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Indonesia: Focus and Courage

Lusindo Tobing, pastor, GKJ Nehemia, Jakarta. Photo provided by Lusindo Tobing

We, GKJ Nehemia – the assembly and all the GKJ Nehemia congregation – agree on focus and courage (courage, determination, intention and strength) to face and become God’s work partner for the world, in two focuses.

The first one is improvement of Worship Services, on site, as well as courage (forced by circumstances and the needs of the people) via online. When the Covid pandemic hit, almost all churches in the world, including in Indonesia, faced the challenge of continuing to carry out worship services and various services. The most basic of course is holding Sunday services. We (GKJ Nehemia) are grateful to be able to consistently organize it without interruption. Even though it has changed several times: Online with video recordings, Online and Onsite with very limited attendance of the congregation (only one worship hour, namely 09:00 in the morning), then Online live streaming and Onsite with limited attendance of the congregation, then added 2 worship hours (at 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the afternoon) because the number of Onsite attendance has increased to match the Online presence, and until now there are still 2 worship hours but the number of Onsite attendance is already the majority and they still use Online Live Streaming.

A little additional information, that before the pandemic we served 4 hours of worship (06, 08, 10 and 17). And until now, we still urge and be firm for the congregation to use masks during worship. We agree to be consistent and continue to improve the quality of our Onsite & Online services, hoping to return to 4 hours of worship, still anticipating the development of the Covid situation towards endemic, people still getting used to washing their hands, wearing masks during worship, and daring to be faithful to be a church that saves.

The second one is Diakonia. Many congregations were really affected by the pandemic, both economically, with layoffs (termination of employment), closed business or trade business, and difficulty paying school fees for children, it is even more difficult, although we have previously been living very simply, to meet daily needs. The congregations have also affected mentally and in faith. People need prayers, visits and assistance, especially families who have lost family members . Without mentioning names, in our congregation there is even a mother, a widow, who lost three of her sons in a row during the pandemic.

The Diakonia Commission in the transitional period towards endemic is now increasingly needed, coordinating with the assemblies, mobilizing togetherness in each region sharing, starting with recording who and how developments that need attention are served, then, praying (both online coordinated by the Care Team and Task Force, also prayers for each region and commissions) and conduct more frequent, scheduled and unscheduled Diakonia Visits to the GKJ Nehemia congregation. From paying attention to physical health as well as faith, sharing in the region and from the Diakonia Commission, giving strength of consolation, to subsidizing transportation money, subsidies for starting a trading business again, and the Diakonia Commission adding scholarship assistance to the children of church members.

Diakonia also increased concern for the environment around the church which includes Carrefour, Fire Department, and Poins Mall, as well as the MRT transportation spot which is relatively new in Jakarta-Indonesia). The gates of our church are always open if there are people in the community who need shelter, pray, drink, handwashing water, and limited health services at the church polyclinic. More broadly, it extends to diaconal, health and sharing services to the sub-district community where GKJ Nehemia is located, namely Pondok Pinang Sub-District, South Jakarta.

And in particular, Diakonia is really far outside the city and in areas, both affected by pandemics and natural disasters. Particularly to and through friends of the church and Christian institutions as well as non-Christian organizations in the fields of economics, food aid, repairs of places of worship and schools to various locus (locations) that are really in need.

Rev. Lusindo Tobing