【February 2018 No.396】An Eventful Visit to the Christian Evangelical Church in Indonesia

 On Dec. 4, 2017 I left for a seven-day journey to visit the headquarters of the Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa, located on the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. I was accompanied by Rev. Akiyama Toru, chair of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, and Rev. Fukushima Sumio, chair of the Kanto District Commission on Ecumenical Ministries.

 Due to a one-hour delay in our departure from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, we had very little time for the transfer to our domestic flight to Manado. Local staff of the airline were there to guide us, but we were told not to expect the transfer of our checked luggage. It was no joke. We told them that this was their responsibility, and after further deliberation they increased personnel, found our luggage, put it and us in a taxi, and we got to the domestic terminal. However, arriving at the terminal, we found that our gate was number 26 of 28 gates in the terminal. In other words, we walked–or rather half ran–at least one kilometer to our gate. When we finally arrived at the gate, we were exhausted.

 The next day we left Manado and followed a mountain road about 25 kilometers north to the town of Tomohon. We were surprised at the number of churches we saw. In other words, most of the people living in the villages must be Christians. Even as we returned at the close of the day, we saw young people gathered at the various churches we passed, enjoying themselves. The church there is the center of community life.

 Tomohon is a highland town. It is no surprise that there is only one hotel. However, there is a Bible School where 1,000 students are studying. The church also has a hospital as well as a factory for processing coconuts where 40 students are being trained. In short, the church is giving birth to industry there.

 As we were returning to the hotel after a fruitful consultation at the CEC headquarters, the telephone rang. It was the travel agency, informing us that our original flight for the next day had been canceled and that the new flight would be at 11 a.m.

 The next day, as we were riding the car that had been hired for our trip to the airport, we received another telephone call from the travel agency, informing us that the morning flight had also been canceled. As a result, we rushed through the lobby of the domestic flight terminal and waited in line for a taxi, where 100 taxis were lined up, to go to the international flight terminal. In the end, we were able to return to Haneda Airport as scheduled, but this was much more of an adventure than we had expected. (Tr. JS)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

From Niji no Tayori, Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

 

エールにならないエール⑬~トラベルはトラブル~

 インドネシアのスラウェシ島北端の町トモホンにあるミナハサ福音基 督教会本部を、世界宣教委員長の秋山徹牧師と関東教区世界宣教委員長の福島純雄牧師と共に12月4日から7日 の旅程で訪問した。羽田出発便が1時間遅れたことにより、マナド行国内便の乗継に余裕がなくなった。現地航空会社スタッフが案内してくれたが、預けた荷物を諦めろと言う。冗談ではない。そちらの事情でしょう、と交渉すると係員が増員され、無事荷物も手にしてタクシーで国内便ターミナルへ。ところがその立派なこと!ゲートが28あり私たちのゲートは26、つまりたっぷり1キ ロは歩く、いや小走りする。登場ゲートに着いた時にはほとんどで ある。

 翌日、マナドからトモホンまでは山道を25キロほど北に進む。驚くのは教会の多さである。つまり村民全員がキリスト者なのであろう。日も暮れた帰り道、通り過ぎてゆくあちこちの教会では、青年たちが集まり楽しそうであった。教会がコミュニティーの中心なのである。

 トモホンは高原の町である。ホテルが一軒しかないのも頷ける。ところが神学校には1000人が学ぶ。教会の病院があり、ヤシの木を加工する 工場では職業訓練を行い40名の生徒が学ぶ。つまり教会が産業を生み出している。本部での充実した懇談を終え、ホテルへの帰り道電話が鳴る。旅行会社からで、翌日の便がキャンセルになり、午前11時の便になったと言う。翌日、手配の車に乗ってい ると再び旅行会社からの電話で、午前の便もキャンセルになったとの事。再び国内線ロビーを走り抜け、タクシーを100台!順番待ちし て国際線へ。最終的には予定通り羽田に帰着できたが、いつもに増して今回は綱渡りであった。加藤誠(「虹のたより」より)

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