Living the Faith

Some four years ago Pastor Rob Erickson was involved in assisting the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) Seminary in Pematang Siantar, Sumatra, with English education. Pastor Rob was then the pastor of Living Faith congregation, Murrumba Downs in Queensland. Following discussions with Dr Willem Simamarta, from the HKBP, about standards of English in Sumatra, a strategy involving Grace College was devised to offer a place at the Rothwell campus for a guest student to study for a year. Living Faith would supply host parents.

Currently we are hosting our third student at Living Faith. Ria Limbong is now studying in Year 11 at Grace.

There are many blessings that are flowing from this program. More importantly, probably, is that we have established rapport with people in Sumatra and we gain insight into their education system, with their accompanying hopes and aspirations. Although our communication is getting better, we still have some way to go for these exchanges to be totally effective.

One major blessing we are finding is that with each student returning to Samatra, we gain a top quality line of communication. This will be most important for future interaction with our brothers and sisters there.
Educators in Sumatra believe that the learning of English is critical for the future development of the country. Excellence in the standard of English within the HKBP education system would ensure that more young Christian men and women can gain employment within their government departments.

English is known as a poetic language for good reason. There are so many ways of saying the same thing. Consequently, English is a very difficult language to learn. We are now looking at ways to improve the standard of spoken English.

It is important that we listen to requests from our northern neighbour, rather than falling into the trap of us deciding what may be a good program. Effective communication is the key. Praise God for placing this challenge before us.

This story was also published in the October 2008 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

If your school would like to know more about how they can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission service-learning and ministry partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email For more information, go to

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