INDONESIA – People all over the world have heard the story of Aldi Novel Adilang. Most won’t remember his name. They will remember him only as the Indonesian teenager who was survived being stranded at sea for 49 days in a wooden fishing hut.
Most mainstream media has told the story of how the 18-year-old was working on the rompong 75 miles from shore when he felt the anchor rope break when heavy winds generated turbulent waves all around him.
The widely published stories have told how he survived by eating fish he had been able to catch. They explained that he had about a month’s supply of rice, fuel, and water. They have also told how he filtered sea water through his shirt to create water suitable for drinking and survival.
They have told the story of how, despite his attempts to attract the attention of 10 passing ships over his seven weeks adrift, none of them noticed him and they all passed him.
Some stories include the fact that he had no GPS or even a compass. Others shared how he was able to keep track of the days by marking a calendar onboard in the hut. Yet others have told of his increasing despair as each day and night dragged on into another and after he ran out of his store of drinking water.
Most people who followed the story knew how he was rescued by the MV Arpeggio, a Panamanian-flagged ship on its way to Japan.
What most people do not know is the Aldi did have an anchor and a compass on board.
As his confidence waned in his own ability to survive and depression began to overwhelm him, he remembered the Bible he had on board.
He confessed that “There were times when I was crying and thinking about killing myself. When I was crying, the only consolation I had was reading the Bible.” He read through the books of Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah, Matthew, and John where he was reminded that his anchor and compass are ultimately Jesus. And he prayed.
Like the disciples on the raging Sea of Galilee, Aldi trusted the Lord to deliver him through the storm. That is the part of the story that we want you to know.
For the foreseeable future, Aldi plans to keep trusting the Lord – and to stay on land. On Sunday, September 30th, he will celebrate his 19th birthday.
- NDTV, Catching Fish And Keeping Faith: How A Teen Survived 49 Days At Sea
- The Guardian, Indonesian teenager’s ocean ordeal: ‘After a week I started to get scared’
- CBN News, Teen Survives 7 Weeks Stranded at Sea by Reading Bible, Catching Fish from Ocean
- The Christian Post, Teen Stranded at Sea for 7 Weeks Survived Suicidal Thoughts With Bible Reading, Prayer
- Facebook, Indonesian General Consulate