Read letters from Charlotte Blackburn
Charlotte left service with Presbyterian World Mission in 2012
About Charlotte Backburn's ministry
Charlotte is serving as an English teacher and teacher trainer at Duta Wacana Christian University, a highly respected academic institution located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Charlotte helps students from a variety of academic majors improve their English skills, enhancing their ability to succeed in academia and commerce. The school, which is supported by 12 Christian denominations in Indonesia, plays an important role in preparing ordained and lay leaders for the country’s churches. Yet the school is open to people of all faiths and seeks to build positive interfaith relationships. Charlotte helps doctoral students with their academic writing and also helps to prepare talented Duta Wacana students for doctoral work.
In a world fraught with tensions between Muslims and Christians, Charlotte is excited to be serving in a place that could model positive Christian/Muslim relationships to the world. She says, “I look forward to working in an academic environment with people of all faith traditions in a country that is arguably leading the way in positive interfaith relations, specifically between Muslims and Christians.”
Download a prayer card that lifts up Charlotte's work in Indonesia
About Charlotte Backburn
Charlotte Blackburn compares living the life of faith to a fish swimming in its natural habitat. “As a fish cannot survive without its watery home, I too am dependent upon my faith to sustain me and to give me life,” she says. “Additionally, while the identity of a fish is always associated with its dependence on water, so too do I seek to identify myself as a faithful Christian through my actions, words and service.”
Charlotte comes to mission service from a varied career that has ranged from city planning to restaurant management. In recent years she received certification as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor and has taught ESL at Central Piedmont Community College in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
As she begins her service in Indonesia, Charlotte draws special inspiration from Matthew 5:13-16, where Jesus calls his followers to be salt and light to the world.
“I understand this Scripture to mean that we are to use our good, special gifts that are natural to us, as a salty taste is to salt for instance, and share our gifts with others,” she says. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, the song says. This Scripture reminds us of that and that we are bearers of the love of God through Christ. It is our responsibility to share that love with the world as the light on a lampstand, lighting the house.”
As bearers of the light, Christians have the opportunity to beckon more people into the circle of Christ’s love, Charlotte says. “My hope for the church is that we can reflect God’s love in such a way that we attract people into the body of Christ, here at home and internationally, to develop relationships that support the work of God through His children.”
In her ministry at Duta Wacana Christian University Charlotte wants to bear witness to her faith in ways that are sensitive to the interfaith context. “I hope to share the love of God though kindness, compassion and positive relationships with people of different faith traditions,” she says. “I hope to develop trusting, communicative bonds with others that will allow greater understanding, mutual respect and sincere friendships to flourish.”
Charlotte earned a bachelor’s degree from Queens University, a Presbyterian-affiliated school in Charlotte. She is a member of Plaza Presbyterian Church in Charlotte and has one adult daughter, Azzedienne.