In the Indonesian language, her name means jewel – the perfect word to describe her presence in the midst of an overwhelmingly Muslim population. Let’s call her Nitta*.
Twenty-three years ago, Nitta was born in a tribe strongly associated with Islam. Their province, people say, is the toughest in Indonesia for the gospel to penetrate. “My father is a devout Muslim. He has four wives. I came from his second one,” Nitta begins her story.
Just like other children in her tribe, she grew up in a Muslim boarding school. Her parents had great expectations for her to flourish as a devout Muslim lady.
However, divine intervention drove her away from her parents’ dream. It was at the boarding school that she learned all things Islam from the Quran. “When I discovered Isa (Jesus) in the book, I was instantly captivated. I began asking all sorts of questions about him, only to be reproached by my school teacher,” she recounts.
“The doors opened when my father divorced my mother and I was taken to a predominantly Christian province to be taken care of by my mothers’ Christian relatives,” she continues. “They introduced me to Christianity and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.”
Following her conversion was a bold decision to serve God as a full-time missionary. Nitta underwent missionary training and started preaching the gospel in a predominantly Muslim region. She was only 22. Because of her background as a former Muslim, many people find it easy to understand the gospel through Nitta’s explanation. “God is using my past to connect with Muslims,” she says. “But nowadays, it’s becoming tougher to preach the gospel without raising the neighbors’ suspicions. Most of them already know me and what I do.”
In this small town where everyone knows everyone else, Nitta typically combs the streets to tell God’s story of salvation, triggering suspicion among the local food vendors. “Once, a villager threatened me and a fellow worker with a knife. He demanded that we never set foot in that place again,” she says.
Nitta regularly attends the Open Doors evangelist’s fellowship. “I am deeply blessed by your gatherings. They provide great learning opportunities for me. Thank you, Open Doors,” she says.
*Names and photos are representative for the safety of persecuted Christians