Union College Preaches in Balikpapan

September 18 2007 / ShareHim in Kalimantan (Borneo), Jul. 13 - Jul. 28 '07 #203
by Tom Shepherd

Date Block Report

From July 13 to 28, a group of six Union College students and their professor held evangelistic meetings in the city of Balikpapan in the East Kalimantan district of the island of Borneo in South-East Asia. Borneo sits south-west of the Philippines and the southern and eastern portions of the island are part of Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world in terms of population (after the United States at number three) and the largest Muslim nation in the world.

The team from Union College was under the direction of Tom Shepherd, PhD, Professor of Religion. Shepherd said, “When we arrived in Balikpapan after two days of travel, we were overwhelmed with the warm and friendly welcome we received from the Indonesians. A large group of church members came to greet us at the airport. They welcomed us in their churches, provided many meals for our team, and were gracious hosts.”

The Union College students who participated were Dana Connell, a recent graduate, Amy Agosto, Elique Semaboye, Robert Christensen, Tim Osborn, and John Osborn. Each of the students and their professor held nightly Bible presentations at different rented halls or churches in the city of Balikpapan or surrounding areas. “The program was pretty intensive,” says Shepherd, who took a similar group to Rwanda, Africa two years ago. “But it is so rewarding to see people respond to the Gospel, that it is well worth the effort involved.”

Elique Semaboye held meetings in a rural area outside of Balikpapan. He regularly had 75 to 100 visitors in attendance including four local ministers of another denomination who sat on the front row taking notes. One evening one of these pastors came up to Elique after the meeting and an encouraged him by saying, “Thank you for telling us the truth.” Elique also had an Indonesian movie star in attendance who became friends with the Union College student. One evening after the meeting the young man, named Johannes, took Elique aside and became quite serious. He said that Elique had inspired him a lot in these meetings and that he wanted Elique to pray for him because what he wanted to do was quit being a movie star and follow Jesus Christ all the way. It was a touching moment for the Union College student as he saw this popular young man express his desire to change the course of his life.

On the last weekend of the meetings 45 people were baptized in a mass meeting of all the different sites together. Another 4 people were planning to be baptized soon thereafter bringing the total to 49 individuals. After the meetings, the Union College group stayed in Balikpapan for a few days and also donated $500 to the local Adventist mission to help in follow-up from the meetings. After a brief stop over in Singapore, the team returned to the United States. When they went to Balikpapan, they knew no one there, but they returned from the experience with many wonderful memories and a new set of friends.
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