The Price to Pay Following Jesus in Indonesia
By ICC’s Indonesia Correspondent
04/05/2021 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – In life, our decisions sometimes affect how our neighbors and community treat us, as in the case of Koyo. His journey following Jesus has not been an easy one. He lost precious things, one after another, for adhering to his faith.
Although Koyo grew up as a Christian, Koyo’s grandfather is Buddhist and his grandmother Muslim. He had no clarity about the religion he professed, since Christianity is not about following religious rituals, as opposed to Islam. Koyo is accustomed to his interaction with Muslims as he was often surrounded by Ustad, Syekh, Habib, and Kyai (different titles of Muslim religious leaders). He even married the daughter of a fanatical cleric.
A friend once urged Koyo that as a Christian, he needs to go to church. Koyo felt reprimanded and began to take part in the church. That was when Koyo felt that God touched his life and changed him. He became passionate about church— he joined their prayer meeting, despite having to walk to church to save on transportation costs. At home, he prayed with his children daily.
Whenever he prayed together with the kids, his wife was not having it. She turned the television volume up. She even banned them from singing hymns. They often argued because his wife did not like it when Koyo follows the Lord. She only cared about money. One time when Koyo and his children were reading the Word of God,
“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it (Proverbs 10:22),” his wife turned red and said, "That’s totally wrong.... the only way to get money is through working.”
One day, his wife could not stand it anymore and returned to her parents’ house in Bogor. Soon, Koyo’s wife married another man. Hearing the news, Koyo was devastated and could not sleep for days. When Koyo remarried, his wife also asked him to convert to Islam. But Koyo refused, which led to his wife’s departure. Divorced for economic reasons and his faith, Koyo’s heart broke the second time as he was left alone. He still believes that even if all the people abandon him, as long as God does not leave him, he will survive.
Koyo also struggled to land a job. He remained in fellowship with God and continued to trust in Him. He felt peace and joy in God’s presence. His friends who like to hang out with him often came to stay at Koyo’s house. Every day people would bring things to meet Koyo’s needs, even though he never asked for them. God covers all Koyo’s needs.
Koyo was later offered to be the driver for a Syekh, an Islamic scholar at a school in Sukabumi. This school provides free education from junior high, high school, up until university for free. While working with this Syekh, all his family members were impressed with Koyo’s performance.
When they found out that Koyo was Christian, they were in shock. They came to Koyo’s house with groceries and gave money to Koyo’s children. He asked Koyo to send his children to his school for free with the condition that he converts to Islam first. Koyo refused. He said, “I promised to God I must be faithful.”
On another occasion, he offered Koyo a Muslim woman to marry under the same condition. Koyo always refused, even though at that time, Koyo was alone for four years. It was the Holy Spirit who gave Koyo strength. Since Koyo repeatedly refused the Syekh’s offer, he was disappointed and no longer wanted to employ Koyo. Koyo quit in 2016.
But God continued to use him and drew many friends to him. They repented through Koyo’s ministry. Every time he prayed, God showed him the faces of his old friends. When Koyo visited them, they were struggling with illness, possessed by an evil spirit, or faced other issues. When Jesus healed them, they repented and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
One of the highlights from Koyo’s ministry is when he met a psychic named Wayan. This man was very popular and had lots of patients. In fact, even many Christians went to him. Some of his clients were government officials from Kalimantan and Sulawesi. He charged between USD $2000 to $9000 for each client. When he saw Koyo, he pitied him. He thought to himself, “Koyo is an infidel, poor, and a candidate for hell.” He wanted to turn Koyo into a Muslim.
On the other hand, Koyo also wanted to make him a disciple of Isa Almasih (another name for Jesus in Indonesia). When they met, they got into an argument. Koyo told Wayan the Word of God, and he listened. One time Koyo said to Wayan, “You are a psychic, let’s pray to Allah, asking which Allah is to be worshipped!” And he did as Koyo suggested. He did Tahajjud Prayers (night prayer) and Fasting Prayers accordingly. As a result, Wayan had several different dreams.
In the first dream, Wayan was told to pray for his client in the name of Isa Almasih. But Wayan was ignorant. In another dream, Wayan was shown a straight path bordering a clear river and a magnificent mountain. He was confused about where this path was headed. When he asked the people around him, he also knew that this was the way to Isa Almasih. That is the moment he believed Jesus Christ is the one true God and became a follower of Christ.
Despite all the things that he had to forsake and sacrifice, Koyo continues to have a longing to be thirsty and hungry for the truth of God. He lives out his life by practicing Matthew 28: 19-20 and wants to reach out to more lost souls so they can have eternal life.
For interviews please contact Alison Garcia: firstname.lastname@example.org