Indonesian Reunion

Posted on June 24, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

We were appointed as missionaries to Indonesia in June 1970 and, following an extended time of orientation and visa delay, arrived in March 1971. After a year of language study we moved to our isolated outpost in East Java where for 14 years we raised our children and sought to share the gospel and plant churches among previously unreached people groups.

IndonesianReunion-GroupA large part of our success was due to being a part of a large, supportive mission family. Veteran missionaries mentored us and were always available to advise and encourage us. With numbers in those days between 120 and 160 personnel there was a lot of diversity and no lack of disagreement in group decisions relative to strategy, institutions and cooperating with national churches. Yet there was a body-life and spiritual authenticity unlike anything we have experienced elsewhere. Annual meetings and regional prayer retreats were characterized by transparency, reconciliation, heart-felt worship and passionate intercession.

In addition to my own subsequent leadership, the Indonesian mission produced other leaders of the International Mission Board such as Keith Parks, my predecessor as president, Avery Willis, overseas vice-president, Clyde Meader, currently executive vice-president, Dellanna O’Brien, national WMU president, and others. The relationships formed have continued in a periodic reunion every two or three years. Among many nostalgic elements in the program was the “Bandung Trio” of Glenn Ingouf, Carol Jacks and Florence Pinkston to presenting special music.

IndonesianReunion-trioLast week 180 gathered at Shocco Springs in Alabama for reminiscing, fellowship and worship in a spirit that has not diminished from days on the field. The older generation of attendees had retired years ago, and though bodies were frail the memories and stories of God’s work were as fresh as ever. Most meaningful was the large number of MKs (missionary kids born and raised in Indonesia) who were there with their children, inculcating into them the ethos of their mission legacy. Bobbye is pictured making a presentation on memories to be preserved by the children.

IndonesianReunion-BobbyeSpeakingThere were three present who arrived on the field in the 1950s–Mariam Misner, Gerald and Florence Pinkston. Then came the influx of growth with those who arrived in the 1960s who mentored and encouraged us (pictured in the top photo) and ushered in one of the most remarkable eras of harvest ever to occur in the Muslim world following an aborted communist coup in 1965. There was a lot of worship, sharing family updates and intercession, but the most emotional time was a memorial service led by Von and Marge Worten remembering 16 of our mission family who have died since our last gathering. These include missionaries Win and Lavern Applewhite, Barbara Beevers, Ross Fryer, Jim Gayle, Judy Nelson Johnson, Anne Mitchell, Bob Morgan, Avery Willis, Barbara Wigger and Wilma Weeks. Adult MKs who have died were Andy Jimmerson, Leigh Anna Jimmerson, Marilee Schweer, Richard Sears and Randy Smith.

IndonesianReunion-GirlsIndiansIt was amazing to note that more than 30 missionary kids who grew up in Indonesia are now themselves serving as missionaries around the world. This, and many others faithfully serving the Lord is attributed to the annual Camp Miki began 50 years ago by Dr. Catherine Walker to nurture the children of missionaries in spiritual and personal growth. To celebrate this anniversary our reunion family donned Indian costumes and re-enacted the Camp Miki council ring so prominent in the memories of many.

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