Sharing: First Christmas in Guangzhou

As my Christmas letter, our class sang “Silent Night” in English, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese for New Year Celebration at school. The Vietnamese learned to sing it in Indonesian so quickly as we decided to add more voices. There are only three Indonesians and I am not good in singing. At first we wanted to sing Dui Mian de Nv Hai Kan Guo Lai but we found out during rehearsal time that another class would sing the same song so we decided to change it.
I was in tears when I read the reading of morning prayer on Dec 23 from the People’s Companion to the Breviary: “The presentiment that God is not only the Most High, but also the Omnipresent…” God presents so real for me amidst the voices “I don’t believe in God/anything.” Listening to Silent Night in Vietnamese in the next morning made me in tears again.
Soon after my afternoon class on Dec 24, I went to Cathedral by bus. I arrived around 7.10 p.m. and there were a lot of people in queue in the sidewalk in front of the stores with several security guards in blue and green uniform. Later on, the security guards put fence at the right side between the road and us and also between the people in front of and behind us. They also announced “man man zou” (=please walk slowly). When I turned around, I saw mostly young people. Finally, I could enter the parish hall around 8.15 p.m. and the Mass started at 8.00 p.m.! I could see several people were standing in the back of Cathedral as I walked to parish hall. The capacity of Cathedral is 1,200 persons. Later on, my friend said that she was not allowed to enter Cathedral for 9.30 p.m. Mass as it’s already full. There was a big screen at parish hall. As people left during the Mass (I assumed they are non Catholics), I moved 6 times and finally get the seat in front of the screen. At Communion time, lay ministers (and sometimes the priest) asked each person if we are Catholics. After Communion, many people (I assumed they are non Catholics) in queue to ask a blessing from the priest. The Mass finished around 9.30 p.m. and I went home by bus because the last bus was 10.20 p.m. without having supper except half piece of bread while in queue.
I attended Indonesian Mass on Christmas Day. There were around 70 Indonesians mostly students. Several of them were asking why I didn’t come on Christmas eve Mass. There were games for six groups during the gathering: human knot, throw away your sins, walking with Christ, Community Life and Spread the Gospel. I couldn’t attend the preparation meeting as there was rehearsal for New Year Celebration at school so I got the easiest part: being a jury to count the score of the groups. There were also exchanging gifts and first birthday of the charismatic prayer group celebration. I am so grateful for their dedication amidst their school responsibility.
Three students and I visited and prayed together with a patient and her husband in hospital before the Indonesian Mass on Holy Family Sunday. I translated Morning Prayer of the Holy Family Sunday from People’s Companion to the Breviary except for the intercessions in pink papers. At first, I was thinking to attend the English Mass of Holy Family Sunday at Cathedral to make my Christmas season trilingual: Chinese, Indonesian and English and then visited the patient at hospital. God prepared something else. After Mass, I recognized one of my junior in college after having several Q&A as we tried to figure out who we are after 16 years. One of the students brought his homemade Indonesian yellow rice-fried chicken-yellow egg-cucumber pickled for all of us. Later on, I had two hours counseling and prayer session.

Guangzhou, Dec 29, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Christmas Letter 2010

(The Indonesian version is available in the bottom of this letter)

Hi...greetings from Guangzhou-China! I hope you had a blessed Advent and are ready for the Christmas celebration.
As you all know, it’s my first Christmas in mission. I have class on Dec 24 till 6 p.m. so I decided to attend Christmas eve mass in Cathedral. I will celebrate Christmas Day with the Indonesian Catholics. Here are my ”Emmanuel-God with us” experiences during the last two months of 2010. I am still updating my blog regularly including this Christmas Letter as it’s one of the ways to share my mission journey. I want to appreciate everyone’s part in my mission journey by mentioning their name but I also want to appreciate everyone who don't want to be mentioned. One of our sponsors sends donation for my mission after reading my blog. One of my friends knew about my father’s death after reading my blog. I am so glad that more people are reading my blog. I use English even though the grammar is not good enough as the main language because it’s connected with our conggregation website. I also update my status especially my new articles in my blog through yahoo, facebook and twitter.
I am so blessed that I can be a full time Mandarin student in Guangzhou and commute to Hong Kong at least once a month. I am still enjoying my study even though I still can’t pronounce the 4th tone and several initials. Once a week, I attend the review class by postgraduate students of Chinese as a Second Language and have one hour tutorial with an internship teacher. Writing the characters around 30 times helped me to memorize the characters especially during the dictation.
There are many restaurants around dormitory but I should be careful as I am easily getting stomachache after a meal. Once, I got stomachache after eating corn and beef barbeque but the other times, I am fine with the beef barbeque. I usually order meal by pointing out the meal or the picture.
I was moved during the last part of our Thanksgiving prayer. When Sr. Maureen asked to pray spontaneously, I wanted to say thank you for all the support, love and prayers from my sisters but then I started to cry. I was moved again during our prayer in dining room and had tears in my eye when my sister asked whether it's because of my father. I am not sure about that as I didn't think of him during our prayer.
When I revealed my state of life to one of the Indonesian Catholics, she said she was proud of me. She said it’s a surprise and an inspiration. She asked why I didn’t reveal it earlier (as I knew her for almost three months) and I only could say “I don’t have to (reveal it).”
I was moved during the Eucharist of profession of final vows of two sisters of Immaculate Conception on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It reminded me of the grace that I received during my first profession of vows last year.
As I had Monday off due to the opening ceremony of Asian Para Games, I decided to visit the Indonesian women in Lo Wu correctional institution on my way back from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. I made arrangement to visit them before I left for Guangzhou but there was no room available. It’s one of how God prepares the way for me to continue my part time ministry for the Indonesians in Hong Kong. Sr. Flora, RGS and I got a room but then the officer gave another room for me. I was tense when I was listening to one of them as she started to cry. I met two of them for around one and a half hours. They are grateful for my visit.
A patient supposed to have operation for her 7cm cyste ovary upon being hospitalized. Two days later the doctor allowed her to go home and postpone the operation till May 2011. Four months later, the doctor said she will not need an operation. Thanks be to God. It’s a miracle. Fr. Reggie, SVD, she and I prayed together on her first night in the hospital. While accompanying a cancer patient who is hoping to be healed miraculously, I only can pray with her and her family besides pondering the quotation of Francis MacNutt ( "who will get healed and when (and why some people get healed and others do not) is a mystery. Our job is just stay obedient, do what we can, and leave the rest up to God."
I visited Baiyunshan Park and also Museum of the Nan Yue King Mausoleum to see their collections art exhibition of mental disabilities
There are several wholesale stores near Cathedral which sell the Christmas decorations since October. And now, several wholesale stores sell Chinese New Year decorations. There are Christmas trees in the front desk of our dormitory, stores, and restaurants as you can see in the pictures. Christmas songs sometimes can be heard from the store near my dormitory. My classmates and I, twelve of us, sang “Silent Night” in English, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese for our New Year celebration at school.
The quotation of Jean-Marie Howe in ”Cistersian Monastic Life/Vows: A Vision” is my reflection during these months: ”...We must let ourselves be plowed so that the furrows of our person become deeper and deeper, so that our earth becomes softer and softer. This is something our being craves, but this plowing is kenosis (emptying, ...) and kenosis is not easy. In the measure that our being becomes porous, open, grace can penetrate to us....” and I am so grateful for all the ”Emmanuel-God with us” experiences during my first eight months in mission.
Thank you very much for all your support, love and prayers during 2010 and wish you: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May peace and joy be with you always!

Salam dari Guangzhou! Bagaimana perayaan Natalnya?
Ini adalah Natal pertama saya di tanah misi. Pada 24 Des, kelas saya baru berakhir jam 18.00, jadi saya ikut misa di Katedral. Saya ikut misa bahasa Indonesia dan perayaannya pada 25 Desember. Berikut ini adalah pengalaman-pengalaman ”Immanuel-Tuhan beserta kita” saya selama dua bulan terakhir. Saya masih memuat pengalaman saya di blog termasuk Surat Natal ini karena ini adalah salah satu cara untuk membagikan perjalanan misi saya. Setelah membaca blog saya, salah seorang sponsor mengirim sumbangan untuk misi saya dan seorang teman mengetahui bahwa papa meninggal. Saya sangat senang bahwa semakin banyak orang membaca blog saya. Saya memakai bahasa Inggris meskipun bahasa Ingris saya pas-pasan karena blog saya terhubung dengan website konggergasi kami. Saya juga memuat status terbaru saya termasuk tentang artikel baru di yahoo, facebook dan twitter.
Saya merasa sangat diberkati bahwa saya belajar bahasa Mandarin di Guangzhou dan bisa mengunjungi Hong Kong sesekali. Saya masih menikmati kelas-kelas saya meskipun saya masih belum bisa mengucapkan kata-kata dengan benar. Seminggu sekali, saya mengikuti kelas tambahan yang diadakan oleh para mahasiswa pascasarjana bahasa Mandarin dan les dengan seorang guru internship. Latihan menulis paling tidak 30 kali membantu untuk mengingatnya terutama ketika dikte.
Ada banyak rumah makan di sekitar asrama tetapi saya harus berhati-hati karena saya mudah sakit perut. Suatu kali saya sakit perut setelah makan jagung bakar dan sate tetapi di lain waktu saya tidak sakit perut setelah makan sate. Biasanya saya memesan makanan dengan menunjuk makanannya atau gambarnya.
Saya terharu pada bagian akhir dari doa Thanksgiving Day kami. Ketika Sr. Maureen mengundang untuk berdoa spontan, saya ingin mengucapkan terima kasih untuk semua dukungan, kasih, dan doa dari para suster tetapi saya malah menangis. Saya terharu lagi ketika kami berdoa sebelum makan dan berkaca-kaca ketika seorang suster bertanya apakah saya tadi menangis karena teringat papa. Saya tidak yakin karena itu karena saya tidak memikirkan beliau saat itu.
Ketika saya memberitahukan status hidup saya kepada salah seorang umat Indonesia, dia mengatakan dia bangga dan terinspirasi meskipun semula dia kaget. Ketika dia bertanya mengapa saya tidak mengatakannya sejak awal kami berkenalan, saya hanya bisa mengatakan “Saya tidak harus mengatakannya.”
Mata saya berair ketika mengikuti Ekaristi pengucapan kaul kekal dua orang suster Immaculate Conception pada Hari Raya Maria Dikandung tanpa Dosa Asal. Ini karena saya teringat akan rahmat yang saya terima ketika saya mengucapkan kaul pertama tahun lalu.
Karena ada hari libur di hari Senin sehubungan dengan pembukaan Asian Para Games, saya memutuskan untuk mengunjungi beberapa orang Indonesia di penjara wanita Lo Wu dalam perjalanan saya dari Hong Kong ke Guangzhou. Saya berencana mengunjungi mereka sebelum pindah ke Guangzhou tetapi tidak ada ruangan yang tersedia. Ini merupakan salah satu dari bagaimana Tuhan membuka jalan untuk melanjutkan pelayanan paruh waktu saya untuk orang Indonesia di Hong Kong. Sr. Flora, RGS dan saya mendapat satu ruangan tetapi kemudian petugas memberi ruangan lain untuk saya. Saya merasa tegang ketika salah seorang dari mereka bercerita sambil menangis. Saya menemui dua orang dari mereka selama satu setengah jam. Mereka sangat berterima kasih untuk kunjungan saya.
Ada pasien yang akan menjalani operasi pengangkatan 7cm kista di ovarium segera setelah masuk rumah sakit tetapi dua hari kemudian diperbolehkan pulang dan operasi ditunda sampai Mei 2011. Empat bulan kemudian, dokter mengatakan bahwa dia tidak perlu operasi. Puji Tuhan. Sebuah mukjizat. Rm. Reggie, SVD, dia dan saya berdoa bersama pada malam pertama dia berada di rumah sakit. Ketika mendampingi seorang penderita kanker yang mengharapkan mukjizat, saya hanya bisa berdoa bersama dia dan keluarganya sambil merenungkan kutipan dari Francis MacNutt ( "who will get healed and when (and why some people get healed and others do not) is a mystery. Our job is just stay obedient, do what we can, and leave the rest up to God."
Saya mengunjungi Taman Baiyunshan dan juga Museum the Nan Yue King Mausoleum untuk melihat koleksi mereka dan pameran karya seni anak-anak cacat mental
Beberapa toko grosir di sekitar Katedral sudah mulai menjual dekorasi Natal sejak Oktober. Dan sekarang, sudah ada yang mulai menjual dekorasi Tahun Baru Imlek. Pohon Natal sudah mulai dipasang di depan asrama, toko-toko, dan rumah-rumah makan sebagaimana tampak dalam foto. Lagu Natal terkadang terdengar dari toko dekat asrama. Kelas kami, 12 orang, menyanyikan Malam Kudus dalam bahasa Inggris, Vietnam, Indonesia dan Mandarin pada perayaan Tahun Baru di sekolah.
Kutipan Jean-Marie Howe dalam ”Cistersian Monastic Life/Vows: A Vision” menjadi refleksi saya beberapa bulan terakhir: ”...We must let ourselves be plowed so that the furrows of our person become deeper and deeper, so that our earth becomes softer and softer. This is something our being craves, but this plowing is kenosis (emptying, ...) and kenosis is not easy. In the measure that our being becomes porous, open, grace can penetrate to us....” dan saya sangat bersyukur dengan pengalaman-pengalaman ”Immanuel-Tuhan beserta kita” selama delapan bulan pertama saya di tanah misi.
Terima kasih banyak untuk semua dukungan, kasih dan doa-doanya dan saya ucapkan: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May peace and joy be with you always!

With love and prayer,

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Renungan: Minggu Adven III 2010

(Yes 35:1-6a, 10; Yak 5:7-10; Mat 11:2-11)
Bacaan pertama diambil dari kumpulan nubuat Yesaya yang terhimpun dalam Yes 34-35, yang menggambarkan keadaan di masa mendatang ketika umat Israel akan mengalami kembali kejayaannya di bawah pimpinan Yahweh. Gagasan seperti ini timbul di kalangan umat ketika mereka mengalami kekalahan oleh Babel dan sulit untuk bangkit kembali. Dalam keadaan itulah mereka mengingat-ingat kembali apa yang terjadi pada mereka dulu dan kini dengan penuh kepercayaan berharap bahwa Tuhan tetap menolong umatNya.
Hari Minggu Adven III disebut juga Minggu Gaudete, yang berasal dari bahasa Latin yang berarti sukacita, melambangkan adanya sukacita di tengah masa pertobatan karena sukacita Natal hampir tiba. Ini ditandai dengan menyalakan lilin yang berwarna merah muda. Ada yang mendefinisikan sukacita sebagai perasaan yang sama dengan kebahagiaan, tetapi sukacita tidak membutuhkan syarat atau keadaan apapun karena penyebab sukacita dalam hati, yaitu dari Roh Tuhan. Orang yang bersukacita akan merasa hatinya tenang, rileks dan nyaman. Apapun yang terjadi di sekitarnya tidak membuatnya mudah panik dan gelisah. Jadi tidak selalu orang yang bersukacita memiliki perasaan yang meledak-ledak walaupun rasa senang dan gembira adalah dampak dari sukacita, namun lebih dari itu, orang yang bersukacita memiliki ketenangan yang stabil.
Konsili Vatikan II tetap mempertahankan makna Adven sebagai penantian untuk merayakan kelahiran Yesus sebagai Mesias dan kedatangan-Nya yang kedua (parousia). Adven menunjuk pada:
a. dimensi sejarah keselamatan, yaitu Allah yang dinantikan dalam diri Yesus dari Nazaret tampak nyata dalam sejarah hidup manusia di muka bumi.
b. dimensi eskatologis (akhir jaman) kehidupan murid-murid Yesus, oleh karena itu Minggu Adven III juga mengingatkan kita bahwa (harusnya) ada sukacita di tengah masa penantian untuk kedatangan Kristus yang kedua kalinya.

Kita bersukacita karena:
a. Dalam Yes 35: 1-4 dikatakan padang gurun dan padang kering akan bergirang, padang belantara akan bersorak-sorak dan berbunga; seperti bunga mawar ia akan berbunga lebat, akan bersorak-sorak, ya bersorak-sorak dan bersorak-sorai. Kemuliaan Libanon akan diberikan kepadanya, semarak Karmel dan Saron; mereka itu akan melihat kemuliaan TUHAN, semarak Allah kita. Kuatkanlah tangan yang lemah lesu dan teguhkanlah lutut yang goyah. Katakanlah kepada orang-orang yang tawar hati: ''Kuatkanlah hati, janganlah takut! Lihatlah, Allahmu akan datang dengan pembalasan dan dengan ganjaran Allah. Ia sendiri datang menyelamatkan kamu!'' Pengalaman sukacita kita ini akan memampukan kita untuk membagikan sukacita bagi orang lain, terutama bagi mereka yang ”tersisihkan” dalam komunitas. Salah satu cerita favorit saya adalah dari buku Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. One day I returned home to my little girl's third-year birthday party to find her in the corner of the front room, defiantly clutching all of her presents, unwilling to let the other children play with them….I said to myself, "Certainly I should teach my daughter to share. The value of sharing is one of the most basic things we believe in." So I first tried a simple request. "Honey, would you please share with your friends the toys they've given you? "No," she replied flatly. My second method was to use a little reasoning. "Honey, if you learn to share your toys with them when they are at your home, then when you go to their homes they will share their toys with you." Again, the immediate reply was "No!" I was becoming a little more embarrassed, for it was evident I was having no influence. The third method was bribery. Very softly I said, "Honey, if you share, I've got special surprise for you. I'll give you a piece of gum." "I don't want gum!" she exploded. Now I was becoming exasperated. For my fourth attempt, I resorted to fear and threat. "Unless you share, you will be in real trouble!" "I don't care!" she cried. "These are my things. I don't have to share!" … I've learned that once children gain a sense of real possession, they share very naturally, freely, and spontaneously. ( Lewat cerita ini kita diajak untuk mengalami rasa sukacita sebagai orang yang sudah ditebus terlebih dahulu sehingga kita bisa membagikan sukacita itu kepada orang lain dengan alami, bebas dan spontan.
b. Secara tegas dikatakan dalam Yak 5:9 Saudara-saudara, janganlah kamu bersungut-sungut dan saling mempersalahkan, supaya kamu jangan dihukum. Sesungguhnya Hakim telah berdiri di ambang pintu.
c. Allah sendiri hadir sebagaimana dikatakan dalam Yak 35: 5-6a, 10: Pada waktu itu mata orang-orang buta akan dicelikkan, dan telinga orang-orang tuli akan dibuka. Pada waktu itu orang lumpuh akan melompat seperti rusa, dan mulut orang bisu akan bersorak-sorai; dan orang-orang yang dibebaskan TUHAN akan pulang dan masuk ke Sion dengan bersorak-sorai, sedang sukacita abadi meliputi mereka; kegirangan dan sukacita akan memenuhi mereka, kedukaan dan keluh kesah akan menjauh. Hal ini tergenapi saat pelayanan Yesus di dunia sebagaimana dinyatakan dalam Mat 11: 4-5: Yesus menjawab mereka: ''Pergilah dan katakanlah kepada Yohanes apa yang kamu dengar dan kamu lihat: orang buta melihat, orang lumpuh berjalan, orang kusta menjadi tahir, orang tuli mendengar, orang mati dibangkitkan dan kepada orang miskin diberitakan kabar baik."

Yohanes Pembaptis merasa perlu memastikan bahwa Yesus-lah Mesias yang dinantikan oleh bangsa Israel sebagaimana dalam Mat 11: 3: lalu menyuruh murid-muridnya bertanya kepada-Nya: ''Engkaukah yang akan datang itu atau haruskah kami menantikan orang lain?'' Seringkali lebih mudah untuk mengetahui karya-karya Kristus tetapi tidak mudah untuk sungguh-sungguh menjadikan Yesus sebagai satu-satunya Penyelamat hidup kita, terutama di saat-saat kesedihan dan kegagalan. Betapa banyak orang yang berusaha lari dari kenyataan dengan mencari ”penyelamat alternatif” seperti obat-obatan terlarang. Dalam Mat 11: 6 dikatakan Dan berbahagialah orang yang tidak menjadi kecewa dan menolak Aku karena turutilah teladan penderitaan dan kesabaran para nabi yang telah berbicara demi nama Tuhan. Dan dalam Yak 5: 10-11 dikatakan Sesungguhnya kami menyebut mereka berbahagia, yaitu mereka yang telah bertekun; kamu telah mendengar tentang ketekunan Ayub dan kamu telah tahu apa yang pada akhirnya disediakan Tuhan baginya, karena Tuhan maha penyayang dan penuh belas kasihan.
Gereja mengajak kita untuk menyambut Minggu Adven III ini dengan sukacita, bukan hanya karena perayaan Natal akan tiba, namun terlebih lagi karena kita, yang telah ditebus, sedang menantikan kedatangan Yesus yang kedua kalinya untuk menghadirkan KemuliaanNya untuk selama-lamanya. Selama penantian itu, kita hendaknya menguatkan sesama kita yang memiliki ”tangan yang lesu dan lutut yang goyah” dengan berbagai macam cara, baik secara materi, tenaga, maupun doa.
Sukacita karena penyertaan Tuhan dinyatakan kembali sebagaimana dalam Mzm 146:5-10: Berbahagialah orang yang mempunyai Allah Yakub sebagai penolong, yang harapannya pada TUHAN, Allahnya. Dia yang menjadikan langit dan bumi, laut dan segala isinya; yang tetap setia untuk selama-lamanya, yang menegakkan keadilan untuk orang-orang yang diperas, yang memberi roti kepada orang-orang yang lapar. TUHAN membebaskan orang-orang yang terkurung, TUHAN membuka mata orang-orang buta, TUHAN menegakkan orang yang tertunduk, TUHAN mengasihi orang-orang benar. TUHAN menjaga orang-orang asing, anak yatim dan janda ditegakkan-Nya kembali, tetapi jalan orang fasik dibengkokkan-Nya. TUHAN itu Raja untuk selama-lamanya, Allahmu, ya Sion, turun-temurun! Haleluya.

Guangzhou, 10 Desember 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

P.S. Materi renungan ini dari HSM Surabaya, ditulis ulang untuk Komsel Zhongda pada 10 Desember 2010

Renungan: Minggu Adven II 2010

(Bacaan Hari Minggu Adven II tahun A: Yes 11:1-10, Rom 15:4-9 dan Mat 3:1-12)
Dalam masa Adven, Gereja secara khusus mengajak kita semua untuk secara aktif menyiapkan diri menyambut kedatangan Penyelamat dunia.
Bacaan Pertama Minggu Adven II menyatakan tentang Raja Damai yang akan datang karena orang Yahudi pada masa Yesus sedang menantikan seorang Mesias/Penyelamat. Dalam Yesaya 11: 1 dikatakan tentang asal dari Raja Damai, yaitu Suatu tunas akan keluar dari tunggul Isai, dan taruk yg akan tumbuh dari pangkalnya akan berbuah. Dalam Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia dikatakan tunggul adalah pangkal pohon yang masih tinggal tertanam di dalam tanah sehabis ditebang. Jadi Mesias yang akan datang, merupakan suatu kehidupan baru dan buah yang keluar dari sesuatu yang sudah ditebang.
Mesias yang akan datang memiliki karakter yang dipenuhi dengan Roh Allah sebagaimana dinyatakan dalam Yesaya 11: 2-3a: Roh Tuhan akan ada padanya, roh hikmat dan pengertian, roh nasihat dan keperkasaan, roh pengenalan dan TAKUT AKAN TUHAN; ya, kesenangannya ialah takut akan Tuhan. Yang menjadi dasar dari itu semua adalah Takut akan Tuhan – ini juga seharusnya menjadi dasar dari segala komitmen kita untuk mengenal, mencintai dan melayani Dia. Masa Adven bisa menjadi masa untuk merenungkan komitmen kita, baik dalam komunitas sel maupun komunitas yang lebih besar, apakah kita mengalami pertumbuhan/perubahan karakter selama bergabung dengan komunitas?
Mesias akan datang untuk membawa keadilan Allah dengan cara yang sangat berbeda dengan cara yang ada pada masa itu. Sebagaimana dikatakan dalam Yesaya 11: 3b-5: Ia tidak akan menghakimi dengan sekilas pandang saja atau menjatuhkan keputusan menurut kata orang. Tetapi ia akan menghakimi orang-orang lemah dengan keadilan,...kejujuran…kebenaran…kesetiaan.
Kedamaian antara sesama manusia dan antara manusia dengan seluruh ciptaan telah rusak karena kejatuhan manusia dalam dosa sebagaimana dalam Kejadian bab 3-4 (Manusia jatuh ke dalam dosa dan Kain membunuh Habel). Tetapi kehadiran Penyelamat Dunia akan membawa damai antara sesama manusia dan antara manusia dengan seluruh ciptaan, sebagaimana dalam Yes 11: 6-9: Serigala akan tinggal bersama domba dan macan tutul akan berbaring di samping kambing. Anak lembu dan anak singa akan makan rumput bersama-sama, dan seorang anak kecil akan menggiringnya. Lembu dan beruang akan sama-sama makan rumput dan anaknya akan sama-sama berbaring, sedang singa akan makan jerami seperti lembu. Anak yang menyusu akan bermain-main dekat liang ular tedung dan anak yang cerai susu akan mengulurkan tangannya ke sarang ular beludak. Tidak ada yang akan berbuat jahat atau yang berlaku busuk di seluruh gunung-Ku yang kudus, sebab seluruh bumi penuh dengan pengenalan akan TUHAN, seperti air laut yang menutupi dasarnya. Kedatangan Mesias memulihkan hubungan manusia dengan Allah karena dosa manusia diampuni, dan manusia didamaikan kembali dengan Allah. Pemerintahan Mesias adalah pemerintahan yang penuh damai sehingga digambarkan sebagai Taman Firdaus yang dipulihkan. Karenanya ketika Yesus menjadi Raja dalam hidup kita, kita akan merasa damai sejahtera meskipun bukan berarti tidak ada konflik/masalah.
Bertobat artinya meninggalkan kehidupan lama dan melangkah untuk melakukan kehendak Tuhan. Pertobatan merupakan buah dari pengampunan Allah dalam hidup kita, sehingga kesadaran akan kasih pengampunan ini, akan membawa pada pertobatan yang sejati.
Yesus datang untuk mengubah dunia dan Dia memulainya dari kehidupan kita. Roh Kudus, yang adalah agen perubahan, memampukan kita untuk berpartisipasi dalam proses perubahan dunia ini.
Beberapa hal yang dapat dilakukan untuk menjadi Pembawa Damai Allah:
Melakukan pertobatan secara terus menerus termasuk melalui Sakramen Pengakuan Dosa.
Menghasilkan buah yang sesuai dengan pertobatan --- Ada yang mengatakan Perubahan bukanlah perubahan hingga terjadi suatu perubahan. Dalam Matius 3: 10-12 dinyatakan Kapak sudah tersedia pada akar pohon dan setiap pohon yang tidak menghasilkan buah yang baik, pasti ditebang dan dibuang ke dalam api....Alat penampi sudah ditangan-Nya. Ia akan membersihkan tempat pengirikan-Nya dan mengumpulkan gandum-Nya ke dalam lumbung, tetapi debu jerami itu akan dibakar-Nya dalam api yang tidak terpadamkan. Pengadilan Allah berlaku bagi semua orang, termasuk kita yang sudah dibaptis secara Katolik, tanpa kecuali.
3. Mewartakan Kabar Baik - supaya semua bangsa tahu bahwa Yesus datang dan Dia membawa perdamaian bagi dunia, bedakan dengan Mat 28: 19-20: Karena itu pergilah, jadikanlah semua bangsa murid-Ku dan baptislah mereka dalam nama Bapa dan Anak dan Roh Kudus, dan ajarlah mereka melakukan segala sesuatu yang telah Kuperintahkan kepadamu. Dan ketahuilah, Aku menyertai kamu senantiasa sampai kepada akhir zaman termasuk melalui sharing pengalaman iman dalam hidup sehari-hari sebagaimana biasa kita lakukan dalam persekutuan doa, tetapi tentu tidak terbatas pada waktu persekutuan doa saja. Saya belajar untuk mensharingkan pengalaman iman ketika mengikuti Sekolah Evangelisasi Pribadi di Surabaya. Setiap dua minggu sekali, kita diminta menuliskan pengalaman iman kita. Dari pengalaman ini, saya kemudian menuliskan pengalaman-pengalaman saya dengan lebih detail karena saya memang suka menulis dan mengirimkannya kepada teman-teman melalui email, berkembang menjadi blog, sampai akhirnya menerbitkan sebagian dari pengalaman-pengalaman saya dalam sebuah buku dengan harapan dapat menjangkau lebih banyak pembaca.
4. Berpegang teguh pada pengharapan oleh ketekunan dan penghiburan dari Kitab Suci, yang tentunya harus dimulai dengan membacanya.
5. Menjadi pembawa damai, bukan hanya sebagai penjaga damai. Pembawa damai bukan berarti anti konflik. Yesus tidak menghindari konflik, namun Dia selalu menjadi pembawa damai ketika konflik terjadi. Yesus telah mengubah hidup kita supaya kita dapat menjadi pembawa damai di tengah dunia.
6. Dengan adanya kedamaian, akan tercipta kerukunan sehingga kita sehati dan sesuara memuliakan Dia sebagaimana dalam Rom 15: 5-6: Semoga Allah, yang adalah sumber ketekunan dan penghiburan, mengaruniakan kerukunan kepada kamu, sesuai dengan kehendak Kristus Yesus, sehingga dengan satu hati dan satu suara kamu memuliakan Allah dan Bapa Tuhan kita, Yesus Kristus dan bangsa-bangsa yang tidak mengenal Dia pun turut memuliakan namaNya seperti tertulis dalam Rom 15: 9 dan untuk memungkinkan bangsa-bangsa, supaya mereka memuliakan Allah karena rahmat-Nya, seperti ada tertulis: ''Sebab itu aku akan memuliakan Engkau di antara bangsa-bangsa dan menyanyikan mazmur bagi nama-Mu.” dan Yesaya 11: 10: Maka pada waktu itu taruk dari pangkal Isai akan berdiri sebagai panji-panji bagi bangsa-bangsa; dia akan dicari oleh suku-suku bangsa dan tempat kediamannya akan menjadi mulia.

Dengan demikian masa Adven tidak hanya menjadi masa untuk merenungkan komitmen kita dalam komunitas ini tetapi juga untuk merenungkan apa yang telah dan bisa kita perbuat untuk menjadi pembawa damai dan kabar baik bagi orang-orang di sekitar kita.
Saya akan mengakhiri renungan pada malam ini dengan sebuah artikel dari buku Burung Berkicau oleh Anthony de Mello, SJ:
Sufi Bayazid bercerita tentang dirinya seperti berikut ini: 'Waktu masih muda, aku ini revolusioner dan aku selalu berdoa: Tuhan, berilah aku kekuatan untuk mengubah dunia!'
'Ketika aku sudah separuh baya dan sadar bahwa setengah hidupku sudah lewat tanpa mengubah satu orang pun, aku mengubah doaku menjadi: 'Tuhan, berilah aku rahmat untuk mengubah semua orang yang berhubungan denganku: keluarga dan kawan-kawanku, dan aku akan merasa puas.'
'Sekarang ketika aku sudah menjadi tua dan saat kematianku sudah dekat, aku mulai melihat betapa bodohnya aku. Doaku satu-satunya sekarang adalah: 'Tuhan, berilah aku rahmat untuk mengubah diriku sendiri.' Seandainya sejak semula aku berdoa begitu, maka aku tidak begitu menyia-nyiakan hidupku!'
Setiap orang berpikir mau mengubah umat manusia. Hampir tak seorang pun berpikir bagaimana mengubah dirinya.

Guangzhou, 3 Desember 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

P.S. Materi renungan ini dari HSM Surabaya, ditulis ulang untuk Komsel Zhongda-Guang Wai pada 3 Desember 2010

Sharing: The Second Month of Mandarin Study

After two months of reading and writing classes, we learned 33 lessons. There are around 10 new words in “Pinyin” and “Hanzi” for each lesson. We also learned the stroke orders and grammar. There are 6 basic strokes e.g. vertical and horizontal and also 16 compound strokes e.g. horizontal-hook, right-slash-hook and horizontal-vertical-hook. I usually write the new words down 20 times in an exercise book, memorize it by writing it in the magnetic board in the same day of the class and the next day before the class. I usually thought that I knew all the new words before the dictation. Then, during the dictations, I was not sure how to write the strokes or forgot all the strokes even though I wrote it down a few minutes before the dictation. When the teacher returned the dictation, I found out that I added a stroke, wrote it too small or short e.g. the seventh stroke of 起 should be until under 己. The dictation helped me to find out the correct way to write. We had a midterm exam on Nov 16 and my mark was 94.
In conversation classes, we learned 60 sentences related to greetings: how do you do, how is your health, and are you busy with your work; make acquaintances: may I know your name, let me introduce…, and when is your birthday; and make inquiries: how many people are there in your family, what time is it? where do you live? where is the post office? We had a midterm exam on Nov 16 but the teacher didn’t give the result except for the best two students. After the midterm exam, she said I have good number of new words but I should practice to pronounce j,q,x, 3rd tone and 4th tone.
In listening classes, we learned 11 lessons including listening dialogues and answering the questions relate to the dialogue. We had midterm exam on Nov 19 and my mark was 94.
In “Hanzi” class, we learned to write around 130 words. Several words weren’t new words as I learned it in reading and writing class.
The optional classes in Chinese dishes on Tuesdays and Chinese tourism places on Fridays are for the intermediate students, I came only once. I attended Chinese Corner about Traditional Chinese Wedding, Chinese Games, and Ghost.
I attend optional class in pronounciation on Thursdays 12.55 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. The teacher recorded our pronounciation on our first day and gave written review on it: should learn more in pronouncing sh, ch, zh, s, c, z, 3rd tone and 4th tone. I usually should repeat several times in pronouncing the 4th tone. She gave a voice and written copy of the words so I use my pink Ipod to listen it. One of my classmates suggests me to learn to be angry to pronounce the 4th tone correctly.
During our regional meeting in Hong Kong on Oct 17, I shared about my first month in Guangzhou including a short conversation in Mandarin.
My class had an outing to play bowling on Oct 19. I tried to throw the ball several times without changing my shoes as I didn’t intend to play. I got the prize as the funniest player several years ago because I always threw the ball outside the lane.
Li Fei, Kala and I visited 5 goats statue in Yue Xiu Park on Oct 23. We met several students of South Normal China University so we tried to speak in Chinese and they tried to speak in English including offering to be guide to several places in Guangzhou. It’s a very big park and we couldn’t find the Ming Dinasty wall even though we asked several persons.
There is an Indonesian mass and confession. I was moved to see the students stood by along the way from subway station to the chapel to give direction. We had a prayer group together for three universities followed by touring around “Daxuecheng” (universities compound).
There was “tian ji” ( competition in our school on Oct 30. Our class was representated by Vietnamese students and we were the third winner. As we got prize RMB 100.00, we had a party in the class.
We didn’t have classes on Nov 12 due to the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games. Unfortunately, I got cold upon arriving from Hong Kong on Nov 11. I had bed rest whole day and watched the opening ceremony through TV for a while. Our north gate campus was one of the opening ceremony venues as it is in front of the Pearl River. I could see the fireworks from my balcony. One of the Indonesians offered to watch synchronized swimming as she got free tickets on Nov 20. We arrived lately at Foshan Aquatics Centre as it took 2.5 hours trip instead of one hour. There is a booth in cathedral during the Asian Games to help visitors. Catholicism was introduced to Guangzhou during the late of Ming Dynasty. The foundation of the cathedral was laid on June 18, 1863, the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. It is aso called “Shishi” (Stone House) Cathedral. The cathedral was finished in 1888. It covers an area of 2,754 m2, 35 meters wide, 78.69 meters long, 58.50 meters high (towers). The capable of eating is 1,800 visitors. The Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government allocated a special fund (more than 19 million RMB) and the Church raised 3 million RMB for the restoration.
I was moved during my first weekday Mass as I realized how God prepares it. Later on, I hear an Mass on Wednesdays.
One day before my listening midterm exam, I heard that an Indonesian patient was brought to ICU as she was in comma. I planned to visit her on previous Friday with the Indonesian students but I got cold. The translator said that she couldn’t be visited but I decided to visit after the class to accompany the family. The nurse allowed me to go inside ICU by wearing mask and slipper. She is sleeping and her condition wasn’t stabil yet. Her husband and I prayed together. I was laying my hand upon her forehead. She woke up and asked to sit for a moment in the middle of our prayer. After praying, one of the translators said the doctor asked not pray too long as her leukocyte was low. Later on, I was alone outside the ICU for a while and saw she was talking to her husband so I asked her condition to the nurse who brought in the medicine. She said that she didn’t know as she wasn’t the nurse at ICU. Then she placed her both hands in front of her chest, bowed her head, said “Jesu” (=Jesus) and “Qilai” (=wake up). I was not sure what she wanted to say, “you prayed to Jesus to make her wake up” or “you prayed to Jesus and she is waking up” so I said “Tian Zhu” (=God) and made a sign of a cross. I didn’t know whether she was in ICU while we were praying or she heard that we were praying over her.

If you are living in communion with God, if you know you are the loved, and if you make yourself available for service, you cannot do other than minister. Ministry is the overflow of your love for God and others. Ministry is when two people toast their glasses of wine and something splashes over. Ministry is extra. (Henry Nouwen)

Guangzhou, Nov 24, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible
P.S. The patient moved out from ICU ten days later with higher leucocyte.

Sharing: My personal call on a vital issue

One of the prophetic words spoken at the Life in the Spirit Retreat asked for repentence for two mothers who aborted their unborn babies. Later on, one of my roommates, a mother, shared that she sobbed when the Sister spoke about repentance for abortion. She aborted her unborn baby. Her youngest son became naughty recently and it might be happened because her unborn baby wanted attention from the family through her youngest son.
After that, I heard several stories related to post-abortion experiences. I know abortion implies an automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church. As I live in the United States, I started to think that, even though abortion is legalized, a mother will not abort her unborn baby if she has the conviction that it kills a human life. A woman has a right to decide whether she wants to carry her unborn baby or not.
During our silent retreat with the St. Joseph Sisters in La Grange Park, IL, last year, I wished to listen to the Holy Spirit, and I planned to write a reflection about the second week of Advent for the Indonesian Catholic community in Chicago. I also wanted to continue reading Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Merton.

After our opening prayer of the retreat, I saw a book, Ending Abortion by Fr. Frank Pavone. The book was in a closed position. I decided to read it on the second and third days, so I didn’t finish the reflection. I believe that reading the Pavone book was the inspiration from the Holy Spirit. I checked several materials on the Internet, including a video of “Silent Scream” on youtube.
I started to read several pro-life materials from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops for Respect for Life Sunday in 2008. I also decided to be a helpline volunteer at Aid for Women, a pregnancy resource center in Chicago.
I observed for one month, attended a one-day training, and had several video trainings. The center provides free pregnancy tests and information on pregnancy and alternatives to abortion, including adoption. The helpline also gives information on sexually transmitted diseases, RU486 (the morning-after pill), and assistance in obtaining pre-natal care, natural family planning, layettes, diapers and infant clothing, and more.
Later on, I read more pro-life material, including Why Pro-Life? by Randy Alcorn. I also asked for a booklet called, “Sharing the Pro-Life Message,” from the Pro-Life Action League, and I have been sharing about this free booklet with my friends.
So what is the pro-life message? At its most basic level, the pro-life message is: “an unborn child is a human person whose life has value and deserves to be protected by our society” (Sharing the Pro-Life Message, p 2). They also want to share “how abortion harms women–and men” (Sharing the Pro-Life Message, p 2).
According to Bishop Terry Steib, SVD, “if we say that we believe in life, then we must be opposed to abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide, economic injustice, racism, euthanasia and unjust wars; and we must embrace the universe in which we live and which is the source of life to so much of what is important to us.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.21 million abortions performed in the United States in 2005, which means 3,315 abortions per day (Sharing the Pro-Life Message, p 18). As I shared my transformation with an Indonesian friend, I just realized that I am called to be a pro-lifer without any affiliation with a political party. I just do it as my personal call.
I thank President Barack Obama as his view on abortion brings light to my own value about abortion. When I pray the rosary, I pray one decade for the ending of abortion and the death penalty. I don’t know when it will happen.
I also join the Mother of Light Intercessory Prayer at Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, NY, as part of my commitment to be a pro-lifer.

– Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Re-posting from Maryknoll Sisters Formation House Blog:

Sharing: A Conviction

I met Chandra on the first day I arrived in Chicago. She helped to bring my luggage in. She used to come to ask for money and still does. One night, almost midnight, she came to look for one of my sisters and I said that she was not at home through the door and let her go away. I never talked with her personally.
One day she came to look for one of my sisters while we were having a party. I did not know what should I do, let her in or let her stand outside. I did not want to be looked as a cruel person by leaving her outside. Finally, I let her stand outside while waiting.
As Chandra wished to work, I tried to look for job possibilities from the social worker at University of Chicago Hospital but they only dealt with health. McDonald’s had various positions through online application but I did not know whether she can use a computer or not. I asked God to give me the ability to help the one who encounters me.
Chandra came on Oct 14 to look for one of my sisters to ask to clean the leaves. She needed bus fare for her doctor appointment in the afternoon, she had missed her morning appointment already. I said the sisters were away and would be back on Sunday. She walked away from our door, then I asked her “How are you?” so she walked back and she started to share her story by the stairs in front of the kitchen while showing her appointment letters. She has cervical cancer and bipolar disorder, has 8th grade education, has five children: the eldest died, three children live with her father but she does not know where they are, and the youngest 19 months usually stays with her neighbor who has a grandson. I asked her “do you smoke/use drugs/sell yourself?” and she said she smokes sometimes, doesn’t use drugs even if she would like to do it, doesn’t sell herself/prostitute. She should have another health appointment on Oct 16 at Michigan Ave for SSI. I read the letter but I couldn’t remember who the sender was. There were three envelopes with the same logo. She will have radiation because the medicine for the cancer is not effective anymore. She was raped in Sep. She already tried to get money – for around four hours that morning but nobody wanted to give her a job and she did not know where to go to get money. She was desperate but she answered all my questions and sometimes explained something e.g. bipolar clearly. She was fired from McDonald’s. She tried to apply for jobs (including McDonald, restaurants, etc) but they did not want to accept her because her teeth are not in good condition, she showed me her teeth too. I offered to pray for her and she said she got all the prayer that she might need. I said that I was sorry that I could not help her even though I was tempted to have her rake the leaves but I could only give her a transit card $ 6.00. I asked her not to sell herself or do anything criminal. She said “thank you sister” and then left. She was in tears when she said she was desperate and raped.
Two days later, she came and informed that she re-scheduled her appointment to Oct 17 because she could not make it on Oct 16. I read the two appointment letters with the psychiatrist and the internist on Oct 16 and 18. She also needed a stamp and an envelope to return the transport reimbursement form concerning her health appointment. For this, she should meet the psychiatrist and internist. We talked in front of the kitchen. I was shaking because it was so cold. I picked up an envelope, USD. 0.42 stamp and transit card around USD. 4.00 from my community.
She came again several days before Halloween with trick or treat box for Unicef when my sister and I had our supper. She asked to come in because it was so cold and also asked for food. I gave the pennies we had and she opened the box to put the money. She kissed my cheek before left. She said she would send the letter for transport reimbursement the next day.
She came with her son on Oct 30 to ask for money to buy McDonald’s food (nugget and apple pie) and pampers for her son. I held her son for a while but he started to cry so I gave him back to her. She said she sent the letter for transport reimbursement and still waits the result. Since she really needed the money so I gave USD. 20.00 from my community as downpayment for cleaning the leaves and would pay the balance USD. 5.00 later. She gave the money to her son and then her son gave it back to me so she took the money back from me quickly. She would take care of her son so she would do it around 7 p.m. I asked her to come the next morning so she could clean it well. She agreed to do it the next day but she did not come yet. I left a message at her cellphone to keep her promise.
According to Mr. Leonard, he knew Chandra around 20 years ago as a street girl and helps her including giving her jobs, she is smart, catholic, read the Bible, has to take a lot of medication, can drive, can do simple paperwork but has to be supervised. He gave the phone to Chandra so I asked her to keep her promise. She came to get the balance payment and did not clean yet because it was raining.
At first, I did not pay attention to Chandra personally even though I know her presents. Gradually, I reach out to her by trying not to judge her attitude, looking for job possibilities, and talking personally. She is somebody who needs help even though I do not know exactly what I should do to help her. She reached out to me by sharing her life story, explaining her answers and kissing my cheek.
There are suggestions not to give food to somebody else to avoid any problem in the future and not to give money to beggars to prevent them from buying drugs/alcohol. I do not know where my stand is. It is not easy to decide to give or not to give money, to let her in or let her stand outside, to call or not to call her to keep her promise. I prefer to give a job so she has a little income from her own work, I let her in only when she asked, and I decided to call her because I wanted her to keep her promise. It is a transformative moment for me as I started to act out as my own conviction.

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Re-posting from Maryknoll Sisters Formation House Blog:

Sharing: When there is a will...

While in Chicago, I discussed with our ministry of care coordinator the possibility of accompanying a Eucharistic minister in prayer on patient visits at the University of Chicago Hospital (UoCH). They didn’t have this ministry, so she agreed to try it. As her suggestion, I attended the Ministry of Care training, including a presentation about “Sacramental Theology and the Expanding Role of the Laity.”
I also attended an orientation and medical check-up at the hospital as advised. I was also asked to have a tuberculin skin test and a urine drug screen after the orientation. My tuberculin skin test came up positive, but my chest x-ray showed no evidence of active disease. I received clearance on the medical issue.
Unfortunately, I was told that I couldn’t accompany the Eucharistic minister during patient visits. My eyes were in tears when I left the hospital. I only could say “God, I don’t understand, God, I don’t understand.”
After that, I felt relief, and I did not want to cry again. Even though I still did not understand the meaning of my TB skin test, which was not necessary but brought me to a recommendation to have nine months of Isoniazid (INH) treatment, I understood that God is with me.
I asked the parish ministry coordinator if I could visit homebound patients. That didn’t quite work out either, as there’s no schedule for such visits. That’s when I started my weekly ministry at Bonaventure House, a transitional living recovery home for adult men and women with HIV/AIDS who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. We help them to rebuild and reclaim their lives.
Since I still had a valid UoCH ID, I checked the hospital’s website for the possibility of being a patient volunteer. Fortunately, I could serve through the hospital’s Office of Community Affairs/Volunteer Services. I wanted to visit patients and ask whether they needed some help. I started this ministry while I continued my service at Bonaventure House.
I usually brought magazines in a cart and offered it from room to room on the fifth floor. Some patients would take the magazines, while others asked the price. Some patients didn’t want to read, but it helped me to start a conversation and then to have longer conversations with the patients, including asking how long was their hospital stay, their particular illness, and how they were feeling at the time.
Sometimes, patients needed help in getting water for a drink or a bath. I also offered to pray by laying my hand on them. Some patients were thankful for the prayers, and some patients didn’t want it. I started to pray whenever and wherever somebody asked for it. I even prayed on the street, in the train, and in front of Church.
My passion for healing prayer encouraged the members of the St. Thomas of the Apostle Charismatic Prayer Group to ask me to organize our Healing Prayer Study Group. We listened to the CDs from the school weekly.
I talked with Harriet, who is a Eucharistic minister, about visiting our friends who were sick in the hospital. We went by ourselves to share. The daughter of our friend needed a prayer, and we decided to visit them. I didn’t think that Harriet would bring Holy Communion, even though I knew that she was a Eucharistic ministers.
We talked again about the possibility of visiting patients at UoCH together, as Harriet usually brings Holy Communion weekly. Finally, we decided to do it before the University of Chicago Hospital’s 69th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. The hospital asked us not to visit the patients due to Swine Flu. And we never did again before I left Chicago.
I never thought that I would start a prayer team with Harriet in the last month of my orientation training in Chicago, which was my wish for my first ministry in the fall of 2007. I had waited almost two years just to become part of a prayer team with a Eucharistic minister.
I learned to be patient and not to be discouraged when I had a failure or faced an objection. There is meaning in every moment of my life. As St. Paul said, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8: 28).”

— Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Re-posting from Maryknoll Sisters Formation House Blog

Sharing: In Memory of Sr. Joan Ling, MM

Sr. Maureen sent an email on Oct 29 that Sr. Joan Ling was hospitalized since Oct 26 due to renal failure. The next morning around 9.00 a.m., Sr. Joseph Lourdes called and asked to pray as Sr. Joan Ling got a stroke on Oct 29 night. I prayed for her to ask the grace to let go and let God to control her life before going to watch our “ti jian” competition on the courtyard near our dormitory. After watching the competition, around 11.30 a.m., I wanted to pray for her over the phone but Sr. Joan Ling’s cellphone was not active and the telephone of Boundary was busy. Finally, I called Sr. Maureen’s cellphone and received the news that Sr. Joan Ling passed away on 9.32 a.m.
I met Sr. Joan Ling first time at Maryknoll Sisters Center last summer 2009. Sr. Betty Ann and she gave a very good presentation about China region as part of our discernment process. Later on, I had lunch with her and she gave a pink bracelet, which I still wear now, for my birthday.
Living around four months with her in Boundary was a short time but it gave me an impression of her quietness as I read the emails from our sisters. I was in tears when I read email from Sr. Ann Hayden about her.
I had a long conversation with her about Church in China including her experience in going back for the first time after the opening of China. I think she did quietly what she thought it should be done including cutting the watermelon on weekend or planning to cook a vegetable dish for my father’s memorial mass. Once, she consoled me by suggesting not to be worry for somebody else attitude. She also said that I will be fine with the Mandarin.
I was moved when we walked quietly on our way to visit her friend in a nursing home at Yau Ma Tei. We planned to take pictures of her ministry as the request of Sr. Dolores Geier.
We planned to see the dragon boat race but she should go to mainland China so she asked Sharon to accompany me to see it.
When I asked what she wanted for her feastday last May, she said she wanted nothing. Finally, I decided to cook fried noodle as noodle is a Chinese birthday tradition. It’s a simple quiet celebration.
May you rest in peace, Sr. Joan Ling. It’s a blessing to live with you even in a short time and in your quietness.

Guangzhou, Nov 7, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

P.S. The Obituary of Sr. Joan Ling, MM can be read at

Renungan: Kebaikan Tuhan

Selamat malam semuanya.
Tema renungan malam ini adalah Kebaikan Tuhan. Kita selalu mendengar bahwa Tuhan itu baik, bahkan Maha Baik. Ada kalimat yang mungkin sering kita dengar ”God is good, all the time.” Seperti apa kita menggambarkan kebaikan Tuhan?
Dalam Perjanjian Lama, Tuhan dianalogikan sebagai gembala yang baik oleh Pemazmur. Analogi adalah suatu perbandingan khusus dan merupakan sebuah cara yang konkret untuk menerangkan sesuatu yang sulit atau abstrak dengan menggunakan sesuatu yang sudah dikenal. Analogi menunjukkan kemiripan, tetapi juga menunjukkan kesamaan diantara dua hal yang berbeda.
Mari kita baca bersama-sama Mazmur 23: 1-6, Mazmur Daud. TUHAN adalah gembalaku, takkan kekurangan aku. Ia membaringkan aku di padang yang berumput hijau, Ia membimbing aku ke air yang tenang; Ia menyegarkan jiwaku. Ia menuntun aku di jalan yang benar oleh karena nama-Nya. Sekalipun aku berjalan dalam lembah kekelaman, aku tidak takut bahaya, sebab Engkau besertaku; gada-Mu dan tongkat-Mu, itulah yang menghibur aku. Engkau menyediakan hidangan bagiku, di hadapan lawanku; Engkau mengurapi kepalaku dengan minyak; pialaku penuh melimpah. Kebajikan dan kemurahan belaka akan mengikuti aku, seumur hidupku; dan aku akan diam dalam rumah TUHAN sepanjang masa.
God is good. All the time.
Tuhan adalah gembala yang baik menurut Raja Daud, diantaranya karena Tuhan tidak membiarkannya kekurangan dan menuntunnya di jalan yang benar sebagaimana seorang gembala terhadap domba-dombanya. Tentu Tuhan lebih dari seorang gembala yang baik.
Yesus menyatakan dirinya sebagai gembala yang baik sebagaimana dalam Injil Yohanes 10: 14-16, Akulah gembala yang baik dan Aku mengenal domba-domba-Ku dan domba-domba-Ku mengenal Aku, sama seperti Bapa mengenal Aku dan Aku mengenal Bapa, dan Aku memberikan nyawa-Ku bagi domba-domba-Ku. Ada lagi pada-Ku domba-domba lain, yang bukan dari kandang ini; domba-domba itu harus Kutuntun juga dan mereka akan mendengarkan suara-Ku dan mereka akan menjadi satu kawanan dengan satu gembala.
God is good. All the time.
Dalam Injil ini dikatakan bahwa Yesus dan domba-dombaNya saling mengenal sebagaimana seorang gembala terhadap domba-dombanya. Tentu Yesus juga lebih dari seorang gembala yang baik.
Analogi Tuhan sebagai gembala yang baik sebagaimana kedua bacaan di atas mungkin tidak mudah kita tangkap karena kita mungkin tidak mengenal secara pribadi seorang gembala kecuali lewat bacaan-bacaan.
Beberapa waktu yang lalu saya mendapatkan sebuah artikel tentang siapakah seorang teman yang baik, maka saya ingin membagikannya dalam kesempatan kali ini.
Sewaktu duduk di taman kanak-kanak, kita berpikir kalau seorang teman yang baik adalah teman yang meminjamkan krayon warna merah ketika yang ada hanyalah krayon warna hitam. Di sekolah dasar, kita lalu menemukan bahwa seorang teman yang baik adalah teman yang mau menemani kita ke toilet, menggandeng tangan kita sepanjang koridor menuju kelas, dan membagi makan siangnya ketika kita lupa membawanya. Di sekolah lanjutan pertama, kita punya ide kalau seorang teman yang baik adalah teman yang mau menyontekkan PR-nya, pergi bersama ke pesta dan menemani kita makan siang. Di SMA, kita merasa kalau seorang teman yang baik adalah teman yang mengajak kita mengendarai mobil barunya, meyakinkan orang tua kita kalau kita boleh pulang malam sedikit, dan mau mendengar kisah sedih saat putus dari pacar. Di masa berikutnya, kita melihat kalau seorang teman yang baik adalah teman yang selalu ada terutama di saat-saat sulit, membuat kita merasa aman melalui masa-masa seperti apapun, meyakinkan kita kalau kita akan lulus dalam ujian sidang sarjana kita. Dan seiring berjalannya waktu kehidupan, kita menemukan kalau seorang teman yang baik adalah teman yang memberi dua pilihan yang baik, membantu kita bertahan menghadapi orang-orang yang hanya mau mengambil keuntungan dari kita, menegur ketika kita melalaikan sesuatu, mengingatkan ketika kita lupa, menolong kita untuk menjadi seseorang yang lebih baik, dan terlebih lagi... menerima diri kita apa adanya...
Mungkin cerita di atas lebih mudah ditangkap dalam menganalogikan kebaikan Tuhan. Kebaikan Tuhan seperti kebaikan seorang teman yang memberikan barang yang kita minta, seperti kebaikan seorang teman yang memberi dua pilihan yang baik, seperti kebaikan seorang teman yang menolong kita untuk menjadi seorang yang lebih baik lagi dan bahkan menerima diri kita apa adanya. Tetapi tentu kebaikan Tuhan masih lebih dari itu.
Adakah analogi lain untuk menggambarkan kebaikan Tuhan? Dalam Injil Matius 5: 45 dikatakan: Karena dengan demikianlah kamu menjadi anak-anak Bapamu yang di sorga, yang menerbitkan matahari bagi orang yang jahat dan orang yang baik dan menurunkan hujan bagi orang yang benar dan orang yang tidak benar. Inilah analogi yang menurut saya sangat akurat untuk menggambarkan kebaikan Tuhan, yang tidak bersyarat, yang tidak tergantung pada kebaikan penerimanya, yang tidak tergantung pada seberapa banyak pelayanan yang kita lakukan, yang tidak tergantung pada berapa jam kita berdoa setiap hari, yang tidak tergantung pada berapa banyak persembahan yang kita berikan, bahkan yang tidak tergantung pada seberapa besar iman kita kepadaNya. KebaikanNya mengalir dari cintaNya yang tidak bersyarat, yang memampukan kita melakukan kebaikan kepada orang lain, melakukan pelayanan, berdoa, memberikan persembahan dan yang menumbuhkan iman dalam hati kita.
Melihat kebaikan Tuhan dalam saat-saat senang, bahagia dan kesuksesan mungkin sangat mudah selama dengan kesadaran bahwa kesenangan, kebahagiaan dan kesuksesan yang dicapai bukan semata-mata karena upaya sendiri tanpa campur tangan Tuhan. Sedangkan melihat kebaikan Tuhan dalam saat-saat sulit, kesedihan, dan kegagalan seperti kematian, kecelakaan, penyakit ganas, dll tentunya sangat tidak mudah
Tetapi justru lewat saat-saat sulit, sedih dan kegagalan, kita bisa menjadi tanda dan sarana kebaikan Tuhan yang tidak bersyarat. Tuhan membutuhkan kita untuk menunjukkan kebaikanNya yang tidak bersyarat sebagaimana dikatakan dalam Injil Mat 5: 46-47: Apabila kamu mengasihi orang yang mengasihi kamu, apakah upahmu? Bukankah pemungut cukai juga berbuat demikian? Dan apabila kamu hanya memberi salam kepada saudara-saudaramu saja, apakah lebihnya dari pada perbuatan orang lain? Bukankah orang yang tidak mengenal Allah pun berbuat demikian?
Pengalaman pribadi akan kebaikan Tuhan, memanggil kita mewartakan dan menyalurkan kebaikan Tuhan dalam setiap langkah hidup kita, sehingga orang-orang di sekitar kita juga bisa merasakan kebaikan Tuhan yang tidak bersyarat di tengah kesulitan, kesedihan dan kegagalan yang mereka alami.
Sebagaimana saya tuliskan dalam buku kolaboratif saya dengan Rm. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD yang berjudul ”Kasih Sahabat”: Hidup saya diwarnai dengan beberapa kegagalan yang ketika dilihat kembali menjadi penghubung jalan hidup saya. Gagal masuk pilihan pertama saya, Fakultas Akutansi Universitas Airlangga Surabaya, meskipun lebih merupakan pilihan orang tua, saya diterima di pilihan kedua yaitu Institut Pertanian Bogor. Gagal masuk di salah satu dari lima fakultas yang saya pilih dalam gelombang pertama di IPB, saya diterima di Fakultas Peternakan, yang membuat saya mempunyai kesempatan untuk menjalani kegiatan ekstra kurikuler dan latihan kepemimpinan di lingkungan kampus maupun di paroki. Gagal mendapatkan pekerjaan di Surabaya, saya mendapatkan pekerjaan di Jakarta atas rekomendasi mantan romo paroki di Bogor. Gagal mengelola usaha sendiri, saya mendapatkan pekerjaan sebagai kepala cabang di Surabaya di perusahaan dimana saya bekerja pertama kali. Gagal atau berhasil siapa yang tahu? Saya katakan kegagalan menjadi penghubung jalan hidup saya, karena lewat kegagalan-kegagalan itu, yang masih bisa saya tambah lagi daftarnya, Tuhan menyiapkan hal yang lebih besar dari yang saya bayangkan, sebagai upaya untuk menunjukkan kebaikanNya yang tidak bersyarat lewat orang-orang yang ada di sekitar saya.
Saya akan mengakhiri renungan malam ini dengan sebuah video tentang upaya yang dilakukan oleh Dick Hoyt untuk anaknya Rick Hoyt yang cacat, sebagai salah satu upaya menganalogikan kebaikan Tuhan dalam hidup kita sehari-hari, tentu saja kebaikan Tuhan lebih dari kisah mereka. Semoga menjadi inspirasi bagi kita semua dalam mewartakan kebaikan Tuhan yang telah kita terima tanpa syarat.

Guangzhou, 22 October 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

P.S. Renungan ini dibawakan untuk PDKK Hati Kudus Yesus Guangzhou pada 22 Oktober 2010

Sharing: One Month Mandarin Study

My Mandarin study at Chinese as Second Language School of Dr. Sun Yat-sen University Guangzhou was started on Sep 16. It’s one month already even though we didn’t have full schedule as we had one day off for moon cake festival (there were three days off but there were replacement classes on Saturday and Sunday) and six days off for the Independence’s day.
There are six classes in reading and writing by two teachers, two classes in conversation by one teacher and two classes on listening by one teacher in a week. Each class consists of two sessions of 45 minutes each with ten minutes break.
In reading and writing classes, we learn about initials, finals, combination of initials and finals, tones, discrimination of pronounciations and tones, reading the syllables, everyday phrases, common classroom phrases, and new words. There are dictations of the new words starting forth day of classes and the teacher will give mark. I got “hen hao” (=very good) most of the time as it’s based on memory. On time, the teacher asked to write “laoshi” (=teacher) in Chinese romanization (=”Pinyin,” it means in alphabet with tone mark) and Chinese characters (=”Hanzi”) and I only could write “师” (=”shi”) even though I learned how to write “老 师” the night before and in the morning. I even couldn’t remember what the first stroke of “lao” is. I forgot how to write “you” (forth tone) for “again 又” and made twice mistakes when write “you” (third tone) for “to have 有”. The other time, I forgot one stroke. After finishing 8 lessons, we had test for lesson 1-8: correcting based on spelling rules, writing in “Pinyin,” writing in “Hanzi”, and answering the questions. When the teacher asked me to read by myself, I should repeat it as I couldn’t read correctly for the first time. I use a magnetic writing and drawing board for kids to memorize the characters.
In conversation classes, we learn to make greetings in sentences, conversation, substitution and extention, new words, phonetics and exercise in reading, answering questions in “Hanzi”, and phonetic drills.
In listening classes, we read and listen to the finals, initials, and syllables. There are dictations of the syllables including tone mark from the CD or teacher. The voice in the CD is so fast so usually the teacher will do it. I usually made mistakes around 50% in distinguishing the tones and several initials e.g. “p” and “b”, “t” and “d”. After looking at the teacher when she spoke, I have an improvement a little bit.
There is an optional class in “Hanzi” on Mondays 12.55 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. We learn and write characters including new words. The weekly homework is writing the characters. I typed it by computer and sent it by email to the teacher.
The school organized an overnight outing to Danxiashan (=Mountain Danxia,, Nan Hua Temple ( and Maba Man Museum in Shaoguan on Oct 8-9. I climbed 840m to go to Elder Peak to see several stones and then climbed 50m to see the male stone from another location. We had meal and stayed at Hejiang Hotel for the first day. There were 10 dishes (meat, pork, fish, chicken, mushroom, vegetable, and tofu) excluding steam rice and watermelon for lunch and supper and six dishes (porridge, boiled egg, fried noodle, noodle soup, and two kinds of buns) for breakfast. There are four statues of Budhist monks with dark faces in Nan Hua Temple. Inside the statues was part of their unburnt body when they were cremated in sitting meditation position. It reminded me of the uncorruptable body of several Saints e.g. St. Vincent de Paul, St. Bernadette, St. Pio Pietrelcina ( Maba Man is the pre-modern hominid whose remains were discovered in caves near the town called Maba, near Shaoguan city in the north part of Guangdong province (
I planned to attend optional class in calligraphy on Wednesday 12.55 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. but it’s fully booked already. There is a movie followed by discussion on Wednesdays and Fridays 12.55 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. and The Chinese Corner on Fridays 7.00 p.m. – 9.30 p.m. The Chinese Corner is organized by the Master degree students of Chinese as a Second Language. I watched “Kungfu Hustle” by Stephen Chow and attended the Chinese Corner “Dream of Kungfu” on Oct 15.
I was moved when attending the English mass for the first time in Cathedral. The Cathedral was very full mostly Africans including the additional plastic chairs. There is a choir in green uniform. The booklet is very details including the Profession of Faith. Several Africans brought rice, toilet paper, oil, mineral water during the offering procession. There are long skirts for everybody who is coming without appropriate dresses. The ushers will quietly remind people who are sleepy.

"Why do we need to learn a new language? Why could not God make one language?" God did make one language, Love! We learn a new language, not so much that we can make ourselves understood, but rather that we can be so present to people that they experience that they are being understood! (Anonymous)

Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, October 17, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: First Retreat in Hong Kong

As there would be holiday due to Independence’s day in China, I planned the date to go home to Hong Kong and then I remembered that I didn’t have my annual retreat yet. So I checked three retreat houses and finally I decided to go to Xavier House ( on Oct 3-7 as the other two retreat houses couldn’t accommodate before Oct 4.
I went to Tsim Tsa Shui Pier to go by ferry to Central Pier and then took another ferry for 30 minutes to Chengchau Island. I asked several persons to locate Xavier House including taking the picture of the map of the island. One of them wrote down Xavier House in Chinese characters with a suggestion to ask along the way as she couldn’t explain the direction. It’s uphill and facing the sea.
Fr. Cairan Kane, SJ was appointed as my spiritual director. I met him on Oct 3 4.00 p.m. and then every 10.30 a.m. for around 30 minutes. He suggested several readings to be prayed with. I asked God to give me the grace to listen to the Holy Spirit and to do it.
I prayed with Psalm 139:1-24 God everywhere, in all, knows all, Is 43: 1-9 I have called you by your name, Jer 1:4-10 The call of Jeremiah, John 1: 1-51 Jesus meets the first disciples, John 20: 24-29 Thomas Didimus, John 21: 1-23 The appearance of Jesus by the lake, meditate on the Last Supper (John 13: 2-17), Agony in the Garden (Mat 26: 36-45) and Resurrection of Jesus (John 20: 11-18), besides rosary and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
I was in tears during lunch on Oct 6 when I remembered God’s providence and I said “Lord, help me in my unbelief.” I left the dining table to calm myself down. During the Adoration in the evening, I was in tears again when the question “Why did God call me for retreat at this time?” came to my mind and got the answers from the readings that God wants to give re-affirmation “Don’t be afraid, I call you by name and I will be with you.”
I booked a guided retreat at Xavier House on Jul 15-23 but I cancelled it as I went home to be with my family after the death of my beloved father. I thought to have a retreat in Indonesia but I couldn’t make it as I followed up the paperwork related to my father’s death. I thought I wouldn’t have a retreat as I should move to Guangzhou on Sep 3 to start my Mandarin study.
On our last meeting, Fr. Kane blessed me after personalizing the reading from one of my favourite passages Eph 3: 14-21 and asked to reflect on the transfiguration of Jesus (Mat 17: 1-9) on my way home.
My retreat was closed so perfectly with the Eucharist for Our Lady of Rosary as the Gospel was taken from Luk 1: 26-38 with one of my favourite passages “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.”
After quick lunch, I went back home to catch the train to Guangzhou as early as possible as I didn’t want to arrive dormitory too late.
Thank you very much for your prayers during my retreat. May God continue to bless you missionary journey.

Guangzhou, October 15, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: The Second and Third Weeks in Guangzhou

I went to our canteen for the first time on the beginning of second week. It’s a big canteen with so many choices of meal for breakfast (07.00 am – 09.00 am), lunch (11.00 am – 1.00 pm)and supper (5.00 pm – 11.00 pm). As I didn’t have the student card yet, I paid for a package of rice (two portions), meat and vegetable and then went to the meal area to choose the meal. It’s a quite a big portion. Later on, I knew that I can buy the meal coupon based on the price of the meal.
After Sunday mass at Cathedral, I had lunch with the Indonesians at a Vietnamese restaurant and went around Beijing Lu.
I attended Bible Sharing in English and Mandarin in Cathedral on Sep 12 evening. As it’s my first time, I was sent to the beginner group. There were cakes and coke afterwards.
After going around at Sanyuanli, the wholesales area of bags, I picked up the medical verification from Guangdong International Travel Health Center on Sep 14.
I went to Divisions of Aliens & Exit-Entry Administration of Municipal Public Security Bureau on Sep 15. After my all documents being checked at 5th floor, I was allowed to go to 6th floor to submit my application. I will pick it up on Sep 29. I bought the books for conversation and listening in the school after getting my class placement. My classes are on Mondays-Tuesdays 08.55 a.m. – 12.25 p.m. and Wednesdays-Fridays 2.45 p.m – 5.55 p.m. There are two sessions of 45 minutes with ten minutes break in each class. Even though I wrote my Chinese name 黄 莉 莉in my application form, it didn’t appear in the list of students, so I asked the staff to input it in their database again. My niece invited for supper at a Brazilian grilled and BBQ. There were Chinese and Brazilian live music by three Brazilians.
I started the first two classes on Sep 16. There were 18 students (later on, there were 20 students on the 3rd day and 23 students on the 4th day as we could change class latest on Sep 22) in the class from Vietnam, Indonesia, France, Japan, Turkey, Yemen, Rusia, Morotania, Italy and Tanzania with different background of education/working experiences. There are three Indonesians including myself. The first class was reading and writing and the second class was conversation. We learned about the initials, finals, the tones and new words. I made many mistakes especially on distinguishing “p” and “b”, “d” and “t” and also the tones. I could recall several words. The teachers asked us to have Chinese name as it’s easier for them to pronounce it. They call me “Huang Li Li” as my Chinese name. It’s raining during the class and I left my clothes outside. I only could pray “God, it’s ok to be raining as long as my clothes would not be wet.” I went home and my clothes weren’t wet by the rain. Thanks be to God.
The second two classes on the next day were listening and then reading and writing. We still learned about initials, finals and the tones. There are two teachers for reading and writing, one teacher for listening and one teacher for speaking. All classes use “Pinyin” (=Chinese Romanization) and “Hanzi” (=Chinese characters). I planned to attend a Mandarin prayer service for several calamities in the evening. The two young women who distributed the Mandarin booklet couldn’t explain it in English so another woman helped to explain it but then she asked me to join another group in English and Mandarin. It’s a continuation of the Bible Sharing.
There was a trip to Chen’s Linneage Hall and Yue Xiu Park for new international students on Sep 18 in two busses with an English and Mandarin speaker guide in each bus. I didn’t have enough time to see the statue of five goats, the symbol of Guangzhou based on a legend about five immortals who rode on the backs of five colored rams to bring an ear of rice with the wish a happy life without hunger forever. I saw the statue on my visit to Guangzhou in 2005.
I went to Cathedral on Sunday evening as I got information that there would be a Mass for mid-autumn festival. It’s a celebration in the hall instead of a Mass. There were dances, songs, magic performance, and door prize.
There was the first dictation in reading and writing class on Sep 21. I attended the optional class in “Han zi” on Mondays 12.55 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. Sr. Michelle and Sr. Agnes helped to prepare all the paperworks to open an account in a bank but they asked the original passport. We went out for pizza and visited Sr. Agnes’s nieces.
I brought three out of six moon cakes from Sr. Agnes for my classmates as my niece’s boyfriend also gave one moon cake.
There were no classes on Sep 22-24 for mid-autumn festival but there were replacement classes on Sep 25-26. It’s cloudy on Sep 22 evening so I couldn’t see the moon. The MTR line 2 near campus didn’t operate on Sep 22-24 as it would be changed to line 8. I went around computer city and wet market with my niece and then cooked kangkoong with shrimp.
I attended the Indonesian Charismatic prayer meeting and led the prayer for the birthday celebrants on Sep 25.

Guangzhou, Sep 25, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: First Week in Guangzhou

I went to Kowloon Tong MTR station on Sep 3 to go to Lo Wu immigration office. I entered Shenzhen by student visa and then went to Guangzhou by train. It’s raining upon arriving at Guangzhou East Station so I went by Guangzhou Metro to the dormitory for international students Zi Jing Yuang Hotel.
We should pay five months rental and basic telephone fee and also deposit for the dormitory. I am at the 8th floor. There are bed including bed sheet, pillow and bed cover, closet for clothes, book shelves with table, chair, small table with drawer, air conditioner, television, water dispenser, safe deposit box, shower bathroom with toilet and sink, direct telephone line and balcony to hang the clothes. The room was dusty. The housekeeper helped to open the safe deposit box. The bed is quiet hard so I put another two mattresses as I got backache. I met an Indonesian on the first night. The internet will be activated by our student card.
I went to the market near the campus on Sept 4 to buy several basic needs and then went to Cathedral of Guangzhou on Sunday. It took around 45 minutes from dormitory. As the Cantonese mass was still going on, I sat down in the church for a while and then going around the compound. I was full of gratitude as I prayed before the Mandarin mass with six altar boys. Finally, I learn Putonghua (=common language with simplified Chinese characters) in mainland China. I was in tears while listening to the opening song in Mandarin by the children choir. There are six Sunday masses in Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and English and also daily mass in Cantonese. There are four flat TVs with power point presentation about the songs number and full readings besides a commentator. After the mass, I joined the Indonesian community who was asking our personal information. I met several of them in Hong Kong. After the mass, I went around including to mega store Park n Shop near the campus.
Upon arrived at registration room on Sep 6, they gave a map of Sun Yat-sen University, form for campus residence accommodation registration, form for medical verification, form for applying residence permit, time table and information procedure. There was long queue to pay the registration fee, tuition fee and insurance premium. Then I queued for checking documents and getting supporting document for Xingang police station, medical verification, and applying residence permit. I went to Xingang police station near campus in the afternoon and left the document as their computer was down. As I had a lot of things to bring home from the shop, I went home by sitting in the back of a rental bicycle.
I picked up the registration form of temporary residence for visitors from the police station on Sep 7 and then brought it to International Student Office to get a supporting document to apply the residence permit as they should registered it online. The police reminded to bring original passport all the time as the police may ask it especially during the Asian Games.
As requested, I went to Guangzhou Travel Health Center (GTHC) in Tianhe for medical record verification on Sep 8. There was long queue so they asked to come back the next day as the office only open in the morning. I went earlier to the GTHC the next morning and got the first number as I filled the form while queueing. I paid RMB 314.00 for blood test, temperature test and USG in the stomach even though I had a completed Physical Examination Record for Foreigners (PERF). I asked to use the weight scale and I lost weight one kilogram.
There was orientation in power point presentations for newly arrived international students about a brief introduction to Sun Yat-sen University and a talk from Immigration Office on the law of exit and entry for Aliens at Swissy Hall on Sep 10. Several law breaking activities are excessive drinking, gambling, drug-addicting, and doing missionary work. There are more than 100 participants. I enjoyed the visit of Sr. Maureen in the afternoon.
I attended Indonesian charismatic prayer group “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the evening. There were around 30 persons mostly students from several universities in Guangzhou. I shared briefly about myself. Even though I never attended charismatic prayer group regularly in Indonesia, I always find a charismatic prayer group either in Chicago, New York, Hong Kong and now in Guangzhou. We had snack and social after the prayer meeting.
I asked direction “ni zhidao......(showed the word in Putonghua in my cellphone) zai na li?”, price “duoshao ma?”, discount by mentioning the price I want. I communicate in Putonghua by using the dictionary in my cellphone, the address in the name card of the dormitory, book “Essential Chinese for Travellers” and body language. When I don’t understand anymore, I said “wo bu dong” (=I don’t understand). I heard Indonesian conversation in the registration area and the lobby of the dormitory several times. The Indonesians are the biggest three nationalities in the campus.
There are washing machine area in the 2nd floor and kitchens in our building. We should buy a card for 10 times laundry. I planned to do laundry on Sep 7 and it was cloudy in the morning. I prayed for sunshine as I would go out and nobody would pick up the clothes outside. As I finished my Jesus prayer, there was sunshine. I also asked for sunshine in daytime for drying the clothes and raining in the night as I realized that farmers need rain. For three days, the rain was poured out heavily in the night. The security man helped to operate the washing machine and then I left the card in the machine. When I came back to pick up the laundry, the card was not in the machine anymore. Somebody stole it as nobody returned it to reception desk. The kitchens were not opened yet.
I ordered Indonesian style fried rice with sour peppery green papaya from meal delivery through the reception of the dormitory for the first night but then it’s not operate on Saturdays and Sundays and also will re-open next week. For the rest of the week, I ate cup noodle, rice-carsiu (=roasted pork)-vegetable-salty fish, beef fried rice, and bread. The rice was enough for two servings. Two students helped me to order the beef fried rice in a halal (=non pork) restaurant near campus as there were several kinds of fried rice and the man didn’t understand English.
I had foot reflexiology near the campus. One of the customers helped me to communicate with the young massager woman. I also tried to have conversation with her, at least I know she has one son and five co-workers and also worked around 4-5 years.
Two Chinese graduate students helped to locate several buildings in the campus’ map, translate the remote control of the air conditioner and SIM card’s manual.
I wished to learn mandarin as there’s growing need for business. As I wouldn’t think to leave my job to learn Mandarin in mainland China, so I decided to learn it after office hours in Surabaya. God granted my wish to learn Mandarin in mainland China but it’s for my ministry instead of my own career.
My heart is full of gratitude for my family, sisters and friends who helped my presence in mainland China. Kindly continue to pray for me as Putonghua will not be easy. Thank you very much for all your support and prayers. May God continue to bless your missionary journey.

“We know that no two of us are alike. God has not made us so, but has endowed us with varying talents, different temperaments, and a wide range of physical powers, and all are to be used for God’s glory.” (Mother Mary Joseph)

Guangzhou, Sep 12, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: On Line Ministry from Hong Kong for Nias-Indonesia

When I was working, I used to donate a small amount of my salary to several charity works including educational fund for several children. I also gave away gradually my first salaries when I got the lesson about “Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3: 9-10) in one of my classes at School of Personal Evangelization in Surabaya-Indonesia.
I used “ABe Foundation” as my way to be an anonymous donor, with the wish would be for women and children even though it’s not registered yet as a foundation.
Upon resigning from my job for my discerning process to religious life, I cut down my donation. So the thought “if I work and have salary, I can be a donor” would come in my mind whenever I got a donation request. I am not financially independent anymore which was my wish upon finishing my university.
Almost 40% of our income is from gifts and contributions of our sponsors and donors ( I used to help in our donor office in New York to open the letters from our generous donors/sponsors with cheque or cash or credit card number, in hundreds USD and also one USD bill. And now, Maryknoll Sisters is sending an annual spring appeal to look for donation including for my two years mandarin study in Guangzhou
In Nov 2009, Fr. Thomas Maduwu, OFMCap sent an email request for educational fund for two senior high school students in Nias-Indonesia. I got his name through Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community in Canberra and we met when both of us attended National Conference of Charismatic Catholic Renewal in 2006. He works in Togizita Parish, Nias which have 24,000 parishioners in 79 out of stations. Their economic, health and education life are below standard.
I started to send an email to several Indonesian friends in my yahoo address book as the students are in Indonesia. I gave the information about Fr. Thomas and the students.
Glad that one friend wants to be a donor for one year even though it’s not enough for one student. As the school year would be finished in June 2010, I sent an email to the second batch of Indonesian friends. Two friends are willing to be a donor. The good news is one of students wants to be a priest so there will be enough funding for the other students to finish her senior high school. Then Fr. Thomas submitted request for another two students who want to study in the college. I only could say I would try to look for it. I sent an email to the third batch of Indonesian friends. Seven friends are willing to be a donor and their funding will be enough for two years. One of the donors invites a friend to be a donor. One of the donors is looking for a girl to be supported. Thanks be to God.
I sent the bank account details upon receiving their confirmation as a donor. I ask the donors to remit directly to Fr. Thomas’ account while I organize it by giving a number to each donor and asked them add the number on their remittance so Fr. Thomas will easily recognize the remittance. Several donors remitted lumpsum, several others remit monthly for one year. As Fr. Thomas gave brief information about the children, I ask the donor to contact Fr. Thomas directly if they need more information.
Even though I am not financially independent anymore, even though we are still looking for donation for our mission country including for language study, I still can help the students in Indonesia as I have friends who are generously willing to support this project. I was transformed from “I want do it by myself” to “I can invite my friends to participate in the work for justice locally” as St. Gregory the Great said “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”
The internet connection is really a big help for this project, making the connection between Fr. Thomas in Nias, donors in several places (Surabaya, Jakarta, Malang, and Singapore), and myself in Hong Kong. It’s my first online ministry outside our mission country as we don’t have any sisters in Indonesia after the independence of East Timor.
Thank you very much for all your generosity in supporting this project. May God continue to bless you in your missionary journey.

The ministry of the body of Christ is not really something that you try to do, although it calls you to do many things. Ministry is the fruit finding your gifts and offering what you have. Ministry is not something that requires professional credentials. It is a vocation each of us claims by virtue of our baptism in the body of Christ. Ministry isn’t something you do for certain hours during the day and then you come home and relax at night. Well, who knows? Ministry might happen while you are relaxing [or online, bold added by myself]. (Henri Nouwen)

Guangzhou, Sep 6, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible