Helping our neighbours in their time of need

By Nevin Nitschke and Ridwin Purba

The Lutheran Church of Australia, through International Mission, has walked side by side for the past 20 years with the six million Lutherans of the churches and schools in Indonesia. We learn from each other, as well as provide support to one another as brothers and sisters, proclaiming the love of Jesus in our respective […]

The Lutheran Church of Australia, through International Mission, has walked side by side for the past 20 years with the six million Lutherans of the churches and schools in Indonesia. We learn from each other, as well as provide support to one another as brothers and sisters, proclaiming the love of Jesus in our respective communities.

The impact of COVID-19 in Lutheran schools in Indonesia has hit very hard. Families who live from day-to-day, earning money from small street markets, have had their income dramatically depleted. Students have been working from home, although many without reliable technologies, which make studying possible. The salaries of teachers in Lutheran schools in Indonesia are funded entirely from school fees, which parents have not been able to pay. Many of the schools have had no income during this time and teachers have not been paid.

LCA International Mission provides funding to employ the Education Secretary for the National Committee of Lutheran World Federation. Ridwin Purba coordinates partnerships between Lutheran schools in Australia and Indonesia, as well as working within the 188 Lutheran schools in Indonesia, supporting professional development for the staff.

Ridwin alerted us to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on families, students and staff of Lutheran schools in Indonesia. We therefore sent out an appeal to ask our Lutheran schools to consider how they could help our neighbours. The response in our Australian school community was a real blessing. Kindergartens and preschools, to primary and high schools put on their creative thinking caps to come up with fundraising ideas for this appeal. These included:

  • An obstacle-a-thon: children climbed, ran, jumped, skipped and crawled their way around an obstacle course, several times, using their own hands and to bring real change to lives of others
  • A soup lunch day
  • A pyjama and pancake day

This fundraising went a long way and made a real difference. Approximately $15 AUD (Australian dollars) provides a food package of a 10 kg bag of rice, 2 litres of cooking oil and six eggs. So far, $4,477 has been raised, and the gift of the food packages has been very welcomed.

Ridwin wrote to us after the support had been received:

“Warmest greetings from Indonesia to you and LCA International Mission.

I would like to report on the supports that have been distributed recently. Rice, cooking oil and sugar were given to 21 schools around Pematangsiantar and Simalungun – from the 21 schools, the total number of teachers and staffs who receive the supports were 258. Direct transfers were given to the 44 schools that are out of Pematangsiantar, where 609 staff received the supports.

Altogether, 65 Indonesian Lutheran schools with 867 teachers and staff received the supports…all of the 12 Indonesian Lutheran churches who have schools (AMIN, BNKP, GKLI, GKPA, GKPI, GKPPD, GKPM, GKPS, GPP, HKBP, HKI, and ONKP) received support. The supports are really beneficial for the teachers and staff and they much appreciate the support. They would like to express their huge gratitude to those who have financially contributed to this need.

Our prayer is that God may bless you and your ministry and our partnership.”


The need is still great for the teachers in Lutheran schools in Indonesia, as a second wave of COVID-19 is going through the country.

Please contact LCA International Mission if you would like to make a donation, supporting this need which is so close to home within our church and school family.

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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