We in Indonesia - 2011

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Here you can find reports about our life and our work. 

Older entries can be found at the bottom of the page or in the archive:

Reports 2008

Reports 2009

Reports 2010

Map: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:LocationIndonesia.svg

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December 2011: Lake Toba

For the Christmas holidays, we went to Lake Toba. This was only our second Christmas here in Indonesia, but it was much more relaxed than the previous one in 2008. We even got a real (green, living) Christmas tree: a real pine-tree from the forests of Sumatra! Together with some German friends we read the Christmas gospel and sang German Christmas carols.

Photograph: 2011

December: Pematangsiantar

In December, Barbara Rudolph, member of the consistory of the Rhenish Church, visited Indonesia. She attended a forum held by students and teachers of the German language department of Nommensen University.

December: Jakarta

When we were in Jakarta in December, we could not miss the opportunity to attend the official national gathering for "150 Years of Batak Mission" which was held in the big stadium in Jakarta. Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and leading members of the government, the parliament, and other insitutions also attended the event.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
on the right: Barbara Rudolph with students of the German language program
on the left: Indonesian president S.B.Yudhoyono (wearing a red Batik shirt) and his wife, and bishop Dr. Napitupulu (dark blue suit on the left).

November 2011: Pematangsiantar

On the 17th of November, Dr. Darwin Lumbantobing, who had recently been re-elected by the senate of STT HKBP, was installed by ephorus (bishop) Dr. Bonar Napitupulu, as principal of STT HKBP for his second term. Rev. Rannieh Mercado, head of UEM regional bureau for Asia in Medan, brought congratulations of behalf of UEM.

Around the same time, Reginas was acting as a member of the jury for the German language competition of the Goethe Institute, which is held each year through all Indonesian High Schools (SMA). There are local, regional and national qualifications. The final winner can win a scholarship for going to Germany.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
left: Rev Rannieh Mercado of UEM Medan;
right: Christa Girsang and Regina with the participants of the German language competition in Siantar

October 7 2011: Pematangsiantar

150 years of Batak Mission (part 3)

Already early in the 19th century there were two attempts to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Batak people of Northern Sumatra. Both attempts utterly failed: In 1824, English Baptist preachers Nathanael Ward and Richard Burton had to leave without entering the Batak hinterland. In 1834 American Congregationalist ministers Henry Lyman and Samuel Munson did enter the Batak region, but they were murdered only a few weeks later - some say they even were eaten by cannibalistic Batak tribes.

So, at the 7th of October 1861 four missionaries met in Sipirok. These were Dutch Mennonite preachers Gerrit van Asselt and F.W. Betz of DZV and German missionaries J.C. Klammer and C.W. Heine of RMG. This meeting is reckoned the birth of the later successful Batak mission.

At STT there was a solemn service including the Lord's supper in remembrance of this event exactly 150 years ago.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
above: the memorial for Munson and Lyman near Balige
left: service at the Aula of STT-HKBP. from the left: Rev. V. Tinambunan, Rev. Benny Sinaga, Rev. B. Lumbantobing, Rev. Riris Siagian

October 2011: Sipoholon - 150 years of Batak Mission (part 2)

On the 2nd of Cotober 2011, another big event took place commemorating the birth of the Batak mission 150 years ago. In Sipoholon, in the Batak heartland near Tarutung and Sigumpar (where Nommensen is buried), many thousand people gathered for an open-air service, amidst them three delegations from Germany. UEM secretary general Dr. Fidon Mwombeki delivered greetings from UEM. He spoke about the history of UEM and HKBP and the role of HKBP today which is UEM's biggest member church today.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
above: visitors in Sipoholon
right: Dr. Fidon Mwombeki (and translator)

September 2011: Siantar

Beside the jubilee festivities, there were much more events in September.

On the 9th, we had the semester opening ceremony of the Faculty of Paedagogics (FKIP) of Nommensen University, where Regina will start teaching in the German department.

 On the 22nd, there was the graduation ceremony of STT. Some of the graduates were former participants of our tour to Germany in 2010.

And finally, on the 28th a delegation of African member churches of UEM visited STT HKBP. The group, consisting of 5 African bishops is currently visiting Indonesia to evaluate the possibilities of intensifying the cooperation of African and Asian churches in the future. Although UEM is no longer a classic "mission society", most of the transfer is still following the old habits: from the north to the south. This is due to change in the future, e.g. by increasing the exchange of co-workers.

Another problem we face every year: the visa extension process. For each new extension, Indonesian bureaucracy has found new and more obstacles. In 2010. we had to go in person to Medan to get an additional signature. Now, in 2011, we even need a signature from the central administration in Jakarta This takes many weeks - one reason can seen on the photograph.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
above: semester opening of FKIP
mid left: graduation ceremony of STT
mid right: Regina with Rev. Dr. Alex G. Malasusa,
Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania

last picture: Indonesian bureaucracy at work

2011: 150 years of Batak Mission (part 1)

In 2011, all Batak churches celebrate the 150th jubilee of the baptism of the first two Bataks in 1861 by German missionaries of the Rhenish Mission Society (RMG). In the same year 1861, the "apostle of the Batak", Dr. I.L. Nommensen, was sent out by RMG to North Sumatra, although the Batak region was not yet under Dutch colonial administration. He started his work here in 1864. HKBP, the first Batak church (founded officially in 1922) invites to many events all over Indonesia.

In Siantar, there was a big open-air service in the city center. It started with a defilee of representants of the church leaders and all local ongregations, most of them wearing their official attire, even the deaconesses and the members of the parish councils their white gowns.

August 2011: Siantar

As every year, on the 17th of August, the anniversary of the Indonesian declaration of independence in 1945, there was an official ceremony at STT HKBP. Important parts of this ceremony were the flag-ceremony, and the reading of the declaration of independence as well as the "pancasila".

Even after having seen it quite a few times, it is still a strange view to me: students of theology marching and singing songs of the revolution. But this might be a special German point of view.

Photograph: Bergholz 2011

June 2011: Siantar

Once again, Thomas was invited to deliver a sermon, this time in the city church of Siantar, right besides the campus of STT.

Shortly after that, we took our two month leave for Germany, where we met with officials of UEM in Wuppertal and signed another contract for three more years.

Photograph: Bergholz 2011

May 2011: Siantar

In 1861, Ingwer Ludwig Nommensen was sent out by Rhenish Mission Society to the Batak. Therefore 2011 is full of activities to remember that 150th anniversary. When he started his work, all Batak were still holding on to their native religion. When Nommensen died in 1918, the Batak church had almost 200,000 members. One of our students invited us to his congregation for the celebration of that anniversary.

The other picture shows Regina and Noah attending the muslim celebration of "name giving" to the youngest grand child of our employees.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
Right top: The unescapable "ulos" ceremony.
Left: Regina and Noah giving their blessings to Hafidzah Maya.

April 2011: Siantar

There were two more events in April. First, the 33th "birthday" of STT. The Theological Seminary was not founded in 1977, but established as a Seminary. Before that, it was the Faculty of Theology of Nommensen University since the 1950s.

On the other picture you can see Regina's class from FKIP (the Faculty of Pedagogics) in our kitchen. Regina gave a class on "German culture and civilization", and we see the students applying that knowledge by cooking potato dumplings - which were delicious, by the way.

Photographs: Bergholz 2011
On the left: Principal Dr. Darwin Lumbantobing with the STT birthday cake. Right: FKIP students cooking in our kitchen,

Our new newsletter (in German) is available for download.

April 2011: Silangit

On the 1st of April, Thomas was in heaven. This is not a joke. He gave a seminary at a place called "Silangit" which means ... ok, "sky", not heaven. It was a seminary for diaconesses, and the topic was "Spirituality and Liturgy". Thomas did speak about the changes in German Lutheran Liturgy, especially about the new Church Service Agendas. HKBP also introduced a new Agenda in 2010, but it is still based on the German agendas the missionaries brought with them in the 19th century. There was a lively discussion about the changes modern societies will go through because of modernization and globalization, and how this might influence the spirituality of more tradition oriented societies.

Photo: Bergholz 2011
Thomas with diaconesses at Silangit

March 2011: Siantar

Rev Martin Junge, LWF
At March 6, Rev. Martin Junge (Chile), Secretary General of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) visited STT. Junge and his delegation were on a round trip to several Asian member churches of LWF. Rev. Junge addressed students and lecturers of STT, speaking about his life in Chile during the rule of the Junta. The students' questions focussed on the conflict between tradition and modernisation in the church, mostly concerning language matters: Most older church members are still prefering to speak Batak, as most younger people are using more and more Indonesian as their main language. Junge recalled his own experiences when the Lutheran churches in Chile turned from their German heritage to their new Spanish homeland. More about Junge's visit can be found here.

13 MaerzAt March 13, we had a "welcome home" party for Lukas Leander and Regina. First, there was a short service in our house including an "ulos" ceremony, then we had a traditional Batak lunch with babi panggang (roasted pig) with saksang (a sauce made of the blood of the pig)  - but we also servedes capcay (vegetables with beef) and ayam manis (chicken sweet-sour).

Photographs Bergholz 2011
top left: Rev. Martin Junge, Secretary General of LWF
right: March 13 in Pematangsiantar

February 2011: Siantar


ulos ceremony
At February 15 - 17, an official delegation from UEM and Wuppertal Theological Seminary visited STT. Prof. Dr. Henning Wrogemann, Dr. Loewner from Wuppertal and Rev. Dr. Robinson Butarbutar and Rev. Berend Veddeler from UEM visited several Theological Seminaries in Indonesia to evaluate the possibilites for closer cooperation between Indonesian and German Seminaries, especially concerning postgraduate studies. Prof. Wrogemann met with students and lectureres of STT and gave a public lesson about recent developments in German mission studies.

Photographs Berholz 2011
top left:Prof. Wrogemann and Dr. Loewner discussing with students.
top right: Prof. Wrogemann and Dr. Fridz Sihombing, head of the postgraduate program of STT
lower picture: Principal Dr. Lumbantobing, Prof. Wrogemann, Rev. Veddeler, Dr. Loewner and Dr. Butarbutar at the closing Ulos ceremony.

January 2011: Germany and Sumatra
St Nicolas chapel Koenigswinter
And another very exciting winter in Germany: Lots of snow which Noah enjoyed very much, and of course, the birth and baptism of Lukas Leander.

Returning to Sumatra in mid January was quite acceptable, because the daily temperatures do not climb higher than 25/26 C due to the rain season.

Photograph: St Nicolas chapel in Koenigswinter-Heisterbacherrott.
Bergholz 2011