Photo Journral in Indonesia
Earlier this year, Jeffrey Schra, Hans Mulder, and I (Kurt Selles) traveled to Indonesia to take part in the installation service for our new Indonesian ministry leader, Rev. Arliyanus Larosa. Christians are a small minority in this Muslim-majority country and it might surprise you to know that Indonesia has the world's 4th largest population (after China, India, and the United States) with more than 260 million people.
Jakarta, the capital is a massive city and that fact became very real from the moment we landed. We sat through traffic from the airport into the city and were astonished at the number of vehicles everywhere.
The Installation Service
We were all excited to take part in the installation service of Rev. Arliyanus Larosa who had been serving as the interim leader of our Indonesian ministry.
On a rainy Monday night in Jakarta, we were very impressed to find several hundred people filling a GKI church for Arliyanus’ installation service. In addition to local church members, more than 80 pastors from GKI churches had traveled from all around the island of Java to participate in the service.
Rev. Arliyanus accompanied us as we flew to the island of Sumatra. We then made a 5-hour drive through villages and rainforests to visit several of the listener communities around the town of Sidikalang.
These listener communities are groups in remote areas that gather for Christian fellowship and to respond to the messages they hear on our radio programs. For some members, the listener community is effectively their church.
Community members shared their testimonies. Many of the women shared difficult stories, often involving absent or alcoholic husbands.
For them, the Good News they heard on the radio and participation in the listener community were key sources of hope.
Despite the hardships that many of them endure, the members of the listener communities showed us incredible hospitality. They communicated so much joy despite their circumstances.