Asia Update #4 – 3.2011

As I am concluding my trip to Indonesia, there are a flurry of thoughts running through my mind. I was in Karawaci for only a day and a half and in Yogjakarta for another 1.5 days. Though my trip out to Indonesia was very short, I was able to see many things that reaffirmed everything that God was doing in this part of the world.

It is always a blessing to see Pastor Andrew and his family. They are doing well as Evangeline is bringing great joy to everyone – she is constantly smiling! I was also very encouraged to see the team from the United States doing well. They are learning how to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty while doing ministry. There are a lot of ups and downs as we serve God. It is not always easy, but it is definitely worth it.

I also enjoyed reconnecting with some old acquaintances, as well as some new people who just started coming out to HMCC-JKT. God is bringing various people to the church, who are slowly understanding the vision and the mission of HMCC.

But the best part of the trip was to go out to Yogjakarta with the missions team. This was the first missions team that was sent out of HMCC-JKT; therefore, not only was it historic but it was a big accomplishment in terms of the vision for Indonesia.

Here are several reflective thoughts from my trip to Indonesia:

1) God is STRENGTHENING the church. It was great worshiping with HMCC-JKT on Sunday. This time around I did not have to preach therefore, I was able to just enjoy everything that was happening in the room. I was struck with the fact that there were many new people in the congregation. A good portion of the new members were students. As the church has been praying for more students, God answered their prayers with open doors to UPH (Universitas Pelita Harapan). I was also encouraged to hear that they will be growing in their leadership team, which will be made up of more Indonesians. The church cultural is slowly being built and people are experiencing God in powerful ways.

2) God is SANCTIFYING His servants. God’s desire is to make His people more holy and more like His Son, Jesus Christ. As the initial honeymoon stage of church planting is slowly fading, now the reality is setting in, as people are dealing with various things in their lives – for some people it is interpersonal relationships and for others it deals with different issues that were not addressed (or at least superficially addressed) in the past. This is the process of purification, which God puts all His children through. It is never pleasant at the time, but it produces fruits that bring glory to God.

3) God is SENDING His people. It has always been our dream to see Indonesians go out and reach other Indonesians. I have always said that we (those from the States) do not make the best missionaries because: a) It takes a long time to learn the language; b) It takes awhile to fully understand and learn the culture; c) It takes some time to get use to the food and way of life. But if you look at the Indonesians who are committed to doing missions, then they don’t have to learn a new language or learn the culture because it comes natural to them. On HMCC-JKT’s first missions trip, it was encouraging to see the reality of this. Half of the team was made up of national Indonesians. I saw how they were able to communicate so freely with the people that we visited in the villages. They knew how to interact with the people and it came very natural. It is my prayer that all the Indonesians in our church will be able to catch a vision and grow a burden to reach their own people in the various islands.

4) God is SOVEREIGN in all things. One difficulty that we faced was trying to enter into a village where we wanted help rebuild houses due to the devastation from Mt. Merapi’s eruption. Towns were literally decimated and many people lost their lives and their possessions. When we arrived in a village called Srunen, we were warmly greeted because a local pastor was able to establish a relationship with one of the elders of the village. But we quickly found out that the door was closing and that we were no longer welcomed by higher level officials because some radical Muslims were afraid that we were going to proselytize (this is a side note, but whenever a religion is controlled by fear then it loses all power to bring forth genuine transformation from the inside out). Once the door was closed, we started praying more desperately before God and seeking His will. In the morning, as we were praying, the Lord gave me this passage in my heart, “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:6-10). After Pastor Andrew had a meeting with some leaders from another village, a door opened up for the team to go in and show the love of Christ. Although, there are times when there seems to be no way, God always makes a way. God is in control and we have trust that He knows what He is doing.

5) God is STRATEGICALLY linking people together. I don’t think we would have been able to enter into various villages without partnering together with local pastors and leaders who are like-minded in bringing the Gospel to the Indonesian people. We are living in a time where we need to link together with people in order to fulfill the Great Commission. In amazing ways, God is bringing Kingdom minded people together. This is when we know that God is up to something big. We, as HMCC want to do our small part in building God’s Kingdom. The more we partner together with other like-minded people, the more we will be able to finish the task of sharing the Gospel to all nations.

Here are some pictures from my short trip to Yogjakarta:

Villages were completely wiped out from the eruption of Mt. Merapi

Half of the team went up to a village to help clean

Other villages devastated by the volcanic eruption

John was getting inspired to cook

We were warmly received by one of the village leaders

The lava came down and swept away villages

We helped in cleaning and preparing houses to be fixed and rebuilt

We cleaned various furniture that were affected by volcanic ashes

We helped make bricks to rebuild houses. It was harder than we thought

One of the few animals that survived. Sorry but I was thinking steak!

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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