In 1971, I became the 7th child in my Muslim family. As a young Muslim, I was not active in the prayer times and other religious Muslim practices. As a teen I became a bad Muslim, drinking, smoking and disobedient to Allah.
In 1998, a Christian developed a friendship with me. He said something utterly amazing to me. “God loves you.” I was shocked. Allah doesn’t love me. Allah is angry with me. I am a bad guy. My new friend said over and over, “God loves you. Even though we are sinners, God sent Jesus the Messiah to die for us. God loves you. God wants to save you and develop a friendship with you.” Night after night, I lay in bed amazed at what my friend said. “God loves you, Gulang.”
I began to go to a Bible study. I began to read the New Testament. Jesus was so amazing, so powerful, yet so kind and forgiving. By 1999, my hard heart had changed. I wanted Jesus. Contrary to what I had been taught, from my study of the life of Jesus I believed he was the Son of God. I wanted to receive the love of God and the forgiveness of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.
When my oldest brother found out I had become a Christian, he was furious. He attacked me and beat me up bad. He threw me out of the house and away from my family. In the kindness of the Lord, I found work in a nearby city. My new Christian friends at church loved me and helped me.
As I continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, I became effective at explaining the gospel of Christ to Muslim friends. As I progressed with Jesus, the Lord called me into ministry for Jesus. Now I teach personal evangelism at a Bible School. I help the students go out and discuss Jesus with Muslims, Hindus and Animists here in Indonesia. It is super-encouraging to see them develop confidence and effectiveness with their friends.
After years of hardship with my family, some softened as they saw my progress and new way of life. My Mom was the first to turn to Jesus. Then younger brothers 8, 9, 10! My Mom is now with Jesus. The Lord is continuing to work in my family. I am excited about what the Lord can do for my brothers and sisters. Whenever I get a chance, I tell them, “God loves you.”
Notes: Brother Gulang teaches at one of Engage’s partner mission schools in Indonesia.