Two Part Interview with Andrew Jun, Lead Pastor of Harvest Mission Community Church (HMCC) Indonesia
Andrew Jun is a graduate of the University of Illinois and also University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He now lives in Jakarta with his wife and three kids and is the pastor of two church plants in Jakarta and Karawaci. Andrew is on the Indonesian board of Resource Global in Jakarta.
Tommy: Andrew, it’s been more than five years now since you moved to Jakarta. Can you talk to me about what life in Jakarta or Indonesia is compared to life in US? Similarities, differences, things that.
Andrew: A long time missionary was describing life in Jakarta to me when we first moved there and he said the difference between Jakarta and the US is the same difference as Jakarta and everywhere else in Indonesia. So it’s quite unique compared to other places in Indonesia because you have so many of your modern conveniences. Actually some things are even more modern than in the US…the malls and things like that are all very highly developed and really really nice.
But really Jakarta is full of contrasts. You have some places that are just amazing and modern. And then you have some places that are very developing and can be very frustrating because you just can’t expect to have things run as efficiently as in the US. So we have to deal with regular things like traffic and different things concerning the weather and other things. As well as because it’s kind of island culture, everything just runs a lot slower. There’s something called *jim-kar-et* which is translated as rubber time, which is everything is flexible, nothing is really, like, on a tight schedule, so we have to be really flexible about what we can accomplish in a day, or who we’re going to be meeting at what time. We just always have to be flexible.
Tommy: Andrew, one of the things I’ve also experienced in Jakarta is the fact that being flexible means sometimes people will cancel out on you or reschedule on you. Is that just a way of life and how culture is?
Andrew: In Jakarta everyone is on the go and there is probably many different variables going on, factors going on in a person’s daily life, that they can have multiple meetings or have a previous meeting and it will go way over and they just have to cancel the meeting after or something like that. So it’s like operating in New York City, with the infrastructure, you know?
Tommy: Yeah, and you mentioned traffic. When people think, wow, California is bad traffic; Atlanta, Chicago is bad traffic, that traffic in the US is nothing compared to Jakarta, right?
Andrew: Yeah that’s right. I mean usually it will take me about 45 minutes to get into the city center. Without any traffic that’s what it should take. But it will take anywhere between an hour and half, two hours, maybe even three hours if traffic is bad. I kind of look at it like this. In the US you can run multiple errands on a single trip, like you’ll stop by at one place and then you’ll go to Target and you’ll go somewhere else and the library. But really here in Jakarta you don’t run errands like that. If you can make it to one place and run one errand in a day, you’ve had a pretty good day, you accomplished something, but never more than one errand in a day unless you’re planning on spending all day running errands. You’re lucky and productive if you have two meetings squeezed in.
Tommy: One of the things I also realized and you’ve taught me is family obligations and work life is actually very important and interrupts ministry and some of the things you can do.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s correct. I mean because people in Jakarta, their working life is so packed Monday through Friday and oftentimes bleeds into the weekends. The weekend time, Saturdays and Sundays, are really important to family time and it’s very guarded time to spend with family, even though sometimes it isn’t like meaningful interaction or meaningful conversation. It’s just kind of the Asian mindset of just being present, and being together is an accomplishment. So people are really held to those obligations and younger people really want to honor their family or have a lot of pressure to honor their family obligations.
Tommy: As a pastor, how have you found what’s been effective for you to disciple these people and to really care for them? Has it just been spending time or building relationships with them? What’s important in doing ministry in Jakarta?
I think it’s being really patient, kind of picking and choosing your battles and discipling people through issues rather than discipling people to make one decision or two decisions or something like that. It’s really helping them follow Christ and knowing that sometimes people will fail or disappoint you and other times you know they’ll be learning and they’ll be making good decisions and healthy decision. So I think it’s just a lot of patience and trying to instill principles into people in which case it will not always be a linear and a smooth process for people. It’s going to be a very up and down thing.