Monday, November 07, 2011

Welcome to JEC. Jakarta English Congregation

Nearly 5 years to the week in Batam, the journey of life has taken us to a new assignment in Jakarta, Indonesia.

April 2004 is where we started the first Sign Language Group in Jakarta. Some 7 years later and I thought that would be the last ever time i would live in this megapolis. The traffic, pollution, overcrowdness', floods, riots, protests, terrorist bombings, earthquakes, and largest % of brothers in the country; I thought would be good enough reasons to never live here again.

I opened my mouth too soon...

I now dedicate a minimum of 130 hours a month searching, preaching, and teaching in the English speaking field. There are 28,019,545 million people in our territory. Statistics show that our territory {population wise} is larger then Australia, Malaysia, Greece, Holland, Chilie, or -Dominican Republic, Belize and Ecuador combined! it is larger then in fact around 181 countries! It is the second largest urban area in the world.

We established the first Sign Language Group in Indonesia in 2004. Ironically we used the English Congregation as an example to the branch back to prove that a foreign language congregation was feasible to have and operate in Indonesia. In a sense; the English congregation helped us to break down a wall.

The Congregation was formed around 1995 during the construction of Bethel. There were so many foreign brothers here helping the project they needed to provide English meetings. Like a busy door between the kitchen and a restaurant is the way publishers have come and gone through the years. There have been foreign workers and many local brothers who have come to 'learn english.'

At one time there was a application to join. Another time there was a reshuffle sending most of the local friends back to the Indonesian congregation except a small few. For the last 6 years they met in a home where a sister's husband built a KH in their home.

And then...?

In May 2011 a letter is sent out by the Branch explaining the huge need in the English and Chinese fields. The 2-page letter explains the do's, don'ts and what they want to happen in Jakarta. WE NEED YOU (Indonesian Brothers willing to step out into Macedonia.) The letter explains how preaching via the English Language may open the door to many non-chrisitians to be sparked into the truth via the English language.
The letter also explained a native-speaker would be assigned as a special pioneer to help develop this territory.

Uh-oh... This native speaker is in Sign Language... For nearly 10 years!?!... Isaiah 6:8 "Here I am send...'the guy who doesn't sign.'...Oh boy... It's me... Deep Breath...Yes Sir...

We have gone from 25 at the meetings to 75. We have gone to meeting in a home, to a KH. We have gone from 1 service group to 5. We have gone from a family of 3 out in service to 15 or more. We have gone from 2 pioneers to around 12 including myself, another special pioneer from BSSB, and a husband and wife from Gilead.

The changes above... in 2 months... Ya... That fast...

You want to help? The branch want's 5 congregations in Jakarta. Were only 1 right now. WE NEED YOU... Would you like an overview? Can you send this information to a friend praying for direction on where to serve?

Here are some stats for you for our territory:

Jakarta (negatives)
1. Largest City in The World without a Public Beach
2. Only 4% of Jakarta has sewage.
3. Largest City in The World without a mass-transist system. (Subway)
4. Called the "Big Durien." -It's a smelly fruit with sharp thorns that has natrual fermentation inside.
5. So many shopping malls there is no more allowed to built for the present time.
6. By 2014 or 2020 will be complete traffic gridlock.
7.One of the most corrupt cities in the world. Trillions of $$ flow through Jakarta

Do these stat's scare you? It's a reality, good for you to know.

Jakarta (positives)

1. Can get food from all over the world.
2. The new Bethel will be here shortly, as well as the SAD.CA.DC are here.
3. Living is above western standards in some places.
4. People are friendly and love practicing English with foreigners.
5. Transportation via motorbike and public transportation is CHEAP.
6. We have Mountains, Waterfalls, Beaches, Villages, Hot Springs, Sky-Scrapers, Museums, Parks in our territory.
7. It's the hub for Indonesia. Can get anywhere in SE Asia from here easy and fair priced.

Let's now give an overview in 3 categories.
1. Where do we find English Speaking People?
2. Who are supporting the English Preaching?
3. What are some of the things you see in the territory?

1. Where do we find people?

JABODETABEK is vast. People are everywhere. We have service groups in strategic places around the city, that in time will grow to even more places, and a wider area.

Do we skip the areas that are dirt poor? Well, our preaching work is not as thorough in these areas, but you still get people.

(Some worked in large ships, or down on their luck, or it's their families land)

Like most places in the world, Jakarta has a huge mall population. I counted 75. This is due to, well,,, -materialism. Everyone wants the latest and greatest, newest and truest of products. We have started many conversations, and r.v.'s in malls.

Clearly someone who is not Indonesian is a dead giveaway, but most of the success is coming with the Indonesian population.

(Malls, Malls, Malls, take advantage of um)

(If there african they most likely speak english or french)

In this video, it shows people hanging out at a starbucks. The two people sitting down on my right are locals who speak English quite well. We are discussing Bible Teach book while listening to some Goo Goo Dolls.

In other areas it is clear where you will find a English speaker. RICH areas. Why? While a large percent are owned by foreigners, the greater amount are owned by Indonesians. Many Indonesians have made millions due to Indonesian's rich natural resources, cheap labor force, large export and trade with the West and China, and it's 240 million persons domestic market.

The hard thing is talking to the homeowner. A security guard or a maid normally answers the door. It takes some skill, persistence, and good discernment to be able to get the home owner.

(It's like it's own castle)

There are a MINIMUM OF 321 Universities and higher education schools in the Greater Jakarta area. Many of these youths seem to have a basic knowledge of English. The more expensive the school, the more they seem to know English. The city of Karawachi was solely developed on the concept like a college town in USA.

We have not had time yet to develop strategy's, booths, or exhibits, to deal with all these universities.

(California Dreaming)

(You may get a show while walking through a University)

Jakarta is also to home to embassy's from all over the world. You name the country, most likely there is a embassy. Since English is the Global Business Language these building's are also fine places to witness.

We have not even had time yet to develop strategy's, booths, or exhibits, to deal with all these Embassy's.

(Visiting the Dutch Embassy opens up an opportunity to preach and listen to a world class pianist for free!)

Jakarta always has some type of festival, special event, or other annual meeting. The ASEAN SEA Games start in just a few days. The Monas monument is one of Jakarta's most famous landmarks. The top of the building is coated in pure gold.

We have not had time yet to develop strategy's, booths, or exhibits, to deal with all these festivals.

(Monas Festival opens a way to preach to people)

Jakarta is trying to establish itself as one of Asia's top fashion spots. There are numerous local designers who are hitting mainstream Asian markets. Most of these people can speak English, as it is fashionable to speak English with marketers, agents, actors and actress'.

We have not even had time yet to develop strategy's, booths, or exhibits, to deal with all these industry people.

(Gave some magazines at some of these places but also enjoyed the nice finger foods)

No matter what though, our main method is good ol' fashion door to door. The time trusted method has worked wonders.

We have a 5 different areas where we go to for now. We knock seeing if anyone speaks English. Many times there is, but they are working. We find out by just asking.

(Excuse me Mr. Grasshopper, does anyone speak English here?)

Whether formal or informal, night or day, high class or no class, rich or poor, we have thousands X thousands who speak English. We just don't have enough people to get it done.

2. Who are the people supporting the English preaching?

Part of the letter back in May 2011 was sending out an invitation for all who would like to attend the district convention in English. What would the results be? The branch didn't know... There wasn't an English full 3-day district in... ever? I don't know. Some said ever. I think they did some interpreting. It was small whatever they did. They had sessions. Anyways, we had around 650 on Sunday. That is for one congregation of 25 publishers... Potential for growth?

(The Drama Team tireless learned the lines in English as they were Indonesians not fluent in English and asked to do it twice)

We have had brothers in sisters from all over the world in this congregation. At present we have publishers from America, Australia, Britain, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Mexico, and Indonesia. We had a going away party for a Korean couple who was only here a short time but left a deep foot-print. They have served in China, Philippines, Egypt, and a whole lot of other places.

(Goodbye for 2, hello for many)

As mentioned we had the meetings in a home for years. We have a congregation located in Gunung Sahari Jakarta. As of right now Sunday is the full meeting with all the program in one shot. Why? Traffic during the week is horrendous.

(After 6 Years the English Congregation has it's own hall!)

We have had service groups in brothers homes, and many have shown hospitality with meals. In this particular case; our sister is married to someone not yet a brother. He works as a fisherman and served up some FRESH fish for us. The fish-head curry stew was warm and yummy.

I think our dear friend has the wrong idea of the application of Isaiah 11:6!

(I don't think were going to go deer hunting in paradise. Look above the picture)

It seems Reiner came to Indonesia when it was still under the Dutch! A long time. I believe he went to Gilead from Germany in the early 60's as a single brother. He left Indonesia during the ban to serve in Taiwan and has since come back.

He's served as D.O., in various missionary assignments, branch work, and now taking the lead in the Chinese as well as our C.O.

(LONG TIME serving Jehovah)

One of the unexpected blessings was to have a couple from Gilead assigned to the congregation. Cris and Andrea are like me.. Overwhelmed yet Ecstatic. Were getting so much interest. They served in the circuit work in English in Mexico so they are aware of how this works and they're experience will undoubtably pay off.

It's also been nice to have visitors. These visitors are almost like a big brother and sister. James, Monique, and Edward. They had the privilege of doing some door to door in Jakarta. Something they are not to accustomed to in Singapore.

(Old Friends/New Amigos)

3. What do you see in the territory?

If your a foreigner, you do stick out. You may get some winks from some ladies, or some beggars asking for money, or some guys trying to get a job, or some kids, well being giggly kids.

(No matter where you go, kids like the white buffalo)

It's nice to still become the 'white buffalo' admist all the people here. While talking to a retired Gov't worker who was standing on reflexology rocks, the little kids came out smiling.

(Mr. Bule 'what is your name?')

We have enjoyed a large variety of food so far. One sister in her hall seems to be challenging her creative juices cooking every tuesday. One meal took us to the famous shangri-lah buffet. Unbelievable. You name it, they had it. Others have shared kim-chi, satay, fermented mushroom drinks, and everything in between.

(The makan has been amazingly varied and oh so good)

There is one thing you will see if you come to Jakarta. A traffic jam. It's bad. You gotta plan your life around traffic times. A 8 minute ride in one direction may take 1 hour on the way back. One service group is 9 miles away. It takes over an hour in a car. The rainy season won't make it any better. Knowing this I went exactly opposite by purchasing a 100cc automatic scooter. It's the only way to keep moving when it's traffic all around you. You squeak through cars like a mouse running from a hungry cat.

(The traffic james are just that... JAMMED UP)

One pleasant surprise you may be able to find a kampung. Being outside the hustle and bustle is a relief. It allows an opportunity to see some green and more traditional life.

(Paddling his way to prayer)

As mentioned our territory does have some mountains in it. Just a hour or two outside downtown are cool green tea fields as far as they eye can see. Many Jakartans head there for their villas and places to relax. It provides a more relaxing way to preach on the side of a hill

(That is some fresh Tea)

The other extreme is of course what happens in the city. These guys are preparing for the oncoming rainy season by cleaning out the junk in the canals. This is insane.

(Whatever they are getting paid; it's not enough)

In our door to door work you come across some unbelievable homes. Not to be overlooked is the traditional Indonesian design work.

(Someone's outside Patio at there home)

While driving the road in Bogor it looks as if there is a trash all along the university grounds. It seems the kids just throw there trash wherever they want too. Although this is common in Indonesia it's best not to judge before you see closer.

(The cotton and snow tree)

(Manna? What is it?)

In our territory is also a famous Botanical Garden. It's nice when you can preach, teach, eat, and enjoy association with friends.

(Yes, I did go in the Labyrinth and get lost)

Where will you live if you come to Jakarta? That's a big question. There are so many places to chose from. I was blessed with a place that a brother owns in the heart of Jakarta. Out our kitchen window will be the new home for the branch. Until that point they are in 3 places. If you do want to come and write a letter to the branch, please be patient with correspondence.

Wherever you go there will be some positives and some negatives.
Whatever choice you make there will be something to sacrifice.
Whatever choice you make there will be something to gain.

The pollution in Jakarta only allows sunsets to happen once in awhile. When it does happen, one must take advantage of it. Here is that once in a big while opportunity that makes you smile...

(Sunset towards new Bethel)

I hope you have enjoyed the overview of this extensive assignment. I also hope you enjoy the new format of this blog. If you have further questions, comments, etc. please feel free to email me at

It would be great to have you!