Hello. You can call me John, or Jan. I'm more comfortable being called that.
I was a muslim, then agnostic, gnostic and finally a catechist of the Orthodox Church. I would like to share what it is like to be a convert in my country, Indonesia. I will also tell how we survive, and maybe take some lesson here and there.
It isn't very hard to live as a convert here in Banten, but there are several parts of Indonesia where it might be not that fortunate. Aceh and West Sumatra is one of the example. I am lucky because I live in the more metropolitan side of Banten, which is a lot more tolerant than other places. Banten was notable for an islamist uprising in the early days of Independence, aside from West Java.
As I live on a more tolerant and cosmopolitan side of Banten, I am fortunate enough to be honest to other people that they wouldn't lynch me for conversion. My parents though, are stricter in this regard. I've gotten found out twice, and each time they became harder on religious policy.
Living on the cosmopolitan however, also translates to hedonistic lifestyle. In Indonesia the night life isn't so exposed due to strong conservative values but it is there and it is a big problem. The middle to high classmen of Banten are comprised of liberals and conservative muslims.
When my friends asked what religion I am in, I simply answer that I am a catechist. I still practice the regular islamic rites, attend religion classes and go to mosque, but the reality is I am still a christian. This surprisingly baffles a lot of people, because to them it seems that I am committing to two religions at once while I actually am only committing to one and the other is a disguise.
Their reaction to my conversion varies. Some are nonchalant and welcomed me as an ordinary human being. Some are interested and sought to learn more. Some are concerned of me and my parents, and very few oppose my conversion openly. It truly is not hard.
My parents of course, are highly displeased to see their eldest son convert to Christianity. You see in Indonesia there are several prominent muslim ulamas who make false claims about Christianity, and many people are more willing to believe in them than in actual, genuine Christians. I've gotten into several debates with my parents, all of which ended in my submission due to the debates devolving into yelling. My conversions solidified my parents devotion to Islam, but it didn't stop me from being Christian. I yearn to tell them the truth some day.
"Surviving" is an overstatement maybe. Living here is decent. The only problem is that we don't have a seminary nor a bishop yet, so we are sending students abroad(which costs a lot) and consecration of priests is hard because we are still under New Zealand. It's fine and dandy, but it's not an easy life either.
Several churches are under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and others are under ROCOR. It resulted in two different tastes of Orthodoxy, but generally we maintain good relations with each other despite the tension.
Getting a permit to build a church is very hard, with some churches having to wait for more than 10 years to even start building a permanent church. During these times, parishioners set an open tent in the open. There are some incidents where the annoyed Muslim population blasted big audio systems loudly on purpose to disrupt the open mass, but it happens very rarely.
Currently our church(Sts. Peter and Paul Parish) resides in a rented building. We have all the church needs(vestments, iconostasis, icons etc.). The building consists of two stories, with the first floor making the entrance and a sort of "lounge" where parishioners have a coffee hour after liturgy and also where kids reside. The second floor is the church, complete with the necessary equipments of the church. It can fit approximately 40-80 people in it. It consisted of parishioners from many places from both inside and outside of Banten, with some arriving with a travel bus. They are generally nice people and are very polite.
All in all, unless you are really unfortunate it's generally safe to live as a christian here. There has been incidents here and there but it doesn't ruin our resolve as Christians. We serve our community as we do, receive hostile treatment but hey, it's not that bad.