Former model Rachmania Kadi shares with City News how a single two-hour long prayer meeting set her free from years of drug addiction and depression, once and for all.
Tall, confident and stunning, it is no surprise that Rachmania Kadi was once a supermodel in Indonesia. However, her chirpy demeanor belies the depression and addiction to drugs that troubled her years ago. The 34-year-old who recently resigned as a yoga instructor in Singapore to move to Norway is now happily married to Norwegian manager engineer, Knut Thorsland, 45, whom she met years ago on an overseas trip. Between the couple, they have three children: 13-year-old Shabiya is Rachmania’s daughter from a previous marriage, and 15-year-old Cecilie and 12-year-old Tor Christian (call him TC) are from Knut’s first marriage.
Rachmania summed up her life before she met Jesus in one word: “Messy”. But she now declares passionately that “Jesus has transformed her world.”
DEPRESSION, DRUGS, AND DEATH
Having modelled since the age of 14, Rachmania faced a lot of societal pressure to look “perfect” since she was young. “I always had issues with self-image,” she recalls. “Because of the demand in that industry, you feel like you are never enough. They’ll tell you you’re not skinny enough, you’re not meaty enough, you’re not tall enough, you’re not white enough, you’re not brown enough…
“Sometimes, I had to eat more for some fashion shows, and then in between, I had other photoshoots in which I needed to be really skinny. When I was modelling, it was always about appearances and physical looks, which messed with my head,” she says.
This sparked off Rachmania’s downward spiral into depression. Pressure from both work and peers led her to pick up heroin. She started taking drugs socially at parties, but it wasn’t long before she became a full-blown addict. At her worst, she could not function if she did not use meth in the morning and sleeping pills at night before bed. “I was no longer taking drugs for fun, but to live,” she shares. She underwent rehabilitation almost 10 times over a nine-month period, but the addiction proved too difficult to fight off.
Life appeared to change for Rachmania when she got married and had her daughter, Shabiya, at the age of 21–she quit drugs during her pregnancy. However, two years after her daughter’s birth, drug addiction crept back into her life. “When Shabiya slept, I’d start shooting up. In the morning, I’d wake her up and send her to school but I wasn’t fully sober,” she admits. At the time, she did not feel guilty about her addiction. However, she did worry that she was being a bad mother to her daughter.
Due to spousal abuse, her first marriage eventually ended in divorce. Within a few years, she entered into another toxic relationship. “My ex-boyfriend was really controlling,” she explains matter-of-factly. “He felt that since he was providing for me, I shouldn’t work. I had plans to continue pursuing a Bachelor degree in communication, but couldn’t do so anymore because he was scared I would get involved with someone else. He put me in a golden cage.” It was then that she started having suicidal thoughts.
Despite that, the pair got engaged. However, she lost him to a tragic car accident. “After my fiancé died, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do, how to start again… All I thought was: Can you just take me with you?” Rachmania remembers.
After his death, she went to her deceased fiancé’s grave daily continuously for 40 days to talk to him as if he was in front of her. “I couldn’t socialize like a normal person, and I really looked like I was crazy,” she says. “My daughter, who was 6 then, was there watching me, and she didn’t dare to express her sadness. She said to me: ‘I need to be strong because if I cry, Mommy will be even sadder.’ She felt that she needed to be strong for me.”
It was then that Rachmania realized she needed to be responsible for her daughter. “My only happiness at the time was Shabiya. If God didn’t give her to me, I would have been dead by then,” she admits.
A LIFE-CHANGING ENCOUNTER
Rachmania tried to cope with her pain by praying. “I got really angry at my god at the time, for letting my ex-boyfriend die,” she says. “I tried to reach out to this god, but somehow, I didn’t feel any better. I never felt any comfort, and seeing no response, I became angrier and angrier.”
It was then that she decided to ask her best friend Ajeng, who is a Christian, to pray for her. Ajeng invited Rachmania to a prayer meeting the very next day. Ironically, Rachmania and Ajeng had met through their common addiction to heroin. “The first time we met, she bought drugs for me,” Rachmania recalls with a laugh.
The following day, Rachmania found herself in a room with a prayer intercessor. The prayer intercessor’s job was to attend to the needs of individuals by praying for them. Alongside the intercessor were Ajeng, her best friend, three other ladies and a man holding a guitar. Rachmania admitted that she initially felt awkward with this set-up.
When the intercessor asked her for her prayer needs, Rachmania responded by saying she had a headache, had no appetite, felt sick all the time, and asked if she could be cured. The intercessor’s response shocked Rachmania: “With God’s help, you will be healed from your illnesses. And if you receive Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven. You will become a new person. Clean.” As the intercessor spoke, she offered Rachmania a piece of paper with the cross in the middle.
As the intercessor offered to pray for her, Rachmania felt a wave of unexplained anger rising in her heart. The intercessor later shared that Rachmania’s eyes turned “all black”, and explained that it was probably a demon trying to take control of her emotions. “I felt angry about being surrounded by strangers who were now giving me this paper saying that I needed to follow Jesus,” she shares.
The intercessor asked Ajeng to start reading Bible verses aloud. With each verse, Rachmania felt more rage. While she could not remember exactly what was prayed over her, Rachmania recalled her turning point—she felt one verse stuck with her. And she started to question God.
“I asked God: why did you let all these bad things happen to my life? Why was I never happy?” says Rachmania. She then felt someone comforting her from behind her, saying, “I have always been here since the beginning.”
“When I closed my eyes and bowed my head, I saw Jesus in every situation when I was near death. I overdosed a couple of times, and Jesus was there. Every time I closed my eyes when I was driving because a demon convinced me to kill myself, Jesus was sitting on the passenger seat. When I wanted to jump down from my apartment’s balcony, Jesus was there next to me. All those scenes came into my mind,” she shares. “I wasn’t even saying I believed in Jesus; I was just questioning Him. But already, He was responding to me in such a special way.”
Overwhelmed by God’s presence, Rachmania lost track of time as the intercessor prayed for her. When the prayer ended, the intercessor handed Rachmania an iPad and asked if she wanted to be led in the repentance prayer typed out on the iPad. It turned out that the Holy Spirit prompted the intercessor the night before to type out her repentance prayer with details of everything Rachmania had done in her life.
“I thought: how did she know this?” Rachmania said. “I read it, and I burst out crying, but I felt good.”
Immediately after the meeting, she found that her headache was gone and the appetite that she lost for years due to drugs, had returned. She ate to her heart’s content outside the prayer room and felt “really light, like I was stepping on feathers”. Laughing apologetically, she compared her encounter with Jesus to taking heroin for the first time: “The first time you take a shot of heroin, you fly high. My encounter with Jesus felt just like that, but a million times better.”
FOLLOWING JESUS: TRANSFORMED AND RENEWED
When Rachmania arrived home the same day, she started to wonder: “What happened? Am I a Christian now? How did Jesus perform ‘magic’ on me?” She began to get curious about Jesus and turned to her best friend. Ajeng encouraged her to download the Bible app on her mobile phone, and she started regularly attending church services at Gereja Bethani Indonesia, a church in Jakarta.
Following her encounter with Jesus at the prayer meeting, Rachmania noticed an immediate transformation in her life. Besides feeling like a heavy weight had been lifted from her chest, her craving for drugs stopped altogether.
“I couldn’t even see a straw or aluminum foil in the past without it triggering me to want to use drugs again,” she explains. “I reflected all the time on why I suddenly didn’t want or need drugs anymore, and I realized it was because this salvation is too precious to me. I never once felt tempted to take drugs again since the day I was set free.”
As time passed, Rachmania’s hunger and love for God grew. She described her relationship with Jesus as something she never had before. She says, “I can just talk to Him like how I talk to you; in the car, when I shower, everywhere. When I ask for forgiveness every night before I go to sleep, I don’t need to use poetic words with Him.”
Three months after her salvation, God prompted Rachmania to enrol into a Bible school. She explains: “I was in a period when I needed to start tidying up my life. I [felt prompted by God] to let go of all my worldly possessions and stop my bad habits like spending money [excessively], using insensitive words and getting into wrong relationships.
“However, I struggled with it as I had no clue where to start. I absolutely needed godly knowledge and wisdom to teach me how to live my life and how to cope with my difficulties much better when they come,” she says.
That was when she was convicted by Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”, and enrolled herself in City Harvest Church’s School of Theology, which she describes as “one of the best experiences of her life”.
“I learned and experienced a lot,” she shares. “When I went to SOT, I felt that it was my home, where I belonged. I’m really grateful that God gave me CHC, where I feel welcome, accepted, and free from judgment. I experienced God greatly in that place.” Rachmania also excitedly adds that her daughter wants to go to SOT too after she finishes high school.
After completing SOT, she taught yoga and made use of one-to-one interactions with her clients to “find a need and meet it”. While Rachmania admits to still having mild insecurities about the way she looks, she thanks God for sending her “an amazing husband”, who thought she was “beautiful when she had messy hair or pimple cream on her face”. She’s also immensely grateful that she clicked with her husband’s two kids instantly, even dubbing them “cuddle machines”.
Extremely grateful to God for all He has done in her life, Rachmania says: “Who am I? If you had seen how I behaved for many years, you’d think I was such a wretch. I was at the edge of death and on knocking on the door of hell; just one more step and I would have been gone. That’s why I say, this is truly amazing grace.”
She adds, “Everything happens for a reason. We don’t always understand it now, or next week, or even next month. But God is always there. God loves all of us, not only people who believe in Him. I wasn’t a believer before, but He loved me and cared for me even then. I don’t think people should feel alone, because we’re not. God is always there. I wish I could say that to everyone.”