I was born to a Muslim family in the small town of Madiun, Indonesia. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population—more than 200 million adherents to Islam live on approximately 17,000 islands. I started practicing Islam when I was 5 years old. My faith grew stronger and stronger when I was a teenager. In fact, I was a leader among my classmates and friends, especially during worship in the mosque and during religious lessons. My passion for Islam led me to hate Christianity, because my religious teachers had taught me that Christians worship Jesus (or Isa in Islam) who was only a prophet of God. My former religious teachers also labeled Christianity as a pagan religion. They taught that Christians committed the greatest sin when they worshiped a man as God. That was the religious worldview that deeply influenced my conviction in Islam.
When I discovered that my father had secretly converted to Christianity, I was furious. I tried to convince him to return to Islam, but he insisted that Jesus was God who became a man, and only in Him could a person receive salvation and forgiveness of sin. I totally disagreed with my father, but I could not deny that he had become a changed man—a new man full of hope and compassion.
I then became very sick with typhus. Over the course of almost two and a half months, my parents took me to several doctors, but my sickness worsened. My father offered to pray for me in Jesus’ name, but I always said no, because I wanted to die a good Muslim. Later, after my illness had become so severe, I said to my father, “It’s up to you if you want to pray for me in Jesus’ name because I have no hope.” That night my father prayed for me in Jesus’ name—and the Lord healed me.
Jesus has been my hero ever since. I experienced a lot of difficulties when I converted to Christianity, but the Lord has been so faithful to help and comfort me. I decided to follow Jesus—and to never turn back to Islam. I went to a seminary founded by a Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) grad, and I planted three churches in my home town. I became a coordinator for evangelism and discipleship for the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches for Central Java. The Lord led my team to plant more than 35 new churches within five years.
By God’s grace, I received a scholarship to continue my studies at DTS and did my internship at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. My family and I returned to Indonesia in 2006 to impact 250 million people with the Word of God. I am blessed because of the passion of Charles Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries to make disciples in 195 countries around the globe—including Indonesia—because we know that nothing is impossible with God.