Ludwig Nommensen’s Amazing Faith and Foresight .why he never teach batak to be Honest and be smart how to look after the Land /culture and people
Thirteen-year-old Ludwig Nommensen lay crippled in bed. A year before, a horse cart had rolled over his legs, crushing them. His parents put a brave face on the accident, promising him that he would get better, but he could tell from their voices that they did not believe it.
The Danish boy read the Bible. One day, he came across these words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14). Ludwig read the words over and over again. “Are they true, Mother?” he asked.
“It is true, because it is God’s word,” answered the good woman.
“Then I will ask,” said Ludwig. He promised God that if he would make him healthy again, he would become a missionary. Three years later, Ludwig was walking again. He asked God if he wanted him to be a missionary and knew the answer was “yes.” But the early death of his father forced him to support the family. Not until eight years later, when Ludwig was 24 years old, was he able to begin his training. But he had learned important lessons in perseverance and faith that he would need. He sailed for the mission field in 1862.
Ludwig worked on the Island of Sumatra (now part of Indonesia). His principle work was among the Batak people. Neither Islam nor Christianity had reached them; they still worshipped tribal idols. At first the work was discouraging. It was three years before he baptized his first convert. Anyone who became a Christian had to buck the entire tribe, for its social structure was tightly integrated. Nommensen translated the Bible into the Batak tongue so that the people could hear the Gospel in their own language. But he did everything he could to keep their social structure intact.
Opposition was terrific. The witch-doctors tried to kill Ludwig. Results continued to be discouraging. In addition, he suffered the loss of two sisters and his first wife between 1860 and 1887.
Suddenly a few chiefs converted. Just as in the Dark Ages in Europe, entire tribes converted with them. By 1876 there were 2,000 Batak Christians. After that, numbers mushroomed at an accelerating rate. By 1918 there were 180,000. The missionaries were bewildered as to how to train so many people. Fortunately, the Dutch government decided to let its school teachers instruct the natives in the catechism. And from the start, the missionaries established the church so that local elders could run it under the general supervision of missionaries.
Ludwig traveled the island. He claimed huge areas for Christ. His life was in keeping with his claims. For example, he once covered with blankets men who had fallen asleep harassing him. They woke and were ashamed. By his death on this day May 23, 1918, he saw his dreams fulfilled. God’s work flourished even in the heart of the island. During World War II, the church, freed from mission control, quadrupled in size. Indonesia is largely Islamic, but thanks to Ludwig’s vision, a strong Christian church survives in Sumatra. Mission historian Stephen Neill considered Nommensen one of the greatest missionaries of all time.