LWR field facilitator Vony Menno (left) teaches women about improved farming techniques during a forest conservation and agroforestry training in Sumba, Indonesia. 

Amid global shutdowns, your love persisted in Indonesia 

  • Emily Esworthy
  • Jun 28, 2021

Meet Vony Menno, your hands and feet on the ground 

Many of us will look back over the past year and a half and remember the many things we missed out on: Easter services, vacations, graduations, mission trips. But let's also remember that your love for your neighbors continued to travel all across the world, even while you stayed close to home, thanks to dedicated LWR staff.  

Oktolina Refornita Alu Menno, who goes by Vony, lives in Indonesia with her father and siblings and loves to sing in her church’s choir. She is also your hands and feet on the ground, having joined LWR staff in February 2020 — just weeks before the pandemic was declared.

Making adjustments to continue serving during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Vony's job is to teach communities better ways to manage their land to reduce climate change. Traditional, inefficient practices have caused major deforestation and the burning of savannas to make way for crops and livestock. Vony teaches them better ways to farm to ensure families can grow more food and increase their income, while also promoting conservation.

Normally, she would focus her time organizing trainings with community members, farmers groups and local government leaders. But just weeks into her time at LWR, she had to expand her work to educate people on COVID prevention and safety protocols, ensure meeting areas had space for social distancing and provide masks, hand sanitizer, handwashing equipment and temperature checks at every meeting.

Motivated by compassion and positive change

It has been a challenging year, but Vony has remained dedicated to helping her neighbors, most of whom have lived in poverty all their lives. "COVID-19 has significantly affected income in the community," she said, a fact that has continued to motivate her work every day. After all, poverty and climate change do not get put on hold just because there's a pandemic. "I am always happy to see and feel the changes in communities that I have assisted. I love to see the positive changes in their perspectives, behaviors and values. This is why I joined LWR more than year ago."  

Thank you for keeping God's love in action throughout the pandemic with your generous support. Even as you resume serving your communities in more hands-on ways as safety allows, Vony and hundreds more of our amazing colleagues will continue to carry your love wherever it's needed — until your love reaches every neighbor.

Emily Esworthy, Jun 28, 2021 email