This is a big year for World Outreach. We’re celebrating our 90th anniversary as a Mission Agency. To celebrate this anniversary, we’re going to be looking back at our heritage through our 2022 Nations Issues.
We enthusiastically invite you to join us as we take you on a journey from our humble, faith-filled beginnings to be poised at one of the most pivotal moments in modern day missions
The Birth of World Outreach Indonesia
Sam & Carol Soukotta are some of World Outreach’s (WO) most respected and experienced missionaries. Indonesia is one of WO’s largest and most fruitful fields. Carol, once a missionary kid herself, wrote the following history of how WO began in Indonesia and how it has developed over the decades.
My parents, Dal & Dorothy Walker, were New Zealand (NZ) missionaries to Indonesia from 1949. My father, Dal, was a close friend of Len Jones (the founder of WO). I’m not exactly sure when, but my parents joined World Outreach sometime in the early/mid-1960’s and became its first missionaries to Indonesia.
Due to a communist uprising in 1964, my parents, younger brothers, sister and I were evacuated to NZ for two years. When my parents returned to Indonesia, I went to Manila to set up the World Outreach Literature Centre.‘
They began the Tawangmangu Bible School in 1968. Tawangmangu is on the slopes of Mt Lawu in Central Java. I joined my parents again in 1969 and helped rearrange the office staff in administration, plus head up an evangelistic team. In 1971, Sam, who was a graduate of another Bible school on the island of Ambon, joined our evangelistic team. We fell in love and married in 1972. Sam was asked to teach in the Bible School also.
In 1974 my father was killed in a car accident. But my mother continued to lead the school for the next 9 years. She then decided to return to NZ and asked if we would take over. We did after seeking the Lord for direction.
From 1984, we led the 2-year Diploma Course until 1998 when it was decided to upgrade to a 4-year Degree in Theo- logy. Over the previous 10-12 years we had sent out many students to plant churches, especially in the villages throughout the country. Today, there are hundreds of pastors and church planters across the Indonesian archipelago who were trained at the Tawangmangu Bible School.
Around this same time (1998), while Sam was visiting our church planters in West Kalimantan, he had a vision. In his vision, Sam saw many buildings, cultivated grounds and a fishpond with plants on the water! This puzzled him. When he returned to Tawangmangu, he enquired of the Lord about the vision. God answered with one word – “BUILD”. We both didn’t know what to build, except for adding more buildings for the Bible college! When Sam told me that God wanted us to build, I immediately thought of Noah. He was told to build, and he obeyed.
As he got the vision in West Kalimantan, he asked a church planter there to look for land that was for sale. Once he had identified a possible plot of land, Sam returned to West Kalimantan to look it over and enquire about the cost. He felt peace in his heart, especially after seeing a spring on the land. Sam still did not know what he was to build. Sam enquired about the price and also asked the owner how many children he had! The owner answered that he had 8 kids. Sam then asked if they were all Christians (as many of the Dayaks of Kalimantan had a Catholic background but mixed it with their ancestral worship).
He answered, “No. Four were Christians/ Catholics and four were Muslim.” The owner then said, “I am a poor man, so whoever could pay for my children’s education, it was up to them to follow the religion!” A light came on! Immediately, Sam knew we were to build a Christian boarding school. That’s how the Mt Hope Christian Training Centre started. To date, the average number of children boarding is 150 with an additional 300 or so attending daily classes from kindergarten to Year 9. It’s our plan to build the High School (Years 10-12) but, as of yet, we don’t have sufficient funds.
In 2015 we knew something had to happen with the Tawangmangu campus, as registrations had decreased, with so many Christian organisations starting up their own Bible Colleges. We prayed for God’s leading. One day we had a visit from a previous principal of the Tawangmangu Bible College who said the College was ready to become a university. Without thinking, we both answered together, “That’s it”. We just knew that’s what had to happen. It must have been the direction of the Holy Spirit, as we had no idea how to build a university! Neither Sam nor I have university degrees!
There had been prophecies that we would expand, and property would be added. Sam brought this idea before the staff and asked if they were in agreement. They were 100% with us. A few days later, Sam called a friend, who was a university lecturer and had years of experience, and mentioned our plan. Amazingly, at the exact time, the university lecturer was in a meeting with members of the Education Department discussing the start-up of new universities in Indonesia! The government had closed a number of universities that did not meet their requirements. We got the go-ahead, and our lecturer friend arranged the permit.
The first foundation stone was laid at the 50th anniversary reunion of the Bible School in 2018. We had very little funds to begin, but begin we did. An architect from Kuching, Malaysia, and his friends, who had helped at Mt Hope, drew up the diagram for a 3-storey building for classrooms, teacher’s rooms, library, etc. We had enough rooms for boarding on our grounds as the Bible School numbers had declined. After a few months, a couple from Solo, our nearest city, whom we did not know visited us. They asked about the Bible College and after a while we explained that we would be expanding to become a university. We told them that our faith was being stretched but knew God would supply.
A few months later, the couple called and said they would like to transfer funds for the university. It was a huge amount and enabled us to get the 3-storey frame, roof and the ground floor completed. With the 1st floor completed, we could now begin the first intake of students. So, in 2020, the start was made on the Mt Hope Christian Boarding University. There was another miracle when the Education Department agreed to pay for the tuition and board of all the new intake – some 50+ students. And they would not only cover the costs for the first year, but until they completed their whole 4-year degree! In October 2021, we began the second year, and have had to use a large Dutch style home from the 30-40’s as a dorm to house 24 girls, as we had run out of dorm space.
By October (2022) we are hoping and praying for more land to build more dormitories, kitchen, dining room, etc. So, we continue to grow and will keep on trusting God. At present, we have around 200 students. Those who register know it is a Christian university and so the biblical way of life is taught. Each morning the students attend the prayer meeting and on Sunday they join in with the bible students and College staff to worship God and hear the preaching of God’s Word.
Aside from Sam and Carol’s ministry, WO has many other works in Indonesia such as the Alpha Team working among the ‘Sukura’, the New Hope Children’s Home in Sanggau, church planting teams in Lombok and a new training hub to be established in Bali.