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Indonesia: Local Churches Leading the Charge

by Deb Tan and Deb Fox


The director of a Bible translation organisation in Indonesia considers the difference it could make to God’s mission if we truly believed that translation is the task of the Church.

Marnix Riupassa, Director of Kartidaya [Wycliffe Global Alliance organisation in Indonesia], is reminiscing with Barry and Marg Borneman [Wycliffe Australia CEO and his wife] over a cuppa. It has been over five years now since a unique partnership with Wycliffe Australia was formed.


He says, “Wycliffe Australia answered the one thing that was not answered by our own projects (at that time), and that maybe many [other] organisations do not understand. This thing, this project, was not about Bible translation but about how we build a strong relationship with the local church.”


Out of Kartidaya’s unique vision and Wycliffe Australia’s willingness to support it, Kartidaya’s Partnership project was birthed. Its commitment was to serve the local church to help them understand God’s mission, so that it is the Church in Indonesia that reaches the end goal.


Marnix notes, “We [used to] come to the Church and ask for money to help a translation project. But we didn’t help the Church to understand God’s mission to help them to lead the direction of Bible translation.”



If translation is the task of the Church, then Marnix knew that they would need to partner with churches, denominational leaders, parachurch groups and organisations to gain momentum. Along with his team at Kartidaya, Marnix prayed and fasted that God would help create connections for more leaders to get on board with the vision.

Marnix explains that the translation is the easy part — establishing community is where it gets difficult. “We’ve seen many spiritual battles happen in the field… not when we are starting to print the Bible, but when we start [building]…community. The enemy wants to create division. But we know that the best way to achieve God’s mission is by working together.”

Working together to create local, missional churches points to a significant paradigm shift — putting the work in the hands of local people, without just relying on training, resourcing and funding by foreign organisations. It also helps to ensure a sustainable long-term witness to language groups, as future generations are trained by their own local leaders. Marnix shares, “The local church then becomes the umbrella, the host for the translation cluster. Kartidaya and Wycliffe come to serve and provide the resources to support them.”


Reproduced with permission from Wycliffe Australia.

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