Who remembers Rentina?

The LCA, through International Mission, offers scholarships for people from Asia and Papua New Guinea to study. Sometimes the students take up study opportunities in Asia-based seminaries and sometimes they study in Australia. The following story is from one of the students who came to study in Australia in a year when our population was 15 million, Malcolm Fraser was our Prime Minister and Ian Thorpe was born.

In 1982 Rentina Harianja travelled from Indonesia to live among the student body at the Lutheran Teachers College in North Adelaide. It’s here that she spent two years of her life studying to be a teacher. I caught up with Rentina in Indonesia recently and had an opportunity to hear her reflect on her fond memories of that time – and to hear what she is doing now.

Rentina returned to Indonesia and graduated as a teacher in Lutheran schools in 1987. Since then she has taught in Lutheran schools in Siantar for fifteen years and schools in Tarutung for a further seven years. She later used her skills to work in a shelter for people with HIV-AIDS as part of a German-Asian-African focus project based in the city of Siantar.

Rentina has since returned to a country congregation in the small village of Dororiruria, a one-hour drive from Siantar in Sumatra. She continues to serve her church and her Lord as a teacher-preacher in her community.

And then she said, with a warm smile from all of the memories, ‘We met today!’

Apart from the new experience, the friendships made and the study undertaken, Rentina has always been thankful for the opportunity to learn English in Australia – a language she still speaks fluently today. She is married now, with a son who is studying electronics in Medan, Indonesia.

By my calculations there must be many people who remember Rentina’s time at the Lutheran Teachers College and who journeyed life alongside her. We often don’t realise at the time that the people we meet and our walk in life is used by God to shape our life and the lives of those around us. If you have a story or a memory to share about Rentina’s time in Australia, I’d love to hear from you and pass on your regards to Rentina.

If you would like to know more about opportunities to personally support a scholarship recipient in your congregation during their stay in Australia, or ways in which you can financially and prayerfully support LCA International Mission’s scholarship program, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au

Read more stories about LCA International Mission scholarships at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/scholarships/