Monthly Archives: August 2020

This is the day

This is the day the Lord has made.

It is amazing how the Lord works when you have a purpose, I have come to realize that the saying the Lord works in mysterious ways is true. As part of the EMS volunteer programme we as volunteers are given various topics to report about each month , this month was religion and everyday life. Each day is a blessing and as the sun rises in the east (another saying that is true as we wake up really early here in Indonesia, some of my host families were surprised if I woke up 5 minutes later than the usual time of 6am….but hey the early bird catches the worm right hmmm seems like my experience in Indonesia has brought all these sayings to life.).

My programme for the past three months consisted of visiting various churches within the Church of Gepsultra, this gave me a wide impression of the importance of religion and everyday life in Kendari especially since Christianity is a minority religion which makes up about 10% of the population. There are 5 recognized religions in Indonesia (Muslim, Christianity, Catholic, Buddahsim, Hinduasim and Konghuchu).

Religion plays an important role in peoples lives in Kendari, from schooling to home life it all revolves around the love of God and praising him through song, dance and prayer. Singing is one of the main pastimes and with choir practice almost everyday of the week, each division within the church has a choir and the people enjoy using the talent God gave them to praise the Lord to the fullest.

Family prayer meetings are held almost every day, these prayer meetings are like a feast, after each service a huge dinner is prepared. The prayer meetings are all well attended.

I am based at a christian school during the day, every Monday morning a worship service is prepared and led by the students. I was amazed at how well prepared each service was and how willing the students are to sing, pray and worship. The school also has Muslim students and teachers who have a separate service.

The Indonesian motto Berbeda Tetapi tetap satu (Unity in diversity) can be seen in the way the various religious groups live in harmony with each other, Churches and Mosques flourish as people flock to the services some of these institutions are situated on opposite streets from each other. There is a Church and Mosque in Kendari which is separated by one wall as a symbol of this unity.

 

Indo report picture 1

I have also noticed this unity at the school as two boys, one Muslim and one Christian were proud to announce to me that they are best friends.

At the last church I visited I met a man Mr. Miswan Sonaru whose father was one of the first original Kolaki Tribes to convert from Islam to Christianity and became a missionary. Mr Sonaru’s wife was also Muslim before they got married and she converted to Christianity. We had an interesting conversation, he is a faithful man and loves God. His children are all named after someone in the bible.

Indo report picture 2

While attending Sunday service and various family prayer meetings, because of the language barrier it challenged me to read my bible with more understanding as I would have to translate from the Sermon also challenging my listening skills…as I mentioned before the Lord works in mysterious ways and He indeed gives us each day as a blessing to be praised.

Beloved Community

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.


https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-beloved-community-dr-_b_4583249#:~:text=Martin%20Luther%20King%20popularized%20the,of%20one’s%20fellow%20human%20beings.


In the midst of the current pandemic where we should be standing in solidarity with our fellow brothers and sisters to find a cure, the systematic issues of racism, inequality and poverty have become a cause for concern as many countries face financial difficulties.


The South African members of the EMS International Youth Network (YouNet) together with the EMS Youth department organized the first digital multi-national YouNet Seminar this past weekend, 33 delegates from four different countries (South Africa, Germany, Ghana and Indonesia) came together under the theme Beloved community.


I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this meeting, we were exposed to the above topic in an interesting and interactive way led by Rev. Seth Naicker. His style of lecturing was one of interactive and engaging conversation using the digital platform as best he could to have all participants involved in the discussion. The concept of Beloved Community is broad but if broken down into specifics that affect you it becomes more manageable, with the group of delegates our minds were opened as we were taught to ask questions, What? Why? And When? – to not just accept things as they are. The lecture was thought provoking and I am sure each and every person in attendance found some form of growth. We discussed and tackled challenges in our church, communities and countries especially around the Black Lives Matter movement as it affects us all, and through this conversation and the views shared we were able to uplift and enrich each other in encouragement to go out and be the leaders we are meant to be.


What stood out for me or as we called it my “precious pearl of the day” was the following Xhosa song sang at weddings in South Africa…


Tswang tswang tswang le bone ngwana utshwana lil colourdi…


Translation: Come out come out and see that the child looks like a coloured.


As a “coloured” South African hearing this song I felt like it was a nice song thinking that it was meant as a form of expression showing love to the coloured community, but after a deeper understanding and discussion my eyes were opened to a different way of thinking.


The above song could be a depiction of saying that people are getting excited that the child is of a fairer skin colour and that makes them better than the rest, in this context I think it does not add value to the concept of Our Beloved Community as we should not be scared to be embraced as beautiful no matter the colour of our skin, education, background etc. – we are all Human Beings and should be treated as such.


The importance of the lecture was not just Beloved Community but also a way of sharing and listening to different viewpoints, each person has a story to share and if we take the time to listen, we are able to understand and comprehend where people are coming from. We should not just confine our thinking to our own “people’ but strive to open our minds to the stories of all people and we might just get a glimpse of Our Beloved Community in them.


Is time to wake up, there are too many Somnumbulists (sleepwalkers) out there just going through the motions, the lecture encouraged us to speak out and act.


Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


Let us soar on wings like Eagles and trust that The Lord will guide us through these trying times and give us courage to act accordingly.


You have a story, what is it? – Share Your Story.