With the support of LCA International Mission and the National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation in Indonesia (KN-LWF), Immanuel Lutheran College (ILC) from Buderim in Queensland developed a partnership with HKBP SMP and SMA Secondary Schools (junior and senior high schools) in Parapat North Sumatra in 2017. We also connected with a disability service, […]
With the support of LCA International Mission and the National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation in Indonesia (KN-LWF), Immanuel Lutheran College (ILC) from Buderim in Queensland developed a partnership with HKBP SMP and SMA Secondary Schools (junior and senior high schools) in Parapat North Sumatra in 2017. We also connected with a disability service, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), in the neighbouring province of Raya.
From the outset, it was clear that these communities were challenged by their context and financial capacity. Our partnership has centred on cultural exchange and promoting an understanding of diversity and mutual respect.
We have visited the school and CBR, as well as bringing teachers from Parapat and volunteers from CBR to Immanuel. Staff and students have engaged meaningfully in the ‘why’ of the relationships and jointly determined how Immanuel’s support can be targeted in Sumatra.
Immanuel has worked closely with leaders and church officials in Indonesia to ensure that finances and resources complement what is happening on the ground. Ridwin Purba from KN-LWF has provided wonderful support in facilitating visits and communication with Parapat and CBR. His passion for developing and deepening relationships between Australian schools and Indonesian communities has been an amazing blessing.
One of the most pleasing outcomes from these relationships has been to witness the growth and engagement of our students and staff. In the spirit of service-learning, it is the ongoing ‘learning’ that occurs pre- and post-trip, and the influence that these experiences have on the culture within the Immanuel community.
In recent years COVID-19 has made maintaining these partnerships more complex, exacerbated by the vagaries of the relationship between the local church congregation and school. We have focused on supporting the school through targeted financial assistance, resource provision, improving access to technology and developing governance capacity. Unfortunately, the pandemic has resulted in some families withdrawing children from the school and consequently, the junior secondary school has closed. The school now only offers years 10 to 12 but we are committed to the relationship and continue to liaise with school leaders and local officials to find ways to continue the partnership.
These relationships have been a blessing to all involved. In particular, there has been a tangible change in ILC staff and students’ understanding of the global community. We are prayerfully hopeful that the Indonesian school can turn around the enrolment decline and that CBR will continue to thrive. We thank God and pray that all partnerships between our schools and overseas communities will continue to be richly blessed.
This story was also published in the April 2022 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.
If your school would like to know more about how they can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission service-learning and ministry partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/service-learning/
Read more stories about school partnerships and school service-learning at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/schools/