By ICC’s Indonesia Correspondent
06/19/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – For many, the Sunday morning on May 13, 2018 is still fresh in their minds – bomb blast was heard in three churches in Indonesia’s Surabaya. The city was in shock.
The tense atmosphere soon filled not only the city of Surabaya but throughout the country and even abroad. It began with the first explosion at the Catholic Church (Santa Maria tak Bercela) in Ngagel at 7:30 AM. Soon the Indonesian Christian Church became the second victim. The last explosion occurred at the Central Pentecostal Church in Arjuna at 8:00 AM. All the churches in Surabaya canceled their worship for the whole day. The attack was an act of terrorism carried out by a family of six who dedicated themselves to the NIIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham). Children were used for the first time in Indonesia as suicide bombers.
After this incident, all eyes were on Surabaya to monitor the conditions of three church buildings affected by the explosion and the state of the victims. The government promised to cover all medical expenses for the victims of the blast, reimburse people who had their motorbikes or vehicles destroyed, and provide compensation for the church buildings. Christians from these churches who suffered loss were relieved to know that they would be taken care of by the government.
Two years have passed since the horrific attack took place, Fenny and her daughter Marissa, who were victims of the bombing, have recovered physcially, but burns all over Fenny’s body need special treatment for scars. Fenny’s plan for skin surgery in Malaysia is constrained due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Fenny has to wait until COVID-19 is under control. Marissa, on the other hand, is now in good health and attending school as usual. Fenny told ICC that this experience has taught her to always rely on God because our abilities as humans are limited.
Fenny experienced this tragic disaster at Surabaya’s Central Pentecostal Church. The bombing took place in front of the church building. Although the government had promised to restore the church building, nothing has happened for the past two years. The church is neglected by the authorities. Fortunately, with the consent of the congregation, the church agreed to repair the building’s damage by using funds collected by themselves. Today, the burned section of the building has been restored and can be used again for worship.
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected the whole world, requiring congregations to worship through online platform. As of now, the Surabaya Central Pentecostal Church building has been closed and unused for a few months. Pastor Yonathan Biantoro told ICC that before the plague struck, not all bombing victims had returned to the church. Some people are still traumatized by the attack, while other victims have returned and resumed their worship at church.
Please pray for the Church in Indonesia to remain steadfast in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whatever happens. Also pray for all the people of Indonesia, so that every thing that falls on the country will make them aware of the importance of upholding humanity.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].