Since putting his faith in Christ, Dimas Sinurat* has left his drug habit and the theft that supported it, but his wife and children have yet to return to him.
His family still does not trust Sinurat, who is in his late 40s. He used to steal and also attacked people for their money. His wife and children left him because they couldn’t stand his way of life, the leader of a native ministry said.
“He had stopped mugging when he was in his mid-30s because it involved a high risk of being killed in action,” the ministry leader said. “However, he continued to steal and abuse drugs until late last year, when he met our church planter.”
By the time Sinurat accepted Christ, workers at the native ministry had discovered conventional ways of discipling new Christians were impractical and largely ineffective; villagers were usually working such long hours in order to survive that they rarely had time or energy to meet for Bible study and prayer.
“The average believer works long and irregular hours to provide for his family, and it makes it difficult for our workers to schedule meetings for discipleship,” the leader said.
On the occasions when it was possible to schedule times for discipleship, too often the villagers, many without phones, didn’t show up. Workers concluded that they needed to find ways to get to know them better and create space for new Christians to ask questions.
Local missionaries became more active in new disciples’ daily lives, whether that meant helping them work in their fields or sorting garbage.
One new disciple, a 57-year-old man recently divorced, turned from his habit of frequenting prostitutes.
“After coming to faith in Jesus, he said that he no longer wanted to go to prostitutes,” the leader said. “This year he moved to a new area and worked in a garbage dump. Our worker continues to disciple him to this day – and he has been regularly helping him to sort out the garbage.”
Workers put their new approach into practice with Sinurat, who now earns a living as a farm laborer.
“As soon as Sinurat came to faith in Jesus Christ, our church planter started to make a disciple of him by visiting him regularly in his village,” the ministry leader said. “Many times, he helped Sinurat with his job on the farm before they studied Scripture.”
The local missionary who discipled Sinurat has seen great fruit from the time he has spent with him.
“Now we have seen changes in him,” the ministry leader said. “He has not taken any drugs since coming to faith in Jesus, and he has never stolen since then. Even though he was in a difficult situation, to the point of starving, he chose to endure hunger instead of stealing.”
Local missionaries were stunned by Sinarut’s eagerness to share the gospel with others.
“In the last few months, he has shared his faith with 20 people, and two of them have become believers,” the leader said. “He was very serious when he talked about the Lord Jesus and confident when he talked to others about his sins that have been forgiven by Him.”
Earlier this year Sinurat and two local missionaries began working to plant a house church, he said.
“Then one of his friends shared the gospel with his other friends, and eventually there were four more people who came to faith in the Lord Jesus and joined their house church,” the leader said. “However, last month two of them moved to another area to get better jobs, so currently there are only five of them.”
Reconciling with his wife and children after having hurt them so deeply has been a process, but Sinarut has begun reaching out to them with the help of the worker who has discipled him.
“Since he had been separated from his wife and children many years ago and now wanted to try and see them again, our church planter had to get involved in the process of their reconciliation,” the leader said. “Our church planter has invested quite a lot of time with him.”
Local missionaries are investing in the lives of others to form strong disciples throughout Indonesia. Please consider a donation today to train, equip and encourage them in the task.
*Name changed for security reasons