A blind Indonesian girl who converted to Christianity thanks to the witness of a local missionary refused to renounce the name of Jesus Christ despite continued beatings and threats carried out by her Hindu family.
Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA shares the story of Andria, a 26-year-old girl from Lombok, Indonesia. At just 17 years old, Andria suddenly lost her eyesight due to glaucoma and was thrown into a deep depression.
"I felt that God was not fair," the young woman told Open Doors, explaining that her diagnosis forced her to give up her dream of becoming a writer. "I hated God. I was a devoted Hindu believer. My father was a Hindu priest, and I went to the temple more than anyone else. I did all the Hindu rituals. I even became a radical; I began to hate other religions. That was why I got so angry with God for making me blind. Since then, I never went to the temple anymore."
For four years, Andria lived in despair and cried all the time. However, all that changed one day in 2008, when she met a vegetable seller who told her that 'someone' loved her.
Andria was surprised with those words, and she asked about this 'someone' that the vegetable seller mentioned. In the afternoon, the seller came with a local missionary who shared the gospel with her.
For the first time in her life, Andria felt loved, and a short time later was baptized.
After her conversion, the young woman regularly met with the local missionary, read the Bible, and learned about Jesus. As she learned more about his love, her outlook on life changed.
"Jesus loved me no matter what. If He allowed me to be blind, He has a purpose for it. I did not pray for Him to heal me, because He must have a great plan behind it," Andria said.
Though filled with joy, she was unable to share her newfound faith with her family. Open Doors notes that Hindus have strict rules that punish those who leave the religion for another. Believers from a Hindu background have lost their families, their inheritance, and their place in the village for following Jesus Christ.
"I did not tell anyone about my conversion," Andria recalled. "My father was a Hindu priest and my uncle was also a Hindu high priest. Only my little brother knew it, and he became a believer too, before going to another island for work. I did not tell my mom, because she had separated from my father."
It was clear that Andria had changed, however, even though she didn't speak of her conversion. After discovering she had made friends with Christians and read the Bible, her family beat and threatened her.
"My father would beat me when he gets stress or when he does not have money," she said. "I used to cry out of anger, but now I have changed. Even though he still beats me sometimes, I can show my respect and love as a daughter. I think he also notices the change in me."
Every day, Andria listened to a Christian radio program to help her grow spiritually. The local missionary's regular visits also helped her learn more about the Bible.
"I consider her (the local missionary) my big sister," Andria said. "I really love her. Sometimes, when my father is in a good mood, I go to stay in her house for days, and I learn a lot about Jesus. But when I am home, I call her so she can read to me some verses from the Bible. I listen to a Christian radio station and I learn some encouraging songs. I sing while doing my daily chores."
Andria shared with Open Doors how, because she was the only believer in her village, she was determined to share the gospel with others. Many of her friends started to open their hearts to Jesus after they heard about Andria's testimony. She also shared it with her father whenever she could, despite the risks.
The young woman told the outlet she desires to bring more Hindu believers to Jesus, and most of all, she dreams of her father coming to Christ one day.
"I love my father even though he beats me," Andria said in tears. "I can't leave him alone. He is old now; what if he gets sick? Who will take care of him? I will never leave him no matter how hard it is. I forgive him and I pray that one day he will know Jesus and feel the same joy and peace I feel now."
Hindus make up only 1.7 percent of the population of Indonesia, where 87.2 percent of the people are Muslim and less than 10 percent are Christian. The country is ranked 46th on Open Doors' World Watch List of 50 countries where believers face the most persecution.