Hello again from Philadelphia! We continue to work and live amongst the gracious and lively Indonesian community here in Southern Philadelphia. For the past week and a half we have been delving deep into the ideas surrounding Interfaith Dialogue. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world with 12.7% of the world’s Muslims. In addition Indonesia is home to folks practicing Buddhism, Hinduism, various Christian sects, and other global and indigenous religions. Depending on where you are in Indonesia these different faith communities may be mixed together, or may be concentrated and patchy. For example, the island of Bali in Indonesia is about 87% Hindu, but the island of Java is less than 0.1% Hindu. This mixture of faith traditions engenders interfaith dialogue within Indonesian communities.
Here in Southern Philadelphia the Masjid Al-Falah Mosque (Indonesian) used to meet in the church building of the Philadelphia Praise Center (Indonesian Christian Church) before they were able to move into their own building just down the road. The two centers of worship continue to work with each other to take care of the Indonesian community here in South Philly as well as the surrounding city. We were able to chat with Ibu Indah as she invited us to tour the mosque and introduced us to her process for interfaith dialogue.
We have also been able to dive head first into Indonesian cooking classes, instruction on Indonesian dance, and even got a second session in playing the Gamelan (we were able to do this while still in Goshen as well)! Students have continued to be hard at work in their language class and are using Indonesian more and more with their host families. It is a rich experience to live life with these Indonesian families and we are thankful for them opening their homes and acting as guides. And of course…a celebration of lunar new year would not be complete without a children’s program at church…the Mischler children got a chance to participate!
And of course we continue to find fun here in Philadelphia. In our down-time we try our best to find great restaurants, interesting museums, and scenic neighborhoods to check out. Until next post!