*Representative photo used to protect identity.
A man in his forties walks carefully into the training room where Open Doors is holding the Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminar. Apparently, he is blind. Many seem to know him. In fact, since Day 1 of the training, people have been encouraging us to talk with him and hear an extraordinary story of faith, courage, and obedience.
His name is Ronald, a typical name for Indonesians. He comes from a strong Muslim family from the Makassarese ethnic group. To them, Islam is their identity.
When he was a child, Ronald moved with his father who served in the army to Papua, a conflict-prone region with a large Christian population. However, no one ever told Ronald about Jesus. Instead, his encounter with Isa Almasih (Jesus Christ) took place after his father had sent him back to Makassar to receive a proper Islamic education.
It was a scorching day when Ronald and his friends were studying the book of Maryam in the Quran. The mention of Isa in their holy book puzzled him so much that he asked his lecturer, “If Isa was the highest prophet on earth and in heaven, why don’t we worship him, too?” The teacher tried to dismiss his curiosity: “Don’t bother about it. That was written for the Christians.”
The answer agitated his heart and eventually urged him to leave the campus, return to Papua, and study in a local university. Surrounded by believers, his knowledge of Christ increased. Years later, he encountered Jesus in a dream and embraced the Christian faith.
One day, an invitation arrived. His father invited him to a large family meeting. Ronald tremblingly obliged, knowing that his father had found out about his new faith. Back in his hometown, his entire family harshly scolded him as soon as he set foot in the house. His father and three older brothers threatened him: “How could you follow the god of the infidels? No Makassarese should leave Islam! Repent and say the Shahadat (confession of Islamic faith), or you will go to hell!”
Though heartbroken to defy his family, Ronald replied, “Jesus, the one you’re rejecting is able to turn hell into heaven.”
Shocked by the brave reply, the four men grew furious and started to beat him. The severe pain nearly rendered him unconscious. At that moment, Ronald felt the Lord’s touch. “God was strengthening me and His glory was above me,” he recounts. The spiritual experience enabled him to hold fast to Christ.
While Ronald was still enduring the blows, another brother came home. Drunk, he joined in the assault. His boots struck Ronald’s head and caused severe bleeding. Thinking that Ronald was dead, his father and brothers tossed him on the seashore and covered his body with a piece of cloth.
Ronald would have died if a local pastor had not passed by. Earlier in the night, God appeared in the pastor’s dream, asking him to take a morning walk on the beach. His obedience led him to save Ronald’s life. “When he found me, I was full of scars, drenched in blood, and blind,” Ronald painfully recounts.
By God’s grace, Ronald survived the beating, though it cost him his sight. Yet his obedience has not wavered, and his suffering is not in vain. Through his experience, he now strengthens other Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution. He also equips them with Islamic knowledge so that, one day, they can bless other Muslims.
Once a lecturer and Bible teacher, Ronald has amazed the local Christians with his ability to remember verses and preach without reading the Scriptures. “That’s the power of God,” he says. “I lost my eyes, but I got Jesus. He’s the one providing spiritual insights—I need no eyes.”
1. May Ronald always be a source of encouragement to those who are facing rejection and persecution for following Christ.
2. Please pray for his ministry in Papua; may God continuously use him to bless the local churches with his vast knowledge of Islam.
3. Please pray for Ronald’s extended family so that he may become a living testimony that will lead them to believing in Jesus.