The following was adapted from an article by Barry Jordan, serving in Indonesia.
Seven years ago, leaders of the Gospel Tabernacle [the Alliance national church, or GKII] and four international workers—myself included—were invited to speak at a church conference in Enarotali, in the highlands of Papua. Two of the guests were John and Janine Schultz, retired pioneer missionaries to the jungles of Irian Jaya (now Papua).
Several years earlier, a group within the GKII (which called itself the GKIP) had officially separated from this Body of believers, claiming to be the legitimate national church. Members of the breakaway group, of which Enarotali was one of the centers, committed numerous acts of violence against the GKII—burning down churches, beating up leaders, and disrupting worship services.
We boarded a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) plane in Timika, encouraged by word from GKII leaders in Enarotali that all was safe and the weather was good.
When we landed, the plane was mobbed by hundreds of GKIP people hitting the plane, calling out our names, and telling us to get out so they could kill us. The eyes of the mob were filled with whipped-up hate. One person tried to pull the pilot out of the plane.
The eyes of the GKII church leaders who had invited us to the conference filled with tears. Many older folks looked on with sadness as they saw John and Janine unable to get off the plane to greet them. More than 50 years earlier, the Schultzes had brought the gospel to a then-mostly- heathen-tribe, who received them warmly.
After about 20 minutes on the tarmac, sensing that God wasn’t calling us to martyrdom that day, we left Enarotali, not sure when the door would open for us to return.
In July 2015, I was invited to speak at another church conference in Enarotali along with the GKII’s president, Rev. Paul Paksoal. “OK, sure,” I answered. But I couldn’t help wondering, What has changed since I was last in Enarotali?
GKII church leaders told us an interesting story. They said that about a year ago, after the GKIP had burned the church, Bible school, and pastor’s home in Kebo, just across the lake from Enarotali, the GKIP church members there felt convicted by the Lord. They had not bothered the GKII for a several months leading up to the conference.
It was a window of opportunity, and GKII members felt that the time was right to convene.
The airstrip in Enarotali was closed, so we flew with MAF into Waghete, about a 30-minute drive from Enarotali. Once there, our convoy was stopped momentarily. Would this be another mob scene? Well, sort of. More than 1,000 GKII church people had lined the streets to welcome us, shouting “Jesus wins!” We slowly drove the last few miles through this “Jesus” mob.
The conference was held at a GKII church in Enarotali that had been burned down by the GKIP and recently rebuilt for this event. The theme was “Defeating Satan’s Schemes.” The 1,000-plus attendees were hungry for God’s Word.
I spoke during the opening service and had prepared a message for the morning of the last day. In between, Paul spoke. Unfortunately, we had both been given the same theme, and Paul had practically preached my second sermon. Now what?
The night before I was to speak, church members kept coming to the guesthouse where Paul, other church leaders, and I were staying, asking for prayer. When would I find time to prepare a sermon?
“Just Do It”
As we prayed, my ears were opened by the Holy Spirit. He told me not to preach another sermon on defeating the devil but to go out and do it. OK!
During the service the next day, I told the delegates what the Spirit had said to me. I led the congregation in putting on God’s armor (Ephesians 6) and taking up His weapons (2 Corinthians 10:3–5). Then I called all the pastors and church leaders to come forward.
Following Jesus’ example in Luke 9:1–2 when He sent out the Twelve, I had the leaders go out into the congregation. Then I challenged the congregation, from Hebrews 12:1, to put off every burden and sin—and to go to a pastor to be prayed for.
Within minutes about 25 people surrounded me, asking for prayer. About an hour later, I asked one of the church leaders how many came to receive prayer. “Almost all of them,” he replied.
That night, more conference attendees came to our guesthouse asking for prayer. Of those, many said, “I am GKIP, but I want to be prayed for.” Thank the Lord!
Not often have I witnessed a revival of this magnitude. I am thankful that I could encourage my GKII brothers and sisters in Enarotali, who have been persecuted during the past nine years. I am grateful for the Spirit’s leading us to be doers of His Word and not just hearers.
“Please pray that the flames of revival in Enarotali will continue to burn,” Barry requests. Also, join the Alliance family in praying for our Alliance workers in Indonesia and throughout the world, who are taking the good news to some of the most spiritually dark places on earth. Use the Alliance Prayer Requests to assist you.