Posted by: Titus Presler | November 16, 2010

Missionaries work for reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia

An e-mail circular, “Ambassadors for reconciliation in Indonesia,” from Hunter Farrell, director of Presbyterian World Mission, features two Presbyterian missionaries whose major work is building community between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation:

Presbyterian mission worker Bernie Adeney-Risakotta helped found the world’s only graduate program in interreligious studies that involves Christian, Muslim and state universities. Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta teaches future Indonesian church leaders at Duta Wacana Christian University.

While dedicated to their teaching ministries, this couple brings a commitment to mission service that goes far beyond the classroom. They realized their work for reconciliation between Muslims and Christians would have to be more than words, and their commitment to living in community would be an important part of their message to those they serve. They built their home in a mostly Muslim neighborhood during a period when tensions between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia were at an all-time high. Offering a witness to their own strong faith in Christ, Bernie and Farsijana invite Christians and Muslims to live together in the house long-term, to share with and learn from one another, and in the process to build a sense of community.

Watch Bernie talk about why they built the house and what they are hoping to accomplish.

This publicity about Bernie and Farsijana is timely in view of President Obama’s recent visit to Indonesia.  The encounter between Christianity and Islam should be one of the major priorities for Christian mission int he 21st century, and it is good to see two missionaries engaging it as their life’s work and in a way that is so compelling.

Going Global with God: Reconciling Mission in a World of Difference, my book published last month, features Brenie and Farsijana in the chapter “Reconciliation: The Direction of God’s Mission.”

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