On Wednesday evening, we participated in a Dinner for 10 in Jogja. This is tool used by the Public Affairs missionaries to help bring the Church more visibility. The idea is to sponsor a dinner for 10 or so community leaders and discuss the what the various programs of the Church that help individuals, help families, and help the community. So we sponsored the monthly meeting of the Inter-religious Organization of Jogja. This is just what it sounds like – a gathering of representatives from a number of religions to discuss working together to solve common community problems. You would think in a country where 90% of the people are Muslim, there would not be a need for such a group – but Jogja prides itself on being very forward-thinking and a center for education. While the head of the largest Muslim organization was the moderator, there were reps there from Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, LDS, Confucian, Baptist, and a second, smaller Muslim group, totaling 16 people. The discussion was around what each group was doing for the community and what we could all come together to work on, The consensus was that there was a need for youth health education, especially among teenage girls – hygiene, dental care (Indonesians don’t take very good care of their teeth), reproduction education (in the States that means abortion – here it simply means teaching where babies come from), weight management, etc. So we’ll see where this leads.
A second consensus came about (today after we returned) and that was Emergency Preparedness. Jogja is susceptible to earthquakes and tsunami’s, so there is a need for training regarding how to best to prepare. We were asked to take the lead on this part. We recently met with Yenni Suryani, head of Catholic Relief Services of Indonesia. They have absolutely written the book on ER in Indonesia, so we will turn to her. She was very willing to train us, so we hope she will be willing to train the group in Jogja!