By Felicia Hanito
Thanksgiving became one of my favorite holidays back when I was a student in the States: not only is it an occasion to share delicious food and quality moments with loved ones, but it helps us take a step back from our busy everyday routines in order to remember and cherish the simple gifts of life—including the people around us.
This year, I had the privilege to spend one of my best Thanksgiving dinners yet with a group of new friends from three West Jakarta universities. Our belated celebration, held on Friday, November 30th, was co-sponsored by Resource Global and hosted by a small community of Christ-following working adults who share a common vision of investing holistically in university students through our platform of “Next Generation Professionals”.
Over the past few months, we had met and befriended students of myriad backgrounds and faiths through hosting a series of free professional development workshops and English conversation classes in partnership with their English Clubs. Through our Thanksgiving dinner gathering, we hoped to connect on a deeper, more personal level with our new friends and demonstrate our continued commitment to love, serve, and equip them and their campuses.
In total, we were blessed with twenty-one attendees who pretty much filled up every corner of my co-leader’s apartment! The menu comprised of a unique fusion of Indonesian-American Thanksgiving offerings: roast chicken and mashed potatoes paired with chocolate pudding, es buah (Indonesian iced fruit cocktail), and martabak (Indonesian sweet pancakes). As excited as our guests were about the food, the true highlight of the night was the camaraderie built through laughter-inducing games and personal sharing about the things we were most grateful for that year. Several students expressed their gratitude for the new, genuine friends they had made through English Club and the “Next Generation Professionals” community—especially for those who had just moved to a new city and/or were going through hard times.
Following this dinner, my community co-leaders and I look forward to continue engaging these and their campuses in workshops and hangouts and are also considering the option of offering a tailored personal mentorship program for a smaller, committed group of students. Our dream is that we can eventually know these students not just as our dear friends but also spiritual brothers and sisters, and co-laborers in the God’s mission to catalyze gospel transformation in all nations.
Felecia Hanito is the Education Program Manager at the Djarum Foundation and has a heart to reach college students across cultures and faith journeys. She was in Resource Global’s 2nd year cohort and we are excited to see what God is doing in her and through her.