In inaccessible rural Indonesia, a young Langham preacher has passed on what he has learnt to 18 others, and started the area’s first school.
When we think about studying God’s Word, and learning how to share it with others, many of us may think of this as a ‘nice to have’ – certainly not as important as food, water, electricity and education. Not so for the Pedrik Hingk Church from the rural mountainous region of Arfak in Papua Barat, Indonesia. In spite of extreme poverty, a group of pastors are desperate to learn God’s Word, and how to preach it.
Meet Pastor Raymond Maabuat, the leader who over the last two years has used Langham Preaching materials not only to train preachers, but also to open the door for literacy and education for the whole area.
Pastor Raymond tells his own inspiring story:
“I first attended the Langham Level 1 Preacher Training Course held in Manokwari, Papua, together with some of my colleagues from the Ericson Trill Theological Seminary. Afterwards we formed a preachers’ club and called it ‘Pistos Preaching Club’. But it did not go well, as we were all so busy teaching at the seminary.
In March 2014, thanks to God’s help, I was able to attend the Level 2 (Old Testament) Preaching Training course in Bogor, West Java. In May 2014, I was asked by the seminary to serve a group of congregations composed entirely of village farmers from the interior. They live about 40 miles from town in the mountainous region of Arfak and call themselves the Pedrik Hingk Church. This isolated area, recognised as a distinct political region as recently as 2013, can only be reached by 4WD vehicles.
The first time I visited, I was deeply moved to see that ninety percent of the people were illiterate. There was no electricity, no phone signals, and water came from the local stream, which turned muddy brown every time it rained. The local pastors struggled with their preaching, as they had had no schooling, let alone theological training. They relied on basic reading and writing skills originally taught to some members by missionaries about sixty years ago.
I decided to help them, using the materials from Langham Preaching. I photocopied all the teaching materials and the practical exercises and then translated them into the local language. Thanks to God’s help, I met the leader of the local government in Manokwari. He was most helpful and provided paper, and covered the printing and additional translation costs. So now we have all the Langham Preaching materials available in the local ‘Hatam’ dialect.
“When I started to teach the Langham materials, all 18 local pastors wanted to attend. Some of them were still virtually illiterate. So I decided to teach just those who could read, and then, together with my wife and my younger brother, to open a literacy class for the others. This class has grown into a school.”
A year ago there were 71 pupils and three of us as teachers. We managed to obtain school uniforms by begging for help from the town. We were also sent other schoolbooks and some writing materials. At the same time I started a preachers’ club, again called ‘Pistos’ (faithful). The group consisted of 46 people who didn’t want to be split up. Now, since Langham Level 3 Preaching Training [held in March in Indonesia] I plan to divide them into four groups.
So, on behalf of the 18 congregations of the Hingk region of Arfak Mountains, I want to say ‘thank you’ to Langham for making it possible for me to attend the Langham Training and to learn the systematic exposition method, which is so relevant, and to receive the books provided; it is very hard for us to get good theological books.”
What an incredible multiplier effect! It is certainly encouraging to hear how the Word of God is bringing life, health and wellbeing to the people of the Hingk region – it is reaching further.