Indonesia Missions Project 2014

Indonesia Team

Last day of ministry in Biak, Papua

by Josephine Tan
This past July (2014), I was given the opportunity to participate in an HMI Asia Summer Missions Project along with 6 other brothers and sisters from Ann Arbor. We flew to Indonesia where we joined the teams from Austin and Jakarta to carry out the two-part mission project. From Banten Province on the west side of Indonesia, all the way to Biak Island on the east, we witnessed incredible stories of how God is moving; He is encountering people and softening hearts to pave the way for the Gospel to be shared and accepted.

Though I learned many things, one of the biggest lessons I personally learned is that a ministry without love is no ministry at all. During our Banten Outreach, we were told to go out, meet people, get to know them, and share the Gospel. Given my history with being shy and uncomfortable with evangelism, I was determined to learn what it looked like to be bold. And that boldness came, but by Day 3 of the outreach, I realized that I had somehow made it more about sharing the Gospel with everyone I met rather than about loving people. This eventually caused some problems, which led me to question myself: Did I hold an actual conversation with them? Did I take care to listen to the stories of their lives, or to learn about why they held certain beliefs or made certain decisions? Or was it just me talking? I admit I did these things sparingly if at all. But thankfully, a pastor on the trip brought 2 Corinthians 13 to my attention, and I saw that I had shared the Gospel not out of love, but out of just wanting to be bold and hear my own voice.

Indonesia Missions

Cold Evangelism in Banten Province

This lesson was repeated again in Papua when a few of us had the chance to visit a bible study in South Biak. I saw that a strong emphasis was placed on the symptom of sin (alcohol addiction), rather than the root of sin (what turns people to alcohol addiction). Furthermore, I realized that there was a clear focus on behavior modification (stop drinking alcohol!), rather than on Jesus Christ, the only one who will be able to fill broken areas in our lives. By God’s grace, one of our sisters was given the opportunity to minister to this bible study, and she did so by sharing the story of the Prodigal Son. This time, I didn’t see anyone just trying to get the Gospel across, but I was able to see how really loving those people in the moment meant sharing with them God’s love and forgiveness as it pertained to their situation.

Baptism

Baptizing a brother in Papua

In the end, I concluded that it’s okay to want to be bold and share the Gospel, but if these things are not done with a heart to love people and to love God, then they end up becoming meaningless. What’s important is to listen to people, learn about their lives, and love them with the love of God. Going forth, I see that I want to be bold out of these things, after all, God is doing something with or without me, I just don’t want to miss it anymore!