Church Planter - Asia
Due to persecution after coming to faith in Christ, Ucu fled his native place for several years. But, he has since returned in order to plant churches among his own people.
Testimony of Conversion
Before believing in the Lord Jesus I was a Muslim. My family is known for being religious and my three siblings - two brothers and one sister - follow Islam. When I was 14 years old, I was entrusted to teach Muslim children in the mosque. I also joined the mysticism of tenaga dalam [literally, “inner power”]. The village I come from is called Rumiko. After high school I did not continue school because my family didn’t have the money to send me to college. So, I decided to work. Six months after leaving school, my former school teacher told me of a job in Banjarmasin. After making the decision to go, I went to work at the end of 1998 for Sosro Tea, a tea bottling company.
The Christian Boss
When I first started working there, I was afraid because my boss was a Christian. But, I thought that instead of returning home, I'd better stay and keep working even if it’s with a Christian. When my mother found out that I was working with a Christian, she told me to stop because she was afraid I'd become a Christian, as well. I refused and I told my parents, “Don’t worry, I'm mature and it will not be easy for me to become a Christian.” My mother believed in me. So, I still worked in Banjarmasin and stayed as usual. I even prayed for my boss to become a Muslim. But, the opposite happened.
In mid-May 1999, approximately 9 p.m., after my Isha’a prayers [the first of five daily prayers for a Muslim], I heard a voice calling me, "Follow me. I am the straight path." Oddly enough, in my heart I knew it was the Lord's voice. But, my heart immediately rejected the voice and I did not tell anyone about it. But, the voice continued to speak within me, so I felt restless. After two weeks, in my heart the desire arose to go to church. But, my heart hardened and I did not go because I knew the consequences. If I would go to church, I would be driven from my family, and so I was afraid.
But, God had other plans. On May 30, 1999, I went to church and it was the first time that I had ever gone. When I arrived, my boss and the people who knew me were surprised to see me there with them. My only intention for going was that the voice speaking to me would go away. But, God knew what was happening in my life. Apparently, it was His will that I not simply go to church, but believe in the Lord Jesus. After a period of time, without realizing it, I had started to regularly go to Christian activities. I even forgot what would happen to me if my family knew that I was actively participating in Christian activities. I was now trusting in Christ.
Proclaim What You've Received
In August 1999, I had a dream. In it, I was planning to return home. There were two men who offered me a lift to my village and after negotiating a price, I agreed to go with them. On the way to my village, the two men did not follow through with the fare we had negotiated. They said, “Since it costs you less, we'll leave you somewhere else.” Finally, I obeyed what they said. They took me to a high mountain near my village and when I got out of the car, one of them took me up to the top and said, “Choose the path that you think is right.” Then they left me. I saw that there were two roads, one on the left and one on the right. I saw my village and surrounding villages. But, before I chose one way, I heard a voice speaking close in my ear, which said, “Proclaim what you have received to your relatives.” Then, I saw the two different paths before me. The one on the right was straight, though slippery and small it had a beautiful end. The one on the left was wide, with steps, but without a clear ending. So, I took the road on the right - the slippery, small, straight path which had a beautiful end.
Suddenly, I woke up and immediately prayed and gave thanks to God. After a few minutes I remembered the voice in my dream that had whispered, “Proclaim what you have received to your relatives.” I felt, then, that I must do so without any compromise. That morning I determined to go to my village and honestly tell my family that I'd become a Christian and the Lord Jesus was my Savior. The next day I asked my boss for permission to return home and told my story about the dream. My boss gave me permission to go home after we prayed together.
When I went to my village, all my family had gathered together, even though I did not tell them that I was coming home. But, I believe God had arranged everything. After greeting them, I immediately told them how I had lived for the last three months, following the Lord Jesus and that He was my Savior. When I finished telling the truth about my situation, my mother and my father fainted. All my family was angry and they were crying. I was confronted by two clerics who told me to return to Islam. But I refused and they called me an apostate.
After three days, all my family came together and decided that I had to leave home. They made me give my word not ask any responsibility of them. Finally, I left home and went to back to Banjarmasin. But, I did not go to my boss. I slept in the warehouse with the guards of the building. I thought everything was over. But, apparently it wasn’t. My uncle went to my boss's house and threatened him. Finally, I could not bear to see the threats continue and I asked to see my uncle. They scolded me again and forced me to go for treatment. I told them I was not sick, but my uncle forced me to go and I finally complied in order to appease him. I was taken to a pesantren [Islamic boarding school] and met with the leaders. I was forced to read the shahada [Islamic creed - “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet”]. I think my uncle thought that I had gone back to Islam. I lived in his house and was not allowed out of the house. I was so sorry for having to pretend to be Muslim again. I cried and begged forgiveness of the Lord.
Escape to a Safer Place
After that I was determined to leave home in order to seek God and know Him in earnest. I prayed earnestly that the Lord would open the way. Finally, God showed me a province in North Sumatra and I was sure I needed to go there. I waited for the right day to go and when that day finally arrived, I went through the window because all the doors were locked from the outside. I did not take anything but the clothes I was wearing. I was desperate to go to North Sumatra. I contacted my boss and we met at the bus station that went to Sumatra. I bought a ticket and my boss gave me the address of his village. During the four days of the trip, I testified to several people on the bus. I told them that the Lord Jesus is the Savior of mankind. After the fourth day, I arrived in the village and began life as a farmer. I helped my boss's parents in the fields.
In February 2000, I was baptized and I began to be more engaged in the church services. I was entrusted to serve a small village far from the city. I walked for five or six hours to get there. I served this village for six years. Once while in Sumatra, I sent word to my parents, but I did not tell them where I was living. In 2006, I went back to Banjarmasin and met my parents again. I lived in their village for three months and testified to some of my friends. There were two of them who responded to my testimony. After that I moved to Jakarta and I continued to serve in the GSRI Church. I attended the Mission School, starting in Solo and completing the program in Batam.
Note: For security reasons a pen name is used for this missionary.