Dispatches: Indonesia 2018
Sunday, June 10
Monday, June 11
Our little team with an Indonesian worker: What’s wrong with this picture? There are only four laborers. Many more are needed!
After we learned that Americans wouldn’t be welcomed among the unreached people group we were surveying, we wondered: “What can we do here?” The director of the ministry serving several UPGs on the island we visited told us, first of all, we can pray (and lead others in prayer) for the work there. Second, we can come and encourage the indigenous laborers. Finally, we CAN trek through the mountains and villages as tourists. We can be fire starters.
We returned to our State-side homes late this afternoon (local time) ending an interesting, unusual, challenging, enlightening short-term mission. God revealed new ways for us to work (both in Nepal and elsewhere), drew us deeper in our personal relationships with Him, and again showed us that one crucial role we play is as encouragers for those behind the enemy's lines. It is our prayer that the words God gives us to speak will inspire more people to serve among the majority of this population that is lost.
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” - John 4:35 (NIV)
We were invited by our C4C Indonesia leader to preach at his home church in Jakarta. Fittingly, the church's theme this year has been “Go and Make Disciples.” It was our prayer, as we tag-teamed the teaching in all three services, that God would use us to encourage the church to fulfill the Great Commission in this country.
We talked about an unreached people group we surveyed and no one in the congregations had heard of them. This is a problem. But with almost one-third of the nearly 800 people groups in Indonesia considered unreached, it isn’t surprising. There is work to be done and too few workers willing to GO and do it.
We focused on this in a message called, “Run to the Battle.” The teaching was based on 1 Samuel 17 and the shepherd boy David’s slaying of Goliath. “When Goliath started forward,” it says in 1 Samuel 17:48, “David ran toward him.” David ran to the battle. This was our message to the church: Run to the battle!
We also examined how the Good Shepherd goes to the mountains looking for the lost sheep (Matthew 18:11-13). We encouraged our brothers and sisters to run to the battle, run to the mountains, run to the lost sheep. We prayed the prayer of John 20:21-22 on the church.
We were honored to share with this church of about 1,200, which is known for its ministry in Jakarta and to far-off islands. We look forward to serving alongside them in the mountains where the Spirit is directing us to GO.
Following worship and fellowship, including some time with brothers who have been with us since our first trip here in 2007, we prepared for the long flights back to the States. We have 30 hours of flying scheduled. As we leave we will be praying for the Muslim population on this, the “Night of Power,” a time when many holy moments (prayerfully divine interventions) are known to happen. May God have His way with these people, and may many of those lost sheep soon be found in the loving care of our Shepherd.
Saturday, June 9
We prepared to preach in the three services at our C4C Indonesia leader’s church on Sunday. We will encourage the church in its year-long study, “Go and make disciples.” There are many to GO to in Indonesia. We are praying for an army of workers to serve the Lord of the harvest.
Friday, June 8
We flew off the island where we were doing our UPG survey and returned to Jakarta. Our C4C Indonesia leader’s family picked us up at the airport and we enjoyed dinner together.
We have learned (again) during this trip to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Focusing this day on Romans 8:28-29 as we pursue the promptings of the Spirit for this place.
Thursday, June 7
Lunch spread: (left to right) cabbage salad, fish, traditional coffee, chicken, rice, and hot sauce.
We were highly honored to be invited to visit the home of our Muslim driver and to be hosted for lunch. To be welcomed into a home among this UPG means you have been accepted and are a part of the family. Further, we asked if we could pray before eating and we were given permission. The name of “Jesus” was spoken in a part of the island that is closed to Christ.
Our C4C Indonesia leader shared some more about the differences in the driver’s religion and our faith as we traveled back across the island. We paused to enjoy a beautiful beach and also stopped to watch sea-weed fishermen at work.
Returning to the big city on the island, we were able to meet a brother from the global network of MUPG ministries we are part of. We had attended an international gathering together last year. When he heard then about a climbing ministry he was excited because “we don’t have anyone going to the mountains. We’ll leave the mountains to you.”
We prayed with and for this brother, who directs the island-wide ministry in a place where persecution and spiritual warfare are intense. Please pray for the work being witnessed here and for the need for kingdom laborers.
“He said to his disciples, ‘A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers.’” - Matthew 9:37 (CEV)
Wednesday, June 6
We toured the island’s highland (or at least one of several mountainous areas) although rain clouds blotted out most of our views. It is harvest time for rice so the fields were full of workers, a stark contrast to the work we are doing where the laborers are few.
We met with one local worker who has served for three years among the UPG we are surveying. He shared about the people, who would NOT welcome us because they were outraged by Americans who came to translate the Bible into their language 20 years ago. This worker, who serves with one other Indonesian, has led 10 individuals to Christ. He said there are about 200 believers in the people group.
We prayed for him and will continue to lift his hard work to the Lord of the harvest.
Tuesday, June 5
We flew a couple of hours to another island and were picked up at the airport by the Muslim driver we hired. He is from the local tribe, who are an unreached people group. And we get to spend four days with him! We prayed for open doors of opportunity, and God provided immediately. Thank You, Father.
We then drove for several hours, as night fell, into the Highlands of this part of the island. We are here to survey a neighboring UPG. As we stopped for the night, our C4C Indonesia leader observed: “I think it’s 100 percent Muslim here.” That's why we came.
One other powerful observation was made by one of our team as our plane prepared to land. We entered a storm cloud. “We're descending into darkness” was the comment. The moment was not lost on any of us.
“The people who walk in darkness, will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” - Isaiah 9:2
Monday, June 4
More down time. This can be (and has been) frustrating. “What are we waiting for?!” But we have learned it’s not “what,” but Who. We have concluded that God brought us here, on the opposite side of the world from the comforts and distractions of home, plopped us in the middle of the planet's largest Muslim population, and put us on hold.
At first we thought of this as inactivity - and ours is a GO-GO-GO ministry. But we are not inactive. God is taking us deeper and deeper still. He is guiding us on a walk that may transform HIS ministry (if WE don't mess it up). So join us in prayer as we walk with Him and He shows us the way. Tomorrow, we travel to another island and another people, expectantly, asking for open doors of opportunity. HIS will be done.
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12 (ESV)
Sunday, June 3
The highlight of our day was news (and photos) from Board member Michele Hoffman that she had given birth Saturday to a baby boy. We thanked God from half a world away for this gift to Michele and her husband Henry.
For us, it was a day of rest. We spent most of our time in personal Bible study as our C4C Indonesia leader oversaw his church’s leadership training for a third and final day. He taught on a subject near and dear to our hearts, “Go and Make Disciples.” His church is active in this area - as all churches should be. The Great Commission is not just the calling of a few, but a command from Jesus for every one of His followers.
Saturday, June 2
Another day of seemingly endless travel. This is a holiday weekend, celebrating the 73rd anniversary of Pancasila (Indonesia’s ideology based on the “belief in One Almighty God, humanism, nationalism, democracy, and social justice”). As a result, the West Java highways have been choked with vehicles, often passing each other on the shoulders of the roads. We returned from visiting brothers and sisters living as a dramatically religious minority to a church training event organized outside of Jakarta by our C4C Indonesia leader.
Friday, June 1
Mr. Dodo looks for his name in the Bible.
We made the long drive deep into West Java to visit a hill village where we have ministered since 2007. Along the way we stopped to see a pastor friend who restarted his church 12 years after Muslims forcibly closed his old house of worship. He has 50 believers in the new, month-old church. Our friend joined us to go into the hills, where he’s been working in five villages between pastoring those urban churches.
Our destination was a lone family of believers we have visited many times. The family, which lives and loves Jesus among the country’s largest unreached people group, asked us to share the Word with them. We tag-teamed a message of encouragement (based on Psalm 61, John 17:15-18, 20-21 and Matthew 5:14-16) and prayed for the family.
Mr. Dodo, the family patriarch who was overjoyed to learn that his name appears five times in the Bible, said his faith had been strengthened by our short visit. We told him and his family they are thought of and prayed for often.
“From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.” - Psalm 61:2-3 (NLT)
Thursday, May 31
We landed in Jakarta before dawn after 30-plus hours of travel and were met by two of our C4C Indonesia brothers. The tentative itinerary was almost immediately revised. A study Bible application read on one of the flights prepared us for the changes in planning. It was called “God Determines the Means,” and it said: “Your job is active faith.” Show up obediently, trusting the Lord, and He’ll let you be a part of something amazing. “His job is the work of deliverance.”
We met after lunch with someone who has been on the front lines of God at work. A former Imam now in our brothers’ church, he has been a part of discipling and baptizing thousands of MBBs in the last three years. He said he never imagined such growth. That’s because it was a God-sized dream.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” - Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30
Our U.S. team members are traveling to Indonesia. We left early Tuesday afternoon local time and are scheduled to arrive Thursday morning. Praying our long flights are uneventful, knowing God has gone before us.
Nearly one-third of the people groups living in Indonesia are considered unreached. But those 228 unreached people groups (UPGs) account for nearly two-thirds of the population (about 165 million of the country’s 262 million). That means there are millions of people living on Indonesia’s hundreds of inhabited islands who are waiting to hear the Good News.
Our prayer is for the church to boldly proclaim and demonstrate the love that has been given to them. Even in the face of harsh opposition.
Budi, our Indonesia leader, says that he has a burden for all people in his country to know the truth. He quotes 1 Timothy 2:4, where we are told God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (NLT). “Since I was born again, I got a vision of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20),” Budi said. “With our body of Christ, cell group, church, I’ll go and make disciples everywhere and in every nation.” He and his estimated 33 million brothers and sisters can begin in their own nation, where we now GO for the fifth time.
We will revisit an area where we first met a lone family of believers in 2007 and then survey a new island region in which a mountain UPG resides. This group is entirely Muslim, but three-quarters of those followers continue to practice animism.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” – John 15:7-8 (ESV)