The Visible Story was created for evangelists and mission workers in Indonesia – those who have a passion to share Jesus and to make the gospel story visible in their home communities, in Indonesia’s rural villages, urban slums, and busy city streets.
Yos shares the gospel in a teeming railway slum, as part of a ministry that includes counselling, care, a food programme and starting a church right next to the railway tracks.
Mardella tells the story in Timor, helping children understand the extraordinary love of the father for the lost child. She is also focused on the parents, that they understand the importance of the Bible’s life words for their lives and the lives of their children.
Anton steps out in poverty-stricken rural and urban contexts, with a heart to see God change people’s lives – and their environment.
Gunar Sahari leads the Moriah church and Bible College, and also heads up the SGM Lifewords ministry in Indonesia. He applies SGM Lifewords literature and Transform projects in urban and rural contexts, always aiming to ‘reach unreached peoples’. He is excited to see The Visible Story ready for use after three years of testing:
“In Indonesia many people don’t know how to read or write. The Visible Story material really fits with the people here, because through the pictures we can tell the story.
“Indonesian people like to hear stories; but if it’s just a story, it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t change their lives. But behind The Visible Story there is the Bible Story – and I believe that through the Bible Story, people can change.”
In summer 2011, The Visible Story was rolled out as third year students from Moriah returned to their home communities all over Indonesia, trained to use this new resource in sharing their faith with their neighbours and friends.
Vera, who is 21, has been at Moriah Bible College for two years; she has a great heart for mission and for reaching her home community with the message of Jesus. She lives in Dumpit, a semi-rural farming community where people struggle to make ends meet, and where poverty and lack of education – especially illiteracy – blight future opportunities for countless young people and adults.
Vera longs to make an impact here but lack of confidence has held her back from being able to start “God conversations” or present the gospel. But attending a training session for The Visible Story made a big difference for Vera:
“I’m very happy I joined the training; I believe that The Visible Story material is really useful for me, especially with the Dumpit situation. I believe many children and a lot of parents will receive many blessings through this material. I want to apply what I learned … especially to reach unreached people.”
Just a few days later, Vera went home and started to use The Visible Story. In a beautiful moment, children gathered round her and she began telling the story of the lost son: the children were engaged: laughing, guessing what was coming up next, and catching the story of Jesus. It was the first time Vera had been able to engage the Scriptures in such a natural way – and she is thrilled to have discovered a tool that gives her confidence and clarity as she shares the gospel.
The Visible story is used in Indonesia alongside two partner organisations:
Moriah Theological School
Gunar started this Bible College as part of the ministry of Moriah church, where he is Pastor. There are now 250 students from all over Indonesia attending. Each year, third year students will return to their home communities trained in using The Visible Story.
SETIA Bible College
This “missional college” comprises 32 campuses across Indonesia, with 450 students graduating each year. Most come from rural areas and 80-90% return to their home village with skills of teaching, health and welfare or community farming, as well as their formal theological training.
When students from Moriah and SETIA return to their villages, they are keen to be missionaries, working amongst the locals while they seek to share their faith, perhaps even planting a small church. But they have no resources to help them. The low literacy levels make it near impossible to use Bibles and traditional written resources, and such items are rarely affordable, and can lack proper engagement. The Visible Story is the ideal resource in these situations.