Testimony shared by Pastors Franklin and Nina Lumoindong —
Sidoarjo is an hour outside the city of Surabaya and is widely known as a poor Muslim town. In the late 2006, the senior pastor of the church, who is also Nina’s brother, and his wife were on an Adam Air flight that crashed at Manado. The airplane was never found and all the passengers onboard had perished. In one day, Elohim Church lost their two main shepherds and the whole congregation was in shock and grief.
I was the resident teacher in GPdI Bible School at Malang. Both Nina and I were immediately asked to take over the church and bring stability to the people.
Both of us were still in deep grief at the loss of our family members in the plane crash. Furthermore, we had no experience whatsoever in leading a church. We were at a loss and in despair. However, we knew that we needed to pick ourselves up quickly as the congregation was feeling very discouraged and had begun to scatter.
Some of our workers who had previously been trained in City Harvest Bible Training Center came forward to render help. They encouraged us to approach Rev. Kong Hee for help. Pastor Kong was very gracious and immediately attended to our needs.
Because of the instability of the situation, City Harvest Church (CHC) decided to help us implement a Bible School curriculum at the church. Once every two to three months, CHC sent teachers to teach the Word and help with the discipleship process of our leaders. This really strengthened the church and helped to regain their sense of purpose and direction.
After six months of consistent Bible studies, Elohim Church regained its composure and by God’s grace, didn’t lose any members at all. The attendance hovered at 750 adults and this encouraged us greatly. This assured us that the members had faith in the new leadership.
Once the members were stabilized, Nina and I felt that it was time for ourselves to grow in the ministry. We knew the best thing a disciple can do is to follow his teacher. So throughout 2007, my workers and I joined Pastor Kong whenever he ministered in Indonesia. I travelled with him to Jakarta, Surabaya and Makassar, serving with him, praying with him, and being personally discipled by him. As the confidence of our leadership grew, the church began steadily increasing to an average attendance of 850.
In November 2007, we invited Pastor Kong for the graduation of our Bible school program. The graduation was a resounding success. More workers were trained, and the church started having faith and vision for growth.
We decided to ask CHC to help us in our first Big Day evangelistic weekend in the church. Rev. Aries Zulkarnain, who pastors one of the largest zones in CHC, came and taught the church on evangelism, the Caring System and how to follow up on new converts. The whole church got very excited and their faith increased. We were targeting 2,600 people for the Big Day. We prayed and prayed and prayed.
On Ascension Weekend, the members decorated the hall and the church compound to the best of their abilities. We bought 4,000 McDonalds burger meals to bless the new friends who came to the church. We invited Indonesian celebrities to give testimonies. We had our own dance team put up an exciting dance performance to attract the youth. Creativity began to flow. Since the movie Kung Fu Dunk was popular in Indonesia, someone suggested inviting actor-singer Liu Geng Hong to perform for us. This attracted the Chinese community in the town. CHC also helped us with the praise and worship.
In the history of the 90-year-old GPdI denomination, no church has ever done anything like this before. On 1 to 4 May 2008, we opened the church compound for our own first ever Big Day. We were moved to tears. God did exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. That weekend, we had a total of 4,876 people who came. And a total of 890 people gave their hearts to Jesus Christ!
After the Big Day event, Elohim Church saw an increase in church attendance to 950 adults. If we include the children, the figure swells to 1,600 people.
Since then, the Elohim members have caught a fresh vision for growth. We now believe that it is possible to grow the church even in the little, poor Muslim town of Sidoarjo. This is only the beginning. We thank God daily for this relationship we have with CHC who have stood with us through our darkest hours. Through Pastor Kong, God has opened our eyes to see that a church can be strong in both numbers and influence in the community.
Under the guidance and support of CHC, we have also opened two other Bible schools in Surabaya and Malang. These Bible schools are now serving the pastors and workers in hundreds of cities and villages in East Java. Last month in April, we conducted a four-day seminar on the Cultural Mandate. At first, we were unsure if the pastors in Surabaya would be open to this teaching. But to our surprise, 360 senior pastors and church leaders from various denominations attended the sessions. We really believe that Surabaya is ready for a revival and through Elohim Church, renewal and revival are now spreading throughout the GPdI denomination in Indonesia.
>God is indeed a faithful God and nothing is impossible with Him. What the devil meant for evil, God can turn it around for our good.