12,000 voices praising God!

The competition was intense and the songs of praise articulated with joy and precision as 28 groups vied for the title of the best women’s choir of the Huria Batak Protestan church (HKBP) in Indonesia on Saturday, 28 November.

Women in a kaleidoscope of coloured kebayas (traditional Indonesia formal women’s dress), brightly painted lips and sparkling eyes were in in the North Sumatran city of Pematangsiantar (Siantar) for the final celebration weekend of the Year of Women in the HKBP.

The two-day event – a choral competition on Saturday, and worship service and presentations on Sunday – was the culmination of a year of celebration in the HKBP, in which the members of the largest Lutheran church in Indonesia (with more than 5 million members) thanked God for the gift of women.

Throughout the year the theme of thanks for women in the church had been woven into Bible studies, workshops, worship services and a range of community activities.

The Sunday worship was something that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. More than 12,000 voices (most of them female) gathered to praise and worship our Lord and Saviour.
The crowd sheltered from the early rain and steamy heat under a massive structure, which was constructed on the lawns of the seminary (STT HKBP).

A dramatic performance by young people pointed to the power of God’s love and forgiveness in the lives of women and their families. The deaconesses and Bible Frau of the church were honoured in a moving ceremony when Bishop Willem Simamarta and the key leaders of the churched wrapped ulos (woven cloths) around the oldest of these women, who had given their life in service.

The worship service concluded with blessings by the pastors – women and men lifting their arms in prayer over the gathering.

It was a privilege to attend this event on behalf of the LCA. To see and hear 12,000 women praising God was an unforgettable experience. It’s clear that God is drawing people from all corners of the world into his kingdom, and it’s such a joy and encouragement to see that happening and to be a part of it.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Indonesia at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/indonesia/