By Sarah Kearney
06/15/2016 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Historically, Indonesia has been known as a secular country with religious tolerance, but there is growing evidence that Christians are in greater danger of persecution. Many churches have been forced to meet in homes due to threats by local radical Muslim groups.
Approximately two years ago, churchgoers in a city near Jakarta were meeting in an unmarked building. In the middle of the sermon, a group of radical Muslims entered the church demanding that the Christians stop using the building as a church. They threatened to burn down the building if they did not stop meeting there. The landlord had no choice but to evict the church to protect his building.
For a period of time, the church was forced to stop meeting altogether. Eventually, the church managed to bring together community and church leaders to discuss their church. The meeting brought together the pastor, church members, radical Muslim groups, village leaders, and police officers.
By the end of the meeting, only radical Muslim groups were demanding the church’s closure, while the other leaders and officials voiced that they did not mind the church’s existence. They noted that the church had been there for more than 10 years without creating any community disturbances.
Unfortunately, little changed for the church. They were forced to bounce from location to location in fear of being shut down or threatened by radical Muslim groups. At one point they found a place where they were allowed to meet in a mall. Once again, radical Muslims stormed the building and threatened them with violence, forcing them out once again.
Currently, the church meets “underground” in an unmarked building. The church building is well off of a main road and they have been careful to leave no signs of the purpose the building. They are careful even when going to church or standing outside of it for fear of being identified by radical Muslims. While the building is safe, the building’s costs are extensive. The cost prevents the church from being able to invest in church equipment, particularly a sound system.
With the help of generous donors, ICC was able to purchase a new sound system for the church, including two speakers, one mixer, two tripod speaker stands, two cables for microphones, and one microphone.
This answered a prayer that the church had prayed for more than a year. The pastor and the congregants were very thankful and expressed their gratitude. The pastor said, “I really thank ICC for providing and giving our church all these things. It’s really beyond our understanding on how the Lord could answer our prayer through ICC. Thank you ICC for this blessing!”
An elder of the church also extended his thanks to ICC, “I myself could not believe that ICC gave this to us. We wanted to buy but did not have enough money. In fact this is more than what we asked for. Thank you so much ICC for giving us these. We believe that these things will really help us to grow the ministry of the church. Thank you so much ICC.”
The Lord is at work at this church in Indonesia. The church’s faithfulness and courage are undeniable. In their ministry, the church asks for prayer for the safety of the underground church and boldness to reach out to their Muslim neighbors who are persecuting them.