I was born and raised in a Javanese family, fully Islamic way in Jakarta, Indonesia. When I became a teenager, I studied about Islamic teachings in my academic education. Islam has many adherents in Java, where I have lived all my life. I prayed five times to “Allah” (deceptively known as God Almighty) almost every day, and I received religious moral education in Islam with great eagerness. Of course, I read the Quran and I learned all of the prescribed ritual prayers. I tried to obey “Allah” as faithfully as prophet Muhammad did.
After my graduation from the University of Jakarta, I worked for few commercial business companies and even had a colleague who claimed to be a Christian but I detested the way her life as a Christian. Many questions arose and I was not satisfied with my life as well as stumped by the economic crisis in Indonesia. I began to search for the true answers to the questions of life in my heart. My next door neighbours in Jakarta Pusat district are caring Christians but I was a little apprehensive to ask about the Christian faith/teachings. Whenever I passed an old church building on my way home, I wondered what kind of God the Christians were taught.
Last year a tourist named “Sam” from Singapore visited the shop at the Jakarta International Airport where I worked. He had a warm and genuine smile that radiated an undeniable inner peace. Well, initially he seemed to be more interested in my colleague than me. Sigh…after that brief encounter with this radiant peranankan Christian, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I could not shake the image of his kind and happy face from my mind. I knew that he had something in his life that I didn’t have. To my surprise I was later introduced to him by my colleague and we began our courtship. Sam and I fell in love and he shared with me from the Bible: “Jesus said, `I am the way – and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6). The claim that Christ is the only way made it very clear that the Bible teaches that every human being is a sinner, and yet God loves us and through Christ he can forgive and save us. There was so much I ! Did not understand about Jesus.
I read that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23), but I did not know what it meant. Sam shared with me that his joy came from trusting in Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. He not only told me about God’s holiness, he also told me about God’s love. When he told me that God demonstrated His love by coming in the person of Jesus Christ to give His life on the cross for our sins, I was amazed. I had never heard anything like that before. It was wonderful, even overwhelming, to think that God is like that and that by trusting in Jesus Christ one could have all of his sins forgiven. Now I could begin to understand why a true Christian had so much joy and peace even in the midst of troubles. A Christian did not need to fear the judgment of God. He had his sins forgiven because Jesus Christ took all those sins on Himself when he died on the cross so that we need not face the judgement of God once and for ! All. Alleleuia!
I wondered if all of this could be true. I thought about it very much – then I told Sam I wanted Jesus to come into my life because he was a real friend, and his sincere love for me touched me very much. That same day, I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour though I was a little unsure of God’s great love. When I came to New Creation Church in December of 2000 I was more impressed by what I heard from God’s message by Senior Pastor Joseph Prince. What affected me most of all was the attitude of the Christians in church. The first time I stepped into the Rock auditorium at Suntec City, I sensed a tremendous attack on my tummy. I nauseated to a point of fainting and I met a Christian a young ursherer named “Jeann Ong”. Christians laid hands on me and prayed for me to be healed in Jesus’ name. Jeann had a joyful face and the ursherers were loving people. Praise God. They were so kind to me that I was astonished. It was difficult for me to believe that they would b! E that way with a person of “another religion”, so I thought.
Sam showed such love and kindness to me and more too that I could not understand why. I continued to go to church with Sam because of the great joy and sincerity I saw in the people there and the Bible became a book of God’s revelation to me. By God’s grace in Sam’s life I saw the love of Christ made real before my eyes. Sam demonstrated God’s love toward me. It was this and the wonderful message of God’s love I heard at the church worship service that affected me most deeply. After my third Sunday attendance in church, I finally concluded that I MUST forsake Islam and put my entire trust in Christ Jesus as my Savior and Lord publicly. Pastor Prince called for the last time for those who wanted to receive Jesus as their personal Saviour. Without hesitation, I raised my hand way up high enough to catch the attention of Pastor Prince and the Lord as well. It was the trning point of my life history.
It is impossible for me to describe the change that Jesus brought in my life when I turned from everything else and put my faith in Him. I felt that a great burden had been removed from my heart. I experienced the same joy that other Christians had. It became a personal reality to me and no longer something I only saw and envied in others. Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it in all of its fulness (John 10:10). Now I discovered what Jesus meant. He also gave me the desire and power to overcome the problems in life together with Sam. Before I trusted in Jesus, I was frequently afraid of all kinds of consequences. After I believed in Jesus, I did not care what would happen and the things Sam and I were to overcome with his ex. Even though I had been a faithful Muslim for years, I never lost my fear of lonliness because Jesus is alway within me. I believed that Jesus Christ loved me so much, to die for my sins and conquered death by His miracu! Lous resurrection, the fear of what to come was taken away. I also came to appreciate that my heavenly Father led me to know Sam because the Lord has something very special for me. His loving purpose for my life became my main motivation and goal. Sam and I were married in early January 2001 with limited income to live and the abundant life in Christ begun.
My heart had previously been dominated by fears and to be loved, but Christ cleansed me of these base and corrupt attitudes and replaced them with His blessed assurance and love. I found that I had a great desire to pray for my parents and siblings about the wonderful Savior who became my everlasting Hope. My father had told me to remain a faithful Muslim but I have my own choice in life and praise God He enabled me to make the right choice. Now, I would arise on Sunday morning with a deep desire to worship the Lord together with many others in church where the name of Jesus is glorified and honoured! Alleluia! My heavenly Father, God in heaven greatly loves me to send Jesus to die for me for He (Jesus) gave all for me – He overpaid the penalty of death for me (because of my sins) and Jesus is coming again soon for me and all who takes Him as their personal Saviour. I am convinced that no other endeavor in life could compare with that joyful calling. By the grace of! God, He rescued me and lifted me up. I am deeply loved, highly favoured and greatly blessed by God and that I have nothing to fear. It is a glorious experience to have this certainty – to know that all of my sins are forgiven and God will not impute my sins against me. Amen!
Christ who died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead. No other religion knows a God of love such as the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ. He loves sinners, not in the sense that he approves their sins but in the sense that He loves everyone though He does not love the evil things people do. And God’s love is not just a matter of words, for the Bible says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
In Islam I had no certainty and no peace. I was always in a state of anxiety and frustration. But in Christ I have assurance and rest in my heart. The most important thing to me is the love of Christ and the love he puts in the hearts of those who sincerely believe in Him and know him. True Christians love Muslims too. If anyone calls himself a Christian and hates anyone else, he is self-deceived, for he does not truly know Christ. The Bible warns against all of those who think that by persecuting and killing others they are doing God service (John 16:2).
When I came to Singapore and became a believer in Christ, Christ has taken care of me and so has my dear husband Sam. Since I came to know Jesus I have found that I have other brothers and sisters in Christ all around me – and many more all over the world via the internet. I left my parents, brother and sister, relatives and friends in Indonesia but God gave me a greater family in Singapore and in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. In fact, God gave me far more than I lost. In the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written in Romans 1:17: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” Jesus who sits at the right hand of God in heaven, is my righteousness before God, my heavenly Father. I am God’s precious precious child now and I am greatly blessed in Christ Jesus. I hope my testimony will encourage all t! O know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. To God be the glory for all He had done for us.
Orianna Cheah (Received on Wednesday June 6, 2001)