Interview with Felicia Hanitio

Interview with Felicia Hanitio.png

Felicia is a young marketplace leader living in Jakaata.  Having graduated from Vanderily University she moved back home to work in Jakarta.  She was part of Resource Global’s second cohort in Jakarta.

What is your story? What do you do right now?

I live in Indonesia right now and have been living in Jakarta for two years. I am actually a Singapore citizen. My parents were born and raised in Indonesia, but I have lived pretty much most of my life not in Indonesia. I have lived in Singapore, Shanghai, and I studied in the states. Through it all, I had the privilege to interact with different cultures and to meet people with different backgrounds and life stories. For me, even today, this is something that continues to be an area of passion (interacting with different cultures and people of different backgrounds) and continuing to build transcultural relationships.

Another big part of my story is that when I was a university student in the states (at Vanderbilt), that is when I was really transformed and became a follower of Christ. For the first time, I understood my identity and purpose in life. I saw college as a time that really transformed me and set me on a solid ground. This is why I continued to have a big burden for university students and developing them. I continued to invested in at the university.

Right now, I work for the Djarum Foundation. I am focused on education: working a lot with educators, school leaders, and school systems. Essentially, I want to help build the next generation, starting from the earliest ages. With my work, I also see where I can work on my primary areas of ministry - whether it is building relationships with those of different faiths and cultures, or participating in God’s work to build the next generation.

Were you involved in the Asian Christian Fellowship of intervarsity at Vanderbilt?

I was involved with ACF my freshman year along with Navigators. My primary ministry was ACF.  I became a member and had the option to join a small group and coordinate new student outreach. Ultimately, they involved different discipleship relationships.

You mentioned that interdenominational faith conversation was important to you, why has this become such a passion for you?

That came out of personal experiences. In my senior year, it became a really big theme, an area of brokenness that was often talked about on and off campus. I befriended several Muslim Malaysian students who were really struggling to feel welcome and accepted. I remember just seeing how fellow Christians were some of the people who were most hurting our muslim cousins. For me, it felt like this was an area we were called to love and reconcile. As I learned more about God’s heart for reconciliation for the nations, I became more and more interested in learning how I could be a part of that.

One of my most impactful experiences during my senior year was befriending a girl from my spanish class. We started out just being partners for different conversational activities. Then we started getting meals, sharing conversations about God and what we missed about home. We even went to a basketball game together. Because of that, I became more and more interested in learning about my Muslim friends - especially those from southeast Asia, from Malaysia, and from Indonesia. Many felt that they were demonized by a the media, or that many people were misunderstanding them. I felt a responsibility to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the body of Christ and take the initiative to seek reconciliation. I wondered how do we(Christians) really share the love of Christ and how do we share the gospel, especially when what they(Muslims) experience from Christians is hate, and not love? That was one of the reasons I wanted to move to Indonesia - to continuing learning about what the relationship between Christians and Muslims looks like. What are some of the areas of brokenness? To unpack some of that baggage was to just listen.

You spend a lot of time in Kudus, can you please tell me about that city?

Kudus is indonesian for holy. Kudus is a small town in Central Java, and has a long history. It is one of the major cities for the spread of Islam. Islamic saints come from Kudus and the surrounding areas. However, it is also a city that has a very fascinating history of interfaith tolerance. As Islam was growing and spreading in Kudus (and surrounding areas), one step of tolerance that the muslims decided to take was to respect their remaining Hindu neighbors by refraining from eating beef. So today you will see that Kudus is really known for local dishes that use buffalo instead of beef. A lot of people think it is just the tradition, but actually it contains this amazing story of interfaith awareness. Today, as we see certain themes of radicalism, the question being asked is, How can they remember their story as a city? and How can they reinterpret for today's context?.

I would love to get your feedback about your time at Resource Global. What were some of the things God taught you through the cohorts?

So a big theme for me throughout the cohort and especially through the GCG, the Global Court Gathering, was gospel-based risk taking. Being a part of a high caliber cohort and a program that is all about leadership development, I think sometimes it’s easy to fall into the illusion that we always have to have things put together, and know what we want to do with our life. I think as I got to know the cohort, the people leading it, seeing transparency (seeing people share their brokenness transparently, even their failures and how God guided them through that), and talking about it during the GCG, I found that God was humbling me. I was reminded that the whole point is to be broken and be used by Him in our brokenness. To know that we can take big risks and fail, and learn and grow through failure because God is sovereign. To see other people who have gone through that, and know that they are actually okay. They are even better having gone through that process. That has given me a lot of additional courage to try things I don’t really feel I am necessarily good at, and to take an attitude of learning, and subjecting myself to God’s process, and not feeling as if I have to perform.

How was your time with your mentor? How often did you guys meet?

We met about once a month. It has been a blessing to walk with her. She was a real encouragement, and not just with Resource Global. I went on a mission trip with HMCC, and she was one of the people who really prayed with me, for me, and for the missions trip. She encouraged me in my growth in many different areas. She also works in education, just a little bit ahead of me. Additionally, she too, is a third culture kid. We really related in a lot of different passions and life experiences. In terms of personality and ways of thinking, we were really different, so that was refreshing.