I am not a very mystical man. As a Christian, I obviously believe in the supernatural, but mysticism isn't something I go looking for. Occasionally though, the Lord allows me to see something that is so far beyond the natural that it leaves my faith stronger and my sight in awe of God's mighty hand.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to Indonesia to share the gospel in a place where few people have ever heard the name of Jesus. A team of Christians and I went to a remote island where, in the history of the world, there have been few westerners and even fewer Christians. In fact, I believe it is safe to say that until this year, no intentional effort has been made on this island to reach people for Christ. We encountered several interesting stories while on the island, and though there was basically no evangelical influence it became very apparent to us that God was at work. I want to tell you about one encounter in particular.
One of the houses we went to while on the island belonged to a man named Bashri. He, like most of the people on the island, had grown up a Muslim and must have had some wealth, as we found out that he made his pilgrimage to Mecca. But, two years ago, Bashri began to have visions and dreams of Jesus. In the middle of the night, he was awakened and Jesus appeared to him saying, "I am the Son of God," and "I am the true way." Bashri also told us that Jesus had told him, "Men with good news are coming." Now, I want to remind you I am not a mystical man. I am not one to over-spiritualize, or go looking for the "mystical" but this is the account I heard from this man on a remote Island with no gospel influence in Indonesia.
About 10 months ago, an Indonesian Christian (one of the men with whom I was traveling) came to Bashri's island and met Bashri. When my Christian friend (whose name I am not at liberty to give) met Bashri, Bashri told him, "I have been waiting for you, Jesus told me you were coming." Naturally, my friend was shocked and could not believe what he was hearing. They had a conversation that day and my friend gave Bashri a copy of the Bible in his language.
This brings us to just a few weeks ago when that same Indonesian Christian, myself, three other Americans, and two other Indonesian men showed up at Bashri's front door. When we got there, he was excited to see us and immediately invited us into his house. He explained to us his visions and told us that he and his son had been reading the Bible ever since they had received it. In a way that was strikingly similar to the Ethiopian Eunuch of Acts 8, he explained that he had met Jesus in a vision, and that he had been reading the Bible of Jesus, but that he was not sure what all of this meant. Then, in one of the most God-ordained moments of my life, I had the chance to tell him the whole Gospel, beginning in Genesis and going all the way through to Revelation. Throughout our encounter he asked good questions, and the light of truth became brighter in his heart and mind. There is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit of God ordained that moment in a very special way. When I finished sharing the whole Gospel from creation to the fall to redemption and ultimate restoration in Christ, he looked up and said, "It is true and I believe it!"
Bashri, who grew up and lives on a remote island, who had never heard of the real Jesus, one day began to have visions of Christ. Then on an island where there literally are no Bibles, a man who he had never met showed up at his house and gave him a Bible. Then, several months later after he had been reading that Bible, four Americans (probably some of the first ever to come to his island) showed up at his house and explained very clearly the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you can read all of this, and not believe in the providential and gracious hand of God in the world that wants to save the lost by the power of the Gospel, then you are clearly numb of mind and dull of heart.
Bashri is going to be baptized in coming days and may have already been so. Furthermore, the Indonesian believers we were with have connected him to another Christian on the island who also came into a relationship with Jesus that was initiated through dreams and visions. They are going to begin meeting in what I pray will be this island's first Gospel-centered church. Please pray for them and their faith and that the name of Christ would continue to be known in all the earth.
Jason Dees is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, the husband of Paige and the father of Emery Anna. He is also the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington.