I came to a point as I reflected on God's kindness and mercy in my life when God put this idea in my mind: "Why don't you documenting your journey with God in an article? It will bless people who stop by on your blog!" So here are some remarkable moments of my spiritual journey with God.
I started to know that God is real when I was in junior high school. I remember that my mother was in another city in the western part of Indonesia and still didn't get a ticket back home. My father summoned us, his children, and said,
"Pray for Mama. Mama still doesn't get a ticket to go back to Ambon. So, tonight Mama and Stevi (one of my big brothers) will stay up late at the ticket booth for trying to buy a ticket in the early morning the next day."
I prayed as my father asked for doing that. The next day, my father told us that my mother had already obtained a ticket. When I heard the news, I was stunned in the real and true sense. God answered my prayer! That means God is real, right? That experience was the beginning of my journey to know Him.
In preparation for the high school national final exam, one night, while sitting on a bed with a lot of textbooks, I said, "God, I will be graduating soon altogether with my brother. But God, my parents don't have enough money to send us to the university. So I asked for a scholarship so that our parents can focus on my brother's tuition fees."
God answered my prayer by allowing me to enroll at the Institute of Statistics (STIS - Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Statistik), a government-funded institution that the alumni will automatically be appointed as a civil servant at Statistics Indonesia (BPS - Badan Pusat Statistik).
I will soon complete my 3-year diploma at STIS and in preparation for graduation. For being accepted to the 4-year program, a GPA selection was implemented. So for me, it's such an impossible thing. So I prayed, "Lord Jesus, what if because there is me in this cohort and that You love me, so can You just make everyone be transferred straight to the next level without any other selection?"
It happened as I prayed. Our class is the first batch in the history of STIS, where all 3-year program graduates proceed directly to the 4-year program without any GPA selection.
One afternoon, approximately two weeks before my father passed away, I was sitting on the porch of my relative's house in Masohi, Central Maluku (my workplace, which is a different city from my hometown). Suddenly, it seemed like a flash of an incident appeared in my mind. I saw my dad lying stiff in a coffin, wearing a black "baniang" (Maluku Protestant Church Assembly outfit for the elders). I was wearing a dark blue blazer and conveyed thanks in front of the congregation in the church. Seeing that vision made me spontaneously shocked.
Two weeks later, my father died due to a sea accident after bringing aid to a congregation on Seram Island. People from that place put a white shirt and black trousers on my father's body. As my father's corpse arrived at home, my family, according to our pastor's request, changed my father's clothes to "baniang". Furthermore, the person who was supposed to express gratitude in the church was my mother's younger brother. However, he canceled it at the last moment. One of my mother's younger cousins then told me that my mother asked me to replace him. I immediately rejected it because I was the youngest child and a girl. I still have three older brothers. But then I did it, wearing a dark blue blazer!
God's answer to my prayer asking for a scholarship turned out to be continued. God didn't only give me a scholarship for my undergraduate but also the master's degree. I was given the opportunity with colleagues and seniors from our representative offices throughout Indonesia as the first batch of in-country scholarships at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya. On my birth date, which coincided with the test date at ITS, I experienced a dialogue with God which later became one of the foundations for the process of hearing and understanding God's voice. Of course, God didn't speak from heaven. But His guidance through my conscience is so real.
There are five women in that first batch. After finishing administration matters, the five of us were hunting for boarding houses, starting from inside the campus complex to the outside. We have explored three alleys outside the campus complex and have never found one that fits our standard. We then decided to rest for a while at a place opposite the next path. While drinking, I saw a house that was quite magnificent with two floors. Spontaneously there was a voice in my heart, "You'll board there."
My mind then responded, and there was a silent dialogue. I said, "Really, God? First, it's not necessarily a boarding house. Second, even if it's a boarding house, are there empty rooms? Third, even if there is an empty room, the rental rate must be expensive." Yet, no more response. The house was then subjected to our further check, which turned out to be a boarding house. But there were only two empty rooms left, while we are five. As leaving the boarding house gate, I said, "God, it doesn't work." Again, no response.
The next day I was called by a friend who told me that one of our friends had already got a boarding house and what if the four of us take the boarding house that had two rooms left yesterday while looking around. I agreed. The next month the three friends of mine found a new boarding house. When I communicated it with my mother, she said that her heart was more inclined to stay in the current boarding house. Simply speaking, I was boarding at that place for 24 months from April 2006 - March 2008.
After been graduated, I went back to my hometown in March 2008. Around the end of September, my mother and I attended a church service. Not long after we had seated, a voice appeared in my heart,
"Even for a 2-year matter, I have shown it to you. Moreover, for an everlasting affair, I will also show it to you!"
Immediately, I remembered the process I get my boarding house in 2006, which I had been living in for two years. Without fully understanding what God meant by those words, I said, "Lord, my life is Yours. Just arrange it as whatever You want."
I was on my way to a village in a particular district on another island for work. It was the first time I will visit that area, so the head of our representative office there assigned a man to accompany me and be my guide. At a point, I went ahead of him. When we arrived at a T-junction, there was a choice of a left or right turn. The right side of the road seems broader and more comfortable, while the left has more grass. So, I planned to take the right turn. Spontaneously, in the heart came these words, "Take the left", which I then follow.
When we arrived at the destination, the guide asked me, "Have you ever come to this place?"
Of course, my answer was, "No! That's the reason I need a guide". Then the guide continued,
"When we reached the T-junction, how did you know that we should choose the left?"
Again, God's guidance was genuine to me.
I remember very well it was in early January, just after the New Year's celebrations, and I was washing the dishes. I said this while washing,
"God, this year is the last year of the R & D management in the church (I am one of the administrators), and the history of the congregation has not yet been completed. Can You please allow me to go to the Netherlands for one month so that I can get related information?"
After that, I never thought about that prayer anymore. In early February, at my desk in the office, taking a short break from my work, I opened several news websites, and somehow I arrived at one of the websites informing the short course to the Netherlands. I then downloaded several short courses related to my field of work. That afternoon I opened the files again and then decided that I would apply to a short course that most related to me. I ended up with a short course in which the duration was four weeks, a.k.a one month! I applied for the short course that afternoon. Two days later, I received an email from the organizing institution,
"Thank you for your interest in our short course program. But excuse us, your TOEFL is not as requested."
I immediately replied to the email as follows,
"Thank you for the response. I admitted that my TOEFL is not what was requested. But let me explain. I live and work in Maluku, in the eastern part of Indonesia, which only has one TOEFL test place, and that is only for an ITP TOEFL. I have to go to another city in Indonesia to get another TOEFL or IELTS certificate. I'm not asking for an exception. What I'm doing is giving an explanation why my TOEFL is not as requested. Thank you."
Two days passed without any reply. Then I asked God, "God, they haven't replied to my email yet. I think they supposed to say something, even though it's still a rejection."
Soon after that, there was a voice in my heart, "Be patient. The board are discussing your case."
I then said, "Okay, God!"
In the next two days, I got an email.
"Our board has discussed your problem. For your case, your TOEFL is accepted. Please send the other related documents for the application."
I told my boss, "I know that this is such as the beginning of a long journey. However, to this point, God is awesome!"
Shortly, I received the LoA from the organizing university, and the next step was to apply for the funds to The Netherlands Fellowship Programs (NFP). At the end of February 2015, I completed all applications and informed that the result would come at the end of May 2015.
Having thought that I was halfway through the short course selection to the Netherlands, I started planning a trip. Since it will be four weeks in the Netherlands, I plan to visit Belgium on the first weekend, then Paris on the second, and Germany on the third.
At the end of March 2015, his voice came again during a family thanksgiving service. If I can describe it, it sounded like a disappointed one: "You promised Me that if you were allowed to go to the Netherlands for a month, you wanted to find information about the history of the congregation. Why are you planning something else now?"
Instantly, I bowed down my head and whispered, "God, please forgive me. I cancel all those plans for the weekend vacations. Yet, please make way for me to accomplish my previous plan."
It didn't stop there. I was still thinking and said, "But God, do You make way for me to pass the selection? Now is still the end of March, and the announcement won't be until the end of May!"
And it turned out that I was accepted based on the announcement in early June 2015. Amazing! I have been given the result by God since the end of March, although it came as a warning.
I was in Hyderabad, India, when I received an invitation letter for the final selection of a scholarship for my Ph.D. The body of the email informed me that the final selection would be held in September. I immediately panicked because I would still be in India until the end of September. I spontaneously talked to God, "If it was just not to complete all the selection stages, why was I be brought to this point?" Instantly, a voice appeared in my mind, "Be patient. You even haven't read the complete information yet."
Sometime later, when I had the opportunity to uncover all attachments, I found that my area's final selection would be held on October 5-7, 2017, while I will have arrived home on October 1, 2017. What a perfect arrangement God made for me!
On the way back from India, the plane I was traveling in was transiting in Bangkok. When I arrived at the waiting room for my flight to Jakarta and was successfully connected to the internet, I automatically wanted to open Facebook and Whatsapp. Suddenly a voice in my heart said, "How can you read other things first rather than the Bible?" I then responded by asking for God's forgiveness and then reading the Bible. Even I took some moments to pray such that I was among the last five passengers to board. I've done online check-in and chose a window seat in a two-seat formation. A passenger near the aisle was a foreigner who had to stand up first to make way for me to go to my seat. About 30 minutes after the plane took off, I wanted to go to the toilet, but I hesitated to consider that the man beside me needed to stand up earlier. So, I prayed, "God, would You please make this man stand up without I have to ask him?"
Five minutes passed, and that man was still seated peacefully. I then turned to the window of the airplane and this time whispered, "God, please... I need to go to the toilet, a.s.a.p."
Just then, a voice appeared in my mind, "Be patience."
It's not until the count of 10, and the man stood up to take something from the compartment above. Soon, I went to the toilet while smiling and saying, "Thank You, Lord Jesus!"
On Friday night, March 22, 2019, I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I will have a presentation to do the next Tuesday, but still blank about the material even though I've been going back and forth with related articles. So depressed and suffered. I then went out to the balcony and looked at the sky. With tears in my eyes, I admitted, "Lord, this is too difficult for me. I can't do that on my own. But for You who created the sky and all the beauty that I am witnessing, this must be an easy thing. Make me understand it, God. I believe You can!" After singing a song and praising God, I returned to my bedroom and read the Bible according to my colleagues' sharing. It was from Job 37. As I read verses 5-6, I was confused and didn't understand its relation to my situation. Here are the verses,
5 "God's voice thunders in marvelous
He does great things beyond our understanding.
6 He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'"
Can you believe that the next day, those verses were fulfilled?! It's around noon on Saturday, March 23, 2019, when my roommate said, "Wow, there's snow." I spontaneously got out of bed and said, "No way! Snow is out of season." But it was true. It was my first snow, at the end of March! A few moments later, there was a sound of thunder in the sky, and also rain! I was silent and amazed. Through all of that, it was as God wanted to say, "Here, I am! Last night you were looking for Me, right?"
Later, I got my first A+ for the course I've struggled with for my first presentation!
The conclusion of my sharing is: God is real and works through our daily lives. We can talk to Him anytime without worrying about the connection, protocol, etc. So, just start your conversation with God now! It's such as open up the most precious treasure chest. I did it!