Inspiration from Mas Iwan – by Silvester Ndaparoka

KUPANG,, On Saturday, 17 April 2021, sector 14 of  GMIT’s Emaus Liliba congregation gathered to rehabilitate the home of Mama Omi, a single mother with 4 children who supports her family by making and selling snacks.

Omi’s family is one of those worst hit in sector 14: the roof was blown off, and the kitchen and bathroom were destroyed by Cyclone Seroja. As a result, the family were no longer able to stay in their home.

The rehabilitation effort was a cooperative one, enabled by donations of money, building materials, labor, and prayer. Every family in sector 14 contributed what they could with the goal that Mama Omi and her family could get back into their home as soon as possible.

In the midst of this work, Mas Iwan showed up.  Who is Mas Iwan? He moved to Menariknya muncullah sosok Mas Iwan. Siapa Mas Iwan? He is my neighbor in sector 14, a Muslim man whose wife is from Sabu.  We usually call him “Anggun’s father,” after his daughter. As it happens, he is a skilled builder. He came uninvited and volunteered his skills when he saw how the neighborhood had gathered to rebuild Mama Omi’s house.

Mas Iwan showed up in a yellow shirt and a black hat, with a hammer in his left hand.  He brought new colors to our effort: he is a Muslim yet he wants to be in solidarity with his “Nazarene” neighbors; he brought a level of skill as a carpenter that none of the rest of us had; he donated Rp 150,000 to buy roofing materials and helped with silicone to patch the holes in used roofing tin.  He stayed and helped that day until the house was finished.

The solidarity shown by Mas Iwan overcomes differences of religion and ethnicity.  Mas Iwan took the side of the weak. He was an inspiration to me and to all of us in sector 14, showing us the meaning of solidarity without walls. Thank you, Mas Iwan, for your inspiration. May God bless you as you continue your fast in this holy month of Ramadan.  ***

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