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INDONESIA: False Kidnapping Accusation by Family of Christian Convert

INDONESIA: False Kidnapping Accusation by Family of Christian Convert

When Zulfitri Handayani, a woman from Aceh, converted from Islam to Christianity, her family announced that she had been kidnapped. Her two sons were taken into the care of her ex-husband and her own family.

In a recent video, she told the Mayor of Langsa, in Northern Sumatra, that she chose the path of Christianity and there was no kidnapping as claimed by her family. She apologised to her family but asked them not to accuse other people, slandering the man they claim to have kidnapped her.

Zulfitri also clarified in her video that she was under no pressure from anyone to convert to Christianity. She begs her sister, Amelia, to allow her to have at least one of her children with her because she can take care of them better than their father. She cries, “Is it wrong to have another religion? Is Christianity wrong? To the people of Aceh, do not believe my family.”

The family attempted to forcibly bring Zulfitri back home, but to no avail. Zulfitri remains in Medan without her children.

The province of Aceh stands alone in having formally established Shariah law in Muslim majority Indonesia. An Acehnese is presumed to be a devout Muslim.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord to continue to give Zulfitri courage. Pray He will comfort her during this time of suffering and uncertainly.
  • Ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of Zulfitri and her children. Pray for the wellbeing of her two sons.
  • Pray the attention of this case will be used by God as a strong witness. Pray for the salvation on Zulfitri’s family members and others in the community.

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INDONESIA: Persecution Continues for Christians in Lock Down

INDONESIA: Persecution Continues for Christians in Lock Down

Many Christians are facing increased persecution during the coronavirus pandemic, especially in parts of Indonesia where even small family gatherings of Christians are being protested.

Pastor Si of Huria Kristen Batak Protestant (HKBP) church was gathering with a very small group of family in his home last Sunday when a Muslim Hajj and neighbourhood leader barged in.

“The men were yelling in anger with a piece of timber, demanding we stop our meeting immediately,” said Pastor Si.

Pastor Si took a video of the incident as he is fearful the attacks will worsen and mobs will again form to threaten him. Pastor Si has previously experienced similar incidents. Years ago, his family were terrorised by a mob throwing stones at their roof every night for a whole month.

Pastor Si says he is confused by the Sunday attack as he has respected all government advice by staying home and not organising large meetings or inviting outsiders.

Pastor Si uploaded the video to his Instagram account and the governor responded saying he would investigate. Unfortunately, no progress was made and Pastor Si was even asked to apologise to the protestors. He has since taken the video to the police and is awaiting an outcome.

Source: VOM Indonesian contacts

  • Pray for justice and protection for Pastor Si.
  • Pray Pastor Si and his family will not be fearful, grow weary or lose heart. Pray they will be determined to fervently pray for those who oppose them and the Gospel.
  • Pray the church in Indonesia will be used as a powerful witness during the COVID-19 crisis.

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INDONESIA: Another Church Closure

INDONESIA: Another Church Closure

Another church in Indonesia has been forced to close this month due to protests from local community members.

The congregation at New Testament Christian Church in Central Java, were meeting on Sunday 16 February when protestors entered the building demanding that the church service halt. Local residents and wider community members were armed with posters demanding the closure as police arrived to mediate.

The church’s pastor asked if he could finish the service and meet with the sub district office later. He was granted permission but unfortunately, the subsequent meeting was unsuccessful.

The protestors attended the meeting, along with police and the Indonesian Clerics Council, and asserted that the building should not be used for Christian activities. Although the pastor didn’t sign an official agreement, the church was forced to close.

Source: VOM Contacts Indonesia

  • Pray the Lord will uphold the faith of these believers. Pray the church members will be even more determined to worship together, without fear.
  • Pray for wisdom for the church leaders as they make decisions concerning their church and future ministry.
  • Pray the conduct of believers may be used by God as a witness for the Gospel.

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INDONESIA: Three Churches Closed

INDONESIA: Three Churches Closed

Voice of the Martyrs workers in Indonesia have confirmed the recent closure of three churches. Government and local resident intervention are to blame for the closures, all within the last month, which has affected three different congregations across parts of the Muslim nation.

GBI Church in Tanjung Pinang was in the middle of the construction of their new church home when their building permit was suddenly revoked by the local government. The local mayor had even attended the church’s groundbreaking, and construction had already begun when officials revoked the permit and removed signage without explanation.

Church leaders were left confused and are now considering legal action.

“We keep depending on God in this situation and will discuss with Legal Aid Institute to consider our next steps for tackling the situation,” said GBI’s senior pastor.

Two house churches have also been forced to close after intervention from nearby residents. Many house churches throughout the country operate without disturbance but can be reported and subsequently forced to close if they don’t have permits.

One of the churches in Cileungsi had been running for ten years with close to 70 members. Last week, a group of people tried to prevent churchgoers from entering the building. The Christians resisted them, entered and were told that it would be the last time. The opposing group demanded the church close and be converted back to a house. It is believed the protest was led by a local security guard who is also in government.

Similarly, after the Pillar Asih Protestant Church in Bekasi was discovered in a home by a local resident, a group of protestors gathered to demonstrate against the church. When police arrived a short time later, they forced church leaders to sign a document demanding the cessation of all church activities.

Source: VOM Contacts Indonesia

  • Pray the Lord will uphold the faith of these believers. Pray they will not give up meeting but continue to love and serve one another as they persevere.
  • Pray for wisdom for the church leaders as they make decisions concerning their respective churches and future ministry.
  • Ask the Lord to use these recent incidents to unify the believers in the area and embolden them in sharing the Gospel, even to those who oppose it.

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The Many Faces of Indonesia

The Many Faces of Indonesia

What is the first thing that comes to the mind of a Westerner about Indonesia? The answer is Bali, the fabulous and scenic holiday destination. About the size of Europe, Indonesia is also the most populous Muslim country in the world. A tourist will not see the oppression the minority Christian population experiences, or the destruction of churches or even the very serious persecution occurring in some places.

Last year, Voice of the Martyrs trained 200 young frontline workers to share the Gospel with unreached Muslim tribes. Muslims have found Christ and new churches have been established as a result. In 2020, the goal is to help the training school become self-supporting. This will be accomplished by purchasing a fishing boat and using the proceeds to support the evangelists.

Source: VOM Finland

  • Thank the Lord for the biblical training school which is equipping many to serve as evangelists and church planters. Pray for the plans for the school to become self-supporting.
  • Pray the Lord will protect these workers as they minister courageously in unreached areas. Ask God to continue to provide opportunities to advance His kingdom.
  • Praise God for the growth of the church and pray new believers will be strengthened in their faith.

Post your prayer in the comments below.