Raised in the Church

A Jaffray seminarian makes a bold move


Ministry in the Baliem Valley in Papua has been active for several decades. There are now second- and third-generation believers, many of whom are church leaders actively engaged in evangelism. But there is still much work to do; many people are living in darkness and are desperate for the light of Christ.

Piter* grew up in a village in the middle of the valley. His parents worshiped idols and lived in spiritual darkness. One day he became very sick. “My father had no hope for my life,” Piter recalls. “Everyone knew I was going to die. Then a minister of the Lord—an evangelist—came to our town. He told my father that there was still hope. The evangelist prayed for me, and I started to get better.” Piter’s father was so grateful that he was willing to give Piter to the evangelist to be raised in the church. The man took Piter to his home, and the boy grew up there.

Meanwhile, the sickness continued to spread in Piter’s village. Many members of his family became sick, including his mother. She suffered for a year before she died, but then the sickness moved to his younger brother, who died after three months. One year later his father and his father’s younger brother died. The leaders of the village were worried about the family’s future.

Piter was now the only one left who could care for his two younger brothers. He went back to the village and told the people that he didn’t believe in the idols and the darkness anymore because Jesus had made him well. Piter said that even if the sickness did return, he was ready to die because he knew Jesus, the source of life and the Savior of his soul. “Jesus can also take care of my brothers,” he told the elders, “so I will raise the boys in the church.” This was a bold thing for a young man to do, but the elders agreed and allowed Piter to take his brothers.

Today, Piter is one of more than 400 students studying for ministry at STT Jaffray (STT stands for Sekolah Tinggi Theologi—“Higher School of Theology”). Each one, like Piter, has a story. Some are of early rebellion and repentance as a high school teenager. Some are of God’s amazing grace reaching down and plucking young men or women from non-Christian homes and calling them for ministry.

STT Jaffray is one of the main training centers of the C&MA in Indonesia. Located in the city of Makassar on the island of Sulawesi, Jaffray offers a place for believers living in the eastern part of Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Ambon, West Timur, Papua and others) to prepare to serve the Lord in a variety of ways. After graduation, some will work in government schools where they will have an opportunity to teach about Christianity. Others are studying to be evangelists, international workers or pastors.

Theological education in Indonesia is not just a teaching job. The Lord has called us to mentor students and speak into the lives of these young men and women who are called to Christian service. Sometimes that means helping students deal with difficult home life and childhoods. Sometimes it means asking students to minister alongside us. Sometimes that means having the privilege of hearing one person after another testify of God’s grace.

God is using STT Jaffray to build up His Kingdom in Indonesia and beyond. Because of the gracious giving of the C&MA church in the United States and the prayers of our friends and family, we are able to participate in changing the future of Indonesia—as seen in the lives of students like Piter.

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