Image: Pastor Sukiran baptising a young person in the new Christian Church Theological School of Indonesia pool.

During the global pandemic, baptism and evangelism has taken on a ‘new look’  in Indonesia, South Sudan and Bangladesh. Local leaders share how face masks and social distancing are no barrier to the ongoing power of the gospel.

Christian Church Theological School of Indonesia have installed a new baptismal poolon their property, using a fresh water supply sourced 100 meters underground. Academic Dean, Hery Susanto says, “It is much safer and secure than baptising people in public places.” Before the pandemic, baptising people in a public swimming pool or rivers attracted unwanted attention from the community. “Since the installation, almost every week a local church will do a baptism here.” Soon after installation, one church from Mujo village came to use the pool to baptise several young people. When asked what it was like to baptise people wearing a face mask, Pastor Sukiran (CCTSI alumni) said he “felt weird” but that he must follow protocols, so he didn’t mind doing that. Pastor Sukiran says of the pandemic,“Positively, members have become more active and turning up on time to the service.” Due to restrictions on numbers when gathering, members realise they might miss out on a spot in the service. During the week, the pastors and elders will visit houses and discuss the sermon,“We should be ready in good or bad times.” Hery says of the new baptismal pool, “We now feel safe, and making sure we are acting within the government regulations. We are so excited that our new water and new baptistry can be used to bring refreshment to new souls!”

South Sudan Indonesia Christian Mercy International Director, Paulino Malou Bol, reports that 11 people were baptised on a recent visit to southern Aweil. Also, during this visit, while preaching at a funeral, a young ‘street man’ approached Paulino and asked,‘how to receive life after death.’ Paulino was prepared to share from Romans 3:23, and further explained to all at the funeral about eternity and the many rooms in God’s heavenly kingdom for those who accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Paulino reports, “This young man made a commitment and confessed by his tongue to be born again.” 

Bandarban Hills Church of Christ Bangladesh General Secretary, Vana Bawm, shared how the church has fasted and prayed for Australian partners during the pandemic. Vana says, “Being Christians, we are called to stand strong in times of crisis. Our God is strong and faithful in His promises to us. We believe our prayer support will be a great (spiritual) weapon in this time of crisis.” There have also been open doors to share the good news during the COVID pandemic and baptise new believers. Pastor Lalzarlian, involved with the youth ministry and literature ministry, shared that, “Two boys and girls recently have obeyed the gospel and been baptised into Christ.” It is the Lord who has opened this door following the lock down in Bangladesh.

This article first appeared in Global Mission Partner’s In Partnership newsletter.

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