Indonesia not for sissy Christians, PE man finds

Leaders from 100 different denominations training together at Berastagi, Indonesia

[notice]Port Elizabeth family man and businessman, Shaun Krummeck, 30, wrote this account for Gateway News of his recent mission experience in Indonesia, a part of the world where he and his wife, Christine feel that God is calling them to serve. The couple, who have a 20-months-old son, Seth, have previously been to Malaysia and Thailand on holiday. Shaun says he got the opportunity to go to Indonesia to link up with teams that relate to his local church, The Storehouse. The adventure has reinforced his calling: “What a glorious mandate we carry; what a privilege we have to represent our King to the nations of the world, to join with our God in the work He is doing in every tribe and tongue! God is on the move, and we must move with Him!” says Shaun [/notice]

A little while back I had the great privilege of joining teams from Australia and New Zealand to do ministry work in Indonesia.

Sheesh, reality struck – I was in a Muslim nation, a nation where being a Christian could cost you your life.

My journey from South Africa to Indonesia took two, painfully long days. When I finally arrived in Medan I was picked up by a couple from New Zealand. After all the introductions, they proceeded to tell me that some bombs had been found in one of the churches in Jakarta the previous day; this was followed by a “Welcome to Indonesia mate!” Sheesh, reality struck – I was in a Muslim nation, a nation where being a Christian could cost you your life.

A couple of days later, we had a close call of our own where some security officers found some bombs in the hotel we had been staying in. We were all a little rattled, but the local Christians weren’t phased – they were used to attacks like that from the extremist Muslim groups; they were used to paying the price for serving God in that nation.

The team stayed together in Medan for the weekend to get to know each other a little better, and to meet some of the local pastors. Some of us got together on the Saturday morning and went to visit an orphanage run by one of the pastors in the city.

It didn’t take me long to realize what a massive need there is for orphanages in that nation. There were many kids, ranging from two years old all the way up to 18 years old, in that orphanage; a lot of whom had been orphaned by the big tsunami that had devastated that area and many other areas around the world.

I was told that a lot of pastors in Indonesia either ran an orphanage or were linked to one in some way. I could see that God’s hand was on the orphanages, because while we were playing with the kids at the orphanage on the Saturday morning, I noticed a vehicle pull up. Three people climbed out of the car and started offloading big bags of rice and other food parcels. I went to the pastor and asked him who these people were, and he said to me that he had never seen them before. He said that they would often not have enough money to feed all the kids in the orphanage so they would pray and ask God to provide, and God would send strangers to them with more than enough food. He said that this happened often. I could see that these guys had been through some hard times, when all they could do was put their trust in God. Their faith had kept them alive.

Shaun (top right) and team members playing with orphans at Medan.

We had a wonderful time playing games with the kids, and I was once again struck by the true joy displayed by people who seemed to have nothing, but yet smiled and laughed as though they hadn’t a worry in this world. Jesus had impacted their lives, so even though they didn’t have the riches of this world, they had the riches of heaven which is better by far!!!

That night we had a citywide celebration that saw around 150 people from many different denominations come together in a local church. It was awesome to see people laying down their differences to see God lifted high, and man, was He lifted high!!! We had a great time of worship, and an amazing preach by our team leader, Rudy.

The next day we split up into teams and went to minister in different churches in Medan. Whilst driving to the church building, where I had been asked to preach, we saw a massive conference happening in one of the parks in the middle of the city. There were thousands of people gathered together listening to some people shouting over a sound system from a stage. I asked our driver what was happening, and he told me that it was a Muslim conference. He told me that the Muslims could pretty much do whatever they wanted in Indonesia, but Christians had to be very careful not to disturb any one that wasn’t a Christian. Christians could be seen but not heard.

They say that if you don’t preach for at least an hour, you’ve wasted their time – the longer the better.

Preaching in Indonesia is an experience and a half – every word needed to be translated into bahasa. Not the easiest of things to do, but I must commend the translators; they are awesome gifts and blessings and they did incredibly well. The church services in Indonesia generally start around 10am and can go on for the rest of the day sometimes only ending at 5pm. They say that if you don’t preach for at least an hour, you’ve wasted their time – the longer the better. We had some excellent ministry time with three first time responses to Jesus and five recommitments. All in all it was a wonderful time together.

That night we gathered together at a local church for a youth citywide celebration. There were about 120 young guys and gals gathered together in a small hall praising and worshiping our King, dancing and shouting so loud that the older guys in the team had to put ear plugs in their ears. Now that’s my kind of party; going ballistic for our saviour!!! We encouraged the youth to stand firm in their faith in the midst of the huge pressure that was being put on them due to living in a Muslim nation. We had a great response.

The next day we jumped into some taxis and headed for the airport outbound for the island of Nias. After an hour of flying we landed on a very short runway. We headed into a room, grabbed our luggage and then caught some taxis to our hotel. We were immediately caught up in the tropical beauty of Nias with all its palm trees and white beaches with turquoise water. I was told that Nias had an extremely high percentage of Christians at one time, as high as 90%. The Muslim government heard about this and sent 1 000 Muslim leaders to the island, to start up mosques and spread there beliefs. The island has since dropped to about 70% Christian.

The first night we gathered together in one of the local churches for the first ever citywide celebration on Nias Island. Wow, about 100 Christians gathered together in celebration of our King; what could be better. God showed up like only He can, bringing physical healings, freedom from bondage, life, joy and peace – so many lives touched – it was an amazing time!

The next couple of days were set aside for sitting with the leaders of the churches on the island. Leaders from 100 different denominations got together to be refreshed and encouraged. We immediately noticed how the differences in theology between the churches had been used by the enemy to bring disunity amongst them. We preached a lot of messages on unity and saw it take effect as His word was massaged in so effectively that by the end of the week the different leaders were hugging each other, laughing at each other and ripping each other off. It was wonderful to see the change that God’s word had brought.

We also had a time where we laid hands on some pastors who had been tormented by demons. It was awesome to see the relief and life on their faces as the forces of the enemy let go of them and fled with their tails between their legs – FREEDOM!!!!

At the end of the week the team took some time for some r&r. We travelled for two and a half hours to some rustic bungalows, built on stilts, stretching over the sea – it was time to chill out! On the first day some of us got tricked into playing beach football against the local boys; we found out later that they practiced everyday together, so as you can imagine they pulled away to a quick lead. Oh yes, did I mention earlier how hot it is in Indonesia – I think our body water percentages dropped to around 10 percent!! In the end the score was three three but only because we started recruiting some locals to play on our behalf.

Our days were filled with swimming and exploring, and we even managed to get a lekker surf in! The nights were filled with us trying out their local restaurant cuisines. In Nias the restaurants work similarly to buffet restaurants – you sit down, and the waiters bring many plates to your table filled with awesome chow such as prawns, fish, curries and lots of fruit. All the plates are put in front of you and you only pay for the plates you eat from – I like!!!

One night, while walking back to our bungalows after some great food, we heard some singing coming from one of the houses. After some debating we decided that the music sounded like Christian worship, so we followed the music to the house, and walked in. There were about 20 young adults worshiping God so intently that they didn’t even notice us. This house church was led by a young man named Herman; a real gifted and passionate guy with an awesome call on his life. What amazed me was how at home we felt with this bunch of strangers, as we lifted our King up in worship together. My eyes were opened once again to the great big family which God has created for us to be a part of.

The next day we went exploring and ended up in a village situated high up on top of a mountain overlooking the island. The views were incredible from up there but what really amazed me was the designs of the houses – they looked like boats. We were told that the village had been built out of old Spanish ships. There was a big palace situated in the middle of the village with two altars outside. Apparently criminals used to get beheaded on these altars. While we were in this village, we got to pray for some people and give lots of encouragement. We had a great time on the island, but alas, it had to end sometime.

A smoking volcano reminded us of how awesome and powerful our God is!

The next day we drove to the airport and flew back to Medan. We spent one night in Medan and then piled into a bus and left for a four hour trip into the mountains, finally arriving in Berastagi. Wow, words cannot express the beauty of this area. The high altitude caused cooler temperatures – this came as a relief to the team. The area had a European feel to it with beautiful mountains and lush, luminous green vegetation. All these things were great, but the thing that really blew my mind was the views of the big, smoking volcano, which reminded us of how awesome and powerful our God is!!!

We had journeyed to Berastagi for another leadership training time. This time all the pastors and denominational leaders from that area stayed with the team in the hotel. This gave us more time to sit and have one-on-one discussions with them. The previous year had drawn 56 leaders, but this year we had one 130 leaders- exponential growth!!! There were 100 denominations represented with some denominational leaders who oversee 150 plus churches. The hunger for God’s word amongst these leaders was huge, so we ended up having three to four sessions a day of around two hours each.

Once again, unity was a big issue so the theme was centered on unity in the church. Each session began with worship which set up the atmosphere beautifully for the Holy Spirit to work. The session that stood out to me the most, was when we called up all the women who felt unloved to come to the front. About eight ladies came up, and we got the ladies from the team to go and hug them. This was incredible; we could see the feelings of unworthiness and insecurity fall off them as the team ladies held them. Then a man stood up and said that he didn’t understand what that kind of love was like because his dad had never hugged him, so Rudy, our faithful leader, walked up to him and embraced him and the tears flowed. What an amazing, life altering experience! These leaders finally understood the Father heart of God – EXCELENT!!!

I was blown away to be in the presence of these battle hardened generals of God’s army.

The meal times were also great because we got to listen to their stories and encourage them one-on-one. Listening to the pressure that they were constantly put under by their government and the persecutions they’ve endured for so many years made me feel as though I should be the one sitting at their feet being trained. The Christians in that country have a faith and a determination to live for God, even if it means persecution, prison time, or even death – I was blown away to be in the presence of these battle hardened generals of God’s army. I was reminded that Jesus had said that we are no longer of this world, so we mustn’t be surprised if we are hated by this world. We must endure all that is thrown at us, and live this life for His glory.

The last night with the leaders saw us involved in a talent contest which pushed our creative juices to the limit. We laughed, sang and danced the night away. They also cheered me on, as my attempt to show them what a Zulu dance looked like, failed dismally, but hey, they didn’t know any better. Another LTT was finished and the next day we said our good-byes and climbed back on the bus bound for Medan.

The team got to spend one more day together as we reminisced on what was an incredible time. We had come together as strangers two and a half weeks before and now were departing as brothers and sisters. God had united us and we had functioned incredibly well as a team. We had all been united in one vision, and we focused on the same goal which saw God’s Kingdom advanced in Indonesia.

“Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” – Jesus (John 4: 35).

One Comment

  1. Awesome stuff Shaun…wonderful testimony