Trip Report: Indonesia 2019
Sulawesi jungles: lush, green, and shrouded in darkness. But God dwells even in the darkness, we are told in 1 Kings 8:12. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Fear God, nothing less
An invitation to GO on Mission: Indonesia 2020
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Our brother watched as the deluge of rain moved the mountain in front of him in the heart of Central Sulawesi. He felt no fear. It was a holy moment.
His driver, a Muslim, cowered in fear as flood waters rose and mud flowed from the hills around them. “Why aren’t you afraid?” the driver asked with astonishment.
“God is with me,” our brother explained, gently. “I know I’m not going to die today.”
After saying that, the driver shadowed our brother everywhere he went, staying as close to this God-protected man as he possibly could. He wanted what our brother had: a sense of fearlessness.
We know the Source of that courage.
“ ‘For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” – Isaiah 54:10 (NLT)
No fear. It is a gift from the Spirit. Knowing that God is with us can take you places you wouldn’t humanly GO, hard places such as Indonesia.
Indonesia is a country of more than 265 million people – at least 82 percent of whom are Muslim. This makes Indonesia (with more than 220 million adherents of Islam) the largest Muslim nation in the world. Pakistan is second with about 200 million Muslims, followed by India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Morocco, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. There aren’t many vacation destinations for foreigners, especially Westerners, on that list of countries.
Jordan Rowley, our spiritual coordinator and my teammate on Mission: Indonesia 2019, wrote about the types of rumors and hearsay we are told when we travel the myriad islands of Indonesia in his introduction to Project Prayer: Ramadan 2019. He called it “sobering” and a “reminder of the danger that is present for Christians in many areas here in Indonesia,” which is ranked No. 30 on the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List.
But there are other reminders that our God is greater than any fearful words spoken by man.
In Luke 21, the physician/apostle and traveling companion of persecutor-turned-missionary Paul, writes about the coming of the Son. He tells us men will be “fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming on the world” (verse 26, ESV). I read these words as we were on the island of Sulawesi. In 2018, when we first surveyed South Sulawesi, Indonesian teammate Budi Yuwono confessed: “I was worried because I had never gone there, and I didn’t know anything about the Konjo tribe. Moreover, I was bringing two white people” (The Climbing Way, Volume 46, April 2019).
Now, in late April 2019, Budi was traveling with us to Central Sulawesi, a place where Americans once were warned not to go. Budi said he was not afraid. In fact, instead of fear, we felt favor. People seemed genuinely glad to see us nearly everywhere we traveled.
A woman washes clothing in the river beneath her stilt house in the remote forest near Mount Sojol in Central Sulawei. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
We will GO again in April 2020 and we’re inviting a few Climbing For Christ members to join us. This mission field is vast yet in eight expeditions to Indonesia we have taken only six foreigners. And two of those were staff members. That means just four C4C members have gone on mission with us to Indonesia – and three of them were personally invited. This is the posterchild for Matthew 9:37 (“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”).
By comparison, more than three dozen members have been on Mission: Nepal and more than two dozen on Mission: Kilimanjaro – with some people GO-ing more than once.
We’re looking for a few good workers to GO with us on Mission: Indonesia 2020, possibly to West Sulawesi. Budi and hopefully at least one other member of JEJAK (C4C’s Indonesia chapter) will survey West Sulawesi later this year. This will open or close the door to our work there in 2020.
We found in surveys in 2018 and 2019 that the unreached people groups (UPGs) we were targeting were being served by near people groups and the church. Budi volunteered to go in ahead of us to see if we are needed in West Sulawesi among a UPG we learned about on this trip.
If West Sulawesi is closed, we will proceed to one of several UPG locations in the remotest parts of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. Kalimantan is hot and humid – not unlike most parts of Indonesia. Kalimantan is derived from a word meaning “burning hot weather.” But we know, for those who do not receive the Good News we deliver, burning hot weather will be the least of their worries (Revelation 20:14).
We also know, for those who hear and believe, there will be no fainting with fear and foreboding at the visible return of Jesus. As Luke wrote, “for your salvation is drawing near” (Luke 21:28, NLT). That is why we should be filled with courage and compelled to GO to the unreached people of Indonesia.
Climbing For Christ members can request a mission application by emailing
info@ClimbingForChrist.org. Please pray that the LORD of the harvest would send humble workers who are willing to decrease so HE may increase.