Hospitality is a gift

I was met at the Yogyakarta airport by Mr. Emmanuel Surono who is the Vice President of WACC Asia, (AR-WACC). He says that the AR-WACC general assembly is held every three years and usually about 120 members attend.
He deftly drove through the buzzing motorcycles that weave in and out between the moving cars. Each year the number of motorcycles on the city streets increases by 9,000. The bee-like motorcycles rush students to and fro, since this is a big university town, attracting students from all over Indonesia.

Aceh, in northern Indonesia, was largely destroyed by the tsunami. Mr. Surono told me that he still cannot comprehend the depth of the tragedy, with 115,000 dead. Sorrow is widespread.

He took me to the offices of Kanisius, a large Catholic publisher. I was humbled when upon entering the door, there was a group of local Christian book store owners and publishers/producers who had gatherred to welcome me. All of them are members of WACC. A beautiful table with tempting Indonesian cuisine was set on the patio, surrounded by lush greenery. On Monday I will visit four of the places, so suffice it to say now that the Christian publishing world is extensive and dynamic.

The group asked me about WACC in North America, wanting to know how many members we had, their profile, and “what is the biggest problem or challenge that is facing NARA-WACC today?” I wondered how our members in Canada and the US would answer. I did my best.
The members of AR-WACC that were presented would like to begin e-mailing with NARA-WACC members who are intersted in publishing in order to see if there are ways of collaborating, perhaps in the areas of sharing news info that is not readily available through the commercial media — sharing info about obtaining copyrights to spiritual material that could be translated — and other church issues.

I left the luncheon meeting filled with joy, enriched by such a warm and generous gift of hospitality.

In 45 minutes one of the members of that group, Fr. Yosef Iswarahadi, SJ, will collect me to go visit and pray at Borubudur. I am so ready to ascend that mountain.


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