Nadine Hoover, Coordinator, Asia/West Pacific program of Friends Peace
this story indicates sometimes the peacemakers themselves, by their
presence alone, bring reconciliation.
I got the message and photos below from Zumrotin in Tondomulyo outside
of the city of Pati, Central Java, Indonesia. I thought you might like
to see them. On his own, Peter Watson (Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meeting)
stayed at the Friends Peace Teams guesthouse at Peace Place, Central
Java for the month of May 2012. He visited Sun and Zum's family in Tondomulyo
for a week, working in the fields, playing with the children, helping
with the bio-gas production and joining in the gotong-royong (community
cooperative work day) to raise a gravel road. He certainly made an impression!
2012, when John Michaelis (Australia Yearly Meeting) and I arrived in
Tondolmulyo, the head of the village for the first time shook our hands,
received us in his home and spoke to us like friends. Sun, Zumrotin's
husband, reported that police say this rural village has the worst violence
in the region. Tondomulyo has long been known for its militant Islam
as well. When we first arrived, the Imam did not speak to us and would
not get anywhere near us, as touching us would have been considered
"unclean." Last year he was ill and asked us to pray for him,
"each according to his own faith," which so shocked those
standing around us a number of them literally fell back when they heard
it. But to see us sitting and chatting in his front room was so ordinary
that one would have to know the background to recognize it as extraordinary.