David’s father was the local village Imam and held a strict Muslim regime in the family’s home. Like many young Muslim boys, when David turned 10, his father sent him to the local Islamic school where he was carefully instructed in the Koran and Islamic rituals until he turned 16.
Even at the Islamic school the boys in David’s class were taught that there are three holy books apart from the Koran; the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms. However, the teachers only taught from the Koran. At 13, David prayed that he might find these other holy books. When he finally finished school, he began his search in earnest.
His search began
One of David’s friends had become a Christian. David’s curiosity overcame his fear and he asked his friend about Isa. He wanted to know whether he knew anything about the three holy books.
In reply, his friend invited him to take a journey to a city, some 45km away, to meet with an evangelist.
At the meeting, the evangelist opened the Bible and started to share the Gospel with the young boys. David was disturbed; he remembered hearing about Isa at school, but this man spoke only about Jesus.
When the evangelist had finished carefully explaining the Gospel to David, he asked, “Would you like to believe in Jesus?” But David hotly replied, “No!”
On the way home, David took out his anger and confusion on his friend. “You are a true infidel!” he mocked. But his friend remained silent. Even as David mocked him, he heard a voice in his heart telling him to keep searching for the truth.
Sometime later, David had an opportunity to hear another evangelist. This man explained to him who Isa was and they talked and discussed the Gospel for more than four hours. Starting from the beginning, the evangelist explained the whole Gospel to him, being careful to speak about Isa so that David could clearly understand.
After their initial meeting, the evangelist invited him to his home. For the next two years, David visited him there every week. Still, he held back. He wanted to know the truth, but he was afraid of being rejected by his family.
David’s Islamic friends gradually began avoiding him because of his association with his Christian friend, until one day they called him an infidel. Such an accusation from those who had been his good friends stung deeply. He began to realise how their shallow friendship compared to the love he had from the Christians. Their mockery helped him choose and he finally decided to follow Jesus.
Persecution close at hand
David slowly became bolder in his faith. When he was baptised, he was courageous enough to tell his father, who lost all patience. Taking a large walking stick, he angrily chased David out of their home and down the street, screaming as he tried to strike him.
Working in Bandung, the capital of West Java, David had befriended another evangelist, from whom he had the opportunity to learn more about the Bible. David moved to live with him and started studying at an underground Bible training school.
David forgives his father
David struggled with fear of his father, who was a very powerful and influential Islamic figure. After a year, he was able to overcome his fear and called his father to try and make peace.
“If you want to be my son, renounce Jesus,” his father said harshly. “Say Mohammed is your prophet.” David would not deny his Lord, so his father refused to speak to him further.
At the end of 2010, David graduated from the Bible college and returned to the island where he had grown up, bringing with him copies of Luke in the local language. Many accepted the book and believed in its message. Others, however, were angered. “If I find this book in my home, I will destroy it!” swore one of his cousins.
He discovered that not everyone had the same thirst for meaning and truth as he did, but this did not deter David from sharing the love of Christ with his family and the people of his village.
David’s prayer was answered when he was finally able to meet his father once more. His father saw how changed his character had become now that he followed Jesus, but he still refused to believe.
Today, David continues to work among his own people. He longs for each one to come to know the truth of Jesus just as he did. He says he is not afraid if persecution should come; Jesus is his Lord and He will strengthen him.