God’s Spirit dancing!

The end of their scholarship time in Australia was fast coming to a close and Jon Saragih and Jonriahman Sipayung had been requesting the visit more frequently each time we met and were eager to have the opportunity to spend some time with someone they admired and respected.

I knew that Clem was unwell, but after a chat with Ruth, had arranged a time for the two Indonesian pastors to catch up with Clem and Ruth at the Tanunda Lutheran Homes.

Respect expresses itself in interesting ways and, after memories were recalled and pondered on, Jon and Jonriahman asked if they could pray with Clem and, most importantly for them, if Clem would pray for them.

As they prayed it was evident that God’s Spirit had danced and was dancing still in the lives of his children in the room.

What made this visit more remarkable was that it had been 34 years since Clem and Ruth had served in Pematang Siantar, Sumatra – working with pastors and lay-leaders from 1980 to 1984. Their visitors today would have been very young boys indeed at the time.

For Clem and Ruth it was a sad fact that they were not able to have children, but over the years they had come to understand that perhaps they had a responsibility to live and work in places where it would be more difficult if they had the responsibility of children. In Indonesia, they were able to give clear and convincing witness to the fact that a couple can be happy in marriage without children, and Ruth was able to comfort and encourage those married women who were blamed and looked down upon, especially by their in-laws, when they were childless.

Ruth’s calm and gentle presence of bringing God’s peace was tangible during our time together.

Clem passed away several weeks after the visit, aged 85, making his last travel into the arms of his gracious and loving Father on October 30, 2017.

Time fades memories. Much of what we think we do that is important quickly fades in the memories of those around us. Who we are in our relationships with people, whose love and grace we live by, can clearly impact on and shapes lives for generations  – as I found out on during the visit with Clem and Ruth.

Trust God to use your life to touch the hearts of others in ways you may not understand or realise. May his Spirit dance in the relationships you have with others as you walk as his child.

Copies of Clem’s funeral service order containing some biographical details can be obtained from the LCA International Mission office.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/