Endrian is a kindergarten age child being raised in a Muslim family in a tiny house on the outskirts of Semarang Indonesia. Endrian’s father suffered a stroke and is paralyzed from the waist down. He’s a proud man, and without a wheel chair “walks” with his hands while dragging his limp lower body. There are not government programs, no social security disability, no way to support his family. This is especially bad news in a community that in the throws of poverty. The onus is on Mom to provide. In a world where most Father’s can barely subsist, mom being the breadwinner is an exercise in futility. Endrian seems to be unaware, but there is a look in his eye that conveys seriousness, almost as if on some subconscious level that he understands the magnitude of the situation.
Kevin is a singer in a rock band. He screams, sings and jumps for a living. He is married with a beautiful daughter and they live a not so stereotypical rock star life outside of the not so rock star town of Lexington, KY.
He heard a sermon from his pastor a few years back about loving his enemies. It was the kind of thing that we hear from our Pastors from time to time, but for some Holy Spirit reason it really stuck this time. While thinking about what it looked like practically to love his enemy, the opportunity arose for him to sponsor a child with Compassion International. When Kevin saw the photo and information of Endrian, the young Muslim from Indonesia, it seemed like a perfect way to live out this command.
Maybe Endrian himself wasn’t Kevins enemy but Islamic radicals have declared us all their enemies. By loving Endrian, Kevin and his wife Julie are part of a spiritual counter insurgency that doesn’t involve tanks or missiles. It is subtle, it is pure, but make no mistake; it is an assault on hell.
I sat as a spectator as Kevin and Julie had traveled around the world to meet this young man and his family whom they loved but had never met. For 3 years they have faithfully sponsored Endrian through compassion. They’ve written letters back and forth. They’ve sent pictures. It’s kind of like a pen pal with benefits. This little 2 dimensional guy was very much a 3 dimensional real live human being. Watching them meet face to face for the first time was one of the more moving experiences of my life.
It was blazing hot inside this little house with no running water, let alone air conditioning. We could see the Mosque that Endrians family attends from his front door. Here we were, a handful of Christians, serving this family while their Mosque offered no support other than a clear if not spooky call to prayer that could be heard multiple times a day. (kind of like the church bells that used to wring out from the Methodist church in my home town, just a little more eerie)
We were invited inside where we all sat on the floor and us Americans did what we do best in those situations, sweat. We were given a tour of the home, we saw all 3 rooms. They ran a little snack shop out of the front door of their house. We were told that they were able to set up this business that is the only source of income for their family from money that Kevin and Julie had sent for a Christmas present.
Sitting in a circle on the floor Kevin asked the family how he could pray for them. The 22 year old son (also living in the home) answered simply and succinctly: “Muslim”. Our translator was uncomfortable with any questions that had anything to do with Jesus. If you know Kevin, you know that doesn’t necessarily stop him. He handled it like a pro. He and Julie were kind, caring, compassionate and an excellent example of Jesus to them.
The law in Indonesia states that someone of one religion is not allowed to teach someone of another religion. On your government ID you check a box next to your religion. I’m not 100% but I think the options are Islam, Hindu, Christian, Buddhism, and Catholicism Almost 90% of the worlds 4th largest nation check the box marked Islam. (When I asked our host what box would you check if you’re Jewish, her response was “well, um, you don’t”.)
The only way that this law can be subverted is if the person being taught or their legal guardian signs a legal document stating that it’s OK. This is taken very seriously, and as I write this I know of a couple of Sunday school teachers sitting in a Jakarta prison for violating this law.
As is often the case with the Lord, an obstacle turns into an opportunity. Local churches provide supplemental education, medical services, and much needed food for children. The Church, the bride of Christ, is alive and well in countries like Indonesia. The churches aren’t just a gathering place for a show on Sundays. They’re a real live service to the community. Organizations like Compassion International make possible the financial provisions to carry out this mission.
There are many Muslim families who sign the legal documents to allow for churches to teach their children. Many of them are coming to know Jesus and slowly but surely, so are their families. Endrian’s paperwork at the church still has “Islam” checked by his religion. I personally think it’s just a check mark. Islam might be marked on the paper, but Jesus is marked on his heart.
God has His thumb on this boy and his whole family. His mosque, which is 100 yards away gives them nothing. However, God sent Kevin and Julie all the way around the world just to give him a hug. Don’t’ tell me that God doesn’t have a plan for him.
If we would’ve shown up with just gospel tracts and a bull horn and preached the gospel with just our voices, I’m not sure what kind of impact, if any, we would’ve had. I’m sure between the few of us we could’ve cooked up some skits or broke out the puppets. Instead we showed up preaching the gospel with our lives AND our mouths. We were part of the larger Body of Christ doing our part. Providing the muscles while these wonderful believers do the heavy lifting.
As we left, I saw something that showed we had made an impact. There was no altar call, no bowing heads closing eyes and raising hands. What I saw were tears. I saw tears in the mother’s eyes. I saw tears in the 22 year old sons eyes. I saw tears in the father’s eyes. And there, in the tears of a Muslim I saw the Holy Spirit at work.
He was drawing them, wooing them, calling them. The gospel is being taught to Endrian on a daily basis. We couldn’t win his family with a lecture, but look what we did with love.
Tomorrow night we’re back at Journey Church. 730pm. We’ll dive into Exodus 26. We’re looking at the tapestries that cover the tabernacle as well as the veil that was inside of it. As with everything in the tabernacle, it’s a picture of Jesus. A beautiful veil hung on wood. Ring any bells? I hope so. There are many many more bells to be rung in this chapter.
www.conduitmission.com remember that you can feed a child in Haiti for $15. Donate at the Conduit Mission site.
If you’re interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion International, please email me and I can point you in the right direction. If you already are, please don’t stop. I have seen first hand what God can do through this act of love.