Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Apostle to Indonesia 1

This past Sunday I had the great privilege of driving Father Daniel Byantoro to church. Fr. Daniel is the founder and leader of the Indonesian Orthodox Church. Born into a Muslim family, he joined the Reformed Church as a young man after Jesus came to him in a vision. But he became disillusioned with the vast array of Protestant sects and began looking for something more ancient and more liturgical. After he stumbled across Bishop Kallistos Ware's book The Orthodox Way in a seminary bookstore in South Korea, he started investigating Orthodoxy. Eventually he converted and was ordained a priest. He returned home and began his mission to bring Orthodox Christianity to Indonesia in a way that would be culturally relevant. Today, as a result of Fr. Daniel's missionary efforts, the Orthodox Church is a recognized body with 22 parishes and missions and over 2,000 members. Still, it must often struggle against bureaucratic and cultural obstacles. Here are some links for those who would like more information:

Fr. Daniel splits his time between Indonesia and the U.S., where he speaks and raises money. This week he is giving two talks right here in Maryland, sponsored by Holy Apostles Orthodox Church:

The Great Mandate of Evangelism
Friday 22 June, 7 PM, at Fr. George Johnson’s home,
13209 Bellevue Street, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Fr. Daniel will speak about fulfilling the Lord’s command to “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This talk is a how-to presentation, aimed at Orthodox Christians who are interested in missionary work. Many people think of missionary work as a calling to go to a foreign country. However, the first missionaries, the Holy Apostles, went to their own people first (the Jews,) and then to others (the Gentiles).

Fr. Daniel will talk about how to go to the Mars Hill of our time to proclaim the good news of the Orthodox Faith. For us, our own people are right here in America, wherever our church is located. “Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” – even, for example, unto Beltsville, College Park, and Laurel, Maryland.

Christ Has Caught Me
Monday 25 June, 7 PM, at Holy Apostles Orthodox Church,
10760 Baltimore Ave, Beltsville, MD 20705

Fr. Daniel will speak about his conversion from the Muslim faith to Christianity. He went on to convert his whole family including his father, who was an imam, and to become an apostle to Indonesia, baptizing about 2000 people so far and founding 10 churches there. This talk is aimed at inquirers and Orthodox Christians alike, who would like to hear more about Fr. Daniel’s missionary adventures and his outreach to the Asian peoples. Come, see, hear, and “be caught” in his inspiration.

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