The Spiritual Battle of an Orthodox Christian Young Man

Jeffri Gunawan

Hi to all the friends reading this wonderful site. My name is Jeff, and I would like to take this privileged opportunity to share my story about how my wife and I discovered and became Christian Orthodox.

Both my wife and I, are Indonesian of Chinese descent. We were Christian Protestant, or should I say “Kristen” in the term that most Indonesians recognize it as. Sometimes, I was also a little confused when some people threw me a question like, “Kamu Kristen atau Katolik (are you a Christian or a Catholic)?” which my most basic logical knowledge assumed that those two are supposedly the same. Little many such things, it was a question I did not understand and left me with many more questions. The fact is that some people sit and listen in Churches, while others sit and occasionally kneel on padded wooden surface which have been specifically designed and constructed behind the sitting benches, and some others would most of the time stand and sing aloud with very well equipped music instruments and sound system placed on the front stage of the Church. Above all else, I was actually afraid to ask anyone about these matters and differences. I kept all these questions locked somewhere in my heart at that time.

One unexpected day, an unexpected friend, showed us a Church that I had never encountered. It was the simplest Church that I have ever seen. A church without chairs or benches, a Church without a microphone, a Church without a stage, without any sort of sound system, speaker or any musical instrument. It was a square room with nothing in it but the Altar humbly standing before me. My first reaction about this Church was that it had no real financial budget probably, and I mean no offense by that. My wife was seriously afraid that it might be a satanic Church. Were we ever wrong!

We then went home, did research and homework about it, and we discovered that it was an Orthodox Church.

Christian Orthodox, the very first of its’ kind, when there was only still one of its’ kind before the countless many that we have today. Then came the big day, the day I met Father (Romo) Daniel for the very first time, and that was the day, the day I have all the questions that were “locked in my heart” explained from the Holy Bible itself! Every question was miraculously answered from and by the verses of the Bible. It was the day I have finally found the missing piece of the puzzle.

The inevitably growing love, to want to learn and listen and know more about the Orthodox teachings by Father Daniel, has led us to the growing interest to be Orthodox. During that time, we heard a few friendly warnings about being spiritually and mentally challenged upon all those who are going to be baptized in Christian Orthodox. To be honest, I somehow did not choose to believe it. They said the challenge or the test would usually strike at our greatest weakness. It is the wicked way evil obstructs the good deed and holy path that we are nearing towards. Every time I heard that, I just responded with a nodding smile, and I truly, honestly, did not quite believe it. Again, I was totally wrong.

The truth is that evil DOES exist! Evil caught me in the most unexpected way, at my unexpected weakness – forgiveness. While I was very actively involved in hearing Father Daniel’s teachings, recorded his teachings sessions almost every day, an appalling disastrous incident took place upon me. I was betrayed by a friend, the friend who introduced me and showed me that Orthodox Church for that very first time! Caught unprepared, I broke into pieces in every way, betrayed by faith, back stabbed by the growing love I have for Him. I could almost blame God for the pain that I suffered, but I knew it was not Him who did this to me. I totally lost the will to become Orthodox that time. The pain was so deep that it was hell on earth.

Eventually one day, when I had finally overcame that hellish time, when I could brought my heart to forgive and restored peace in my heart, I decided to be baptized and become Orthodox along with my family. We were baptized at Tritunggal Maha Kudus Orthodox Church in Solo when Metropolitan Hillarion was there to visit as well.

So, I guess that’s it, the story of my journey to becoming an Orthodox that I will never forget. Thank you for the opportunity given to share this story with the wonderful friends out there.

God bless us all and forgive us sinners. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.