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Bible helps Indonesian teenager survive 49 days at sea

Aldi Novel Adilang, sitting with his parents, holds up pictures of his rescue. Photograph: Antara Foto/Reuters

By Our Reporter

An Indonesian teen was recently rescued after spending 49 days adrift at sea in a fishing hut. But as he told the BBC, it’s not his first tale of survival.

Aldi Novel Adilang, 18, has survived not once, twice, but an incredible three times at sea.

However his latest ordeal was by far the longest and has captured global attention, according to the BBC.

He was working on a floating fishing trap, known locally as a rompong, which is shaped like a hut and floats in the middle of the sea but is anchored to the seabed by ropes.

On 14 July, he was anchored some 125km (77 miles) off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island when the rope tethering him to the seabed snapped – sending him adrift¬†into the Pacific Ocean.

In the middle of a summer storm, heavy winds snapped the moorings of Aldi Adilang’s fishing raft.

Aldi told CBN News he was not scared at first because he thought that some boat will see him and rescue him. But after many weeks passed, he began to be fearful and thought, “What if no one sees me?”

Aldi’s food and water ran out. He survived by catching fish and cooking them by burning wood from his hut. He sipped seawater through his clothes.

Aldi grew more and more desperate as the days went by.

“At night, I got very scared because many sharks were circling my raft,” he recalled. “I was afraid I will not see my parents again, my family and friends. I even thought of jumping into the sea and just commit suicide.”

He drifted in the open seas without a paddle or a motor. He said that he was terrified and almost gave up. But he also testifies that it was the Bible that gave him the determination to live.

“I had my Bible with me. I become strong again when I read the Bible,” Aldi told CBN News. “I prayed and sang worship songs. When I do this, all my fears are gone. God spoke to me. He said, ‘Be patient. I will come and help you.'”

Meanwhile, Aldi’s parents and their village prayed for his return. His father said they never gave up hope that Aldi would return to them.

Ten ships passed him by, until finally on the 49th day, a Panamanian tanker responded to Aldi’s radio distress call.

“They did not understand when I said ‘help’ in our language. I remembered what my friend taught me. Use the English word Help!” he said.

After Aldi’s rescue off the coast of Guam, he was reunited with his family in Indonesia.

Today, they sing together in the church choir about God’s goodness and faithfulness that has become so real in their lives.

“God is so great,” Aldi testified. “I believe God took care of me every day. He never leaves us, even in dangerous situations.”

BBC News, CBN News contributed to this report.

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