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Revival in Papua

It all started when my friend and I were longing to do something that can bring about changes in Papua. There are many ideas but there are many challenges and political issues that we must consider as well.

Before I go any further, I would like explain little bit about the background of Papua, Indonesia.

We planned just for an event but God makes a movement.

Papua is one of two provinces in the Indonesian part of Papua island. One is called Papua Barat which means West Papua and the other one is called Papua province. The majority of the native population in Papua are Christians. And there are many Christians from the eastern part of Indonesia that come and stay in many cities of Papua.

Pastor Naomi Selan sits on the right side, next to two girls she ministered to that are now working with her in children’s ministry.

Sadly, although the eastern islands of Indonesia are the so called “christian pouches”, according to most Indonesians, they are the places where the highest problems of alcohol, drugs, divorce and AIDS exist. Papua province is known as the highest percentage of people with AIDS in Indonesia. And it has been a mockery in Indonesia that if we want to find people knocked out by alcohol in the ditch on Sunday morning, we just go to Papua, to Jayapura city, the capital of Papua. There are young people living under the bridges and on the streets. They sniff glue and do all sort of bad things. They live without a purpose and a future. And yes, most of them call themselves Christians, they would fight and even die if someone from another religion mocked the name of Jesus but they do not fight to live for Him.

Out of this sad and tragic condition of Christianity in Papua, we are longing that a revival and a transformation would happen in Papua.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

My friend Sigit and I wanted to make an event of revival nights on the streets of Jayapura. We invited a revivalist from Bangalore, India by name of Joshua Paul. Sigit is actually from Surabaya but has been living in Jayapura for more than two decades. He was the one who managed the event in Jayapura.

Surprisingly, there were not many churches that backed the idea of revival on the streets. Some pastors of big churches were not interested of working towards such an event. But one small lady with a very small church, located in a wet market selling fresh meat and produce, believed this was a work of God. The lady’s name is Pastor Naomi Selan. She brought along another pastor from another church to help, she also found a group of Catholics who were willing to help.

We work in programs, but God works in and through people.

Pastor Naomi Selan has been for 12 years ministering to street kids, demonstrating a strong compassion. She visited those who lived under the bridge and on the streets, brought them food and clothing and managed to get them out from those places. Eventually the government gave her appreciation as a community changer. Just a few years ago she started a community (church) which consist of mostly people who were brought out of drug addiction or glue sniffing. These people are now helping relentlessly to feed street kids and give free tuition for children that can’t afford to go to school.

Some of those Jesus rescued from addictions that had controlled their lives.

We were trying to make an event but God prepared a movement. The event of revival nights we had in Papua were arranged by Sigit and brought to reality by Pastor Naomi Selan and her troops rescued from the streets and night life. We were having a revival night with the help of young people with tattoos and body piercings who were actually praying and doing everything they can to bring people on the streets of Jayapura into salvation. Poor children ministered to by Pastor Naomi Selan and the church also gathered for the event.

On the first night of the event, a challenge was made for all those who wanted to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior and repent from their sins. There were many passersby on the streets that decided to receive Jesus as their savior and others renewed their commitment to the Lord.

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Category: Church History, Fall 2016

About the Author: Shanwi Samuel was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. He began serving the Lord in 1999. His home church is Bethel Church in Jakarta, Indonesia. He received a call to missions in 2001 and that same year began training at Tawangmangu Bible School. There he was mentored by senior missionaries, Pastors Sam and Carol Soukotta; they trained him to be an interpreter for foreign lecturers. Since that time he has served as an interpreter, preacher, and teacher; he does itinerant ministry almost every month seeking to kindle the fires of revival in his home country.

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