Spotlight 07/2019: A life for Jesus Christ

Aligning one’s life with the example of Jesus, being there for one’s brothers and sisters in faith … Many commit themselves to the cause of the Lord and even put their own needs aside. District Apostle Edy Isnugroho from Indonesia tells us about Jonathan, a District Elder, who regards this as his personal wealth.

Jonathan was born on 25 September 1951 in Kebumen, Java (Indonesia). His parents raised him in the New Apostolic faith. He spent his childhood in the village of Kedungwinangun. As a teenager he moved to the city of Yogyakarta to continue his studies. After finishing his studies, he found a job in administration. He married a New Apostolic girl named Sinuk Warsinem. The marriage was blessed with three children. Jonathan earned enough to be able to support his family well. In the Church he received the ministries of Subdeacon, Deacon, and Priest for Gendeng Congregation. Later he became Evangelist and District Evangelist for Yogyakarta District.

A 3,000-kilometre move to Papua

In early February 2001 Apostle Yusak Saptohadiprayitno approached him on behalf of District Apostle Alfons Tansahtikno and asked whether he would be willing to move to Papua, the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea. The Apostle told him that the District Apostle needed Jonathan there to take over from the current District Elder, who was retiring.

Jonathan struggled with himself. But his trust in God and his joy in serving the Lord gained the upper hand, and he agreed and resigned from his job—albeit with a heavy heart. Then he and his wife moved to Sorong, Papua, while their children—who were nearly grown up—remained in Yogyakarta.

Official recognition of the Church in Papua

He was ordained a District Elder for the region and happily went about his work to serve the congregations from Sorong and Raja Ampat in the west, Manokwari, Nabire, and Timika in the middle, and to Biak and Jayapura in the east. He was always on the go either by motorbike, ship, or airplane. He served the ministers and members with genuine love and won their hearts. Together they built the work of God. Thanks to his professional skills and his previous work, he was able to optimise the Church administration.

Although most of the population in Papua is Christian, it was not easy to introduce the teaching of the Apostles there. Many people there considered the New Apostolic Church a sect. But District Elder Jonathan took heart and humbly approached the leaders of the local Christian church and local government officials. God blessed his struggle: the New Apostolic Church in Papua finally received official recognition from the local government.

Caring for the congregations

With enthusiasm he led the district and ensured that the congregations could be served by their own local ministers.

As time moved on, his health and strength began to deteriorate. However, he remained passionate about serving and working to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Aware of his health problems, District Apostle Urs Hebeisen asked him to find and prepare a successor from among the local ministers. After a successor was found and ready, the District Apostle came to Manokwari in October 2016 to retire District Elder Jonathan.

Support through prayer

After his retirement, he and his wife returned to Yogyakarta, Java, and moved into a house in the village of Krakitan, Bantul—close to our church—which their children had prepared for them. He so longed to visit the members in Papua, whom he had served for 16 years, once more, but his condition would not allow it. He supports his successor, a District Evangelist, where he can and prays for him and the ministers there.

Such is Jonathan who grew up in faith in Jesus Christ and served Him and His own out of love. He did not amass earthly riches. He leads a humble life, is weak, and bedridden now. Yet, he and his wife are very grateful because God has made them spiritually rich. And they have been able to share their richness in Christ with their brothers and sisters and their neigbour.

We pray that District Elder Jonathan may be relieved from his illness or receive the necessary strength from God to bear it.

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Edy Isnugroho