Yuli is a church planter in Indonesia. Below is an update of his ministry. Please continue to pray for Yuli and the Christians in Indonesia as the forces of darkness are increasingly attacking the church (Ed.).
Yuli continues to regularly preach in Waena at the church that meets at the Mamberamo hostel. This is a place where students from the Mamberamo live when they come out of the interior in order to go to school on the coast. Yuli in a sense acts as a mentor and father figure to many of these students because they’re disconnected with their families and village social structures. Apart from ministers like Yuli, there is no one else to take interest in their lives and teach them God’s word. Yuli, knowing the social ills that plague so many Papuans (drunkenness, drugs, promiscuity, and HIV), sees this ministry as a vital way to evangelize his own people from the Mamberamo and build them up. Yuli realizes that these students are the key to transferring the Gospel to the coming generation of people in the Mamberamo.
Yuli reports that they were happy to hear God’s word and they received his messages well. But, during this time there were problems in the church. Many people who attend the church are Christian in name only, and so the sins mentioned above that are so common to Papuans have also ensnared them. One person who had heard Yuli preach was recently arrested because he had attempted to rape a girl. Another person, due to drunkenness, walked in front of a moving vehicle and after being struck by a car was carried to the hospital by Yuli with a broken leg. In each of these incidents, Yuli had the opportunity to minister God’s word, and by all appearances these young men have repented and are now faithfully attending the church services. Yuli also reports that there are now two other students who are preparing to enter theological school. These are two more students whom Yuli has mentored, and who desire to serve Christ in ministry. There are several others, as well.
Yuli recently met with a Christian foundation in Papua to plan a survey trip in the Mamberamo of several ignored people groups (Sarmi, Dabra, and Kasoneweja). Yuli is still the coordinator for about seventeen people groups in this vast region in northern Papua. He also acts as a mentor and mobilizer for workers from these tribes. He reports that they have already placed missionaries in every tribe in the Mamberamo, like Bastian in Fuau, Rudy in the Mamararom Tribe, Andarias in Kaso/Kauwere, Harun in the Tauri tribe, and just recently Edo in Dabra. For a long time Yuli has envisioned having key, quality leaders among each of these tribes, and it seems the Lord is fulfilling that vision.
For about three weeks, Yuli also helped several teams on a project aiming to translate key Bible stories into local languages in the Mamberamo. Since Yuli was on the team that did this same translation work in his own language, Abawiri, he is now training other mother tongue translators to do the same. Translating key stories is usually considered a preparatory step in translating the New Testament. It allows for these teams to capture the story of salvation history while at the same time gaining much needed skill in the translation process. There were six tribes and about twenty four people who attended the translation training: the Doutai language, Sikaritai language, the Kemki language, the Walak language, Fayu language, and the Kordesi language. Every three months there is another seminar, and Yuli helps each of these language teams as an assistant. He recently helped the Taburta translation project come to completion. They’ve already recorded each of these key stories in that language and are disseminating the audio files among the people in Taria, where the language is spoken. Praise God for the completion of this first step in the translation process!
Another aspect of Yuli’s ministry to build up the Mamberamo people involves a scholarship program for his own people, the Fuau. He recently helped around a dozen or so children enter Sekolah Papua Harapan, which is considered by many to be the best school in Papua. These children are also being helped in their school fees by HeartCry missionary Trevor Johnson. Last June, the Fuau scholarship program sent four young students to Manado to be schooled as religion teachers, and the program helps them with their fees and daily needs.
In March, Yuli attended the Klasis Soi Mamberamo Church meetings that were held in Taiyeve village. There the leaders from the 54 churches in the Klasis Soi elected him to be their leader. However, he felt a heaviness about it because it would mean that he’d no longer be able to continue his current ministry in the same capacity. He felt it would tie him up doing church administration rather continuing to minister to young adults and children on the coast, as well as minister to the neglected Mamberamo tribes in the interior that still need so much help. So, Yuli declined to be the Klasis Soi’s leader so that he could remain free to minister according to his own vision and mission.