Plagues Followed by Repentance


Dyaks living in the Belawit and Pa Bawan areas in Indonesia have been turning to the Lord in large numbers. When asked how he accounted for nearly 400 Dyaks either converting or reclaiming within a year’s time, the pastor of the Belawit church told of unusual plagues. These visitations appear to be judgments from God and have been followed by the people’s confession and repentance.

The pastor said that when the rice was still quite small the latter part of 1953, the people of Belawit village were all busy weeding their plots when out of a sky comparatively free from clouds a rain of worms began to fall. Even when the villagers noticed, they gave little heed but continued with their weeding. Before long they saw their rice beginning to wilt and found that the worms were eating the roots.

Quickly the villagers brought their ducks to eat the worms, but the ducks could not destroy the worms rapidly enough to save the rice plants. The people noticed that none of the rice belonging to Christians had been touched. This was more remarkable in view of their plots being interspersed with the rest, only narrow dikes separating them. The Christians and the pastors in the area pleaded with the others to recognize this as a visitation from God, but like Pharaoh they hardened their hearts.

In September 1954 another disaster came in the form of wind and hailstones. So severe were the storms that some longhouses were broken down. (An entire village may live in one or two longhouses, each family having an apartment or section.) Hailstones broke through the roofs and in some instances destroyed the framework of the houses so that the material could not be reused. Again, the Christians were spared. This time the people adopted a different attitude. Some of them said, “If we don’t repent a worse thing will come.”

The pastors of the area waited to see whether the repentance was genuine before reporting what had happened. It was not until February and March 1955 that they were convinced. At that time an epidemic began to take many lives. Those who had believed on the Lord gave thanks to Him that in His mercy He had withheld this sickness until they had turned from their sins and been saved. The trial of their faith is precious for it has proved them to be loyal followers of the Lord.

Many other areas need revival. The people are still impenitent, and backsliders are hardened in their sins. An awakening will come only in answer to prevailing prayer. Plagues alone do not soften the hearts of backsliders and sinners. Only as the Spirit of God opens their eyes to realize that He is speaking to them do they turn to Him in sorrow for their sins.

—Adapted from The Alliance Weekly January 25, 1956

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