The Transformative Power of God’s Word Among MBBs
God is doing amazing works in Indonesia. Many have come to faith in Jesus in the last decade. However, living as a new convert in a country with the world’s largest Muslim population is not easy, especially when your family does not share the same faith. Realizing the importance of God’s Word to nurture newfound faith, Open Doors provides these believers with Bibles and Christian literature in a language and format that are easily understood by former Muslims. Recently, Open Doors visited some of the recipients to see how the books have helped transform their lives and families.
Suratno*, an elderly A Christian from a Muslim background who comes to Christ. (MBB) in Java, is grateful for the Bible in his hands. A farmer who also keeps a small shop, Suratno found his faith in Isa Almasih (Jesus Christ) after an evangelist dropped by his shop. “When I received Isa, I felt so calm and peaceful. I have experienced miracles since following Him. Goods from my stall used to be stolen frequently,” he shared. “Ever since I learned to pray, nothing has been stolen.”
Suratno is the only believer in his entire village. His son disowned him when he found out about his commitment to Christ. Without anyone to nurture his faith and no church to attend, the Bible and his mentor are his only resources for spiritual growth. “My eyes are failing me, but I try to read a chapter from the New Testament every evening after a long day of hard work,” he said.
The contextual Bible distributed by Open Doors is different from an ordinary Bible. The contextual Bible uses names and terms that are similar to those used in Islam, without changing the biblical content. For instance, Jesus becomes Isa and John becomes Yahya. This helps MBBs transition from Islam to Christianity.
Besides the contextual Bible, Open Doors also distributes simplified Christian books that contain pictures. To many MBBs who come from lower income classes and low educational backgrounds, the Christian materials available in bookstores are often too difficult to understand.
This is also true for Tuginah*, another new believer from Java. “I heard about Jesus for two years before I finally committed my life to Isa; however, I still struggle in practicing my faith,” she shared. “I am married to a short-tempered man who comes from a family with strong Islamic roots. That’s why, in their presence, I pretend to be a Muslim that prays five times a day. But deep down, my heart belongs to Isa.”
Tuginah feels blessed by the contextual Bible and the other literature distributed by Open Doors. One resource that has been especially life-changing for her is the story of the prodigal son. To her, the parable speaks volumes about God’s acceptance—something she had struggled with for a long time. Islam teaches a strict balance scale system that weighs a person’s good and bad deeds to determine their eternal fate. If her bad deeds outweigh the good, she will go to hell. “The story teaches me that, despite my flaws, the Father loves and accepts me as I am. My part is to repent.”
The Word of God is touching entire families. The spiritual journey of Jaya*, his wife Kusuma*, and their daughter Kurnia* began when Kurnia fell from a building and was paralyzed. “We rushed her to the hospital, but despite all medications and treatments, she did not recover,” shared Jaya. One day, a lay preacher prayed for her in the name of Isa Almasih, and she was healed immediately. Since then, the family has placed their faith in Jesus.
Through a local partner, Open Doors provided a couple of Bibles for the family. Kurnia eagerly reads the Bible every day, and she has noticed a dramatic change in her family. “Now, when my parents are fighting, they reconcile almost immediately. Our home is much more peaceful than before.”
In 2014, Open Doors distributed over 21,000 contextual Bibles and other Christian materials to MBBs across the country. This distribution campaign was a targeted response to the vast need for discipleship resources that aligned with the new believers’ level of understanding and religious background.
*Names changed for security reasons
Father, we thank You for the growing number of Muslim Background Believers in Indonesia and for their growing hunger for Your Word to sustain and strengthen their faith. And we thank You for the provision of contextual Bibles and other Christian materials distributed by Open Doors through mission organizations there. We pray for Your guidance in the distribution of these resources where the needs are greatest. Thank You for the promise that Your Word bears fruit through the work of Your Holy Spirit, and so we pray for the seed of Your Word to be sown in hearts You have prepared to receive it. We pray for Your blessing upon the mission workers who labor so diligently to share the glorious life-giving truth of the gospel of Christ. In the Name of Jesus, who is the living Word, Amen.