The following was written by Brandon Langley, a church planter in New Orleans, LA. He and two other men from his church recently traveled with me to Timor Leste in order to teach on the order of salvation.
Prior to Preparing For Our Most Recent Trip to Southeast Asia
I did not know that the country of Timor Leste existed, nor was I very familiar with the work of HeartCry Missionary Society. I am a pastor of a new Southern Baptist church plant with the North American Mission Board. Seeking to be faithful to the great commission, we took our first trip to SE Asia last year looking for God to direct us in where he would have us partner long term. By his grace, we met a member of a house church started by HeartCry Missionary, Rahmat Kaca, and we felt God leading our church to partner with whatever ministry Rahmat deemed fruitful. Through prayer, conversation, and planning, Rahmat suggested that part of our team in the following year assist him in teaching at a conference for pastors in Timor Leste. We prepared to teach on the doctrine of salvation for local pastors and students.
We landed in Timor Leste not knowing what to expect and were met by the smiling faces of a few local believers. We quickly learned of the history of Timor Leste and of the present spiritual climate. While its neighboring country is dominated by Islam, this little island is largely Roman Catholic after being colonized by the Portuguese. From speaking with these local believers, we learned that there is some evangelical presence through a few charismatic churches, but at large there is a very great need for healthy churches, spiritual leaders, and sound doctrinal teaching. These impressions were confirmed in the coming days as we taught on the doctrine of salvation.
The day after arriving we began the seminar under a gazebo with 20-30 young people and just one pastor from a church in Lospalos. For two days we taught from morning to afternoon on the doctrines of election, regeneration, faith and repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification. In between each session, we allowed for question and answer time during which the young people present showed their eagerness to know God’s Word. I was approached several times by young men expressing their thankfulness and their desire for us to return so that they could better understand the Bible. They were hungry for the Word. I was amazed at the spiritual hunger that many of the young men seemed to have. There is so much potential in that place for future pastors and missionaries to be raised up in a country where discipleship and evangelism are not nearly as restricted as in the neighboring Muslim country.
I could not help but dream of a day when healthy churches in Timor Leste were discipling these young men, raising them up to serve as elders, and sending them out to pastor churches not only throughout Timor Leste but in the neighboring country as well. Before leaving the island, we were already dreaming of ways that we might continue to impact Timor Leste in the future. We hope to return to teach another seminar perhaps even as early as six months from now and, if the Lord should lead us, return again and again every six months. Another way in which we could impact Timor Leste might be through providing an avenue for some of those young men to come to the US for theological training and then send them back to become pastors and church planters. We are exploring now the logistical details, cost, and the missional value of possibly bringing a young man to live in our church’s parsonage along with other residents for discipleship, training, and a theological degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I pray God will lead us with overwhelming clarity in the coming days as we continue to pray for and support the missional work of Rahmat and HeartCry in these SE Asian countries.
By His Grace and For His Glory,
Pastor Brandon Langley
St. Rose Community Church