Showing posts from November, 2012

Our help comes from the Lord

I will lift up my eyes to the hills - from where will my help come? 
My help comes from the Lord. Psalm 121:1, 2
     Indonesia is a Muslim majority culture. The proportions vary, but whether you are part of the 10 or 20% minority or almost half of the population, it means something extra to be a Christian in this country. 

     I traveled up into the Muria area, a mountainous region where Mennonite Christians originated in the 1850s, on my way to stay with a family for a week in the village of Sukodono. I was with Pak Jimmy and Pak Lilik, MCC national staff, and we visited Mennonite churches, schools and hospitals on the way. 

     Pak Lilik told me his parents were Muslim. His sister took him to Sunday school as a young child and he eventually became a Christian. Of his six siblings, only he and his sister are Christians. He said, in the end, his parents were able to honor his choice. 

     We met Jonathan Gravelle (above), a SALTer from British Columbia teaching English in several school…

Go and do likewise

And who is my neighbor . . .  the one who showed him mercy. (Luke 10)
In the Gospel of Luke, when the lawyer asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells him to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and love his neighbor as himself.  Still not satisfied, the lawyer asks Jesus who his neighbor is?

     Jesus responds by telling the parable of the good Samaritan and concludes by asking the lawyer which of the three who passed by the man who was robbed was a neighbor tohim. The lawyer responds by saying that the neighbor to the man was the one who showed him mercy. 

     Jesus responds: Go and do likewise. 

     What does it mean to go and do likewise in our world today? I am thinking of that today as I sit in Indonesia and watch the violence unfold in Gaza. What does it mean to be a neighbor to people when violence, poverty and unemployment are constant threats to families and 80 percent of the population is dependent on aid? What does it mean to be a neighbor to…

City of Peace

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. - Psalm 146: 3 Solo, Indonesia
     There are more Muslims in Indonesia than in any other country in the world. And while the large majority of Indonesia's Muslims are moderate and opposed to violence, fundamentalist Islam and terrorism also exist. In fact, there is a history of violence in Solo. Every terrorist act in Indonesia since 1999, including a bombing of a church last month, can be linked to Islamic teachers in this city. There is a fear among many in the Muslim community that Solo is a recruiting grounds for terrorism. 
     The Forum for Peace Across Religions and Groups (FPLAG) has been working for peace for more than a dozen years. Mennonite Central Committee, through its connection with the Mennonite churches in Indonesia, has been partnering with FPLAG since its beginning. The Forum began when Mennonites and other Protestant groups, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, followers of Confucius and…

Sharers in the promise of Christ Jesus

. . . members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.(Eph 3:6)

"In Indonesia, MCC is salt so that the church can be the light," long-time MCC Indonesia worker Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi told me in the MCC office in Salatiga. There are good reasons why MCC has a long record of working in this country, she told me. 

There's a history of violence here and Indonesia is in a part of the world that experiences natural disasters regularly. The largest Islamic population in the world is here. And one of the largest populations of Mennonites outside of North America is also in this country. In fact, Jeanne said, every partner MCC has in Indonesia and every placement it makes is with the blessing of the three Mennonite Church synods.

Later that week, we gathered in Semarang, Indonesia. Eighteen candidates. A leadership team from the three Mennonite synods. And Mennonite Central Committee workers. Our purpose was the same - to determine which six y…