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09/14/2023 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – My name is Isla, and I am the eldest of six siblings, born and raised in a deeply Islamic city. Despite being a religious child and participating in Quranic studies at an Islamic boarding school, I struggled to understand Arabic and could only read it. This led me to question aspects of our faith, such as why we face Mecca during prayers when God is everywhere, and why Hajj is a requirement for worship when not everyone can afford it. These questions, however, angered my mother, who urged me to stop asking so many. 

Eventually, I stopped asking my mother and began questioning things independently. In 2004, a devastating tsunami struck our city, and I found myself starting to drown in a mosque’s fishpond. The Lord opened my eyes in the water so I could see under the water, and I asked him, “Where am I, Lord?” In that moment, I prayed to God for clarity and a chance to live a normal life.  

In response, God guided me to look up at the sky, saved me from drowning, and urged me to seek answers. It was through Ephesians 2:8 that I found my answer: “For by grace, you are saved through faith; it is not the result of your efforts, but God’s gift.” 

In 2005, I joined a humanitarian organization and met a young Christian man who would become my husband. When my parents learned of our intentions to marry, they reacted with anger, severed our relationship, and disowned me. My sister later asked about my faith, and I admitted to being different, prompting her to disconnect our call. At that moment, I felt a calling in my heart to prove that the God I followed was real. 

After the birth of our first child, I attempted to reach out to my parents to inform them of their grandson’s arrival. However, my father threatened violence, forcing us to relocate to another city. Five years later, we received news of my father’s passing, and we returned with our three children to pay our respects. 

I find solace in the fact that I’ve demonstrated my Christian faith to my family, even though it means I can’t return to my parents’ home and won’t inherit from them. I trust that God will provide for me. I work as a seamstress and have managed to rent a house in installments. Two months ago, my husband passed away. 

Recently, I learned that ICC could assist me in renting a house for a year while I work to secure next year’s rent from my tailoring income. I am grateful to ICC for their support in securing a home for this year. 

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