June/July 2023

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as every part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16

Since our last letter, Steve and Hutton have spent two months on Nias and have returned home. We are so thankful for all that has been accomplished. Truly, no good work is without challenges, but God is faithful, and He will always accomplish His perfect will. We are exceedingly grateful for His provision and for your partnership in the effort to work among God’s people on Nias. The following is a message from Hutton that we shared in our email updates in June. While much has happened since then, we want to share directly from his experience. And most of all – lots of photos!

From Hutton:

This week marks the midpoint of our two months here on the island of Nias. It’s hard to believe it was only four weeks ago that Dad, Grandpa, and I were boarding our 17 hour flight from San Francisco to Singapore; Grandpa and I have had plenty to keep us busy in the meantime.

The highlight for me, even with all the other wonderful opportunities we have, will always be working with the kids in the children’s home.

It’s the first time I’ve been with them in four years. The boys I knew in 2019 are growing into young men, and the girls into young women; the older kids have graduated and moved out to find work, some to other islands. And yet, in many ways, so little has changed. We still play chess and ping pong in the courtyard of the children’s home, eat our meals together three times each day, and reminisce about the last time I was here. I walk to school with them from time to time, and we sit around on the porch in the afternoon as they help me with my Indonesian. I got to attend a graduation ceremony for our middle school students who will be starting high school later this summer, and I got to personally send off some high school graduates who were moving back to their villages. Seeing the growth and progress of the kids in this program is my favorite part of being here.

That said, there have been many other good things as well. Each week has presented a different teaching opportunity: first, a week of Bible study with the staff of Jochebed’s Hope; the next week, evening lessons with the dormitory students and children’s home kids; and most recently, a week-long intensive Bible and ministry seminar with 25 church leaders from 13 congregations across the island, all having traveled down to the coast to live and study together for the week. It was wonderful to see their enthusiasm and curiosity, and a privilege to be among the teachers for the week.

Attendees of the week-long Bible and ministry seminar.

Finally, I’ve had the opportunity to preach twice – once in the village of Koendrafo, one of the first that Grandpa ever visited on the island, and once in the city of Gunungsitoli, where the children’s home is located. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be able to visit congregations in the villages of Botohili and Lahewa, where I will preach again and visit some of my new friends from the seminar last week.

All together, it’s been a great trip so far, and we are looking forward to the month ahead. Thank you for the prayers and support that enable us to be here, sharing fellowship and encouragement with this particular portion of Christ’s body.

We rejoice that seven young men, six from the children’s home, made the momentous decision to be baptized!

The Bible seminar brought men from across the island together for a week. We pray that the relationships we share with the family of God on Nias will strengthen both us and them in our daily walk.

Below, the kids and Hutton watched Indonesia vs. Argentina.

It is by God’s grace and the collective effort of all who support Jochebed’s Hope that these relationships are possible. We are continually thankful for all who support and engage in the work on Nias.

“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God” Romans 5:2