Three Lessons from Surya Gunadi, Indonesia

Each month, we introduce you to a Christian who is on the generosity path, and we ask them what God’s taught them about giving.

This month, meet Surya Gunadi from Indonesia.

1. Recognize How Amazing it is that the Word Became Flesh. 

Surya was on track to become a Buddhist monk. At Christmastime, we always remember that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This has special meaning for Surya. “I was eighteen years old and three months away from becoming a Buddhist monk,” says Surya. “I thought Buddha was just a man who died and people worshipped him, and Jesus was just a man and people worshipped him. So, what’s the difference between them and me? Maybe someday I could become like them and someone will worship me.”

But the book pointed to John 1. “I had all the holy books at home,” explains Survya, “so I looked up John 1. I was shocked! I thought man could become God. But ‘the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.’ It’s not about man becoming God; God became man. I realized that Jesus is from the beginning and is God Himself, born as a man.” Merry Christmas!

The marketplace has great potential.

2. Even in Tragedy, Follow God’s Pillar of Cloud and Fire.

“Two years ago, my wife and my son passed away,” says Surya. “I waited until I was 37 to get married on September 26, 2010; we were married five years and tried to have a baby through IVF (got 5 embryos in December 2013), but failed… But in September 2014, a pastor prophesied that my wife and my sister would become pregnant next year. And they did. God gave us double miracles in January 2015.”

Then, Surya’s wife delivered his son prematurely on July 16, 2015; she passed away from a ruptured liver two days later. Seventy days after that (September 25, 2015), the son for whom Surya had prayed passed away as well. Surya recounts, “I asked God, ‘What happened? Why did you take my wife and my son? What do you want from me, God?’ Then I got this rhema from God. I thought of myself as one of the Jewish people following the pillar of cloud and fire. Then, the pillar stopped, and stayed for a day, and then a week, and then a month. So I started to plant [figurative] trees, make more permanent dwellings, and make a life at the place where the pillar stopped. And then, the pillar started moving again. So, I had a choice. Do I stay with the life I thought I was going to have with my wife and my son? Or do I follow the pillar?” Following God’s pillar has led Surya to a new marriage.

3. Serve God in the Marketplace.

“Some people think you should leave your career and your job to follow God,” says Surya. “I thought I might become a pastor, but He showed me that my calling is to serve God in the marketplace. The marketplace has great potential. Through the marketplace I’ve been introduced to government leaders, military leaders, and business leaders. I get to share my testimony and I’ve seen people give their lives to Jesus,” says Surya.

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