Misriani’s Miracle: Joy in the Light, Protection in the Darkness

Misriani’s Miracle: Joy in the Light, Protection in the Darkness

February 23, 2024

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Discover how a consultant in training helped reach the Helong community with Scripture in their language. 

This post is from our “Legacy” series—a collection of inspiring stories from Seed Company’s past. It was originally featured in the 2022 Annual Impact Report. While some content, facts, and stats may be outdated, the resounding impact of God’s Word endures.

Meet the Helong Community

The Helong people live in remote farming villages on the islands of Timor and Semau in Indonesia. Such isolation has helped this small group of approximately 20,000 speakers retain their language and a pride in their identity. But when Christianity was introduced more than 100 years ago, they did not have a Bible to call their own. As churches grew, pastors orally translated the Scriptures from Indonesian (viewed as a formal or second language) into Helong during their services. 

So, in 1998, God called local people—farmers as well as a university professor—to work on the translation of the New Testament and Genesis into Helong. Local churches also released pastors from their normal responsibilities so they could translate on a part-time basis. Their participation enabled them to immediately use the translated materials in their ministry to Helong speakers. 

Misriani, now a consultant in training, joined the project as a translator in 2003. She was overjoyed to see, bound in one volume, the full New Testament plus Genesis and 63 hymns. The work was completed in 2012 and dedicated on her home island of Semau. This was an especially meaningful milestone for Misriani, who knows God’s Word is the only hope for Semau villagers still clinging to the false promises of black magic. Freedom from the occult is her ongoing prayer for her people. It’s also the miracle in her story.

Misriani and Her Brother Begin an Arduous Journey

“People so appreciated [having] the Bible!” Misriani beams. “God lowered himself to speak to us. Because people know us as a ‘black magic’ people, we’ve always seen ourselves as lower class, and yet Jesus broke the barriers and came to us.” 

A huge smile spreads across her face and her eyes light up as she remembers the Helong New Testament dedication—a celebration that included more than 2,000 people from multiple denominations and religions, as well as government officials, all united in their excitement over the Word of God in their language. Misriani didn’t want the party to end. 

“You have this vision that is beyond you. It is too beautiful, to the point that you want to share the joy,” she says. So even when the day-long dedication turned into two days of celebrating, that didn’t deter this tired consultant in training from joining her brother on a journey to “share the joy” with those who could not attend. 

The next morning, they loaded up their motorbikes and backpacks with roughly 150 New Testaments, intent on delivering them to churches in each of the other 13 Semau villages. As a translator, Misriani had worked with several churches in those villages, and she knew almost all the pastors. A quick call to them was all she and her brother needed to solidify their plans. Even after connecting with a pastor whose church was in a very remote, unknown location, Misriani never weakened in her resolve. Surely, they’d find his church! 

So on rough roads, or on no roads at all, the faithful siblings “danced” their way on their motorbikes, Misriani cheerfully says of the bumpy ride full of obstacles. Many times, they lost their way. They also pushed their motorbikes quietly through a dangerous herd of wild buffaloes. 

A Drink of Water, Shattered Glass

But running out of water is what proved most treacherous, so when they spotted a house ahead, they drove right up to the front door to ask the owners for a drink. Misriani was invited in while her brother looked after their motorbikes and precious cargo. 

The couple seemed friendly enough and gladly made their way to the kitchen to get Misriani some water. When they returned, they asked where she was from, and she didn’t hesitate to tell them about her family—all faith-filled Christians—or her plans to read and teach from the Helong New Testament once they finally made it to the church. While the couple listened, they extended a tray to her with the requested glass of water. 

But when Misriani grasped the glass, it inexplicably shattered in her hands. Water pooled all around her feet, creating a flood of questions and embarrassment. What had just happened? 

The shards of glass left not a single scratch on Misriani’s hand. Stunned, the wife returned to the kitchen for a second glass. Misriani drank the water and, sufficiently refreshed, expressed her appreciation before apologizing once more and continuing the journey. 

Sharing Scripture with the Helong Church Community

Misriani and her brother finally made it to the church, and they stayed at the pastor’s house. Misriani led multiple home Bible studies that night, and because she spoke Helong so well, the people asked her to “explain this and explain that.” They nodded their heads and shed tears as she read from the Helong Bible. 

Misriani even had the opportunity to teach that Sunday! Long after the liturgy ended, she had ample opportunity to talk about the Bible. She taught Helong speakers the importance of finding the Lord through his words to them in their heart language. Many wanted to meet her and get their own copies of the Helong New Testament, but the crowd eventually cleared away long enough for Misriani to lock eyes on two familiar faces. 

Familiar Faces Confess a Dark Truth

“Hey, remember us?” they asked.

How could Misriani forget the couple who had provided her the glass of water? She immediately apologized again for breaking what could have been a very expensive glass, but she soon realized this meeting was about a far greater brokenness. The penitent couple bowed to Misriani as they backed away from her in fear. Then they started to cry, repeatedly uttering apologies in Helong. 

“I put poison in that glass,” the husband confessed while his wife tried to wipe away a steady stream of tears. “I wanted to kill you.” 

Faith-Fuelled Forgiveness

There was no fear in Misriani’s response. Only joy, forgiveness, and a love for the miracle-working power of her Savior rose to the surface. “The Lord loves you the same way he loves me,” she confidently told them. 

The more accepting Misriani was, the more this couple opened up. They knew all about her mom and dad—passionate, Holy Spirit-led teachers of God’s Word despite their lack of an academic biblical education. They also admitted to trying to kill her brother-in-law, a learned man who provoked neighboring villages to jealousy over his influence in the community.

To this day, the couple still attends the church where Misriani spoke more than 10 years ago. And the pastor still marvels at the ongoing transformation he sees in them. When he asked Misriani her “secret” for getting them into church, her simple response revealed where the only true source of power lies.

“I have no secret,” she said. “I just talked to them about the Bible. I am just the tool that the Lord used.”

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