Indonesia, Eclipses, and the Mission

For some members of Catalyst Missions, the eclipse in America will be their second one in as many years. On March 9, 2016, a total eclipse passed through Indonesia while a Catalyst team was serving on the island of Timor.  Catalyst, and more than 45 local pastors who were being trained, took time out of the training to witness the event.  The location was not in the path of totality, but the sun was over 65% eclipsed. 

Providentially, an employee at American Paper Optics heard about the trip during a Catalyst event.  American Paper Optics is a leading producer of eclipse glasses.  The CFO, Paulo Aur, generously donated dozens of eclipse glasses to be delivered to the children who live at K-PACT Ministry, where the training is located.  Special thanks to American Paper Optics for their donation.

When the headmistress of the school, Ester, heard the news she was grateful to God.  “Wow…I’m so excited to hear,” Ester wrote. “I was hoping to get some glasses, but have no idea where to get them and it is quite costly. Praise God for His providence!”

The day before the eclipse a member of Catalyst Missions taught an eclipse lesson in the school.   Bryan Lindley, a physics major who studied astronomy in college, explained to the children the science behind an eclipse.  He also trained the children in the proper way to view an eclipse.  The children were instructed never to look at the eclipse directly without using the eclipse glasses.  They also were taught how to make a pinhole viewer, how to use leaves to view the eclipse shadow, and how to view the eclipse safely in the bucket of water.  The next day many of the children used these techniques to safely view the eclipse while they waited for their turn to use the eclipse glasses.

The school session also provided an opportunity to present the gospel.  The children were taught from Genesis 1 how God controls and orders all things. In Exodus 10, they were shown how God turned the land of Egypt dark to punish them for disobeying God.  At the same time, the people of Israel had light, to show God’s gracious favor over them.  At the cross, the sun also turned dark, as God poured out judgment out on His own Son.  The children heard how apart from Christ we face an eternity in darkness; but they were taught that the death and resurrection of Christ can make a way for us to be right with God.  Revelation 21 says that God is preparing a place that will need to sun to shine on it, “for the glory of God will give it light and its lamp is the Lamb.”  Yet, “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what id detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Catalyst challenged the children that when they witnessed the eclipse they should ask themselves, on the day they stand before God will they be ushered into a world of eternal light, or of eternal darkness.

Last year, Catalyst Missions witnessed temporary darkness in Indonesia.  Right now, billions of souls in the global south face eternal darkness.  That’s why we are serious about ending theological famine.  Please contact us to get involved.

Hope in La Paz

The Lord has granted us access to some of the cruelest prisons in Bolivia to evangelize and offer training to new converts who leave as missionaries and pastors. Nilson Mendoza Chavez, Catalyst Missions' west coordinator in Bolivia, is working among the darkest, most desperate prisons in La Paz (San Pedro and Aposento Alto). Many are coming to Christ and receiving ministry training through the Catalyst training institute. We hope to use this ministry to launch church planters and missionaries into La Paz, other parts of Bolivia, and the Global South. Please continue to pray for this mission to the least of these!

 

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To the End of the World and Back

On a Friday morning in July, our team of five left Memphis on a delayed flight to Chicago. Forty-something hours, five airports, and four out of four delayed flights later, our plane descended (right on time) over the coast of Timor.

The team: three men, two women, connected by unexpected loops of friends, schools, and home churches, looking forward to using our collective mix of theological, educational, and artsy skills and passions to support, encourage, and equip local believers

The destination: KPACT’s House of Hope, a children’s home paired with a theological primary/secondary school

The plans: pastor training sessions on discipleship and church planting with a local pastors, art and English classes with students, teacher training sessions, one mural with the kindergarten students, and hopefully some unplanned time to just play and have fun with the kids! 

Selamat datang: Welcome

Our hosts met us at the airport Sunday night. Bags were loaded into the two vans, we piled in, and we were off, zooming through the dark on smooth, freshly paved main roads that gave way to more bumps and gravel with each turn closer to the KPACT campus.

Pastors from surrounding cities would be on their way the next morning to begin the first of eight discipleship modules they’ll be completing over the next few years.

Teachers at the school on campus had come back a week early, giving up part of their breaks, some to join the theological training and others for teacher sessions on integrating the arts into different subjects or specialized training for English instructors.

Before the sun came up the next morning, the children of House of Hope were already awake. (4:45 a.m. wake up call? Whaaat?!) The sounds of singing and music and laughing drifted through the two long hallways and open windows of the dorm-style building—our accommodations for the week. The house parents were up, breakfast was done, and the students were dressed and off to school in their uniforms. 

A little background

We each knew some background about KPACT and House of Hope before we trekked half way around the world to spend time there, but over shared meals with the directors and casual conversations with staff throughout the week, we learned more of the story behind this ministry.

House of Hope (HOH) was started under the leadership of KPACT, and to date, it is home to fifty children, preschool age into late teens. Most of the children come from broken homes or situations where the parents are unable or unwilling to care for their children; a few are truly orphans. The kids come from several of the surrounding islands. Some have been there for years and others are relatively new to the home; a new little boy arrived the same week of our visit.

The school is fairly new, added a few years ago as the result of the founder’s ever growing vision to not only provide a loving home for children in need, but to also provide solid academic and Christian education in a country that is 87% Muslim.

The director explained that they had started with 7th grade and added grades each year since. This year’s classes include primary (kk-2nd) and secondary (7th-10th) grades. Originally open only for HOH residents, the school has expanded to provide a Christian education for children from the community as well.

 The good kind of exhausted

As we sat down with the director that first morning to go over the schedules and plans, it was clear it was going to be a packed week for all of us! Each day was full of the requested teaching and training…exhausting days that left us feeling spent, but satisfyingly so.

The guys rolled through back-to-back sessions with the pastors, pouring out the Word through the voices of multiple translators, praying with the pastors, answering theological questions, (breaking briefly for strong coffee and fried snacks on the breezeway!), and then moving back into the packed classroom for more.

In classrooms nearby, the ladies started each morning teaching art and English to students, and then lead combined teacher training sessions through the afternoon. They were able to share lesson ideas, model strategies, answer questions, and have fun watching the teachers get creative and make art themselves. Afternoons and evenings were spent painting the backgrounds for the murals the kids would work on the next day.

And…yes, we even got to just play and have fun with the kids. Sprinkled into our planned and scheduled trainings, we were blessed with volleyball breaks, attempts to teach us language, children wanting to help with mural backgrounds, time to visit the refugee camp, tons of smiles and laughter and pictures…plenty of sweet, unplanned moments to connect with staff and students.

So, five days, four(!!) completed murals, and many potato donuts later, we said our goodbyes and see you laters, piled back into the vans, and began our bumpy ride back to the airport.

The team: a little tired, but satisfied, glad to have been a part of an intense week of equipping men and women in the work they are striving to do well… and excited already about ways that the Lord is working through the connection to this place and in our hearts

The destination: home, but with our hearts marked by this little corner of Southeast Asia

The plans: pray for the people we have met and the people they serve, continue sending leaders for pastor training, spread the word about the teacher training needs and opportunities, share other ways people could get involved…

…And, of course, watch and anticipate that even in the good of our best-laid plans, the Lord has already laid out more beautifully unplanned blessings to come.

For more information on this trip or our other trips please visit our website, www.catalystmissions.org.  You can email us at doug@catalystmissions.org or andyhynes99@gmail.com.  We would love to connect with you and see how you might become part of the Catalyst community.