Setia laughs as she and a friend walk along the dirt road that runs through their village. Others in Setia’s village emerge from their homes – faded wooden cubes with rusty roofs of corrugated metal.
The pungent smell of durian, a thorny fruit that is unique to southeast Asia fills the air. Everyone converges at a larger home near the edge of the village and sits cross-legged on the floor of the main room. One woman strums a guitar and they begin to sing hymns with tunes that would be familiar in many of Canada’s churches too.
This gathering on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra is one of the dozens of listener communities – groups that gather in response to the Indonesian radio outreach of Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI).
Respite for Setia
For Setia, time spent worshipping and hearing God’s Word offers a monthly respite from her otherwise stressful life.
“Her husband is a violent alcoholic,” shares a member of BTGMI’s Indonesian ministry team. “They have become very poor, and even had to sell their land to support her husband’s lifestyle.”
Unfortunately, Setia’s situation is all-too-common in her village. Many of the women spend most of their energy providing for the family’s physical and spiritual needs.
“When Pastor Delima started a listener community in Setia’s village, Setia joined almost immediately,” shares BTGMI’s Indonesian ministry team. “Every day she listens to our sermons and songs on her radio and once a month she attends the community meetings.”
Source of Strength
Time spent in God’s Word has given Setia strength to respond to her terrible situation. Although she once focused her energy on resenting her husband, she now tries to encourage her six children and five grandchildren.
“The Word of the Lord strengthened me to face my life’s struggles,” Setia shared. “I have also been able to strengthen other family members.”
This positive response has in turn had a positive effect on her husband. Lately, he has been drinking less and has begun to help her work in the field.
As Setia and her family endure the effects of COVID-19, the Indonesian ministry team has been producing several new video programs. The worldwide fear, uncertainty, and downstream effects of COVID-19 are lingering and causing people to think in ways they never have before.
“People like Setia are searching for hope, and thinking about what happens when this earthly life is over,” added Kurt Selles, BTGMI’s director.
“On top of that, individuals and families around the world are spending more time at home consuming media. That means when they’re searching for answers, they’re doing it online and ready to watch or listen to those answers.”
This article was made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.