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
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 Gods 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
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
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) havent 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 Gods
way with Iblis (Satan).
One month later Tom, I,
Tommy (Toms 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. Weve 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.
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
is actually three villages in oneabout 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.
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.
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
The testimony of
Tanjung Maju rings through the Semandang language group in spite of the
opposition of the enemy. Malachi 1:11 says Gods 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?”