The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod began work in Indonesia in 1995 with the Pelita Harapan (Light of Hope) Foundation, an organization dedicated to establishing Christian schools throughout all of Indonesia—including schools of international standard for Indonesia’s elite, to schools in remote villages for those children who have no access to an education. LCMS international educators are involved in Christian teacher education, administration, curriculum development and teaching at Pelita Harapan schools. This work was expanded in 2002 to a new Indonesian province, Papua (Irian Jaya) at the request of province officials for help in developing its educational system.
In January 2005, the LCMS sent a survey team to Indonesia to assess the needs of the victims of the disastrous Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami. LCMS teachers from around Asia came together in July and September 2005 to lead English-teaching seminars for teachers in Aceh province. The seminars were so well received that the LCMS was requested to send more long-term volunteer teachers to work in local schools. The first teachers to do so arrived in January 2006 to serve in short-term and long-term capacities, assisting and training English teachers and teachers of other subjects in the local schools of Aceh province. (Aceh was one of the provinces most severely affected by the tsunami and the majority of its population is composed of practicing Muslims.)
The LCMS first supported mercy projects in Indonesia through a partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries in 2001, providing food, clothing and blankets to families affected by mudslides, which were the result of earthquakes and heavy rains. Since then, support has gone towards tsunami relief coordination, medical assistance, refurbishing schools and theological symposia. Current support includes earthquake, tsunami and volcano disaster response.