Indonesian Pays Steep Price for Converting to Christ

WEST JAVA, Indonesia – In the world’s largest Muslim nation, changing your faith can bring lots of trouble.

One man Christian World News spoke with lost his home and his job. In fact, he almost lost his identity. But he still says turning to Christ was worth it all.

Andi was raised as a Muslim and he considered himself to be a devout believer of Islam.

“I was diligent in practicing the Muslim faith. I encouraged friends to pray and to build the mosque. I was faithful to Islam and didn’t have any intentions of befriending Christians,” he said.

“My goal in life was to get rich. And I was also involved in witchcraft. People came to me for healing and they paid me,” he said. “I had a big house and lots of money to spend but I felt empty.”

According to Andi, all this changed when a Christian came to his house and spoke to him about Jesus.

“He kept on coming to our house but I avoided him,” he said. “Then one day I became ill and my whole family was sick with high fever. This Christian guy brought us to the hospital. He and his friends took care of us.”

The Christians also gave him a Bible and encouraged him to read it.

“I did not want to read the Bible, but when I got healed, I felt an urge to read the Bible,” Andi said. “And when I read it, I wanted to know more about Jesus.”

Since then, Andi’s Christian friends regularly met at his home for bible study. When his Muslim neighbors heard them singing Christian songs, Muslim leaders came to his house to persuade him to return to Islam.

Andi refused to recant and preached the gospel to them instead. This agitated his Muslim neighbors. More than 30 of them threw rocks at his house.

He was even brought before a mob at the local public hall. They questioned his new religious identity and confiscated his residence card.

The card holds important personal information, including a person’s religion. without the card, a person can’t get a passport, obtain most licenses, or conduct many transactions.

Andi met a lot of opposition before he could change his religious affiliation on his residence card from being Muslim to being a Christian.

Now he is boldly paying the price even if it meant having to live in a remote place.

Open Doors, a Christian organization, provided a lawyer for Andi.

“The lawyer presented a letter to the village leader that stated the laws in Indonesia that included Andi’s right to choose his religion,” Boas Panggabean, Open Doors coordinator, said. “The village chief then returned Andi’s residence card that showed his new identity in Christ.”

But because it was not safe anymore for his family, Andi, together with his wife and five children, left their village. He lost his home and his job.

He is grateful that Open Doors helped him to start a new business. He now sells small household appliances in his new community.

But along with his merchandise, Andi also offers Christ’s salvation to his customers, including the Muslims in his former village.

“When I was a Muslim my life was full of occultism. I earned much money from the occultism,” Andi said. “Yes, I was rich but my wealth came from the devil. My heart was poor.”

“But now even if I am poor physically, I have big peace inside my heart,” he added. “It’s God that I seek and that makes me so rich. I want to share this to all the people. My desire now is to see these people get saved.”

Source:  CBN News, International Christian Concern

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