Tribal war disrupts meetings, but the Gospel must be preached!

December 10 2007 / ShareHim in Irian/Papua, Oct. 26 - Nov. 10 '07 #230
by Judge Judith Hawkins

Campaign Site Narrative from Inauga, Inauga in Irian/Papua. The speaker assigned to this site was Judith Hawkins.

What an experience God gave to me in Timika, Irian Jaya/Papua, Indonesia during my ShareHim campaign, October 26 – November 10, 2007!

Highlights of my sixth mission trip with ShareHim and second sponsored by The Quiet Hour include warring tribes shutting down two nights of meetings; staying at the safest hotel—a Sheraton Hotel, until an Adventist sister, who was on vacation allowed me to stay at her apartment; crossing a river and a stream to visit homes without furniture (while complying with the custom of leaving shoes at the door); anointing a paralyzed young man; visiting “locals” in the back county of the tropical rain forest; contending with rain literally everyday; and learning one of the two baptized young women was beaten by her family because she accepted the “good news” that there is “truth for today and hope for tomorrow.”

There were three campaign sites in Timika, a town of about 150,000, which appeared around 1970 after PT Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. began its initial project construction mining the Grasberg Mine, a part of the world’s largest reserve of copper and gold. The mining is in the remote highlands of the Sudirman Mountain range in the eastern province of Papua, which is on the western half of the island of New Guinea. On the way to the Grasberg mine, I saw an equatorial glacier, since this mountain range includes the highest mountains (and glaciers) between the Himalayas and Andes. Our tour was especially blessed with sunshine and the opportunity to see the glacier. When we left the mine site, the clouds rolled in and the fog was so thick I could barely see beyond my nose!

Preaching or teaching, as I like to describe my calling, was a unique experience. Since the locals are dark skinned, it was easy for them to relate to me and my primary translator, who was also a local. The locals do not read or write, nor do they speak the official language. It was important that the message be presented in memorable sound bites and how the Holy Spirit gave them to me. “The devil is a liar and deceiver.” “The devil has a counterfeit for everything that God does.” “If it is in the Bible, it is for me; if it is not in the Bible, it is not for me!” I taught them John 14: 1 – 3 in English, and we closed each night with the songs, “Puji tu han” (Praise the Lord). They will forever tie that text and songs to this campaign and that is a hook which I pray will enable the Holy Spirit to bring forth a rich harvest.

Located around Timika are the original inhabitants, called “locals” to distinguish them from the numerous Indonesians from other parts of the far flung nation. I visited the homes of some of the locals attending the meetings. One group’s home required fording a river and wading through a stream. The homes have little, if any furniture. Shoes are removed at the door and since there are no chairs, everyone sits on the floor. Their neighborhood church was simply plastic lawn chairs under tarp.

Our visits revealed that many of the locals coming to the meetings call themselves “Protestants.” They have little knowledge or understanding of Bible truths. My visitation also confirmed the great distance the locals had to travel to come to the meetings! What an awesome moving upon their hearts by the Holy Spirit for them to come in spite of great transportation challenges.

During the first week, I objected to God’s clear instructions to move from the Sheraton Hotel in Timika to Freeport’s company town, Kuala Kencana, but I am learning to obey. I am so glad I did because, between Friday afternoon and Sabbath morning, war broke out between two warring tribes and the route between Timika and the church was blocked; travel was impossible and unsafe. Since I was in Kuala Kencana, I was free to move about the community rather than confined to the tight security about and limited to the grounds of the hotel.

The last Sabbath included baptisms from the three sites. While only two were baptized from my site, they represented a wonderful reaping because the two young ladies were locals. Other baptisms are planned, and the Freeport Mining employees who are members of the Adventist Church are committed to bring the end-time message to the locals by providing educational opportunities.

Without the ability to read and write, the locals’ lives will forever remain simple and limited to subsistent lifestyles. The four churches which united to support the campaign have pledge themselves to move forward with an elementary school.

What an honor and privilege to be called and sent by God to share His good news that He loves us and is soon to return to take home those who love Him and keep His Commandments!
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