Indonesia: Former Koran teacher converted to Christianity

Mario* is a 62-year-old former Quran teacher who was a staunch Muslim. No one could deny that or belittle his long teaching career. Nor would anyone have believed that he would become a Christian

As a devout Indonesian Muslim, Mario believed that Islam was the only true path. However, he lacked peace in his heart. When he heard about Jesus, he realized that this was the answer he had been looking for for a long time.

That year, Mario was baptized, and after that he no longer wanted to perform the Id prayers, which he had always recited during Id al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

He found peace in the church

One Sunday, Mario’s bike ride to church took longer than usual.

“My journey from home to church is quite long. It usually takes more than half an hour. Even though the tire on my old bicycle broke today, I arrived safely,” Mario smiles with relief.

“I am glad that I heard the Word of God, because I really long to hear it. After that, the parishioners helped to repair the tire and I was able to return home.”

After accepting his friend’s invitation last December, Mario is excited to learn more about the Lord Jesus.

“I was very confused when he invited me to the church,” laughs Mario. “Why should I come with you?” I asked, but my friend said: “If you are looking for peace in your heart, come with me.”

Mario was attracted by the love of Jesus and that day his life changed completely.

Loving your neighbor guaranteed

Unbeknownst to himself, Mario had been searching for the love of Jesus for decades. As a teacher of the Koran, he knew very well that the teachings of Islam do not include the teaching of loving one’s neighbor. This made Mario’s heart uneasy.

“Since Islam does not teach love, it is very easy for Muslims to attack and fight each other. There is no peace,” continues Mario. “I saw something different in Christianity, because it emphasizes loving and supporting others. That’s why I decided to follow Jesus.”

Mario was baptized at the beginning of January and is currently actively involved in discipleship activities organized by our local partners.

“I am grateful that the Lord Jesus saved me, because in my previous religion I had no certainty of salvation.”

Mario’s neighbors, also fanatical Muslims, know that he changed his faith. He’s thankful that no one has come to complain about it.

“I think they are unhappy because they know that I taught the Koran and was a fanatical Muslim. If they wanted to argue with me about changing their religion, they know that they are in for a tough argument,” says Mario confidently.

Coming home to Jesus

Mario visited his family in his home village during Id al-Fitr, as was customary. However, this time was different as he did not attend the party. The situation was awkward, of course, because he had celebrated this festival all his life. The family also found the situation embarrassing. Why does he no longer practice Islam, they asked.

“I have found truth and peace in Christianity,” was his simple answer. For fear of offending Mario, they asked no more questions.

Mario laughs: “My children are afraid of me because I used to be very strict.” He hopes that his family and neighbors will notice the changes that have taken place in him as a result of knowing Christ.

During Id al-fitr, Mario sat and watched others perform the Id prayers.

“It doesn’t matter, because only I made the decision to convert. I have missed Id prayers before. I was in Jakarta then, where all my neighbors were Chinese and not Muslim, so there was no mosque nearby. So it wasn’t the first time,” says Mario

“The only difference is that this time I did not participate because I am a Christian. I am proud to call myself a Christian. I also tell my family about Jesus. I hope that their hearts will open to the message of salvation.”

We thank God for Mario’s life and simple faith. Please pray for him as he continues to grow in faith in Christ.

*Name changed

Source: Ajankohtaista | Open Doors Finland

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