In June-July we took our first holiday to the Indonesian island of Bali. Being Australian, I had no previous desire to ever go there because of the bad reports, but I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the island and the genuine warmth of the people. As usual we prayed for God to “bump” us into people who were either Christian or needing help. We do this whenever we travel and the results are always amazing. This time was no disappointment.
According to Operation World, Bali is 1.5% Christian, but we met our first believer on day two when getting a massage, so we encouraged her in her faith. Two days later we were transported up to a mountain retreat. To our surprise, our driver was a baby Christian. His father, uncle and families had dumped Hinduism and begun a relationship with the creator, Jesus some years earlier. So we spent a joyous 6 hours encouraging him in his faith, business and family. That was fun!
Our next stay was in a hotel in Ubud and a few hours after arriving, Annette went to get a foot massage, only to find the lovely Balanese lady was an ex-Christian, now Hindu. Intriguingly this woman said she “missed her Jesus”, so Annette enquired some more. It turned out that she grew up a Christian but went to a bar one night, got drunk and fell pregnant to a Hindu man whom she had to marry. He insisted on her becoming a Hindu as he was of the Brahmin caste. For seven long years she had lived in misery to a husband who drunk a lot. She was desperate for a divorce.
So we shared with her our contacts with Indian believers who had kept all the cultural trappings of the Hindu culture but had elected to choose a new guru to follow, Yesu (Jesus). In Hinduism you can choose your own god so Annette encouraged her to do likewise. She immediately lit up like a light-bulb, not quite believing such a thing could be true, until I arrived with some photos on my I-pad of these very believers in India.
The next day Annette spent some more hours encouraging her, while getting a massage. Hay, someone’s got to to do it for the gospel! That night this woman came over to chat while we were eating dinner and told us how she prayed to Jesus to stop her and her husband going to a party where she knew her husband would be drinking. On the way there the scooter broke down and they never made it, but the scooter worked perfectly the next day. She had witnessed her first answer to prayer!
To add blessing to blessing she received a phone call from her husband while we were talking. Afterwards she said he had been calling all day because of her happiness and changed attitude. He was excited about their relationship for the first time in a long time. By this time we were excited too!
Once back in Kuta we decided to do some tourist stuff so booked in via a street tourist vendor. Noticing a cross on his receipt book I asked what it was there for. He proudly pronounced he was a Christian and proceeded to pull out his Bible that he read when he was not busy. It turned out that he and his brother were both very strong Catholic Christian men, with his brother leading Iranian Muslims to Jesus. We chatted enthusiastically for half an hour, and the next day I gave him the Josh McDowell book I had been reading.
Needless to say we left Bali with the distinct impression God is doing something in that Island that the statistics have not yet picked up.