After months of prayer and preparation, a new mission and evangelism training centre is up and running. Jess Bee reports on a milestone for Lifewords in Indonesia.
Picture the scene: a room crammed full of people, spilling out into the corridor and stairwell. Pastors, students, volunteers, board members, ministry partners all gathered to celebrate the culmination of a vision. April this year saw the grand opening of the Lifewords Ministry Centre in Tangerang where over 120 people came together to worship, pray, connect and thank God for this exciting new resource. The day was about giving thanks for all that God has done so far but every act of worship, every conversation, every new relationship was a sign of the exciting things that God has planned for this place. “Many people hung around for hours, looking through our booklet range, watching our films, and wanting to find out more about The Visible Story and Pavement Project,” says Dan Hardie, Lifewords Australia Director.
A vision comes to life
The training centre is a milestone on the journey of Lifewords ministry in Indonesia. “It was really special for Pak Frans and Pak Gunar having spent many years sowing into the Lifewords ministry to have a tiny part of the vision come true,” says Dan. Gunar Sahari, Indonesia Director continues: “We have been training people with The Visible Story, Pavement Project and mobile mission events for many years now. Not having a proper place of our own, we have borrowed rooms at Bible colleges, used church halls and met in homes. This is sure to continue, but it is such a blessing to be able to rent our own space, and to offer accommodation and an established training venue for those who come from afar to spend several days with us in prayer and Bible training. I can see that this will be a great blessing for many.”
Over the past months much prayer and organisation has gone into making this vision a reality and now Lifewords Indonesia has a three-storey training centre almost fully equipped with televisions, storage, furniture, and a PA sound system. Many of these things have arrived through the generosity of local supporters: “A friend of mine popped into the centre to take a look at how it was coming together,” says Gunar. “I told him that we hoped to have a television showing films of our work and possibly another for the training room. The next day my friend returned with two brand new televisions. This happened half a dozen times as people have started to catch the vision.”
An exciting future
But the training centre isn’t just about one day of celebration. Its purpose is to engage, equip and empower local pastors and workers to share God’s Word in Indonesia. Just two days after the launch, the first training day took place. Dan explains: “A group of 12 local-area pastors were invited to join the training. We kept our expectations in check as it was a Monday and usually a busy time. However, 32 people turned up to receive booklets and specific training on how to use them in their own ministries. One elderly pastor who has been in ministry for 30 years told us that these booklets are exactly what he needs, and that he wants to bring all the volunteers and team members to the next training. ”The centre is also a key resource for people to build relationships and encourage one another in their ministries.“
Three pastors who had never met each other previously vowed to stay in contact, pray for one another and meet monthly for encouragement as they shared a number of ministry challenges in common,” says Dan. “’Where should we meet?’ one asked. ‘Let’s ask Pak Gunar if we can meet here,’ suggested another.” For Gunar and Dan – and all the pastors, students and workers who will benefit from the centre – the launch was an opportunity to reflect, give thanks, and look to the future. “It was evident that the celebration was not about a building,” says Dan, “but was about the people who would receive words of life, both for themselves and to share with others.”