I met Levina Christy at our connect group from Hillsong Church Melbourne. We haven’t spent a substantial amount of time together, but when we do see each other, I’m always struck by how insightful and content she is. Levina is a solid person with a warm heart and a deep trust in her faith. And after getting to hear a meaningful portion of her life story, I’ve realized that she is resilient and faithful.
Levina is: steadfast, creative, lively
Levina, 19, was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her mother, Esther, is Chinese and her father, Djarot, is Indonesian, specifically Javanese. Her mother’s side are all Christians, but only her father’s siblings and parents are Christians from his side of the family. Levina has two older siblings. Her sister, Nathania, and brother, Benaya, are both studying at universities in Singapore on full-ride scholarships.
Levina comes from a strong family. They’ve been through so much and have sacrificed a lot, yet still remain faithful and hopeful. Take their housing situation for example. The family owned their own home, but in 1999 felt called to use their house to open a Kindergarten school. They did not have enough money to buy another home, so Levina’s mother’s friend, Rubi, allowed the family to rent her home for significantly cheaper than the normal rate. The family stayed at her house for nine years while they saved up money. In 2008, they were able to buy their own home.
But just a year later while Levina and her family were vacationing in Bali, their home in Jakarta burnt down. There was an electric fault in her father’s studio, and the whole house went up in flames and turned to ash. There was nothing left at the home. “The only remaining things we had were the things that we brought to Bali,” Levina said.
She said looking back she’s realized just how devastating the loss was for her family. “It was one of the lowest moments for our family,” Levina said. “We had to restart from the very bottom.” But, she said, God was faithful through the whole thing and always provided for them.
Her family returned to Rubi’s house to again save up money to buy another home. They were there for about two years, and in 2011 the family bought the house they currently live in. Levina said Rubi’s generosity taught her to lend a helping hand to those in need. “I learned to always help people without expecting things,” she said.
Even though Levina’s family is now dispersed in multiple countries, they maintain a tradition of getting together for Christmas and New Year. Her family also travels together at least once a year. They have mostly traveled around Indonesia to explore its beautiful natural wonders. But they have also traveled to Hong Kong (the first country Levina traveled to when she was in Kindergarten), Singapore, USA, Israel, England, Germany, Holland, Greece, Australia, Taiwan and Japan.
She said her family has instilled the desire to get out and see the world while experiencing other cultures and cuisines. And a sense of adventure; her family loves to enjoy nature and pursue activities like trekking, canoeing, hiking and bungee jumping.
Levina said her favorite part of traveling is getting to see nature. “Just being in awe of God’s creation, being there and present,” she said. Jakarta is mostly pollution and traffic, so you don’t get much fresh air or nature, Levina said. So it’s nice to escape from the city and experience natural wonders. But the worst part of traveling is the mosquito bites, Levina said. “I have quite sensitive skin, so once I’m bitten my whole body gets rashes,” she said.
Australia is the first country Levina has lived abroad in. She is here to study fashion marketing at RMIT University. “I’ve been traveling since I was little, so it’s just kind of built up as I’m getting older,” she said.
Levina is confident that God led her to Melbourne and blessed her with a series of miracles along the way to get her here. “Throughout the process I really just relied on His direction,” she said. RMIT has two intakes a year, February and July. The February intake application deadline in October, and she only began the application process at the end of October, but was able to acquire all the necessary documents in time to make the February intake.
Moreover, she had to create a bank account in Australia to pay for a deposit for her tuition to secure her place. She needed $1,412 (Australian dollars) to make the deposit. Her family visited Australia four years prior, but Levina hadn’t even considered it as a place to return to. But her mother felt like God told her to save the money they had left over from their trip. The amount that remained? $1,412. No need to scrape together the money and go through the hassle of exchanging currencies; Levina had the exact amount she needed, and she was able to secure here spot.
Still not convinced? Her student visa came just two days before her intake, which made the turn around less than a week. The visa process usually takes one to two weeks. They bought her flight ticket one day before her intake and she and her mom flew out the next day. There were only two seats left on the flight, and the tickets were half of the lowest prices they had originally seen. “You know it’s God,” she said. “None of that would have happened if it weren’t for Him.”
She said obedience to God is the most important conviction in her life. Levina really trusts in God, and in everything she has been through, He has always provided. And she encourages others to have faith. “Trust in the process, because while God is orchestrating the things that will surround you, He is also making you who you are supposed to become,” she said.
Finally, Levina describes herself in three words: artistic, hardworking, gifted.