Holy Spirit gives power for mission
Indonesians host leaders from 15 nations to build cross-cultural links for the gospelBy Jewel Showalter Eastern Mennonite Missions
MEDAN, Indonesia — In the mountains near an active volcano, an Indonesian Mennonite had an unusually productive harvest of chili peppers last year. He used the proceeds to buy his church a van for mission trips. His pastor objected.
“But you need to build yourself a house,” the pastor said.
The farmer smiled back. “Missions is more important than a house for me,” he said.
This story was shared at the International Missions Association, or IMA, gathering Oct. 5-13 in Indonesia. Since its beginning 15 years ago, IMA has grown to 21 member groups from across the world.
Events began with the Holy Spirit in Mission conference Oct. 5-7 in North Sumatra, hosted by the Mennonite congregations in and around Medan.
More than 50 international participants from 22 church and mission groups in 15 nations streamed into Medan, a city of 3 million on the island of Sumatra, to join Indonesian Mennonites from two Anabaptist conferences. Public assemblies held each evening swelled the gathering to more than 300 as groups of predominately young people joined the conference.
Fifty percent of Medan’s population is traditionally Christian, the result of a movement sparked by Lutheran missionaries two centuries ago.
One of the hosting congregations, GKMI Sempakata, has started a chain of restaurants dedicated to supporting missions. International guests enjoyed their first meal in one of these “missional restaurants.”
A sense of joy in fellowship energized the gathering as youthful believers from Medan led rousing worship and shared inspiring testimonies.
Amos Stoltzfus, a partnership coach for Eastern Mennonite Missions, facilitated a series of mission reports from several countries. A leader from a country where oppression of Christians is severe shared a testimony.
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