Indonesia WMU 1 women gather
Missions Discipleship

A Nation of 17,000 Islands: Indonesia WMU Brings Women Together

Travel in a country that’s made up of islands can be a challenge. As Rina Endah Kristini says, “I travel a lot.” Rina is president of the Indonesian Baptist Women’s Department (Indonesia WMU), which has a vision for each woman “to become a missionary [and a] healthy and relevant woman.”

A Vibrant History

From the beginning, women’s missions groups have been an important component of Indonesian Baptist churches. Bandung First Baptist Church was planted in 1952, and the Baptist Women’s Association was organized in 1953. A similar pattern was true for churches in Jakarta and Surabaya, and they wasted no time in organizing women’s groups. By 1956, women representing every church in Surabaya were attending fellowship meetings twice a month.

In the 1960s, Pengutusan Injil Wanita, the Women’s Mission Society, became active in the city of Surabaya. At its quarterly meetings, women heard guest speakers discuss work in Argentina, the Philippines, Thailand, and Korea.

When the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches (UIBC) was established in 1971, churches were encouraged to form local and regional women’s associations and to start missions groups for children.

In more recent years, Indonesia WMU has experienced excellent guidance from its presidents, who have led Indonesian women in days of prayer, fellowship, leadership training, and international meetings.

On Mission through Good Planning

The mission of Indonesia WMU is to “grow in Christ, engage in creative ministry for Christ, and share the gospel of Christ.” To maximize that effort, member churches across Indonesia are organized into 19 associations, with as many as 53 churches in each association. The associations make up six regions. Each association plans its activities following programs suggested by Indonesia WMU.

Indonesia WMU 2 National Fellowship2
National meetings are always a special time.

Training for the Task

What’s the best way to train women to be leaders in an island nation? Make the most of your resources.

For a training session in March 2022, Maimunah Natasha of the Haggai Institute and Dr. Yosia Wartono, president of UIBC, spoke to women across the country. Some attended in person, hundreds participated using Zoom, and several thousand watched on YouTube. In this way, more than 5,000 people were involved in the training session. In addition to the national training, each association provides training for the women attendees.

Indonesia WMU 3 Group2
Two hundred eight people attended the Region 2 fellowship in Lampung.

Days of Prayer and Times of Fellowship

Indonesia WMU sets aside three significant days each year as days of prayer. On the first Tuesday in February, churches pray for Baptist missions in Indonesia. The first week in May is a time of prayer for Asia Baptist Women’s Union (ABWU). They also observe the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer, which is held the first Monday of every November.

Fellowships are important on the associational, regional, and national level, and they are very special times. When Region 1 held a fellowship in April 2023, 180 women met in Medan for this exciting event. Lampung was the setting for Region 2’s fellowship last June, where 208 women participated.

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Rina Endah Kristini, president of Indonesia WMU, and her husband, Reverend Yosia Wartono, celebrate the gift of the motorcycle with Reverend Haryono and his wife, Unik Sugianti.

Giving from the Heart

Indonesia WMU is known for its generosity in giving. Last February for the day of prayer, an offering was collected for a church plant in the city of Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

From the money received, the women were able to provide valuable help to a growing congregation. They presented Reverend Sugeng Haryono with a motorcycle, a 50-inch LED TV, and ten chairs to use in worship.

From the gifts collected at the May ABWU day of prayer, Indonesia WMU was able to present an offering to help reach Asia for Christ.

Indonesia WMU 5 Young womens conference

Opportunities for All Ages

“Children of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow” is the motto of Sayang Anak Indonesia, which means Love Indonesian Children. This organization for children ages 10 to 15 focuses on five missions: Christ, character, calling, competence, and community.

Some churches have Kelompok Putri Baptis Indonesia, or Indonesian Baptist Daughters Group, for girls ages 5 to 15. A young women’s fellowship is also available in some associations.

Pray for Indonesia

    • Thank God for sending women who give themselves to ministry and service.
    • Pray all women’s groups throughout the islands of Indonesia would continue growing in faith in Christ.
    • Pray every woman would find her true worth and strength in Christ.
    • Pray for the Indonesia WMU fellowships in Regions 3, 4, and 5 meeting in 2024 and for the National Indonesia WMU Fellowship in 2025.
    • Pray the pilot projects of peer group discipleship would continue to make disciples in all local churches throughout the country.
    • Pray the Baptist youth of Indonesia would grow and mature in their faith and that some would answer the call for full-time Christian service.
    • Pray for Rina as she leads Indonesia WMU.

Kay Rollings lives in Irmo, South Carolina, and enjoyed her Zoom meeting with Rina Endah Kristini and Joy Bolton to learn about Indonesia WMU.