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First Missions
Southeast Asia: Indonesia
January 13, 2023


Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world. It stretches along the equator, over one-eighth of the earth's circumference. The number of islands in Indonesia is estimated to reach 17,504 islands, of which about 6,000 are inhabited. Indonesia shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia, as well as maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

The five main islands of Indonesia are: Sumatra, Java (with more than half of the country's population), Borneo (known as "Kalimantan" in Indonesia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea. New Guinea is administratively divided into two parts: its western half comprises the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (collectively, formerly called Irian Jaya); and its eastern half comprises the major part of Papua New Guinea, an independent country since 1975.

Papau New Guinea and East Timor
are included on the Australian Workers list. Indonesia is one of Australia's closest neighbours.


When did the workers first arrive in Indonesia?  1929 in Java

Who were the first brother workers? George Absalom (from South Africa) and James Bird (formerly of Dutch East Indies)

Who were the first sister workers?

Who was the first to profess? 

Who was the first native to go in the work?  

When & Where was the first meeting? 
When & Where was the first baptism?

When & Where was the first convention? 
Where have subsequent conventions been held?
Where is the convention currently held? 

Who have the Overseers been? Joshua Van Ysseldyke, from Holland, entered the work in 1947. In 1950, he went to Indonesia. In 1962 he returned to Holland due to the immigration laws, but in 1970 returned to Indonesia where he remained as the overseer until his death in 1990 at the age of 74.

Indonesia (formerly Dutch East Indies).
In 1929, the Workers pioneered Java, one of the largest five Indonesian Islands. They were George Absalom (from South Africa) and James Bird (formerly of Dutch East Indies). Willem Boshoff (from South Africa) arrived in 1939.

During WWII from April 14, 1942, Boshoff was interned in Java by the Japanese, along with his co-worker, Bernard Frommolt, two Dutch Sister Workers, Gertie Maree and Esther Loots (and some Friends), until December 31, 1945. Boshoff was able to witness to some prison inmates and some professed.

After the War, Boshoff returned to Indonesia from 1948 to 1963. Joshua Van Ysseldyke (from Holland) preached in Indonesia from 1950 to 1962 when he left due to immigration issues. Later, he returned and was Overseer from 1970 until his death in 1990.

1929. JAVA. George Absalom (from South Africa) laboured in Java for some years; he and James Bird (formerly Dutch East Indies) being the first workers to go there in 1929.

1939 & 1948-63. Willem Boshoff (2nd) from South Africa started in 1933 and in 1939 went to Indonesia while it was still under Dutch control. He was interned by the Japanese in 1942 along with Bernard Frommolt and two Dutch sisters until 1945. On being released he returned to South Africa but went again to Indonesia in 1948 where he preached until 1963 when he returned to South Africa where he continues to labour (1991).

1950-62 & 1970. Joshua Van Ysseldyke (2nd), from Holland, started in 1947 and in 1950 went to Indonesia. In 1962 he returned to Holland due to the immigration laws, but in 1970 returned there where he remained as the overseer until his death in 1990 at the age of 74.

1962. John McQuillan, from Queensland, Australia, started in the work in 1961 and in 1962 went to Indonesia, in 1963 to Singapore, in 1964 to Thailand, c1980 to the Philippines and in 1990 to Sarawak.

1970. Ralph Joll,
from New Zealand, started in the work in 1950, went to Sabah in 1953, to Malaysia in 1956, to Thailand in 1956, then to Indonesia in 1970 where he currently labours (1992) having taken citizenship in that country to enable him to stay.

1970. Ray Cruickshank, from Victoria, Australia, started in 1966, went to Malaysia in 1970, then to Indonesia in 1987 but was unable to stay in the country.

1970s. Simeon Sarmiento, from the Philippines, started in 1957 and went to Indonesia during the 1970s.

1974. Mieke Van Noordennen was born in Holland but professed after the family migrated to Victoria. She went into the Work in 1964 and went to Indonesia in 1974.

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