In 2008, Indonesia reached a peak of 21,699 publishers. The branch facilities were stretched to the limit. Also, because the facilities were built during the ban, they were in an out-of-the-way location. Clearly, a larger branch nearer to Jakarta was needed.
About two years later, the brothers purchased a property that was very different from the previous branch
A team of construction servants from different countries worked along with local contractors to remodel the offices and the apartments. “Jehovah repeatedly helped us through seemingly intractable problems,” says construction overseer Darren Berg. “For example, we wanted to install a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, but the authorities were unfamiliar with the technology and refused to approve it. Then a local Witness who is an engineer took our case to a senior official. The official promptly approved our request, stating that he completely trusted our brother’s recommendation.”
“We are not hiding anymore. People now notice Jehovah’s Witnesses. They can see that we are here to stay”
The new branch facilities were dedicated on February 14, 2015. Governing Body member Anthony Morris III gave the dedication talk. “We are now located in a prestigious district among some of the leading corporations in Indonesia,” says Vincent Witanto Ipikkusuma, a member of the Branch Committee. “We are not hiding anymore. People now notice Jehovah’s Witnesses. They can see that we are here to stay.”
“Preaching Here Is a Feast!”
In recent years, growing numbers of Witnesses from around the globe have moved to Indonesia. “Need-greaters play an important role in countries like ours,” explains Lothar Mihank. “They bring experience, maturity, and enthusiasm to their congregations, and they help to build greater appreciation for the worldwide brotherhood.” What motivated them to move? And how have things worked out for them? Consider some of their comments.
Jason and Casey Gibbs from the United States relate: “We studied the population-to-publisher ratios in the Yearbook and discovered that Indonesia has one of the highest ratios in the world. Then some friends who were need-greaters told us that there was great potential in Indonesia. So we phoned the Indonesia branch, and they directed us to Bali. The English field in Indonesia was just starting to open up, so we would be able to make an impact right away. We planned to go for one year, but we’ve stayed three. Most people we preach to have never heard of Jehovah’s Witnesses. How rewarding the ministry is!”
Stuart and Mandy Williams, a middle-aged couple from Australia, state: “We wanted to meet people thirsting for the truth, so we decided to move to Indonesia. In Malang, East Java, we have met hundreds of English-speaking university students who eagerly listen to the good news. And they love the jw.org website! The preaching work here is awesome.”
Takahiro and Mari Akiyama, who pioneer in Yogyakarta, on the island of Java, relate: “Here we feel safer than we did at home in Japan. People are kind and polite. Many of them, especially the young people, are curious about other religions. One day while manning our public witnessing table, we placed about 2,600 magazines in only five hours.”
Dan and Janine Moore, a couple in their late 50’s, explain: “When we go preaching, people gather around us. We smile at them; they smile back. They are curious, then interested, then excited. When we show them something in the Bible, some say, ‘Can I write that down?’ They marvel at the Bible’s spiritual wisdom. We’ve been here for a year, and we’re sorry we didn’t come earlier. We were looking for the next preaching frontier
Misja and Kristina Beerens came as missionaries in 2009 and now serve in the traveling work. They report: “Even on Madura Island in East Java, one of the most conservative Muslim areas in Indonesia, the response to our preaching work is fantastic. People stop their cars and ask for magazines. They say: ‘I’m Muslim, but I enjoy reading these magazines. Can I have extra for my friends?’ Preaching here is a feast!”
Fields White for Harvesting
In 1931, when Frank Rice arrived in Jakarta, some 60,000,000 people lived in Indonesia. The population today is approaching 260,000,000, making Indonesia the fourth most populous nation on earth.
Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Indonesia have also experienced remarkable growth. In 1946, ten faithful publishers emerged from the wreckage of World War II. Today, the country has over 26,000 publishers
Jesus declared: “Yes, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37, 38) Jehovah’s servants in Indonesia echo those words. They are determined to keep working hard to help sanctify Jehovah’s great name in this island nation.