Herbalist credits God with healings in Southeast Asia
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) -- The sun appears to be in no hurry as it rises above the mountains, dispelling the morning mist. Tangled forests towering with teakwood trees and twisted vines frame a bustling town on one Southeast Asian isle.
Outside Budi Perkasa's* clinic, benches are crowded with patients waiting for an appointment with him. Perkasa's reputation as a healer precedes him in these parts, and many who seek him are searching for an answer modern medicine cannot offer.
"On average, the people that come to my clinic are people who have given up hope," Perkasa said. "They have gone from hospital to hospital, some even internationally, but they have not found healing."
"When they come to our clinic, by God's mercy, often He grants miracles and they find healing," said Perkasa, who for two years has served and faithfully prayed for his ill, unbelieving patients.
"Eighty-five percent have a crisis of faith within themselves. I shoot straight with them, saying I cannot heal you, but the power of Jesus can."
Perkasa's patients have been miraculously healed of cataracts, tumors have disappeared overnight from their bodies, and damaged organs have been restored.
"I pray for them, but I do not have the power to heal them," Perkasa said. "That is God's job. Only He can do that."
Perkasa recounts the story of a young boy whose family brought him to the clinic as a last resort. Born with a hole in his heart, the boy spent much of his younger years in a hospital bed, not responding to treatments. After Perkasa shared the Gospel and prayed for the young boy, the hole in his heart sealed and disappeared.
Born into a strict Islamic family, Perkasa's journey of faith began two years ago when in town on business, he encountered Christian workers Curtis and JoAnn Brinks.*
A distinct breed of goats first drew Perkasa to the Brinks. The goats were imported as a breeding project and were hailed the best in the region. The Brinks took Perkasa to see the famous goats.
He heard the Gospel presentation during the visit, and an inner wrestling began in his heart. He decided to follow Christ and renounced his Islamic faith.
His family, learning of his conversion, called him to dinner and a fight ensued. Perkasa was beaten and struck in the head with a pistol. To this day, he insists God protected him, as he "did not feel any pain."
Perkasa began visiting the Brinks daily, studying the Scriptures in their home.
JoAnn Brinks recalls those early days of Perkasa's tumultuous journey.
"You can't back away from someone who is experiencing persecution," she said. "It's something you have to live along with the person."
While Perkasa watched his relationship with his family fall apart, he cemented his new identity in Christ.
"There was a time I didn't know if I could go on, but after I was baptized, I had boldness," Perkasa said. "I was not afraid anymore."
"I prayed, 'God, what should I do? I want to share your glory.'"
The answer to his prayers came when people began seeking him for healing. His father was a famous herbal medicine doctor in Southeast Asia, working everywhere from Malaysia to China. The youngest son, Perkasa traveled and learned the craft from his father. But trained as a businessman, Perkasa had not practiced medicine in many years.
"Praise God He brought what I studied when I was young back to my mind," Perkasa said.
God began sending people to Perkasa from all over the country, and in that year alone, Perkasa said, he shared the Gospel with over 1,500 people.
Many whom Perkasa served came from the poorest communities where medical care is typically unaffordable. He normally ran the clinic from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekdays, traveling on weekends to treat the sick in outlying villages.
While Perkasa credits God with the healings, Perkasa's earthly father greatly influenced his work. "What pushes me is what I learned from my father. Herbal medicine mixtures are created for the symptoms of the patient. However, I am certain it is not the medicine [that] heals them, but Jesus Christ."
Seeing God heal people through Perkasa challenged the Brinks family.
"That's been stretching for our faith, to realize God still does heal people instantly," she said. "This is a reality we see and we believe. The power of God to heal is very valid."
Perkasa remains assured of his faith.
"I have a principle. I will only live once, there is no twice," he said. "I have to love all people and all people have to know who God is."
Perkasa continues to study the Scripture with Curtis Brinks and manages the clinic, hoping to see a church grow among his patients. Until that time, Perkasa said he'll keep moving forward, witnessing and healing in Jesus' name.
*Names changed. Evelyn Adamson is a writer working in Southeast Asia. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).