Pray with Indonesia, May 2, 2021

Pray with Indonesia, May 2, 2021

Lectionary Selection:  John 15:1-8

Prayers for Indonesia  

O God, be with the people of East Nusa Tenggara Province who were struck by Cyclone Seroja on Easter Sunday; have mercy on those who suffered loss of life, property, and livelihoods. Strengthen those in GMIT’s Disaster Response Teams in congregations, presbyteries, and the synod who continue to provide shelter, emergency relief, pastoral care and trauma healing. May your Loving Care embrace the people who have lost everything—those on Sabu, Raijua, and Rote Islands because of the winds and rains; those on Pantar and Alor Islands because of massive landslides. May the Holy Spirit breathe courage and cooperation into your people of southeast Indonesia as they rebuild their churches and homes; replace lost Bibles, baptismal certificates, and land deeds; recover from the loss of loved ones and livestock; and struggle to rehabilitate damaged rice, corn and bean fields. Grant them time to grieve well so they may rest in Your Peace that passes understanding. In the name of Jesus, who is ever present in this suffering and recovery, we pray. Amen.

Mission Stewardship Moment from Indonesia

I was sad. It was Easter Sunday without celebration—no joyous choirs, no Easter egg hunt. Since March 2020, the protocols around Covid mitigation moved John and me into a strict lockdown mode of remote work and worship, but this Easter was the first time we had “missed church” in nearly a year. The heavy rains and winds were growing more intense, and our adrenalin kicked in as we realized our house could flood should the dam up the hill break. We rushed around the house unplugging electric appliances, covering book racks with a tarp, moving furniture off the porch into rooms, even as some began to blow away. When we finally decided to move to higher ground, we began to frantically throw important documents, hygiene and first aid items, and clothes into a couple of backpacks. We fled up the hill to spend the night cowering with our neighbors under a tin roof, tensing our bodies to endure the clash of raging floods and winds that surrounded us. Good Friday’s temple curtain was being ripped asunder as the earth shook. It was Easter, but without physical or spiritual space for the resurrection.

“I am the vine, you are the branches.” The Gospel according to John is rich with invigorating, hearty images of life, meaningful metaphors for first-century Christians in the Mediterranean region—Jesus is bread, light, and a grapevine. Yet in the wake of Cyclone Seroja of 21st century southeast Indonesia, those images did not speak to me. The first day after the storm, I broke my year-long lockdown “fasting” period, to deal with an immigration matter and seek my second Covid vaccination. As I traveled the streets around and in the provincial capital of Kupang, I was struck by the massiveness of the damage—electric lines strewn everywhere, huge uprooted trees blocking roads—powerful images that still linger. Where was the vine?

I have joined others at the GMIT Synod Response Team for several weeks now. The team provides emergency relief in a transparent manner to those in greatest need. We all began as frayed and raw as the exposed electricity lines filling the streets, bringing with us personal grief and loss, many still needing to tend to those in their homes. Yet a team was formed and, despite its weaknesses, miscommunications, and shortcomings, it continues to grow in spirit and outreach like a branch on the vine. Stories from “the field”, where congregations and presbyteries with so little have also quickly moved to help others, are other branches, more branches. Each day I still pass the roots of huge trees, exposed in ugly nakedness all along the road, but am now able to see the vine in the faces of those who respond as they are able. God is with us, not in the angry wind that roared above our heads or the rushing waters that pounded in our ears for hours and hours, but beside us on the bed, where we sat hugging our knees; beside us as we kneeled praying for the storm to pass; in the helicopter to be the first to visit GMIT members on the tiny island of Raijua; sitting around the table with us as we discuss ideas for an environmentally sensitive approach to reconstruction. “I am the vine, you are the church.” 

Prayer and Mission Moment by Karen Campbell-Nelson

Mission Partners in Indonesia

More about Indonesia

Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Indonesia:
Karen Campbell-Nelson serves with the Evangelical Christian Church of Timor as a researcher and, since Cyclone Seroja hit East Nusa Tenggara Province on 4–5 April, a translator and assistant to the data collection team. Her appointment is supported by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, Disciple’s Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission and your special gifts.