It was a typical day on Lombak Island, Indonesia. The rice farmers rose early to work in the fields, anticipating an evening by the sea with their families. In a moment that all changed.
On July 29, 2018, a 6.4 earthquake rocked Lombok. Another 7.0 quake hit the island on August 5, triggering a tsunami. On August 9, another one registered 6.2 on the Richter scale. Destruction was massive. Animals were flipped upside down, machinery wobbled like tops, and buildings collapsed amongst screams for help. Rubble and debris blocked roads. Bridges crumbled into waterways and downed electric lines plunged areas into darkness. More than 500 people died, and more than 400,000 were displaced from their homes and farms.
Chandra Tobing, a ministry leader on nearby Bali Island, immediately organized relief teams. Chandra and his organization, Promised Land Training Center, had been working for nearly 10 years on Lombok, which is 85% Muslim. Now they saw a chance to bring hope and encouragement in this crisis.
Chandra’s wife is a half-Javanese Christian from a Muslim background. She knew a lone Christian couple in Lombok who offered to help with the distribution of aid and identify the families with the greatest need. Their home became the center of the ministry’s work in Lombok.
The teams took food, water, clothing, and tents. By December, they had rebuilt six homes. “They know we are not rich, but we came and gave,” said Chandra. “There is much trauma as small quakes keep happening, but hearts are opening and we are earning their trust and respect.”
American Christians make a difference with native missionaries
Because of generous American Christian supporters, ANM sent funds directly to Chandra. Reconstruction and relationships continue thanks to ANM donors and Chandra’s hard work. However, the most remarkable outcome was a church plant in the Christian couple’s home!
Three families began following Jesus because of the testimony of the relief teams and the local Christian couple. Chandra’s ministry brought them to Bali for baptism. The ministry brought the original Christian couple to Bali and ordained them as pastors. Finally, a Christian wedding was conducted in Bali that would have been too dangerous to do in the Muslim village. These families now gather regularly and listen to the audio Bible in the Sasak language. Chandra said, “This is miraculous! Church planting in our area just does not happen this quickly.” Please pray for safety and boldness as Chandra, his team, and these new believers reach out to their Sasak Javanese Muslim neighbors.
Isaiah 61:3 says that God will, ”Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
This is happening in Lombok.