Indonesia (MNN) – As Indonesia continues to make plans to move its capital city to the island of Borneo, opportunities for ministry keep expanding.
And while FMI has been empowering national church planters and pastors in Indonesia for the last 20 years, it’s only been since 2012 that the ministry has been working specifically with partners in Kalimantan, Borneo’s Indonesian controlled land.
Good Neighbor Tactic
“Many new people are moving here. We’ve had an influx of several Muslim families and we see new mosques being built. So, this migration is a great challenge, but it’s also a great opportunity,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares.
(Graphic courtesy of Forgotten Missionaries Int’l)
As MNN has previously shared, one tactic Christians in Borneo use to share Christ with the newcomers is by being a good neighbor.
When these Christians find people moving into the villages, they often visit the newcomers, welcome them to the community, and offer to pray in Jesus’ name with them in their new home, especially when they are sick.
“The answers to prayer that the people see astound them. They go, ‘Jesus does this? Jesus cares for me?’” Allen says. “That’s very different than the Muslim concept of prayer.”
And this difference is drawing people to ask more questions about Jesus.
One Woman’s Request
In fact, after some Christians had prayed with a Muslim woman, the woman asked if the church would start a women’s ministry. This way she and other Muslim women could come and learn more about Jesus without fear.
“If it’s a women’s ministry that’s, let’s say taking place in a home, more women will be encouraged [to come]. ‘Well, I’m just going over and having tea at my friend’s home,’ rather than ‘I’m going to church on Sunday morning,’ and people or friends from the mosque will be going, ‘What are you doing?’ Allen explains.
“But no one’s going to question her going to her friend’s home for tea and having a conversation about Jesus or engaging in Bible study because it’s outside the structural context of a church. So, we see some great things happening already and Muslims coming to know Christ.”
Growth and Support
Furthermore, churches in the region are already experiencing growth. The pastor who implemented the good neighbor tactic shared with Allen that his church has grown to a congregation of 80 people in a rural village which is home to only 120 families.
As minorities in a Muslim-dominant society, many Christian congregations in Indonesia have long encountered discrimination and persecution. But, these issues may intensify in coming months as the threat of ISIS grows across southeast Asia.(Photo, caption courtesy of FMI)
FMI has already begun supporting five more church planters and pastors in Borneo, however, it’s clear there’s a need for even more support, including specific ministries to reach and teach women.
So please, pray for stability and wisdom within Indonesia’s government throughout this significant and historical move.
Pray also for Borneo church planters and for more to be raised up. Pray for open hearts and open minds to the Gospel, like this woman who specifically requested an opportunity to learn more about Jesus, despite being a Muslim.
Come alongside FMI supported partners in Indonesia here!
Get more details about Indonesia’s capital city move here.