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Matt Collier flew to Indonesia in January 2011 and then again in July 2011 to assist Paul Choo in establishing the camping ministry in this country.
Camp Reports / Testimonies
Highlights from 2011
We’ve had one day of staff training and a three day e-camp. This weekend, I’m staying in the house of a Korean missionary with three of our camp team members from the Philippines. Mike, Jet, and Vince are here helping run these two evangelistically oriented camps. Physically, this has been a more difficult trip for me, so having them here has been an incredible blessing. They’ve basically been running the program alongside of two Indonesian guys and have helped out with the speaking as well.
The campers are all students at one of the schools on the island of Batam, and the counselors are teachers. In fact, the campsite is their school. We weren’t sure how that was going to go—we were afraid that the kids might be too familiar with the place, but our concern was unfounded. We ended up with 69 tenth and eleventh grade young people, and they had an incredible time. The enjoyment level of the games was one of the highest I’ve seen in quite a while—especially with the two big balls we brought. The intensity remained high the entire time. It started to downpour when we were in the middle of a big ball volleyball game, but the campers played hard to the end—mud and all! They really enjoyed Freetime as well. It was the same story with the rain on Friday afternoon, but probably 90% of the campers were out there dribbling basketballs in puddles, hitting badminton birdies, and playing mud soccer. And actually, the rain brought relief from the heat, which was a big blessing (at least to me!) Actually, I think the campers had a difficult time sleeping in the heat—the guys stayed up until 1:00 a.m. the first night and were up and running around at 4:30 a.m. (of course, the Muslim call to prayer didn’t help with that either.)
Let me tell you about the preaching times. The first night, I preached on the parable of two prayers: the contrast between the Pharisee and the tax collector in the temple. The next morning, Mike taught through the Bridge Tract, then Pastor Paul Choo preached on Nicodemus in John 3. Friday night, we looked at our Lord’s cry on the cross recorded in Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Saturday morning, Jet gave the gospel again, using a painting illustration. These kids listened well and heard a whole lot of gospel truth this week … and they responded. Judging from the hands raised this morning, I would say that around 75% of them professed to have trusted Christ as Savior this week. What a joy! This morning, as they were getting ready to leave camp, I preached on assurance of salvation—how Jesus will always keep his sheep safe in his hand.
Probably the biggest difference from the first camp that we held here in January is the staff. They are really starting to get it! Having the same counselors as before was a huge benefit and several others really stepped up. Ibu Roska and I are already talking about doing a follow up “discipleship” camp for the young people who have been saved so far. The harvest truly is plenteous in this nation of islands. Thanks so much for your prayers. We start camp again on Monday with a group of 89 eighth and ninth graders.
~ Report by Matt Collier
In my last update, I wrote about what the Lord did during the first camp. The second three day camp ran on pretty much the same schedule (with a few adjustments), but with a new group of campers—mostly ages 14 & 15 and with different counselors. Many of the counselors had been a part of the first camp we held in January. They were on board with the goals of camp from the start and it really showed. One of the new things that we introduced this year is to have a “counselor time” after every preaching time. I gave the counselors a list of five questions to go through with their campers: 1) In your own words, what was the message about? 2) Was there anything you did not understand? 3) What did you learn about God? 4) What did you learn about yourself? 5) What do you need to change because of what you learned? Those counselor times opened up many good opportunities and also gave them a built-in chance to counsel after every service. Keep in mind that this camp was also focused on evangelism since most of these kids had never heard a clear presentation of the gospel before—in spite of growing up in nominal Christian churches. Well, they heard the gospel during camp—6 out of our 7 sessions presented it in various ways—including visual illustrations and diagrams. On the last day, when I asked the young people how many of them had trusted Christ as Savior that week at camp, almost all of them raised their hands. I clarified that a person only needs to come to Christ one time and that is enough. Then I asked again—with the same response. Of course, only God knows their hearts, but when I asked Paul Choo and Ibu Roska about it, they were fairly confident that most of those kids came to camp without Christ. Praise the Lord for His powerful work in the hearts of those young people!
Logistically, the second week of camp went remarkably well. The Indonesian camp team really stepped up in covering details and demonstrated a teachable spirit. The team spirit started out incredibly high the first day, dipped a bit the second day (it was very hot—I’d estimate 100 plus degrees), and rebounded to finish strong the third day. The kids were begging for more camp when it was time to leave. The only real negative came on the second day when we discovered that all of the bathrooms that the girls were using were backed up and unusable. They had nowhere to take showers (showers meaning a faucet and a bucket in a little stall…right next to the in-ground hole for a toilet.) But in spite of that, the week was a smashing success—thanks to the Lord. The camp team in Batam is going to continue holding weekly youth group meetings for those young people who have trusted Christ to teach them the basic things they need to know as believers.
I’ll end with a couple of cultural observation. 1) Indonesians eat flaming, hot rice…for every meal of the day—even breakfast. And the kids loved the food at camp. The lone American at camp was less than enthusiastic. 2) In my limited experience, I’m convinced that there are more motorcycles in Indonesia than there are people—at least it seemed like that during rush hour. And they are fearless (or insane)—zipping in and out of larger vehicles. I’m amazed that more of them don’t die—or maybe they do. I’m also amazed at what they can fit on a regular Honda 150. Just for fun, I started to keep track: a wife (wearing a head-wrap and a helmet) plus two kids, a bag of 50+ colored balls, ice (melting rapidly), chickens (dead, I think), bags of rice, luggage, long poles, tires (plural), large baskets with who knows what in them. I even saw one tired toddler taking a nap on the seat of her mom’s motorcycle on the side of the road. I guess ya gotta to do what ya gotta do.
Please keep praying for this country and its people! In a place like Indonesia, we feel the need for prayer more keenly. It truly is a dark place spiritually. But overall, I think a good foundation is being established for future ministry—especially with some promising young leaders.
-Report by Matt Collier