Over the July 4th holiday while most of our friends back in the U.S. enjoyed some time to relax, BBQ, and celebrate Independence Day our, family ventured out to Lake Toba and Sihabonghabong. Lake Toba is about a 5 hour drive from our home in Medan and Sihabonghabong is another 5 hours from lake Toba. Kali already wrote about our wonderful 2 days on Lake Toba.
I was invited to Sihabonghabong to give a presentation at the GKLI National Youth Jamboree. There were about 230 high school age students in attendance. Some of them spent 36 hours driving on a roads like the one picture above in order to get to this event. The theme was “Stand Firm.” The Jamboree began with an opening service on the evening of Thursday, July 4th. All 230 students plus their adult chaperones filled the sanctuary in Sihabonghabong and worshiped. After the service the event was officially opened by Bishop Esra Sinaga with a small fireworks show. As the fireworks winded down we all went back into the sanctuary and each congregation had an opportunity to introduce themselves and sing a song which they had prepared. The time the GKLI set aside to do this reflects their high prioritization of community. Every individual was able to get up in front and introduce themselves and contribute to the Jamboree.
On Friday morning I was given just over an hour to present on Standing Firm in the faith. I opened with the story of Martin Luther standing firm in April of 1521 at the Diet of Worms. They only way he was able to stand firm was because the Holy Spirit had been working in him through the Gospel. The Holy Spirit had given him faith to know that Jesus stood firm for him. We can do nothing to stand firm without the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel! We know that Jesus is even now standing firm for us! Knowing that Jesus is standing firm for us at the right had of the Heavenly Father we do not need to fear in the face of trial. We can be confident in the Good news of the Gospel.
For this event I needed a translator for my presentation. I look forward to a time when I am able to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia! Kali and I just finished unit two of language learning. We are making great progress, but still have a lot to learn. There are four more unites to go and after that we will still need to be immersed in the language and culture here for some time. It is grueling work, but I am confident that it will be worth it!
The occasion of the Jamboree also allowed me to visit the head offices and seminary of the GKLI which are also in Sighabonghabong. The family and I also had the opportunity to spend an evening and morning with Bishop Esra Sinaga and his family. Bishop Sinaga and I talked about concerns and joys in the ministry of GKLI. This was a wonderful time to get to know each other a little bit better.