This week we had the pleasure of getting to fellowship with Iranian refugees in Indonesia. All week we got to hear their stories and hear of how God revealed himself to them in marvelous ways.
The one specific woman I want to share with you about has a story that many of us can barley comprehend; but I will try and share it just the same. I cannot share her name or a picture of her face because of the dangers of her situation.
This young lady desired to leave Iran about 3 years ago. She was convinced the government was trying to brainwash everyone, especially the women. Her and her siblings wanted nothing to do with the government of their nation. After getting arrested a couple of times because of wearing pants in public instead of a dress, she decided it was time to leave.
She found a company that said they would take her to Australia. She just had to pay a one time fee and they would take care of the rest. So she did.
Their journey took them from Iran to Indonesia where they boarded a boat together and set out on a journey that none of them could have imagined.
They ended up crossing the ocean for 9 days. Given no food and only one small cup of dirty water. Their boat had many problems and began to sink overtime. Around the clock they had to scoop water out of the boat with buckets. People were dying around them and it seemed as if there was no hope. She said, "We knew we would probably die but I was still full of joy."
Keep in mind her and her siblings were all Muslims at this time.
On the ninth day a boat from the Philippines spotted them and helped everyone that was left on the boat. She said about 20 minutes after they all got on the Philippine boat, their boat sunk under the water.
The boat from the Philippines took them to Indonesia and right when they arrived, they were put in jail. They had no papers, no proof of any kind of identity, and could not speak any other languages other than their mother tongue, Farsi. She said, "It was scary being in jail but I still felt joy in my heart." To pass the time she found a book that taught how to learn English! She started reading that book and read it two other times while in jail. The English that she spoke to us while telling her story was the English language that she learned from her book. Nothing else. It was amazing to hear how beautifully she spoke!
After getting released from prison, she found herself in an impossible situation and was raped by someone unknown to her. After this incident she was torn apart. She fell into a deep depression, had thoughts of suicide, and had a severe eating disorder. Her life seemed hopeless.
In the midst of all the darkness in her life, she found a Christian friend that encouraged her. One day her Christian friend invited her to come to a fellowship that our dad was having in Indonesia. She agreed to go even though she wasn't interested. When she arrived at the fellowship she sat and listened, afterwards her friend asked our dad, Nehemia, if he could speak with her about Jesus. Dad responded, “Don’t worry about her, Jesus loves her.” When she heard dad say those words, she felt something spark in her heart. For days afterward, she was curious about this person that supposedly loved her.
After this, she continued coming back to see dad three more times before accepting Jesus into her heart. She shared with us with her bright smile, that once she accepted Jesus everything from her past VANISHED! All of her struggles, hurt, fears, and regrets were left behind and she found NEW life.
This past week we were honored to get to spend many days talking and sharing with this young lady and it touched our hearts in more ways than one. To think that after everything she has been through, the touch of Jesus Christ still washes away every pain and suffering known to man. To think that we still find things to complain about and get upset over. It is ridiculous for us to get upset over anything, really; because this lady is a living example of when EVERYTHING in the world does NOT go your way, you can still have pure joy in your heart. And that is what we want to declare all the way from Indonesia today, is TO HAVE PURE JOY despite any situation! Jesus is ALIVE and HE is JOY.
Love from Indonesia!