The most difficult situation is the best class of life. When the whole world is facing the pandemic, we learn about solidarity and compassion, not only thinking about ourselves but also other people who are weaker.
Even amid difficulties, we can be a blessing for others and help people in need.
GKMI Yogyakarta caring and loving action (Aksi peduli kasih)
The caring and loving initiative was born out of the concerns of the leaders and activists of GKMI Yogyakarta church over the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many members lost their jobs or were laid off. Thirteen overseas students could not go home while not having any money. There were families who had to self-quarantine because of suspected COVID-19 infection.
Even though the majority of the GKMI Yogyakarta congregation are poor, poverty does not hinder care and love in the midst of a pandemic. The members are optimistic, hopeful and have faith in God.
God’s blessing is sufficient; it precedes and sustains them.
GKMI Yogyakarta Peduli Kasih Team not only gave attention to the welfare of the congregation members (physical and mental health) but also distributed food to community members around the church regardless of religion.
A beautiful harmony
“Yes, there was entertainment from a small radio. On Sunday mornings I always listen to GKMI Yogyakarta’s sermon. Thanks for the food and radio,” says Mrs Martini, 76 years old.
Every Sunday, Mrs. Martini’s neighbour Mrs. Sartini helps her to set up her radio to listen to the Sunday service. Mrs. Sartini also helps Mrs. Martini in preparing Holy Communion when she needed it.
What is interesting is that Mrs. Sartini is a Muslim. It is a beautiful harmony.
Prayer chain movement and action (Gerakan rantai doa dan karya)
The construction of GKMI Synod Wisma Muria in Semarang which started on 11 January 2020 had just begun, when the COVID-19 pandemic happened in Indonesia. Amid the economic hardships of the pandemic, the GKMI Synod committee (Aristarchus Sukarto, Oendianto, Iwan Ganius) didn’t quit. They made a breakthrough instead.
In the committee’s sharing on 11 September 2020, GKMI churches around Indonesia were invited to pray for the workers and the construction of the GKMI synod office while every local church took turns to give lunch for the workers each week.
GKMI enthusiastically supported this movement. A multi-chat group was formed, where every day there is a prayer request and progress report about Wisma Muria. Starting from 28 September 2020, the GKMI churches took turns bringing lunch, visiting the workers and praying for them.
“The workers are very happy”, said Juanto, the project manager. It’s not unusual for the project to supply lunch for the workers; what makes this different is that the church members stay to visit.
“I feel the attention from the GKMI churches. We are thankful and grateful. Hopefully, the relationship will continue among the foremen, workers, supervisors and GKMI churches. Amen!”
Juanto and all the workers are Muslim.
“Alhamdulillah, the construction process of the building is going smoothly. There have been no significant obstacles, there have been no accidents, and the foremen and workers are healthy.
“I believe this is also because of the pastors and the elders who were present and prayed for us. I believe prayer for safeness is very important. Prayer in a Christian or Islamic way does not matter, because we all have the same God, only different ways of believing. We are grateful for GGKMI’s attention.
The supervising engineer Srihono Purnomo says: “The workers are very happy and grateful. They can save 15-20 thousand rupiah a day and take home more money. Because of GGKMI attention and prayer, they work better.
Reverend Aristarchus Sukarto says this movement is not just a matter of togetherness for being part of the same synod, but it is also an expression of faith:
- Feeding workers who need attention is a form of peace, faith, testimony and mission as God feeds and cares for us. (Mark 8:2).
- For us as God’s children, this makes us receive God’s grace in the form of a promise to receive the Kingdom that has been provided (Matthew 25:34-40). God loves and appreciates those who pay attention to the weak and needy.
GKMI Yogyakarta caring and loving action (Aksi Peduli Kasih) and Prayer Chain Movement and Action (Gerakan Rantai Doa dan Karya) are Christian witnesses in a multi-religious world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caring and loving others is shown through real action and building relationships that don’t quit in a difficult situation but overcome hardship.
We can be bearers of peace and bring shalom for others. We can minister without being segregated by religion or social status. We can serve others and let others serve us too.
—Janti Diredja is a retired pastor and a member of GKMI Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
This article first appeared in Courier/Correo/Courrier April 2021.
Este artículo apareció por primera vez en Correo/Courier/Courrier en abril de 2021.
Cet article est paru pour la première fois dans le numéro d’avril 2021 de Courier/Correo/Courrier.
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