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Petrus, Pati, Java, Indo (English)

Petrus was my name given me by my parents who gave birth to me. On all my document I report being born on April 6, 1968. I was the seventh child of eight children, seven boys and one girl. At forty years old, I live with my wife, Nanik, and two children Wiji Prasetya Jati or Wiwit for short, who’s 14 years old, and Dwi Surya Saputra or Tito for short, who’s nine years old, and my third child was called by God at the age of six days old.

I work for the Foundation of SHEEP Indonesia, the Society for Health, Education, Environment and Peace, that was formed for social and community activism. Our office is in Jogjakarta, about 200 km from my home in Pati, Central Java. In February 2005, SHEEP assigned me to Aceh following the tsunami, but we also faced the enormous problems as a result of the armed conflict between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Republic of Indonesia. During this time of service, I met Nadine Hoover, who was working for AFSC at the time, which was one of the donors supporting SHEEP’s activities in Aceh. Through her, I was introduced to how to develop conscience through Alternatives to Violence Project workshops, beginning in August 2005, that we continued with our friends in Aceh and Nadine Hoover. I began to develop Alternatives to Violence Project training in East Aceh, Sigli and North Sumatra. I feel that developing conscience is needed by all people, not just the Acehnese who’ve experienced war first-hand, but in Java there’s a great deal of problems when people use words in violent ways. Particularly, I hoped my family could become more capable of knowing how to develop conscience and practice it’s application in the daily life of my family, so on October 16-18, 2008, I asked Fery (from Aceh) and Sera (from Friends Peace Teams) came to facilitate the training the first time in Pati, Central Java. After that, 15 people including three facilitation team members and my wife, Nanik.

Nanik and I felt that this conscience movement was very good to develop in and around our area, so we were dedicated with Friends Peace Teams from April 2011 to begin the process of establishing the training. Initially planned to rent some land near our house, but after great consideration we decided to purchase property for the training center, although it was very far from our house. We erected a traditional Central Javanese model of a house, called Joglo, and we agreed to give it the name “Peace Place.” On June 18, 2011, we conducted the first training in this place. There were five facilitation team members at Peace Place—Petrus, Nanik, Sunhadi, Mira, Ninok—and several people who apprenticed—Zumrotun, Sholikah, Retno, Utami and Yayuk.

In addition to being a place we can practice developing conscience, Peace Place offers English language training, mathematics, science after-school training for elementary school children from Monday through Thursday 12:30 – 5:00 pm. Since July 2012, we opened a preschool based on the principles of conscience that operates Monday through Thursday, 7:30 – 10:30 am, which at this time has nine children enrolled.

Having activities based on paying attention to conscience has given us a lot of energy to persist in increasing our attention to it. In fact, experience with developing this method has taught me to perpetually reflect and continually strive to meet the challenges of life as peacefully as possible, beginning with myself and my family. At this time I and my family are still processing and learning about this approach to living based on developing our consciences, and we have faced many challenges in bringing this about, especially with young children. I and my family are still learning to have the courage to make decisions and choices. I believe what we have developed so far will be very useful and is capable of bringing meaning to my family and the environment in and around us. This has been confirmed and acknowledged by many people who have participated in the training. Conscience says that this is a new method, that makes a person more self-confidence, open, self-perceptive, release trauma and comprehend meaning in life.

Tirsa told an interesting story about Dafa, a child at the Joglo Preschool. She’s a mother of a 2.5 year old child, who was a preschool teacher in Jakarta, and is Dafa’s neighbor. According to Tirsa, Dafa was a 4.5-year-old child who before entering Joglo Preschool at Peace Place carried the stigma in the neighborhood as the naughty child because he was always melodramatic, quarrelsome with small children and hard and brutal with the other children, but after entering Joglo Preschool at Peace Place he totally changed. He can now accompany other small children in playing, share toys and be more mature. Seeing this change, Tirsa was curious and asked Dafa’s parents. Because of that, Tirsa came to Peace Place and asked about the development and challenges of young children. She then told us about Dafa’s change. Friends at Peace Place gave her information about the foundation of accompanying children conscientiously. From our explanation, she decided to register and take part in the training taking place December 17-19, 2012 with seventeen participants, eleven of whom are new to our trainings. Change was experienced often by the nine children who study in Joglo Preschool, as reported by the children’s parents. This experience increasingly strengthens friends of our team at Peace Place and myself.

The struggle is still long because of the lifestyles around us are getting increasingly violent. I hope for your prayers of support, especially for my family so that we are able to learn with conscience and so that what we have begun to clarify with our team in Pati will increase in strength. I am convinced that this will definitely happen. Thank you for Friends Peace Teams that introduced us as a family to conscience, and especially for Nadine Hoover who stayed loyal, encouraged and taught me to dare to make the this choice. Thank you.




Relevant Articles:

Petrus Introducing the new Joglo Preschool