Church Planter - Southeast Asia
Alah'bi is a church planter in one of Southeast Asia's megacities. He has a strong desire to evangelize the lost, disciple believers, and send out other church planters from Great Commission Church (his church) to different regions in Southeast Asia. He's a graduate of a Baptist theological seminary in the city in which he serves.
Testimony of Conversion
My name is Alah’bi Komang. I was born to parents who are professing Christians. It’s not surprising that my parents are professing Christians because they lived in a province in which the majority of people are Christian. So, my entire family are professing Christians. Since I was very young I was active in Sunday school. However, since I was very young I also saw that there was no difference between the way Christians lived and the way those who weren’t Christians lived in my native place. Maybe it was because the majority of those Christians’ lifestyle was very free [to do whatever they wanted].
In the year 1992, I was twelve years old. My family and I moved to the capital city. My parents were given a scholarship to study at one of the best universities in our country. I hoped, then, to see a difference in the way Christians lived compared to others since the majority of people there are not Christians. However, there was no difference in the way they lived. Christians and non-Christians did the same things. Automatically, at that time, as a youth I also became involved in a worldly lifestyle. There was no difference in the way I lived compared with those who were not Christians, as well. For me, doing worldly things was a normal part of life. The point of everything I did was to get self-gratification.
In my family, everything was just like a non-Christian family, also. My parents often went to church and were active, but they lived in hypocrisy. To see parents who were not examples of the faith was what I saw every day. At that time, I thought that was the way Christians lived - go to church, read the Bible, pray, but live without a difference compared to those who are not Christians. The only difference between us was that I went to a church on Sundays and my friends went to a mosque on Fridays. Honestly, at that time, Jesus Christ was only Lord in theory. He only existed to sweeten life. I was then given an opportunity to be one of the leaders in a youth organization in one of the Protestant churches. I had also already graduated from being catechized in that same church. However, none of it had any meaning. I went to all the churchly activities but was still very much afraid of death.
I was very active in church activities in the youth ministry. My busyness in ministry did not cause me to meet the Lord Jesus Christ. But, then my repentance and personal introduction to the Lord Jesus Christ happened in the month of May 1998. All of a sudden, one night, I was very afraid of death. In the midst of my fear I opened my mother’s Bible and found a bookmark with the words, “Where will you go when you die?” On the other side of the bookmark was an answer which is found in John 11:25-26. I correctly remembered (in my own mother tongue) what was spoken by God’s word, “that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and life for anyone who believes in Him both in this life and in death.” The bookmark then asked the question, “Do you believe this?” That moment was a calling that was not possible for me to reject, but believe in what Jesus Christ had said. And that moment I received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior who had become my eternal life. I took that opportunity to promise to God to become a pastor as showing my thankfulness for His love.
There was change at that moment. My way of seeing life changed. I had already began to differentiate good from evil. Before, I liked very much to speak coarsely. My mouth always used whatever was spoken by those around me. Even my parents didn’t escape my swearing. I realize, though, that from that moment I changed. However, I still had ups and downs. After knowing the Lord Jesus personally, I lived more meaningfully. My education began to go well. I was an ignorant high school student, but I became one who had a desire to learn. Praise the Lord Jesus, in my third year of high school I received an award of merit. In May 1999, I graduated from high school. I planned to enter a Bible school in Yjogyakarta to become a pastor in the Protestant church. But due to the results of my test to enter the Bible school, I was not received. I was very sad when I found out that I didn’t do well on the test.
In the month of July, I took a test and did well to enter an aviation school. I entered the school and began to no longer think about becoming a pastor, but working in management in an aviation company. Praise the Lord, at a point in time in 2001 I met with someone who invited me to study the Bible. Without realizing it, I entered a discipleship group. From the time of my repentance in 1998 until 2001, there was no one who had invited me to enter into discipleship. This person was someone used by God to bring me into discipleship.
The whole time I studied at the aviation school, God blessed my studies. I graduated well with a major in airport management. My parents were very surprised with the results of my education. From the time I was in elementary school until the second year of high school, I was not passionate at all about learning. But from the third year of high school throughout college, I did very well. I believe it was the Holy Spirit’s work which changed my perspective on life. From the time I knew Jesus Christ and entered into gradual discipleship, God taught me the meaning of what it means to be a Christian. Being a Christian is a personal relationship with God. Christianity is not a religion but a personal relationship with God and the Savior Jesus Christ who created the heavens and earth.
In the year 2002, God gave me a blessing to study in Russia through a scholarship. In that year, I no longer had the dream to become a pastor. My dream was to become a manager in a major airline. Even though I was a follower of Christ I still, however, had pride in myself because I felt smart and competent to go to Russia. When I left for Russia, I said, “Goodbye ministry and goodbye dream to become a pastor!” I thought that if I come back, I will work and succeed and give a big offering to the church’s ministry. At that moment, I no longer had a desire to be a full-time servant of Jesus Christ. I felt my part would be to become a success and support ministry with my money.
God used Russia as an unofficial Bible school which would not be possible for me to learn at another school what I learned there. I felt very proud because I had received a scholarship in Russia. I had already began to forget my first love for the Lord. All this was broken by the Lord Jesus from my heart. God the Spirit taught me many things about life in this world and in eternity while I was in Russia. I saw directly the meaning of worldly satisfaction and it doesn’t compare to satisfaction that the Lord Jesus gives. Nevertheless, my journey of faith did not really begin when I studied for one year in St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg, I still depended on my Christian friends from Indonesia who were there. This one year in St. Petersburg was the introduction of my experience with the Lord to be taught by Him directly.
I experienced God directly from the time I began to study for two years in Samara, Russia (2003-2005). In Samara everything was different than in St. Petersburg. It was a city that was not very beautiful if compared to St. Petersburg, and I had no Christian friends or non-Christian friends from my country in that city. I was truly by myself. In St. Petersburg, every week I would go to church with friends from my country. I was even involved in a Bible study there using our language. However, in Samara I did everything by myself. There was no one from whom I could ask help like in St. Petersburg. I began to realize that help could only come from the Lord who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1).
In Samara, I studied at the Samara State Aerospace University. It is one of the best universities in Russia. So great is God’s love that He gave me the opportunity to study at a campus which in the Soviet era didn’t have any foreigners or Christians. I saw that my future as a manager in an Indonesian airline would begin at that campus.
Everything was different from my dreams. The first month in Samara I was thirsty for fellowship with other believers. It was very difficult to find believers in Samara that first month. In the second month, God introduced me with a Russian girl named Julia who had just become a follower of Jesus Christ three months prior. Meeting with Julia and a Baptist church as well as Campus Crusade for Christ in Samara changed my worldly dreams. I fell in love again with the Lord’s work. I saw meaning of harvesting souls at that time. God the Holy Spirit opened my thinking and the intention of my heart changed to become the Lord’s servant full-time. What is beautiful, God gave me joy to become a pastor, the very dream which I had said goodbye to when I left for Russia.
God gave me the beautiful meaning of planting new churches which begin through evangelism and discipleship. I automatically became a Christian who was active in evangelizing and I had a desire to disciple others. Praise the Lord, I began discipleship with believers from Lebanon, Kenya, Zambia, and Nigeria using the Russian language. Without realizing it, I discipled my friends from different nations with Russian. God introduced me with some Russians who were open to be evangelized also. God’s love brought me to one Baptist church in Samara that was biblical. Like that also with the fellowship of Campus Crusade in Samara which shaped my wife and me to become God’s servants. All of it was prepared in God’s plans. Samara was like the wilderness where God taught the people of Israel to become His army. God’s lessons in Samara cannot be forgotten by my wife and me. Christ shaped us to become planters of His church.
In the Spring of 2004, I surrendered before God and cried over my ignorance which led me to say goodbye to full time ministry the moment I left for Russia. In the evening in May 2004, I came back to the commitment to become a full time servant of God. Whether or not I would receive a degree from Samara State Aerospace University, I was committed to become a full time servant of God who plants churches. Acts 26:17-18 was the vision which God gave me at that moment. Until now, that vision stills leads me in ministry in God’s field.
In January 2005, Julia (my wife) and I became a part of the Baptist church in Russia. In the same year, God answered my prayer to become a full time servant of God when I returned to my country and became a part of the staff for Campus Crusade for Christ. Then, in 2006, Julia and I were blessed to be strengthened in holy matrimony. We agreed to serve the Lord Jesus full time through evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. With all the lessons we had directly received from the Lord in Russia, we believed God had called us to serve Him. In 2010, I finished my education at the Baptist Theological Seminary.
Finally, in June 2013, with God’s love in Jesus Christ, I was entrusted to shepherd a church plant. In that year also through His church, the Lord gave an answer for my dreams back in 1998 – to become a pastor. There needed to be a lot of time for God’s plan to come to fruition. Until now, I still am learning about following His plans.
Our church is a church that has the goal to become a center for planting new churches. In short, to become a missional church which grows through planting churches in new places. The whole church is invited to have this life goal in their hearts – plant Christ’s church through evangelism and discipleship. This moment our church is still in the foundational phase. We pray that the moment this foundation is shaped, God will send us workers to work in the fields which are ready. Our church are the workers which are the first to be sent. We live to glorify Jesus Christ and live to enjoy Him forever. I am only a servant who lives because of His kindness.
Note: For security reasons a pen name is used for this missionary.