Saturday, December 5, 2015



Maibrat is the home of Mrs Martinc. It’s a village near a mostly dry bed lake. In that village lives Mrs Martinc. She is from this tribe. Several years ago when she learned that the Sabbath of the Bible originates from Creation and is kept by many of God’s people even today. . . she became convicted she must help bring the Seventh-day movement of truth to her people. She build the pictured home on her family land. Then she learned about some student missionaries who would come and help her. So they came for 1 year but it was hard to establish any long term work in just 10 months that they lived with her. Beside her house is a large tract of land that she would like to have for a church and a school.


When I showed a mission report of a simple jungle chapel that we built in Hobotonggo, “Mamma Martinc” as she is affectionately called by all, came straight to the point with me. “Pastor, we have to build this type of church in my village.”

After a long conversation it was agreed that Pastor Ted Wendewani, President of West Papua Mission, and myself with “Mamma Martinc” and the local Pastor would go see this project for ourselves. What we discovered is a village with a nearby 1,400 meter runway that could easily help us access her fairly remote area. After listening to her appeal I challenged her to keep going with witnessing. We usually don’t build churches until after a nucleus of at least 10 members has been formed and it is deemed that they aren’t just transit members who will soon move somewhere else. Furthermore, we’d like to see these 10 or more members being a real shining light into the community.

“Mamma Martinc” replied with tears in her eyes in the most sincere cry, “Pastor I need help for how to do that!” I wondered in my heart how many others like “Mamma Martinc” need a basic knowledge of what to do to be the feet and hands of the gospel in their area? I’m feeling a little stretched because no matter how many seminaries and disciples we try to teach the simple art of being Jesus to others it seems there are not enough of us showing the love of Jesus. No matter how many times I seek to teach others how to look for souls there are still many who crave to know more. “O Lord teach your sheep how to be sharers of this wonderful Gospel.”

Please, pray that “Mamma Martinc” will be able to find 10 others through practical ways. May she be inspired to visit others and invite them to simple worships in her simple home.

I, by faith, believe that within a year from now “Mamma Martinc” will have found at least 10 disciples of the Way of Jesus who will join her. Because of that I’ve given a small donation to help her flatten the land she is donating to the mission for a Church and Church School. I am also praying that readers like you will donate for a “Jungle Chapel and Jungle School”. The school will probably be the single most effective way of reaching the perceived needs of the community. There is little education in far places like Maibrat because teachers don’t like to live in far places. But by faith I believe God will give us a teacher or 2 also and the books and supplies to teach with


Mamma Martinc with her son and grand-daughter. The son and grand-daughter live 2 hours away.

To Donate for this and other Jungle Chapels and Schools, clinics and Pastors houses:

In the USA: Send checks C/O

Battlefield Community Church of SDA

PO Box 5306

Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30741

Please be sure to write “Papua Mission Evangelism Jungle churches” on your check so the treasurer will know where to direct your funds.

By Credit Card or Debit Card: click “Online Giving” and then fill out your online donation envelope. Make sure you direct the funds to Papua Mission Evangelism

In Indonesia: Make bank transfers to:

Bank Mandiri

Atas Nama: Darron Eugene Boyd, Chandra Ganna

No. Rekening: 1540011873761

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WA! WA! WA! WA! A church is built in Hobotonggo.

Imagine our surprise when Pastor Rob Lang responded to a thank-you note my wife sent to him about a year ago.  Rob Lang is the Youth Director of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists where I was a pastor for 15 years.    A year ago we were still reeling in the pain of tragedy.    Bob Roberts our fellow missionary in Papua Indonesia had crashed Adventist Aviation's plane and not survived.    We went home on furlough not knowing for sure if there would be an aviation program to support the work that we do in Papua and West Papua Provinces of Indonesia.   Our boys went to Cohutta Springs camp and Pastor Rob had discounted the price so they could all go.   Ruth had sent a thank you card to pastor Rob and had mentioned, "If you ever want to come on a mission trip to Papua. . . we'd love to host you and your team."

Fast forward to April 1-8 of this year and Pastor Rob had come for a pre-trip to prepare for a December mission trip.   The more we discussed the more convinced that we became that if at all possible a mission trip in August would fit better with the dry season for the particular site we had chosen – Hobotonggo.

Hobotonggo is a mountain village located deep in the vast wilderness of Central Papua highlands in Indonesia.   The people belong to the Yali tribe.    Even today the older generation of Yali prefer penis- gourds and grass-skirts over wearing clothes.    Yes, they have clothes but cultural pride out-paces the need to be "clothed" in western clothes.

To bring even 4 Young Adults to build a prefab church in a fly in location is not exactly the easiest thing in the world.    We had exactly 5 days from the  end of our furlough until the day they were suppose to arrive on July 30th.    But "thanks" to lots of air line issues in Seoul, Korea, Singapore and then Jakarta  - the team of 4 arrived exactly 1 day later than expected.   Which gave me 1 extra day to continue the mad scramble to get all the parts together and weighed and distributed to 1 of the 4 flights that would be made to support this church build.   Yikes, I was exhausted from the cumulative effects of cutting Galvanized Steel (fumes are terrible) and Jet lag and getting re-adjusted to the swampy heat of Papua after a summer of Air-conditioning in America for Furlough and GC Session.

On the day that Adam, Seth, Tiara and Sierra arrived from America we boarded Aubrey and Andrew and Global Pioneer/Theology student Hermanus with a bunch of cement and rebar for the pre-team to go ahead and lay out the church building.   While I situated everyone on Adventist Aviation Flight and we added Pastor Jasper a media expert from Jakarta International Adventist Church onto the flight, Ruth went to pick up the team of 4 Young Adults.    Adam, Seth, Tiara and Sierra arrived and consumed the "Best meal of the whole trip thus far" in 5 minutes flat.    Breakfast done and showers obtained the group launched into helping me weigh and load a truck load of metal parts and roofing to be sent by a chartered plane.   The Chartered plane is 2 meters bigger inside the fuselog allowing longer pieces of metal to be sent.   We got the truck loaded and then grabbed a bit of lunch and off we went to off load the stuff for the Monday scheduled charter flight for the building supplies.  

The truck just needed to go 7 miles to the commercial airport but 1 mile into the trip the whole load shifted and went sliding off the truck onto the road.    Probably 40 people stopped to help reload and re-position 1.2 tons of building materials.   In 5 minutes the trucks contents were divided between 2 trucks and off we went again.   This time without incident.

Adam and Seth came back from this experience with a story to tell of skiing on top of metal roofing sheets down the road.    That's probably a stretch of the story on my part.  From my perspective as the driver of the chase vehicle I saw them frantically holding on while the steel beneath them went sliding off the truck with no harm done to person or things.

Friday evening we welcomed the Sabbath with the team at lake Sentani and then a supper of home cooked soup and breads and "communion" bread.   Then off to an early bed for the 4.

Sabbath Morning all were awake early and ready for church then a hike to the water falls in Harapan (Hope).    All the Adventist Expats were along.  We returned from the waterfalls in a tropical down pour.    I never mind walking in a warm rain in the lowlands of Papua as long as I have a spot to tuck my electronic gadgets out of the weather.   Glad that Seth had his day back along for that purpose.

Sunday morning we awoke really early to weigh all of our things in hopes that it would fit on the plane bound for Walma.   Walma was our jumping off point or "point of no return" as Pilot Gary Roberts put it.    After the plane leaves you in Walma you are dependent on 2 way radio for outside contact with the world below.    If you get sick and need a flight out you have to climb to the airstrip 45-60 minutes that is if you are well enough to climb.   From Walma we desended more than 1,200 feet to Hobotonggo our new home away from home.

Sierra, Tiara and my self likened it to down-hill skiing without the snow.   In place of the snow were rocks, mud, pig excrement, more mud and still more.   Every now and then a traverse of a muddy creek on a "slick as snot" log bridge.    Most of us foreigners needed a bare-footed Yali person at our side to keep us from falling head over heels to our certain death down some precipice.    

"54 minutes of eternal nerves-on-edge-descending and hoping you live to tell about it" is what 1 person said of the trip into Hobotonggo.   Sub-Sandwiches packed in were scarfed down in 3 bites.   How is it that a Foot long sandwich seems so short when you're in the bush?   20 minutes of discussion latter we convinced the locals to disassemble the low shelter they had called their church home for the last couple of rainy seasons.    We assured them by faith that we'd be worshiping in a new church by the weekend to come.   I could tell there were doubters amongst them.   About 40 men and women surrounded the shelter and picked it up out of the ground and moved it about 40 feet to the edge of the small table of land so the new church could sit on the old site.  Clearly they didn't want to take the church apart completely because we might not be able to do what I said would be done by Sabbath.   I spat directions out in Indonesian and English and mime.   "Level the land there.   Dig a line of holes here.   Put a stack of rocks and sand there.     Let's add string here and make a square corner here."   Then came a cold rain.     After a hot muddy hike and a cold rain I was shivering from either sweat gone cold or was it the cold mountain rain? – probably both!   Holes  for the 24 pillars rapidly materialized.  Upon these would rest 24 pillars upon which would rest this pre-fab church building. 

Monday morning we poured cement and the whole village went to pick up the 1.2 tons of metal pieces that were on their way from Sentani International Airport via a chartered Cessna Caravan.    Thank God for a whole village who were excited to help.    One man carried over 110 pounds of roofing down the impossibly steep trail from Walma to Hobotonggo .   I could barely lift what he lifted let alone navigate 45-60 minutes of "Slick as ice" trails.   We finished our job of pouring concrete by 3:30 p.m. and off we went to explore the local swimming holes.

The local swimming holes are full of very valuable rocks.   Agat, Granite, can be found in most streams in the Highlands of Papua if you search hard enough.    Most is not worth the effort but it certainly fueled the imaginations of our group.    "What if I could fund my college?"    I was thinking things like,  "If only this tribe could be taught to use these resources for God's glory and build schools and roads and airstrips and clinics and . . . The back story of this particular swimming area is amazing.

When Pastor Rob Lang  and I came here in April we challenged the locals to provide sand, gravel and excavation of the area for their new church as their contribution.    They went in search for sand and gravel but only found large stones and no sand or gravel.    So they prayed.   Within minutes of their prayer a small land slide happened at the edge of their village near the swimming holes where we were now at.    They rejoiced because there was enough sand and gravel for their new church and close enough to be relatively easy to get.   So they prayed a prayer of thanksgiving.   Next day they went to go see the land slide and start digging sand and gravel but what they discovered was that during the night time rain the land slide had formed a huge gully and now they had enough to build the empire state building.   As we were pouring cement on August 2 and 3 I kept thinking I was seeing glimmers of yellow in the sand so that's why we went to the swimming hole.  
The simple faith of the Yali people said, "Pastor, we prayed and God sent down some of his pavement mixed with Sand from Heaven."    Pavement from heaven for the foundation sand and gravel for His church in Hobotonggo certainly sounds better than my American "Thomas the Skeptic" mindset.   Could it really be golden sand from heaven?

              After a good look at the swimming holes and then a climb back up a mud slicked trail I needed a bath.   So off to the solar shower and shower tent that I had hauled from America so the girls could have a place to bathe and change.    But being the granola girl type that they were I only convinced them 2 times in the week to use the shower.    At least I got to enjoy 3 or 4 good hot showers.

              Tuesday morning dawned beautiful and clear but a slight bit cool and a whole lot muddy because of over-night down pours.    Soon we were complaining of heat instead of chill.  This was the day to put up pillars.      We made great progress and after yesterdays hard work of carrying 1.2 tons of supplies on their backs many Yali just sat in awe as the basic shape of the building rapidly came into being.    Grandmothers and Grandfathers came to click their tongues and softly chant "Wa!   Wa!   Wa!  Wa!"  as a way to keep us going.    We all need cheer leaders to trumpet the work we're doing. . . to keep us feeling good.     I bet you never had cheer leaders in the form of 70 year old grandmas in nothing but a grass skirt or a 70 year old grandpa wearing nothing but a penis gourd.    Trust me there is nothing appealing about the body in such costumes.   An observer you quickly moves on to the message of the cheer leaders and not the costume or lack there-of.    Chants that can be translated as "Thank You!    Thank you!   Thank you!   You're so awesome to come from the land beyond the sea with your pearly white skin to get filthy dirty. Thanks for coming so we can worship the Great God of all ages in a House from Heaven.   You're awesome.   Wa!   Wa!   Wa!    Wa!   Thank You!   Thank You!   Thank you!"   Move over National Geographic we have one up on you!    You can't brag of seeing what  culture like this does when they are fueled by Holy Spirit zeal for God's grace.

The pillars were in place by 3:30 and we took off early for baths and chatting with the natives.    There is so much to a culture this unique.   

Wednesday morning we awoke to a cool breeze and we had to finish putting on the side walls of greenish tin and get ready for tomorrows building of the roof.    It was an un-eventful day except that a man came by early in the morning who had just about severed his finger while chopping with his machete.   He had stuffed the wound with grass and weeds to try to stop the bleeding but our team of "Docs" which consisted of Sierra, Andrew and our Missionary Denny and other onlookers got on the 2 way radio with my wife and Aunt Wendy Roberts and determined that it should be cleaned out.   So without any pain-deadening meds they pulled junk out of his hand for over an hour.    They then told him to get to the Doctors "office" a five hour hike away in Angruk.   By Thursday morning the man was back around and had never gone to see the Doctor.    "Why didn't you go?"   "because the Doctor is probably not around anyway."   A radio call to Angruk concurred that the "Doctor may or may not be here and the nurse may or may not be here."   Generally in the mountains at the government clinics the Docs and Nurses spend more time out of the jungle clinics in the low lands than in the clinics in the mountains.    Life is just too easy in the low lands and much more glamorous but the salary is too good in the mountains to out-right quit so since the inspectors and bosses always call first before they just show up the medical professionals get on the plane when the boss puts them on the plane and often come back on the next available flight a few days latter and try to remain scarce in the low lands.   It angers me.   As of this writing the man still hadn't been to the doctor.   Without the referral of the Doctor in Angruk he can't go get he hand seen by a surgeon who could fix it in the low-lands.

Don't get me started on the school system in the remote places.   Its worse!  Teachers "work" for years without ever being in the village where they are "working."

Thursday morning we finished off leveling everything up so the trusses could be in place.   By lunch time we had more than half the trusses in place.   The day ended with all trusses in place ready for Fridays day of putting the tin on the roof and finishing the outside walls.   Then a group of about 40 elders from the surrounding villages assembled and wanted to talk with me.    In typical fashion they had spent most of the day formulating what the white guy could give them.     They started their conversation with "We need 7 things from you."  

In order to understand this type of demand-list you have to go back to the origin of white men coming to the tribes of Papua.   They always came with gifts and bribes and money and power to "change" the heathen mindset.    Out of this has grown a cult following of the white man who is obviously rich and increased with goods.     I have learned to graciously listen and try not to make any promises that could later be used against me.   On the one hand they have no ability to build in any other way than native huts because of the lack of tools and knowledge of how to use those tools.    Consequently the buildings they build are in need of yearly rebuilding in many cases and with increased health it means increased population and decreased available trees for building these huts with.   Building Schools and Churches and government buildings become the tipping point for wiping out the forests that one provided the trees to build with.    So building supplies have to come from outside and trees have to be replanted and other styles of building have to be developed.

Its hard to know where the line of when helping hurts and when helping actually helps.    So case by case we pray and try to teach others to do things more efficiently so the Gospel can go further and faster.   Lack of communication and lack of transportation makes everyone in Yali land covet an airstrip and a 2 way radio.   So every denomination who is doing anything gets requests for airstrips and for 2 way radio's.   I am trying to ask one more question.   What can a Yali (Or fill-in-the blank tribe) do to pay for his/her own stuff?    Maybe that Gold is valuable after all.    Are airstrips the answer?  Or can they develop motorcycle trails or zip lines or both and get to town with less effort?    What can be done?

A major request in every place I go is for, Medical Clinics and Schools.   Usually the last thing people request is a church structure or a pastors home.    I struggle with what to do.   Sometimes the requests are not what is really needed.   Usually what is needed is for lots of tender-caring teaching.
Friday morning dawned beautiful and the conversations quickly turn to Sunday mornings flight out of here.     Everyone on the team is ready for a good hot bath and a clean bed and a great meal.    Friday mornings breakfast of Oatmeal for the 5th morning running is getting everyone talking about the food back home.   Sweet Rolls please!    

Soon we are in full swing of putting the metal roofing on.    We have two teams on the roof and a team building a rock wall to guard the church yard and a team building some tall movable scaffolding and a team carpeting the floor of the church with black sand from the gold studded land slide.   Excitement is in the air.    Grandmas soon take up the Yali Hallelujah.    They dance like David before the sanctuary and sing praises to God for a church nearly completed.

By 2:30 the roof is mostly on by then the morning sun has turned to the afternoons cold drizzle and there are two of us high in the air trying to put on the roof cap and a rain slicked metal roof.    I keep thinking about my paralyzed brother back in America who became so because of a fall from a scaffold much more sturdy than the ones we're using.    Seth and I inch our way along with drills in hand putting the screws in the roof capping.   I'm shacking in fear and from cold.

3:30 the roof is complete.   Rain is pouring now but we want to finish the front siding of the church before we quit for Sabbath.     So the scaffolding is moved into place and we try to figure the odd angles and then cut pieces and screw them in place and the Rain pours more and more.   The ditches that one of the teams had dug earlier that morning were not keeping up so I asked one of the 1000 Missionary students to go fix the problem because the inside of the church now had a small river flowing in.   Finally the problem lessened as he fixed the dam that had been created when someone dug a ditch with an up- hill slope instead of down-hill.

At 5:00 p.m. the front outside-siding is complete.   We rush off to shower and eat and welcome the Sabbath.  

Sabbath morning we slept in to 6:00 a.m. The outer tents in our line of 4 two man tents had lost the battle against staying dry so the inhabitants had moved into the living room of the clinic where the 1000 missionary students live.   Tiara, Sierra and Aubrey were all inside.   Andrew, Seth, Adam and me were outside still.  

Sabbath was full of testimonies about the week and the stories and songs of a culture only few outsiders have ever experienced.    Sometimes translation went from English to Indonesian to Yali.    I wondered how much was lost each time the translation took place?     I preached on Hebrews 11 and added that some like Hermanus, their own missionary, who was now our translator and a senior Theology student in our seminary back in Jayapura, could be added to the great people of faith.    Hermanus has been left for dead like a modern day Paul, when locals became angry at his teaching.    But now he is becoming a very influencial man in his culture.   He knows how to use the culture to God's benefit in spreading the gospel.    His story is another blog entry for the future.

Then comes potluck which makes me hesitant to go first through line.   Not much to pick from.   "Your Weeds and potatoes shall be sure" is what comes to mind as I go through line.     Most of the "greens" in the vegetable pot were what we consider weeds in many parts of the world.   The locals have learned what to eat and what not to eat.   I always say if I go down in a plane crash in the Papuan wilderness and we survive I don't want to go down with a white man because we'd die trying to survive.   And if I go down with a Papuan man we will not only survive but probably thrive because of his incredible survival instincts.   Potluck in the stomach results in a sleepiness for Adventists world around and so the next hour everyone vanishes to tents and huts and grassy vistas.

Sabbath afternoon people fill with talking and fellowship and going for a little hike to the river below.   I stop to look at the spot where the Yali tribe have cleared for a Helipad.   It's the same spot where we have plans to build a school in the future.    I jot down mental notes. . . We'll need a solar panel or two and the battery set up for the church so they can worship at night under lights.    We need a bathroom or two in the back of the church because with the increased crowds the one hole over the creek is "Sketchy" at best.    We need a pastor who can live in this area and communicate with us on a regular basis.    We need to teach economic development and add variety to the gardening skills.     Oh then there is Biblical teaching.   What if they had a radio station?     On and on my mental list goes.   Then I am overwhelmed because over the next mountain and the next and the next and next lies a thousand more such villages.    We are only doing 1,000th of what we could be doing.   Who will go?

As we close the Sabbath there is talk of a bon fire and a cultural night but rain quickly ends all hopes of this so its delayed to first thing Sunday morning before the plane comes to pick us up.   Off to bed we drift.  Seth and I contemplate getting up at 4:00 a.m. to finish the back wall of the church and add some windows and put on the front porch but the rain didn't stop until about 5:00 a.m.    It's a stiff south pole breeze that greets me when the roosters unceasing crow gets us up.   I hear Adam and Seth mumble, "I'm ready for a Rooster Sacrifice."    South breeze at 15 knots with higher gusts – there is no way a plane will land on a rain slicked and windy air-strip.   Radio contact with the low land at 5:45.   Pilot Gary says call back at 6:30 and see how the wind is by then.

We go to the Helipad where the locals are lighting the fire.   And they give each of us a geode rock, a nokin bag (one that the ladies and men carry over their heads to carry everything in) and the 4 friends from America get an arrow from Hobotonggo.    The ladies are dressed in their best grass skirts and even some of the younger men and women are dressed in . . . let's just say -- less.    They are running in delight around the fire and chanting.    "Their awesome.   Their Awesome!    Those folks from far are awesome.   They brought our church from heaven on the wings of a plane.   Their Awesome!   Their Awesome!   Thank you!   Thank you!   WA!   Wa!   Wa!

By 6:30 the sun is rising and the wind quickly changes directions and dies to nothing.   By 8:00 we are climbing the precipices back to Walma to await our flight back to the land of food and white sand beaches lined with trees ready for our ENO and Ticket-to-the-Moon Hammocks.    Blue tropical water waits us for a few days of R and R before the team of 4 short term missionaries return to GA-Cumberland conference.     Thanks Pastor Rob Lang for sending these encouragers of our mission.

Thank you!   Thank you!   Thank You!    Wa!   Wa!   Wa!     Seth!   Adam!   Tiara!   Sierra!   You're Awesome!   You're Awesome!   Thanks for bringing the folks of Hobotonggo their church from the sky.    You're Awesome!   You're Awesome!    Pastor Rob Lang thanks for sending this team.   You're Awesome.   You're awesome!    Georgia-Cumberland Conference!   You're Awesome!   You're Awesome.   Our God is awesome!  God your Awesome!   You're Awesome!  Thanks for sending the sand and rocks from the sky! Wa!   Wa!   Wa!   Wa!


If you'd like to donate for more Jungle Churches or Jungle Pastors Houses or Jungle Clinics or Jungle Schools. . .   Please, send your checks to "Papua Mission Evangelism"   C/O Battlefield Community Church of Seventh-day Adventists PO Box 5306 Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742     Please be sure to write a note that says "for Jungle Churches".   Or you can go to their web site and chose "Give Online" and navigate to their giving location and add an amount for Papua Mission Evangelism.

Friday, March 6, 2015

10,000 Feet Up with the Doors Wide Open


Ricky Oliveras, GC Adventist Mission media specialist,  has never shot from an open door at nearly 10,000 feet high, let alone in the Mountains of Indonesian Papua.

I actually have no idea how high we were because I was not paying attention to the Altimeter as I was having too much fun shooting photos.    When I finally did look we had descended to 8,700 feet and I was freezing but never before had I had such a free flying experience.   This past Thursday the General Conference Adventist Mission film crew was here on a 10 stop 10 day tour of South-east Asia.    We were just 1 of their stops.    In an effort to get better shots Gary and Eric Roberts our pilots for the day said, “Why don’t you slide the door open?”    I had my little cheap cameral whirling away as we zoomed over valleys and impenetrable jungle below.   Ever so often a small group of huts would appear far down in the jungle below.   Snap!   Snap!   Snap!   Our cameras would whir each time something else came into view.






Finally after an hour Mountains appeared over the dashboard and down we went to Tinibil to the Church that Bob built.





Gary Roberts (pilots chair) and Eric Roberts (instructors/co-pilots chair)   our pilots for the day.



Pdtm./  Global Pioneer, Roy Marten Repasi (blue sweat shirt), talks with Gary Roberts.

  Allow me to introduce you to Roy Marten Repasi.    Just 3 weeks and 4 days earlier Our Global Pioneer in part sponsored by Gospel Outreach and the General Conference had been places as our first trained worker in Tinibil.    Already he’s climbed 13,000 foot passes to make it to district head offices for the government to report his where-abouts to the Regional leaders so they don’t think he’s up to something other than what we’ve placed him there for.    In the mountains surrounding Tinibil what looks like a short walk is actually many hours.   In 1 place 3 minutes in the plane is 8 hours hiking.   11 minutes to the Regional offices of the government in Oksibil is 2 1/2 days and many blisters latter.    Roy called me one day from Oksibil where there is a lone cell phone tower to communicate to the outside world.     “Pastor I have lots of blisters on my feet.   Do you think I can get a flight back to Tinibil.”    After listening to him carefully I had to explain to him that there was no pilot that was going to be near him for a while.    So reluctantly he walked home.    After being home for 16 hours a church member came from a village 5 hours away.   “Brother Roy can you come and preform a funeral for my son?   He died last night.”   So despite being in much pain Roy walked with the small handful of members who have already been baptized before Roy came.   5 hours there and 5 hours back.   6 hours at the funeral.   


We interviewed Roy Marten Repasi for a future Hope Channel and 3ABN program.    I was worried about translating on camera after all I’ve only been here 3 years and still have a long way to go?    Fortunately God helped and the interview went well.   Then we got some Ground to Air shots and video. 


The Adventist Aviation Indonesia Porter plane goes to the top of the strip as Ricky Oliveras sets up for videoing the take off



And the door came open 5 feet off the ground for the return trip home.   We decided to keep the door shut on take off lest a rock come off the  tires on take off.   But 5 feet off the run way and everything secured better the door slid open.    The temperature for this tropical acclimatized pastor was down right cold.   


More villages.   Clearly tribes that have little to no contact with the outside world because there is no runway.    For the occasional runway you can assume at least a form of the Gospel has come but for places where there is no runway its often completely traditional religions.     Pray to the Lord of the Harvest for more laborers.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Aamilah’s Dream

Aamilah is not her real name for to tell her name would likely mean death for Aamilah or her children.    She’s from a village called Akutuh which again is not the real village for to tell the real name of Akutuh would be double jeapardy.   She’s from a region nearly 4,500 miles away from where I heard of her.    But that’s the even stranger part of the story.    I was in a village where Men wear grass loin clothes and women wear grass skirts yet Aamilah wore full mulsim attire.    What was she doing in this place?   Even more important why was she in our Adventist Church worshiping with us?

On July 28th, 2014 Ramadan had drawn to an end.   During this month - long fast Aamilah had petitioned Allah 5 times a day for help.   Aamilah’s husband had died from an unknown cause just 2 months earlier leaving her a widow of 26 years old  with a 3 and 5 year old.   Fortunately, for Aamilah, her husbands businesses has left her with enough money to provide for their needs.   But for a Muslim woman in Akutuh to be single was not considered to be an option.   Likely the teacher in the Mosque would try to arrange a second marriage for one of the already married older men in Akutuh.    She dreaded that day.   

“Oh Allah hear my cry.   Can I not just remain single?    Show me your ways Allah!”   She cried.

As a very faithful Muslim woman she determined to read the Quran from cover to cover over Ramadan.    She had large sections of the Quran memorized and had read the Quran more than 40 times but this time she determined to dig deeper and learn more.   One day she noticed a verse in the Qur’an that says, “The people of the Book know this as they know their own sons; but some of them conceal the truth which they themselves know.” 2:146   She for some reason was bothered by this text.     She contemplated it all day as she fasted.    When the sun went down that night she hurried to her fathers house to ask him what he thought it meant.    She knew that Muslims long interpreted that the “people of the book” were those who believed in the first five books of the Bible.  Jews and followers of Abrahams ways.    “Who are these people and what is this truth that they are concealing, Daddy?”   

“Don’t worry about it my little Aamilah!”   her father had said.    “Just be a good Muslim and let the men determine this.”

But that night she whispered a prayer that would change her life forever.    “Allah of heaven and earth, the one and only God, show me what this hidden truth is so that my son and daughter can know just what it is.”

Aamilah drifted off to sleep.   Around 3 am she dreamed an amazing dream.     In her dream she saw Allah’s Angel pointing to a certain spot on the map of Papua.    The map zoomed in until she saw the very village the Angel was pointing at.   Then she saw people studying the Torah, those first 5 books that the Qur’an refers to again and again.    Her eyes were then drawn to a section on the page that they were studying.    The words seemed to be highlighted or glowing.    The angel said, “Memorize this dream and the words of this passage and I will show you Allah’s ways.  Now go with your son and daughter to this place in Papua. These people will teach you all the words of the People of the Book.”

Aamilah awoke to the sounds of people still celebrating the end of Ramadan.    Mosques blared, from their speakers, a continual prayer of thanksgiving to Allah.   “Aamilah, Aamilah come lets go to the womens prayers.”   Her mother said.    Obediently even though she was a Widow and 26 years old she followed.
It took Aamilah several months to gain courage to leave Akutuh.    Money was not the issue but how as a single mom could she leave.    Then one day the bankers from her husbands business dealings called with a settlement statement for one of the businesses that had sold.   They asked her to travel to Jakarta.    Aamilah asked, “I am a widow. . . May I bring my children, too?”    Of course she could have left her children with her parents but she wasn’t thinking of the parents.   She was thinking of her dream and prayer she had continually been praying since.”  “Show me your ways Allah! and Help me to find a way to get to the village in Papua.”

November 12, 2014 She and her now 4 and 6 year old boarded the boat bound for Jakarta.    “Mommy why can’t we stay with grandma?”  her daughter asked.    Aamilah nervously changed the subject.    So far she had managed the impossible which was,  Traveling alone as a widow with her 2 children.    But then Jatung her teenage cousin boarded the ship just a few minutes before departure.    Aamilah could see him coming up the ramp.   He texted her.    “Aamilah, I need to give you something you forgot.”    She was worried to answer the text lest it was a trap.    How did the family even know?    She had told them a few stories to throw them off.    “She’d be back in a month or so.”     “She has another cousin going with her once she reached the nearby city” she lied.     Aamilah didn’t answer the text and Jatung jumped off the ship just as the ramp was being raised.   Evidently, he had not wanted to go along and perhaps had a letter for a friend of family in the main town 3 hours away.    She would never know because Jatung never did text again.

Aamilah made it to Jakarta just fine and went directly to the Bank.    The settlement of the funds was sent to a new bank account that had branches in Papua, too.  She made sure of that.     Aamilah then arranged to continue on to Papua by ship.   Papua is perhaps another 2,500 miles further to the east.    After more than 2 continual weeks on a boat with only a half day break in Jakarta Aamilah arrived in southern Papua.    She asked local Muslims about the area she had seen in her dream.     They said, “Oh you can’t go there because those are just native people.   There is no mosque there.”

But persistently Aamilah with her 2 children pressed on.   By now she had told her children of her dream at the end of Ramadan.     They readily embraced their mothers search for more truth.   Then her son came running up from his new Papuan friend.    “Mommy, that boy, my new friend, is going with his parents to Digul.   Do you think its near the place of your dream?”    

Immediately Aamilah recognized the name of the place as a place near to the village she was seeking.    She had somehow seen this name on the map near to where the Angel of Allah had pointed.    She boarded the small ship and together they rode for another 2 days.    After a day they turned up a large river.    Her children sat glued to the windows.    “Mommy, what’s that big lizard over there at the edge of the river?”  her son had asked.    She shuttered as she watched a 4 meter long Crocodile sink out of site beneath the muddied waters of the river.    Later a man rode a speed boat up close beside their ship and one of its passengers jumped aboard the ship with a large sack.    Out of the sack was produces a 4 1/2 meter long Python that the man wanted to sell to the passengers.   Aamilah prayed, “Oh Allah protect my children from this harsh land.”   At night mosquitoes swarmed their bodies.    “Allah protect us from Malaria.”

Then around 5 am at the end of the 2nd night she awoke to  hear sailors preparing to dock their ship.    On the dock were lines of men with toothy grins walking around spitting Bettlenut and smoking home rolled cigarettes.    She asked,  “where can I find a boat going to Felo?”     She knew this place was not far away yet know one seemed to know of the place she was asking about.   Suddenly a man approached her.    “How can I help you?”     She immediately recognized him as a man who had stood behind the Angel of Allah in her dream.   

Aamilah asked,   “Do know where Felo village is and how I can get there?”    

“Yes!   I am from the next village up the river from Felo.    But you don’t want to go to that village because those people study the Word of God and worship on a what they call the Sabbath!”     The man said.

Aamilah immediately thought of the text the angel had highlighted.    “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”

“Yes I do want to go there! “   She said in a sudden blurt.   “I’ll pay for your gas and oil to take me there on your boat.”

The man agreed but soon it was evident he didn’t really know the village she was talking about so Aamilah asked him to stop at every village so she could inspect it to see if it was the place she had dreamed of.   The big Papuan man started to look nervous as they kept going from village to village.  His Papuan wife who was with them on the boat kept complaining that he was just flirting.   Finally, they arrived at the district village where the district head was and they found him at his home around noon.   “Do you know where Felo is?”   Aamilah asked.

“Yes,   Its not an official village but we allowed them to start a new village so that the people from another village nearby would not kill them.    They are very serious about God and their original village is not so serious.”   The district head said.

Aamilah asked,  “Do they worship on a certain day like Friday for example?”

“No they worship on Saturday.   Strange isn’t it?”   The district head asked.   “I mean you worship on Friday and I worship on Sunday but no one except these people and the Jews insist on worshipping on Saturday.   But one thing about them is they are amazing folks.    I went there recently to study building a school for them and discovered they had already built a school and church.   Then I sent a team from the local clinic and the nurses all came back in a couple of hours to say everyone was healthy and didn’t need them.   Then I sent the Agriculture man and discovered that every home had huge gardens and they didn’t need the agriculture department.   So I went again and discovered their name is Seven days and they’ve built a church.    Their leader has taught the village to read and write and how to compost and when they are sick he’s got a team of prayer folks who go and prays for the sick person and they get well within a few minutes.   Strange folks.   If you can promise me you won’t stir up trouble I’ll give you a letter to allow you to go there.”

Aamilah promised and soon she had the all important letter.    Within 45 minutes she was at the dock leading to the village.    A small boy was there but no one else.   He ran ahead to inform the Seven-days leader.

Aamilah has been in this small village for just over 3 1/2 months and together with a Bible and the Quran she has been on an amazing journey.    She has written letters back to her family and they have just sent reply messages that she is no longer their family member.    Aamilah cheerfully says, “My new family is even better than my birth family, but I’d sure like to have my birth family know this truth I am learning.”

Aamilah is helping to teach students math, reading and writing.   This is  greatly red ucing the work load of our Global Pioneer to help disciple the Adults of the village.    Aamilah is praying for a way to take this Truth from the “last day people of the Book” back to Aku one day.   Pray for Aamilah!

* The names of villages and people and locations have been changed to protect the innocent but the essential details of the story are as they were relayed to me a few days ago.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sore Tail! Big Waves! Miracle Needed!

Sometimes when it seems impossible God does the Impossible just to show us that He’s in control.    On Sunday, February 15, it seemed as if my trip to southern Papua near Merauke was tangled in impossibilities.   First, we have no plane to get to the particular remote places that we needed to go to.   Gary Roberts and Hartley Sakul our mission pilots are not quite checked out for the type of places I need to go to.    Miss Bob Roberts in that he was one of the Senior Pilots in Papua and knew nearly every strip and weather pattern and lots of tricks to get into places others have to pass by.


Pastor Jerry Samokari (left) is our new pastor for Kepi in the Mapi Regency of southern Papaua.   There are 14 members in this town of close to 20,000 people.

I needed a Miracle.   I called Eric Roberts and briefly explained my situation as Gary is gone to Europe to purchase a new plane and Hartley was away for a seminar.   Eric flies for another organization and often knows of solutions I hadn’t known of.   Quickly he connected me with an Adventist Pilot who flies for a commercial company who is based in Merauke.   Within a couple of hours I was connected to this pilot.   He was able to get all the information that I needed and get me 3 seats on the right plane to the right location.    Miracle Number 1.      Really it is an amazing miracle because when I called the company said, “You have to get here first to Merauke and then we’ll see if we have a seat or 2 but not likely that you’ll have 3 seats on the same day.

I was needing to fly to Kepi and then Bade and get up the river and be home by Friday.    Big order unless you just have a plane at your disposal for your every whim and then that plane needs to be a float plane.   So off I went.   With me was a new Pastor Jerry Samokari who was going to be placed at our new Adventist Mission project in Kepi in the Mapi Regency of southern Papua.    Second, reason I went was to meet up with Pastor Melky Sakul who will be heading up the work in the Bade Adventist Mission project as well as helping to provide a base for our already established project in Sengge.

We landed in Merauke and I was surprised to meet not only Pastor Melky Sakul but a pastor that I had been told had already moved to his new district had been delayed and was still there.    So after going to check that the plane that the pilot from yesterday had arranged was still going to happen the next day and paying for it I went to the Adventist Church and set up my Hammock and mosquito net and then talked with Pastor Melky and Jerry for quite some time.  That afternoon the wind blew at a terrific rate and news soon came that our flight would be cancelled if the wind didn’t let up by tomorrow.   So we prayed and the wind slowly died down.    Late in the afternoon the Adventist Pilot from the commercial company came and talked with me – Sam B from Italy.


Turns out Sam mentioned several bits of information that got us into a long conversation and a lot of prayer.    In this case I felt used of God to be a listening ear.   Sam was flying home to Italy in a few days for vacation and was facing probably one of the toughest trips of his life.    It was a miracle that I got to meet him at such a time as this and have the privilege of adding Sam to my regular prayer list.


Pastor Melky Sakul, Myself and Pastor Jerry Samokari sitting in front of the small gathering temporary structure that will be replaced when we can help gather funding for a jungle chapel on property donated by the members in Kepi.

Tuesday morning dawned bright and early. . . I hadn’t slept much because the pastor and his wife had to pack their house up that night because they learned the boat was coming for their things at 7:00 in the morning.   So all night they packed and I heard packing tape until late into the night.


Off we flew to Kepi.   There we were met by a delegation of the handful of Adventists.   An Adventist Dr moved into this area about 8 years ago and has been trying to raise up some work in this area.  I wrote a proposal after my initial visit to this area last April just before Bob’s Crash.   We are finally able to bring a young newly graduated pastor to work as a Global Pioneer.   Dr Welem has found land and built a very small temporary structure for church but we need to help them raise money for a jungle chapel and a jungle pastors home.    After several hours in Kepi and a wonderful meal we were able to find a speed boat driver that was willing to brave taking us to Bade.


The First Hour we skimmed down the river in the speed boat on relatively calm Kepi River.   But when we met the mighty Digul and turned North upstream things got really wavy and dangerous.

The First hour on the Kepi River was quite calm but then we met the mighty Digul River and turned North upstream.   I took a look at the waves and grasp the bars that surrounded the edge of the boat.   Everywhere I looked I saw white-caps.   Yikes!   Lord we need a miracle.   The “Speed boat” that had been going along at 35 knots per hour suddenly had to time every 1 meter wave.    The Digul River at this point is mixed with salt water from the ocean and the Oceans Energy.   The waves kept building.   I kept thinking “if the next wave swamps this boat which shore looks closer and less inviting for the Crocodiles and Pythons that troll the Digul River.  Lord we need Your guidance.”   Then it began to really pick up in waves and the clouds grew black and heavy with threatening rain.   “Lord we need a Miracle.”    My back side began to get really sore after crashing up and down up and down for 3 solid hours and then 4.   “Lord will we ever make it”    Finally after 4:15 minutes and a heavy down pour we at last rounded a bend in the river to see Bade.


We had been trying to find someone to stay with when we arrived in Bade and when we arrived there a teacher friend of Dr Welem met us and graciously gave us a mat on the flour of his house.   But still the biggest question that I had been trying to think of a solution to for at least 2 months was, How do we connect with Fernando Krey our Adventist Global Pioneer that we dropped in Sengge/ Amk last April 3rd, 2014.   His village is another 4 hours north up the river from Bade and has no form of communication with the outside world.   I texted Ruth and said, “We need a miracle to get to Sengge because we have no way of reaching our worker there.”   In April 2014 I had forgotten my GPS and so I only had approximate GPS coordinates so it would be somewhat guess work if we just set out on the river.   And if we went to the wrong place it could be detrimental.   So the same God that had provided a Miracle in getting us Safely thus far would have to do the rest.


Fernando Krey, our Global Pioneer Bible Worker, after 10 months has a beard.

After resting my “sore tail” I said to Pastor Melky, “Let’s go find something to eat!”   So we borrowed a motor cycle and off we went.   I was on the back and praying the whole time that God would direct us to the right person who would know the way to Sengge so we could see Fernando Krey and his wife and child.   Suddenly, I noticed a heavily bearded man running almost even with the pace of our motorcycle and shouting  “Pastor, Pastor”   Who was this guy?   I didn’t recognize him at first.   There was only 2 Adventist in Bade other than Melky and myself.   Then all at once I realized who it was.   When I left Bade On April 4 Fernando had no beard. . . After living in the jungle for 10 months he looked different.    Then all fGo to Bade’.   Finally at around noon the voice became insistent so I got in the motorized dug out of one of our church members and we fought the waves for 5 hours.   When I arrived here I didn’t know why I was here so I just called the District Pastor in Merauke and he told me that you guys were suppose to come.   But Bade is about 5,000 people and many many houses.   How would I find you?   So I bowed my head and prayed and when I said Amen you guys passed in front of my on the motorcycle and I said, ‘Lord slow them down so I can catch up with them.’  And just then Pastor Darron turned toward me with the most confused look on his face and then Pastor Melky too.”


The “pastors” house or Global Pioneers house made possible because someone donated enough fuel to cut some boards with a chainsaw.   Thank you.


We rejoiced together at how God had brought us together.   The next morning we chartered another speed boat and made it to Sengge through more incredible waves.   I was literally bruised on my bottom from all the jarring up and down.    But when we landed in Sengge it was well worth the trip.   Fernando Krey has led almost 40 people to Christ and Baptism since we last saw him 10 months ago.   He has taught  together with his wife Grades 1-3 and his third Graders passed the regional exams at the top of the class.   He has built a simple Pastors house.   When the medicines that the Government gave him ran out he started a Prayer ministry that has seen miracle after miracle.   So many miracles that the local villages now go to his house before they make the trip to the district clinic because “His Prayers are way more effective than the Drs.”   Every home has a beautiful Garden that Fernando has taught the people how to make the land flourish by composting.     


Garden full of compost and pumpkins, root crops, tomatoes, greens and much healthier families than what I saw 10 months ago.

He told of the time he went hunting because he couldn’t get to town because the river was too dangerous to come.   He and his wife needed food.   He set a trap to catch a deer but the deer managed to step around the trap so he randomly threw his machete and it hit directly into the jugular veins of the neck of the deer killing it instantly.   They had enough meat until the river went down from the floods enough to be safe to make it to collect his Salary and get groceries. 


Antlers from the Deer that provided food just when they needed it most.

But I’ll have to share the best story for another blog.   


Miracles were needed and Miracles were gotten but not without a sore tail and a lot of scary big waves. 



Inside the Church with a few of the Members who were not out fishing or in their gardens when we came.


The Temporary Church and School in Sengge/Amk in the Bade District of the Mapi Regency.   Waiting for Funding and materials for a more permanent structure.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Baptizing in Paradise

I’m in Raja Ampat for the second time this year for Reaping meetings.   Raja Ampat has the best diving in the world according to several Dive magazines.    The location of our meetings is in the capital of the Raja Ampat regency and so its hard to be in a city and think that just 20 minutes away is the best diving.   So I jumped at an opportunity to go to Yarweser, a small village on the edge of one of the 4 Raja – or King islands.   This island of Batam is one of the 4 largest of the 600+ islands in this island paradise in West Papua, Indonesia.

The First thing I did when we arrived at this village is to go to the church.   When I turned around to I saw this view.   I thought out loud, “Wow! I’ll be Baptizing in Paradise.” Then I added,  “This must me like heaven.”


The View out the back door of the Adventist Church in Yaweser

We came to Yaweser to Baptize those who had requested baptism and preform 2 weddings.   First, West Papua Mission President Pastor Ted and the district Pastor, Son Rumbiak, made sure the baptismal candidates were ready doctrinally.



Then the church enthusiastically voted 13 new members into the church subject to their baptism in a few minutes latter.   See the hands of the members voting.


Then I was given the opportunity to baptize all 13 candidates.    And because the last two pairs were husband and wife I baptized them together a couple at a time.


Yes, it is wonderful to baptize in perfectly blue water as you watch exotic fish dart this way and that to miss the baptismal candidates bodies as they are laid down in the watery grave and then symbolically resurrected as a celebration of Jesus victory over sin for us.   “Thank you Jesus!  For your free offer of eternal life and may many more make a public expression of Christ’s Re-birth, Resurrection power.    And Thanks Jesus for letting me have the opportunity to work for You.   The only place more beautiful than this will be when we are in Paradise.   Thank you Jesus!”   I wonder if Jesus will baptize me in Paradise?


Pray for our new believers in this almost paradise place called Yarweser in Raja Ampat.   They are struggling to build a bigger church now with more termite proof boards built from Iron Wood.


The current Church is the one below but its way too small for the current population let alone the future.


Oh and here are the Wedding Couples (see below)


One more “OH”. . . to my pastor friends. . . have you ever baptized a kid in a Harley Davis shirt in such beautiful water as this?



Too Bad we had to leave Paradise.   Thanks to my friend Max Ammer, owner of Papua Diving,  for loaning his boat and driver for the day in Paradise to Yarwesar.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

“Momma” Watopa’s "Restaurant"

The Beautiful hut from which we enjoyed our meals in Waropen each day while I was there for Evangelism Meetings.
October 1-12 I was in Waropen for Evangelism Meetings. . .There’s a beautiful “restaurant” in the Waropen Kabupatan.    No, its not really a restaurant but I was just as impressed as if it were.   “Momma” Watofa, pronounced Watopa to the English speaking ear, is the wife of our retired Education Director a few years back.   He and she still work as Principle and teacher in their retirement.   The food she produced, between teaching classes to elementary school kids, was spectacular for this westerner.   She accommodated my western vegetarian taste buds and found a way to blend Indonesian, Papuan and Western foods in a divine way.    Wow it tasted good.   Can we say Granola, Pizza, Quiche, Grilled Vegetables, something that tasted like Special K loaf.
Gradola, Papaya, Peanuts that a church member dug and “Momma” Watofa roasted.
On Top of the spectacular food the Watofa family land is beach front and they have little modern huts called Pondoks for enjoying the sea view.   Each day we would watch boats coming in an out and birds catching their prey and children and fishermen at play.   It was such a delightful experience that it made me wish there was a place this refreshing in Doyo Baru.  
The Watofa Home faces the ocean but they’ve also started a church in this former government home that was built on their family land.   It actually use to be rented by prostitutes for their business.   When the Watofa learned of this they bought it back from the government and dedicated it to the Lord instead of to Satan’s benefits.   They hope to one day afford the rest of their land to buy is back from the government who has an abandoned tourist facility on it.  
I told “Momma” Watofa, as everyone affectionately calls her, that she should seriously consider opening a Restaurant.
“Momma” Watofa (in red top) in her kitchen
With her “staff” of volunteers who cooked for me and the team while we preached, taught and visited during the reaping meetings in Waropen.