Pieter Reid, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), serves as "a pastoral friendly counselor" to the national Indonesian church known as Gereja Lutheran Indonesia (GLI). According to Reid's Oct. 7, 2010 blog on missions in Indonesia, GLI is making history by training its very first deaconess.
Reid explained, "One goal of the sister church of WELS in Indonesia is to get the women of GLI active in serving the Lord and serving each other. For this to happen and continue, there needs to be a GLI woman who can be trained to assume this leadership role. ...
"Ibu Heni, one of the pastor’s wives, started attending the GLI seminary two years ago. She didn’t do it to become a pastor, but wanted to grow spiritually. Ibu Heni is taking all of the courses required of the seminary students. Besides being very gifted and faithfully applying herself, she understands the teachings of the Bible, has leadership ability, and the heart of a servant. Ibu Heni has the gifts to become a deaconess and help all the women of GLI to serve the Lord and serve others.
"The leaders of GLI were approached and asked if Ibu Heni could be designated as a Deaconess-in-training. She will continue taking all the seminary courses for the next two years. She will have all the doctrine courses, counseling courses, courses on family life, and all the other courses a pastor will have taken. Work has begun to train and prepare Ibu Heni to become a Deaconess who will oversee the entire ministry of women within GLI and prepare these women to reach out to those who do not yet have Jesus as their Savior. What a blessing a Deaconess will be to this church body!”
It will be interesting to watch this new development, and to note whether the next stage of training - to prepare the women of Indonesia to "reach out to those who do not yet have Jesus as their Savior" - will indeed produce a second generation of deaconesses for this church body.
We wish them every blessing with this endeavor!