The efforts of many individuals over the course of half a century all come together in what we now know as Jochebed’s Hope.
This complex legacy stretches all the way back to 1965, when Steve Cate went on a Campaign for Christ trip in Australia.
Read moreIn 1968 they chose to pursue ministry in Medan as well, a city on the island of Sumatra. In 1969, Steve invited Colin McKee, another missionary, to join him in Medan, and through their ministry there they baptized a man named Talisokhi Laiya. Later in 1972, Laiya asked Steve to visit his home village on the island of Nias, a much smaller island to the west. Steve went with him in 1972, a trip that required a flight from Jakarta to Medan, an all-day bus ride from the east to the west coast, an all-night ferry to the island, and almost three days of hiking. In Laiya’s village Steve taught night and day for several weeks, baptizing people in the village as well as those in a neighboring village. Two young men from the villages accompanied Steve back to Jakarta where they studied scripture daily for three months. They then returned to the villages and were installed there as preachers, establishing the first two Churches of Christ on Nias.
Steve returned to Jakarta and continued to work on the island of Java until 1976, after which he moved back to the United States. He kept in contact with the congregations there until he eventually visited them in 2002. He traveled to Nias again in 2004 to help with disaster relief following a tsunami, and continued making trips to Indonesia thereafter.
Dennis Cady, another missionary from the Church of Christ, first traveled to the island of Nias in 1995, also accompanied by Talisokhi Laiya. When he first visited, the two congregations Steve had established on the island had grown into ten. Dennis made regular trips to Nias for the next decade, training church leaders and working to guide congregations there. In late 2004 he began to participate in disaster relief for the tsunami that year, and he was on the island when a devastating earthquake shocked the island in early 2005. Witnessing the destruction that took place there, Dennis recommitted himself to sustaining his ministry on Nias.
In the wake of the earthquake, Dennis met with church leaders on the island and agreed to use relief money he’d raised to rebuild churches that had been destroyed. After that was paid for, remaining money was used to build and rebuild 15 schools across the island. Through this process, Dennis gained more familiarity with the education system on Nias and recognized certain obstacles that kept students from furthering their education. In response, he used the last of the relief funds to establish a dormitory program in the capital city, Gunung Sitoli, allowing students to move from isolated villages and access further schooling.
His work in Gunung Sitoli didn’t stop there. In July of 2005, the first Church of Christ in the city had its first service. Shortly after establishing the church, two large, unsolicited donations allowed the congregation to move and build a new facility on the city’s main road. In 2008, after brainstorming with local leaders about what else could be done, Dennis began making arrangements to open the Jochebed’s Choice Children’s Home. The children’s home allowed children in poor conditions around the island to receive food, clothing, shelter, education, and medical care to which they would otherwise have no access. John Bailey, who made regular medical mission trips to the area, utilized organizations with which he was affiliated to foot the starting costs for the new program.
Years later, the stories of Dennis’s and Steve’s Indonesian missions collided. Scott Cate, Steve’s son, began visiting Indonesia in 2011 when health problems prevented Steve from traveling for some time. Though the primary work was in Jakarta at the time, Scott and his wife, Tracey, began visiting the island of Nias in the following years with hopes of eventually establishing a ministry there. They notified Dennis of these visits, aware that he directed an organization on the island, and his staff helped them get acquainted with the island on their first trip. In 2016, Dennis contacted Steve shortly after Scott and Tracey returned from another trip to Nias and asked if the family would like to take over leadership of the programs there. After transitioning from 2016 to 2017, Scott and Tracey assumed leadership of what is now Jochebed’s Hope, bringing Steve’s programs in Jakarta and Dennis’s work in Nias under the same umbrella.
As we continue to love, care for, and support the children, staff, and church members on Nias, we prayerfully make plans for the future growth of our programs. Of primary importance are the relationships that have developed over the years. Our hope is to cultivate those relationships and encourage continued growth of capable church and community leaders.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic state—it is a string of 17,000+ islands, some of which remain underwater for a portion of the year.
Six thousand of the islands are inhabited by a diverse people with over 300 languages. While Indonesia has the largest Muslim majority in the world, the island of Nias is considered a Christian island. Located in the Ring of Fire, Indonesia is home to hundreds of volcanos, yet there are none on the island of Nias. Indonesia is diverse and beautiful. The climate is tropical in most areas, but boasts some cool, mountainous areas as well. Nias, located just west of Sumatra, is home to about 800,000 people. The largest cities are Gunungsitoli in the north, and Telukdalam in the south, with many villages spread out between the cities and up into the hills. Some villages are very difficult to reach due to lack of good roads. The children’s home and dormitories are located in Gunugsitoli, which has a population of about 130,000. Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch, but became independent in 1949. A lack of infrastructure has been a challenge on this remote island, but they are resilient and determined people who are welcoming to visitors.
The tsunami and subsequent earthquake in 2004 and 2005 shattered Nias, killing tens of thousands (the number of deaths is listed as 168,000, but is a combined number of deaths on Nias and the province of Aceh, which were in the closest proximity to the epicenter of the underwater earthquake that caused the tsunami). The tsunami occurred in December 2004, and just months later, in March 2005, another earthquake shook the island of Nias. This disaster opened up a new realization of the existence of this tiny island to many international relief organizations. The tragedy ended up bringing assistance that would help develop new opportunities on Nias. Many good things have happened since: new roads have been built, businesses have been developed, relief efforts that include surgical procedures have resulted, and churches have been established. Yet, Nias remains isolated geographically, and many opportunities still exist to invest in our brothers and sisters there to help them to become agents of change in their community as Image Bearers made by God.