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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. ...




Prayer Focus: Indonesia

Mar. 2, 2014

Each of the six geographical regions of AGWM has selected a specific area or people group for focused prayer during the next two years. Randy Hurst, AGWM Communications director, recently spoke with Regional Director Russ Turney regarding the focus for Asia Pacific: Indonesia.

Hurst: Most people have not heard much about Indonesia since it was devastated by the South Asia tsunami in 2004. What are some basic facts about the nation?

Turney: Indonesia is made up of more than 17,000 islands stretched across 3,200 miles, which is more than the width of the continental United States. With about 250 million people, it is the fourth most populated nation. More than half the population lives on the main island, Java, which is similar in area to North Carolina. Indonesia has a strong national AG fellowship of more than 2,800 churches and preaching points.

Hurst: What is the greatest spiritual need in Indonesia right now?

Turney: More than 200 people groups in Indonesia are considered unreached, meaning that less than 2 percent — and often just a handful — are Christians among these people groups. Many of these groups are quite large, numbering several million each. Our focus as a mission is to touch these unreached people groups with the gospel.

Hurst: What is your plan to make this happen?

Turney: We asked all AG missionaries in Indonesia to choose an unreached people group for intensive prayer, and 13 specific people groups have been selected for focused attention. We have also developed a website — pray4Indonesia.com — to provide greater awareness of Indonesia’s unreached peoples. Two teams are being formed to go into different parts of the country and plant international churches. These international churches will then do church planting among the unreached people groups within their areas.

Hurst: What are some of the ways international churches are effective in church planting?

Turney: We currently have two or three strong international churches in the country. Since Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, these international churches are at the forefront of helping with relief work when disaster strikes. Working in partnership with the national fellowship, they go into areas where there are no churches and serve communities where there are no believers. They were very involved in the relief efforts that took place in 2004 when the tsunami struck and gave considerable funds and assistance to help people living in the affected areas.

Hurst: Can you give a specific example of the effectiveness of relief work in Indonesia?

Turney: After the tsunami, we built 67 structures in devastated communities to serve as schools, police stations, and public buildings. In many cases, these communities had no evangelical church of any kind. The result has been tremendously positive. In one city, our missionaries were told, “You certainly are not what we were taught Christians were like. You care about us.” In that community, we put 30,000 children back to school and supplied educational materials for hundreds of teachers. We also helped small businesses that needed equipment and tools. The result was very positive in changing people’s perceptions of Christians.

Hurst: What other ministries are being incorporated into the church planting strategy for Indonesia? 

Turney: We have a number of Bible schools in Indonesia, and graduates lead the majority of the church plants. For the last several years we have also held Institutes for Islamic Studies in conjunction with AGWM Global Initiative. The first year we held these institutes, fewer than 100 people attended. Now about 800 attend them annually in multiple locations around the country. The purpose is to help pastors and workers better understand how they can go into Islamic communities to serve people and share the gospel in an appropriate way.

Some of our missions personnel are also going into remote areas and conducting pastoral training for people who cannot attend a resident Bible school for four years. These students attend two weeks of training, go back to their churches for two months, and repeat this process multiple times throughout the year.

Campus ministries are another area we want to expand. We have a team right now that is focusing on an area where several universities are located. Friendship evangelism is very popular and effective. We are anticipating touching many, if not all, of the major universities in Indonesia in the coming years.

Hurst: Beyond prayer, how can U.S. believers be involved in missions efforts in Indonesia?

Turney: We are seeking God for a large number of personnel to respond in the coming years. Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world, but a move of the Holy Spirit is taking place. Muslims are having visions of Christ. Healings are occurring in Muslim communities as believers go into unreached areas. We believe that even more opportunities will arise in the next two years, and we are praying that God will send people to enter those open doors.

 

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