News from the Gallaghers

Hi Friends

It’s time again for some Gallagher News Update from Indonesia.

I will be in Australia from June 16, arriving in Sydney and will fly out from Adelaide on July 9.  If you would like me to visit and share in any service or small group please let me know.

Tentatively I will be in Wollongong 17-19 June, Canberra Region,  June 19-26, Sydney, June 27-30, Gold Coast/Brisbane, July 1-3 and Adelaide, July 4-8. These dates are flexible and I would love to catch up and share some of the stories of the Kingdom of God has been growing in Indonesia.

I will keep this update brief as I would like you to read the below testimony of ministry which has flowed through the school at which I work.

Highlights over the last few months have included completing half of a Masters degree, appointment as Director of Wesley International School, reshaping and refocusing the media outreach among the Bridge, transitioning into new job roles and responsibilities, leading two camps, writing the music and preparing a School musical, coaching a swimming team and having our eldest son, Leighton stay with us as part of his university studies..

Jamen has been standing up for his faith and sharing about the Way with both friends and with locals he’s been meeting. This year has seen him involved in several min trips in the local area and beyond. It’s been very exciting to see and hear how the Lord is opening up opportunities for him.

Lynlee has been busy teaching Kindergarten, hosting the helpers meeting, and has recently been involved in post natal and early childhood health care and education in a local kampung.

And for those who know our helper, Ibu Siti, she remarried in April. She completed her period of grief after her first husband died. When this season finished she entered a relationship with another recent widower. It is lovely to see her joy and delight. Her husband drops her off to work everyday with his becak (Pedicab)

Prayer Points

  • Please pray for peace in the midst of busyness. We want to be productive and fruitful in our labours. We want to live balanced lives in service, in family, in study, in devotion and work.
  • I need a new laptop. Please pray for the finances to purchase a laptop that allow me to record, edit and score music as well as all the other stuff we use computers for. My preference is a Macbook Pro although a windows based laptop with the necessary specs would be welcome too.
  • New recruits for our local Bridge people min team. This will mean we have two teams working to reach the Bridge.  One team will continue to make the radio programs and follow up listeners who respond and our new team will be based locally looking for ways to build faith comms locally in our city among the large bridge community. We are seeking team members who can show initiative and cultural sensitivity in the way they share good news with our cousins.
  • Our son Leighton who complete’s his thesis in Indonesian for June 12
  • Our finances to continue to allow us to do the work we are called to do.

     My  plans in Australia to meet with family, the travel arrangements and appointments with doctors and pastors

  • My studies to equip and advance the calling upon my life. For the studies to be undertaken diligently and successfully.

      My adjustment to the new responsibilities and work load as I serve as Director of Wesley International School. Pray I lead effectively, diligently and responsibly and that God’s will be done through the school and the direction it takes over the next 12 months under my leadership.

      May God’s blessing be upon on all of you who pray and support us.

Richard Gallagher

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Please take the time to read this amazing true story about a village our school has visited several times following some devastating eruptions that occurred last year.

Pak Narsin takes a break from mixing cement with his trusty shovel and makes introductions.  He is the patriarch of this compound of five houses clumped together in this mountain village which is nestled near the active volcano of Mt. Bromo.

We shake hands and Pak Narsin immediately invites us to his house to take shelter from the mid-morning sun and to offer us tea as culture dictates. All 13 of us squeeze into his tiny guest receiving area, with some of the students leaning against bags of fertilizer stacked in the corner.  His wife comes out, smiles widely at us and goes back to the kitchen to start making the tea.  I make the common cultural protest of no need to go through all that trouble and she of course waves that suggestion away.

Our team of high school students, from the international school where our kids attend, have come to this village for four days of their Spring Break to do a construction project for Pak Narsin’s compound, working together with them to build a small water tower and an outhouse bathroom.  The entire team will also run a medical clinic, teach English and look for ways to show the love of Jesus in word and deed.

We chat in the cram-packed sitting room and I ask Narsin his age, impressed at how hard we saw him working.  He says he is in somewhere in his 60’s but not really sure the exact age as his parents were simple farmers and didn’t keep any records like birth certificates and didn’t celebrate the event as he was growing up.

His wife brings out a tray of 14 glasses of tea and I remind the students, some of whom are new to Indonesia, to not partake until they are directed to drink by our host at least twice.  The chatting continues and Narsin tells us more of his background.  He is from an unreached people group in Indonesia we call the “Bridge People,” yet he is a proud to be a follower of Jesus.  We ask him how that happened and he tells us an incredible story, one that I translate to the students now sipping on their tea.

When he was around 25 (again, he is not sure the exact age), he was very sick and was looking around for a “dukung,” a magic medicine man  who could bring him some physical relief.  He had dabbled in the black magic arts himself and was able to heal others as a dukung at times and was puzzled as to why he remained seriously ill.  He kept up his search for a more powerful dukung who could heal him but still no luck.  Then one night some sort of heavenly being visited him and placed his hand on his the back of Narsin’s head.  He couldn’t turn and see the large man but he felt a power when a hand was placed on his head.   “Who are you?” Narsin asked.

“Why do you ask who I am?” the visitor answered.  “Just believe and you will be healed.”  Narsin was instantly healed and the being vanished.

After that unusual experience he asked around about who this mysterious heavenly visitor might be.  A Christian pastor told him it was probably Jesus, which further stoked Narsin’s curiosity.

Then later the heavenly visitor returned, wearing a very bright robe and holding a bar of white soap in his hand.  He directed Narsin to go take a bath.  When the young Narsin went down to the river to bathe he saw two kinds of water floating in the air, one was red and dirty and the other one was pure and clean.   He looked back and the visitor had again vanished.

“Was it a real bar of soap that he placed in your hand, or was it like a vision?” one of the students asks and I translate the question into Indonesian.

“Yes,” Narsin answers, then continues his narrative.  After that second experience he visited the Christian pastor again who was now convinced that the heavenly visitor was definitely Jesus.  He then shared more of the Gospel to Narsin who was all ears.

Then he had one last vision/experience with this bright-faced being who showed him two roads, one which was wide and one which was narrow.  “Which road would you like to take?” he asked Narsin.

“I would like the wide one,” answered Narsin, who had grown up traversing on narrow village roads and to him that wide road sure seems a better way to travel.   Of course, as a Muslim young Narsin was unfamiliar of this illustration from the Sermon on the Mount in the seventh chapter of Matthew.

“But if you take the wide road, you could fall down often because it’s dangerous,” the man responded.  Narsin changed his answer to the narrow road and the man said  it was a good choice, because that narrow leads all the way to heaven.  Narsin looked back and once again the man has vanished.

Narsin started meeting with the pastor who mentored him in his new faith.  It turned out to be indeed a hard, narrow road for him to follow Jesus in his community.  They thought he was crazy and rejected him.  He was denied the basic staples in their common diet.  But he kept following Jesus and tells us that Jesus has been faithful to meet all his needs.  Now there are five Bridge families following Jesus, including his son who is quite the evangelist. I got to see him in action the next day.

What a story!  All of us listen with rapt attention and we feel like celebrating after hearing it.  I ask Pak Narsin if anyone has ever sung “Happy Birthday” to him and he says never.  We jokingly choose today as his birthday and then sing a rousing rendition of the Indonesian version while he and his wife sing and laugh along.

Later we found out that the street he lives on is called “curah wangi,” which means “poured out fragrance.”  Please pray that the good news that Pak Narsin has discovered wouldn’t stay bottled up in the compound of these five believing families but that the fragrance would be poured out to all the people groups who live on the slopes of this beautiful mountain range.