So, my plan was to fly back to Perth on August 1, 2014 because school would start on August 4. I applied for accommodation on campus few weeks before leaving Perth and was on the waiting list.
I was still on the waiting list until I went back to Indonesia, but I didn’t worry because I still had one month before going back to Perth and I thought someone would move out during that period of time, because it’s a new semester. So I was completely relaxed.
Too relaxed actually, I didn’t make any Plan B because I thought God would prepare for me.
Four days before leaving Indonesia, I emailed my campus and the reply was, “We are still waiting for one lady to decide, if she doesn’t want it, you can have it.”
The next day, I got informed that the lady wanted that unit. They offered me a single room, but I needed a unit for me and my mom. I started to panic. It’s only three days left. I already contacted my previous housemate, he would be happy for me to live there again but his house was full.
I scrolled on Gumtree the whole day but I couldn’t find any house that suited my budget. Even if I was willing to pay more, the landlord usually needed to assess me first. My job, my income, my previous rental experience and reference, etc. It would take time, at least one week. I didn’t look for something fancy. I just needed a place to sleep. Even if it’s small, ugly, I didn’t care. But even for a small, ugly, and unfurnished house, I couldn’t have it.
So after three days I spent like 50 hours looking for somewhere to live, I got nothing at all and I was so depressed. I already felt so burdened to leave my dog and started this new journey without any security in front of me, couldn’t He at least give me a place to live? I had no job and no big saving; it’s okay. But if I didn’t have a place to sleep, what should I do?
I started to question God. I thought God would prepare for me. Suddenly I felt like want to cancel everything and stay in my country. Just cancelled everything. My visa, my school, my flight. Just asked my mom to unpack everything. Silly, hey? But it really came across my mind.
The good thing was I still could think that it’s silly, so I didn’t really do it. One day before departure, my godmom suggested me to live in my high school friend’s house. I didn’t want to live there because it’s so far from my campus (and workplace, if I work at Karrinyup Shopping Centre again). It’s like 3 hours round way, two busses and one train. It’s an exhausting journey. Moreover, we would live with other 7 people who rented in that house, so I was afraid my mom would just stay in the bedroom all day long. But I really had no choice, so I contacted my friend, and he helped me and gave me one bedroom. I only could stay there for one month, because actually that room was not vacant. Oh, and it’s really cheap, thanks to my friend’s kindness.
So yeah, school started, and I was startled. I copy what I wrote in my prayer diary here:
“Today is my first class at PBC. I feel like I don’t belong here. What was I thinking, decided to study here on Master level? Isn’t it too naive, if I say I want to know more about Your words because they are beautiful? But to think critically and do the assignments like a post-graduate student, I am not confident at all. I think even the undergraduate students are doing better than me.”
The problem is, I still think like a bachelor degree student, and it’s just different, the study in my country and here. I would have a lot to catch up and as if I hadn't had limited time, I still had to spend 3 hours everyday to commute? Why didn't God make my life easier? Oh yeah, and I got the job at my old place, so it didn't make sense to travel 3 hours everyday for 4 hours work. I would not have time to study! It's so frustrating! #thisdramaqueenthing
I was such a bad child. I tried to trust His heart. I convinced myself that there must be a reason I couldn't live on campus. But I couldn't. I let disappointment and doubt crept in my heart and ingrained in my mind. It was like the one-week-syndrome that happened during the adjustment, just like last year when I first arrived as I shared here.
But during my grumble, something amazing happened.
My mom kept saying, "Don't worry, we have God. We have Jesus."
I wanted to cry hearing that. It's simply amazing. My mom hasn't accepted Jesus as her Savior. Not because she doesn't want to, she just doesn't understand. For her, there's only one God. God of all religions. God the creator. And yes, she's not wrong.
I just prayed that someday she might understand about salvation, about what Jesus has done for her and for me. That Jesus cares about her, and Jesus provides.
Who knows that here, on our journey together with sweet Jesus, my mom started to hold Jesus' hand?
It's funny how I could say "Jesus provides" but I still worried about providence. I could say "He knows the best" yet I kept thinking that He made a mistake by placing me so far away from my school. I could say "Jesus cares" but I kept feeling that Jesus didn't care of how tired and anxious I was.
So, after seeing my mother's optimism, we started to pray together. Prayed to Jesus. Every night.
We listened to Chinese gospel songs. We read the lyrics, tried to understand the meaning together. Tried to trust Jesus in this uncertainty.
After 10 days, I felt so exhausted again. I hadn't started working yet because I had to do the induction again. I worried again because of this accommodation thing. I had to find somewhere to live in less than 3 weeks. I really wanted to live in North, but it's so expensive. If I rented a room, my mom would be so bored. If I rented a house, my budget was only enough for unfurnished one, which was impossible. But even after I looked for room and unfurnished house, I still couldn't find a place for us. I hated this situation. I hated living in worry. I hated uncertainty.
I let peace be stolen from me again, but I didn't want to tell my godmom because it's the same problem again. Then one morning, my godmom called me and I didn't know how suddenly we talked about this. And I got scolded (in a good way) haha. I felt like the pan bottom thickly covered by burnt grease, which needed to be cleaned by steel brush. It's painful, but I am grateful it's removed.
So, she said there were few things I should pay attention to. First, because I was lazy. That's why I was grumpy to commute 3 hours everyday, instead of being grateful and joyful.
Second, apparently I had a problem with Materialism.
It made me worry, greedy, envious.
I might not realize it before, but after she told me what she saw, I thought "Yes, she's right."
I think I have changed.
I used to be so money-free before, well because my mom was the one who worried about money, not me. I saw how God provided for me when I was in university, I had nothing to fear. I had enough (well sometimes less than enough) but God never let us starve. I was not afraid of poverty (because we survived). I never had excessive money so I was not afraid of losing it. I was so worry-free.
Then I started to earn my own money. Started handling our expenses, started to spend without too much consideration (and it felt good). I started to live with that feeling when I saw my bank account and felt secured.
I started to love money. But I didn't realize. I thought it's just my gratefulness of God's blessing.
Until I came to Australia and earned more, and saw how easy people spent their money. How easy your life is when you have a lot of money. And how hard it is to be poor. I didn't want to suffer again because of not having enough money. I didn't want to go back to those difficult moments. If I had money I could do a lot of things. I could help so many people. That's why the idea of coming back here and going to Bible College took me so long to decide, because I knew what I would face ahead.
That's why I lost my peace and I kept worrying. Because I relied my security on money. On my saving. On certainty. On my own strength. Because I kept seeing things from the wrong perspective. Yes, money solves a lot of problem. Yes, money makes life easier. Yes, money is what we need to save those starving people in Africa. I need money to live, I need money to pay my tuition fee. I need money to buy plane tickets for my mom. I need money to go to doctor if I'm sick.
But if one day something happens to our money, that we may lose it all, what do we have that remains? My lecturer at PBC asked about this, too. Little bits and pieces here and there started to connect each other and slowly I understood what God wanted me to learn.
So yeah, my godmom talked about this for more than two hours, if I held my tears with bucket it would be 3 or 4 buckets full haha. Blame me for being such a crybaby forever, but it's also her specialty to make people cry. LOL. But I was really thankful because I felt like a veil had just been unfold. I kept wondering what's my problem, why I kept worrying and couldn't be peaceful about this. AHA! So this was the root and now after realizing and confessing this, I felt so relieved.
Then I started to accept things gratefully.
The next day, I went to school as usual. Lunch time, I sat beside this girl named Amy. I asked her where she lives, and she asked me where I live. Apparently she lived in a one-bedroom unit on campus, and she was thinking of moving out. So when she knew that I was looking for a place nearby, she said if she moved out, I could move in! But she hadn't decided yet, she was still thinking about it.
WOW! Actually it was too good to be true, so I was excited but I tried to calm myself down and just prayed. I didn't even tell my mom or anyone because it hadn't been confirmed yet.
In the afternoon, Amy met me again on my way to bus stop, she said, "Actually I think I will move to another house nearby, I will pray about this and you should pray about this, too. I think you really can move in, but they say there is a waiting list, so maybe you can ask them about this, I just don't want you to get disappointed."
So yeah, I just kept it for myself and I prayed. I emailed my campus to ask, and the next day I got the answer that I was on the top of the waiting list. Then Amy said that she confirmed she would move, she just hadn't known when, it could be this week or next week. I said I didn't mind. I told my mom and we were so happy!
Then at night, I had to pay my rent and I checked my bank account. My saving was worrying. Hahaha. My mind already said, "It's not enough," but my heart asked, "If your dad is rich and you can ask him to send money, will you worry?" I said, "Of course not!" So my heart said, "Then? Your Dad Jesus is super rich and when you need money He will provide, you can just ask Him, so why you worry?" Then I went to sleep so burden-free.
Amy said it's confirmed that we could move in on August 24. It was three weeks after I arrived in Australia. We moved in on Sunday, and I just knew that there are only FOUR units for one-bedroom. FOUR! Of course it's hard to get! I thought they had ten units, that's why I was so relaxed when I applied before. Hahaha.
So it's such a MIRACLE that I can live here with my mom!
Besides, now I know why God let me wait!
- I hadn't started working yet in my first two weeks here. My rental fee in my friend's house was half of the fee on campus (because it's a room not a unit). So I could save up before I could start earning!
- My campus offers work contract for students to reduce their tuition fee. It's 2,5 hours a week (22 bucks/hour). So it reduces 720 AUD per semester. I already have my work contract, but because Amy doesn't live on campus anymore, I also have to do what she used to do every morning before class starts. So now I have two work contracts! Amy's unit is number 3, where I am living now. If I got the unit before I came here, I would live in unit number 1. So I would not 'replace' Amy and her work contract. Amazing, hey?
- I really like this unit number 3 because of its vintage couches and peach-colored kitchen! Other units don't have this. Haha, it's just me and my silly taste, but God really knows, doesn't He?
- Only because I had this waiting time, I got rebuked about my materialism and ungratefulness. If not, I would never realize it. It's true that God teaches us the best through problems. Because when everything is in the pink, our heart's response is automatically flowery, too. So through this situation I just could see that my faith was so shallow. So worth it, really.
- The most priceless and irreplaceable thing was when my mom showed her faith in Jesus and our time spent together, surrendering our future and hope in Jesus alone. We wouldn't have this moment if God simply gave us what we wanted.
Why is it really good to live on campus?
First, it's only two mins walk to my class.
Second, I have unlimited access to library, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Third, we have our own unit, not room, which means my mom can do whatever she wants to do. And it makes her happy. She can even do gardening.
Forth, it's cheap for a unit! It's half price compared to the furnished houses out there. It's completely and generously furnished we don't need to buy anything! Well, except rice cooker, because they don't eat rice. Haha.
Fifth, it's 2 mins by bus or 25 mins walk to my workplace.
Isn't our God awesome? I will post the pictures after I finish decorating my house, which I still don't know when. I am so excited! I can sense my creative side wants to burst out. Haha.
So, yeah, it was hard for me when I first arrived, and I believed God just shook His head seeing my bad response towards any trial I faced. I just needed to simply believe, that He knows best, and everything is beautiful in His timing, yet I had to disappoint Him so much at first with my attitude. So to conclude this testimony, I learned one thing through my journey before and now:
"It's our heart's response. Just exactly after my heart attitude is right, I start to see how God works. It's not that He can't, or He doesn't want. It's not that He likes to hold something good from us. He just wants a faithful and grateful heart, for us to see miracles, so that His glory may be revealed through our lives. For us to be a man and woman after God's own heart."
Lesson learned. Easy to write now, but it was learned through so much tears. Because of my wrong heart's response, I almost failed to see how loving God is. And no, God hasn't finished with me. Since I started working, I only had 8 to 11 working hours every week. Logically, it's not enough. I wanted to find another job but I couldn't because of my assignments. Logically, I should start to worry. But what's amazing is, I do not worry. Well, maybe not yet. And I don't know what's ahead of me. One thing I know, it will be the next blog post full of miracles of how God provides. See you then!
Perth, September 6, 2014