'I married Andrew and 35 hours later, he was executed by firing squad'
Feby’s story | Discovering the ‘favour’ of God
“I was born into a Christian family, in Kupang, Indonesia. Every Tuesday afternoon, my parents would hold a prayer meeting in our house, and a great crowd would come, all of them praying and worshipping God together. It would go on for hours. It was an amazing influence.”
“From when I was very young, I began to pray myself and I always expected God to speak. Later when I grew up, I got a job in the church in Yogyakarta, as an intercessor. There were four of us, all employed to pray, 24 hours a day, in the prayer tower. We prayed for the town and for our church and we wrote everything down. We saw so many answers to prayer and miracles in those years!”
I”n early 2012, I received an email from my friend. It was an invitation to be involved in a prison ministry in Kerobokan prison. I’d never done that before. That’s where I met Andrew Chan, on death row. He was easy to know from the beginning. He was so friendly. I know that many people carry burdens in life, but Andrew wasn’t carrying burdens. He was fun to be with. We began to email and share prayer points every day. I was always encouraged by his faith and by what God was doing in the prison. I kept visiting. Andrew was always praying with people and sharing with them. Many people were coming to the Lord, as a result of the ministry.
“After two years, our relationship became more serious. I wanted to be with Andrew all the time. I knew he was on death row, but I never thought he was going to die. We were always praying for a miracle. We had seen so many miracles! By the beginning of 2015, so many people were praying for him – maybe one million people.
“On the 27th April, I married Andrew and 35 hours later, he was executed by firing squad.
“I was crushed. I was in a dark, dark place for a long time. I felt so angry and confused. I stopped praying and worshipping God. I was despairing. Why hadn’t God answered our prayers? For a long time, I couldn’t read the Bible or worship God. I couldn’t watch the news. I kept having execution dreams.
“It went on like that for years. My friends sat with me. They gave me tea. And after some time, I went for counselling. It was good, but I knew that I needed more than counselling. I needed to worship God again. I slowly started to talk to God, again.
“I began to read the Psalms and the stories in the Bible that I knew would comfort me. I read about Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was so hard for her to be found pregnant in that society. And yet they called it ‘favour’. When the angel came to speak with Mary, he said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.’ (Luke 1:30).
“I had no idea, until then, that people could be entrusted with difficult things and it could be called ‘favour’. I had always thought that God entrusts us with good gifts, or with good things and opportunities. But I slowly began to realise that God also entrusts us with very difficult things. It was so hard for Mary. Even after Jesus was born, they had to travel from one place to another, to avoid being killed. And then she saw her son executed on a cross in front of her eyes. And they called it ‘favour’.
“Reading about Mary, and thinking about favour, helped me to pray again, and to worship God. We are all broken. It’s the human condition. But slowly, as I read the Gospels, I began to trust Jesus again.
“God’s will is not the same as mine. Sometimes he says to us, ‘Don’t be afraid to go through the darkest times, if you have Jesus with you. He will comfort you. He will be with you, always.’ That’s been true for me.”