Raharjo (not his real name) was a school drop-out on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi looking for work, when he was recruited by a jihadist organisation. Like many young Muslim men, he was paid to attack Christian villages with the aim to force Christians out of the area. However, when his group fell apart and he lost his job, Raharjo ended up returning to Jakarta, where, traumatized and depressed, he fell in with a local gang and became a drug user.
One night Raharjo had a dream. A person who introduced himself as Jesus (Isa) spoke to him in “bright and strong language” and told him to “Follow me!” In the dream Raharjo decided to follow this person, and when he woke up, he found himself healthy, sober and without any desire to use drugs.
Looking for someone to explain his dream Raharjo turned to Samiton, the pastor of a large Christian community in Jakarta. “I want to follow Jesus, but I’m not a Christian,” Raharjo told him. Pastor Samiton sought help with this from his friend Wira (not his real name) who developed a relationship with Raharjo, and introduced him to the teachings of Jesus.
His new-found faith grew deep roots in Raharjo and, over time he introduced all his gang members to his new Christian friends. One after another the gang members began to take an interest in Jesus, and Wira bought a house, which he called ‘Father’s House’, where they could meet regularly and discover more about Jesus and his teachings.
The method they used to ‘discover Jesus’ was simple: they followed the instructions of the Quran to read the Gospels and also parts of the Old Testament. Questions that arose were answered cautiously. In this way the young men were able to discover their faith by themselves, which is very important for Muslims.
In the years that followed many of the young men in the community returned to their families in the countryside and shared their faith in Jesus. They had learned: “As soon as you begin to discover Jesus, invite your family and friends to dinner and tell them of your faith.” Most parents were happy that their sons had not been lost in the big city, but had found a good new life.
This way, more and more small communities started to emerge in Jakarta and throughout the country, multiplying easily through personal contacts and along family lines. To date, through the life and witness of Raharjo alone, around 1,200 Jesus groups have been started among Muslims across Indonesia.
- Give thanks for Raharjo, and other Muslim Background Believers in Indonesia, who fearlessly share their faith with friends and families. Pray for their ongoing protection and witness.
- Pray for the Jesus Groups across Indonesia, for good discipleship resources to help believers grow in their faith, and for the continues multiplication of these groups across the country.
- Pray for protection for Christians in Indonesia, and for freedom to worship without fear or restrictions.
Isaiah 44 vs 8: “Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.”