Indonesia Update – March 10, 2019
While we were in Soe, we didn’t have wifi, so here is the update for the last several days of the trip.
Wednesday, March 6 – We started in Denpassar, Bali. After breakfast, we leave for the airport for a late-morning flight to Kupang, Indonesia. As we make our way to the airport we can see the city preparing to celebrate Ogoh Ogoh and the Day of Silence. We pass by many images made for the purposes of warding off demons.
Day of Silence – Images like the one above were lining the streets. It was a good thing we were flying out of Bali today, because they were already shutting down roads in preparation of the Day of Silence. For a whole day, they shut the city down.
Everyone, except emergency personnel are to remain where they are. All business shut down, including all transportation. They even shut down the internet on the island. It is a forced day of reflection about whether you are a good person or not.
Kupang – The flight to Kupang took about an hour and a half. We arrived around mid-day. We had lunch with Pastor Yusuf and got to hear his story of how God used him to start a church in his hometown of Kupang. He is very active on Social media here and it is helping him reach people all around his city and Indonesian people around the world.
Soe – After lunch we made the two and a half hour drive to Soe. It was a beuatful drive through some lush countryside. Soe is a couple of thousand feet hugher in elevation than Kupang and so the weather is dramtacially different – much cooler. It will get into the 80’s, but it should be tolerable.
We arrived at the STT Soe training facility at about 5 pm. This is where I will spend the next several days. There are about 85 students from a nearby Bible College here for a class in the book of Revelation. At the beginning of the class I asked how many of the students had read the book of Revelation. About five of the eighty-five students had. I was about to share something with them that was brand new. That is pretty exciting to me.
The first two sessions went from 7 to 9 pm. The students were very engaged and asked good questions after each session. It will be interesting to see how their questions change as the course continues. It is clear from their questions that they are not being taught these dotrines in their churches. Hopefully this will give them a strong foundation to build from.
March 7 – Thankfully, I got a good night’s sleep. As I sit here in the cool and sun shining, the birds are singing their songs of God’s praise. I can hear the students moving around and there is a general sense of joy and peace in the air. The class resumes at 8 am and will go until 9:30 pm.
Paster Randy and Debbie and Pastor Brandon will be leaving about the time I start the class to dedicate the water well project we are involved with in the area.
We did four sessions before lunch and it seems to be going well. Benny, my translator and I seem to be working very smoothly. Benny is a gifted speaker in his own right. Occassionally, I encourage him to share something with the class and you can sense the presence of the Holy Spirit as he does. I am truly blessed to have him here with me.
At lunch, the team returned and shared about their visit to dedicate the water well project as well as their visits to two local orphanges, one that CCFV has supported for years as well as one that the Lord might be leading us to get involved with. Pastor Randy said he would write an update about that part of the trip. They left about 1 pm to go back to Kupang. From there they will fly back to Bali for a day of ministry and to celebrate Pastor Brandon’s daughter Joy’s 4th birthday, and then on to Jakarta where Pastor Randy will teach on Sunday morning. So for now it is just Benny and me.
The rest of the day went very smoothly. It is a pretty grueling schedule but the Holy Spirit is giving me the strength I need to do what He brought me here to do. We finished about 9 pm. During the night there were some pretty intense thunderstorms. It is the end of the rainy season here, so, that was expected.
Friday, March 8, 2019
Woke up this morning and I am feeling pretty good after teaching for ten hours yesterday. We have that same schedule planned for today, so I am praying for an extra measure of God’s grace to be able to give to these young people what they need to better serve the Lord.
The weather here in Soe is pretty nice. The temperature is about 80 degrees and the humidity is at least 80%, but there is usually a slight breeze that makes it pretty comfortable. The place where I am teaching is open to the environment.
About halfway through our late-afternoon session a huge thunderstorm rolled in. I noticed a couple of the students looking outside and pointing. As I looked you could see what looked like a curtain of water moving rapidly toward us. Within a couple it was pourring rain and the wind was blowing the rain well into the meeting place. So, we had to relocate to a room that was about half the size it needed to be to accomodate the number of students. But, by God’s grace we got through the session and the students were still in high spirits.
In the evening sessions it started to become clear that several of the students were struggling with some of the doctrinal things I was saying. These students come from churches from all over the area, so it is not surprising that there would be things that I was saying that they had been taught differently in their churches. I shared with them that I was sharing what I believed, based on my studies in the Scriptures, was truth. I told them I was aware that they came from churches that may have taught them different things, whish they believed to be the truth. I encouraged them as Bible students to study the Word for themselves and be convinced in their own hearts what was true. Please pray that the ones who were struggling would study the Word to know that what they believe is true.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
This morning we will finish the study of Revelation in two two-hour sessions. Before we started we arranged to get the group-picture below. When we announced it the evening before, everyone seemed to be very excited.
Benny shared with me that many of them were wearing their best clothes. This was an important thing for them. Benny is to my immediate right in the photo.
After we took this image above, a couple of the students asked to take pictures with me. This turned into a twenty-minute frenzy of picture taking. It remnded me how significant it was that I was there. To me, it simply one of the ways that God can use me to glorify Him, bless others, and grow faith, theirs and mine. But to them, someone from America cared enough about them to travel a great distance and at great expense to pour into them. Sometimes our simple acts of faithful service bless others much more than we can imagine.
We finished the last session right before lunch. After lunch we made the two and a half hour drive from Soe back to Kupang. One of the directors of the Bible College asked if she could ride with us to Kupang. As we drove she asked several questions about faith and ministry and it was a blessing to pour into this woman who was serving God by raising up others who will serve God. At one point she shared a deep personal challenge she was having with a friend and I was able to share some words of hope and encouragement with her. That drive was a divine appointment. When I insisted that we take her to her destination in Kupang, which just seemed like the right thing to do, she visibly moved by the gesture. Again, sometimes even the smallest of good can result in great blessing to others.
During dinner in Kupang I was able to pour into Benny and Piter (another servant of STL International). So far it has been a busy but fruitful trip.
Tomorrow morning I teach at a local church and in the evening I will teach at the Shine Fellowship, which is a ministry of STL International.
Until next time, have a radical walk with Jesus.