What a blessing it was to hold a small hope Festival in Nunukan, Indonesia. This was the first time the churches worked together to hold some type of open-air outreach. What a wonderful partnership we had! It is thrilling to work with churches who want to see souls saved. The size of the church is not as important as the audacity of their faith.
We ministered three days; 28-30 April. Attendance grew from 400 the first night to about 800 the last night. The area in front of the platform was filled with people each night. My best estimation is that well over 100 people made a decision to follow Jesus during this campaign. It is not the largest number of decisions we have had, but every soul is worth infinitely more than all the riches in the world.
We saw the Holy Spirit convict many people of sin. On the final night, the power went off as the town experienced a blackout. …It happened 5 minutes before the altar call! We started to sing praises to God in complete darkness on that open field. I called all the people in close to the platform and began to shout the message of sin, repentance and faith in Christ at the top of my voice (and my team members had to translate and follow ;-). To be honest, it was glorious. The blackout disrupted my sermon, but did not stop the gospel.
The Gideons have a long-standing reputation in the world for distributing Bibles. We were so glad to partner with them in Nunukan. Traditionally, we would pass out a brochure or small booklet to new believers. (It is all we could afford!) But the Gideons blessed the people by distributing 1000 Bibles; bi-lingual New Testaments with both the Bahasa Indonesia and English text inside. The people cheered with joy to receive them. I them instructed the people to read 1John, chapter 1 ten times that night.
There were several notable healings. Cancerous lumps disappearing. Lame person able to stand, walk and run. One lady said she did not want to come that night but God somehow brought her there. Several months before, she was in a motorbike accident and had terrible pain in her ribs and side. She said that she could hardly stand or bend. But that night, she was healed completely. There was no more pain at all!
However there is usually one that stands out to me among all others. A woman came forward after prayer. She also had suffered a terrible accident. For 2 years, she had such pain in her left arm that she could barely move it. She told that it was impossible for her to grab onto anything too tightly or to lift something high. The pain was too great. With tears, she told of the pain she had. I then handed her my Bible and told her to hold it tight. She did and raised it high above her head as she cried for joy.
That image is lodged in my head forever. We raise the word of God above all our sickness, sin, faults and experiences. The word is above all other things. We triumph through it. Live by it. Whatever the word says, that is who we are.
Salvation. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus, whether you are in Nunukan or anywhere!
Praise be to our wonderful and marvellous God; Jesus Christ, Lord of all!
We now press on to Kaimana, Indonesia on the eastern island of Papua for our next Hope Festival (which looks to be much bigger) 1-4 June 2011.
Jason Betler is the founding evangelist of The Nations Hope, and an ordained minister of The Foursquare Church. A "dad joke" enthusiast, Jason and his wife Angelique reside with their three children in San Jose, California.
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