Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Asiu on the left
We first met Asiu in 1980 after we arrived in Batu Ampar, a somewhat remote unreached area accessible only by boat surrounded by ten big sawmills. She was 19 years old, and was deeply touched after hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. She began to share her faith actively. Sensing God’s call on her life, we invited her to come stay with us to help us out around the house and to be discipled. Akong and Kit Chiang were also with us as well.
Each evening after their day’s work in Kemuning, Akong and Asiu came home tired in body but content in heart, bringing back with them the firstfruits of their ministry—perhaps a very large cluster of bananas suspended from a pole over on their shoulders (like the huge grapes brought back from the promised land by the twelve spies sent by Moses), some football-sized papayas, a basket of tree-ripened rambutan (menacing-looking fruit with short spiked hair) or a bag of some exotic fruit. Grateful families had blessed them in return for bringing the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Eventually, as the word of the Lord spread out through them, many families received Christ. And others became enemies of the cross of Christ.
One day a young boy showed up at our home. It was the son of one of the believers in Kemuning, an elderly man named Tua-Lau-Bak, which means “Dad’s oldest brother.” A helper met him at the door.
“Is Teacher here?” He was using a traditional Chinese term to ask for Lucille or me. “We need help. My father’s having a seizure.”
“Teacher’s not here now,” answered the helper. “But Asiu is. I’ll go get her.” A few moments later, Asiu came down and spoke with Tua-Lau-Bak’s son.
“Your father’s having a seizure?” asked Asiu with apprehension. Tua-Lau-Bak had once suffered from grand mal epilepsy. But after becoming a Christian, the seizures had practically ceased. Asiu had not had much experience in dealing with such violent manifestations.
“They started this morning. He’s been on the ground shaking and curled up like a shrimp. All the neighbors came and tried to help out. They tried everything. They rubbed his neck and shoulders with raw garlic. They tried to invoke their spirits to help him. They tried to pull him out straight. But nothing worked. Now there’s a whole crowd of people milling around just waiting for what’s going to happen next.” Asiu listened, her thoughts all the while racing nervously at the prospect of her going in to Kemuning to minister to Tua-Lau-Bak. But she had to go; she was the only one at home at that time.
Asiu went back upstairs to her room to change. She came down, slipped on her shoes, and with the boy set out for Kemuning at a brisk pace. From a distance, Asiu could see a small crowd of people gathered in front of Tua-Lau-Bak’s house. As they arrived, the boy led her through the people to his father. Asiu could hear some of the men snicker as she made her way through.
“Hey, look! There’s that Jesus Christ girl coming here. But what good can her prayer do for Tua-Lau-Bak? Even the witch doctor couldn’t help him. Besides, she’s just a girl!” Asiu pretended she didn’t hear as she came up to Tua-Lau-Bak who was still locked in the powerful grip of the convulsion. She looked down at him. He was not conscious, but his contorted body was flopping spasmodically like a freshly-caught fish on a pier. Asiu bowed her head and began to speak.
“Oh Father,” she prayed, “I asked you to deliver Tua-Lau-Bak from these seizures. He’s your son, and you are the Almighty God who made heaven and earth. I ask, Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” She opened her eyes. Everyone was looking at her. “In the name of Jesus Christ,” she continued, ” I bind this unclean spirit, and I command you to come out of him!”
Almost as if a switch had been turned off, Tua-Lau-Bak stopping convulsing and his body straightened out by itself. The onlookers just stared wordlessly.
Asiu eventually went to Bible School and married Afung, another believer in the Batu Ampar congregation. For several years they served as staff pastors in a larger church in Pontianak, the “big” city in West Kalimantan state. During that time the Lord gave them a daughter, Lois now seventeen years old and her younger brother Loren.
Last year the Lord released them from that church and opened the door for them to plant a new church in a different area of Pontianak. Last Sunday morning they celebrated the first anniversary of Mt. Sinai Bethel Church, and we were privileged to be the guest speakers, with Brother Bill teaching in Indonesian and Lucille translating into Hakka, a local Chinese dialect. We saw that within a year of being planted, the congregation had already filled the rented facility.
According to Afung, 90 families now form their congregation
The service was fruitful. We introduced The Elijah Challenge to the believers, and the Lord confirmed His word by healing various people with infirmities as the believers laid hands on them. We challenged the people to use what they had learned to proclaim the kingdom of God and to reap a harvest of souls in Pontianak—to the extent of a three-fold increase in the size of the congregation by their second anniversary next year.
At the end of the service the church held a one-year anniversary celebration with everyone singing “Happy Birthday” followed by the cutting of a birthday cake. Then before the people Afung and Asiu affectionately fed the first slices of the cake to us, their spiritual parents. (This was a complete surprise to us!)
Afung & Asiu (center) about to blow out the candle and cut the birthday cake to celebrate the first anniversary of their church
The temperature in the service was unbearably hot. By the end, both of us were soaked in sweat as never before—never even during our early nine years in West Kalimantan some thirty years ago. Even Brother Bill’s necktie was completely drenched—as if it had just come out of a washing machine.
With the rapid growth of their congregation, their immediate neighbors living in the attached residences on both sides of their facility have begun to complain to the local authorities. The loud sound of their worship and the congestion caused by traffic and parking on Sundays have understandably upset them. Now Asiu and Afung and the congregation are looking for a more suitable location for their services.
A Fung & A Siu in 2016