by BCBP Editor

By Sim Lanaria, BCBP RCD Northern Cebu Region

When Jakarta Mission was turned-over to Cebu Region in February of last year, I was not enthusiastic, to say the least. The odds were simply over-whelming. Firstly, Catholics in Indonesia represent a mere 4% of the country’s predominantly Muslim population of more than 250 million. Secondly, unlike other BCBP International Missions e.g., Singapore and Bangkok, where we targeted mostly Filipino expats, in Jakarta, we were to recruit Indonesian businessmen & professionals, and since English is not widely spoken, the language barrier was another obstacle that we had to hurdle. And, thirdly, when our Mission team from Cebu first went there, we learned that some of the guys we were trying to recruit to lead the core group have prior commitments to their respective churches. I don’t even have to talk about the budget.

IMG_9511It was no wonder then that in the early days of the Mission, I showed very little interest in the meetings called to draw and finalize the plan to bring Christ and the BCBP to the Indonesian market of Jakarta. It is to the credit of a few brave souls from BCBP that the BCBP Breakfast was introduced in Jakarta and sustained during the first few months of the Mission. One particular member of the Mission Team had to go back to Jakarta 3 times, using his own money and in the process, spent his birthday in the company of new-found friends.

This remarkable show of unconditional support and commitment aroused my curiosity, so that in July of 2015, I agreed to go to Jakarta to share at their Breakfast. Curiosity may have brought me there but what I saw and experienced afterwards slowly changed my view about Jakarta and international missions.

There were no first-timers, but what was permanently etched in my mind was the presence of the core group we were trying to recruit. I didn’t think that they considered their prior commitments to their respective churches as fundamentally conflicting with our Mission. I think that like me, they were just seeking for guidance and enlightenment as far as the Jakarta Mission is concerned.

And when I did my actual sharing, I had to pause for 2 or 3 times. Mind you, that was not the first time that I had shared in a Men’s Breakfast, and that was also not the first time that I was affected by my own testimony. But its effect on me that particular morning was so unlike what I experienced before. It’s as if the Lord was asking me: “after 13 years in the Brotherhood, do you still doubt?”

Whatever doubts I may still have had about the Jakarta Mission slowly dissipated when I went back to Manila, as I began to see God’s hand paving the way for us to bring Christ to the marketplace of Jakarta.

First, I learned that BCBP, together with Indonesia and with the help of Bangkok, would be joining a world-wide organization of Christian business groups which would give us a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with them and even invite some of their leaders to the BCBP breakfast

Second, some members of our Indonesian core group were able to visit Cebu where they witnessed first-hand the conduct of BCBP breakfasts and a short glimpse of our way of life. Two of them are here at NAC36 celebrating with us: may I acknowledge Brothers Alex Wijoyo and Ricky Subrata.

And third, the Bishop of Jakarta happened to be a good friend of our own Archbishop of Cebu, Jose Palma, thus when we were endorsed by Bishop Palma, the good Bishop of Jakarta warmly received us. Finally, when I met with our chapter heads in Cebu to report on my first trip to Jakarta, one of them handed me a check for P10,000 to defray part of my traveling expenses. The brother-donor has remained anonymous to this day. I’d like to thank him now.

I have since gone back to Jakarta three times after my first trip, the last three no longer out of curiosity but full of hope and “heart enflamed” knowing with expectant faith that the Lord will always be with us, regardless of challenges that we may face.

For in 2 Chronicles the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

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1 comment

soledad a advincula May 21, 2016 - 6:44 am

I have a friend in Jakarta, how can I make known to her about our Mission there and how she can attend the breakfast, she is an expat there and consultant at the dept of finance. my cp is 09178005814. please advise. im a member of Paranauque chapter


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