A Missionary Life:
Rev. J. Wesley Day
China, Malaysia, Indonesia

Chapter 8. Bandar Lampung, Indonesia

In 1961, the day the new school building was dedicated, our transfer to Bandar Lampung was planned. "There are now three missionary families in Palembang. Our church can expand. Go to Bandar Lampung. See what can be done and do it. May God lead you," said Bishop Hobart B. Amstutz and Board Secretary Tracey K. Jones.

Bandar Lampung is a fishing and trading center near the southern tip of the island of Sumatra and now the capital of Lampung Province. It exports spices, such as nutmeg and pepper.

Historians will remember that in 1883 the island of Krakatoa, almost in sight of Teluk Betung (now Bandar Lampung) blew up. On a hillside road above Teluk Betung rests a large buoy left by the tidal wave which followed, which destroyed the city. Krakatoa is no more. However, some years ago a little volcanic island appeared in the same location, and over the years is gradually growing. It emits smoke. "Little Krakatoa" is now a park.

Rev. Yap Tian-peng, the Chinese pastor in Palembang, drove with us to Bandar Lampung, then a two-day trip by car over rocky mountain roads, (or one long day by train). There we called on the pastor of the Gereja Protestant (Dutch Reformed Church), who agreed for us to hold a Chinese service in his church Sunday afternoons, then on to the Department of Religious Affairs to report our plans. Then we spent one day looking at 30 houses and choosing one to be our home. Rev. Yap knew some Chinese business people and we called on them.

Everywhere we announced our first service Sunday at 3 PM in Chinese. About 15 came out. As far as I know, there has been a Methodist service at Bandar Lampung every Sunday since.

One of the young people who attended our Chinese service was Wu Kuan-ching, who was soon taking us to call on the sick and sick at heart. He was with us so much that people began to call him our "son". Then there was a call for Bible School students in Medan, and Kuan-ching heard the call. Before he left he stayed up all night with his friend Hsu Ho-ch'uan, praying with him and placing before him the need of our church for a Sunday School Superintendent and church visitor. Then Ho-ch'uan became our "son".

Some people I called on couldn't speak Chinese or English. "Could our church serve them?" I asked.

An old man answered, "Before the war there was a Methodist School here. It was taught by Phinehas Patissina, now retired. He and his wife are now living in a town thirty miles from here. Call on him and ask him your question."

Patissina was enthusiastic. "I know everybody in town. Many were my students. If you will start a service I will take the bus to town every Friday, stay with my relatives, go calling with you Saturday, and help with the service Sunday."

Phinehas Patissina was good as his word. In fact he was a good preacher and God blessed our service.

One day during the service I saw something which brought tears to my eyes. Years ago Mr. Patissina had had a stroke which made him lame. The Reformed Church we borrowed has a high pulpit. Access to it is by steep winding wooden stairway, not visible to the audience. From the side I saw the old man climbing on his hands and knees up the steep wooden steps to preach the Gospel.

Before we left on furlough in July '62 the DS came and officially organized the two Methodist congregations.

During our furlough in '62 - '63 Jack graduated from Western Maryland College, and Vivia from Oceanside High School on Long Island. Furlough had come at the right time for us to attend their graduations. We could not attend their weddings, nor our parents' funerals. We were too far away.

In the summer of '63, we returned to Bandar Lampung where I pastored the Chinese congregation and Rev. Timothy Wu the Indonesian congregation.

Hsu Ho-ch'uan, our "son", was faithfully serving as Sunday School Superintendent and church visitors But he was out of a job. He was a teacher. The only job he could get was teaching in a Communist Chinese School fifty miles away. Before he left we had a farewell service for him at church and then a more private party and service at our home. At this service our church commissioned him a missionary to the Communist School. We also prayed for others--our Board chairman's son studying at a boarding school at Bandung, Java, and our daughter, 14,000 miles away, looking for a summer job after her first year at Pfeiffer College in North Carolina.

During the year Ho Ch'uan wrote us--could he bring a friend, another teacher, and stay at our home for two or three days during the next vacation? They did so, sharing our Upper Room daily devotions. Before they left, his friend said to us that our home was very different from American homes described to him at school.

Our days in Lampung were shortened by political events. The two British families at the Bible School in Medan were withdrawn when it appeared that there might be war between Indonesia and Britain. April 1965, to help replace them, we were moved from Bandar Lampung to Medan by our newly autonomous Methodist Church. Just before we left Bandar Lampung we were privileged to take part in the ground-breaking ceremony of the first Methodist Church in Bandar Lampung. There is now a Lampung District in our church.

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Updated June 2, 2005