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by Craig Tee

Daniel aged 15, is described by Ms Sumidja, his loving grandmother who he lived with, as a typical young boy in character, but a diligent grandson who knew what he desired.

He attended church every week faithfully. Following carpark duty for the first service, he would head off to youth service. He played the drums and taught others at youth to play as well. He loved being a part of the worship team. Daniel’s 20-year-old sister Novi, who recently started working, supported Daniel and his grandmother and paid his school fees. Daniel contributed to the running of the home from the tips he received from his carpark duties at church every week.

Daniel’s father had taught him since childhood to work persistently. He worked as a parking attendant in Pentekosta Church Central Surabaya (GPPS) alongside his father on Sundays. His responsibility was to manage the parking lot at the front yard of the church, while his father worked at the parking lot at the back of the church.

Life and Loss
On that fateful Sunday, 13 May, Daniel was performing his usual duties when a black van tried to force its way into the carpark. He reacted and signalled that the van stop! The van swerved to avoid hitting Daniel, yet the driver kept going. Daniel commanded the van to stop once more and as the van neared the front entrance of the church it exploded with such force that the entrance awning disappeared, rocking the whole building to the core and sending churchgoers everywhere with the impact.

Daniel’s life, like that of many others, was cruelly taken away that day. His grandmother explains tearfully as she clings to a recent photo of Daniel.

He had been taught to read the Bible and love God. The proof of his love for God can be seen on his Bible where he wrote “I love Jesus” on the last page. The book of Matthew was his favourite. He grew to be a spirited, brave and responsible young man.

As a grandmother and mother, who had lost Daniel’s mother when he was just two years old, Sumidja loved her grandson and the high spirit he brought to the home. She holds back tears as she shares how he had a desire to acquire an old motorbike which he could refurbish. Taking from her last savings, she managed to help him buy a motorbike, which he doted over at every chance he had, frequently cleaning it and occasionally doing the minor services. It was his delight and satisfaction.

Daniel had recently completed his exams and Novi excitedly showed me his workbooks. All neat and in order, quite unusual for most teenagers his age.

This was a life taken away by an act of violent cruelty. I could not help my own emotions surfacing whilst I struggled to continue to hear about this fine young man. I pondered my own childhood and my close bond with my grandmother, while still struggling to comprehend the loss thrust upon this family.

The loss and grief displayed by this grieving grandmother was heartbreaking and very touching.

As I bid my farewell, I hugged and held her tightly as she wept, and through her tears said to me “I know where he is, he is in God’s hands.”

I left feeling empty for their loss, promising to continue to pray for them as they deal with the senseless and tragic loss of life of Daniel.

Sadly, cut short in life, not in the least ever forgotten.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 1 John 5:4