Reaching Pentacostal Preachers and Indonesian Movie Stars

September 18 2007 / ShareHim in Kalimantan (Borneo), Jul. 13 - Jul. 28 '07 #196
by Elique Semaboye

Personal Testimony of Elique Semaboye.

In July 2007, I went to the city of Balikpapan on the Eastern coast of the island of Borneo in the country of Indonesia to hold evangelistic meetings with ShareHim Evangelism and the Quiet Hour. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. However, Christian churches can meet freely for worship, reach out to non-Muslims.

I was assigned to preach to a small congregation about 25 miles (42 kilometers) outside of Balikpapan. The church is called the “42 Kilometer Church” because of its location on the road. My translator/driver was a church elder named Butar-Butar. He would pick me up everyday at 5:30 p.m. for the one hour drive to our site. The meetings were held every night for two weeks. I preached eighteen sermons in sixteen days using the PowerPoint sermon materials provided by ShareHim.

Every night Butar-Butar would provide food for me. I was introduced to a new fruit called “snake fruit.” This intimidating name is given to the fruit because the outer skin looks like a snake’s scaly skin. It peels off to reveal a white fruit that tastes something like a tart apple mixed with an orange. I liked it at first, but after eating it every night, I can whole-heartedly say, “I have had enough snake fruit for a while.” I did, however, appreciate the kindness of my host in providing transportation, food, and translation for the meetings.

Butar-Butar was a colorful character. He was an enthusiastic and energetic translator. I called him “Energizer Bunny” because he just wouldn’t stop. Sometimes during the preaching he would suddenly say to me, “Stop! I must explain this to the people.” Then he would explain some aspect of the presentation, sometimes for up to five minutes. He would then indicate that I could start speaking again.

On our first night of the meetings, we had sixteen visitors. I was concerned about this, but my pastor said there would be more visitors. We prayed about this. The second night we had twenty-six visitors. Then it just kept building each night. We finally had ninety-eight visitors! Among these visitors were four Pentecostal pastors. They came on the second night and sat on the front row for the rest of the meetings. They had pens and paper in their hands and were taking notes. After one of the meetings concluded, one of these pastors came up to me and said, “Thank you for teaching us the truth. We need to know the truth.”

Also involved in the meetings was a young man named Johannas. He helped with the singing and opening prayer every night. Johannas is a famous movie star in Indonesia. He and I would joke around with each other before and after the meetings forming a nice friendship. However, one evening he came to me after the meeting and spoke with me in a very serious tone. “You have an encouraged me a lot. I have decided to leave being a movie star and to follow Jesus.” These were wonderful words to hear.

Our entire team from Union College consisted of seven people—six students and Dr. Tom Shepherd, Professor of Religion. Two people from Michigan also were part of our team, and there were two local people who gave meetings. On our final Sabbath, we had a baptism in which 45 people were baptized. Another 4 were baptized later. One of the Pentecostal pastors was baptized—the one who spoke with me that night. And my friend Johannas has given up making movies to follow Jesus. What a privilege to be part of a team that shares the Gospel around the world!
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