As the oldest child in her family, twelve-year-old Dini had always been close to her father; so when he died suddenly, she was devastated. Her devastation turned to anger when she learned that her father had an affair with her aunt who was now pregnant. She also learned that her mother was pregnant by her father.
As a struggling widow, Dini’s mother decided to place her three youngest children in an orphanage. She also had to sell valuables in the house just so the family would have money to buy food. About four years later, a relative told Dini that her mother was getting remarried. Dini was very hurt by this and didn’t understand why her mother hadn’t told her. She felt like she didn’t have anyone she could depend on since her father had disappointed her, and now her mother had done the same.
Dini became friends with the troublemakers at school and went through a rebellious period. She skipped classes, didn’t wear the school uniform and got into fights. When several of her friends faced serious problems, Dini began to ask questions: “What is it that I’m looking for? Religious rules don’t make me happy. But a free life without the rules of religion isn’t something I want either.”
The month of Ramadan arrived and Dini became diligent with the religious practices of fasting and prayer. One night, during Ramadan, she decided to pray the tahajud prayer. The tahajud prayer is not one of the five required daily prayers. It is only done at midnight and, in particular, it includes petitions that ask God for signs. Dini set her alarm clock and woke up to pray. She says, “I had such strong faith that whatever I asked God for that night, God would listen and give His answer.” At the end of the prayer which she had memorized, she cried out to God and said, “God, I am confused. I’m very confused about the way to meet Your approval.” She continued, “God, if you wish for me to live life within your demands, then tonight show me the right path. If you do not show me, God, then let me live life the way I want. I won’t ever again care about the rules of religion. And if I die, don’t send me to hell. I didn’t know what was right! It wouldn’t be fair for me to go to hell, God. You never showed me the right way. What I want, God, is to be shown the right path tonight. I will live my life the way you appoint it.”
A bright light then appeared and she saw a figure standing in front of her. The man was wearing a white robe but she couldn’t see his face clearly. She doesn’t know how but she realized that the figure was Isa. He said, “Follow me,” and she was confused and thought, “Lord, I am a Muslim. How can I follow you?” She asked several other questions as she wondered how she could follow the God of the Christians. She heard another voice saying, “You can’t possibly follow Him. Forget your prayer! Forget the intention of leading a good life!” When she looked at the man in white, she felt calm and peaceful. Jesus continued to say, “Follow me,” as He stretched out His hand. Dini struggled over her decision but finally she said, “God, if this is the way of truth, okay. I want to follow you.” The moment she said that, she felt as if ice was pouring over her chest. At the same time, she felt a peace she had never experienced before. She says, “I felt something extraordinary inside my heart.”
After Dini became a Christian, she experienced persecution from her family. She was just 17 years old when they forced her to leave home. She attended boarding school and supported herself through part-time jobs. She also pursued reconciliation with her family. While showing respect for the Javanese traditions, she didn’t back down on her unwavering commitment to Christ. The greatest test for her was forgiving her deceased father and accepting her half-brother, born out of wedlock to her aunt. When his mother could no longer take care of him, Dini embraced her half-brother as her own.
She continues to live as an example of one who can “do all things through Christ who strengthens” her.