A common calling

June was a busy month, and July promises to be another busy month. Although most of the students have left the deaconess school for their practical work, there is still plenty of work to do. Presently, I am working on a schedule and syllabus for an intensive English course for the incoming students due to begin in August, as well as the teaching I’ll do throughout the semester.

And then there is my responsibility at the HKBP Nommensen University in Pematangsiantar. The final week of June I had another busy week of teaching and observing (and being a radio star on an English radio program). For the students there, that was the last week of the Semester. I will return to Siantar on Friday in advance of a rather large seminar on the 7th of July. Somehow, this small deaconess found herself as a speaker in a plenary session of a seminar titled, “English Language Acquisition Paradigm and Integrated Character-Based Learning”. The topic assigned to me is “Models of Teaching.” A post will follow about the event.

I have not forgotten about other stories to share. My time has been short and only recently have I fixed my laptop (well, not fixed. It needed a completely new hard drive, but a clever university student helped me). So, I expect it to be easier to post my reflections.

Until I am finished writing my own stories, I can share this one from the ELCA about myself and the deaconess school in Balige. The LivingLutheran.com is a resource of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is an interactive site that has articles about culture, faith, the church, and more. You can find the article about my school here: A common calling

The reason it is titled “A common calling” is that as a deaconess, I have been called here to be a servant. There are many things that are different about life in the U.S. and life in Indonesia. What is the same, what transcends the language barrier and other differences, is our desire and common calling to love God and love neighbor. Enjoy!

Now, below are some recent photos for your enjoyment
Batak party
This is a Batak party

Makan
A typical scene in a restaurant here. This one is in Siantar, where I ate some delicious mie goreng (fried noodles).

On Missio Dei and What I’m Doing

I have already posted a page, that at this point, contains basic information about Indonesia, as well as a page about the global mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Here I will give some background about the work that I will be doing, though most will be discovered and shared with you as I live through it.

First, a little about naming this site. I have chosen the name missio dei, because it is Latin for “mission of God.” God is a missional God, creating, redeeming, and sustaining all life. Our vocational callings lead us to participate in this missio Dei of in relationship with the world around us—communally, locally, and globally. Although I have accepted a unique position in the church, to walk alongside sisters and brothers in another part of the world, the missio Dei is not solely the work of Pastors, Deaconess, Missionaries, or other trained ministers. It is God’s work, alive in the work of all God’s people in all areas of life and creation. Or, to borrow a phrase from the ELCA, “God’s work. Our hands.” Therefore, this blog is the written journey of one small piece of the whole; an exploration and sharing of accompaniment through my eyes, recognizing that so many people all over the world are also a part of the life-giving, reconciling work of God.

So, what will I be doing? To sum it up: teaching English at the Deaconess School of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) in a small town of Balige, on the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia. The HKBP is a Lutheran church body of 4 million members that has been in existence for 150 years. Read more about the HKBP as well as how the ELCA has accompanied them in ministry here. As I teach English to young Indonesian women, themselves preparing for lives of ministry and service, I will live with them at the school and share in the communal life.

Also important, is that I will be learning much as well. Here, you will read stories of the journey, of the people, the things I learn about Indonesian culture, language, and life at the equator in Southeast Asia. It is important to stress that in this relational process, that there is much mutuality of giving and receiving.

So, dear readers, my hope is that you, too, may be transformed in this process—as I will be and those with whom I work. I believe this is the nature of our God.