May 14, 2018
Rev. Dr. Henrietta Hutabarat Lebang
President, Communion of Churches in Indonesia, PGI
Dear Rev. Lebang,
We are indeed sad and shocked to hear about the ghastly act of terror in three churches - Santa Maria Tak Bercela Catholic Church (STMB), Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church (GKI), and Surabaya Pentecostal Church (GPPS) in Surabaya on May 13, 2018. We pray for the families of the 11 people killed and 40 others who were injured. We also pray that God may grant courage and strength to the churches and Christian communities in Indonesia at this time of terror and tragedy.Read more
Seven youth from Lospalos recently spent two days traveling to a spring youth event that was attended by 70 youth of our partner church here, the Protestant Church in Timor-Leste. During the two nights spent in the village of Beasu, evil spirits struck all five of the Lospalos girls who went. Some had stomach pains, minor tremors, and brief moments of dissociation. Two girls had hysterical outbursts and had to be physically restrained for up to two hours. Afterwards, the girls claimed to have no recollection of what had happened to them, what they said or did.Read more
It’s 4:00 AM on a Sunday morning and Pastor Rojerio is waiting for a bus in the darkness beside a dirt road. He is on his way to the congregation where he has been assigned. Because he is committed he’ll get on the bus sometime before 5:00 and arrive at the small congregation a couple hours later. There, he’ll lead a simple service, following which he’ll wait for another bus to return to Lospalos, getting home by late afternoon.Read more
“Every day is another opportunity for humility.” This is a (very) small joke I share with friends—a lot. But it’s also true. My work as a Mission Co-worker in Thailand has involved constant cross-cultural communication—or lack thereof. I fear that I make mistakes more often than I realize.Read more
The Board and staff of Global Ministries bid a fond farewell to mission personnel whose service has ended at the spring meeting of the Common Global Ministries Board meeting in Indianapolis on April 21, 2018. Here, we share our messages of gratitude for their faithful service.Read more
The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) announced that the theme of the Asia Sunday 2018 will be focused on the theme ‘Embracing the Differently Abled, and Upholding Their Dignity’.
The Asia Sunday is observed every year on the Sunday before Pentecost, and this year’s Asia Sunday falls on May 13.
Every year observance of the Asia Sunday focuses on a particular theme, and member churches, councils and ecumenical partners around the world organize worship services as part of the observance of the Asia Sunday.Read more
How do you describe 2 years of life in Sri Lanka as volunteer missionaries? A lifetime in American culture gave us assumptions and habits that make us as different to and from Sri Lankans as they and their culture are different to and from us. That was an ever-present lesson, one that made us constantly grateful for the patience of people who created a space of acceptance and love where we shared ‘citizenship.’ We all accepted that cultural differences challenged all of us.Read more
World Health Day is April 7. What does it look like to be working in a church partner-supported clinic in Lospalos, East Timor, in 2018?
Including myself, Clinic Imanuel Lospalos is staffed with six women. Amena Cristovao was trained at Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota, as a medical laboratory technician. She is now responsible for managing the clinic TB program, from making the sputum smears, identifying positive cases through microscopy, ensuring patients get medicines daily for 6 months, ensuring our clinic’s medicine and lab supplies don’t run out, leading monthly peer group meetings for TB patients, and providing one-on-one and large group education on the disease. Amena is the only Timorese staff with formal training in health care.Read more
It’s not every year the tropical rains drench, and drench some more, but this is one of those years. And when the rains transform pah meto (dry land, the Timorese name for this island) from crusty, hot brown to lush and steamy shades of green, it’s easy to forget that water was once sacred. Oral tradition suggests that in a pre-Christian era, Timorese treated large banyan trees and the natural springs their roots guarded with the respect reserved for holy space. Such trees, I’ve heard, were actually targeted by Christians to be hacked down to break their powerful hold over “heathens.” Traditional prayers and rituals asking the sky god for rain are but a faded memory. The cultural destruction wrought by early 20th century Christian piety in West Timor included the destruction of traditional values that protected the environment and sought to sustain ecological balance. Although some in Evangelical Church of West Timor Synod (GMIT) acknowledge, regret, and seek to redress this legacy, recapturing sacredness, once it’s been destroyed, is a challenge.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 12:20-33
Prayers for East Timor:
For the women and girls in East Timor, who are subject to the desires of husbands, fathers, uncles, and brothers, dear God, we pray. When unwanted pregnancies occur, leaving a mother to bear the physical and emotional work of caring for babies and children, or sometimes leaving her in danger for her own life or safety, dear God, we pray. When violence against women and girls happens, particularly in the home, whether it be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, dear God, bring righteousness to the women and open the eyes of men.
Jesus came to teach a way of justice for all people. In East Timor, we pray today for this indigenous, young, Asian nation as it faces challenges of modernization and as it comes to terms with deeply entrenched cultural norms that too often disempower women. May women and men recognize that to glorify God is to walk humbly as servants of Jesus, following a path which honors the dignity of all people, women and men alike. Amen.Read more