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February 22, 2013

Papua: Man of God

Rafi’s extraordinary story of healing, coming to faith, and surviving persecution is a testimony to the power of Isa Almasih – “Jesus the Messiah” in Arabic.

  • Powerful Testimony

    Rafi is now a passionate follower of Christ, and he shares his extraordinary story with Muslims who are curious about "Isa Almasih."

  • Light in the Community

    Rafi with Board members from the Merauke Community Center, a TEAM ministry initiative, which provides a variety of classes including English and computers.

As is custom for a Javaneese Muslim, the first thing Rafi* did when he got sick was to visit the local witch doctor, who performed a series of ritualistic chants and offered various remedies. After several failed attempts with witch doctors, Rafi decided to try the hospital. Rafi was referred to one specialist after another over a course of several months, but none of the doctors could help him. Rafi was dying, and he knew he didn’t have much time left.

One day, Rafi passed by the home of a missionary, and the two struck up a conversation. Rafi told Andrew* that he was sick, and no one could help him. “Do you want to be healed?” Andrew asked. “Of course I do!” Rafi said. “If you really want to be healed, come to my house tomorrow, and I will pray for you in the name of Isa Almasih [“Jesus the Messiah” in Arabic], and he will heal you,” Andrew said. Rafi thought for a minute and then replied, “If I come tomorrow, one of two things will happen. Either Isa will heal me, or I will kill you.” Andrew had faith that Rafi would be healed. “Come back tomorrow, and I will pray for you,” he said.

Rafi arrived the next day ready for battle. He wanted to be healed, but he thought that he was going to have to kill Andrew instead. Andrew invited Rafi into his house, and had him kneel on the floor in a special prayer room that he had prepared for the occasion. Then Andrew began praying for Rafi in the name of Isa Almasih. Immediately, Rafi felt a warm sensation from the top of his head that then flowed all the way down to his toes. Then, a man appeared in front of him. Rafi asked the man, “Who are you?” The man replied, “I am Isa Almasih; listen to what this man has to say to you.” After the prayer, the man disappeared, and Rafi was healed!

After Rafi’s miraculous encounter with Isa Almasih, he asked Andrew to tell him more about the teachings of Isa Almasih. For the next two months, Andrew discipled Rafi. Rafi became a passionate and zealous follower of Christ, and shared his faith with all of his friends, family, and neighbors. It wasn’t long before Rafi became well known as an outspoken follower of Isa, and his community did not like his message. One night, Rafi was literally forced to run for his life, as his community had surrounded his house in order to kill him. With the Lord’s help, Rafi was able to flee. He ended up boarding a ship headed to Papua because he had heard that there were many Christians in that province. In Papua, Rafi met another missionary who discipled him and helped him get back on his feet.

Now Rafi is the director of a non-profit organization in Papua that operates preschools in Muslim areas and also sponsors the Merauke Community Center, which is a TEAM ministry providing English and computer classes, a youth sports program, a children’s library, and more. Rafi has led scores of Muslims to Christ through his ministry and testimony, and is having a powerful ministry to Muslims who are curious about Isa Almasih.

Now we are praying for God's healing of Rafi once again. He has been diagnosed with a blood disease and has to have dialysis every month. Pray with us as we ask the Lord to heal him completely to allow him to continue winning Muslims to the Lord.

-Written by Nathan Jansen, TEAM missionary in Papua
-Photos provided by Nathan Jansen

*not his real name