Two years after accepting Christ as Lord and Savior in 1976 at a Billy Graham Crusade in California, I was on the mission field along with my wife in unreached primitive regions of Indonesia preaching the gospel to those who never heard. Although I was within about a year of earning my Ph.D. at the University of California, we gave up our lives in America and left for the mission field without financial support from any church, without a mission board or agency, without being sent by any organization, and without an invitation from anyone in Indonesia. We went completely by faith in the Lord, trusting Him to open the way for us and make us fruitful for the work of His kingdom. And He was exceedingly faithful and gracious.
The Lord led us to villages in the primitive interior of Indonesia where the gospel was unknown. When we shared the gospel with completely pagan peoples who knew only the idolatry and witchcraft passed on to them by their forbears, they wanted to know what our Lord Jesus could do for them in this life. Many of them were beset with infirmities and demonic attacks for which their gods and idols had no answer. Could our Jesus help them? We quickly learned that they needed to see evidence that Jesus was actually alive and real by demonstrating His power to heal and deliver them—just as He did 2,000 years ago in the gospels.
So as his disciples who are to do the works that He did according to John 14:12, we examined exactly how He ministered to the sick and demonized in the gospels to prove to the Jews that He was indeed the promised Messiah. When we applied what we had learned in this way for ministering to the villagers, we saw the sick healed and the demonized set free miraculously. In this way the village people put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Within three months by the Lord’s wonderful grace we were able to plant two churches in hitherto unreached regions of Indonesia. At that time I was a relatively new believer. We ended up staying in Indonesia planting churches and making disciples in unreached regions for a total of nine years, at the end of which the Indonesian government ordered us to leave and return to America.
Today we are teaching the Lord’s disciples around the world what the Lord taught us through the Scriptures when we were pioneer missionaries in Indonesia many years ago. The Elijah Challenge Training is especially essential for preaching the gospel effectively and fruitfully to non-Christian people groups like Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, idol-worshipers, and those who believe in witchcraft.
Our autobiographical missionary thriller Dancing on the Edge of the Earth recounting our nine years of faith adventures in Indonesia is available in electronic form upon request. Simply email us using the contact form.
My wife and I have been married for forty-one years, and we have three adult daughters—all born in Indonesia. (I delivered our youngest myself at our home in the village when we couldn’t make it to the missionary hospital on time—to get to the Baptist hospital we had to take a boat, then a car, and finally a little single-engine Cessna.)