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International

Beyond Islands, Beyond Fear

  • Nation | Indonesia
  • Date | February 01, 2007
ⓒ 2007 WATV
Two months have already passed since the New Year 2007 began. Although it is late to greet, I wish to greet the brothers and sisters of Zion around the world. “God bless you in the new year, too!”

Where I am now is Jambi Province, located on the east coast of central Sumatra Island, Indonesia. You maybe remember the tsunami which occurred in Sumatra in 2004. The most damaged area was Aceh Province, whose main city is Banda Aceh, located at the north of the Sumatra Island.

Jambi is far away from Aceh Province, so the region was not affected by the tsunami and the people are very indifferent to the disaster. Sumatra is very vast, though it’s called an island, and the facilities for information and communication are poor, so most people are even unaware that the terrible disaster, which shocked the whole world, overtook their own country.

I also did not have great interest in other countries before. I’d never thought of leaving my country, Korea. When I saw many brothers and sisters go abroad to preach the new covenant in accordance with God’s prophecy, at first I only envied them. As time passed, the envy turned into the resolution to obey God’s will.

In July, 2005, my wife left Korea first, and then I also flew to Jambi in August. It was not easy for us to adjust ourselves to temperature which was over 92˚F all the year, different language and different way of thinking. In this difficult situation, God guided us and allowed us to reunite with our lost brothers and sisters.


The Country of Islands
Indonesia, located in Southeast Asia, is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of five large islands—Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya—and of more than 17,500 smaller islands. It is worthy to be called the “country of islands.”

The name “Indonesia” came from two Greek words: “Indos” meaning Indian and “Nesos” meaning islands. The natives usually use the name “Nusantara,” which also means “the country of many islands.”

Over 90 percent of its population is Islamic and the rest is Protestant, Catholic and Buddhistic. Although they acknowledge other religions such as Christianity, Catholicism and Buddhism, Christianity does not put down roots because it is the country of Muslims.

The Indonesians’ concept of religion is different from others’. For them, religion is an essential element. Their lives are governed by religion; one’s religion decides his customs and rules, and the people are classified by their religions.

Suppose a baby is born in a Christian family. The baby is registered by being sprinkled at a church and recorded as a Christian in his certificate of residence. His wedding has to be done in a church, and the certificate of marriage is also issued by the church. Then, he is buried under the ground which belongs to his church. Within the bonds of religion, his life begins and ends. It is needless to say that a Muslim baby is circumcised according to the Islamic custom and registered as a Muslim.

It took us eight months to understand them, and we were having hard times. However, there were also God’s children who were waiting for us in this island county, as prophesied: “In his [God’s] law the islands will put their hope.”


Getting Over Fear
Our surroundings were a big obstacle to preaching the Holy Spirit and the Bride who came in Korea. All was controlled by Islamic power and the people had no concept about the gospel or evangelism, so when we preached the truth, we were considered as weird.

However, we could not spend our precious time doing nothing any longer, so my wife and I went out to preach, holding the Bible. Muslims were all around us and we were somewhat afraid. In the midst of fear, we had strong confidence that God is with us and that what we believe is the Truth of truths. Then we were able to preach the word of God boldly.

A year passed, and at last we found a soul in June, 2006. We were overwhelmed with emotion, but so sorry to God for not having preached boldly even though He had sent us here to find our lost brothers and sisters in this country.

Until now we have found 20 lost brothers and sisters. You may regard the number 20 as small, but here one soul is very precious to us. At first, they do not accept the gospel easily because they’ve never heard about that before and it is strange to them. And they are interrupted by many people. When they convert to other religion, they have to give up many things that they have achieved in their lifetime. Even their life is threatened. Conversion is a very serious problem.

It takes lots of time and prayers for a man to be reborn as God’s child. However, once a person is reborn as a child of God after enduring many things, he grows to be a good fruit.

Have you ever seen grass coming out of hardened ground or a flower blooming between rocks? In the places where no creatures seem to live, God lets grass grow and flowers bloom. Likewise, Jambi was a land of fear to us, where no heavenly family members seemed to be found. However, God let the seed of the gospel be sown, put down roots, bloom and bear fruit. It was our fear that prevented us from finding our lost brothers and sisters. When we got over our fear, we were able to find our brothers and sisters.


Trees Bearing Fruit
Let me tell you about Sister Rumintar. After we met her, the gospel work in Jambi, which had been stagnating in difficult conditions, began to go forward. Whenever we conflicted with the culture and tradition of this country, she helped us solve the problems. Her devotional love has been a great help to the Jambi Zion.

When we first met Sister Rumintar, her first question was about a veil. As written in the Bible, we taught her that woman ought to cover her head with a veil during worship but that man ought not to cover his head. After that, she studied the word of God every day, and accepted the truth about the heavenly Mother very comfortably as if she had already known it.

“I’ve often read in the Bible that earthly things are a reflection of heavenly things. Just as our earthly mothers exist, so our spiritual Mother must exist.”

After saying that, she told us about the dream that she had dreamed long before she knew the truth. In her dream she saw that the men, who had worshiped God with their heads uncovered, and the women, who had worshiped with their heads covered with veils, gathered in heaven. After that dream, whenever she met people, she asked them about the veil. If their denomination did not keep the regulation of wearing the veil, she refused them and waited for the true Church that practices the regulation.

Hearing what she said, we gave thanks and praise to God who had prepared everything before we met our lost brothers and sisters. If we had not preached for fear, we would not have found the souls God had already prepared.

Even under lots of reproaches and persecutions, Sister Rumintar replied on God’s word and bore many fruits: her husband who had given her hard time at first without knowing the truth, her younger brother who had attended a Protestant church, her younger sister who had visited her for postpartum care after childbirth, her relatives living far away from her house, and Brother Kesmar, who is now a good gospel worker, and his family. She is busy bearing new fruit every month.

Watching her overcome persecutions and produce good fruits, I repent for not having been thankful to God even in better circumstances.


Enthusiasm for the Gospel Increases in Love
Most members of the Jambi Zion live scanty lives owing to lack of job and high price. Even in their hard life, they cherish God’s word, serve brothers and sisters, and willingly participate in the gospel work.

Sister Rumintar also is not economically well-off, that she can hardly use public transportation. On worship days, she comes to Zion on foot, carrying her four children in the hot burning sunshine.

Nevertheless, she never utters a word of complaint. Brother Kesmar’s family serves food for the brothers and sisters. And an elderly brother, who works the whole week through, joyfully participates in preaching the gospel when he gets a day off, even though his house is five or six hours away from Zion.

The secret of the Jami Zion’s success lies in the members’ sincere love. Those who received the truth not long ago do not understand what brotherly love is. However, as they gradually realize the will of God, they have more conversations with each other and become changed into God’s beautiful children─members of the heavenly family. If something bad happens to one, all the others share his suffering. The more their situation is difficult, the more they become united.

Now, the brothers and sisters of the Jambi Zion are exerting all their fervent efforts to lead their family and relatives to Zion. After hearing that our brothers and sisters all around the world are confidently preaching the new Jerusalem Mother, we are also preaching the truth about Mother boldly. I am so touched by the zeal and enthusiasm of our native brothers and sisters. Preaching about Mother, we are surprised to see people accept the heavenly Mother very quickly, saying it is natural to receive Mother because She is testified in the Bible, as God prophesied, “In its time I [God] will do this swiftly.” We observe this prophecy being fulfilled. Contrary to my negative thought that all circumstances are unfavorable, God has already prepared all things.

I think that many of our brothers and sisters eagerly want to participate in overseas evangelism. Until you adjust to the new surroundings, you will suffer difficulties and feel loneliness. Never lose heart, though. If you overcome the crucial time, the door for the gospel will surely be opened. It’s a great blessing to participate in world evangelism, which cannot be compared with anything in the world. If you start preaching overseas with the sword of God’s word on the foundation of firm faith and with a beautiful heart─the heart of God, you will be able to lead many souls to God.

Indonesia’s land is nine times wider than the Korean Peninsular. This vast land needs many gospel workers. In Jambi, the seed of the gospel is sown and being sprouted. We expect many workers to be sent here and our native brothers and sisters become good workers.

“Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor” (Isaiah 60:8-9).

Now, many nations have seen the glory of Jerusalem, and are
offering the souls, more precious than much pure gold, to God. The Bible states that islands look to God. Although we have not yet shone the glory of Jerusalem upon all the places, I believe that the light of Her glory will be shone swiftly and that the song of praise to our heavenly Mother will resound throughout Indonesia, the country of islands.

Now, I do believe in prophecy—the voice of God. Heavenly Father and Mother allowed me to overcome fear and find my lost brothers and sisters. I give eternal thanks to Father and Mother.
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