We have just finished 4 and 1/2 days in the Indonesian State of West Kalimantan. Pontianak, the capital, is a city of more than 2 million people that sits on the equator, and I had never heard of it before. We arrived Wednesday afternoon and were greeted by the API church planter who leads a congregation in Pontianak and serves as the regional director for API. Our team of 6 includes the Americans, Herman from API, Eddie from Jakarta and Nikopolis from Kalimantan. Herman is the Coordinator for all 104 API church planters all across Indonesia. He is our primary translator and Eddie is our skillful driver. They have served us excellently and made this trip possible for us.
We have visited 16 churches in these few days. We have covered hundreds of kilometers on crowded, challenging highways and rugged mountainous paths. We have traveled via the ubiquitous Indonesian motorbike and we have hiked in the jungle and oil plantation country. (An oil plantation is a grove of palm trees from which oil is extracted from its fruit.) We have traveled in the rain and in the darkness and under the equatorial sun. (Thank God for a van with air conditioning--working most of the time.) Everywhere we have been received graciously and with much anticipation. The church in Sangwakang waited for nearly 2 hours for us to arrive. Everywhere we have been served hot tea and rice accompanied with various vegetables, chicken, fish, pork and beef, cassava, fried bananas, various cakes and crackers and things we don't remember (or maybe don't want to.) We spent a night in a home in the jungle without electricity and showered in the mountain spring. Everywhere we have prayed earnestly with brothers and sisters who completely depend on God for all they have. Some have very little else, but that is having more than having everything without God. We have prayed and worshipped by kerosene light, under a palm tree, in tin roof churches, in bare wood huts and in dirt floor homes. We have greeted people who have never seen an Amercan before except on tv. We have smiled and shaken hands and communicated through our eyes and with our body language as best we could. We have garbled phrases like "treima casi" (thank you), "Tuhan membe gati" (God bless you), and "Selamat bagi/ciang" (Good morning/afternoon). We have met dozens of faithful church members and leaders--men and women who courageously follow God in a muslim culture and work fervently for the expansion of God's Kingdom in the middle of a spiritually difficult field. They cherish our prayers on their behalf and they worship exhuberantly. We have been blessed and pray that God has given them a blessing with our visit to them.