instead, they built relationships between two wildly different cultures, Jones said.

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"It was more about building a foundation rather than opening your mouth and speaking the Gospel," she said.

Jones is studying Christian counseling, which she explained as helping clients find spiritual ways to solve their problems, and described herself as "one of those go-to people" who always wants to help people fix their problems. She said that the trip to Indonesia helped her learn how to really relate to people.

Jones said that in Indonesia, people focus on their families, not themselves, and take life at a slower pace than in America.

"We weren't rushed. There, it's just, 'We're gonna work for a while and then we're going to sit and spend time together,'" she said.

"As Americans, we wanted to get in there and do stuff, but God was teaching it doesn't always take action," Jones said.

Women on the trip covered themselves in long clothes and headdresses out of respect for another culture, Jones said.

"We were immersing ourselves in their culture to show we respect them. It's showing Christ's love in a different way," she said.

Jones said it was nice to be modest.

"Indonesian guys would give us thumbs up and say, 'You guys are beautiful with your headdresses on,'" she said.

She also noticed different religious practices, like praying at specific times every day, she said.

What struck her the most, Jones said, was that everyone the group met in Indonesia had lost someone to the tsunami.

"As bad as we think life is, these people have been through more in 1 1/2 years than we can imagine. Their spirits were so high though, they were still so kind and loving."

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