|In Papua Indonesia|
Mission in Papua Indonesia
This time the mission was totally a MANI’s I accomplished as MANI Coordinator for the Diaspora. During a tour that led me to Australia and New Caledonia, I had the grace to meet Melanesian population of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji that led me to realize that we were a fraternal people with a lot of similarities in our traditions and cultures as well as our colonial past and our aspirations. Since then I have had at heart the Melanesian people, and I’m committed to make contact with church leaders of these nations. In my report to the MANI 2011 Consultation in Abuja in Nigeria, I proposed to integrate the Melanesians in the vision of the movement as part of the diaspora. It was only last year that I received the MANI Team agreement to carry on that project: to establish contacts with the Melanesian brothers. So I began to undertake researches to have serious contacts with church leaders in the region. After entrusting everything to the Lord through prayer. Thanks to Jon Lewis, a member of the MANI team, a contact was established with Pastor Lipiyus of Papua Indonesia who eventually invited me for a leadership meeting with pastors in the Region. After many missed appointments including one during my trip in the Philippines, we have finally found a date that suited us all.
Thus I travelled to Jayapura, capital of the Papua province of Indonesia, from September 11 to 23, 2015. At first, I had to spend two days in Jakarta where I had to talk with church leaders of this region including a pastor I met at a Conference organised by the Lausanne Movement in the Philippines. Then I had to participate in a baptismal service in a church community about three hours from Jakarta. After that I had to take a flight to Jayapura were I was to preach in churches and especially provide a leadership training seminar. I was very well welcomed in Jakarta on arrival. When I arrived I learned about a last minute change in the program. The staff sent by pastor Lipiyus, who welcomed me as I was leaving the aircraft took me immediately to a local flight check-in counter were they registered my luggage and got me a business class boarding pass to Jayapura. Then they installed me in the VIP lounge of the Airport, briefed me about the rest of my trip assuring me that I will be joined by Pastor Lipiyus and his wife a few hours later to board together. Then they left.
After two days of traveling from France to Papua, I finally arrived at 7 am in Jayapura airport withmy hosts, where we were once again warmly welcomed at the presidential lounge before continuing our journey. I was installed at the hotel for few hours as I had been informed as I met my host, I had to speak at a religious service attended by the Governor of the province, the Military Commander, 3-star general and his wife, and the Police Commander, also 2-star general. The message that the Lord gave me to bring before this authoritative audience was “Liberty and Grace, Signs of God’s Love for us” It was a short but hitting message at the end of which I had a privilege to pray for the leaders of the Police and the Army for their consecration. The Lord be glorified!
The next day, Sunday, September 13, I was invited to share a message in a “house church”, so called because it is held in the yard of a large property, but in fact it is a little bigger than our church in Strasbourg. I learned later that this was pastor Lipiyus’ house he has placed at the disposal of this community that host most senior officials of the region including the Governor, who was also present with his family this day. A song introduced my message on the theme “God is doing Extraordinary Things with Ordinary People”. Again the Lord was glorified!
On Monday, September 14, I had to meet some pastors of the Pentecostal churches and spoke to them for two hours. They were 32 pastors and church leaders from throughout the region. Most of them came with their motorcycles, some from more than 100 km to participate in this meeting. I first started with a Power Point presentation of our movement and vision, then I emphasised on the importance of the disciple making. We ended with a series of questions and answers. Given the feedback I had from some of them, I handed out some disciple training material, the series “Essential Discipleship” edited by one of our partners, TWR Canada (Trans World Radio). The exchange was very interesting and rewarding for all of us. They decided to send two of their church leaders to represent them to the MANI Consultation in Ethiopia in March 2016. If it was not the appointment with the Governor, we would have exchanged longer.
After tis meeting, we found Pastor Lipiyus in a restaurant nearby the governor’s office. Again he was meeting with a dozen pastors with whom we have also exchanged and the Lord gave me to prophesy on one of them, I think he was the youngest. It was also a special moment! How good it is to be led by the Lord for then, it’s He who accomplishes extraordinary things with ordinary men as we are.
After that, my host drove us to the Governor of the Province office. Let me mention that this province is as large as the territory of metropolitan France. It is a land that is experimenting troubles with a separatist movement that is occasionally mentioned by clashes with the Indonesian Government representatives. Papuans who are Melanesians, have always felt colonized by Indonesians who send Asian populations invade their territory, which results to arouse animosity between indigenous people who feel dispossessed of their land and the Asian populations moreover Muslim. Thanks to the mediations efforts of Pastor Lipiyus, it is the first time that a Papuan Governor is sent to govern the territory. Besides, even if the Military and the Police Commanders are not Papuan origin, they were appointed on the proposal of this brother who seems to have a great influence in this country. I later learn that Pastor Lipiyus, for those who know the history of the “Child of Peace”, is the son of the village chief who first gave his life to Jesus when the missionaries came in Papua.
We then arrived at the governor’s palace and there, we went through waiting rooms full of people, people who were awaiting an audience with the governor, and an officer took us straight to his office. There were already there, one of his “Ministers” in audience with him. We entered a large room, difficult to describe in two words. To the right was a huge oval table similar to that of the Council of Ministers; left, two richly furnished lounges to which the officer directed us. We settled on the one near the “presidential” table that was in back of the room and immediately the governor took leave of his minister and joined us to the living room adjacent to his office. He began the conversation by complaining about the extra work that his promotion as governor of this great region gives him. I took the opportunity to ask if he would authorise me to pray for him. Then an extraordinary thing happened: not only I prayed for him but actually, by the grace of God, I ministered to him as I never expected. He really needed and I believe it is the Lord that had brought me there for him. Then I introduced our movement and the purpose of my mission in Papua. At the end of my presentation, dropping the whole program awaiting him, he asked us to follow him to his residence to continue there. Again I was received as a prince with a snack similar to a dinner aperitif. After I had blessed his house, he invited me for an intimate interview in a secluded room where in turn he blessed me. The Lord God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed!
The rest of the stay was less than thrilling. Several appointments were cancelled by the fact that Pastor Lipiyus who was asked by the government of his country for mediation in the High Lands were separatists had rebelled, had to leave a few days for this mission. Meanwhile I attended a theological seminary that was held in an evangelical church in Jayapura, what allowed me to realize the training needs of pastors training in the region. Two Americans came from California to provide this training. It was also for me, an opportunity to pray for the needs, especially for the sick.
The Lord has yet led to many other things, including prayers for the people I have visited,
consecration prayers for people and projects etc. The last Sunday was
the celebration of the first anniversary of the Union of Evangelical Protestant
Churches that aroused a year earlier. It was a special worship service were I
was given the opportunity to speak briefly to introduce the MANI and my mission
in Papua. I took opportunity to launch a short exhortation inviting to
consecration to God. It was a solemn service were interventions had the
appearance of a political speech. In the afternoon, I had to meet with some pastors
for a training seminar on “The Global Mission”. On this occasion I again urged
pastors to get trained and train disciples. I once again handed out not only
the TWR material but also a more comprehensive material of GWP (Good Word
Partnership) my partner in the organization of the evangelists in Europe, the
“Europe Evangelist Forum”. I shared with them a vision that I received for
Papua: “From there will start a revival that begins within the Island and will
spread throughout Indonesia and even beyond; that’s why the Lord wants to
prepare His people”. This vision was later confirmed in Turkey by an American
missionary who said the same thing with more precisions during the workshops by
regions, as I chose to join the South East Asia Region. Blessed are you Lord!
Coming to conclusion, much work needs to be done in these areas, starting with pastors and then trainers. My time at the theological seminar led by the Americans to understand that except some Pastors of Pentecostal Churches, few pastors spend one hour a year reading and meditating scriptures. How can they in these conditions make disciples? This is an area in which collaboration with African churches and missions is not only possible, but necessary. In this way we can build a bridge between Africa and our Melanesian brothers. We made appointments among which the first is the participation of a delegation to the MANI Consultation scheduled in Addis-Ababa from 7 to 12 March 2016. The second: Leadership and disciple training is to be determined.
For this also may the Lord be glorified!