Mitch Miller reports:
This year we sent a small exploratory team on mission to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The team consisted of DavidMark Grabowski, Susan Watts, Joy Miller and Mitch Miller. Our goal was to visit with Payton and Grace Downing…Payton grew up in Lake Don Pedro Baptist Church, and he and Grace are there on a 20-year commitment to work with the indigenous people who live in the mountainous interior of the islands in Indonesia.
We spent a full week with the Downings and during that time we visited a number of churches large and small as well as a “campus crusade” type outreach group. We also visited a theological college on the outskirts of the city of Palu that takes on 50 students per year and produces teachers and preachers who go back into the surrounding communities to spread the Gospel.
The highlight of the trip was a helicopter excursion to the interior to visit an area called Simpang. We visited with a German couple and their three children who have lived among the interior people for 4 years. It was very enlightening as it gave us a glimpse of the work Payton and Grace will be doing and the conditions they will encounter when they go on permanent assignment to the interior.
It was a blessing to see the level of organization and education in the Christian community in Sulawesi. As the minority religion in Indonesia, the Christians have had to pull together to survive, and it is impressive to see them not just surviving but thriving in Indonesia.
Susan Watts reports:
I feel very blessed to have been a part of the LDPBC Mission Team to Palu, Sulawesi in Indonesia. Payton, Grace and Finn are deeply involved in the well-organized Christian community on an island that is about 80% Muslim. Their command of the language and their daily life skills for living in a foreign country is so impressive. I had an opportunity to teach Temari necklaces, hand embroidered balls, to 20 middle and high school girls from Wana who live in the dorms. The cross design on the necklaces represent mankind’s sin and Jesus’ blood which washes us clean in God’s eyes, and can be used as a tool to share the gospel message. The highlight of my trip was the helicopter ride to Simpang, the Interior, where tribal people groups live high up in the mountainous jungle. I was amazed by the Christian work the full time missionary family who lives so isolated is doing there with local tribal people. Being on the Mission Team and having traveled to Indonesia and Tanzania on another trip has deepened my faith and spiritual walk with Christ.