by Paul Jenks
I have just returned from Indonesia, energized by the effectiveness of working together with national pastors in bringing souls to Christ. Every year well-trained Christian believers are spreading the gospel in their own homelands. They do so without cultural orientation or language school. They are already "on site," and they are "on fire" with the power of Christ and the gospel.
In Indonesia alone, 120 new workers are trained each year at AMG's seminary in Solo. By the time they graduate, these students endeavor to win at least 15 new believers in order to organize a church. This is not an easy task in an overwhelmingly Muslim culture, yet trained graduates have already planted more than 400 new churches.
One such student was Sarili (Rili for short) Hia. Rili is from the small island of Nias where the tsunami struck with devastating fury. Before he came to Christ, Rili was trained for five years by a witch doctor. After high school he moved to the island of Java in search of work and continued to study witchcraft. He suspected that his parents had been murdered and determined to seek revenge through witchcraft.
While on Java he met Nur Kalami. Nur received Christ as her Savior and after graduating from high school returned to Indonesia. Nur witnessed to Rili and invited him to church, where he trusted in Christ as his Savior and Lord. Rili renounced witchcraft and burned all his demonic paraphernalia. A few years later Rili and Nur were married.
Not long after they married they moved to Solo where Nur was hired by Berita Hidup—AMG's Indonesian organization—to translate correspondence from Indonesian to English. Rili entered the seminary to prepare for the ministry.
After the tsunami hit, the Berita Hidup office sent Rili to Nias Island to assess the damage. His home village had been practically leveled. Many had died in the 50- to 60-foot waves. Homes, business places, and food and clothing markets were completely destroyed. Fishermen lost their boats and nets. Crops were destroyed. People were starving and living in emergency tents. Children suffer from diarrhea, fevers, and stomach aches from lack of nutritious food.
Fluent in the local language, Rili also preached the gospel to surviving victims each evening. As a result, 32 people, some of whom had also delved into witchcraft, came to trust Lord Jesus Christ! This former witchdoctor-in-training has become an effective soul winner!
Rili is only one of the many earnest young people who are studying at AMG's seminary and being used by God to preach the gospel and establish churches. Rili is eager to return to Nias in order to reach more of his people for Christ. In a recent letter, he said that he hopes he might somehow be able to alleviate their suffering. But his greatest burden is to win those people, and all his relatives, to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is AMG's great privilege to facilitate partnerships that link courageous young believers like Rili and Nur with U.S. sponsors who support and pray for them, in a great harvest of souls. Each can look forward to the day when " both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together." (John 4:36).