Station: [936] Tinur Siahaan from Indonesia

  • Bibelhaus Erlebnis Museum

Through the East India Company, a translation of the Bible already existed in 1614 on the island of Borneo. The Bahasa Malaysia language of this translation is today the common language of 300 million people on the islands between Thailand and Australia.

Indonesia is one of these. The population there is more than 90% Muslim. Aside from the Islam of the Arabic peninsula, there are also followers of Buddhism and Hinduism (originally from India) and followers of Confucianism from China in this multi-ethnic state. Some areas are characteristically Christian, including the interior of northern Sumatra. The Batak people are predominantly Christian and belong to a Lutheran church.

Tinur Siahaan came to Germany in 1972 with many other women from Indonesia as a newly-hired nurse. She comes from the Batak people, who still today have a close relationship with Germany since the first missionary came from Nordstrand and built schools, hospitals and churches together with the former head-hunters.

It has not been forgotten in the Batak culture that Ludwig Nommensen translated the Bible and the hymnbook into the Batak language in 1862 and thereafter, and created a dictionary as a basis for teaching. The Batak church is the largest Protestant church in East Asia, with more than 4 million members, and is one of the largest Lutheran churches worldwide. Since all Batak children go to school, they are meanwhile employed as civil servants throughout Indonesia, thanks to their high-level of education.

Of course Tinur Siahaan had her Bible and hymnbook in her own language with her in her suitcase when she arrived in Frankfurt. Singing and taking action are important for her as a nurse. Indonesian Christians love to sing. Tinur Siahaan gives us an example of a song from the German hymnbook that is also well-known in Indonesian.

In 2005, her evangelical-Indonesian church became the first evangelical, Asian-language congregation to join a Protestant regional church in Germany.