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A Journey From Darkness to Light: An Interfaith Story of Salvation

HilmanVsHellmanIn this post I share an interfaith story of salvation  from a peacemaker whom I met via Twitter,  He lives on the opposite side of the planet, twelve time zones away.

Hilman started retweeting my messages posted from @interfaithr, the Twitter account associated with this blog, Interfaith Reflections.  I’m always grateful for RTs, but his gave me pause.  “Death: War-God” is the recurring phrase in his posts, a kind of motto. The graphic on his profile page (see a portion of it to the left) is strange and macabre:  a face with two halves, one death-like, the other radiantly beautiful.

So off-putting were my initial impressions that I was about to check the little box that would block any future tweets from Hilman, but then I noticed that his Twitter handle, like his graphic, connotes at least a tension if not a struggle between good and evil, darkness and light.  His handle is HilmanVsHellman.  Wow, I thought, this guy is interesting!  It didn’t take long for curiosity to outweigh my fear.  I direct-messaged him:

“Ur graphic intrigues me.  Could we have a Skype chat?”

He answered immediately.  We set our meeting for 7 a.m. my time, 7 p.m. his.  Video didn’t work for us, but text chatting did.

He typed, “Why does my graphic intrigue U?”

I answered,  “My first impression was how dark it is.  The left half looks like a skull.  Scary!  Then I noticed that the right half of the face isn’t scary.  I also noticed that your Twitter name, HilmanVsHellman, expresses with words what your graphic says visually. Your motto is also intriguing: Death: War-God.  R U resisting those who claim that God wants war?

The little pencil in my chat window began to move. Hilman was typing a response:

“Yes, Mr. Tom.  U R correct.”

I wanted to know more.

“What is the VS about in your Twitter name?  And how did you get interested in interfaith peacemaking?” I typed.

For the next half hour Hilman’s little pencil moved furiously.  English is not his first language, but readers will have no difficulty following his story.  He gave me permission to share it with you here:

When i was kid, I discriminated by others because I’m Tionghoa (race and minority in Indonesia), ex-communicated by others because i’m mute, and by my parents.

But in my journey I find my Islam mentor when at Eid Adha. In that moment, I friendly with some goats and buffaloes because no one want to become my friend (except one person, he is Muslim and he is the best gift what I got from God).

When Eid Adha happened at first i don’t understand what is the purpose of that event. I’m mad with Muslims because they genocide my friends. But my friend have uncle. He will become my Islam mentor. I tell my anger to him.

I think (when i was a kid) i slapped or something like that. He gently explain what is purpose of Adha.  And (i think) he know that i discriminated by everyone and in past i have anger with Christians in my church also.

I told him about my anger.

And next day he introduce me to My Teacher (he is Bishop in Ambon)..So Jesus save my life by send Christian and Muslim in my life as my teachers.
In the first moment i think I got call from God against Children Abuse (i ever told you that my whole team (friends) are victims of abuse?) So my team express our Anger by violence (because it make sense, and was quick way for us in that moment).

While making war against parents who love to abuse their childrens, we also meet racism.

And once again we against it by violence.

In that moment all of us in condition of addicted drugs.

But, my teacher (because i’m Catholic) and my Islam mentor, teach my Muslim friends, guide us how to defeat racism and child abuse by kindness.

While we fix ourselves from drugs, we learn together about Christianity (Catholic) and Islam from them.


What in Hilman’s story moves you?  Perhaps in a comment you might share something about your own journey from darkness to light.


— TCDavis

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  1. Susan Moseley Susan Moseley

    What a powerful testimony of transformation! Thanks for sharing, Tom.

    It seems that what Hilman needed most was human compassion, and he experienced that compassion in a Muslim who introduced him to a Christian. That is a profound expression of “divine grace,” which is not the property of any one religion.

  2. Dear Susan,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I agree that Christians don’t have a monopoly on grace. I recall John 1: 17 that says the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Well, I have never understood that second clause to mean that no other religion offers grace save the Christian one. Having come to know some Jewish folk very well, I see that they have abundant grace. Don’t know what else to call it! So frankly, I don’t know what to make of that verse in John. It just doesn’t square with my experience.
    TCDavis recently posted…How to Share Files with An Online Team Using DropboxMy Profile

  3. Norris Cramer Norris Cramer

    I thought the conflict of good verses evil in the picture and name intriguing as that is what I struggle with in my mental illness. My attempt is to stay in the good zone but because I am imperfect, evil rears it’s ugly head every now and then in thought. What I have learned in spirituality is to meditate the negative thoughts out and let them go. I identify with the story and thank you both for the writing.

    • Dear Norris and Hilman,
      Thank you both for being willing to write about your inner battles, and recognizing that peacemaking begins there. When people come out in that way it gives others courage to be honest, and to ask for help if they need it. Sacred spirit is very strong in both of you because you have said “yes” to the inner light. Peace!
      — TCDavis
      TCDavis recently posted…Google Alerts: Your Free Internet Research AssistantMy Profile

  4. Bill Innes Bill Innes

    Like Tom, I was frozen by the image on your site. One eye bulges with raw, negative emotion, and the other looks steadily ahead. It scares and captivates me simultaneously.

    Our traditions tell us God is all powerful, but when evil things happen, we are forced to ask where God is or does God even care. If we take the opposite view, that God doesn’t get involved in the day to day issues of life to prevent evil, then that God to too weak and impersonal to care about me, and I don’t put my trust in that God.

    I think the Passion of Christ gives us a better way of looking at this. God is present with us in the midst of the suffering, just as Jesus suffered physical and emotional pain, betrayal by his friends, abuse by the political and religious authorities, and felt abandoned on the cross by God. But following the suffering, there is resurrection. There is a new way to rise through, around and above the suffering, to become a new creature, one closer to God and more like what we have discovered IS the nature of God. That’s what you are doing.

    Prayer for each other is additionally a way to hold each other in our deepest concern. It’s a way to say you are very important to me and i hope more than anything that this difficulty comes to a good end.

  5. Hilman Hilman

    For everyone, thanks for excellent comments, for me it’s encouraging 🙂

    Mrs Susan :
    Yes, compassion what i needed in past than condemnation.
    my teacher (a Bishop, Petrus Canisius Mandagi) give me one quote what become my favorite as his reason to save me :
    “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17

    And my Islam’s mentor (Al Ustadz Dzulqarnain bin Muhammad Senussi, he is one of disciple of Sheikh Shalih Al-Fauzan) introduce me with his friend (my teacher) because i said a horrible thoughts to justify my hatred by discriminated all of Christians, although not all of Christians discriminated me.

    And he believe that everytime we (Christians, Muslims and Jews) really do what God (Holy Trinity , Allah SWT and G-d) said, Our World become more better and better :
    “And if only the People of The Book (Islam, Christian and Jewish) had believed and feared Allah , We would have removed from them their misdeeds and admitted them to Gardens of Pleasure.And if only they upheld [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and (Al-Qur’an) what has been revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed [provision] from above them and from beneath their feet.” – Qs Al-Mā’idah [5:65-66]

    Mr Tom, Mr Norris and Mr Bill :
    Looks like we have as same as battlefield 🙂 I believe if all of humans have as same as battlefield like us…there is no conflict.
    My teacher was said to me to handle that evil (negative) thought (he take it from Matthew 7:1; 5:9, Galatians 5:19-23 ) :
    “Before you judge other by point your finger, think this Hilman : there are three fingers point to yourself and one finger is neutral. That finger is Peacemaker as a duty for Christians. Make sure yourself in that position.
    Everytime you in the position of finger of judge others, you will be produce Galatians 5:19-21, but everytime you in the finger of neutral, you will be produce Galatians 5:22-23.”

    He also said that Galatians 5:19-23 is definition of Mark 8:34-35.

    Thanks for all of your pray for my interfaith team and our pray to all of you 🙂

    Best regards and Peace


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