LCA International Mission has teamed up with LCA Reconciliation Ministry for a second year, providing short-term scholarships for two pastors visiting from Indonesian Lutheran churches which are LCA partners.
Rev Dr Pahala Jannen Simanjuntak, from the Huria Kristen Batak Protestant (HKBP) church, and Rev Fotani Ziliwu, from the Banua Niha Keriso Protestan (BNKP) church, have been in Australia from 20 May to 30 June for training in biblical reconciliation.
During their scholarship time, the pastors have been mentored by Pastor Paul Kerber, the LCA’s Assistant to the Bishop – Reconciliation Ministry, and supported by LCA International Mission Indonesia Program Officer Nevin Nitschke.
As part of their training, the duo has received more than 60 hours of one-on-one tutoring in biblical reconciliation, and taken part in workshops and practical experiences in reconciliation ministry. They also have visited Australian Lutheran College and LCA congregations in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania that are engaged in reconciliation ministry processes.
Dr Pahala, an Old Testament lecturer at a theological seminary in Pematangsiantar, in North Sumatra, said he and Pastor Fotani were grateful for the invitation to participate in biblical reconciliation training.
‘We are very happy to receive training on how to properly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the core of our Christianity is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone’, Dr Pahala said. ‘This work is almost ignored by some churches in Indonesia. Some churches only teach the law to do good deeds.’
Pastor Kerber said it had been a privilege to mentor the visiting scholarship holders, to share the gospel with them and to learn from them.
‘They have really appreciated unpacking how law and gospel work together and they have realised that when things are not good in relationships, that’s an opportunity to bring the gospel to people’, he said. ‘I also have experienced great gifts through Dr Pahala and Pastor Fotani’s time here – their friendship, feedback and encouragement, their observations and different cultural understandings and their great prayer support.’
Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission Glenice Hartwich said LCA International Mission was ‘deeply thankful for the opportunity to partner with Reconciliation Ministry and Pastor Kerber to support our international partners to grow in their understanding of the gospel through the scholarships we offer in reconciliation ministry’.
‘It is a great joy to see and hear of the transformation in thinking and ministry which takes places in the lives of those who are able to benefit from the mentoring which takes place through these scholarships’, she said. ‘This is truly a partnership in the gospel.’