Archive for February, 2013

An Accessible God

Posted on February 28, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 29:14

While traveling back to our missionary roots in Indonesia earlier this month, I used stories of our field experiences in sharing a devotional time each night with my grandchildren. Being immersed in Muslim culture and awakened by the call to prayer from the mosque at 4:00 am each morning, we were reminded us of the blatant contrast between Islam and Christianity.

After an aborted communist coup in 1965 the Indonesian government required all its citizens to practice a religion that believed in God as a deterrent to this potential threat that …

Read the rest of this entry »

Back Home in Jember

Posted on February 25, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

(Although we are back home in Mississippi, reports and photos from our family trip to Indonesia will continue for a few more posts.)

Lori could not wait to hit the streets once we arrived in Jember, East Java. Although modern shopping malls now dot the town, our hotel was just a block from the unchanged massive “pasar” where we went to the market. The dingy, smelly cavernous building selling everything imaginable was the same as always. Most of the meat, fish, fruit and vegetable stalls had overflowed to the surrounding streets. We were quite an entourage making our way through the curious crowds while ignoring the familiar derogatory taunts still being directed toward foreigners.

Tears were shed when Berli, Lori’s …

Read the rest of this entry »

Changes in Missions – Part 5

Posted on February 20, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the most encouraging changes in missions in recent years is the increased partnership and cooperation among various organizations and Christians devoted to fulfilling the Great Commission. In fact, in the context of current developments it is amazing to reflect on the isolation, independency and even competitiveness among those doing missions in previous years.

As missionaries followed on the heels of western colonialism in the 19th century comity agreements were enacted that defined where different denominations would work. This trend continued in the post-World War II growth of missionary efforts. There was some wisdom in avoiding over-lapping areas of work while some regions were being ignored. It was a practice that was also designed to avoid creating confusion among …

Read the rest of this entry »

God’s Purpose in Adversity

Posted on February 19, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

We recently traveled back to Indonesia with our daughter’s family to introduce her husband and children to her roots there. Along the way we recalled stories and experiences during our nightly devotionals about the years of missionary service in the 1970s. One subject of this sharing time focused on the adversity of our first term.

We had just arrived at our isolated assignment in East Java, more than four hours from any other western family. We began to be afflicted with staph infections with boils breaking out all over our bodies. Our 2-year-old son almost died when one of these infections on his forehead drained …

Read the rest of this entry »

The Journey Begins in Surabaya

Posted on February 18, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Our service in Indonesia years ago ended with a two-year assignment in Surabaya before we left for a regional leadership role and served out our overseas tenure in Bangkok and Singapore. But our reminiscing with Lori and her family began as they arrived here from Central Asia. After negotiating a perplexing array of new thoroughfares and unbelievably congested traffic, we located our former house. Thirty years ago in was the Darmo Permai housing development, well outside the city, but it has now been swallowed by urban growth. The small international school she attended in the 7th and 8th grades is still just around the corner.

One of our delightful experiences was a visit from Jenny (pictured with Bobbye). She was …

Read the rest of this entry »

Changes in Missions – Part 4

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

When we came to Indonesia in 1970 our visa was granted by the Department of Religion, giving official status to our role as missionaries. Although our work permit designated that we were in the country to work with Christians, specifically the Baptist churches, we had relative freedom to witness openly. Being the only foreigners in an area of 5 1/2 million people, everyone was curious as to who we were and why we were there–questions that readily gave us an opportunity for witness.

Most were indifferent to our witness and many antagonistic, but we invariably found pockets of response, followed-up that interest and saw several village house churches planted. The situation has radically changed over the last forty years, as …

Read the rest of this entry »

Language Immersion

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Knowing we were returning for a visit to Indonesia, friends still serving here persuaded me to agree to leading a 4-day seminar for students at the Baptist seminary in Semarang on spiritual warfare. After having study guides and a power point presentation translated into Indonesian, I was able to study and review the presentation but approached this opportunity with a great deal of anxiety since it had been 30 years since using the language.

After a couple of days with personnel serving with Antioch Ministries International in Malang we flew to Central Java and, unexpectedly, was asked to preach in a village church on Sunday morning then in a rally of several house church congregations gathered in the evening. It …

Read the rest of this entry »

When God is Our Refuge

Posted on February 8, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You….I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:1, 8

A refuge is a place of safety, somewhere we can feel secure. Birds seek refuge in their nests, something often used as an analogy of a place of rest. We read about refugees in war-torn countries of the world seeking to cross the border and find a place of safety from threats and dangers. Christians often feel that they are in a battle, wearied by stress and pressures to meet expectations or trying to live in conflict with the contrary values of a secular society.

We know in theory that …

Read the rest of this entry »

Changes in Missions – Part 3

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I can recall world maps distributed by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention posted on bulletin boards in churches. Countries were colored red where missionaries were serving, leaving the impression that that country was now being evangelized because there was a missionary presence. There was a display at mission headquarters that highlighted new fields entered each year.

Following World War II there was a vast expansion of new countries and nations colored on the map, but vast areas of the world were still white. Missionaries were restricted to countries that were open to a Christian witness, so that left many others untouched in the communist block of Eastern Europe and those predominantly Muslim. In order to reach …

Read the rest of this entry »

Returning to our Roots

Posted on February 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Okay, so our roots are firmly embedded back home in Mississippi, but the roots of our missionary life will always be in Indonesia where we spent the first 14 years of fulfilling a calling that continues after more than 40 years. Flying in for a three-week visit back to places of ministry and connecting with a new generation of workers reminded us of our arrival in 1970 when we flew in over a massive sea of red-tile roof houses in Jakarta.

Our first impression was the darkness as we wound through dimly-lit, pot-holed streets to our guest house. It was a sleepless night due to the jet lag of a 12-hour time change from the U.S., excitement in anticipation of …

Read the rest of this entry »

More News