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2 It was an International Experience

How do you transform a gymnasium into an International Market Place?

Is it even possible? Why would you want to? They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so I will show you with a few photos, “how” we did just that. And the “why”? It was our church’s (Pine Castle United Methodist Church) annual mission’s weekend called GIC or Global Impact Celebration. Kelly and I co-chaired the event with our Missions Pastor and many, many other volunteers.

Friday night was to be a world affair banquette with the movie “Peace Child,” and Sunday would feature our guest speaker, missionary and author – Don Richardson, followed by an Expo display of the missionaries and outreach ministries which our church supports.

First the expo draping went up to help disguise and soften the gymnasium walls. Tables were skirted in preparation for the Sunday Expo and stored to be used on Sunday. (Thanks Jeff for providing these for us!)

Backdrops from the Children’s department added color and definition to our ‘international’ theme. (Lee holds the ladder for Stephaney.)

Round tables were decorated (by a small army) for the banquet (thanks to Eleanor and her team). We were going for a South American ‘fiesta’ look with bright colors that popped, and colorful helium balloons to fill the dead space above the tables.

The perimeter of the gym would feature the International Market Place, displaying cultural artifacts and trinkets from around the world. Here Connie and Jeanette discuss how the Africa market will look.

An African ‘Safari’ look was the finished product (thanks Jeanette).

From Africa we transition into South America. Bright, happy and fun colors draws one into this village scene that could easily be Mexico or even Guatemala.

South America came alive thanks to Kim, Sondra & their team.

Next, we move into our Asian market (above and below photos).

This area included , China, Thailand, Myanmar and the country near and dear to my heart, Indonesia (two photos above), and the Marshal Islands & Japan (as seen below)

The Island Nations (above)

Stephaney and I are smiling because the work is done and we still have a half hour to change our clothes before the banquet starts.

Now, just add ‘people’, and let the festivities  begin.

Volunteers like Marilyn and Liz served close to 200 people.

Our school chef, Patrick (in the black hat), outdid himself with an international meal that was amazing…from the pita bread & hummus to the couscous and adobo chicken with rice and more.

With the tables cleared, it’s now time to “let the program begin”. Kelly was the MC and the program began with a dramatic video of “Peace Child.”

It’s Don Richardson’s story of a primitive tribe of cannibals in Irian Jaya (Papua, Indonesia). The Sawi people honored & practiced treachery and betrayal and thus in the Gospel story (to Don’s dismay), chose Judas over Jesus as a hero. But hidden within their cultural, Don found a practice that would point them back to Jesus. It was the tradition of a ‘Peace Child.” When the chief’s only infant son was exchanged with the warring tribe for peace, Don was able to point them to Jesus, the perfect Peace Child. (Link to YouTube clip of Peace Child)

On Sunday, the round tables are replaced with the expo tables holding the displays put up by our missionaries. The missionaries line up in front of their tables waiting for the church members to enter.

Church members use their passports (found in their bulletin) to enter the expo and participate in the prize drawing later. They fill the aisles as they talk to the 40 some ministries attending and supported by PCUMC.

Some of our missionaries were unable to attend so church members volunteered to “represent” that person and share their ministry with others. Here, Jo shares with this couple about Suzanne’s work in Africa.

Our Guest Speaker, Don Richardson and his wife Carol join us at the Expo with their book table. (Books by Don Richardson: Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child, Lords of the Earth, Secrets of the Koran, Acting Without Agony and Unhidden)

And finally, a photo of Kelly standing in front of our Expo table, sharing about our ministry with fellow church member, Armand. (Kelly is wearing his Indonesian batik shirt and a black felt cap, or peci, as the Indonesians call it.)

Mission Accomplished

One of our goals was to create an atmosphere that would help make missions more touchable for the people.  The encouraging part was the great turn out of volunteers helping bring it all together.  It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it. It was a fun time for all.

6 Wedding Anniversary and Ossobuco

Fifteen years ago today, Kelly and I were celebrating our 25th silver wedding address with about 100+ Indonesians. We had purchased 100+ individual slices of cake to give to our fellow Indonesian church members at the end of the service. You see, we were following their custom, where the person having a birthday or anniversary throws a celebration party for all their friends. If you go out to dinner with your friends for your birthday, YOU pick up the tab for everyone. We had only been there for 6 months and could barely speak the language, but honoring customs transcends any language. It was one of those memorable moments for us.


So, if that was our 25th anniversary 15 years ago, that makes today our “40th anniversary”. How great is that! The two of us thinks it’s pretty great. If you look at us 40 years ago, you can see that we were “just kids”, and we don’t feel a year over 39 today.

June 7, 1969

June 7, 1969

Today after church, we went to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate. We ignored our diet for one day and ordered Ossobuco…it is so delicious that it melts in your mouth, and is well worth the splurge.



Have you ever had this meal? It’s a meat, potato and gravy person’s delight. Here is their description:

OSSOBUCO: Marinated Pork Shank Slow Cooked Until Fabulously Tender. Served with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy and Vegetable of the Day

We enjoyed our meal and reminisced over our previous anniversary memories, like the one mentioned above. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be blessed to share another 40 years together…if we live to be 100.


Tuesday evening, July1, the ACMC team meetings were winding down. (See previous posting for that story.) It was late (7:00 PM) as Kelly and I returned home for the evening to pack for our trip the next day to Tennessee. Our flight on Wednesday was early afternoon, giving us ample time to have breakfast with the team and still see them off for their flights home.

Imagine our surprise that evening when our phone rang and I heard a familiar voice say, “Ibu Connie, ini Ibu Hanna.” Two of our best friends from Indonesia, Ardian & Hanna were here in Orlando, with their son Ken, for a 4-day convention.

Kristanto and McClellands July 2008

In spite of their having just arrived and being tired from a “long” trip, they came that evening to visit with us. What a joy to catch up on their news and reminisce over old times. The last time we saw them was on our last day in Indonesia in 2004. They had come to say goodbye as Kelly and I moved back to the US due to Kelly’s health (photo below).

Kristantos goodby to McClellands 2004

Ardian and Hanna are one of the godliest couples we know, and they have 3 great kids. We were friends, neighbors and co-workers in the ministry. They were always there for us when we needed them, most notably was the time during our first year in Indonesia. It was Sept. of 1994. Kelly had some serious chest pain, but thought he was ok. He wasn’t. Kelly had experienced a heart attack and Ardian was instrumental in helping save his life by talking him into going to the hospital.

Kristanto and McClellands July 2008 close up

Their son Ken, graduated this year from Ohio State. During his junior year, Ken stayed over at our house, here in Orlando, while doing an internship at Disney World. Their 2 daughters also attended OSU, with the oldest graduating from there 3 years ago. Jessica married this summer and Janet will be back in the US this fall to continue her schooling.