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Indonesian Testimony – Part 3

img_1902I’ve been posting about what I saw and learned on my recent vision trip to Indonesia with a group of ministers. We went to see how Boston area churches could get involved in what God is doing there.

So far I talked about what happened in the big city of Medan on the western side of Sumatra. Halfway through the trip, we took a one-hour plane ride to the eastern side. We stayed in the town of Sibolga.

We were now in a part of Sumatra that few Westerners get to see. Let me give you an idea of what I mean. The 15 mile ride from the airport to the town took one full hour because of the conditions of the road.

Sibolga is a small town on the edge of the mountains. As a matter of fact, the first thing we did when we got there was to take the road into the mountains. There was a special site we wanted to get to.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the roads we took looked like something taken from National Geographic magazine. They were narrow, winding roads, barely clinging to the sides of the mountain.

Two hours later we arrived at our destination. It was the place where the first missionaries to Sumatra (who were sent from Boston) were killed by the local Batak tribe. The Batak people now look back on that event with guilt and sadness. They have erected a memorial in honor of Lyman and Munson. That’s the picture at the top of this article.

But that brings me to the part we didn’t expect on this trip. This area is saturated with Batak churches. We came with the understanding that the area surrounding Sibolga needed the Gospel. So what was the problem?

We found that most of the local churches aren’t evangelizing the lost. A disconnect has formed between the churches and the missionaries. The local churches believe that it’s the missionaries’ job to win the lost, while it’s their job to build larger churches.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Mark 16:15

I believe that preaching the Good News of Christ to the lost is not optional for any believer. Whether it’s next door or around the world, we all have a part to play.

Upon learning about this spiritual dilemma in the work being done here, we made a decision. What we learned served to strengthen our resolve to support and encourage the new breed of church planters that God was raising up on Sumatra.

Their goal is to present the Gospel to the unreached people around them. It’s not in their agenda to fill their churches with pre-existing Christians. They passionately desire to see the Kingdom of God increase.

Along with that, I believe that God gave me a personal goal as well. I want to come back to the island with teams of 4-5 people who can help the missionaries in their evangelism projects. I can also be an encouragement to local ministers and theological students with practical training and teaching.

Pray for the church planters and missionaries who are reaching souls on Sumatra. Pray for the local churches to get God’s vision for reaching the lost around them.

Question: How have you reached out to those around you who need Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in Ministry, Missions, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Indonesian Testimony – Part 2

img_1812In my last post I started to share about my recent trip to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. I want to continue with this testimony.

We started our project by staying in the largest city on the island – Medan. We were met and taken around by a local church planting pastor. He’s a native of the area and a part of the Batak tribe. He wants to see God’s hand at work in his area.

He shared with us that the Batak people are very volatile. They’re known for having bad tempers. His was to the extreme. As a young man he was so aggressive that his village asked him to leave.

Later in his life he was looking for answers. At some point he received a copy of the Bible. He decided that he wanted to understand it so he read it from cover to cover.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

As he was reading through the book of Romans, he became keenly aware of his need for Christ. Without any prompting from anyone other than the Holy Spirit, he prayed and surrendered his life to the Lord.

Because of his study of the Scripture, he knew that he needed to be baptized in water. He went to one church and they told them that they only sprinkled.

As he walked along, he saw a crowd of people by a lake. He saw that they were having a baptism service. He asked if he could join in and be baptized. After the pastor talked with him a while and saw that he was truly saved, they agreed to baptize him.

I recently heard a quote from David Platt. “There’s only one thing worse than being lost and that is being lost and having no one trying to find you.” This pastor is an amazing example of God’s grace.

In spite of the fact that Indonesia is a Moslem nation, there are many Christian churches. The problem we saw was that many of them are mainline denominational churches with no desire to win the lost. They’re content to simply minister to those of their own congregation, or trying to get believers to switch to their church. The kingdom doesn’t grow that way.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:10

What we saw was that even some of the evangelical pastors of that area are becoming concerned with external issues. They want to be like the churches around them. They are discussing whether they should start preaching in robes, and what color they should be.

We made it our goal on this trip to only work with pastors who understood the mission. There are millions of lost souls that need to be reached. That will not happen if we cling to church as usual, or chase after being acceptable.

Pray for Indonesia. Pray for the churches of that nation to cultivate an outward focus on reaching the lost people around them. Pray for the churches who are reaching people; that they would be even more effective.

Question: How do you keep yourself “mission minded” to reach the lost?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in Ministry, Missions, The Church, The Gospel

 

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