Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Dashed dreams to a decisive dream: Wanda’s story - Open Doors UK & Ireland
26 October 2020

Dashed dreams to a decisive dream: Wanda’s story

Like many young people, Wanda* from Indonesia had dreams of what her life would look like. But circumstances dashed her dreams, prompting questions that led to a dream where she was asked a crucial question. Today, Wanda follows Jesus, but it’s not easy – and Covid-19 has only added to her challenges. Your support has enabled partners to help her, and she is deeply moved by it.

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Wanda* reading a discipleship book provided by Open Doors 

‘What is it about Christianity that has caused her to be a better and nicer person?’ Wanda* quietly pondered, seeing a striking change in her cousin who had become a Christian – she was radiant with joy and peace. ‘What is her secret?’

Wanda soon forgot about this question. But then life dealt her a difficult blow.

Dashed dreams

Wanda grew up in a wealthy family, and having graduated from high school, had her sights set on going to university. But this dream was shattered when her mother’s business collapsed. As the oldest of three siblings, she felt obliged to carry the responsibility to support her family.

Aged 18, Wanda left her hometown and moved to Jakarta, the capital, to find a job. She moved in with her relatives, and initially they sparked hope in her heart with a promise to support her with paying her tuition fees.

But they later reneged on the promise. Her dreams once again dashed.

Wanda started to doubt her Muslim faith. To her mind, the religious obligations she faithfully performed gave her no sense of hope or anything to hold on to. She felt insecure about her present situation and her future.

“What is her secret?”

Then she remembered how her cousin seemed so happy. And the question that had been forgotten re-emerged. What is her secret?

"Can I borrow your Bible?" Wanda*

At the time she was working as a barista in a popular café. Even though a part-time job, it helped to support her needs, and she could send some money back home to help her family.

It was there she met Barry*, a regular customer, who usually came into the café with his friends. They would often discuss the Bible. Knowing Barry was a Christian, she asked him about his faith. Keen to know more, she asked, “Can I borrow your Bible?”

He agreed. Starting in Genesis, Wanda continued to the other books. Fascinated by it, she could not put the Bible down. Through it, she finally found the answers to the questions she had been asking.

A decisive dream

Gradually, the tangle of questions and confusion that she had been grappling with began to unravel. And then, one day, she asked, “God, which religion do you want me to follow?”

Then she remembered how her cousin seemed so happy. And the question that had been forgotten re-emerged. What is her secret?

"I don’t know what has happened inside of me, but I feel so much peace." Wanda*

And then she had a dream.

She was inside a church with many pews when pastors in white robes approached her. One of them asked, “Are you ready?”

At that moment, Wanda woke up. It was God answering her question. And yes, she was ready! It led to the most important decision she would ever make – to give her life to Jesus.

She was baptised, and immediately she noticed a difference in herself. “I don’t know what has happened inside of me, but I feel so much peace,” Wanda shares. “I no longer worry nor am I anxious about my situation, even though the circumstances in my life haven’t changed yet.”

WhatsApp reaction

Wanda didn’t dare tell her family about her new faith, fearing the reaction and reprisals. But her inner voice could not stay silent; she needed to share what was in her heart. So, she decided to change her WhatsApp status to Matthew 10:22: “You will be hated by everyone, because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Her family and relatives spotted the new status. They were enraged and couldn’t believe that she dared to convert. “Your mum put you in that expensive school [one of the most prestigious Islamic schools in Indonesia] because she wants you to be a good Muslim,” one of her relatives said. “How dare you!”

Since then, there has been a constant flow of negative comments, intimidation and pressure against her, especially from the relatives she was living with at the time. It became so bad and unhealthy, that she decided to move out and rent a place of her own.

Read more about what it’s like to live as a Christian in Indonesia.

Peace and provision

To add to the challenges, Covid-19 arrived, meaning the café Wanda worked at had to temporarily close. They stopped paying her and provided no specific date for when she could return to work.

Consequently, she had no income but still needed to pay the rent for her new place. Despite being unsure where she would find money, she was confident she would be okay. “My heart was at peace,” she says. “Somehow, I knew that God would provide.”

"One thing that I am so overwhelmed with is the love from my Christian friends." Wanda

And God did provide. Open Doors local partners came to know about her financial needs, and thanks to your prayers and support, they were able to help her by paying her rent for three months while she looked for a job.

Wanda is hugely grateful for the support. “Your support helped me to stand on my own and not depend on my family anymore,” she says. “I know that I still have a long way to go, but I am ready for any challenges, as I have already experienced how faithful God is to me through this situation.”

She also shared how she has been deeply touched by the love of believers. “One thing that I am so overwhelmed with is the love from my Christian friends. I feel like I have a new family, when my biological family abandoned me. I don’t feel alone in this new journey of my life,” she said.

And she shared of more good news – the café has called her back for a part-time job!

God’s hand through generations

Looking back, Wanda believes there was a seed God had put in her family a long time ago. Her grandfather was a Catholic before he married her grandmother.

Her mother and her mother’s siblings (13 in all) were sent to Christian schools while growing up, as it was the best school to get an education at the time. “Some of my aunts and uncles still remembered the Lord’s Prayer. It just amazed me that God has been working so long in my family. And now I am the first fruit in the family,” she says.

She is praying for her mother and sisters to be saved. “Initially, my mum was so devastated when she found out that I have become a Christian. But God has softened her heart now, as we are able to communicate well today, through phone calls and text messages. I don’t know what is going to happen when we meet, but in the meantime, I pray that God will touch her heart and the heart of my sisters too. Pray for me!”

*Name changed for security reasons

Please pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful work You have done in Wanda’s life. Grant her the desires of her heart, that her family will know Jesus too, and take her to the people and places that need to hear her testimony. Strengthen, protect and provide for all Christians at risk of persecution in Indonesia. Amen.

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