The work of our Christian brothers and sisters in Indonesia has probably never been more important. In the wake of church bombings in Surabaya last month, in which 12 people were killed and at least 40 injured, Uniting Church partners are again acutely conscious of their role as peacemakers and their call to love, justice and hope.
Under the lingering shadow of global terrorism, the good news stories we hear from our friends on the frontline throughout the islands of Indonesia are all the more valuable. Harmony and goodwill are being woven between people of different religions and culture, and Uniting Church partners are in the thick of it.
In Maluku, Ambon, where ongoing violence tore Muslim and Christian communities apart 18 years ago, Uniting Church partners are seeding projects, such as chicken breeding and community gardens (including hydroponic kale, no less), that bring communities together by overcoming poverty.
In Bali, where 98 percent of the population are Hindu, the tiny Christian church is having a real positive impact, travelling to remote areas to kickstart small businesses among impoverished women, training families in the care and breeding of goats, providing health care for whole communities.
In the mountains north of Denpasar, a family ekes out a living growing flowers for Hindu ceremonies and rituals, selling them to those who need to make offerings for the many occasions demanded by the gods.
Kadek, Gede and their two children are quietly proud of their immaculate garden and the chickens they’ve newly acquired through UnitingWorld supported projects. They have, they say, often been hungry. Gede has a thyroid condition they can’t afford to treat. They long for so much more for their children.
“No one comes here,” they say. “We aren’t part of the tourist industry – we don’t have the skills. Until MBM came (the development arm of the Bali Christian Church) we had no help at all. But they came and they listened to us – to our worries for our children. And so much has changed here for us because of their help.”
In recognition of the success of UnitingWorld’s poverty alleviation and peacebuilding projects, each year the Australian Government offers vital funding toward this work.
For every $5 for which UnitingWorld is eligible, they’re committed to raising $1 from supporters. So right now, your gift to UnitingWorld can go up to six times further toward the work of UCA partners in Indonesia – and also in India, Zimbabwe, East and West Timor and Zimbabwe.
The strengthening of relationships between different cultures and religions, particularly those right on our doorstep in the Asia/Pacific region, is critical to our future. We know that we’re better together.
If you’re able to donate, please give a gift that goes six times as far at www.unitingworld.org.au/together.