Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Ramon and Shandy Tengkano

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Ramon and Shandy Tengkano

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Ramon and Shandy Tengkano
TOPICS: Conversations, Mission, Wealth, Purpose, Meaning of Life

John Bradshaw: Ramon, Shandy, thank you so much for being here.

Shandy Tengkano: Thank you for having us.

John Bradshaw: I appreciate you taking your time. Let's start by talking about you.

Ramon Tengkano: Praise the Lord.

John Bradshaw: Today, missionaries...

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: ...very involved in outreach, proclaiming the gospel, but let's back up. Tell me where you're from.

Ramon Tengkano: We're from Indonesia.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Ramon Tengkano: We lived there.

John Bradshaw: So that's a big and a vast place, stretching from...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes, it is.

John Bradshaw: to there, so... which part of Indonesia is home for you?

Ramon Tengkano: It's as big as America, the continent...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Ramon Tengkano: ...but two-thirds water. We live south of Jakarta, the capital, about two hours, up in the countryside with the villagers, and that's where we live.

John Bradshaw: Okay, okay, so tell me about life in Indonesia. When I say "Indonesia" and Christians think of Indonesia, they think this has the largest Muslim population

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...of any country in the world. So, as missionaries in Indonesia, as Christian missionaries, how welcome are you among the population to share Jesus?

Ramon Tengkano: Well, despite the fact that we're Muslim populated, we're not Muslim government, so there's actually room for us to do our evangelistic efforts there, which includes broadcasting.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Ramon Tengkano: So we took on the satellite ministry 2011, and, funny enough, we got approved, so we've been there ever since, almost 12 years now.

John Bradshaw: So... go ahead.

Shandy Tengkano: Even though, you know, Indonesia, it's not easy for you to go to their houses and pray for them, you know, like, give them Bible study, because I come from the Muslim background too. My father is a Muslim, so, you know, what we need is, in Indonesia, it's like, you need to be, you know, like the, the books, living books, you know?

Ramon Tengkano: Open book.

Shandy Tengkano: The choices, the open book for them, that is, like, really neat, because, you know, if you give books, they see the cover; they know, like, you're Christian; you need to put something, you know, "You want to Christianize me"? So that's why, you know, we don't want that because they can't accept that. So how they accept that, we need to be the book, and then through the television, they watch our program silently.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

Shandy Tengkano: They call us silently, like, "Hey, thank you," you know, "I can see the," you know, "how the Bible itself and everything". So...

Ramon Tengkano: Put it to practical.

Shandy Tengkano: Put it to practical.

John Bradshaw: So you've been running a network that reaches all of Indonesia for the last 11 years?

Ramon Tengkano: Yes, almost 12 now.

John Bradshaw: Very, very exciting.

Shandy Tengkano: Praise the Lord.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Let's talk about you a little bit in your past. Before you came to faith in Christ, both of you experienced what I think anybody would call success. So, Ramon, let's start with me asking you, what did life look like for you back in your years in business?

Ramon Tengkano: Well, the only thing I knew in life is to make more and more money, just because I've been conditioned in such a way that, you know, for us to be respected, just, you know, you gotta make more money. And not only that, the only key to happiness was money. That's what I was taught, despite the fact that I grew up in the church. When I finished college at 23, somebody actually took me on a challenge, you know, a friend of mine, "Hey, let's race to the first million dollar". Like, whoa, you know, I never had this kind of race before, but it kind of stayed in the back of my mind. You know, the only thing I thought was actually gonna bring me to become somebody and then to bring me to this security level was to make more and more money, and then I did just that.

John Bradshaw: What sort of businesses were you involved in?

Ramon Tengkano: Well, I was involved in all kinds of things. I started my business life in Indonesia. We had a government concession to run ports. And then we developed the port, and then I sold the concession to somebody and then made money, and then from there, we developed a few things. My last business was we produced a calcium oxide. It's, like, the ingredient for many different industries. So, yeah, I did that until 2008.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Shandy, how about you? You were accustomed to living a pretty comfortable life. How was that? And describe that life for me.

Shandy Tengkano: I was raised and born with a family who doesn't know God, and then, you know, maybe I can say that I am the majority of people...

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Shandy Tengkano: ...nowadays. Like, you know, my family value is, you know, having money is everything for you because money is the key for happiness. And then, you know, my religion is, you know...

Ramon Tengkano: Business.

Shandy Tengkano:, and then my God is money. You know, I've been taught that kind of way. So, you know, all of my life, my aim is money. So I kind of, like, have money since I was, when my age, like, maybe 20?

Ramon Tengkano: 20...21?

Shandy Tengkano: 20, 19, you know, 19, like that age. And then I have everything what I want. I can go everywhere, you know? And then that is my...

Ramon Tengkano: She probably doesn't wanna say it, but she was going after rich individuals.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah, because, you know, I come from that society.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah, that society.

Shandy Tengkano: You know, like that...

Ramon Tengkano: Money is everything.

Shandy Tengkano: You are beautiful. All you do is just find that. You know...

Ramon Tengkano: Somebody who's rich.

Shandy Tengkano: ...somebody who's rich. So, you know, if you have that kind of lifestyle, and then, you know, you're gonna be happy.

John Bradshaw: So what was that lifestyle like? Give me, open a window into that lifestyle for me and let me see what life was like for you.

Shandy Tengkano: Lifestyle is, you know, like, a fancy bag that all the women...

Ramon Tengkano: Fancy everything.

Shandy Tengkano: Fancy everything, you know, go to the fancy hotel, restaurant, you know, and then...

Ramon Tengkano: She would pay $20,000 for a piece of bag.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Mm.

Ramon Tengkano: And then there's this fancy phone with all kinds of features. Then paying $8,000 for things like that.

Shandy Tengkano: And then having your own assistant, your own hair stylist, your own, you know, makeup artist, you know, everybody can do your nails, and then you just choose, like, "Okay, I want that; I want that". And I cannot cook; I cannot clean houses and everything. I'm not a future mother, you know, I'm not a future wife, you know, it's not one of my things, you know, so that's why, you know, like, when Ramon wants to be with me, I told him, "I'm like this; you need to provide everything". You know, "I don't know how to cook. And then I'm not a morning person. "I have, I need to have my own world, and then you need to provide everything," you know.

John Bradshaw: So in your background, we're talking about serious money.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Real money.

Shandy Tengkano: Yes.

John Bradshaw: The reason I wanted to mention that and emphasize that is because life for you today is really different. So, okay, Ramon, you were a self-made, very successful businessman. Shandy, you had found your way into the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Shandy Tengkano: Yes.

John Bradshaw: But today, no, today, very different. So let's do a quick flip.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: We'll fill in the gaps in a moment.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: What's life like today?

Ramon Tengkano: Well, we're missionaries on the front line, and now we live amongst the villagers. You know, we have a television ministry on the satellite, but our studio is situated amongst the villagers, with whom we're interacting. And we have a clinic there to run. We serve people.

Shandy Tengkano: And living by faith now.

Ramon Tengkano: And now we're living by faith now, you know?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, explain that to me because what someone is thinking right now is, well, if you ran with billionaires and millionaires, you probably still have this enormous pile of money in the bank...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...and you're fine.

Ramon Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: What's the reality for you? I don't mean to be too personal, but what's the reality? Because it sounds like you've made a massive change, but someone's thinking, not a big change. What sort of change is this? Do you see, you're living by faith, so explain that for me.

Ramon Tengkano: Well, actually, when I decided to follow the Lord, you know, rediscover my identity as a Seventh-day Adventist, you know, this was actually a burden to me because, you know, it was gonna entail a completely transformed life, right? I knew somehow I was gonna become a missionary and start living by faith. And then I was actually ready for that just because simply I was sick of my life at that time. And there's so many different reasons why. You know, I wasn't really happy with the people that I was surrounded with. And I know something, so many bad things is just happening, kind of burdened myself, that I knew there's something that was gonna fill up my emptiness.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: And then I was so ready. You know, at the time, my transformation actually took place, funny enough, in the light intersection, the stop traffic light. At the time, I just bought this nice fancy car. I just wanted it; I gave myself a birthday present. And then I thought, "Ohh, it's just another car," but, you know, it's gonna give me happiness, you know? The more expensive is just, you know, the more happiness I was gonna get from it. And then within three days, the happiness, the excitement's gone.

John Bradshaw: Mm.

Ramon Tengkano: You know? And now, like, "Lord, what can I be satisfied with now? But I don't know, but only You can fill this void". At the intersection, I was looking next to the car. There's this family with a little ugly car, you know, I would never have, but I saw the family, they're so happy; they're laughing and giggling. I said, I was crying really profusely, and then, I know: "Lord, that's what I want, "that's what I need. You know, this is not what I want, and then I'm sick of this life". I decided to actually just venture out to something. And then when you make that claim, Satan's really gonna attack you.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Ramon Tengkano: And people say, "Yeah, you have passive income. "Now you have reserve to actually just support this work that you are in". And there's so many stories that I cannot just cover everything because God helped me to be emptied, you know? I was facing many lawsuits, you know, as a result of my prayer.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: Satan brought me to this accusation. I was framed, and then I got cheated upon, and my partner ran away with money, and then I was practicing Christianity, you know, getting slapped on the left, giving the right cheek, you know, not pursuing back what I thought rightly was mine. So I was just like, "Okay, Lord, I know this is all Your doing". And then at some point, you know, I had some legal problems, and I was jailed for almost two weeks. I knew God was actually in this, but funny enough, I was just riding with it, you know, to the point where God had to empty it. I didn't really become empty, but we came to the point where I had to rely on God 100% for the journey that I undertake right now, becoming a missionary. You know, it's a long story, but...

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Ramon Tengkano: became really hard, you know, and people say, "Oh, yeah, sure, you got money stashed up," but, you know, it was not really the case. You know, I actually would describe it as, like, falling from the sky, financially, you know, as a result of my prayer.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: And then God allowed that. Praise the Lord, I just pressed on, and then I, you know, in the beginning two, three years, my wife was, like, there watching from a distance because our relationship wasn't really that good, and then, but I was able to convince her. And then about 2011, praise the Lord, she never really left me, you know? There's an event held by Jesus for Asia, a faith camp in Indonesia.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: And then I thought it was the turning point for her, finally, you know, that I'm not the only one who's trying to live by faith. And even though I was trying to give example at home, she finally witnessed some stories, and then God actually finally caught her. You know, she actually desired the same thing.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: So you went from a place of wealth to... How would you describe that place you went to?

Ramon Tengkano: Oof! God put me in a tough situation. And then I was left with some assets that are really becoming a burden. You know, we have assets; we are not making the money; they become a burden.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Ramon Tengkano: They become, you know, you have to maintain, your taxes, everything. And I was placed in a hard situation with no money at times, as soon as I decided to become a missionary. I don't know if this, so God allowed Satan to actually attack me financially.

John Bradshaw: There's a point I wanna make here, and I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me, and I don't want anybody to get the wrong impression here.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

Ramon Tengkano: There's nothing wrong with wealth.

Ramon Tengkano: Nothing wrong.

John Bradshaw: Nothing wrong with being wealthy, and I don't think even you would think everyone has been called to...

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: ...abandon everything and become a missionary living by faith.

Ramon Tengkano: Oh yes.

John Bradshaw: God gives some people the gift of wealth and the ability to be wealthy and to make money. That's a skill and a talent, a gift, I think. So I just wanna emphasize you're not suggesting there's anything wrong with being wealthy, right?

Shandy Tengkano: No.

Ramon Tengkano: No, no, no, but I did come to some point where I felt like I had to punish myself. I'm trying to help God punish myself. You know, we were actually giving lots of support. I wanted to venture something that is completely different, just simply because I was sick. I knew that, at that time, I felt there's something wrong with wealth. Honestly, I wanna say it.

John Bradshaw: It might be because there was something wrong with wealth for you, right?

Ramon Tengkano: That's right, from my own perspective.

John Bradshaw: Now, you mentioned a moment ago you were empty.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

John Bradshaw: So describe that. Why were you empty? How can a person who has everything be empty, Shandy?

Shandy Tengkano: Because we don't have a purpose, right? We don't have the aim. Like, we just thought that money is the key for happiness. And then all we wanna find is money and money, money.

Ramon Tengkano: For self.

Shandy Tengkano: For self, right? And then so, I came to the point that I really, like...

Ramon Tengkano: Frustrated.

Shandy Tengkano: Frustrated that I have the money, I have everything, but look at me. So that's why I go to the, you know, to the alcohol, drugs, and everything because I cannot find money.

Ramon Tengkano: We did.

Shandy Tengkano: And then...I want to ask some help, but I don't know where to go. And then I see my husband, you know, my husband is raised with the church kind of family, but me, I'm not. So, you know, I'm really far away from...

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah, from the values.

Shandy Tengkano: From the value, and then I'm looking at him. When he start wants to be a missionary, I was so scared. I was like, "No, no, no," because that's not my thing. And then I almost want to get divorced with him because, you know, I respect his choices. I told him, "I love you. I respect your choices, but I know my weakness". You know, God, I know, whatsoever you call, the name is God, I told him that God maybe put me in the different creation, you know? I was, "I'm not like you".

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Shandy Tengkano: And then, "So we need to stop this". And then I go to the church. Even though I get baptized to be a Christian, I go to the church, find the godly women for him. I told, you know, "Better you go to the women, and then, you know, raise our children, and then do not ever give the children," you know...

John Bradshaw: Yeah, don't introduce...

Shandy Tengkano: "Don't introduce the children with the biological mom because they're gonna confuse. If you already find the way, better the children go with you. It's a good way". But me, I was like, "So, really, I don't know the way". I was like...

Ramon Tengkano: And then the book.

Shandy Tengkano: And then, yeah, and then I was, like, so curious, you know, like, because deep inside my mind, I was like, you know, "God, maybe, you know, You just exist with the family, this righteous family, which is my husband," and me, you know...

Ramon Tengkano: Hopeless.

Shandy Tengkano: Me, hopeless, but, you know, I'm okay with that. I can, like, accept that. You know, I'm sorry. I can like, you know, if I know my background, it's like really sad because, you know, people in the world think like me. And then I was, like, "Lord, just leave me alone". But He never, Lord never want to leave me alone. So that's why, you know, like, my mother-in-law says, "Shandy, there's an event named Faith Camp. You need to go there because there is a lot of missionary. Tell them, you know, share the story about faith". I was like, "What? Faith? Faith is not accessed in this modern world". Inside my heart, I say like that. It's because my mother-in-law, you know, I just want to be a good daughter-in-law, you know? Okay, I go there, and then she looked at me, "Oh, you are here"! I was like, "Yeah". I was sitting at the back, you know, dressed up and everything because after that event, I wanna go party with my friends. And then, you know, playing with my phone because to give the signal that I don't like this event; this is not me. Like, everybody knows me. You know, like, look at that rich woman, you know, she's there sitting at the back, playing with my phone. And I hear testimony after testimony, and in my heart... fill the, you know, like, the...

Ramon Tengkano: Being filled.

Shandy Tengkano: Being filled. I was like, "Wow, that does exist"? And I look at them, all of the missionary. I was like, "Lord, look at them," from the bottom to the top. You know, they don't dress up like me, you know? But I see their eyes. "Lord, I want their eyes".

Ramon Tengkano: They look poor.

Shandy Tengkano: You know, I want that eyes. And I'm crying, like, "Lord, this is not fair. How come You love them more than You love me"?

John Bradshaw: When most people would think, "I have so much in my purse or my wallet".

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: "I have everything I need and more than them". Some might say God loves you more than them, but evidently you're looking, and it's going now beyond the surface. You're looking at the heart...

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ...and God is speaking to you and awakening a purpose in your life.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Very interesting. All right, in just a moment we'll talk about how you dived into ministry, into missionary work, what that looked like, running a television network and how you managed to settle into this brand new life, which was an absolutely radical departure. We'll be back with more in just a moment. My guests are Ramon and Shandy Tengkano. They are missionaries. Their lives changed dramatically. They are servants of God on the front line. Back with more from our conversation in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: Thank you for being part of "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. With me are Shandy and Ramon Tengkano. They are missionaries. So how'd you do it? You have money and headaches. You have means, but you say, "I wanna do this". How does a person go about becoming a missionary? What did you do?

Well, I grew up in the church with the values that kept on reminding me that there's a purpose for us to live, that is, for us to be multiplying, you know, for God's kingdom. That's always in my mind, so it wasn't really that hard for me to make a journey. It was just a matter of time then. You know, I got sick of my life, and then I decided to become missionary. So that took place in 2008.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

But for me, it translated to start doing something. You know, I moved away. We didn't move away, but we bought a country property, and then the reason is for me to hide, and then, at the same time, serve people who are poor.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

That was always in my mind, so we began that. And then my wife was not buying into the idea in the beginning. She was just watching from far away, but I just kept on reading the books, you know, rediscovering my identity, and then serving people. She was, like, noticing, but I didn't realize she was actually interested in doing that too. So I kind of did my own mission in my own capacity. But it was 2012 when the challenge was made to have a television in Indonesia. You know, the challenge was made by the missionaries who came to Indonesia. And then I somehow knew that, "Lord, this is probably a way for us to expand, you know, Your kingdom," so I took the challenge. I praise the Lord. Right in that event, Shandy had that transformation, you know, in herself, trying to return to the Lord, seeking the happiness that she was seeing in the missionaries presenting. So, we had no idea, we had no technical expertise in setting up the television, but I'm the kind of person who likes to venture out in something new, like, in business, you know. I would approach it just like another business venture. So we took it on. We, within two months after the challenge was made, we got on the satellite. You know, the rest is history. You know, we set up, like, a makeshift studio, and then we just kept on improving from there. So when people say, "How do you go about doing it"? I don't know. I don't plan the way the, you know, conventional way of planning. I just went, I took the challenge, pick it up and go.

John Bradshaw: Shandy, what's going through your mind? So your husband has launched out into mission work. You're being very patient.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

You're very skeptical. Talk to me about the transformation that was going on in your heart. The idea that one person would give up a comfortable, we've gotta be careful how we say that because pressure isn't comfortable, and stress isn't comfortable...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

...and being empty isn't comfortable, but...

Ramon Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

...materially comfortable life, the idea that one person would dive into that, that's tough enough to believe, but two people! You both experience that heart change. So, describe that process that you went through, how you were able to let go of one and grab hold of the other.

You know, I believe that God works in my heart and his heart, you know, different way. And then from that event, because I say something to God, "God, if You're willing to give me that kind of story, please, if You love me, I want that kind of story at any cost". So it means that that moment is not my euphoria. I was so ready. "If I need to replace all of my materialist, you know, all of my money, everything, replaced for the story, I'm willing". So that's why when God give us this television, this is the best tool for me and husband, my husband, to get to know Him.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

Because, you know, from people like us, we need to empty our money first; we need to empty everything first.

God had to help us empty our money. We could not, we had no power to do this.

You know, like, we need to allow Him to empty us because if we give Him, you know, like automatically, it's hard for human, for us, so God needs to give Him, to give us, His work, so He give us the television. So the television is the best tool for me and my husband to empty our pocket. You know, television is like the, you know, feeding a giant elephant.

That's for sure.

And then every monthly you need to pay. And this is crazy, you know, because I believe why God give me the television, because the words, like, "Any cost". You know, like...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

...God keep the words. Like, "Really? You want me with any cost"?

Yeah, sometimes you gotta be careful what you ask for 'cause God will answer a prayer like this.

Shandy Tengkano: Yes.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes, yes, yes.

So you had a stylist and a makeup artist and someone doing your nails... I'm not being flippant when I ask you this.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

How do you just get rid of that and it's all on me now? You have to start doing for yourself. And again, I mean this in all sincerity. What's that transformation like? Going from having people to wait on you, to say, "Well, I've gotta cook," and this kind of stuff, was that difficult for you to do that?

Of course, but at that moment, I'm so ready...

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

Shandy Tengkano: go, right?

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Because I've been waiting for the exit plan like this. I've been waiting for this moment, so when I get this moment, I just wanna go. And then we still have that kind of service, like, you know, my makeup, you know, like hairdressers, everything, driver, security. I still have my fancy house in the city of Jakarta. We move to the countryside. Countryside in Indonesia are different. Countryside means that you stay in the poor people.

Ramon Tengkano: Poor area.

Poor area. So we moved to the countryside. You know, I learned to be a mother, I learned how to cook, you know, clean up my house.

But it can't have been easy. Nobody likes to move from a nice area to a...

Ramon Tengkano: Village.

Yeah, a ratty area?

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

So that, for anyone...

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

...that would be tough. Was it especially tough for you? Or maybe you've answered the question already when you said you were ready.

Yes, I think that's the key.

Shandy Tengkano: I'm ready, because maybe God give me the, you know, the strength that everything need to see from the eyes of the Spirit, not the eyes of the flesh; maybe that is something that God fulfilled in me, you know, everything I need to see from the eyes of the Spirit. You know, like, okay, this is the drill, like, you need to go, you need to go exit, so this is the way that you need to accept. So, you know, I'm really ready from that moment. So when God put me in the countryside, I learned sleeping on the floor. And then, even I want to cook food, I need to cry because I don't know what to do. And then, you know...

Yeah, sweeping floor.

Sweeping floor, I need to cry. I was like, "Lord, this is so hard, but I'm really willing to do". And then, you know, cutting your grass, you know...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Because I have everything. I have people to do everything for me. I even don't know how to cook the water. I need to call my mom: "Mom, I don't know how to cook the water". And then both of us calling each other, and she said, "If you see the bubble, that's the water". I was like, "Really"? And I'm so happy. I was like, "Yeah! I know how to cook the water"! I don't know what to do, you know? All I know is spend his money, just only for me. So when God put me in the countryside, I see the poor people.

You start serving people.

Yeah, I start serving people. I see the poor people, you know, around me, so I kinda really understand that God put me, you know, so my eyes can see the needs.

What I know is that if you chose to go back into the business world you could become successful like that because you know what to do.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

There's the skills you have, the abilities you have, the intelligence you have. You could, at any time, go back to a life of business and be successful. Have you ever been tempted to do that?

We have business partners in the past that are still in contact with us right now. You know, some of these people are actually still anxious to get us going again in business. I told them, you know, "We're missionaries". But, you know, I can call 10 telephone numbers. I can get $1 million, $2 million in my bank right now, even just as a loan, just for fun. I can do that.

But you're a committed Christian...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

...converted, born again. You could be a missionary...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

...with a little business interest on the side.

Well, if...

John Bradshaw: So why don't you?

From my own perspective, my own industry, where I come from, you know, it's really hard to stay clean, John, to be honest with you. That's why I rebuke myself, punish myself, you know, because I want a rich experience with the Lord. If I'm faithful, you know, in the case of being in the business, it's just hard. I don't wanna judge people who are in the business, of course, but I see it from my own perspective, you know, having to evade taxes and then having to bribe officials and then having to actually cut corners, you know, for your own profit. Even just to stay in the business, sometimes you got to do all these things. With me, "Lord, if I wanna go do something, if I wanna follow You, the only way is all the way". I wanna experience that, you know? I really wanna experience, if God's faithful, if I just keep straight as an arrow, you know, my business conduct, and then I felt it was actually impossible for me to do that. At least, my part of the world, my business, you know, being connected with people, so even my business partners, they're not godly people, you know, to begin with. So if it's only just a matter of like, you know, just, "Hey, I need money," or whatever, "Let's do something," but, you know, if they actually direct me into something that is not 100% pure, I'd rather not, you know, because why would I do that if God can already provide me? He's proven so many years already that He's faithful in giving me what we need.

John Bradshaw: Shandy, what have you seen, where you've seen God demonstrate to you that He is the God who provides for you?

Yeah, of course, you know, like, people thought, when first day, I just, like, easily believe in Him. Of course not, everything is confusing.

When the money's still there...

The money's still there, you know, everything is still there. But, you know, we launch ourself to the ministry, to the surface, so, you know, we can use our money to put everything to the ministry. And then one time that, you know, this is like how God tried to show His power.

Introduce Himself.

Introduce Himself to me and my husband, and then, you know, that moment, we really empty, like, because everybody goes to the ministry, to the service. And then I have a phone call from my family that my mom has a sickness, so, you know, make the story short, my mom died. And then, in our culture, the first child need to give, you know, like, support everything, so I'm the first one. So I can't say, like, "God, I don't have money anymore". So, you know, at that time, "Please help me". And then all of my family, you know, like, saying, like...

Ramon Tengkano: They're watching.

They're watching, like, "Oh, her God will be," you know, like...

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah, put her to shame.

Yeah, put her to shame.

John Bradshaw: Mmm.

Because I'm the only Christian in my family, and a missionary.

They don't agree with her being a missionary...

They don't agree with me because, you know, "What is wrong with you? Everybody wants to go to your level, and here you are, you just dump everything for God". They say something that God is even not exists in this world, you know? And I was like, "No, no". And in that moment, everybody, like, "Okay, look at you now".

What is He gonna do now for you?

"Look at your choices. You even cannot support your mom". And inside my heart, like, "Lord, You're not wrong to choose me," you know? "I know there's something. Please help me". And then after that, you know, we just go to the funeral places to find for the service, and then this lady, you know, I go to her house, and she just looking at me and she said like, "Hey, you are Shandy, and this is your husband, Ramon". And then I'm not paying attention that moment because I thought that she is my viewers, and I was like, "Yes, ma'am," you know, "I'm Shandy, and this is my husband, Ramon". And then she said, like, "Hey, you know, everything that you need, I already"...

Ramon Tengkano: Prepare.

..."prepare for you". I was like, "Oh, thank you". I don't pay attention to that too. And then I was asking her, like, "Okay, can I see"? And you know, she start, you know, you know, "This is your chair, this is your flower, and then this is the casket". I was like, "Wow". I see the casket color is white, and the casket, I know that it's really expensive, and I was like, "Wow, this is expensive". And I told my husband, "Maybe this lady is not selling today". So, you know, "We need to buy for her because she's kind of like pushing us". And then I was like, "Okay," you know, "but our God will pay this bill anyway".

Ramon Tengkano: Even though we didn't have money.

Even though we don't have money, and then my mom is ready to get...

Ramon Tengkano: Buried.

...buried. And then I come to her and I ask, like, "I want to settle the bill," and she give me the bill, and the bill is just like...50?

Ramon Tengkano: About $50.

About $50.

John Bradshaw: $50?

Shandy Tengkano: $50.

That's impossible.

And then, you know, the price of the casket is like...

Yeah, almost $2,000, at least.

...$2000, at least. I was like, "Wow," you know, "no, no, no, no". I was like, "Ma'am, you are wrong". "No, no, I'm not wrong, Shandy, because, you know, "the car, the transportation is not my car, so, you know, all you need to pay is just only for the transportation. Everything on me is free". I was like, "No, ma'am, I'm a business person too. I know that you need to have money," you know? And she said like, "No, no, no, no, no, no, Shandy, this is free for you". And then we kind of like...

Ramon Tengkano: Argue.

...argue, because, you know, I was like, "No". And then she just hold my shoulders, just like, "Listen to me. Shandy, listen to me". I was like, "Okay, I wanna listen to you". "You know why I give you free? Because the day when you come, you know, that night, God give me dream that the face like this named Shandy and the face like this named Ramon, and God give me all the lists what you need, even the color of your casket. God says, 'Give her this white color because she wants this white color.'" Yes, I want that color. "And then God says, you know, 'Give everything for Shandy. Don't ever ask her for pay because her soul is really precious for me.'" That moment, you know, materialist person like me, I really cry, like, "Wow, Lord, You really exist". From that moment, I tell my husband, you know, "Everywhere God wants to go, God wants to bring you, if God's willing, I will be your partner".

John Bradshaw: Mmm.

Everywhere, even the poor, you know, level, too, I go, as long as, you know, because I have the happiness that the money cannot buy, and I have the happiness that the world cannot offer. So, you know, I have that, and I don't... I just want to keep it. I don't care about, you know...


I don't care about comfort anymore, as long as I can stay in this kind of society...

Ramon Tengkano: This work. this kind of work, I'm happy.

What are you seeing God do? So you're a missionary. Missionaries lift up Jesus and share Jesus and wanna attract people to the gospel of Christ.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

Let's start talking about what you're seeing in your missionary work as you minister, as you minister to others. It can take on many forms. Of course, there's the television channel reaching all of Indonesia and beyond.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

So what are you seeing God do?

Well, for me, it's like, you know, we used to be caterpillars eating leaves, right? Now we...transformed, you have been transformed to become a butterfly. You are eating, taking nectars, you know? Different food from the same animal. You know, we used to consume just something that would actually make us happy, thinking money is all, there's nothing else beyond money, but right now, God is actually giving us souls for us to be satisfied, you know? And then the money comes when God gives. And then this is actually the beauty, before we reach out to people, I was thinking that, okay, God needs my money. Okay, here's television; there is a clinic; there's people to be served. I thought God needed my money. Okay, let's help Him out, you know? Came to the point where, "Ooh! Okay, this is serious," you know? And then we came to hardships financially, but then God allowed that, and now we're seeing many, many souls coming to Christ. Actually, that gives us happiness. You know, the success of bringing gospel is not about people coming to church, getting baptized, increasing our membership, but success of the gospel is when people are able to see Christ in you, when we are experiencing the faith of Christ in our daily life, trying to reach out to people.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

So, you know, this work is wonderful. We get the different responses from places we haven't even heard. You know, just this past weekend, we got a telephone call from one island, it's called Haruku Island in the eastern part of Indonesia. What's taking place is 27,000 people, population on the island, have never seen Seventh-day Adventism. There's a television viewer that we have there, and this past Sabbath, there's a, his daughter just got baptized, and then the first ever baptism through immersion in the whole island. It was a big spectacle for people to witness. We just hope it's gonna be a flourishing church soon. So we have, you know, responses like this. It makes us happy.


You know, it's not even about the, we don't even care about money anymore.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

Jesus says, "Come to me, ye that labour and...heavy laden". It was such a heavy laden, you know, trying to pursue all these worldly dreams. And God gives us rest, meaning that we don't have to care about that anymore, and what a happy life serving the Lord, you don't have to worry about anything anymore. That's such a happy life that people should experience.

Amen, amen, I'm looking forward to hearing about more. We'll ask you about the clinic.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

And I'll ask you in a moment about some of the interesting opportunities God has given you to reach people for Jesus. With Ramon and Shandy, I'm John Bradshaw. This is our conversation, brought to you by It Is Written.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to my conversation with Ramon and Shandy Tengkano. "Conversations" is brought to you by It Is Written, and God has done so much through you, leading you from a life that was materially successful and prosperous to a life that is now very successful on the front lines of mission work. We've talked about the television channel that you run that reaches all of Indonesia and beyond. You mentioned a moment ago a clinic, so let's talk about that. What's happening with that?

Yeah, we live amongst the villagers who are really poor and unfortunate financially. And we got donated a dental chair about 12 years ago, and we invited some dentists to participate in running the clinic for the villagers, and they did that for almost a year, and then they moved away. One got married or something, and then the dental clinic got empty, and then we finally met a dentist here from America who came to train us to become a dentist. So I'm a functioning dentist, even though I'm not a dentist. We do basic operation, you know, we do fillings, and we do scaling and extraction, me and my son. And, actually, most of us are actually performing also. So from there, we understand that the health service we provide for people is actually much needed. So, yeah, it's just a basic clinic. We're trying to expand. We have some people responding from America wanting to actually expand the work that we do. So we're going to expand to make floating hospitals because we get telephone calls from different parts of Indonesia, you know, wanting us send doctors, you know, medical professionals, nurses, and everything, so I have some crazy idea of making a floating hospital on a boat, so that's a future plan. And then invite some doctors to sail all over Indonesia with 17,000 islands. So...

When you began this mission work, what was your expectation? Did you have any idea as to how successful this would be, how people would respond? I'm interested, too, when you launched a television channel that reached the entire country, did you anticipate the kind of response and feedback you're getting? Is it more than you had thought? Again, you know, looking from afar, you're thinking, "Well, Indonesia, how successful would Christian television go"? Clearly has been successful. Has it been surprising to you?

Yeah, because Indonesia is a lot of Muslim people. And then with Muslim, because I have a Muslim background from my father, with Muslim, it's not easy for them to get baptized because they have a lot of pressure from their family, from the society. But, you know, so that's why our aim is not baptism. Our aim is give them the hope to see life in the different side. So, you know, we give them, you know, God kind of life, give television in Indonesia because they can watch us silently. They can call us silently. They even ask books, "Hey, can you go here"? And then we treat our viewers just like our family. So God give us now airplane. Why airplane? Because we have islands. And it is not easy for us to go there with our own car, so we need to have airplanes. So Ramon is the missionary pilot, and then my second one gonna be like missionary pilot to help his dad. And then we go there; you know, we treat our viewers like our friend, our family. They call us, "Hey, can you visit our place and sleep in our house"? And we go there, because they have, like, very... simple?

Ramon Tengkano: Simple life.

Simple life. We go there, sleep on the floor with them, you know, eat, you know, talk to them. And it's really touching their heart. They're just like, "Wow, I see you on the television, and you are very famous", in the eyes of them...


..."But look at you. You sleep on the floor with me. You even eat my food," you know, everything. And I was like, "I never see people like you". And for us, that is our goals, you know? To give them a different hope in life.

Oh, we didn't expect everything to become the way it is now, like you are asking. There are so many aspects of ministry that just opens up suddenly without us realizing. With us, we just wanna live in the countryside, okay, serve people right there, teaching the poor villages, but now we got a television, now we have people who are actually pushing us to, okay, create this something for the medical professionals to perform, serve Indonesia, and then now, aviation. We got an aviation program right now, barely in the beginning stage, so things are opening up. Now, God is actually returning us the past few years to the society where we once belonged, you know? God is sort of saying, "Okay, be you separate so I can receive you, but then after that, I'll send you as sheep amongst the wolves". So God sort of sent us back to the people that we vow to never return to, you know. But God said, "No, no, you are the ones that's able to speak with them". There's some of these people who are, you know, influential, wealthy people. They are dying to see Christ. They're empty.

Yeah, talk to me about that. So what you're saying is that God has given you the opportunity to minister now to some of the wealthy people?


You're discovering that among the wealthy in Indonesia, there are people with deep spiritual needs?


What does that look like?

Well, yeah, we're finding out, well, because we experienced that money doesn't really give them happiness. Most of these rich people understand money doesn't give them happiness. They buy things not for them to make them happy anymore, you know? So God is bringing us to them through this unconventional avenue of bringing gospel. God is giving us a cycling community to run, you know, in which we can cycle. You know, these people that we left in 2008, and then they're like so many years older, they wanna become healthier, they're health concerned, and then they're, "Oh, it's good to see you again. Where you been? You've been missing. I heard you become Christian missionary and everything". And then, "Let's start cycle again," because, you know, they realize that, you know, there's things that they need that money is not providing. So we're cycling. It's not for the cycling sake only, you know? We're cycling two, three times a week, you know, on the weekdays, and then after that, they have their, you know, they call it the coffee, whatever. We just sit down with them, you know? And then we talk two hours, three hours.

We just lend our ears.

We just lend our ears, you know, before we lend our mouth teaching them things that's conventionally, you know, what Adventism would do. But beyond that, they start coming to us, you know, "Oh, all this time you've been missing, and why did you do this? Why are you actually throwing your money away"? Things like that. And then when pandemic came, they said something that kind of struck us, like, some of their, actually, businesses got hit bad. We're living in the countryside, serving, you know, and having this life. They say, "You know this is coming. This pandemic thing, you know this was coming, didn't you? You know things that we don't know. Tell us more. You know, I know these things that you live, the value, the choices that you make, you are wise". In Muslim words, they say, there's this word that they describe the wise people, you know, "the people of the Book".

So you're discovering that among the influential people in society...

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

...a cognizance of the times in which we are living and a desire to replace that emptiness with something that matters.

Yes, Holy Spirit's with them too, right? We believe Holy Spirit's working with them. You know, they don't wanna approach Christianity the way we understand it. I grew up with it. But they understand something is wrong. The very foundation of this hold where it's actually built upon is coming loose. They know that. Muslims understand there is this Imam Mahdi that will come at the end of time, that will actually judge everybody, you know. Some of them believe that this Imam Mahdi is actually Isa, Jesus Himself, the Son of Mary, so we have some similarity, and then we know the crisis that's about to come, we talk about this, and some of them are actually responding. And then some of them, we give this books that we know; "The Great Controversy" we share. They, "Ahh! No wonder you're making these choices. No wonder you disappeared from us many, many years". You know, I say, "Yeah, we know a lot more than you think we know," you know? So that's how we, the entry points with them, you know. That's why we wanna build the central influence in which people can come in; they can spend one night, one weekend, whatever, you know. I like to invite them into Sabbath service. That's not conventional with us, you know? We sit down and share, you know.

Because, you know, they ask for that, not us. That is not our...

Yeah, that's not our idea.

That is not our idea because they ask us, like, "Hey"...

"Why don't you build something"?

"Why don't you build something? I need to bring my family, my wife," you know, "my parents, my children". You know, "Can we just hang out with your family"?

Ramon Tengkano: Learn about...

You know, "Learn about your value? You know, we just want to spend time with you". You know, with the rich people, they need to trust you first, right? When they trust you, they want to hang out and spend their time with you.

Ramon Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

So, they give us the idea: "Can you build something for us, you know, so we can go there"...

Yeah, guest houses.

..."spend our time with your family, and then, you know, get exposed with your choices"? You know, like, people ask, like, "You want to build a sanitarium"? No, I don't wanna build a sanitarium. I just wanna build like the place that they can bring their family, spend time with us, and that's it. Expose them to the life that we choose.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

It's fascinating that God brought you out but is using your past to reach people who are still there.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

I wanted to, I'm hopeful that, as I'm hearing this, people will hear this and be prompted. There are some segments of society that are kind of tough to reach.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

Kind of tough to reach, but if you are from a certain segment of society, you already have an "in," right?

Ramon Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

If you live in a neighborhood and you're a Christian living in that neighborhood, that's a mission field.

Shandy Tengkano: Yes.

If you're in a certain social strata or of a certain profession that's an "in". I wonder if enough people realize that God has equipped us not just for the here and now, not just for us, but so that we can reach other people.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

Shandy Tengkano: Yeah.

That's important. So, this is something I wanted to ask you. So you're very successful in business, doing well, life is good...not good, you know.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

You had this desire to become missionaries. I didn't hear you say anything about, "We spent a year at the missionary training institute. Oh, we got a, went to college and got a degree in missiology". I, seems like I missed that part.

Yeah, because we never did.

We never did.

So you dived in the deep end.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes, pretty much.

You understand why I'm asking? So I'm not saying you should have done those things. But you dived into something you'd never done, never been trained to do.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

And thank God you did. How did you orient yourself to this work you'd never done before?

Maybe, like... I get baptized when I married my husband, and then his family and him always bring me to the, you know, like, event, like...

Yeah, yeah, camp meetings...

Camp meeting.

Revival meetings.

And I always hear the message, but it's just only the problems.


And then I need something, the...

Ramon Tengkano: Solution.

The solution, you know? And then I'm speaking to the eyes of the viewers, you know, to the eyes of the attendant. I need the solution. So, you know, when I go to this direction, you know, living by faith as a missionary, God kind of like, give me, you know, you remember when you go there, you need that solution. So those people get the solution. For us to give the solution to the people, we need to...

Ramon Tengkano: Experiment.

...experiment with the solution. We need to tell them, "Okay, if you go to that path, you need to do this". So, you know, we kinda expecting those things. I'm the one, like, you know, I need that solution because I've been hearing the problem, problem, problem without solution. And then, you know, I tell God, "If You want to use me, I need to give this to the people, the hope, the solution". Because especially we have the end-time message, and that is so very powerful. And then how people can survive with that kind of situation? We need to give them the solution.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

This is the solution, you know? So, you know, kind of...

We just experiment. There's really, that experimenting is actually our training.

John Bradshaw: Ramon, did you ever wake up in the morning and say, "Today I'm a missionary. What in the world am I doing"?

Well, in the first few years, yeah.

John Bradshaw: Yeah?


Shandy Tengkano: Of course.

I'm like, what am I doing? You know, what am I doing? And then everybody's trying to convince me, even families, you know, who are actually churchgoers, try to discourage me, you know, in many ways because they're just living by theories. "No," I said, "No, I wanna experiment this, and I wanna know, I wanna go to God's school, experiment Him". But, you know, it's just like the things that come into our ears kind of discouraged me, got me to thinking, "What am I doing here"? But then, you know, the solution is this: Shut your ears, and then you get accustomed when God will provide along the way, and at some point you say, oh, you know what? The sweeter we serve, the longer we serve Him, the sweeter He gets.

John Bradshaw: Yes.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him". That's the verse I go by.

So back up 15 years.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

You knew that one day you would retire, and you'd have plenty to live on, and you'd be comfortable...

Ramon Tengkano: Mm.

...and so on. Fast forward 15 years, you are living by faith.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: Yes.

How long can you do this for?

Well, this is a life choice, John. This is, we're happy doing it. You know, experimenting and seeing the result that God gives us a new heart, and, you know, having to see souls, seeing souls, it's a life choice.

Okay, someone right now is thinking...mission work. Maybe they're thinking of stepping away from the calling on their life right now, the profession they're in. How would you advise somebody, first to assess whether or not the call is from God...

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

Ramon Tengkano: Mm. Mm-hmm.

...and then to pursue it, if they really feel like it is? What's your advice?

Well, we tend to define a mission field according to our own wisdom, and as a result, people get disappointed. You know, they realize down the line it's not for them, but I think if you submit to the Lord and let God decide for you, sometimes the mission field that we think about is not really the mission field that God wants you to be. You know, what I mean by that is a few days ago, I heard somebody who had the heart for people that he's been connected with, he's been playing golf with them to reach out to them. He felt bad because golf is identical with, you know, rich people's sports, but then, look, it's not about the golf. Golf is only the tool for you to reach out to them. When else can you actually sit down with somebody for four or five hours a day? That's your mission field. You know, whatever you have in your hand, consecrate it to the Lord, and you do something, maximize it, because you have to, first of all, you have to have the heart for people. That is, God is actually gonna lead you where He wants you to be. It's not necessarily like you gotta go to jungle, you have to leave your career, you have to, I don't know; it is not for us to say it. God has the say 100% where He wants you to be.


And it could just be next door to you.

Shandy Tengkano: Mm-hmm.

You know, so many people here in America are so skeptical about God; maybe God wants you to reach out to them, you know? Things like that. You know, we try to complicate mission world but it's actually really, really simple.

As we close, what are you expecting God to do as you carry forth this mission calling?

Oh. For us? I just wanna learn more surrender to Him, more belief that the choices that He make is good for my, that is the tools. And then, you know, working with the Lord, the hard things is the surrender, because we thought that, you know, everything is good, right? Ministry, you know, give everything, you know, like, the service...

Ramon Tengkano: Mmm.

...but we're kinda missing the surrender because we thought we need to choose the service that, the ministry that we want in, but, you know, I just want to learn that, "Lord, You need to choose for me, because everything is not for the work. Everything is for myself".

Yeah, it's about transformation.

How I can be a better person, yeah. It's not the work, but it's the transformation, and I just want God to do it for us, and then for the kids, because I have my children. I want my children to see the choices that we make. And we thank God because they...

Starting to see it.

...they're starting to see...

Starting to believe it. They see disappointments.

They see a lot of disappointment, but for the disappointment, they come through God by Himself, and now they see; they say, like, "Mommy, can we join your ministry? Can we join working with the Lord"? And I told them, "You're gonna get disappointment". "It's okay. If you can make it, we also can make it". That is our aim.

Ramon Tengkano: Yeah.

It's been a real joy talking with you. Thank you, both. And God bless you. I appreciate it very, very much.

Shandy Tengkano: Thanks a lot.

Ramon Tengkano: Thank you for having us.

And thank you for being here. What a joy, and I hope and pray that you're inspired and encouraged to be a missionary, wherever God calls you to be a missionary, for undoubtedly He has called us all to serve Him. With Shandy and Ramon Tengkano, I'm John Bradshaw, and this has been our conversation.
Are you Human?:*