Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Choose Life Indonesia- Prayer Video

Financial Update- April 16

As of this afternoon, God has provided for nearly 40% of my financial need for my upcoming trip to Bali.   God has used this process to remind me that He is not only with me, but that He loves me and knows what I need better than I do.   He is SO good- not because He provides the "stuff" I need, but because lets us be part of what He's doing.  How amazing is that?  He's doing cool stuff in Indonesia, and He lets me join Him in it!  

I hope I've never given you the idea that God "needs" me.  He's more than able to do this work completely apart from me.  He could speak through a billy goat or simply proclaim His truth through the grandeur of the mountains, but instead, He has given me this love...this passion....for these people!  He has given me seven years of living among them...learning their langage, eating their food.  He has given me wonderful spiritual children who are faithfully serving Christ after all these years.  

He has placed me at Grace Life Community Church with Bob Perdue and the Rectors (Tom and Debbie).  They have opened up their heart to Indonesia, and are gladly returning despite the cost and previous hardships they encountered.  The rode with me on a bus, on a creaky ferry that bobbed up and down for hours while they were trapped on the bus.  They caught intestinal bugs and other medical conditions that caused no small discomfort, but they have signed up once again to return to Indonesia.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, God is good!  

He's got this!  $2600 is nothing for the King of Creation.  He's not wringing his hands over the condition of the economy or the nationwide reduction in charitable giving.  He's got this!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Encourage Indonesia 2013


This is the typical greeting given by Indonesian Christians addressing a group.  The meaning, of course, is "Peace!"  A better rendering might be "Peace to you!"  Sadly, I feel a bit disingenuous exhorting you to  be at peace when my insides are fluttering away as I write this to you. Here's why....

For the past several years you have journeyed with me- some in prayer, some in financial support, others in both- as I have fought to maintain my long-distance connection with the people in Indonesia for whom God has given me a great burden.  I have attempted to express my gratitude over the years, but I never feel like I've done enough to really communicate just how much I appreciate your help.

I tell myself, this isn't about me, it's about helping Indonesian people discover and experience the abundant life Jesus came to give them.  This is true, but my heart's totally in it, and you know that.  You know that I have a deep longing to stand with these dear folks, and you have been willing to help to make that possible.

And now I find myself sitting again to write a letter "inviting" you to "share" in another "opportunity" to spread the message of grace and life in Christ to people on the other side of the world.  People you'll probably never meet until we get to heaven.  Because there's so much of me tied up in this, I'm finding this a VERY difficult task.  For this moment, I'm walking in the truth that this calling is from God and that the combination of my passions, availability and gifting further confirm the call of God to remain actively involved in this ministry.

So, on June 29th, I will be leading another team back to Indonesia to continue investing in this work.

You may know that Indonesia has been part of my life for more than 20 years.  Click here to view the timeline of events illustrating the relationship.

This year, I'm calling our mission "Encourage Indonesia 2013" because we're not just going to Bali, we've accepted an invitation to conduct a "Choose Life Conference" in Yogyakarta, the city in Central Java where my family lived during our last three years in Indonesia. In 2012, my long-time friend, Sumbut Yermianto became the Director of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Yogyakarta.  He was previously on Bali.  Sumbut is married to Putu, one of the girls we discipled back in the 90s.  They were founding members of the Choose Life Indonesia Board of Directors and have been helpful as friends and partners of the ministry.

The Plan

The GLCC team will be leaving on June 29th, the day after we finish our church's huge VBS outreach to nearly 500 neighborhood kids. Timing is everything, right?  :)  We'll meet up on Bali on July 1, and fly out to Yogykarta on July 2.

We'll conduct the "Choose Life" conference in Yogya  July 3-5, then preach in two Yogya churches on July 7 before flying back to Bali on July 8.

We will then conduct a "Life Choices in Marriage" conference in Bali on July 9-10.  We'll have some focused time to encourage Kris and Asri before the Rectors leave on July 11 and Bob leaves on July 12.  I will have a few days with them alone and will be able to preach in one church on Sunday July 15 before my departure.

Our Goals

Asri, Sasha, Kris, Kheni
  • Expose Christian leaders in Central Java to the "Choose Life" message to expand the influence of Choose Life Indonesia while providing Kris, Asri and other leaders with opportunities to grow in their articulation of the message.
  • Empower Christian couples on Bali with the ability to make Life Choices in Marriage.  Teaching them to tap into God's ideal rather than the vast array of broken alternatives for navigating their Christian Marriage.
  • Encourage Kris and Asri in their journey as they deal with significant trials and grief in their extended family.  

Will you help?

The Team: Bob, Harni (translator), Tom & Debbie Rector
So, it's pretty obvious that this can't happen without significant financial assistance.  Because the cost of my airfare was so high this year, I'm attempting to raise $4,000 to cover my expenses.  Bear in mind that more than half of that is airfare.  I don't have exact figures on housing, but Bob and I are splitting the cost of a room that is usually $50-$60/night.  Food is usually $20/day.  There are lots of other costs that have to be figured in, and we each need to contribute $200 for ministry expenses.

If you'd like to help make this 2 weeks of ministry possible please click on the following link to Contribute Financially to Encourage Indonesia 2013.  Your gift will be received and processed by Grace Life Community Church as a tax deductible contribution.

You might be wondering why I've waited until now to begin raising support.  Great question!  Frankly,  I have been spear-heading some changes at GLCC that have added significantly to my workload.  Throw into that a knee surgery/recovery and a few IT outages that require my immediate, concentrated attention, and there you have it.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that this experience is really challenging the previous bounds of my trust relationship with God.

Obviously, your prayers on behalf of this venture are greatly needed and appreciated.


I really appreciate your friendship, love, prayers and support.  I know how tight things are for everyone these days, and while I'm hesitant to send this, I'm trusting God that He knows exactly who can and will help financially.

Living loved and forgiven,


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Indonesia Ministry Timeline

Indonesia is not just a passing interest for us, we've been involved in sharing the Good News there for more than 20 years.  Below is a high-level timeline describing our experiences there:
  • 1991: John and Garvisa met Ken and Ginny Mauger who shared their burden for Bali with them.
  • 1992: The Strouds moved to Indonesia to begin bi-vocational ministry among the 3.5 million Balinese Hindu people.
  • 1993 – 1996: They discipled young men and women on Bali including Asri, Theo, Suhenes, Putu Sumarmi, and others.
  • 1996:  They moved to Yogyakarta, Central Java to continue making disciples and encouraging church leaders. 
  • 1996 – 1999: Continued bivocational ministry of discipleship and leadership development. 
  • 1999:  The Stroud family left Indonesia to return to the US, maintaining long-distance relationship with Indonesian disciples.
  • 2004:  John joined the staff of Grace Life Community Church and began to introduce the church to ministries in SE Asia.
  • 2005: Bobby Stroud passed away and memorial fund was established in his name to fund the construction of a church on Bali.
2006 Return to Bali
  • 2006:  John, Garvisa and Brian returned to Indonesia to:
  • Participate in the wedding of Luh Asri and Kristian Lehom.
  • Memorialize the 1-year anniversary of Bobby’s passing with Indonesian family and friends.
  • Deliver Memorial Fund gifts for use on church construction.
    Bobby's Cave
    Bobby's Cave
  • Speak in churches about God’s grace in the midst of tragedy.
  • Pave the way for ongoing ministry relationships in SE Asia.
  • 2009: “Impact Bali 2009” mission trip where 14 representatives of GLCC went to Bali to conduct the first-ever “Choose Life Conference” and establish the “Choose Life Counseling Center” directed by Kristian Lehom.
    Choose Life Indonesia

  • Dec. 2009:  John returned to Indonesia to conduct intensive, grace-based training of Choose Life Indonesia staff and board members. 
  • 2010:  Ten Life Choices translated into the Indonesian Language.
  • 2010: “Engage Bali 2010” mission trip to conduct additional “Choose Life” conferences and participate in the 25th Anniversary.
  • Kris, Asri, Kheny & Sasha
  • 2011: “Equip Bali 2011” to conduct “Choose Life” and “Life Now in Marriage” conferences on Bali and East Java.
  • 2013: “Encourage Indonesia 2013” Is scheduled to encourage Kris and Asri during a time of family crisis, expand the work of CLI further into Central Java, and conduct another “Life Choices in Marriage” conference on Bali.