Last year about this time, I joined my colleagues on a small island in Indonesia. The Area Leaders (senior leadership of the geographic zones in OM) meet 3 times per year to pray and seek the Lord in respect to the way forward for the mission. We prefer to meet in places like this island where 99% of the people are Hindus – it helps us not lose track of the people we are trying to serve with the good news.
The island has a population of 50,000 people with a strong cultural heritage bound tightly with an overwhelming devotion to their household gods. As we ‘pray drove’ the circumference of the island, it was clear what rules the hearts and minds and activities of people and holds them in bondage.
Every property had a temple for their local god – often bigger than the house that the family lived in. The man sized idols were dressed in laundered clothes daily and every morning offered food and small offerings of flowers. Numerous times a day the residents are required to perform prayers before the idol and ritualistic service. The open-walled nature of the temples in the yard and the close proximity of the houses ensures that neighbors know how devoted you are. One thing is clear – of the many driving forces of this intense devotion and adherence to daily ritual, fear is the prominent motivator. The word ‘bondage’ is apt.
Into this locked-in community a middle-aged Christian couple from the capital city has moved in to bring the freedom and light of the gospel. We drove to a remote part of the island to spend some time with them – private conversations are hard to come by in this place. This deeply dedicated couple had been led of the Lord to establish a small business on the island with the purpose of building the community economically and finding ways for the gospel to break through. Their daily life and witness is tied together – they do not see their business as separate from their calling as believers in the Kingdom of God. Every day they pray with their staff and have a devotional before they begin their work day. It is certainly a bold move in a place hostile to the outside and any other religious practice and tightly controlled by local government officials. They also know that every conversation, every interaction as outsiders is relayed across the island and though they have a devotion with 7 people in the morning, their audience is 50,000.
This is one snapshot of a growing trend in mission to the least-reached. The global pandemic is restricting international travel and national borders are hard to penetrate. The Holy Spirit, however is borderless and there is a growing awareness of the power of a life like the couple I visited to continue to reach the ends of the earth. Thank you for your partnership as we help to strengthen workers like this. To find out how you can use your skills and profession (young or old!) register at scatterglobal.com.