05/02/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Born a Muslim, an ethnic Buginese Indonesian woman became Christian due to her husband’s faith and “just for fun.” Yet, she has since experienced many miracles in life since encountering Jesus, leading her to take her faith seriously and became a faithful follower.
Nur Afnie is the fifth of seven children, born on March 24, 1979, in Makassar, Sulawesi. She met a Christian man in high school and married him without changing her faith. Life went on as usual. One day, she decided to become a Christian to match her husband’s. Though she did not really believe at the time, through numerous interventions by God, her life has been turned around.
In 2004, her 8-month-old son, Haikal, became very ill. She went to the public health center time and again but to no avail. Her neighbor Pence came to the rescue. He asked her to bring the baby to Dr. Boy a nearby clinic.
Nur Afnie went there as suggested. Once Dr. Boy saw the baby, he pointed out that the baby needed to be hospitalized. Nur Afnie immediately admitted her son to a Catholic hospital called Stella Maris Hospital, where a priest would come room to room to pray for the patients every morning.
The priest came to Haikal’s side and asked for permission to pray for the baby. Nur Afnie told him that she was a Muslim. Yet, the priest said, “Regardless of your religion, if you let me pray for your baby, I will pray.”
When the priest was praying for Haikal, Nur Afnie pledged in her heart that if her baby gets healed after the priest’s prayer, she would indeed become a Christian. The healing took place— upon the priest’s departure, Haikal seemed different. He woke up and asked to drink something. The first miracle happened, yet Nur Afnie still resisted God and did not keep her promise.
In 2006, she became a Christian on paper because her son Denny had to register in school. The requirement was that both parents have to be of the same religion. She never told her Muslim family about this change because, at the time, her parents covered most of their living expenses. Her husband could only make enough to put food on the table. Nur Afnie worried that if her parents knew about her conversion, they would stop supporting her.
Three years later, a tragedy hit Nur Afnie’s family when her husband cheated on her. He told her, “You can leave me and return to your religion.” The pain was so unbearable that Nur Afnie started to do salah (prayers in Islam) again. While praying, she felt God’s presence. When she closed her eyes, the room became so bright. She felt as if somebody struck her head, with a voice saying, “Child, you are in the wrong way.”
That was the turning point for Nur Afnie. After feeling His love that healed her wounded heart, she decided to follow Jesus seriously and joined a church. The news traveled. In 2010, her parents learned about her conversion and demanded that Nur Afnie come home to be questioned. Nur Afnie confessed her newfound faith, infuriating her parents and siblings. Her parents asked Nur Afnie to divorce her husband and leave Christianity. In response, she told them, “Yes, I can get a divorce with him, but I still want to follow Jesus.”
Hearing her statement, one of her angered sisters threw a glass at her. Even her father rushed to grab a knife to kill her. She was cut in the head and started to bleed. Her mother immediately stopped her father by telling him, “Even if you kill Nur, nothing will change because she will still keep her faith.”
Her father chased away Nur Afnie from home. “Never come here again. Do not ever show your face to me. It is better to let dogs come to our house than you,” he said.
Nur Afnie left her parents’ house and proceeded to live at her church. She started to work there as a cleaner. She became pregnant with her distant husband again. As she was ready to deliver her baby one night, she felt a sharp contraction. Some people from the church were walking with her to reach the hospital across the street at 12:00 a.m. The baby could not wait. He was born in the middle of the road. Her companions wrapped the baby with a cloth, and everyone retreated to the church.
When the midwife came, she wondered what happened to Nur Afnie and the baby. She said, “This is God, because no one can survive in this condition.” Yet, both the baby and mom were healthy.
After her recovery, Nur Afnie started working again. Her relationship with her husband deteriorated, yet she was pregnant again. In a time like this, she didn’t know where to go anymore, since her parents would not want to take her in. She moved to Bandung to work for a friend from church.
In 2013, she was brought to the public health service as she got ready to deliver. The nurse told her that she had to go to the hospital for a C-section. She was worried, but went there despite not knowing how to pay her bill. After the C-section, she became unconscious and only woke up at midnight. For days, the doctor and nurses asked her family to come, although she had already informed them that she did not have a family in Bandung. For three days, no one came to visit her. But on the third day, a nurse came to Nur Afnie and told her, “You may leave now; your medical bill has already been paid.”
Until today, she still does not know who covered her bill. She believes that God paid it all.
All these stories are examples of some of the many miracles Nur Afnie has experienced in her life. God Himself came to Nur Afnie and showed her His love by saving her life and providing assistance in times of need.
When she returned to Makassar in 2013, she decided to be baptized at her church. A day before the baptism, the pastor explained to Nur Afnie what baptism is and why Christians have to be baptized. At the end of the meeting, the pastor asked her to think through her decision after hearing his explanation.
When she returned home and contemplated on her life, she remembered the many times God had saved her, the kindness and goodness of God that filled her life abundantly, her heart was overwhelmed. Nur Afnie received the assurance to follow Jesus for the rest of her life. She was baptized the next day.