The noise in Southeast Asia assaults my senses. The 4am calls to prayer, motorbikes zipping down the street and street vendors urging me to buy their wares. In the markets there is the chatter of unfamiliar sounds – a wide variety of dialects and accents that represents the wide diversity of this country. However, recently there is a new sound that has caught my attention and caused deep concern. Next door to my house I hear children chanting and reciting Arabic. An older man eagerly teaches them about the majority faith and like sheep following a shepherd, the children diligently participate and follow his lead.
In many Christian conferences we are reminded of the importance of discipling and instructing children and youth, for it is in these formative years that identity is forged. But Christians are not the only ones who are aware of this knowledge. Majority faith schools, like the one mentioned, are emerging all across this country, some even offering financial incentives if families pledge allegiance to the majority faith. This is why Christian schools are desperately needed.
Last week I was facilitating a teacher training with a group of Christian schools that serve in a major city in Indonesia. This group of teachers were noticeably weary and distracted. After spending more time with these teachers, it became clear that the ever-increasing demands and administrative workload had suffocated their vision and belief. A once enthusiastic, faith-filled Christian school was now questioning its purpose and existence.
As Christians, do we believe that Christian schools can change the world? Sometimes we get weary of believing that God can do the impossible, sometimes we experience disappointment and forget about the transformative nature of the gospel. But through Christian schools thousands of children respond to the Good news for the first time, see Christ modelled by their teacher and learn to know and obey God. Education in itself is only transformative in this world, but knowing Christ is transformative for all eternity. Christian schools cannot make a dent in this world; it’s impossible. But in Christ’s power, the same power that raised Christ from dead, anything is impossible.
Currently in Indonesia, MSI continues to be faithful in educating Indonesian children about Christ through Christian schools. In MSI schools, there are currently 2086 students being taught about a new life in Jesus and 162 teachers (including teachers-in-training). This means that today as you read this article 2086 Indonesian children are hearing and seeing the Good News. Additionally, many of these children with ‘child like faith’ are actively allowing Christ to transform their character, desires and attitudes.
As I finish writing this article, I can still hear the daunting noises outside of my window- children being gathered to worship a false God. Imagine if each of these children knew the freedom that Christ brings. Imagine if they knew that God loved them unconditionally. Imagine if they heard God whisper dreams to their soul. Imagine if a representative from every tribe, nation and tongue was praising God in heaven. It is to this end that we labour and don’t give up. This year as we communicate with you about what God is doing in Indonesia, we hope to share with how your generosity and prayer directly impacts kids for Christ and why supporting Christian schools is not only strategic, but an incredible way to love kids as Christ loves us.
Please continue to join us in prayer as we plead God to intervene in the lives of the students and families who attend our Mustard Seed schools. And continue to shower MSI teachers in your much-needed prayer, because our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the spiritual powers of this dark world- it is only God who saved, and we desperately need his help.
… submitted by Lloyd