Ibu Ero

by | Jun 3, 1999 | Salvation, Testimony

When Bette and I went to Indonesia, we were to spend our first year there in concentrated language study. We had tutors who would come to our house and drill us. It was an exhausting time. We were encouraged to get out into the shops and markets, and make conversation. I found this more pleasant than classroom study, and frankly more helpful in learning the language.

We decided to join a Baptist church as all missionaries did, and chose one where no other missionaries attended. >From day one, the pastor was after me to preach. After a few months, I was ready to preach, though my command of the Indonesian language did not match my enthusiasm. I decided to preach in a house church where our church had established a preaching point.

As the pastor and I rode his scooter down the narrow paths of the crowded “kampung”, I wondered if my venture into “waxing eloquent” in the new language was very premature. My anxiety increased when I saw a packed house. Much to my surprise, I saw Ibu Ero seated way in the back. She was one of the local domestic workers who helped me and Bette in the kitchen and with house cleaning. She had that usual silly grin on her face which was her trademark. “Here to witness my humiliation,” I thought.

After a few songs the pastor introduced me and asked the people to pray for me. They laughed when he made me play on words with my name. “His name is ‘Beras’ (harvest rice), but tonight we call him ‘Padi’ (green harvested rice). One day he will be ‘Nasi’!” (cooked rice).

I had decided to preach on John 3 where Jesus said, “You must be born again.” How diligently I had repeated and memorized the phrase “Bahwa wadjib kamu diperanakkan pula.” But as I spoke Ibu Ero got tickled. She tried not to giggle out loud, but nearly each time I said, “Bahwa wadjib kamu dipernakkan pula,” she would giggle.

After the service I asked her what was so funny. “Did I make a mistake?” I questioned. She said that I had made some mistakes, but that was not the reason for her laughter.

“It just seemed so silly to think someone could be born again,” she explained. “But then as you preached I realized I needed to be born again. I was so happy that I could be born again by trusting Jesus.” During the sermon Ibu Ero asked Jesus to be her Savior.

That night in a dimly lit bamboo shack in West Java God blessed His message in spite of the messenger.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

True Story from the book “Not Return Void” Copyright © 2000 H. Warren Rice — All Rights Reserved Used by permission Book Inquiries: warren-bette-rice@juno.com


Ibu Ero