Eighteen-year-old Desi Natalia Ango was thrilled when she and a fellow female student were assigned to spend a year as missionaries in Limbong in the south of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Desi thought it would be a good placement in a big city.
But when she and her friend arrived at the local conference office, they were directed into a car for a three-hour drive. Then they transferred to motorcycles for a five-hour trip up a mountain. The road was slippery, and Desi kept falling off the motorcycle.
When the road ended, the young women learned that she would have to hike another eight hours to reach their destination.
But first, they had to stop by the local government office at the end of the road to receive permission to go up the mountain. Several people from Limbong were at the office, and they excitedly beat Desi to the village and announced the big news.
When the young missionaries arrived, the villagers welcomed them with a traditional ceremony. A young chicken with black feathers and black feet was roasted, boiled, and offered to the visitors. The villagers themselves ate regular chicken.
“We didn’t speak their dialect and didn’t know what they were saying,” Desi said. “We didn’t know what to do.”
More important, she had no idea how to share her love for Jesus. She and her friend fasted and prayed for two days.
Charcoal and Papaya
On the second day, a village woman asked for help. She led the two missionaries to her mother, Indo Reko, who was ill in bed. The elderly woman was suffering from a flow of blood, much like the woman whom Jesus healed in Mark 5:25-34. The missionaries didn’t have any medical experience and didn’t know what to do. But they did have some charcoal, and they mixed two spoonfuls with water and asked for permission to pray.
“We prayed, ‘Lord, we believe that you can heal this woman with this charcoal,’” Desi recalled. “But we were thinking, ‘What else can we do?’”
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