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#FriendsofCERC ft. Fionna Kurniawan


#FriendsofCERC ft. Fionna Kurniawan

I did not have a normal childhood. I was diagnosed with leukemia (blood cancer) at the age of 5. I spent almost a year staying in the hospital, enduring what felt like an endless cycle of chemotherapies, injections and medications. My parents told me that I was the only survivor among the three kids staying in the same hospital room. All of them were older than me but they passed away before me. Their parents were devastated; my parents were so afraid that I was going to be the next to die. But thank God, I survived. This experience shaped me into the person I am today — someone who is very serious about life and who wants to live life with a purpose because life is very precious. 

That little introduction about myself was to help you see how I view life and God. Now, I will tell you about my encounter with this majestic God. 

I had always found Christianity very fascinating but confusing. God was a great God but he was also very inconsistent and unclear. Every time I heard a preacher preach about how God loves us and how he wants to make our life better by healing people from their sickness and by doubling people’s wealth, I couldn’t help but wonder,

 

“Why, then, don’t all Christians get healed and get wealthy? Doesn’t God love His people?”

 

I tried to seek answers from other Christians, however, the answer I always received was “God loves His people in His own way and in His own time.”

 

That made me wonder even more…

“Why is God not consistent in loving His people if he has promised a good life for all of them? What about the poor people who never get rich? Or the sick people who never get healed? What about those who died as a martyr for Christianity?” 

I kept wondering. I kept questioning. I had a lot of questions, and I never got a satisfying answer. Eventually, I had piled up a ton of unanswered questions, and it really bothered me as a Christian. Since then, Christianity became unreal to me. God seemed imaginary. I couldn’t bring myself to continue believing blindly anymore. When I graduated from high school, I secretly decided to quit believing in this God and to continue to live my life as well as possible. I decided to move on to a new chapter of life by flying 894 miles away from my country, Indonesia, to Malaysia. 

I should have known myself better. I am too concerned about life to be lax about any of these questions. These questions about God, life and Christianity did not stop bothering me. It was always at the back of my mind. I could not let go of these questions. 

I started my course at INTI International College. I was very excited (and nervous!) After all, I was in a new country! I told myself, “everything is going to be hard, but it is going to be okay. I need to embrace my life for the next 3 years.” Then I bumped into a fellow Indonesian! She invited me to INTI Christian Fellowship. I attended. After a few weeks, she offered to read the Bible with me. I was hesitant at first because I did not want to get too involved with this “Christianity thing” again, but somehow I gave it one last shot.  She handed me a booklet called SOLIDD, and it stands for Serving Our Lord in Dutiful Delight. And for the first time, my questions about Christianity were answered. 

Fionna Kurniawan at INTI Christian Fellowship
At INTI Christian Fellowship Welcome Party

Not long after that Bible study, I started attending church. I visited CERC. From Scripture, I saw that God is a consistent God. He is not a God that cannot help but love people by giving them blessings and a good life. Instead, the God of the Bible is a God that cares for His holiness and His people worshipping Him because He deserves all the glory. I learned that even though He is worthy, mankind chose to turn away from Him, to not live under Him and to rebel against Him. And guess what? All this was no surprise to Him because He has planned even before the creation of the world to have a redeemed and holy people for Himself, and this will be carried out and fulfilled by the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is going to save and transform His people into being the kind of people who will worship Him from within. ALL THESE THINGS (Eph 1:1-10, Col 1:15-19, Heb 1:1-4, Heb 9:23-28) have been fulfilled in Christ. God does achieve what He says He will achieve!

I realised that I am the one at fault for not seeking God and His truth from the Bible. I created an image of God from my own perspective, and it was false.

Finally, I came to know who God is, and my unanswered questions were answered!


I can now boldly put my trust in this God, knowing that I am an unworthy sinner and it is only in His gracious will to reveal Himself to me that I can be saved by living a life as God’s servant in Christ.

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I can now live a true life under God, for God! It turns out that what everyone — including us Christians who grew up in church — needs is the gospel of God as revealed in Scripture. It is simply because it is God’s truth — it defines and clarifies everything about life. Sadly, the thing that mankind needs the most is the thing that we care least about. 

I have been attending CERC for 3 years. Week in, week out, God revealed His truth to me through the preaching of His Word and the faithful study of Scripture with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in CERC’s Growth Groups. 

Fionna Kurniawan with CERC BM Growth Group members
With BM Growth Group members

But now I am faced with a difficult and important life decision — where should I stay permanently for the rest of my life? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking hard, and letting my theology frame my decision-making. I am convicted that for my own sanctification and God’s kingdom growth, I should stay in Malaysia so I can serve and commit to CERC. Yes, I know life will not be easy migrating to Malaysia, I know there will be many challenges and unpleasant circumstances. But just as Jesus taught his disciples to deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow Him, I’ve made these decisions not based on my own preferences, but based on doing what really matters which is to glorify God in building up His holy church. 

Now that I am back in Indonesia temporarily, the temptation of a “good life” is real. This caused me to see the importance of good, in-depth, faithful preaching and weekly Bible studies even more. I still listen to CERC’s Virtual Sermons and join my Growth Group every week; and it exposes, rebukes, corrects, and moulds me to be God-centered in everything I am doing here. When I am more and more attracted to be worldly — therefore sinful and wanting to think about my own comfort and happiness, it’s when I KNOW I need God’s word to stay Christian. Thank you CERC for all the hard work poured into word ministry!

Fionna Kurniawan at Intervarsity Christian Week
At Intervarsity Christian Week, a student-led effort of 5 university Christian Fellowships

I deeply and truly thank God for bringing me to CERC. Who would have ever thought? I did not. I did not come to Malaysia with the intention of seeking God but God turned it all around for His glory. And again, who would have ever thought that God could use my painful childhood to shape me into the person I am today, so that I can finally join the people of God in worshipping Him? God is truly good.

Posted on 9th July 2020