Indonesians are social people, and wherever they are in the world, they get together and enjoy their traditional foods and animated conversations.
In December 2010 several of the Adventist Indonesian families decided to begin worshiping together on a monthly basis. They chose a central church in which to meet and decided to gather in the afternoon, as many of the members had responsibilities in their home churches.Margaretha Sperring was born in Indonesia. She met her husband, Colin, in Sydney, Australia. As the couple made friends among the Indonesian community, they discovered that some 60,000 Indonesians live in the greater Sydney area. So far they have learned of more than 100 Adventist Indonesians who were worshiping in various area churches.
Some 20 people formed this core group. One of them was Sammy Lee, a retired Adventist pastor who has a passion for outreach, especially to fellow Indonesians. He spends part of every year holding evangelistic meetings in his homeland, but when he’s in Australia he works hard to realize the dream he’s carried for some 30 years to start an Indonesian congregation in Sydney.
“Indonesians tend to have an all-day church culture,” Margaretha says. “So most of us attend our home church in the morning, then attend the Indonesian church plant in the afternoon. We then have dinner together. Often we don’t finish until 9:00.”
“We have an average attendance of about 50 people,” Colin adds. “Half are Indonesians, the rest are family members who aren’t of Indonesian background. Because we’ve all attended worship with our families in the morning, we have a special activity for the children while the adults enjoy worshiping together.”
When the Indonesian group started, they met once a month. Now they meet twice a month.
Some 20 out of the 60 churches in the Sydney area are ethnic churches, ministering to specific language groups such as Spanish, Russian, and Korean. The Indonesian church plant is working to reach out to unchurched Indonesians across the city. They have no pastor so they share leadership functions and invite pastors from area churches to help them shepherd a growing community of believers.
The group has made strong efforts to reach out to the Indonesian community, inviting people to worship and fellowship with them. Global Mission funds will help pay for an Indonesian Bible worker to study with anyone who expresses interest.
Part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering during fourth quarter 2009 helped provide flip charts with Bible stories for children’s Sabbath Schools in the South Pacific Division.
Photo by Julie Westlake
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