19-25 August 2023
Nestled between active volcanoes, Tomohon is a city on the Minahasan peninsula of North Sulawesi, Indonesia, just a few kilometers south of the provincial capital, Manado. It is also the location of the headquarters of GMIM, the Evangelical Christian Church in Minahasa. The Minahasa (also known as the Manado) people are the largest ethnic group in that region.
In August, Simon Wan of Wycliffe Singapore, Ps. Desmond Soh and Bro. Kasim Ong of Bethany Evangelical Free Church, and Ps. Kenny Lee of Ambassadors for Christ Singapore (AFCS), visited PPA-GMIM (The Bible Translation Centre of GMIM) to explore how they could partner with them to provide training and other resources.
One of the main goals of the trip was to observe part of a Minaku Project workshop. This project is currently crafting Oral Bible Stories in Bantik, Pasan and Manado Malay. These will be shared in Story Fellowship Groups and also used to teach the Bible in churches.
As Bethany EFC has been supporting this project, the translation teams were happy to demonstrate how they craft an oral Bible story. The first step is to do an exegesis of the text to understand and internalize the story. Then, they share what the story means for them personally. This process enables them to craft and recite the story from memory to their fellow villagers. The Bantik and Pasan teams demonstrated storytelling from the passage on Peter’s reinstatement (John 21). Ibu Ayu of PPA also shared about the next phase for the Minaku Project.
An interesting side visit was to the Tomohon Extreme Market, a famous market selling all sorts of vegetables and meats, including exotic meats such as rats, cats, bats, pythons and, until a recent ban, dogs. Not a sight for the squeamish!
The Singapore visitors were able to provide some teaching: Ps Kenny preached at a GMIM church service and Ps Desmond preached at a revival meeting. The Singapore team also conducted a session on Discipleship for 30 members of GMIM’s Youth Wing. The theme of the meetings was "Being a disciple in order to disciple others". Many responded to the altar call to grow in their walk with God, and we pray that the Scriptures in their heart language will play a significant part in this.
By the end of the visit, the Singapore team had gained a much better understanding of the Minaku project and the needs in the area. Some of the ideas might include short-term teams to visit the project and serve the churches and communities in the area, and the provision of theological training to PPA. Discussion is ongoing, and we hope that these plans will come to fruition in the near future!