ONE Island, TWO weeks, Part 1of 3
So much has happened on Sumba Island in Indonesia that I thought it best to write a report in three parts. Each report will focus one individual locations. The first is Waikabubak (August 29 – September 1), which is featured here. The events which took place at Lewa and in Waingapu will follow soon.
We arrived as a team in Sumba island and arrived in Waingapu (our first location) late at night. Our team had traveled all day and it was thought that our 10:00pm arrival would go unnoticed. However, a police escort and a large group of brothers and sisters in Christ met us on their motorbikes just outside of town. They were waiting with their gloves, coats and helmets on and escorted us into town with horns and police sirens blowing. We were then taken directly to the home of the head Regent of the island where we were warmly welcomed.
The Fire Festival conference for pastors and church workers began in the morning. Hundreds of people registered for this conference which easily made this the most attended church leader conference in the history of Waikabubak. Over the four days, the total climbed to more than 350 people. This became a landmark event in other ways by including every denomination in town. Fifty-six Catholic elders were in attendance. Many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Protestants, etc. were also present. They all came ready to receive from the Lord. These four mornings became a great blessing to all.
These sessions focus on evangelism (what else!), faith and the Holy Spirit. Session-by-session, the focus of the attendees became increasingly more focused. The Lord spoke to many hearts about their own responsibility in winning the lost. Then, in the final session on the fourth day, we prayed for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Many spoke in new tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. Others responded with tears. Yet others resolved to walk by faith together with the Holy Spirit; bent on preaching the gospel.
Attendance for the evening meetings was less than anticipated but was still considered to be record-breaking. Night after nigh, thousands of people gathered to hear the gospel. This was despite the difficulty we had with our courier in delivering the advertising banners and material on time, the Holy Spirit was still drawing the lost to Jesus. We were greeted with a traditional welcome dance when we arrived for the meeting (shown here).
The football field in the center of town was busy with activity. Buses brought people from surrounding animist villages. Children pushed their way close to the front. Church leaders came to see what God was going to do. Town leaders gathered in full support of the work of God. Entire families came by automobile and motorbike. Young and old. Educated and simple. They gathered from all over town and the crowd continued to grow night after night.
Hundreds of people responded to the gospel by receiving Jesus into their life. Some came forward to tell about the overwhelming sense of forgiveness they felt when they surrendered their lives into His care.
Although many people can seemingly decide to follow Jesus at about the same time, the Lord deals with each person on an individual basis.
One young lady (shown below) described seeing a bright light and Jesus coming to her. She stood on the platform overwhelmed with tears, Godly fear and trembling as she recalled the event only minutes later. She had peace in her heart, but the encounter left a deep impression. She was so overwhelmed that she was unable to stand through much of her testimony. The details were amazing, leaving the crowd (and myself) in awe. She had repented and received Jesus as a result of this vision, and I believe that she will not easily forget her moment of decision.
Another powerful (as well as unusual) happening was that of children speaking in tongues! Some of the children were not from homes of believers. They did not know what this was. But it happened that when we began to pray for the sick that a number of children who were also praying, fell to the ground and laid there speaking in new tongues! Large crowds of friends (children and adults) gathered around them wondering what was happening. They had no words or experience to associate with this phenomena. It was completely brand new to them. Our camera man, “Bowo,” had to reassure them that they would be fine and it was Jesus who was at work. This was not something that we planned for, expected, or sought. Nevertheless, this happened again and again over the last two nights.
Many people came forward to tell how Jesus had physically healed them.
A little girl came; helped along by her mother who was obviously gripped with emotion (shown below). The daughter had been corn with severe handicaps. She was unable to stand, hug, or hold hands. There was virtually no control over her limbs or other appendages. Jesus touched her that night and the mother brought her forward to show how the girls could surprisingly now almost stand on her own, hug the mother’s waist and now refused to let go of her hand.
One man (pictured first before his healing) came forward telling that his vision had been blurred for more than 10 years. He stood next to me completely healed. He said he could see completely clear now, and I believed him. His eyes were as clear as they could possibly be! …not at all like the “before picture” shown here. (We were unable to get a good picture of him following his healing.) When asked what kind of nose I had, the crowd laughed as the man swiftly told me that I have a “tall nose.” He saw perfectly.
A lady from a neighboring animist village had previously been unable to raise her arm for many years. Something was apparently wrong with her shoulder. This was confirmed by her sister-in-law who stood by in amazement to see her raise her arm. The lady was completely healed, waving her arm high in the air, thanking Jesus.
Many other healing also took place.
The name of Jesus was magnified in Waikabubak.
A special thank you is necessary to all who responded to the Lord in helping financially and through prayer for these events in Waikabubak to take place. The Lord has used us. And in many ways, the results are not yet known. We will know one day in heaven. Thank you for your faithfulness.
We leave you with a picture of our excellent team for this trip. (From left to right: Hendryk, Jason, Suwarno, Bowo)
Yours in Christ,
Jason communicates for transformed lives. He is the founding evangelist for The Nations Hope and lead pastor of Life Tree Church in San Jose, California.