Do you remember the ministry update “What is Church?” we sent last year? One of the mini-stories we told was about an amazing youth discipleship program called Sayang Anak Indonesia (SAIN – “Beloved Indonesian Child”). The Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches has set an ambitious goal for itself: recruit 2,000 mentors from local churches who will work with 10,000 children and youth ages 6 to 15. Here’s an update on the story: I (Ann) just returned from a ministry trip earlier this month to encourage SAIN projects in six different churches in Central and Eastern Java. These sisters and brothers in Christ are a real inspiration to all of us in the Body of Christ!
Each church is molding the SAIN program to its own context. In one church, the SAIN coordinator/mentor works with a group of 7 pre-teens; in another, there are 8 adult mentors and about 40 teens; in a third church the program has 25 mentors and over 100 children ages 6 to 15. SAIN programs vary widely from church to church since each small group is unique. Mentors incorporate kingdom values and share Jesus’ love in every activity, whether it is learning traditional Indonesian games and dance, playing football (soccer) or making a bamboo kite.
I plan to return in July since SAIN leaders have invited me to work with them on the upcoming Training of Trainers #3 for regional leaders. I am honored by their trust and confidence and am exploring ways to raise the funds needed to make this trip.
During this last ministry trip, I was part of a lively discussion with two prominent Indonesian Baptist leaders about gospel and culture, IM’s missiology (the “way we do mission” as ABCUSA), and theological education in Indonesia. One senior leader expressed his deep appreciation for the way we “come alongside” partners as friends and co-laborers rather than as overlords. He remarked: “This is the first time I have experienced such an attitude of true friendship from foreign partners — an openness to listen to us and our sense of God’s calling as we all come together to serve our people.” His comment made me proud to be an American Baptist – and I hope you will be encouraged by his compliment as well.
American Baptists genuinely desire to work alongside rather than from a position ‘over’ or ‘under’ our international partners. In other words, we try to avoid a ‘colonial mentality’ or ‘benevolent patriarchy.’ Instead we endeavor to foster relationships based on mutual respect and an eagerness to cooperate with what God is doing in and through our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ around the world. We may make mistakes along the way, but this is the journey we are committed to.
Thank you for journeying with us and your extended family in Indonesia and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region!