“I invite all people to think about the love that Jesus shared and how we can share that same love in our communities,” says pastor Yeanny Moestikasari Soeryo, director of Balai Karya Berkat, a rehabilitation center for people with special needs in Semarang, Indonesia. By reflecting on this question, the simple yet compelling shalom vision of Luke 7:22 has led Pastor Yeanny to a life of ministry, both in and out of the church.
After nearly 30 years as a pastor, Pastor Yeanny, who entered ministry at 24, began to hear a call from Scripture. As she read about the banquet table in Luke 7:22 and the instructions to walk as Jesus walked in 1 John 2:6, she noticed people with special needs were underrepresented in her church.
Around 2012, the dream to provide vocational training according to the specific needs of the participants was presented to Pastor Yeanny’s church. Members of GKMI Semarang church began to donate – not only money, but also land.
In 2013, after working with community members, word of mouth began to spread, gathering a participant base. Pastor Yeanny created a permanent location for workshops for the members of Balai Karya Berkat to take courses in batik, sewing, massage, motorcycle repair, flower arrangement, hairdressing, make-up, woodworking and online business.
Since its establishment, more than 100 people have been trained through Balai Karya Berkat. They gain professional skills that make an economically sustainable life possible.
While visiting Indonesia in 2017, Liesa Unger, MWC chief international events officer, met Pastor Yeanny and the two began to develop a product Balai Karya Berkat could create for Assembly participants: handmade tote bags in a batik style.
In 2019, Pastor Yeanny presented the first prototype. Assembly staff ordered 10 000 bags. Since then, the participants have been working diligently to finish one of the largest orders in their history, having already finished more than 7 000 bags and hoping to be able to finish the last part of the order by the time Assembly begins in July.
“When Jesus came to the world he loved everyone. We are all created in one image, so we need to treat everyone as children of God,” says Pastor Yeanny. “When people take their MWC bags with them, they will be able to remember who the people were that made the bags, and that they are beloved by God.”
Each on-site Assembly participant will receive a bag. Information is forthcoming on how to order a souvenir bag.