Salim Hartono and his family are currently in Southeast Sulawesi working on a recording project. As part of their ministry, they record the New Testament in various different languages throughout Indonesia. Below they share a testimony of what God is doing through their lives and ministries.The men in the picture are potential readers and proofreaders for Tolaki recording.
Greetings from Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia!
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12).
Our family read these verses this morning. It reminded us to continue praising His name for He is the Lord, full of love, favor, and grace. We praise the Lord for our brothers and sisters in HeartCry, particularly for their love to God and His people, and for their faithfulness to do the ministry that God has graciously entrusted to them. We pray that God may continue to surround them all with His favor and peace.
It has been three weeks since we arrived in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, and as you might have heard there was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Sulawesi last week. Thousands of people were killed by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami. We were far away from the center of the earthquake area and were only impacted by a minor earthquake. Please continue to pray for this sad and devastating situation. Pray for the churches and Christians who come to minister during this rehabilitation stage, that they may work efficiently and fruitfully, as well. May God greatly use this difficult time for ministry and provide wide open doors to testify more of God’s steadfast love and proclaim the Good News among the lost.
On the first Sunday we were in Southeast Sulawesi, we went to a GKKA church service (Gereja Kristen Kalam Kudus, an evangelistic church) here in Kendari. As we entered the building, someone was calling out Salim’s name. We found that it was a Moronene boy! Salim had done the audio Bible recording project in the Moronene language last May. Apparently, some Moronene teens who live in the Christian dorm in the city came to sing in the church service. They brought us so much joy and gave our daughter an opportunity to make some new friends.
Moronene is one of twelve unreached people groups in Southeast Sulawesi. With a population over 10,000 people and having under 1% Christian, Moronene is designated as an unreached people group. During the service, we learned that GKKA church made a commitment to adopt the Moronene people group. It really encouraged us to see what God has been doing. We pray that He continues to fulfill His plan as written in Psalm 86:9, “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.” Praise the Lord for the willingness of GKKA church to respond to His calling in adopting the Moronene people group. Please lift them up in prayer as this is something new and they are now working on ways to start the partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Currently, we are in Southeast Sulawesi to make an audio Bible in the Tolaki language. Tolaki is the largest people group in Southeast Sulawesi. The population is 337,000 with less than 2% Christian. For the audio Bible recording, we need readers, proofreaders, and translators to work with us. Therefore, we need to go to the villages that are about one to two hours away. We went to four different villages and did an audition for six people. Most of them were involved in the Tolaki Bible translation years ago. We do pray and hope that they may participate in the audio Bible recording, as well.
One of our proofreaders told us his testimony the other day. When his mother and his father got married, his mother was a Christian and his father was a Muslim. After being married for several years, his father became a Christian without any pressure from others. Their little son grew up in the church but was surrounded by Muslim friends and families, who constantly tried to persuade him to be Muslim. They were luring him away with money and jobs. When he was in his twenties, he could not stand it anymore. He applied for a scholarship to a seminary on the island of Java. He was accepted to continue his education in this seminary. When we asked him what made him keep his faith in Jesus even though he faced much pressure from his family and friends, he said, “I don’t know for certain. But I believe it was solely because of God who gave me strength and confidence,” he answered. Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ! John 6:46 says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." After finishing his school, he went back to Southeast Sulawesi and lived among his own people group. I ask many of you to continue remembering him in your prayers that God may greatly use his life for His glory.
-Please pray for the audio Bible recording process, particularly for the readers, the proofreaders, the electricity, and our health.
-Praise be to the Lord for our positive relationship and continued partnership that has been built between churches and mission organizations in Southeast Sulawesi. Please pray that God would continue to help more churches in Southeast Sulawesi to bestow His vision and mission for unreached peoples.
-Please pray for the Moronene and Tolaki people groups, that they may continue to grow in the true understanding of the truth, they may stand firmly in their true faith, and that they may not shift or move away from the hope of the gospel truth of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for praying and ministering with us. May Christ be glorified!