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To the Regions Beyond - How Beautiful the Feet




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This is the article that that the Lord used to challenge John to go to Indonesia, back in 1975 as a student at the NTM Language School.



by Len Rittersbach

Semandang Tribe, Indonesia

(Brown Gold magazine, September 1975)


“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation;...”

Isaiah 52:7


It all started in the small village of Tanjung Maju in West Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia.  The name of Jesus Christ the Son of God fell on the ears of those who had never heard of Him, and for the first time light entered this darkened place.  Men eagerly listened, straining their minds to understand, as we struggled to make the message clear.  God in His mercy gave that understanding to those who were searching for truth, and that night many entered the family of God.


Here we were, a new work of 3 months, with a group of new believers who desperately wanted and needed to be taught God’s Word.  So, we were forced to begin teaching in the national language.  We tried to teach as simply as possible and encouraged the few who knew the national language (about three fellows, themselves very limited) to explain to the rest in their own language.


The response has been unbelievable.  It could not have happened without the Spirit of God working in these hearts.  People kept getting saved and people keep wanting us to come to their villages and tell them about the Lord and the way.  Nanga Baram, Sungai Tontang, Selankut, Kuala Randau, Kananga and others 2 to 6 hours and more away on very rough trails, all wanted to hear of Christ.


Nanga Baram, 3 hours from Tanjung Maju, begged us to come with the Gospel.  Their urgent plea was “teach us.”  We went, and 16 of our believers went along with us.  We had been encouraging them to lead the meeting in their own language, and what a job they did!  Edun, Sonong, Lampah, Dewan and Gungang, who are all potential church leaders, explained the way of salvation, sang, gave testimony, and opened and closed in prayer.  Tom Embaugh and I just sat there and watched God at work in these young men who were themselves such a short time ago in heathen darkness.  That meeting lasted 3-1/2 hours.


We now have a large group of believers meeting there at Nanga Baram.  Two Sundays a month they come to Tanjung Maju and two Sundays a month someone from here goes there to meet with and teach them.  Exciting things are happening in Nanga Baram.  It seems as if everyone is turning to the Lord.  Many are openly opposing the devil and giving up all their taman (fetishes).  Even the dukuns (witch doctors) haven’t any hold on them any longer.


Sung Tontang is a 6 hours’ walk from Tanjung Maju.  The village leaders come from this village and ask Tom and me to come and tell them about the new agama (religion).  We explained to them that this was not just a new religion but a personal belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God and, if they truly believed, all their old ways would have to go.  They could not mix God’s way with Iblis (Satan).


One month later Tom, I, Tommy (Tom’s son), and Ken Plett, with five of our believers, Dewan, Lampah, Gunyang, Kiun, and Diyo, went to Sugal Tontang with the Gospel of Christ.  Again, God had prepared hearts for the truth of the Gospel, and many more came to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  We’ve heard that the Christians there are meeting on their own.  As far as we know, all they have is a couple of Indonesian Bibles and choruses that we air-dropped to them.  They are clearing an airstrip so that the Gospel can have easier access in that area.  So God is calling out a people for His name in Sungal Tontang.


Selankut—A couple of families have come from this village and asked if they could follow our agama.  We explained that the only way to God is through Christ, and we invited them to come and meet with us.  A few weeks later the members of one of these families was born again into the family of God.  Now there are many others from there who want to hear the Gospel.  Praise God for the testimony of His children in these dark places!


Quala Randau—This is actually three villages in one—about 100 houses.  They came and asked us to come to their village because they had people who wanted to believe.  Tom, Tommy, and five believers, Edun, Songong, Dewan, Ali, and Lawan, went to present the Gospel for the first time there.  They could sense the uneasiness of the people.  Many were opposed to their coming.  Even the believers who went along felt that they should wait before sharing the Gospel.  That night they went to sleep disappointed at the reception they had received, but praying that God would undertake.  God to His faithfulness answered those prayers and overnight changed the feeling of many of the people and they now wanted to hear what these men had come to share.  Some received it willingly while others bitterly opposed.  We are not just sure what will happen in Quala Randau, but we know that the Lord is working in hearts there.  Pray with us as the light of Christ exposes this darkness.


Salandat—Those who so bitterly opposed us and the Gospel of Christ have come to know the joy of salvation in Christ.  This past Sunday the kuta adapt (head of village customs), and two other families, one of these a witch doctor, received the Lord as their Savior.  These who were once enemies of God are now His children.  We had word from them that the whole village, except for four men, wants to believe.  The Gospel is truly the power of God unto Salvation.


Kananga—We received a letter from 112 people from this village saying that they wanted to believe and follow the agama of Tanjung Maju.  Please pray with us as this village already has a religion, and we, as foreigners with a different religion, cannot enter this village.  But, praise God, our native believers can and want to take the Gospel to Kananga.  The people of Kananga have written the government officials requesting that they be allowed to change religions and follow the one true God.


The testimony of Tanjung Maju rings through the Semandang language group in spite of the opposition of the enemy.  Malachi 1:11 says God’s name shall be great among the heathen.


This will give you some insight as to the working of the Holy Spirit in the Semandang tribe.  The things that are taking place here is not the work of men, but of God.  We praise the Lord for those who have come to know Christ.


But what of the many who have never heard Jesus’ precious name?  Who will go and tell them?  The need is great.  ARE YOUR FEET “BEAUTIFUL?”



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