That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10 This Bible verse best describes the ministry of Rev Basa Rohana Hutabarat. I first met Rev Basa Hutabarat in a hospital room in […]
That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10
This Bible verse best describes the ministry of Rev Basa Rohana Hutabarat.
I first met Rev Basa Hutabarat in a hospital room in Singapore as she sat at a bedside, making a pastoral visit to her Bishop Rev Bonar Napitupulu and his wife Ria, who had been flown to Singapore from North Sumatra, Indonesia, following a serious car accident. At that time, Basa was serving as the pastor of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) church in Singapore. Basa worked and lived in Singapore, with her husband Rev Dr Martongo Sitinjak and two daughters, Asi and Joy, from 2001 to 2010, serving as parish pastor to the many Indonesian members of the HKBP who were also living and working in Singapore.
As a young woman, Basa had a strong sense of call to serve as a pastor. She trained at the Jakarta Seminary School, and was ordained on 18th December 1989. Today the HKBP has more than four million members, and is the largest of the 13 Lutheran Churches represented in Indonesia.
During her vicarage years, Basa served in the headquarters of the HKBP in Tarutung, North Sumatra. These were turbulent years in the HKBP but Basa continued to serve tirelessly despite many difficult and challenging situations. As a young woman pastor at that time, when the HKBP began to accept female pastors into the ordained ministry, Basa was a faithful example to everyone, particularly to the male pastors. It was not easy being a female pastor who was accepted by the congregation, particularly since the Batak culture was and still is highly patriarchal. However by the grace of God, nowadays many female pastors are accepted in Indonesian churches.
In late 2010, Basa returned from Singapore to North Sumatra, to serve in the role of Secretary of Partnerships between the HKBP, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the United Evangelical Mission (UEM). Then in July 2011, she was appointed by her bishop, and affirmed by the bishops of all 13 LWF member Churches in Indonesia, to serve as the Executive Secretary of the National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation in Indonesia (KNLWF). She undertook this role to the end of 2021. It was during these years that Basa made a most significant contribution to support the leaders, pastors, and members of all Indonesian Lutheran Churches to grow in their understanding of Lutheran theology. Basa’s work also contributed significantly in bringing the churches to understand their role in the public space. Her understanding being, that public spaces are the spaces where we live and work. Basa has been instrumental in giving a voice to young people to contribute their ideas and opinions to worship in freedom in Indonesia.
One of the most significant contributions which Basa has made in the life of the Lutheran Churches in Indonesia has been her encouragement and unwavering support for the establishment of the Lutheran Study Centre in Pematang Siantar. The study centre has been a major way in which LCA International Mission has partnered in the gospel with the Lutheran Churches of Indonesia, supporting them as they seek to live out the good news of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in a Muslim majority country. Basa has also been instrumental in identifying pastors, lecturers and teachers to take up LCA International Mission scholarships for study at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) and then return home to teach and preach with new insights into the gospel and learning from each other’s culture. These are just a few of the many, many initiatives of this dynamic pastor whom I call my dear friend.
Today Basa serves as a lecturer at the ‘Pastor School’ of the HKBP, teaching by both word and example, living a life of faith and tireless service.
During my twelve years in the office of LCA International Mission, working closely with Basa, I witnessed her deep love for Jesus Christ as expressed in her uncompromising striving to make it possible for people to know Jesus and to make him known.
Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray
Read more stories about our partner churches in Indonesia at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/indonesia/