Kathlyn Dunn Jansen.
We came to know of Kat through my sisters’ friends’ housemate who had asked that we connect with her due to geographical closeness. Kat presently lives in Indonesia, but unfortunately, not in Jakarta. Instead, Kat resides amongst the turquoise bays and luscious trees of Lombok. To those of you who know this place, will certainly agree that visually, its land is beautiful. But if you ask Kat – ‘beautiful’ is not what she knows of the place, and those turquoise bays are certainly not what she sees.
Kat lives in ‘Lapas Mataram’ which in an easier language means ‘Lombok Prison’. She has done so for the past 3 years, and has been living out her “life” sentence surrounded by secure walls and tight boundaries. Her real home is in South Africa in which she was born, and where she had her beautiful young daughter who still lives there today. And it is with desperate hope and humble prayers that one day, she will be returned to these roots.
What Kat did to get there is not the point of this blog. The point of this blog is to share a small part of her story. A story that is certainly not defined by what she did or did not do. But a story that says we all stuff up; we’re all forgiven sinners; and we are certainly not meant to be reminded of our wrong-doing day in and day out.
What life in prison looks like for Kat is a testimony to how strong she is, and how far she’s come. What a life sentence appears to mean is beyond my ability to accurately explain. What I do know, is she is hoping for some proper legal support in order to reclaim her initial prosecution of 20 years. This would see her one day leave Indonesia, and provide a glimmer of hope as she rides out her days.
On Monday the October 12th, Nath left us holidaying in Bali to go meet with her during visitation hours. He was able to sit with her; laugh with her; hear her story; and gift her with practical necessities from people she knows, and ones she doesn’t.
During this time, Kat shared her struggles & her hopes. Her life journey and her spiritual faith. Her joys, her sorrows and her ways of life and living. They were then inadvertently joined by three radical Jesus-loving, supporters-of-Kat, who surprised her with healthy hearty food, and a bad rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. For little did we know, that it was on this day, three years prior (thus her third birthday) - Kat was arrested. We were silently shocked with this timing and the prisoners were silently shocked with the songs ;)
I share this story for two reasons. One to bring awareness about our far-away friend who would love nothing more than for you to remember her in your prayers. Praying prayers for strength. Prayers for hope. Prayers for perseverance. Prayers for joy. Prayers that can keep her spirits high; and prayers than firmly squash down the opposition.
The second reason I write this is to acknowledge you Kat, who I know is reading this. And to remind you that you are worth my time writing and others reading. What is so beautiful about Jesus is He loved you before the world began. He loves you despite knowing where you’d end up. You are his precious child - and despite what you’ve done - He is so pleased with you!
Lastly, I leave you with a verse that brings this whole blog into perspective. In Matthew 25:40 Jesus commands us to care for the ‘…the least of these” – for the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned – He says what you do for them, you do for me. We never went looking for Kathlyn but we sure are glad that we found her.
So if you are ever visiting Lombok for a holiday please let us know and you can drop in on our friend Kathlyn. It might just be the highlight of your trip.
Thanks for reading.