Sharing: First Week in Guangzhou



I went to Kowloon Tong MTR station on Sep 3 to go to Lo Wu immigration office. I entered Shenzhen by student visa and then went to Guangzhou by train. It’s raining upon arriving at Guangzhou East Station so I went by Guangzhou Metro to the dormitory for international students Zi Jing Yuang Hotel.
We should pay five months rental and basic telephone fee and also deposit for the dormitory. I am at the 8th floor. There are bed including bed sheet, pillow and bed cover, closet for clothes, book shelves with table, chair, small table with drawer, air conditioner, television, water dispenser, safe deposit box, shower bathroom with toilet and sink, direct telephone line and balcony to hang the clothes. The room was dusty. The housekeeper helped to open the safe deposit box. The bed is quiet hard so I put another two mattresses as I got backache. I met an Indonesian on the first night. The internet will be activated by our student card.
I went to the market near the campus on Sept 4 to buy several basic needs and then went to Cathedral of Guangzhou on Sunday. It took around 45 minutes from dormitory. As the Cantonese mass was still going on, I sat down in the church for a while and then going around the compound. I was full of gratitude as I prayed before the Mandarin mass with six altar boys. Finally, I learn Putonghua (=common language with simplified Chinese characters) in mainland China. I was in tears while listening to the opening song in Mandarin by the children choir. There are six Sunday masses in Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and English and also daily mass in Cantonese. There are four flat TVs with power point presentation about the songs number and full readings besides a commentator. After the mass, I joined the Indonesian community who was asking our personal information. I met several of them in Hong Kong. After the mass, I went around including to mega store Park n Shop near the campus.
Upon arrived at registration room on Sep 6, they gave a map of Sun Yat-sen University, form for campus residence accommodation registration, form for medical verification, form for applying residence permit, time table and information procedure. There was long queue to pay the registration fee, tuition fee and insurance premium. Then I queued for checking documents and getting supporting document for Xingang police station, medical verification, and applying residence permit. I went to Xingang police station near campus in the afternoon and left the document as their computer was down. As I had a lot of things to bring home from the shop, I went home by sitting in the back of a rental bicycle.
I picked up the registration form of temporary residence for visitors from the police station on Sep 7 and then brought it to International Student Office to get a supporting document to apply the residence permit as they should registered it online. The police reminded to bring original passport all the time as the police may ask it especially during the Asian Games.
As requested, I went to Guangzhou Travel Health Center (GTHC) in Tianhe for medical record verification on Sep 8. There was long queue so they asked to come back the next day as the office only open in the morning. I went earlier to the GTHC the next morning and got the first number as I filled the form while queueing. I paid RMB 314.00 for blood test, temperature test and USG in the stomach even though I had a completed Physical Examination Record for Foreigners (PERF). I asked to use the weight scale and I lost weight one kilogram.
There was orientation in power point presentations for newly arrived international students about a brief introduction to Sun Yat-sen University and a talk from Immigration Office on the law of exit and entry for Aliens at Swissy Hall on Sep 10. Several law breaking activities are excessive drinking, gambling, drug-addicting, and doing missionary work. There are more than 100 participants. I enjoyed the visit of Sr. Maureen in the afternoon.
I attended Indonesian charismatic prayer group “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the evening. There were around 30 persons mostly students from several universities in Guangzhou. I shared briefly about myself. Even though I never attended charismatic prayer group regularly in Indonesia, I always find a charismatic prayer group either in Chicago, New York, Hong Kong and now in Guangzhou. We had snack and social after the prayer meeting.
I asked direction “ni zhidao......(showed the word in Putonghua in my cellphone) zai na li?”, price “duoshao ma?”, discount by mentioning the price I want. I communicate in Putonghua by using the dictionary in my cellphone, the address in the name card of the dormitory, book “Essential Chinese for Travellers” and body language. When I don’t understand anymore, I said “wo bu dong” (=I don’t understand). I heard Indonesian conversation in the registration area and the lobby of the dormitory several times. The Indonesians are the biggest three nationalities in the campus.
There are washing machine area in the 2nd floor and kitchens in our building. We should buy a card for 10 times laundry. I planned to do laundry on Sep 7 and it was cloudy in the morning. I prayed for sunshine as I would go out and nobody would pick up the clothes outside. As I finished my Jesus prayer, there was sunshine. I also asked for sunshine in daytime for drying the clothes and raining in the night as I realized that farmers need rain. For three days, the rain was poured out heavily in the night. The security man helped to operate the washing machine and then I left the card in the machine. When I came back to pick up the laundry, the card was not in the machine anymore. Somebody stole it as nobody returned it to reception desk. The kitchens were not opened yet.
I ordered Indonesian style fried rice with sour peppery green papaya from meal delivery through the reception of the dormitory for the first night but then it’s not operate on Saturdays and Sundays and also will re-open next week. For the rest of the week, I ate cup noodle, rice-carsiu (=roasted pork)-vegetable-salty fish, beef fried rice, and bread. The rice was enough for two servings. Two students helped me to order the beef fried rice in a halal (=non pork) restaurant near campus as there were several kinds of fried rice and the man didn’t understand English.
I had foot reflexiology near the campus. One of the customers helped me to communicate with the young massager woman. I also tried to have conversation with her, at least I know she has one son and five co-workers and also worked around 4-5 years.
Two Chinese graduate students helped to locate several buildings in the campus’ map, translate the remote control of the air conditioner and SIM card’s manual.
I wished to learn mandarin as there’s growing need for business. As I wouldn’t think to leave my job to learn Mandarin in mainland China, so I decided to learn it after office hours in Surabaya. God granted my wish to learn Mandarin in mainland China but it’s for my ministry instead of my own career.
My heart is full of gratitude for my family, sisters and friends who helped my presence in mainland China. Kindly continue to pray for me as Putonghua will not be easy. Thank you very much for all your support and prayers. May God continue to bless your missionary journey.

“We know that no two of us are alike. God has not made us so, but has endowed us with varying talents, different temperaments, and a wide range of physical powers, and all are to be used for God’s glory.” (Mother Mary Joseph)

Guangzhou, Sep 12, 2010


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: On Line Ministry from Hong Kong for Nias-Indonesia

When I was working, I used to donate a small amount of my salary to several charity works including educational fund for several children. I also gave away gradually my first salaries when I got the lesson about “Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3: 9-10) in one of my classes at School of Personal Evangelization in Surabaya-Indonesia.
I used “ABe Foundation” as my way to be an anonymous donor, with the wish would be for women and children even though it’s not registered yet as a foundation.
Upon resigning from my job for my discerning process to religious life, I cut down my donation. So the thought “if I work and have salary, I can be a donor” would come in my mind whenever I got a donation request. I am not financially independent anymore which was my wish upon finishing my university.
Almost 40% of our income is from gifts and contributions of our sponsors and donors (http://www.mklsisters.org/images/pdf/financ8b.pdf). I used to help in our donor office in New York to open the letters from our generous donors/sponsors with cheque or cash or credit card number, in hundreds USD and also one USD bill. And now, Maryknoll Sisters is sending an annual spring appeal to look for donation including for my two years mandarin study in Guangzhou http://www.mklsisters.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1297&Itemid=0&atype=appeal.
In Nov 2009, Fr. Thomas Maduwu, OFMCap sent an email request for educational fund for two senior high school students in Nias-Indonesia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nias. I got his name through Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community in Canberra and we met when both of us attended National Conference of Charismatic Catholic Renewal in 2006. He works in Togizita Parish, Nias which have 24,000 parishioners in 79 out of stations. Their economic, health and education life are below standard.
I started to send an email to several Indonesian friends in my yahoo address book as the students are in Indonesia. I gave the information about Fr. Thomas and the students.
Glad that one friend wants to be a donor for one year even though it’s not enough for one student. As the school year would be finished in June 2010, I sent an email to the second batch of Indonesian friends. Two friends are willing to be a donor. The good news is one of students wants to be a priest so there will be enough funding for the other students to finish her senior high school. Then Fr. Thomas submitted request for another two students who want to study in the college. I only could say I would try to look for it. I sent an email to the third batch of Indonesian friends. Seven friends are willing to be a donor and their funding will be enough for two years. One of the donors invites a friend to be a donor. One of the donors is looking for a girl to be supported. Thanks be to God.
I sent the bank account details upon receiving their confirmation as a donor. I ask the donors to remit directly to Fr. Thomas’ account while I organize it by giving a number to each donor and asked them add the number on their remittance so Fr. Thomas will easily recognize the remittance. Several donors remitted lumpsum, several others remit monthly for one year. As Fr. Thomas gave brief information about the children, I ask the donor to contact Fr. Thomas directly if they need more information.
Even though I am not financially independent anymore, even though we are still looking for donation for our mission country including for language study, I still can help the students in Indonesia as I have friends who are generously willing to support this project. I was transformed from “I want do it by myself” to “I can invite my friends to participate in the work for justice locally” as St. Gregory the Great said “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”
The internet connection is really a big help for this project, making the connection between Fr. Thomas in Nias, donors in several places (Surabaya, Jakarta, Malang, and Singapore), and myself in Hong Kong. It’s my first online ministry outside our mission country as we don’t have any sisters in Indonesia after the independence of East Timor.
Thank you very much for all your generosity in supporting this project. May God continue to bless you in your missionary journey.

The ministry of the body of Christ is not really something that you try to do, although it calls you to do many things. Ministry is the fruit finding your gifts and offering what you have. Ministry is not something that requires professional credentials. It is a vocation each of us claims by virtue of our baptism in the body of Christ. Ministry isn’t something you do for certain hours during the day and then you come home and relax at night. Well, who knows? Ministry might happen while you are relaxing [or online, bold added by myself]. (Henri Nouwen)

Guangzhou, Sep 6, 2010


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: Part Time Ministry in Hong Kong


(The Indonesian version of this sharing is available in the bottom).
On our first meeting, Sr. Flora, RGS asked me to help in the ministry for the Indonesians in Hong Kong. As I didn’t know yet my orientation schedule to our region, I couldn’t make a promise. Finally, it’s my part time ministry.
Christ-Sylvia-Nico-William usually picked me up to go to St. Paul Convent School Chapel at Causeway Bay on Sundays to attend the Indonesian mass organized by “KKIH Hati Kudus Yesus” (The Women Migrant Workers Community). After mass, I had late lunch with the leadership committee and mingled with them till 6.00 p.m. Most of the time, Christ-Sylvia-Nico-William invited the priests/brothers/sisters for supper out before sending me home. There was Independence Day celebration with the theme “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (=Unity in Diversity) by wearing Indonesian costumes, serving Indonesian meals and performing Indonesian dances and songs on Aug 15, 2010. I gave a reflection on Mat 12: 1-4 with the theme “Double Standard” for the prayer meeting prior to the mass on Aug 22, 2010. Here is the link: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2010/08/renungan-untuk-persekutuan-doa-katolik.html. There are around 150 persons who are attending the Sunday mass.
As I finished my visit to our communities in our region, I started to work as a helpline at the Indonesian desk on Thursdays in Diocesan Pastoral Center for Filipino (DPCF). Ayda or Phoe Be would help me how to answer the questions.
I also attended the Indonesian masses on second and forth Saturdays in DPCF which were organized by “IKKI HKG” (HKG Residence Community) followed by pot luck meal. There is rosary before the mass every the second Saturday and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after the mass every forth Saturday. I was asked to be the Eucharistic Minister, say the grace before the meal, or lead the rosary. I shared my vocation story as a Maryknoll Sister and gave reflection on humility on Aug 29, 2010. Here is the link: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2010/08/sharing-panggilan-dan-refleksi-tentang.html.
Atik, one of the women who stay in the shelter of DPCF, invited me to attend women migrant discussion’s group of Pathfinders (http://www.pathfinders.org.hk/) who help migrant women (including those who have overstayed their HK visas) to make informed decisions affecting the welfare of themselves and their children. Most of the participants are Indonesians who are pregnant or having mix racial babies. They were presentations about sexuality and contraception by St. John's Cathedral HIV Education Centre (http://hkaids.med.cuhk.edu.hk/sjhiv/) and adoption from Mother’s Choice (http://www.motherschoice.org/pages/index.asp?pg=about_us_our_history). There were three women would go back to Indonesia with their babies and Pathfinders would give them the air ticket, allowance and loan to set up a small business.
As there are several Indonesians in the correctional institutions, I applied for a visitor’s pass. Jack Fung , the chairman of Prisoners' Friends’ Association (http://www.pfa.org.hk/eng/resources/pv1.htm), helped to book the room to meet an Indonesian woman in Lo Wu correctional institution but I couldn’t visit her yet as they were preparing the re-opening ceremony and I should leave for Guangzhou on Sep 3, 2010.
Here are several of my activities with the Indonesians in Hong Kong: celebrating Easter oikumene, attending oikumene prayer meeting and gathering, visiting the shelter of DPCF, joining Sr. Flora, RGS and Fr. Reggie, SVD to survey the first mission place of St. Joseph Freinademetz, SVD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Freinademetz) in Yim Tin Tsai for the pilgrimage in October, visiting patients in the hospital, attending the value formation for the shelter residence on the last Monday of the month, translating an English presentation or explanation to the Indonesians, accompanying to the airport or to the court, listening to their stories and praying with them either in the back of St. Paul Convent School chapel, in the DPCF, at home, at court or over the phone.
Once, I offered a tissue to a young woman as I saw her crying while praying and then I offered to pray with her. She cried on my lap upon getting a place to pray together. I should hold my tears when she shared her complicated life story after crying on my shoulder.
When I heard several sad stories of the women migrant workers in a group sharing for the first time, I was in tense. They hope to have better life by looking for a job in Hong Kong/Macau but it does not always turn as their hope. They may face underpayment, no day off, overstay, abusive treatment, contract termination, homosexuality, gambling, debt, contract marriage, unplanned pregnancy, and sexual harassment. Of course, there are many success stories too among 130,000 women migrant workers.
As I wrote in my collaborative book with Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD “Kasih Sahabat”: I realize that how little I can do in service to the universal mission of the Church but how big I am encouraged to keep move forward because mission is not just a matter of doing things for people, it is first of all a matter of being with people, of listening to, sharing and praying with them (instead of praying for them, italic added). In fact, I also learn from their experiences.
Thank you very much for Diocesan Pastoral Center for Filipino, IKKI HKG and KKIH Hati Kudus Yesus, and Pathfinders for the chance to participate in the activities so I have the opportunity to have a part time ministry before my mandarin study. May God continue to bless your missionary journey.

Pada pertemuan pertama kami, Sr. Flora, RGS meminta saya untuk membantu di pelayanan untuk orang Indonesia di Hong Kong. Saya tidak bisa berjanji karena saya belum mengetahui jadwal orientasi saya di regio Cina. Akhirnya, inilah pelayanan paro waktu saya.
Christ-Sylvia-Nico-William biasanya menjemput saya untuk berangkat ke kapel St. Paul Convent School di Causeway Bay pada hari Minggu untuk mengikuti misa yang diorganisir oleh “KKIH Hati Kudus Yesus”. Setelah misa, saya makan siang bersama dengan para pengurus dan berbincang-bincang sampai sekitar jam 18.00. Beberapa kali, Christ-Sylvia-Nico-William mengundang para imam/frater/suster untuk makan malam sebelum mengantar saya pulang. Hari Kemerdekaan RI dirayakan dengan tema “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” dengan memakai pakaian daerah, menyajikan makanan daerah, dan menampilkan tarian dan lagu daerah masing-masing pada 15 Aug. Saya memberi renungan Mat 12: 1-4 dengan tema “Standar Ganda” untuk persekutuan doa sebelum misa pada 22 Aug. Ini link-nya: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2010/08/renungan-untuk-persekutuan-doa-katolik.html. Ada sekitar 150 orang yang hadir dalam misa.
Setelah selesai melakukan kunjungan ke komunitas kami, saya mulai membantu sebagai penerima telepon berbahasa Indonesia pada hari Kamis di Diocesan Pastoral Center for Filipino (DPCF). Ayda atau Phoe Be akan menolong saya bagaimana menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang ada.
Saya juga menghadiri misa pada Sabtu kedua dan ke-empat di DPCF, yang diorganisir oleh Ikatan Keluarga Katolik Indonesia HKG yang dilanjutkan dengan makan malam bersama. Ada doa Rosario sebelum misa pada Sabtu kedua dan adorasi Sakramen Maha Kudus setelah misa pada Sabtu ke-empat. Saya diminta menjadi Pembagi Darah Kristus, memimpin doa sebelum makan atau memimpin doa Rosario bersama Dunant. Saya mensharingkan panggilan saya sebagai seorang suster Maryknoll dan memberi renungan tentang kerendahan hati pada 29 Aug. Ini link-nya: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.com/2010/08/sharing-panggilan-dan-refleksi-tentang.html.
Atik, salah seorang wanita yang tinggal di shelter DPCF, mengundang saya untuk menghadiri grup diskusi wanita pekerja migran yang diselenggarakan oleh Pathfinders (http://www.pathfinders.org.hk/), yang membantu wanita pekerja migran (termasuk yang telah melewati ijin tinggalnya) untuk membuat keputusan yang benar, yang mempengaruhi kesejahteraan mereka dan anak-anak mereka. Kebanyakan peserta adalah wanita Indonesia yang sedang hamil atau mempunyai anak antar ras. Ada presentasi tentang Seksualitas dan Kontrasepsi oleh by St. John's Cathedral HIV Education Centre (http://hkaids.med.cuhk.edu.hk/sjhiv/) dan Adopsi dari Mother’s Choice (http://www.motherschoice.org/pages/index.asp?pg=about_us_our_history). Ada tiga orang wanita yang akan pulang ke Indoensia dengan bayi mereka dan Pathfinders akan menyediakan tiket dan pinjaman untuk memulai usaha.
Sehubungan dengan adanya beberapa orang Indonesia di penjara, maka saya mengajukan permohonan untuk mendapatkan kartu pengunjung. Jack Fung , Ketua of Prisoners' Friends' Association (http://www.pfa.org.hk/eng/resources/pv1.htm), membantu untuk mereservasi ruangan untuk menemui seorang wanita di penjara Lo Wu tetapi saya tidak bisa mengunjunginya karena pihak penjara sedang menyiapkan upacara pembukaan kembali penjara dan saya harus berangkat ke Guangzhou pada 3 Sep.
Beberapa aktivitas saya bersama orang Indonesia di Hong Kong: merayakan Paskah Oikumene, menghadiri persekutuan doa dan pertemuan Oikumene, mengunjungi shelter DPCF, bergabung dengan Sr. Flora, RGS and Fr. Reggie, SVD untuk melakukan survei tempat misi pertama St. Joseph Freinademetz, SVD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Freinademetz) di Yim Tin Tsai untuk ziarah di bulan Oktober, mengunjungi pasien di RS, menghadiri pembentukan nilai untuk penghuni shelter pada hari Senin terakhir dalam bulan, menerjemahkan presentasi atau penjelasan dalam bahasa Inggris ke dalam bahasa Indonesia, menemani ke bandara atau ke pengadilan, mendengarkan cerita dan berdoa bersama mereka baik di belakang kapel St. Paul Convent School, di DPCF, di rumah, di penjara atau lewat telepon. Suatu kali, saya menawarkan tissue pada seorang wanita muda yang sedang menangis ketika berdoa dan kemudian saya menawarkan untuk berdoa bersama. Dia langsung menangis di pangkuan saya ketika kami sudah mendapatkan tempat untuk berdoa bersama. Saya harus menahan air mata saya ketika dia mensharingkan kisah hidupnya yang kompleks setelah menangis di bahu saya.
Ketika saya mendengar beberapa kisah sedih wanita pekerja migran dalam sharing untuk pertama kalinya, saya merasa tegang. Mereka berharap untuk memperoleh hidup yang lebih baik dengan mencari pekerjaan di Hong Kong/Macau tetapi hasilnya tidak selalu seperti yang mereka harapkan. Mereka mungkin menghadapi gaji di bawah standard, tidak ada hari libur, melewati ijin tinggal, perlakuan yang abusif, penghentian kontrak kerja, homoseks, judi, perkawinan kontrak, kehamilan yang tidak direncanakan, dan kekerasan seksual. Tentu saja, ada banyak kisah sukses diantara 130,000 wanita pekerja migran Indonesia.
Sebagaimana saya tuliskan dalam buku kolaboratif saya dengan Romo Lukas Batmomolin, SVD, yang berjudul “Kasih Sahabat”: Saya menyadari betapa kecil yang dapat saya lakukan dalam pelayanan untuk misi universal Gereja tetapi betapa besar saya didorong untuk tetap melangkah maju karena misi bukan hanya melakukan untuk orang lain, tetapi terutama bersama orang lain, mendengarkan, membagikan dan berdoa bersama mereka (bukan hanya berdoa untuk mereka, huruf miring ditambahkan). Pada kenyataannya, saya juga belajar dari pengalaman mereka.
Terima kasih banyak untuk Diocesan Pastoral Center for Filipino, IKKI HKG, KKIH Hati Kudus Yesus, dan Pathfinders untuk kesempatannya menghadiri berbagai kegiatan mereka sehingga saya mempunyai kesempatan untuk melakukan pelayanan paro waktu sebelum belajar mandarin. Semoga Tuhan memberkati perjalanan misionaris Anda masing-masing.

Guangzhou, Sep 6, 2010


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible