Pray for Indonesia on Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pray for Indonesia on Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lectionary Selection: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Prayers for Indonesia:
O God of Mercy, grant our brothers and sisters in Indonesia peace. Grant the schools of theology and universities with whom we partner clear visions of mission. Guide these Christian institutions of higher education to be agents of good will. Embolden their teachers to lead with integrity by example and inspire their students to demonstrate commitment in word and deed. With hope and good news, grace Indonesia with peace. Give our brothers and sisters healing from their violent history, traumatic memories, and past abuses suffered. Lift their heavy burdens of guilt for past wrongs they still cannot admit. Hear our prayers dear God. Bring comfort and redemption to our broken lives. Show goodness and mercy and forgiveness. Amen.

Mission Stewardship Moment from Indonesia:
Beginning in 1999, shortly after Indonesia’s dictator/President Suharto was forced to resign, the eastern part of the country was torn by a series of communal conflicts, many of them with a religious face.  By 2006, these war-torn communities were starting to return from the refugee camps and put their lives back together.  I was part of a team with a Global Ministries partner institution Oase that was asked to do a series of workshops on pastoral care of traumatized people on the island of Halmahera.

During a break in one of the sessions, a young pastor pulled me aside. “How do you know if God has forgiven you?” he asked.  He then told me a story of how during the height of the conflict he had joined a group of young Christian men who were arming themselves (with machetes and liquor) to chase out the Muslim Jihadists from a neighboring village.  Running around a corner, he nearly collided with a young man in Muslim dress. Without thinking, he raised his machete and killed him. But when he looked down at the body, it turned out to be an unarmed boy who probably just ran in the wrong direction.

Later during that same conflict, the young pastor came upon a house filled with Muslim women and children who were trying to hide.  He managed to stop the other Christian militias from attacking them, and escorted them to the police station where they would be safe.  So his question to me was this:  “Do the lives that I saved make up for the murder I committed?”

I didn’t know what to say at the time, but if I see him again, I will share with him these words from Paul:  “…even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence… I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.”  I Tim. 1:13-15.

(Prayer and Mission Moment by Karen and John Campbell-Nelson)

Mission Partners in Indonesia:

More information on Indonesia:

Global Ministries Missionaries in Indonesia:
Karen Campbell-Nelson, a member of Upland Presbyterian Church, Upland, California, serves the Evangelical Christian Church of West Timor (GMIT). Karen teaches Research Methods, Theological English, and Feminist Theology at the Faculty of Theology of Artha Wacana University. She also works with justice, peace, and reconciliation initiatives of the associated bodies in the region.

John Campbell-Nelson, a member of Upland Presbyterian Church, Upland, California, serves the Evangelical Christian Church of West Timor. John teaches homiletics and practical theology at the Theological Faculty of Artha Wacana University and currently serves on a committee to revise GMIT’s church order. Also a member of OASE, an organization to strengthen church leadership in eastern Indonesia, John provides in-service training and continuing education for clergy and lay church leaders.