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People Need the Lord: Ministry Reports from Indonesia


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Below are four reports Jim sent while on a two-week trip to Indonesia. Please pray now for CCW workers Steve Burchett and Selamab Assefa who have arrived in Ethiopia for ministry in several locations over the next couple of weeks.

Report 1

It’s 4:30 a.m. and we just heard the Muslim call to prayer from the minarets across this part of Bandung, where the people live in darkness. We thought of the demons hovering over the city as we listened to those mingled eerie sounds covering the city like pestilent spiritual smog.

I used to sing a simple song entitled, “People need the Lord.” How true this seems this morning.

We prayed together for you all and many of you individually. We also prayed that God would double, or triple (or multiply even more) the effect of those who teach the truth here in this place. That’s what “power” is and it is what kingdom-driven people need.

Our trip was looooong (24 hours), but so good in many ways. We sat next to “Bill,” who was an older NY banker traveling back to his country on personal business. We shared true things with him. We gave him a book, which he began to read on the plane.

I also visited with a young researcher who is trying to figure out what he is to do. He tried pre-med, but decided against it. In the meantime he is flying to Vietnam just for the adventure. I talked with about the absolute necessity of starting with the God of the universe in making his choices. He was open to my suggestion.

We have been enjoying Matt Glass, the HeartCry leader here in this slice of the globe. We had worked together in India. Last evening we had supper with his beautiful family in one of those outdoor restaurants that seem to be everywhere. Our first ministry to the church in his home begins today. We will spend the day with those believers.

Pray for us. Our 3-day HeartCry Conference begins Tuesday. Jordan and Anna are a great blessing and will help in interacting, along with Pam, today. Jordan will be sharing in some of the teaching this week. One of them will speak in our meeting today before I teach. Who knows what the day will bring? I hope we can answer many questions.

Now, back to sleep for a short nap before breakfast.

Report 2

We crept through the two-lane traffic after our conference today. It was smothering, to say the least. I joked about how much better the congestion will be in ten years. But actually it is no joke at all. You already have the feeling that this city has two or three times the people it was designed for. People and cars and motorcycles are everywhere. You cannot escape. It takes courage to live buried in a teeming termite mound called a third-world metropolis. BUT . . . each soul is precious to God, and each woman or man dreams of better things. The only “better thing” however, is Christ. Please pray for the believers here. May God bring great effects to their words and lives.

Pam and I are sleep deprived, but persevering. I hope Jordan and Anna are doing a little better. Last night, Pam was awake at 1:30 a.m. but I made it to 3:00 a.m, the longest I’ve slept yet. OK , we went to bed at 8:30 p.m. Sitting on the bed, we worked on the next day’s teaching, then I took a nap and got up to shower. “It doesn’t take long to get a full night’s sleep around here.”

There are about twenty present each day for our conference. They seem excited to learn. Jordan is really encouraging us with an exposition on a Psalm to start each day. Today was Ps 22. I love that.

Pam and Anna are having worthwhile conversations with the women. This kind of thing seems so important in God’s way of spreading truth and life. Who knows what will make the biggest impact. God does his work in mysterious ways and usually surprises us about what he makes most effective. This is humbling but so true.

I’m teaching the rest of each day. God is using it, I believe. I do feel badly that they must listen to me so much of the time, but they have also persevered. And I believe it has been valuable for them.

Pray for us. We have one more conference day, a Friday evening teaching time, then a 6 a.m. flight on Saturday to Malang for another conference and some church meetings.

Report 3

We’ve been without Internet for the last few days . . . but what interesting days they have been.

We finished our ministry in Bandung by leading a mini Bible Intensive. We attempted to teach some Bible study methods that they seemed to be excited about in a genuine way.

We’re now in Malang, another city of endless shops and motorcycles. To our surprise, we got to speak to about 15 Christian leaders the first evening. We walked through Hebrews 1 and 2. It seemed to strike the target for their lives.

The next day we found out that we were to address 400-500 college students. We arrived by Indonesian “rubber time” 30 minutes late. They were quietly sitting on the floor in a gymnasium. I tried to lay out the cost of discipleship for them. We also entertained questions. This seemed to be an important event for these students who come from various islands such as Papua.

On Sunday morning prior we got to teach on Ps. 82 to a house church. It all felt so New Testament and authentic.

We’re at the training center outside of Malang a couple of hours. We expect 40-50 church leaders tomorrow and Wednesday. Please pray for this opportunity.

After this conference we head back to spend a night in Malang and one in Jakarta before catching our flight home. We love you all.

Report 4

We’re leaving for home in just a few hours . . . Up at 2:30 a.m., then off by taxi at 3:15 a.m., and in the air at 6:15 a.m. Twenty- four hours later, we’ll be in KC, via Tokyo and Chicago. This last short respite at the CMA guesthouse is so appreciated.

I hear the clicking sound of Geckos who roam the walls for insects. Indonesians love them and let them eat all they want.

Our experiences in Malang, East Java were memorable. We stayed with a great couple, spoke in a sound house church, and to student leaders from the college on Sunday. I addressed about 400 students at the college the next morning, all seated on the floor of the badminton courts.

That afternoon we drove into a rural area to a training center for Brethren leaders. The next two days Jordan and I talked through details of church life. The questions came from these 30+ men on the Lords Supper as a meal, how elders are chosen, what missionaries do and who should be called one, and more subjects. The men buzzed about other issues we presented. Many expressed their appreciation and agreed to look carefully into their beliefs and practices related to these alien colonies called local churches.

Every morning at 4:00 a.m. we heard the droning warble of the Muslim clerics from their lofty minarets. I’m unimpressed. However, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous will run into it and be safe.” I’m very impressed with Him, the name above all names.

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