An evangelist brings light to remote Indonesia

By May 5, 2008

Indonesia (MNN) — Partners
International
is working with an evangelist in a part of Indonesia that's known
for its hostility toward Christians. 

Wati, as we're calling her,
realized very few of the remote islands of Indonesia had access to the
Gospel. She had a heart for these people who were
struggling with poverty and began bringing aid to some of the villages.

Initially, the reception was
hostile, and Wati's life was threatened many times by local Muslim leaders. But the villagers wanted her help, and some
wanted to hear what she had to say. It
was a time for preparing the soil, but not a time to plant or harvest.

That changed after the tsunami
hit in 2004. Because the remote islands
were nearly ignored with the relief efforts, they cried out to Wati, and she
responded.

But their needs burdened her. Her faithful testimony and her love opened
more doors for her to share the Gospel, and many responded.  

Then came nurture. Wati says, "I prayed 'Who will lead them,
Lord?' God said, 'YOU must train and send.' Then I started the seminary, and I
asked Lord, 'Make me one to preach and have thousands listen to the Gospel'
because so many people hunger for the Lord, but there is no opportunity for
them. God answered again by the
radio." 

Partners International strengthened
her ministries by helping her train and send church planters to unreached
people groups. These workers gain trust
by living "incarnationally" in unreached communities, initiating holistic
projects that help meet pressing community needs (such as clean water,
medicine, and school buildings), and eventually planting culturally-appropriate
churches.

As nominal Christians became
believers, there was still a struggle to disciple them in high Muslim
areas. "All of them hate their
neighbors. They say, 'They're evil! They
persecute us so much!' I said, 'No, you
must love them. If you hate them, you're
the same, and that's why you must love them.' 'How can we love them?'  and then by the Bible, we teach them what Jesus
taught His people: 'Be light in the
darkness.'"

As the Christians became more
grounded in their faith, the persecution became less of a hindrance to
outreach. Today, there's a church-planting ministry with a two-fold goal: to
build up Christians who are struggling to maintain their faith under increasing
persecution, and secondly, to plant churches among Muslims.

Besides training Christian
leaders through the ministry's Bible school, Wati and her team produce
Christian radio programs, follow up listener contacts, and go regularly to
remote villages to encourage believers and share the Gospel with non-believers.

 

 

 

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