There’s a brand new Lifewords ministry that has seemingly taken off from nowhere in Indonesia. With over 7000 families involved each week, Dan Hardie went to see it firsthand.
Almost daily, we see new Facebook Posts and WhatsApp messages from Pastors, ministry leaders, college students and our Lifewords team sharing event photos from this growing phenomenon called “LIFE KIDS INDONESIA”. Posts are usually videos or photos of hundreds of children gathered for games, songs, Bible stories and prayer, while Mums are huddled in the background, joining in with the activities and fun. It's a family outreach, now reaching over 7000 families per week.
Life Kids Ministry was initially a response to the COVID crisis that was unfolding among the poor of Indonesia. We kept hearing from pastors, churches and students who were working among communities where the lockdowns were having disastrous effect on adults and children alike. Schools were closed, parents lost employment, and people were really struggling. Ministries were also closed, but the need among the poor was greater than ever.
During COVID, so many ministries lost connection. They were locked down and struggling to start again. Gunar wanted to bring them encouragement and support – to go out and do something even amidst the pandemic. He heard the same thing from so many of them, “We can’t just sit by and do nothing. We must do something.”
Lifewords offers them a way to stay connected, receive ongoing training and support, and be part of a network of encouragement.
One particular ministry in the area of Cileungsi saw a lot of need in the community, with so many suffering the effects of COVID (sickness, death, no work, no money). They asked Gunar for help and support so they could support the people and meet both physical and spiritual needs. Gunar set about raising funds for COVID relief, helping College students stay alive, fed and able to provide both physical and spiritual resources to those they were ministering to.
Mid-week kids ministry, family support
Lacking direction and structure, Gunar commissioned College Students and Graduates in starting a mid-week gathering to bring song, games, teaching, and nutrition to families – basically a kids church outreach. Mum’s would walk their kids to the church, and connect with dozens of other parents as they all joined the activities together. Each session involves the sharing of God’s word through one of the Lifewords flipcards, booklets or stories. It is here that children learn to pray and connect with Jesus. Mum's too are joining in, often for the very first time, hearing of love, grace and salvation. The surprising thing for me, was that when children would really encounter Jesus, it would show through their prayer. They were fervent, passionate, connected. They didn't hold back, weren't afraid of looking silly, and weren't fussed finding the right words. It was faith and prayer in it's rawest format.
The more support, the more impact
With a clear structure, Life Kids Ministry continues to provide churches and College Students with an outreach package that can be replicated in many locations. Now there are 64 Life Kids Ministry locations in dozens of islands, most with over 150 children coming along. A local businessman, Pak Pri, saw the Life Kids Ministry and wanted to help.
“I saw your ministry and knew that you were not in it for fame or fortune. Ministry among the poor is something I want to support. If it’s rice or milk, scripture printing or clean water, I’d like to contribute.”
Ibu Sri was another who offered to print T-Shirts so all the kids could look and feel like they are part of something special. Kids are proud to have these yellow shirts and are proud to wear the message “Children today, leaders tomorrow”.
Two years on from the pandemic, Life Kids Ministry has continued to provide College alumni and rural pastors something to be part of. Across 64 different locations, each run a similar format and stay connected to each other through social media and ministry visits. They come together for training with our Lifewords team, and the church planting network are resourced with materials and teaching. Almost all of them run their outreach on Wednesday and another time on the weekend. There is no clear end-game here, but while we are meeting needs, the ministry continues to grow.
What will help
Every Wednesday, outreaches are gathering and working. This would be an ideal time to pray and join in solidarity with our Indonesian brothers and sisters.
This Christmas, Lifewords is raising $10,000 to support 100 different ministries across Indonesia. This will empower every Life Kids outpost to put on an amazing Christmas event, give gifts and scriptures to families, and offer 2x meals to each family who are struggling. This Christmas, we will meet both spiritual and physical needs - and we invite you to support. You can support this cause right here: https://www.lifewords.org.au/get-involved/give/
Follow all photos and updates - on Social Media
Gunar and the Lifewords team in Indonesia are constantly sharing the impact of the work on Facebook. If you want regular encouragement and to see the gospel impact lives, this is defintiely one to follow along. https://www.facebook.com/SgmLifewordsIndonesia