Carrying a large sack and holding a makeshift iron stick, a woman carefully scavenges through trash looking for anything she can recycle. For a long time, Siti*, a 55-year-old woman in West Java, Indonesia, has provided for her family by recycling other people’s “junk.” Rising before sunrise, she goes up and down alleyways and into residential areas looking for discarded items that can be turned into cash.
Initially, Siti was only trying to augment her husband Suganda’s* income, but when he became ill, she had to take full responsibility for their financial needs.
One morning, Fera* (a church planter among the Sundanese) saw Siti from a distance. She was moved by this woman whose face was too wrinkled for her age rummaging around in the trash. Fera approached her and they started to talk.
Siti felt awkward at first, but began to feel comfortable after sensing Fera’s kindness. Fera shared about God’s love and how He saves men and women through the sacrifice of His Son who died so their sins could be forgiven. Siti saw a ray of hope that could change her miserable life.The black scarf covering Siti’s head could not hide her enthusiasm in hearing the good news.
When Fera asked if she wanted God to forgive her sins and put her trust in Him, she said yes. As Fera guided her in prayer, Siti confessed her sins and received Jesus Christ as her Savior. That happened on their first meeting.
Several times after that, Fera hoped to find Siti where they had met before, but she never showed up. Concerned, Fera decided to ride her motorcycle to Siti’s house. An energetic lady, Fera (37) felt right at home riding in the crowded streets and traffic jams. But on that day, suddenly … bang! Fera was hit by a vehicle from behind. Thankfully she had only minor injuries on her hands and feet. Ignoring the pain, she continued on to Siti’s house.
Fera soon learned why Siti had not been scavenging. Her husband was quite ill. Fera prayed for him, and shared Jesus with him too. God opened this man’s heart and Suganda too made a decision to trust in Jesus, not only as healer but as Savior and Lord. Since he was so ill, Fera and her teammates took Suganda to a medical clinic, something this couple could not afford on their own.
Siti’s neighbors began noticing some woman visiting her almost every week. They learned the visitor was a Christian and tried to intimidate Siti and warned her to be careful when dealing with Christians. Siti was shaken by their remarks and decided they should distance themselves from Fera.
Several times Siti tried to avoid Fera’s visits, but Suganda had a different response for he was growing in his new faith. After being taught the meaning and importance of baptism, Suganda wanted to be baptized to show his faith in, and obedience to, Jesus. Hallelujah, the whole of heaven rejoiced for these two souls that had repented.
Fera’s ministry is not without sacrifice. She often struggles with her own health. One day on her way to Siti’s place for follow up, she had great pain in her stomach with vomiting and dizziness. She prayed and God gave her the strength to minister. Fera says that it’s worth any price to preach the Gospel and reach the lost for Christ. The verse, “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Jesus,” strengthens her to continue to witness for Jesus. Let’s save lives, whatever it may cost.
Please pray for Fera and her ministry, and for Siti and Suganda to grow in the faith.
*names changed for security reasons.