A Life Reflection From Indonesian Ambassador For Italy, General (Ret) Freddy Numberi

In June 16-23 I flew from London to Rome, doing research in the Gregorian University (Pontifico Institutio Biblico). It was a part of my doctoral research -as the D.Th student of Trinity Theological College, Singapore- which I was doing at Tyndale House, Cambridge, from March-Sept '03. Within this week, I had the opportunity to lead the Sunday service which was organized by the Indonesian community in Rome. The service which was held at the Indonesian Embassy was also attended by some Catholic priests as well as the Ambassador himself and his wife. It was in this special occasion, the Ambassador, Gen. Freddy Numberi giving his impressive testimony of his own life.
May this testimony will bring a great blessing for all of the people of God.
Mangapul Sagala.
A Life Reflection From Indonesian Ambassador For Italy, General (Ret) Freddy Numberi

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
What we have been witnessing tonight is a reflection of the Words of God that we just heard together, that a life surrendered to God is the most beautiful life. There is nothing that can bring happiness to our lives other than total surrender to Him, whatever tasks we do, because occupation and wealth can never give true happiness to us.

I am so thankful that again we are able to enjoy our monthly service in this place. As you know, I myself started this service. Prior to my coming here, there has never been an event like this, not even a Christmas or Easter service. But I have been touched by His love to start it. I strongly believe that it is because of God that I become an Ambassador.

We just heard from the Word of God that we have to commit ourselves to God. The word of God really strengthened me. It makes my heart tremble and my mind remember about many things in the past.

I was retired from the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) in my early age, 50 years old. Normally retirement starts in 55 years old. Nevertheless, I was ready to accept it. During my period as the Governor of Papua, some delegates from certain parties came to see me. They said, “ Mr. Numberi, we want you to be the next term Governor, replacing Mr. Patipi. Therefore, we have to prepare this amount of money…” In my response to such statement, I immediately said, “Brothers, please bring those money out of this room. Don’t talk about money for a position of Governor. If it is indeed the Lord wants me to be a Governor, let it be. There is nothing can interfere His plan. Even the devil will run away if we surrender ourselves to him. Therefore, I don’t want to be a Governor because of money…”

So, tonight I want to assert that as a Governor, I did not spend even one cent. It was because of His own will I became a Governor of Papua.

Further, when I was just becoming a Governor for two years with all kinds of thoughts in my mind, at 2 o’clock in the morning my mobile phone was ringing. And it was beyond my expectation that Mr. Abdurahman Wahid (4th Indonesian President) was calling me and said: “Mr Numberi, we just had a meeting in Jakarta and we decided to form a rainbow cabinet which reflects a representative from Aceh (West) to Papua (East). Therefore, have we decided to choose Mr. Numberi to be one of the ministers. In hearing that, I was struggling and praying. I did not give a defenite answer at that time whether to accept it or not. In my struggle, I consulted my seniors in the Navy. They gave me a practical advice, “ Mr. Numberi, we are being differentiated from civilian people because of one thing, namely, loyalty. Therefore, please be loyal to your leader…” These simple words encouraged me to call Mr. Wahid and said that I am ready to be the member of his cabinet. And unexpectedly, I was just being a minister for one year, and again together with Mr Wahid we had to leave the position.

Having said that, my dear brothers and sister, I wish to say to you tonight, if I had to be sorry and lived in bitterness, actually I had strong reasons. As I have stated, I was retired early, being stopped as a Governor in the middle way, and only one year as a minister. However, while my human being was struggling, I remembered the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. He bore so much sufferings, insulted, and being misunderstood, and yet he never gave up. Meditating on Jesus' life while he was on earth, I found and realized that my suffering is nothing compared to the suffering of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In my struggle, I notice that the sermon that we just heard from John 17:4 is very important (“I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do…”). For me, that is the blueprint of our lives. The Lord has designed His plan for each of us. We do not know that plan for sure and clear. But one thing is clear that all of us are asked to do: surrendering life and glorifying God by doing all things as best as we can. Do not work for a reward or money. It is not pleasing God. This is true. You can ask all the businessmen in Papua while I was governing. I told them, “Why do you give me money? I feel content with what I have. I am not in need. Give the money to those who need it. Thus, you have helped me in restoring the lives of the weak people in Papua".

Finally, I do not know for how long I become an ambassador for Rome. I need prayers from all of you, that I can have enough strength. Let us all together follow the Lord Jesus, who Himself is the Lord, but has followed the blueprint of His life while He was on this earth….

Author : Rev. Mangapul Sagala
Tyndale House 36, Selwin Gardens
Cambridge CB3 9BA, UK.
Tel:44-01223-359102 (6-8 am; 8-10 pm)

Translated By : Esther Suwandi Edited By Robert Tanoni
”Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 NIV)