Episode 131: Church Crisis in Papua (Barry Jordan)

I grew up to missionary parents in Papua, Indonesia, formerly, Iran Jaya. My parents served there for thirty-eight years, most of those years with a primitive tribe in the Paniai Lakes region. After World War Two, hundreds of missionaries moved to Papua and a large community of churches was planted. My parents’ main role was to train and equip pastors. Papua is a complicated place to understand. Politics, under the control of Indonesia, animism, corruption and power all came together to create conflict within the Alliance Church in Papua. Today, there is a spit group, one tied strongly to the ambition and fight for independence, and the other maintain strong roots to orthodoxy.

Barry Jordan and I start our conversation by telling the story of my parents’ visit some ten years ago to the tribal area where they started their ministry, and where my sibling and I were born. My parents had been invited to speak at an area church conference. Awaiting the airplane was a large crowd. At first, it was assumed the crowd was there to greet them, but as they airplanes engine shut off, the mob began attacking the plane. Barry was one of the passengers, and he explains how for twenty minutes, they prayed and waited, and eventually the local police were able to disperse the crowd, and the airplane was able to take off. It broke my parents’ heart, especially seeing in the crowd some of the students they had taught, now there to either kill or kidnap them.

In this podcast Barry and I talk about the dynamics that led to this tragic church conflict.

Barry Jordan is married to Patty for forty-years, and together they have served in Papua for thirty-five years. They have three children, two grandchildren and two on the way.

 

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