Indonesia has a special place in Brother Andrew’s heart. It is in this tropical archipelago that he found Jesus 67 years ago. Little do people know, however, that he and Open Doors, which he founded 60 years ago, have left a footprint that changed the face of Muslim ministry in the eastern part of the island of Java.
Damar* is a dedicated mission worker on the island of Java. The 38-year-old man is a lecturer at a university, but he also preaches the gospel to Muslims by helping villagers build an eco-tourism center. A house church of secret believers is the result of his ministry.
When asked where his passion comes from, he answers, “It’s a long story, but I have to thank Brother Andrew for this. When he was in Indonesia in the mid-1980s, he became a spiritual mentor for my church’s pastor. Brother Andrew challenged him to reach out to Muslims, which gave birth to a missionary church.”
That very church sent Damar and four of his friends to the university so they might become full-time missionaries assigned to different places.
Today, Open Doors continues to influence the mission field.
“Open Doors has shifted the way I do ministry,” Damar continues. “Previously, I served only by doing good deeds and providing education to non-Christians. Hardly ever did I preach the gospel; I lacked the knowledge and the confidence.”
Damar pauses, recalling his first encounter with Open Doors.
“That was until I came to one of your mission workers’ fellowships,” he says. “There I met an evangelist—now my spiritual mentor—who taught me how to communicate the gospel to Muslims through storytelling. My mental block instantly crumbled.”
Java, where Damar serves, is the country’s most populated island. There, 80 percent of religious incidents and violence in Indonesia take place. This is typically instigated by Muslim extremist groups. Many churches have been forcibly closed and burned down, and a number of Christian workers have been imprisoned for preaching the gospel.
As a result, fear often gets in the way of preaching the gospel. But once fear is removed, the evangelistic fire bursts and spreads, as in the case of Damar. “Since then, some villagers have come to faith which has given birth to a house church,” he shares.
However, zeal is not immune to the troubles of this world: boredom, fatigue and conflict with fellow workers. Damar has sadly witnessed some of his partners leaving the mission field due to financial and security issues.
“That’s why we need you to keep doing what you have been doing,” he says to Open Doors’ visitors. “You have refreshed our hearts and souls, which we need desperately to keep going. I’m so grateful I met you.”
Indonesia is ranked #47 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
*Name changed for security reasons
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.