By now most of our readers are aware that our churches have, adopted, at the Synod of 1973, a limited budget for foreign missions. This limited budget has come into being as a result of a limited activity in the field of foreign missions. For many years we have not had the opportunity to labor in this field because of our limitations of size and priority of activity. However, it has pleased God to give to our churches the opportunity to conduct a limited labor in the field of “foreign” missions. Thus the Synod of 1972 gave the Foreign Mission Committee the mandate to investigate a labor in the field of Indonesia, and to carry on a limited labor there, if it were deemed advisable. This decision followed upon some labor in this field by our Lynden, Washington Church. Under the direction of Rev. Woudenberg the Lynden Church had a series of the “Bible Study Pamphlets,” written by Rev. Woudenberg, translated into the Indonesian language and distributed there in the format of a Bible Correspondence Course. However the expense of such a venture was really more than one church was able to carry, and at Lynden’s suggestion the Foreign Mission Committee suggested that we continue this labor as churches under the direction of their committee.
Our committee is presently engaged in this labor, having a second set of 50,000 correspondence courses translated for distribution in Indonesia. These courses are translated in the United States for us by the Evangelical Scripture Mission located in Monroe, Washington. Then they are printed in Indonesia by a native firm at a much cheaper rate than they could be printed in the States. Through the Evangelical Scripture Mission we have engaged a native Indonesian to act as a correspondence secretary. His task is to distribute the correspondence lessons, receive them back, correct them, and return them to the persons taking the courses. In this way Christians of Indonesia are given instruction in the truths of the gospel of Christ. This instruction is basically an expression of the wondrous doctrines of salvation in the Protestant Reformed tradition.
Indonesia is a country of 126 million inhabitants, with 13,000 islands which are an archipelago, stretching over 3,000 miles along the equator. There are five main islands: Sumatra, Java, Kalimatan, Sulawesi, and West Irian. And while composed of almost 300 ethnic groups, it is to be noted that there is one basic language called the Indonesian language. It is in this language that our correspondence courses are printed.
The reports from Indonesia are that these correspondence courses are greatly appreciated and needed. The testimony is that these courses have helped many to a truer understanding of the gospel of Christ. People from all levels of life have enrolled in these courses and have been strengthened in faith. Further, it is reported that the need far surpasses the quantity we have been able to send.
Our committee feels that though this is a very limited labor in such a vast land, nevertheless it is a way that we as churches are able to bring the message of the gospel to God’s sheep in this foreign land. It is our hope and prayer that God will use this labor unto the upbuilding of His people, the ingathering of His sheep, and the glory of His Name.
Our Committee is continuing an investigation into other fields of labor in this same way or with other means. May we remember this work of our churches in our prayers.