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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Seizing Opportunity

By Randy Hurst
Mar. 2, 2014

Every Sunday, more than 2,600 people gather to worship at International English Service, a multinational, multicampus church in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city. Those who attend come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, but all of them are united in the church’s main purpose: giving a gospel witness to the city and beyond.

A group of Indonesian laypeople founded IES in 1999 and asked Dave Kenney to be their pastor. The congregation of about 100 people has grown steadily to include four campuses and a variety of outreaches beyond the church walls. While most international churches in major cities of the world minister largely to expatriate English-speakers, the IES congregation is more than 75 percent Indonesian.

From the beginning, Dave and his wife, Gigi, have been intentional in emphasizing missions in the ministry of IES. This passion for a lost world has been part of Dave’s life since childhood.

Dave was only 2 years old when his parents, long-term missionaries Les and Jo Kenney, went to the Philippines as missionaries. For the next 36 years, the elder Kenneys served in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The summer Dave was 11 years old marked a major milestone in establishing the course of his future. While his family was home on itineration, they attended the annual School of Missions in Springfield, Missouri. While involved in the program for missionary kids, Dave received a clear call to missions. A few weeks later, at the Northwest District Kids Camp, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Dave began his missionary service immediately after college by teaching in Christian schools in the Marshall Islands and Fiji. After two years in Hong Kong, he moved to the Philippines to work with a church planting team and serve as assistant pastor at a church in Manila. He and Gigi met there, and the couple married in 1989.

Initially, Dave and Gigi planned to go as missionaries to Malaysia, but they were denied visas. They agreed to go on a temporary assignment to Indonesia — an assignment that has continued for 25 years. Dave currently serves as field moderator of the Indonesia missions team for AGWM, coordinating the details of ministry for the 31 AG missionaries assigned to the country.

The Kenneys had pastored Charismatic Worship Service in Jakarta for nine years when they were approached about leading IES. Clearly sensing the Lord’s leading, they quickly agreed.

I have witnessed firsthand the Kenneys’ passion for ministry and their heart for the lost. In 1998, during their years at Charismatic Worship Service, I saw the impact of a milk distribution program they spearheaded that provided 1,000 undernourished children with two daily servings of milk. As their vision spread among their congregation, the church grew — both in number and in passion for ministry. That same passion is evident through the expansive vision of IES.

In 2004, when the devastating South Asia tsunami struck Indonesia, IES immediately sent the first relief team of Indonesian medical professionals into Banda Aceh, the hardest-hit area. They arrived and began to minister to the suffering before any international medical relief organizations were allowed into the stricken area.

Members from IES who did not travel to the area were also encouraged to participate. When word came from the team that hard plastic shoes were a critical need to protect people’s feet from infections, Dave appealed to the IES congregation to participate and set a goal of collecting 50,000 pairs of shoes. Unknown to him, the owner of a shoe factory was visiting the church and immediately donated 10,000 pairs. In many ways — through both sacrifice and miraculous provision — the Kenneys have witnessed what God can do through the church’s commitment to service.

Each time I have visited IES, I have seen greater growth and ministry development. From their early years in Indonesia to the present, Dave and Gigi have always seized opportunities and sought ways to lead their congregations to touch the poor and suffering and reach the lost.

As the passionate and committed IES congregation continues to grow, its impact on the people of Indonesia and beyond grows even more.

RANDY HURST is communications director for AGWM.

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