Preach what you believe, live what you preach.
A CALLING! That’s the most important thing in a ministry, said Brother Fernando Sonah, the Feast Builder of LOJF KelapaGading. Born April 8, 1986, Bro Fernando is working as a marketing web developer and getting busy with his ministry in LOJF day by day. In between of his tight schedule, he took time to tell of things that challenging and changed his life in fulfilling the call of God. Want to know what the story of BroNando? Let’s see our interview with him.
1. Before joining LOJF, Brother Nando has been actively serving the Lord. Can you tell us how you began to serve the Lord?
The first time I started ministering was in 2004 at the campus. There was my first time to experience God’s presence in real and I was compelled to start serving God. After that, I felt God called me to serve the youths. If you have a call from God it feels like being chased. Then until now I continue to serve Him.
2. What do you think is God`s personal call to you? What is your passion in serving the Lord?
I took a long time to say "yes" to God`s ultimate calling in my life. Until today, I still constantly affirmed. I believe my main calling is to be the leader of a young people movement who do not know the direction of their life. In my initial response to this call, I experienced a lot of self-denial. At that time, I still wanted to make money, built a career, and else. But eventually it all turned around 180 degrees. Therefore, it took me a long time to make sure that this is really my call.
3. As a Catholic young preacher, you face many challenges. Can you share your story about the preacher’s world and how you can cope with any challenge you face?
Currently there are actually quite a lot of preachers. However, by natural selection, ultimately there are only a few people who are really compelled. So, in my opinion, the biggest challenge is the calling of God itself. A person could have good public speaking skills and so forth, but if there is no calling, he/she`s not going to be a preacher. It is important that he/she accepts the affirmation of the calling to be preachers.
For me personally, the most difficult challenge is to focus on developing character and gifts. As a preacher, we could have been stuck with pride, especially if we get a lot of compliments. Therefore, it is most difficult to retain humility.
4. In our society there are many young Catholics who still put no interest to know God closely through community and service. How do you feel about this and what can you do as a Feast Builder?
The difference between LOJF and other communities is the focus of the ministry to people outside the church. It`s a challenge for us from the way of worship, the evangelization, which is made differently because it is intended for the un-churched (who are lost from the church). I can refer to the statement of Pope Paul VI. I like his statement, "The Church exists to evangelist." That is, the Church exists to evangelize, to proclaim the good news. And it is actually not our proclamation to the people that already in the Church, but for those outside the Church. Actually, this is a real ministry. For this reason, the first thing we need to do is to hang out and make friendship with these people. We listen to them, show them empathy and show them that we care.
5. As a preacher, is there any principle that you hold, especially in serving the Lord?
One principle that I hold on to is, preach what you believe and live what you preach. We have to win the matters before preaching to others.
6. Is there a very inspiring figure for you in the ministry?
The figure who inspires me most is Brother Phakist (Trustees of LOJF community). The first time I knew him in 2005 where we ministered together. To date, he is the figure who influenced me most. I’m inspired by his character that is humble and always focuses on self-development. Besides him, I’m also inspired by Brother Cello for his great character.
7. Starting this 2014, you are entrusted to be a Feast Builder. How does this affect your life and your dreams?
In 2007, in a daily prayer, I had a vision through a very strange dream. In the dream, I saw myself speaking in front of many young people. Initially, I did not know the meaning of this dream. One day, when I first joined LOJF, I met Brother Phakist who invited me to become a Feast Builder. That`s when I realized the meaning of my dream. For me, being the Feast Builder is just a consequence. The reason is my calling to serve God.
Speaking of change, being a Feast Builder will change all aspects of my life. However, it is also in line with my personal vision and mission to become an established missionary. I want to be a well-established businessman but still serve the Lord. Well, as the Feast Builder, we are guided to have an established business. So our service will not only in terms of talent but also from the financial side.
8. As a preacher and businessman, you certainly have a vision for your life. What else do you still want to achieve in long term, like for up to 20 years from now?
My long term vision is to build up a Feast in Gading region (North Jakarta) to 20 years into the future. I also dream of being able to hold a Feast every week at the Gelora Bung Karno.
In terms of business, I want my business can quickly autopilot (can run itself without me). If possible, I want to be well established before the age of 35 years so that I can use the rest of my life to serve the Lord.
9. Many people say that ministering can be anywhere. What do you think?
I think it`s true. Ministering can be anywhere indeed. However, effective ministering can work well if we have a community. Like a plant that requires a fertile soil to keep growing. That is the reason why we have to have a community to help us continue to grow.
10. Lastly, is there any message that you want to share with my friends who just started serving or who are currently serving the Lord both in the community, LOJF and in the church?
Ministering should bring happiness, if you don’t happy then why do you serve? So, for those who want to go into ministry, make sure you find your passion first where that service is not a burden. For those who already engage in service and enthusiasm began to fade, try to remember back to the early days of ministry. Remember what makes you happy. That way you will still enjoy the service and remain happy.
Fams, of course we want to have a great spirit of serving like Brother Nando has. Hopefully the sharing of Bro Nando can bless us all.
Journalist : Irene / Editor : Erica / English Translation : Hanny