A Funeral Exposes a Female Evangelist and Six MBB Families in Indonesia
By ICC’s Indonesia Correspondent
09/02/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In mid-July, a woman who had become a disciple of Jesus died in a village on the island of Java, Indonesia. Her grieving family wanted to bury her with a Christian funeral, given their newfound faith. But the community around them was shocked as they realized that this family had become Christian. A commotion occurred, as the community demanded that this lady be buried in an Islamic manner. The family conceded and gave her body up for a Muslim burial. As a result of this incident, they proceeded to track down who else in this village had converted to Christianity.
As they searched, they remembered a lady in the village named Mawar. For three years, Mawar has been known as a follower of Isa Almasih (“Jesus,” understood in Islamic term). Although there are rumors about whether Mawar is a Christian or a Muslim, the truth is Mawar often shares the Bible to others.
Three years ago, some gave Mawar an ultimatum to stop preaching the Gospel, for she had reached a lot of people in her village. This year also, the number of believers in the village has increased. The villagers became suspicious that Mawar was the cause of their conversion.
They know that Mawar is accommodating four street children in her house. Assuming that the four children will become Christians in the future, they went in and took these children to a local Islamic boarding school. Ironically, no one had paid any attention to these four children prior to this. Mawar also was approached by a group of people who asked her to deny her faith, to which she refused.
Soon Mawar was also taken to an Islamic boarding school. Since she was still refusing to give up her faith, they performed ruqiyah (exorcism in Islam) on Mawar. She, however, did not experience anything. Quite the contrary— the students in that place were possessed. Appalled, they questioned Mawar, “What power do you have ?” They were concerned about the immunity that lives in Mawar. Mawar simply replied, “I have [the] Lord Jesus, who is always with me.”
That night, Mawar returned to her house. Due to the incident at the Islamic boarding school a day prior, Mawar was summoned by the police. This was before Eid al-Adha, a major Islamic holiday. At the time of the summon, there were approximately 10 kyai (Javanese Islamic clergy) who came from East Java and Central Java who gathered there with nearly 100 others. Crowds congregated because this news had gone viral around the boarding school. Another ruqiyah was performed on her.
A kyai who is potent in witchcraft pointed to an area and told Mawar that fire and embers would burn you as you step over. Only people who descended from the prophet can pass through. With full confidence, Mawar passed through the embers and escaped the fire. When Mawar passed through the fire, the wife of one of the kyais fell into a trance. People were in shock.
That night, Mawar was sent home again. On her way home, four people approached her and asked her what power she had. They wanted to study the Bible because they saw with their own eyes how Mawar had great might. They exchanged phone numbers and agreed to follow up later.
A few days later, those four people came to Mawar, and they studied the Bible at her house. But Mawar realized the next day that these four “seekers” were indeed spies. They were sent to confirm that Mawar has always been preaching. Seeing her in action gave people more confidence that Mawar has been active in sharing the Word of God. Her disciples in the village were soon identified as well.
All of them were threatened and asked to leave the village immediately. If they do not comply, a mob will come to drive them out and finish off their houses the next day.
That very night, all the Christian families packed up their belongings and fled. Mawar, on the other hand, decided to stay put until all the Muslim-background believer (MBB) families leave to ensure a safe departure for everyone.
The next morning, one of the government officials visited Mawar. He calmed Mawar, forbade her to leave the village, and promised to protect her. Mawar decided to stay. Soon, the authorities asked the six MBB families who have fled to return to the village. Five families were willing to return as long as Mawar picks them up. And Mawar did. Everyone returned, except one family that decided to work in other places.
Now that they have returned home, they are still thinking about how to go about their lives. Previously, they were laborers and sellers, but now no one from the village wants to use their services and buy their goods. Besides, their children will undoubtedly get unpleasant treatment from their classmates when the in-person education returns.
Please pray for Mawar’s health, since after this incident, she became sick due to the pressure she received. Pray also for these six MBB families (and many others who are practicing their faith in secrecy), that their faith will grow stronger in God, even though they are put in difficult situation.