SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP)--As a teenager, Budi Mulyadi* trained to kill Christians with a 9 mm pistol.
For months, he aimed it at a target while an instructor shouted slurs against Christianity. Mulyadi didn't know anything about the religion, just that it threatened Islam. Not once did someone explain Christ's sacrifice to him.
Yet, almost 20 years later, he serves as a Christian worker.
Today Mulyadi works with American Christian workers to manage worship sessions for youth in Southeast Asia. He helps local farmers learn better ways to raise healthy fish and grow their crops. He gives food to poverty-stricken families.
As Mulyadi works, the jobs and the people he works with bring him joy and he smiles, but his smiles fade when he talks about his adolescence. At the age of 14, he lived in an Islamic terrorist camp that imbued him with wrath and hate.
Hate "was something that was implanted in my mind," he said. "I could just think about Christians and the hate would pop up."
An obstinate child, Mulyadi ran away from an Islamic boarding school in his early teenage years. The school merely taught him Muslim scripture but had too many rules for his taste. He had already run away from home after a violent disagreement with his father, so the 13-year-old had nowhere to turn. Then he met an Islamic extremist who promised him a new education.
The man took the young Mulyadi to a large compound of tents that was surrounded by trees. Twenty other boys slept in the tents at night and trained with knives and guns during the day. They only stopped for sleep, food and prayer. When their instructors talked to them, they touted the supremacy of Muslims and the wretchedness of Christians. The Christians, they said, deserved to die.
"We were told that the Christians were infidels," Mulyadi said. "If we would kill Christians, then that would be a free ticket into heaven for us."
At the camp, Mulyadi felt anger and self-righteousness boiling inside. As he practiced with a gun supplied by the camp, hate filled him. At times, though, he also felt doubt and confusion. The instructors told him that Christians should burn in hell, but did he want to send them there?
The boy continued to mull over these questions as his marksmanship improved and as the gun felt more and more familiar in his hand. Eventually, the leaders believed, Mulyadi and four other boys were ready to prove their worth. Without a clear strategy, they sent their students out to kill anyone they could.