A Letter from Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta, serving in Indonesia
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Dear family and friends,
What a time to travel around the world from Indonesia to California! I returned to the USA in early December without Bernie. I had to return because my U.S. government travel permit had expired. If I had not returned, I would have lost my Green Card, and would not have been able to continue to serve with Presbyterian World Mission.
After a 14-day quarantine at our daughter Marion’s home, I moved to sister Marda Stothers’ lovely home in Berkeley. Marda’s house is near our daughter Rina’s home and our home church, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley.
So, what have I been able to do for four months in the USA when I could not travel or visit churches as usual? Thanks to sister Marda’s generous hospitality, I have a safe place where I can continue my work in Indonesia and share it with our partners in the USA. Thank God for fast internet! Every day I communicate via Zoom or video calls with people around the world. I can talk regularly with Bernie and my family and hold meetings with my staff at House of Authentic Sense (HAS) in Yogyakarta and my colleagues at the Business Faculty of Duta Wacana Christian University (DWCU) in Indonesia. I can even have WhatsApp meetings with village members of HAS Co-op, guide my students at DWCU in completing their master’s theses, and teach students at Tentena Christian University in Central Sulawesi in Indonesia. Every day I communicate with churches and mission committees by email, WhatsApp, Zoom and Sunday preaching online. This is much easier to do without a 15-hour time difference! In addition, I continue painting, writing, cooking, and spending time with my family and host.
Since HAS Co-op was certified as a fair trade organization, I have been thinking about how to build justice and peace into the world order. I realize that political interests and economic competition are always present. Neither the market, nor government alone, can be trusted to instigate greater justice and peace in the world order.
Good relationships between people from different racial, cultural, and religious groups cannot be taken for granted. They must be built continuously because many factors are beyond anyone’s control.
My students learn that effective social entrepreneurship requires more than business skills. Village entrepreneurs must manage the strengths within themselves, their families and society, in order to share their products. Farmers, artisans, and buyers are brought together because of their common appreciation for the products to be sold.
This trip was a great opportunity for me to bring HAS Co-op samples to the USA and get feedback from American supporters on their appropriateness for sale through churches at holiday fair trade markets. On February 18, 2021, we held a Zoom discussion between Presbyterian supporters of fair trade, Indonesian Christian scholars, and Muslim and Christian members of HAS Co-op (https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/fair-trade-co-op-lifts-indonesians-out-of-poverty/). We evaluated the quality and price of the products from the perspectives of American buyers and Indonesian sellers (https://youtu.be/jNrnQb9Dw8Y).
Sister Marda, my host, knows the anguish of inter-religious conflict from her experiencesin Northern Ireland, where she and her late husband served as missionaries. I asked her to honestly evaluate HAS Co-op coffee and a hand-made wooden coffee mug. She wrote:
I received a gift of Javanese coffee and a covered teak cup with which to drink it, which came from Griya Jati Rasa, (HAS Co-op) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The coffee was exceptionally delicious and using the teak cup kept it hot. The flavor is full bodied and not at all bitter.
Fair trade is a people-to-people movement because it cuts out corporations that buy goods at the lowest possible price and sell for maximum profit. But trade has never been only about profit. It is also about relationships. HAS Co-op is transparent about how it calculates prices for its products. But some things cannot be calculated in monetary terms. What is the value of buying hand made goods that are the product of collaboration between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia? How do we calculate the value of hand-made fabrics created by disabled Muslim teenagers who are empowered by Christians?
Just relationships between different religious, racial, and cultural groups, is part of the Gospel: Good News about reconciliation between God and humanity, “Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free” (Gal. 3:28). It is the Church that will bring this good news, not governments or multinational corporations. Thank you for entrusting me to share this good news with the people of Indonesia. Our ministry depends on your support. Please contribute to Presbyterian World Mission for our work in Indonesia. If you are interested in HAS Co-op products for your church’s Christmas fair, please contact me. We are grateful for your prayers.
Warm peace from Farsijana and Bernie
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Tags: Duta Wacana University, fair trade, House of Authentic Sense (HAS) Co-op, Muslim Christian dialogue, Tentena Christian University
Tags: Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta
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