Indonesia (MNN) — Despite facing threats of violence in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, a group of Christians in Indonesia is standing strong.
According to Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International, a group of believers, led by FMI-supported church planter Pastor Yudianto, was holding a meeting when about 20 radical Muslims interrupted.
The Muslims told the Christians to disperse and never meet again, threatening them with machetes and taking their pictures for future intimidation. Later, when the police arrived, Allen says boxes of weapons were found outside for quick access.
“Pastor Yudianto stayed a while longer with the family who had hosted the church meeting,” Allen says. “They just shared their heart with him, wondering, ‘How do we go on from here? We’re nervous, we’re scared, but what do we do next? We still want to be discipled by you.'”
Yudianto has a fairly well-established ministry site in Central Java, and has recently been pioneering evangelism in this second village where the attack occurred. Yudianto individually disciples about 15 believers in this village, and had gathered them together in one of their homes to discuss the idea of beginning a formal church when the attackers broke in. Despite the possibility of being killed, Yudianto plans on returning to the village later this month to continue his ministry.
“He’ll hold a meeting with all those Christians again, several different families and parts of families represented in that new congregation, and really encourage them, saying, ‘This is what we face as Christians in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim dominant country,'” Allen shares.
“Even though Christians enjoy protection constitutionally, on a local level, practically, they may not enjoy that because of radical elements that like to go from village to village and hunt down Christians.”
It’s hard for them to know who to trust. This past summer, Yudianto told Allen that in the village of his primary ministry site, there is a police officer affiliated with a radical extremist mosque, which stirred doubts in the Christians about their safety.
“So if the Christians need the protection of the police, if there is an attack, or churches are burned or bombed, or a Christian is physically harmed or threatened, sometimes they wonder, ‘Will the police really come to my aid?'”
That’s where FMI comes in. Allen says Yudianto will need to get creative to continue having an effective ministry, so the team is working to give him the training he needs to succeed.
“FMI’s leadership is helping him think through those types of issues, and in fact, even during my visit to Indonesia this summer, part of our ongoing training conference was talking about how our identity in Christ makes us more than conquerors,” Allen says.
“That whole concept is still what Paul says. We are like sheep led to the slaughter, but even in the middle of all these hardships and difficult circumstances, we can remain more than conquerors. We do not have to let these difficulties — tribulations, famine, persecution, things like that — they don’t have to defeat us. We can have victory even in the middle of them.”
Allen asks that you pray for wisdom and courage for Yudianto and peace for his congregation. Pray also for courage for police officers working to protect Christians and create harmony.
You can also help financially. For just $50, you can provide ten image-based Gospel tools, part of FMI’s “Project Snapshot”, for Indonesian believers. Click here, and donate to the tangible resources fund to supply these resources for the Indonesian church.