Arief From Indonesia:
There are approximately 25 to 30 million plus Christians in Indonesia. It has the second largest Christian population in Southeast Asia. And it has the 4th largest Christian population in Asia. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world. It is ranked #43 on the World Watch list of countries where Christians are being persecuted.
I am honored to interview Arief, my friend and our devoted brother in Christ, who was born and still lives in Indonesia.
1 – Arief, hello and what an honor to interview you. First, can you tell us how you first came to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?
Hello Lynn. The honor is mine. My parents sent me to Christian schools since Grade 1. There I have learned about Christianity. I have not accepted Jesus until one day I learned that God really answered prayer.
I was in Guangzhou, China when that happened. We have been praying to God for a clear weather for almost two months. This was for a BBQ party. A clear weather for a BBQ party! Small request and insignificant, right?
The rainy season during that time was very wet. You can expect the rain for a week nonstop. And this was the case.
Our BBQ party was in the middle of the week. The morning of BBQ day, it was still raining. I thought we might have to cancel the BBQ party. But suddenly, approaching the hour, the rain started to drizzle and then stopped. It stopped for the whole 3 hours we had our BBQ. Then it started to rain again for another 3 days until I see the sun again.
That was the moment I believed in God.
2 – Are all of your family members believers?
My parents, brothers, and sister are all Christians. Thank God.
3 – On an average day, do you see persecutions around you of individuals, or the church, and have you ever faced the possibility of persecution for being a Christian
Living in the big capital city, I don’t see direct persecutions. But I was in the city when some years ago some of the churches were bombed. Remote areas are more prone to these persecutions. I have read that churches now are being closed because of the pressure of some groups
4 – Why do you think that Christians around the world seem to have such a strong, unshakable faith while so many here in America seem to take their faith for granted?
I don’t know in America, though. I have the pleasure to witness how strong Christians are in China. They have it harder than me. The Chinese Government put a strong censorship on churches. Government agents are always present there.
So I think this is the true characteristic of Christianity. If being persecuted, they will grow stronger.
Have it easy, they will grow weaker.
5 – I know you love to read our Holy Bible, the infallible Word of God. Is there a scripture, or a person in the Old Testament or New Testament, who has particularly encouraged you while you were going through trials in your life?
There are too many to mention. David who sins, Moses who is tired, Ruth who follows her mother in law, Jesus who afraid, eats, tired, etc.
With verses too. But I will mention “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” here. (Hebrews 13:5)
6 – How important is prayer and repentance in your daily walk with Christ?
I know that these are important for Christians. I am still struggling with sins every day. Lucky for me (or is it?) that Jesus is willing to accept me. I actually do not believe in luck. I was chosen because it is God’s privilege. I was chosen even before the beginning of time.
7 – Do you still see that God’s mercies are new every single day of your life? Can you share a few with us?
Oh yes! I see mercies every day:
I still have food to eat.
I can go to church.
I have work.
I can share my resources with other.
My daughter is growing and healthy.
Our President is Joko Widodo.
Our Governor is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
Those are some mercies that I can share. There are plenty where they came from.
8 – If you could ask our holy, omnipotent, omnipresent God one question, right now, today, what would you ask Him?
Why me? Out of millions of His children, why me?
9 – How has your faith grown and become stronger in a world that is not always tolerant of Christians?
It is a roller coaster. Some days I ask where is God, while some other days I will give thanks for his preservations. I learn new things every day.
10 – What would you like to share with others regarding how Jesus Christ has changed your life? And how He can change their lives too.
Read the Bible. It is a love story. I couldn’t help to cry, to cheer, and to laugh at the story. It is because I can relate to the story.
Jesus has changed me because I’m willing to know more of Him (by reading the Bible).
You can find Arief at several of his websites. 2 in Bahasa Indonesia and 2 in English.
MeForChrist.blogspot.com is a blog where I share what I think. Usually through a Christianity perspective.
BeShaved.com is talking about shaving, my newly acquired hobby. Yes, shaving can be a hobby.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my story.
Thank you so much Arief!
May our Lord God protect and bless you and your family, and may we grow stronger in our faith each new day. You and your family are in my prayers daily and I ask other Christians around the world to pray for you also. Please pray for us also.
In Christ, to Him be the glory forever,