The following statement is attributed to Stalin: “When one man dies it’s a tragedy. When a million die, it’s a statistic.” On 13 May 2018, 13 people were killed, dozens wounded, and the Pentekosta Church heavily damaged in targeted church bombing attacks in Surabaya, Indonesia. If you are like me, the scale of such a bombing can detract from the precious individual lives that are destroyed by it.
I met Fenny in May 2019, one year after the bombings. As a result of the bombing, Fenny incurred burns to 85% of her body; it would not be an exaggeration to say that her skin appeared reptilian. She recounted the horrific details of the event when her body was lit aflame and how she scurried to find a tap to douse the flames. Her daughter was also injured in the attack and her husband is trying to make sense of God’s purposes in it all. The atrocity of such a situation reminded me that, the gates of hell are attempting to prevail against the church.
Hebrews 13:3 (NKJV) states “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.” This is a reminder that, whether we choose to accept it or not, we share the same spiritual body as Fenny and her family. Though we cannot feel her pain, we should try to imagine what such a life would feel like and pray accordingly. This conviction is from Mark 12:31 which says we should love believers like her as we would love ourselves.
The generosity of many believers made it possible for Voice of the Martyrs to respond to her immediate medical needs, which included several skin grafts and medications. In addition, the rebuilding of the church has started the slow and painful process of rebuilding the lives and families of the 1,000 believers who attend the church.
A year later, Fenny is still in chronic pain, though she recounts God’s faithfulness, saying that she did not feel the pain when she was alight. It was by the grace of God that the service finished 10 minutes later; had this not been the case, many more would have been killed as the bomber planned to detonate as people were walking out of the service.
This month’s challenge:
Saint Augustine said that “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us.” Please continue to faithfully pray for brothers and sisters like Fenny who you read about in this newsletter – each one is precious to Jesus who would happily leave the 99 to attend to the one.