Blessings and challenges in Sumatra

Dear Friends of the Mission, rejoice in the Lord!

With the help of God we are doing well. I hope you are all doing well too, always with His protection. I would like to mention some things from our Orthodox Mission here in Sumatra, Indonesia.

From the 23th to the 26th of December, 2016, I went to our parish community of the Lord’s Resurrection in Siparbue village. I stayed there to give them some counseling, since their priest Fr. Athanasios fell asleep in Christ two years ago. Until now no other priest has gone there. So, in order to give the chance to the parishioners of the Tarutung province to go to church, another priest from the city of Medan needs to go down to their village, and that is either Fr. Theodosius or me. Those days that we conducted some sacred services (Holy Liturgy, Baptism and Christmas services), they rejoiced our stay, because we were close to them. We pray to the Most Merciful God to send them a priest.

Things here in Indonesia are not good, because there has been an upsurge of religious fanaticism on the part of bigoted Muslims, who want to apply sharia throughout Indonesia. Most people do not want them, because here we have many races, tribes and religions. These Muslims have made a lot of attacks, burned churches and dropped bombs on Christian property. If Christians want to claim a leadership position, they are hindered by them in any possible way. O brothers, please pray that the Almighty God guards and protects us.

We received your donation of € 7,000 and we thank you very much for your love and kindness. In January we began the construction of the priest’s house. We have also scheduled the baptisms and paid all of Stephen’s fees for University. This year, God willing, he will finish his studies and will start looking for a job to help his little orphaned brothers, those that Fr. Athanasios has left behind.

My beloved brothers, another son of Stephen’s father, Cosmas, is keen to become an iconographer. His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of Australia has invited him there in order to become an iconographer and a theologian too. All the costs in Australia will be covered by the Archdiocese, but in order to go there, he needs to learn the language and pass the required exams. As you know, we priests here in Indonesia do not get any salaries. Consequently, I cannot afford to send Cosmas to learn the language, which is why I resort to your love. In the future we will need an indigenous iconographer for our Mission here, which is why Cosmas is valuable to us. I appeal to your kind heart to help him learn the language. The cost will reach the amount of 3,000 euro.

This is all our news, my brothers. May the Most Merciful God bless you with His abundant goods in the new year 2017.

Fr. Chrysostomos Manalu

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