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

Chapter 9. Medan, Indonesia, 1965-1974

Moving is not easy. Our piano, bought in Malaya, was shipped in its box when we moved to Palembang, to Bandar Lampung, and to Medan. It survived the first two moves very well, but not the last. When we opened the box the keys were in heaps and piles. In despair we called a piano tuner. He said, "You are lucky. Your sounding board is okay. I can rebuild your piano," which he did.

September 28 1965 the Communists tried to take over Indonesia, and failed. In the blood-letting which followed untold thousands perished. The Communist party, the second largest part in the country, ceased to exist.

It was a dangerous time, but we were not involved in this emergency. I found teaching Bible in Chinese and Indonesian to students, some of whom were outstanding, to be very challenging.

1968 we taught at the Nommensen Theological Seminary, Pematang Siantar, a Lutheran seminary with ten Methodist students.

Pematang Siantar is not far from Lake Toba, a major inland lake of Sumatra noted for its natural beauty.

Parapat, Lake Toba, in 1966

1969 back to Medan to teach in the Methodist University and the Methodist Bible Institute.

Son Jack preaches to the Indonesian congregation while on a visit in June 1969 after completing a year in Vietnam as a chaplain

After the service: son Jack with Ruthlydia and Indonesian pastor, June 1969

To this during 1973 Bishop Gultom added the pastorship of Medan Wesley Church.

Visiting Indonesian congregation


Youth Fellowship. Wesley Day is fourth from left. Photo by John Tandana

1974 Ruthlydia's hip gave her trouble. We were called home to have it treated. The hip was successfully replaced in August 1974. But on May 8, 1975 Ruthlydia was "called Home" after a stroke. She was 71. June first we were to be retired.

At her Memorial Service a Medan student at Drew Seminary said: "Ibu [=Mother] Day was a very understanding and loving mother to her students. She had a special concern for those who had problems and were slow to learn. Like a loving mother, she would sit with the students for long hours, discussing and sharing their problems. There was always laughter and joy wherever she went."

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Updated June 24, 2005