God writes amazing stories
We know that God is working in our lives daily, but how beautiful it is to see His fingerprints on a story that has been being written over the course of many years. Scott and Brett have returned from Indonesia, and, along with other news, we have a special “Big Picture” story to share! As many know, Steve Cate was a missionary to Indonesia from 1968-1976. While there, he became acquainted with a gentleman by the name of Laiya. Laiya had studied, and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and he wanted to tell his family and friends the Good News! Laiya lived in Medan at the time, and made several trips back to his village on Nias to tell his family and friends what he had learned. He showed them the Jule Miller filmstrips using a Honda generator for electricity, and shared everything that he knew. When they wanted more information, he asked Steve to make the trip with him. Steve made several arduous trips as well, taking a ferry to the island, a bumpy bus ride as far as the roads reached, and then hiking the remainder of the way to Laiya’s village. After multiple trips, weeks of study and many celebrations of baptism, there were two new congregations in the mountains of Nias! Those two original congregations still exist today, along with 80+ more congregations spread over the island. Some are easy to reach by car, and some still require difficult travel. But it all began when Laiya learned how much God loved him, and he wanted his family to know that God loved them too.
Fast forward to March 2019. This gentleman, pictured here with Scott and Brett, came to meet them in Gunungsitoli, as he had heard of their upcoming visit. As it turns out, his father, along with Laiya, had helped to start those two congregations. Both Laiya and this man’s father have passed away, but he was so anxious to meet Steve’s sons. He related to them that they had heard in his village that members of the Cate family had been visiting the island, and they were disappointed that none had come to their village. Scott assured him that we did not know the history of his village, and that next time we come to Nias, we will be sure to visit! His name is Asaili Nduru, from the village of Tesikhori in Lolomatua, and we are forever connected by the faithfulness of three fathers. It is so beautiful to see the picture that God is painting of our lives.
Even more so when it spans nearly five decades, and includes so many people living thousands of miles apart. “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!” Eph. 3:20
It’s a long ride, (four hours!) but while on the island, Scott and Brett travelled to worship with the church in a village that we most recently helped with a new roof. In addition to the children’s home, dormitories, and the sewing classes, we also consider it a great privilege and duty to encourage the churches.
We are excited to announce that we now have a husband and wife team helping to care for our students at the children’s home-Mardianus Hulu, and his wife, Kariani Zebua. We are thankful for their willingness to work together for the good of the children, and pray for their leadership.
As usual, our sewing teacher imparts her knowledge and skills to all of her classes, as is evident by their beautifully made dresses!
It is such a joy to greet the children, both at the home and the dormitories. They are receiving an opportunity for education and empowerment because of your donations. Their lives are impacted in positive ways, as evidenced by some of the staff members and visitors who are graduates because of your support. They come back to help because they see the value and opportunity they were given. We are always excited to pass along their greetings to you!
You may have seen in the news lately that there has been historic flooding in the Midwest. Nebraska was hit particularly hard with severe weather that affected the entire state. Sadly, many farmers lost everything, homes and livelihood...many living in town lost their homes. Some small towns may not be able to rebuild. While this newsletter isn’t about Nebraska or the floods, there is an interesting parallel. Ironically, Scott was en route from Indonesia to the U.S. when the water started to rise. I spoke to him when he was in Singapore, and warned him that he may get to Omaha, but at the time of our conversation, all roads in and out of our town were closed. There was no way for him to drive from Omaha to Fremont because roads were covered in water. For three days, our little town was an island. There were no semi trucks delivering food and supplies to our grocery stores, and the shelves were empty, mostly because extra purchases were made to help those evacuated from their homes into shelters. People who live in surrounding towns, but work in Fremont, couldn’t get home. Others couldn’t get to work. Amazingly, after three days, the State Highway Patrol escorted semi trucks over roads not open to the public, over long detours, into town with gasoline and groceries. There was a lot of emotion when help started to roll in.
The first time we visited Nias was in 2011. This little island is home to about the same number of people as the Omaha metro area, and they were about six years on the other side of a major earthquake and tsunami. But they really are an island that is isolated. Fortunately there were agencies outside Indonesia that eventually helped rebuild roads and bridges. Church groups came to their aid as well. I think it’s safe to say that their isolation lasted more than three days. And while they have recovered from that catastrophic event, there are permanent effects. The folks there will show you where the tide comes, and tell you how it used to look different before the earthquake tilted the island. And while people were focused on that part of the world temporarily, this little island is almost as far as one can get from Nebraska. I hope that you can picture the emotion they show when help rolls in. We are only representatives of the help that allows children who live in isolated, mountain villages to come live in town and go to school. We get to shake their hands, hug them, and get pictures with them (they love that!). We visit their schools, and their headmasters and teachers don’t hide their enthusiasm. They are geographically isolated, but they are connected with people who care.
“As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor: their righteousness endures forever.’”
2 Corinthians 9:9
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1