Student trains to raise up pastors overseas
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Ten years ago, Christian media outlets reported an outburst of violence on the Indonesian island of Ambon and other areas in the nation. Due to this outburst, many Christians and Muslims alike were left homeless, wounded or dead.
Amid this violence, Ronny, who is currently a Ph.D. student at Southwestern Seminary, worked with the International Mission Board to coordinate relief efforts, building refugee camps and ministering to both Christians and Muslims.
As Ronny worked in the relief effort, God called him to the ministry of the Word. Surrendering to God’s call, Ronny and his family moved to the United States, where he completed a Master of Divinity degree from Mid-America Baptist Seminary in 2005. They soon returned to Indonesia, and the nation’s Baptist convention called him to serve as president at a seminary in Indonesia, a position he still holds. In the mean time, Ronny and his family prayed that he would be able to continue his education.
In 2009, Mark Howell, senior pastor of Houston Northwest Church, introduced Ronny to Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson. Convinced that God was calling him to Southwestern, Ronny moved to Fort Worth, with his wife, Lena, and his three daughters. He began classes this fall.
A passion for training native theologians and pastors in Indonesia drives Ronny to continue his education and to promote the seminary in Indonesia.
“There is a huge mission field in Indonesia,” Ronny said. Indonesia contains 240 million people, spread across 17,000 islands and speaking 500 dialects. Nearly 90 percent of the population claim to follow Islam, giving Indonesia one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. In their attempt to reach Indonesia for the Gospel, Ronny implemented a plan in 2008 to plant 100 churches in a 10 year span through the efforts students at the seminary. Christianity is spreading in Indonesia, Ronny said, so the need for training pastors is great.
“You have brothers and sisters there at the seminary in Indonesia who are on the front line,” Ronny said, appealing to his fellow Southwesterners. “Partner with our students to reach the lost, to plant a church. I don’t just want to go to school here, I want to voice the needs, asking people to come—asking students, professors and pastors to come and train our local leaders, so that they will be better soul-winners.”