Riau Islands en route to Houston, Texas
I have long been curious about Indonesia — the island nation sandwiched between Southeast Asia and Australia. Until my arrival in Batam a few days ago, my knowledge of Indonesia was limited to what I have read and heard over the years. The past few days, however, have been like a richly illustrated open book, each page beckoning me to read the next. I found nothing boring about Indonesia. The archipelago is blessed with dramatic natural beauty and fascinating people. Although the people who inhabit these islands speak more than 300 languages, almost everyone speaks Bahasa Indonesia, the common and unifying language of the islands. And, from fishermen dragging their nets in the azure waters surrounding jungled islands to the hordes of shoppers in glitzy malls, Indonesia is a fascinating study in contrasts. I thoroughly enjoyed my time among the people of Indonesia.
My friend Bill Velker of Life International and I had the opportunity to speak to Christ-followers from various parts of Indonesia about the sanctity of human life. We discussed abortion and other ways in which the sanctity of human life is diminished in Indonesia and beyond. What we discovered was a deep concern and determination on the part of these young church leaders to champion the rights of the pre-born. Although the majority of those we spoke to said that they know someone who has had an abortion, they had little or no idea that more than two million babies are aborted annually throughout Indonesia. Many told us that now that they have a better understanding of God’s passion for the welfare of the pre-born and others who are vulnerable to abuses, they will not remain passive or silent. Awareness always precedes and fuels action.
On our final day, those we met with worked together to develop a strategy to pray for the church leader training initiative on the sanctity of human life that Life International will offer in a few weeks. I was personally encouraged by the willingness of these young Christ-followers to pray and prepare for the upcoming training. They are determined to be the generation that will be a light to their nation and that will champion life-giving initiatives. And, after spending these days with them, I am convinced that they have the audacity and courage to do so. Today, they are a mustard seed sized group. But, like the mustard seed, they have the potential to grow exponentially and to champion God’s passion for life and justice throughout their nation. Although I am leaving Indonesia, Indonesia will not leave me — it now has a place in my heart. I will have a lifetime connection to this nation of islands because of the passionate Christ-followers that I met there.