“I want to be free.” *Tony blurted out while helping the Tontemboan translation team.
Tontemboan is an Austronesian language of the northern Sulawesi in Indonesia. It is one of the local languages in the area where the Bible is being translated.
Tony, a man in his mid fifties, was a Roman Catholic follower. It was during the time when he helped check the book of Revelation that he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Having a part in the work of translation had a great impact on Tony’s life.
The translation team scheduled two field-testing events for the second book of Peter, chapters three to five. During a “field test” local speakers are asked to review the material, checking the translation for clarity, readability and accuracy. Two young ladies from the village and Tony were invited to check the chapters of the book. While checking on the accuracy of the verses in the Tontemboan language, the Word of God spoke to Tony’s heart.
There was something in Tony’s past that kept him from experiencing a life free from the bondage of darkness. He used to practice black magic and was involved in traditional rituals. He shared with the team that, when he read the first book of Peter chapter four verse three about Peter’s recommendations, he learned that it is not enough to just be called a Christian; being a Christian has to be seen in one’s life. It is now time to stop playing with the powers of darkness and stop serving the idols. He wanted to leave his dark past behind and to truly follow God’s will for his life. He confessed everything he did in the past to the team and he told them that he wanted to be free from the things that enslave him. At the end of the field-testing, he asked the team to pray for him.
The team responded to his request. While praying, the power of darkness that was with Tony started to manifest itself. He screamed and started throwing punches in the air. He was like a boxer hitting and beating the air. He was fighting with something invisible to the naked eye. That time of prayer was a time of real spiritual struggle.
But the team kept praying and God heard their call. God defeated the power of darkness. After they prayed, Tony told the team that he felt something hot burning inside him followed by an experience of inner peace. The feeling of something weighing him down was no longer inside him.
People who were there said that his countenance changed. They sensed calmness in Tony’s face and his eyes lit up and they felt and saw great joy in Tony.
As the team progresses in the translation work, they also continue to pray for this man. Tony asked the person from the team who had introduced him to Christ to continue discipling him. He wanted more of the Word of God that brought him complete freedom.
*Tony is a pseudonym, used to protect his identity.