Our Mission: INDONESIA

In the fall of 2016, Will Hesterberg, Director of Development, traveled to Indonesia to explore a potential new field.  This began as a result of Will meeting Jon son Dethan at the United Reformed Church’s synod in Grand Rapids, MI, in June.   Will and Jon son talked at the synod about the potential in Indonesia and then continued their discussions by email during the summer.  By August it became clear that Indonesia might indeed be a good location for another field for ITEM.

 

When Will arrived in Kupang on the island of Timor in Indonesia, he found many nationals eager for more training.  The 3-day class on Biblical Theology saw an ever increasing attendance with 50 the first day, 150 the second day, and 170 by the third day.  These leaders were pastors and elders from the Calvinistic Reformed Church of Indonesia (GGRC) and administrators, teachers, and some high school students from their schools on the island.

 

Indonesia is a nation of over 17,000 islands with 250 million inhabitants, predominantly Muslim;  in fact it is the largest Muslim nation in the world.  The southern island of Timor has a rich heritage of Dutch influence  since the 1600s as the Dutch East Indies but in the 1950’s the churches planted  by Dutch reformed missionaries in Timor drifted into theological liberalism.  The GRCC began with the work of Jon son’s father in the 1960s and continues under Jon son’s visionary leadership.  Although a small denomination with less than 2,000 members in approximately 20+ churches and missions, the denomination has an ambitious vision of winning Indonesia for Christ and realizes it must have well trained leaders for its churches and its 18 schools with about 1,800 students if it is to progress in its vision.

 

ITEM’s board approved adding Indonesia as a field at its November meeting.  Four instructors will teach in Kupang in 2017 and this may well expand in the following years.