On the outermost edge of Indonesia sits an island called Nias, a land that has suffered various blows from many natural disasters.
Nias Island is part of the Eurasian plate that collides with the India-Australia plate. As a result of this, earthquakes are a regular occurrence. One of the major disasters that occurred was a magnitude 8.7 earthquake on March 28, 2005, only three months after a different earthquake and massive tsunami killed hundreds of thousands of people in Southeast Asia. At that time, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries became involved by sending a disaster response team to distribute aid for short-term relief as well as developing a long-term ministry to children who were victims of disasters.
Seventeen years have passed since the disaster occurred. Since then, what has God done through the ministry of NCM in Nias? Remarkable things. A large number of young people from the NCM efforts in Nias became students at the Indonesian Nazarene Theological College (INTC). Through INTC's ministry, some of them have become pastors and leaders.
Three local churches on Nias and neighboring islands are still growing today are a result of the initial NCM ministry. It turns out that in all things, truly God brings good; even in catastrophic situations, God is still at work. What was sown 17 years ago is producing the harvest we are seeing today.
Since the children’s ministry was originally part of long-term disaster response, it eventually was phased out. However, God did not stop working in the lives of those who were served in those early years. A year and a half ago, God created an opportunity to restart the holistic child development ministry on Nias, and around 40 children regularly participate. The need remains.
Today, a large number of children on Nias don’t have access to a high-quality education. The new ministry will create academic growth through supplemental learning assistance. The goal has always been holistic care—helping children grow spiritually, educationally, emotionally, and physically. Tutoring for children is also a way to build relationships in the local community. In that way, the five staff members on Nias can visit, pray, and give counsel to the parents of these children. In a small group, people hold regular Sunday worship.
It is a joy to see how God has used past ministry efforts to produce long term results. Through God’s grace, what is sown today will be reaped in the future, just as it was 17 years ago.
This story taken from the most recent issue of NCM Magazine. Click here to read.