I taught three times (The Transforming Story, The Power of Story, and Reviving the Reformation) during my visit to one of the leading seminaries in Indonesia. Several of the young folks (under 30) came up to thank me for giving them hope for their lives, for the church, for Indonesia and for giving them a bigger space to live in their minds.
One of the young people was a third year student at the Institute. She is a first generation Christian from a Moslem ethnic group. She is the FIRST and ONLY Christian among her people. When I asked her how she came to know Christ, she said it was in a dream. Christ came to her at night in a dream. She accepted Christ. She was disowned by her family and, like Abraham in Genesis 12, left her home and community. This was a passage that I had taught on and she said that it was a passage that guided her as a young Christian.
She left a good job with a Western company to strike out like Abraham to find the city that God had for her (Hebrews 11:10). She had a longing to study the Bible and so ended up coming to the seminary. She is now married to another student and they are praying together about the kind of ministry God would have for them after they graduate. Her family, while not yet Christians, have finally accepted that she is a Christian; they have opened their home to her and her husband. What a glorious story of how God can work supernaturally today to draw people to himself!
The founder of the school has written 106 books, the majority in Indonesian, but he also has some in English and some in Dutch. He is a wise old man, dearly beloved by the students who have graduated from here. If I had to describe him, he would be like the Billy Graham of Indonesia. He is an evangelist and Christian statesmen. He came up to me after the morning session where I mentioned that individuals can change history. He said that this was a motto of his life.
He has been on friendship terms and has ministered to the political and religious leaders of Indonesia. He has been a personal friend and confidant of many of the last presidents of Indonesia. He has known all the US presidents back to, I think, President Nixon. He said that his life has been threatened four times, but so far God has protected him.
I also met with the man in charge of Transform Indonesia and the regional Transform Asia movement. He mentioned that the little time that Bob Moffitt and I have spent in Indonesia for Vision Conferences and other trainings has had a profound impact. He said over and over how he wants to work more closely with us.
I have known that Indonesia is the nation with the largest Moslem population in the world. Christians are a distinct minority. They are generally tolerated by the majority population, but can become easy targets of people with political interest using religious pretext.
Every morning at 4:00 AM (pre-dawn), which I don’t quite get (dawn is about 5:30 AM), the various Imams begin their call to morning prayers. The first one begins at 4:00 AM and every few minutes another one begins. The crescendo is at about 4:20 AM. At that point, one knows that this Institute of Biblical Theology is a very small island in a very large Islamic sea. Each Mullah has his own unique voice and “song.” So, it is like a chorus or symphony call to prayer. Very, very haunting!
-Darrow L. Miller