"You should join this WCC seminar. It's a good program for youth, to learn about the ecumenical movement. So you could learn about ecumenical life and all the good impact."
It's a nice message from my dearest aunty. But at the moment when I got it I didn't know much about the WCC beside that she has been involved for a long time in this big church organization. I didn't have any idea about the ecumenical movement, and last but not least, the seminar would be held in English. I had never joined an international seminar before, so it's a hard decision. I love new experiences but at the same time I fear that I am not good enough to make it. Should I apply or should I turn down this opportunity?
In moments like this I always remember my favorite quote from Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can or you cannot, you are right."
Then I take one of the biggest chances in my life - and one of the biggest challenges.
I choose to apply, after informing my Synod Council. Also I tried to support the financial contribution myself. I believe when God opens a door, he will show you the way to pass through it.
So,one year ago,I've started my international ecumenical journey.
There were butterflies in my stomach all the way travelling from my hometown Kendari to Surabaya,Semarang and then Salatiga, but meeting friends from different countries and different Indonesian cities made me feel amazed. Some of them are already became involved in the international ecumenical movement some years before, soI could learn something from them. The participant came from Geneva, Sweden, Lebanon, Jamaica, Australia, India, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, New Zealand and some cities in Indonesia.
We were learning about ecumenism from the first day to the last. We had a chance to tell a story to all the others about the situation in our living place. We learned about creative prayer and sang many songs together, wearing black on Thursday, perform and dancing for culture night, and bringing back home some souvenirs.
We have shared many things, learned many things and laughed at many things. We all listened to each other and learned about life, different cultures and about the difficulties we face in our lives.
We had a chance to visit some interesting places in Magelang, take a "family photo" in Borobudur temple, and eat Gudeg in Jogja. Before the seminar ended we already had grown together like a family. Musician and worship leader Andrew Donaldson was truly inspiring. I am blessed to have his signature in my copy of his song book.
I realized that when you choose to join the ecumenical movement, it means you'll never stop moving. You need to always find a new perspective of life, to share your faith to all people that you'll met in your journey. It also means you'll never stop learning, from all things that you encounter, good or bad. And it means you should never stop sharing about your ecumenical movement so the people you meet can start their own ecumenical journey.
The ecumenical movement brings me new perception about God, life and people. This one year I went to some places I had never dreamed about, I've met new family in Christ, I'm getting used to trying new things. Because after trying, I know what and how I feel, whether I can like and adopt the novelty or not. That's my reason to keep walking in this journey.
It helps me to find my destination in life, also brings responsibility to spread information to my fellow youth and other church members so they could also share their light with others, open their mind, together joining and participating in this ecumenical movement.
Still hard to believe it's one year already. Before I knew about the ecumenical movement, I was so confused about many things in life, what I will do for my future and where I should go next. Now I know myself better. I am much more confident of who I am. I have realized the importance of multicultural faith, respect and understanding each other, treating everyone as our family in Christ and spreading love and kindness like I spread nutella on my bread.
Last April, I was able to bring all the prosperous lessons, liturgy and songs to my youth community through a retreat program and – praise God! – it touched many young people and filled them with a new spirit.
I thank God who led me through this journey, for the WCC (especially Rev. Ester Puji Widiasih, Carla Khijoyan and Daniela Di Mauro) who organized this nice program, for. Rev. Kristy and teamwork, for Rev. Joas Adiprasetya and the Jakarta Theological Seminary team, for all participants, my lovely WCC Bananas group, the people I've met and from whom I have learned. And last but not least for Rev. Septemmy E. Lakawa, who sent me the message about this program.
Looking back today, I'm thankful that last year I've made one of the best decision in my life.
Immanuel. God is with us.
Much love from Ghana,