Immersion is a unique program designed speciﬁcally for middle school students which includes spiritual growth and development, cultural immersion, and opportunities to serve. During Spring Break 2019, YISS middle schoolers took part in the 12th Immersion trip to the Telunas Beach Resort in Indonesia.
Immersion 2019 was an amazing journey full of new experiences, challenges, and victories for 50 middle school students and 13 chaperones. The journey began on March 22 with a bus ride to Incheon airport. About 24 hours later, and after experiencing all modes of transportation including plane, bus, foot, and boat, the team arrived safely at Telunas Beach, Indonesia.
The private beach became the Immersion team’s home for the next week, and the students and staff relished in its beauty and in the opportunity to spend time swimming, dock jumping, swinging in hammocks, playing volleyball, tossing a football, building sandcastles, burying friends in the sand, and building new friendships. Though the activities were fun and enjoyable, they were not what Immersion was all about.
Immersion was about learning to serve others, to have compassion for others, and to see and meet the needs of others the way Jesus would have. Team members spent three days in two different Indonesian villages. While in both villages, the Immersion team helped construct new walkways. This meant having to learn how to mix and lay cement. The task was difficult, and the sun and heat were intense, yet, the students worked hard with little complaining to complete the task. They hauled sand, water, and rocks, and they used tools to mix the cement until it was the perfect consistency for building a sidewalk.
Each day, the residents of the village treated team members to delicious Indonesian snacks and lunch. Everyone enjoyed the experience of sitting together on the floor of an Indonesian home while eating tasty rice, fish, and vegetables. The highlight of the time spent in the villages was the opportunity to get to know the people who lived there. The YISS middle school students enjoyed making crafts and playing games with the children; the new friendships forged between the YISS students and these children will not be forgotten.
There were many tears shed when it was time to say goodbye. On the last evening at Telunas, the team shared with one another the ways in which they had been impacted during Immersion. It was inspiring to hear students share how they had faced fears and challenges and had overcome them. While each person on Immersion had his/her own experiences and was challenged in different ways, the fact is that everyone was impacted by the journey for the better.