I just came back from speaking at the Conference for Korean Baptist Foreign Missionaries, held in Indonesia from September 4-7. It was the first conference for missionaries serving in Southeast Asia. Brother Ha, who serves as regional director of Indonesia for House Church Ministries Intl. hosted the conference. He believes that the house church is the best church model for hostile mission fields and desired that his fellow missionaries learn about it and implement it in their fields.
He expected around 70 missionaries to attend, but 97 came – from Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Nepal, Indonesia, and Cambodia. There was at least one missionary from every country in Southeast Asia except for Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.
The conference was held at a resort about an hours drive from Jakarta. The scenery was beautiful but the facilities were old. There were no air conditioners and we needed bug repellent and incense for the mosquitoes and other insects.
One day I went to bed well very late after a long meeting. I was startled and awoken by the voice of a man wailing through a loudspeaker at 4 AM. It signaled one of the five prayer times of the day for Muslims. Shortly thereafter, I heard a crescendo of human voices that sounded like a tidal wave. It was the sound of men and women who were staying at the resort praying. It was a fresh reminder that I was in a strong Muslim country.
Indonesian Muslims are not as serious about their religion as Middle Eastern Muslims. But under the Dutch occupation, Muslims were united against Christianity, which they saw as a Western religion, and became radical. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world – more than any Middle Eastern country – because it has a population of 22 million and 85% of them are Muslims.
The theme of the missionary conference was the house church. I spoke 6 times as the main speaker. Many missionaries said they came specifically because of the theme, showing their strong interest in the house church. Missionaries from Vietnam said that the house church is the only form of church that can survive there.
The conference achieved its goal: a large number of missionaries said that they would attend the House Church Seminar for Pastors to learn more about the house church. Many of them committed to the house church. Some missionaries said that, through my talks, they recovered the forgotten vision that first prompted them to become missionaries.
Speaking at the conference was draining, but I am grateful to God for using me as His instrument to inspire missionaries. I am also grateful to those who prayed for me and this event.
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