Ratih, originally from a Southeast Asian island that has many Christians, now serves in a Muslim majority city. She is a gifted evangelist and has a great burden to see others come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
My name is Ratih. I was born in a Christian family and grew up in a loving home where both of my parents taught me about God, His word, and practicing all good Christian values at home. I was exposed to the Scriptures, to family devotional and prayer time, and to Sunday school right from the very beginning. Throughout my childhood I was surrounded by many good people who practiced the Christian faith and believed in Jesus as their personal Savior, but I had never thought myself to follow the true living God, nor did I have any desire to follow Him.
I had heard so many stories about Jesus in the Bible and knew in my mind that He’s the Savior of the world, but I didn’t really believe in Him with my own heart. I didn’t see Christ as attractive, beautiful, and trustworthy. My own unbelief, rebellion, and corrupt heart were blinding me from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). I refused to come to the light because I loved the darkness and hated the light. In my little heart I didn’t truly know the truth that Christ alone can forgive my sins because He died bearing them on the cross. But I was instead led astray completely with no spiritual discernment, thinking that I could escape the wrath of God by being a good person and doing good deeds to everyone.
Nothing made me turn to the Lord or brought me into a deeper need of God until the day when my father had a serious sickness and he almost died of a heart attack. I had a big fear of losing him during that time, but the Lord by His sovereign grace and mercy showed me His faithfulness by healing my father’s sickness miraculously even though I didn’t yet have a repentant heart toward Him. I just remember that was the day when the Lord awakened my soul and made my heart more tender to seek His help in prayer. He used that trembling moment to accomplish His own goodness and His own good purpose in my life. In that day, little did I know at the time, the Lord pulled me back and allowed me to taste and experience a little bit of His amazing grace!
In His unchanging grace, the Lord unfolded His plan for me to study in the university and that’s the reason why I had to move to Java in 2001. It wasn’t easy at all to start a new life in a completely different place and completely opposite culture as mine, but as the time went by I eventually adjusted pretty well with everything in this new place. Until that moment, I felt that my life seemed unattractive, boring, foolish, and meaningless, with nothing very exciting at all. I wasn’t asking and seeking God still, but God did save me from the pit of Hell through a Christian friend who became my best friend later on. She was not only a loving servant model of Jesus in my life, but she helped me to behold the beauty of the glory of God in the face of Christ through the gospel message in the Bible. Through this friendship I came to truly understand grace! I was enormously blessed to such a degree that my best friend was not ashamed of the gospel because for her it was the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, including a sinner like me (Romans 1:16).
Through the powerful word of God, the Spirit of God did the work to regenerate my heart and I began to see how lost, poor, and wretched I was, deserving the wrath of a Holy God. In the light of that truth, I realized I couldn’t save my soul no matter how many good things I may have done. How much I needed Jesus Christ and His finished work of salvation on Calvary to save me! It is for His own Glory, on that day in July 2001, the Lord opened my spiritual eyes and saved me from the weight of my sin. He gave me a new heart and He put within me a new spirit; He removed the heart of stone from my flesh and gave me a heart of flesh that I may faithfully trust and obey Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27). I greatly praised God for saving my soul and I’m truly humbled to know that I’m a helpless worm in the kind arms of the Savior, as the old hymn says: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling, naked come to Thee for dress, helpless look to thee for Grace, foul I to the fountain fly, wash me Savior or I die.”
God by His infinite grace enabled me to grow in the grace and knowledge of our blessed Saviour since the moment I was converted. I grew spiritually as I devoted my time to savor God’s word, labored in prayer, renewed my mind to be conformed to the image of Christ, submitted myself to the process of sanctification, had fellowship with other saints, practiced biblical principles, and desired greatly for the Lord to be glorified in all I do for His name. The ministry and message of pastor John Piper from Desiring God had a big impact in my early spiritual growth as well. The Lord put a pure desire for the gospel and a holy passion for ministry in my heart to serve Him in any way He led. Thanks be to God that He will continue the work that He first began in me, bringing it to perfection in the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
During my college years, I became involved in a student ministry (PMK – Persekutuan Mahasiswa Kristen), volunteered as a Sunday school teacher, and committed my time to study God’s word, pray, and fellowship with a group of believers each week. Before finishing college, I had the privilege of having a part time job at an informal educational center. It was under a non-profit organization, which partnered for the gospel with some folks who were reaching out to college students. I served with that ministry until I graduated from college, and then I spent seven years working with them until July 2013. Praise the Lord! Currently, in God’s providence and superabundant grace, He has entrusted me with several ministry opportunities such as the children’s ministry, English teaching, hospitality, visitation, home church fellowship, and partnership for the gospel alongside other folks. I’ve been given more freedom to be involved in any way I feel led in ministry. I have a desire to be a blessing to others.
It’s been a sheer joy and wonderful privilege to be part of the Great Commission to make disciple of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and reach to the lost with the gospel in this dark city. I’m an unworthy servant, but praise be to God that He chose me for His own glory and has called me by His mercy to have this ministry, who through Christ reconciled me to Himself and gave me the ministry/the message of reconciliation. I’m an ambassador for Christ, to the glory and praise of God (2 Cor 5:18, 20). Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our GOD forever and ever! Amen (Rev 7:12).
Note: For security reasons a pen name is used for this missionary.