Sumba Seminary Library Project Update

January 20, 2015

By Rev. John Chamberlin
Located on one of Indonesia’s remote and impoverished islands, the newly formed seminary of the Christian Church of Sumba recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.  Despite having very limited material resources, professors, staff, students, and graduates of the School of Theology are striving to become “good news to the poor."
One of their ongoing concerns is human trafficking.  As longtime missionary Dr. John Campbell-Nelson has reported, “Sumba is one of the major sources of modern slaves, just as it was a major exporter of old-fashioned slaves in the colonial era.”  Lured away from their villages with promises of a good salary, Sumbanese often find themselves victims of the human trafficking industry that sends thousands of young people to Indonesian, Malaysian, and Middle Eastern cities, factories, and plantations where they end up as virtual slaves. 
The Rev. Irene Umbu Lolo, STT GKT Dean, wishes to convey her heartfelt gratitude for the books Conference members and churches have donated to the seminary library, even as she reiterates the seminary’s continued need for additional books.  While Hebrew and Greek Bibles and dictionaries are very much needed, English language biblical commentaries also are being sought – in particular,  several volumes to complete the both the Interpretation and the Anchor Bible Commentary series. 
Once books are collected, another challenge is getting them to Sumba.  The U.S. Postal Service has stopped sending mail by ship and there is no longer an overseas book rate, so now postage often costs more than the books are “worth,” at least in the commercial sense of the term.  So an appeal is being made to individuals or groups for help in covering some of these expenses. 
Tax-deductible donations in the form of checks can be sent to “First United Methodist Church of Hayward,” earmarked “ETRO-Sumba” on the memo line.  The address is 1183 B Street, Hayward, CA 94541.   Checks can also be sent to John Chamberlin, National Coordinator of East Timor Religious Outreach, at 1221 34th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122. 
For more detailed information you can contact me by phone at (510) 270-8399, or by email: