Finding hope in Sabda dan Doa
In a year where faith and hope have been especially important, people across the world have had to think differently about what it means to be connected in worship.
When COVID-19 forced us into physical isolation, Assembly National Consultant Rev. Dr Apwee Ting discovered a new way of sharing prayer and scripture.
Since the end of March, Apwee has recorded a daily devotional in his heart language, Indonesian which he shares every morning via WhatsApp to more than 400 people across Indonesia, Australia, and even places as far away as the Netherlands and San Francisco.
It began when Apwee was invited to send a message of hope and encouragement via Whats App for families and students who were experiencing lockdown in the city of Jogyakarta in Java, Indonesia.
Apwee quickly realised the potential of sharing via WhatsApp at a time when people were not physically able to attend Church and isolation had begun to set in.
Since then Apwee has recorded a three-minute devotional every day called Sabda dan Doa (Word and Prayer). Each devotional contains a Bible verse, a short reflection and a prayer.
Now running for more than 200 days, Sabda dan Doa has found a devoted following. Apwee has been heartened by the response. Some of the messages he has received include:
“I listen to your Sabda dan Doa every morning. It has become an important ritual for me because it gives me hope and comfort in the midst of coronavirus.” (Landayani in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia)
“Sabda dan Doa is very important for my family during the lockdown because we can’t go to the Church on Sunday.” (Kristin in Melbourne)
Living in Melbourne, Apwee has only just experienced an easing of Victoria’s strict lockdown.
“COVID has changed us a lot,” said Apwee. “It has forced us to reflect and to reconsider what are the most important things in life.”.
“Faith and community are very important for us as human beings. Faith gives us hope and strength in the midst of difficulties and challenges. Connecting with one another in love and care sustains our humanity and identity as social beings.”
“It is my hope that Sabda dan Doa has encouraged people to pray and to have a time together to listen the Scriptures.”
Apwee said creating Sabda dan Doa has also been an important spiritual discipline for himself during lockdown.
“I read, reflect and pray the Scripture verse every morning before the recording. It has helped me to focus on what is the important message in the Scriptures for people who live in the time of lockdown.”
His daily devotional has led to an invitation to speak at the European Indonesian Fellowship in Belgium in August.
Apwee says he will continue to record Sabda dan Doa for as long as it is needed. Beyond this, he says the rethinking demanded by the pandemic has opened his mind to the possibilities of “ministry without borders”.
“Technology helps me to connect and strengthen my relationships with family and friends but it has also opened the possibility of connecting with strangers.”
“We are always being called to reflect on what it means to be the body of Christ in the world at this time – and it’s been exciting for me to explore the potential of this kind of ministry.”
Below is an example of Sabda dan Doa, with a short reflection on 1 Peter 5:7.
The reflection concludes with the following prayer:
Mari kita berdoa,
Terima kasih Tuhan bahwa kami boleh menyerahkan segala kekuatiran kami.
Karena kami percaya janji Tuhan bahwa Tuhan akan memelihara kami.
Terima kasih Tuhan, kami mau mengucap syukur ini didalam nama Tuhan kami Jesus Kristus.
Thanks to God that we can give up all our worries.
Because we believe in God’s promise that God will take care of us
Thank to God, we want to give this thanksgiving in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.