Asia West Pacific 

We Believe Peace is Real

By Petrus, Jrahi, September 2, 2019

Synod Peace Institute (LPS) and PELITA, an institution of the Mennonite Evangelical Church in Java (GITJ), developed an evangelism and discipleship program with the theme “Building Nonviolent Lives.” Danang Kristiawan, a pastor of GITJ on the board of the Synod Peace Institute, asked Petrus from Peace Place to share his experiences in peace and nonviolence at their Mission and Discipleship Training Forum. Petrus agreed as long as he could invite Muslim participants. Petrus had been hosting interfaith peace and nonviolence training, but had trouble getting Christian young people to attend unless there was a big name or institution promoting it.

On Monday, September 2, 2019, Petrus was given 5.5 hours for “Friendship and Affirmation.” The training was attended by 15 people: nine young Church activists who were members of PELITA and three Muslim participants, namely Layli Qurroti A’yun, a student from the Institute of Islamic Boarding School Mathaliul Falah (IPMAFA) Kajen; Ulin Nuha alumni of the Islamic Boarding School Founder of the library in Gunungsari Village, Tlogowungu , Pati District; and Kabul, the founder of the ‘Sanggar Winasis’ Community Reading Park in Jrahi who recently completed a Bachelors Degrees in Agriculture Studies from Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta; plus three people from Peace Place, Petrus, Nanik and Ratih.

This was the first AVP training held in a church with participants from Christian and Muslim youth. Layli Qurroti A’yun said that he initially felt hesitant and awkward because the training was held in a church, but after proceeding, he felt it was normal because these friends were also ordinary and even in a short time they could get close quickly because all participants spoke openly.

For Kabul, he was even more enthusiastic for the future. He said “I have the ideals of Taman Baca” Sanggar Winasis “to be able to become a place of learning for village people and children, with a nonviolent approach to life. After I finished the training, I slept very comfortably that night, unlike usual. When I woke up, I was immediately moved to drink water that I didn’t normally do before. I believe in the need for a peaceful life and the importance of spreading peace. I realize that the key to peace is in myself and how I treat myself and treat others well. I was also very happy to be able to practice with Christian young friends who I had not known before, and very grateful to meet with people who wanted to share their experiences in developing a life without violence.

Meanwhile, according to Aberido from the Holy Bulungcangkring Church, this training was very different from any other training. He could immediately practice how to listen well and bring out the good in himself and others that was unimaginable to him before. He is also very pleased with the inspirational refreshment and even more happy because he got to practice with Muslim friends. For Rido, being friends with Muslims is important and normal, but practicing nonviolent living with them in a church was a first.

For Yanto, from the Ujungwatu Church of Jepara, living in peace is his dream. The material on the Power of Goodness was very impressive to him. He hopes after the training he will be able to get closer to Muslim friends to share more life experiences.

Meanwhile, according to Suwarni, a youth from the Jiwo Church, Jrahi Village, Gunungwungkal Subdistrict, AVP training was a very new and different method from anything he had ever experienced. The method of direct practice was fun and made it more able to know yourself and also to learn how to get to know others. “I can now understand what are my problems. I can reflect on and evaluate myself and determine how to solve problems. The activity “Stand on Line” really helped understand who I was and what I can do. The training was very fun because we did it with Muslim friends.” According to him, these activities are needed by everyone, and he wants to develop this training in his community.