‘We have good and clean water’

‘We have good and clean water’. Like the water gushing out of the pipe from the new bore, these words poured out the gratitude and joy of Pastors Alaris and Osten and the people of Hephata, in Laguboti, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Hephata is home to 72 people (ranging from the very young to very old) with a wide range of multiple disabilities, struggling to live under the most difficult and trying circumstances. The buildings and surrounding grounds were once an institute for the blind established by the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) church in 1923. Years of neglect have taken their toll not only on the buildings but also on those who have lived there. Through this neglect they have fallen under a sense of despair and hopelessness.

All that began to change 2 years ago when Pastor Osten was sent there by his Church (the HKBP) to work with the people at Hephata. Six months later Osten was joined by Pastor Alris. Together God is using these inspiring men to breathe His breath of life and hope into the people and surroundings. And God is bringing others to support, encourage and pray for all of the residents and their carers.

In 2007 people from St Luke’s Manawatu congregation, Palmerston North in New Zealand contacted the LCA asking for help to establish a partnership with one of the LCA’s overseas partner Churches. Not wanting to tell this team of people where that would be and what it would look like, they were encouraged to begin to pray and ask God where He had planned for the congregation to join Him in His mission. Those initial phone calls and emails across the Tasman, shared the real struggle they were having as a group in coming to agreement and unity for God’s plan for them. However, after almost a year of wrestling with God, an email arrived saying that they were of one mind, and that they believed God was calling them to Indonesia. God’s door opened wide and within a few months three people from St Luke’s were in Indonesia attending a national youth camp for the HKBP. During this visit to Indonesia, the folk from Manawatu took the opportunity to have a “Joshua and Caleb” look at the land God had called them to. Their visit took them to Hephata and in that place of despair they saw very clearly where God was calling the congregation of St Luke’s to join with Him in the ministry of healing and hope, love and service.

Moved by stories of the situation and the desperate needs at Hephata, the people of St Luke’s congregation responded with amazing generosity to Hephata’s most pressing need. Within a few weeks $12,000AUD had been given to Hephata. Drilling commenced immediately and a bore was sunk on the higher grounds, enabling ‘good and clean water’ to be piped in to their neglected kitchens and wash rooms.  The daily struggle of these severely disabled folk down the paths to the river below to bathe and collect water for drinking and cooking each day was over and some of their dignity restored.

‘We have good and clean water’! The water runs and so too do the streams of God’s love that will continue to flow to the people at Hephata from Manawatu, New Zealand. Plans are underway for a team of 10 people to travel from Palmerston North to Hephata in 2010 and join Osten, Alaris and their staff as they share the love of Jesus with the people who call Hephata home.

If you, your congregation or your school, would like to know how you can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email erin.kerber@lca.org.au. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/start-a-partnership/

Read more stories about congregational partnerships at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/congregations/