by AMG Missions StaffViolence and Victory in Indonesia
During the last few months, ethnic and religious violence in Indonesia has escalated until thousands of refugees have had to flee their homes, while many others have been brutally murdered. Reports of beheadings, rape, and torture came out of Indonesia almost daily. Sometimes the turmoil is a result of warfare between tribes, and at other times it is the result of persecution against Christians.
In the midst of all this unrest AMG's national workers continue to spread the good news of the gospel in village after village. However, their efforts do not escape the attention of some of the enemies of the gospel, and sometimes there are serious repercussions.
One night a group of more than 300 men, dressed as Ninja and carrying swords, attacked the church building at Tempursari village in central Java, where AMG national worker Yakub Setyoadi is pastor. The building, which had just been renovated, was completely destroyed. On two previous occasions Muslim villagers had stoned the building, even though the Christians had obtained permission from neighbors and from government officials to erect a church.
In another village, believers had just finished building a new building to accommodate their growing numbers. As they gathered for their first service in the new building, a crowd of about 200 villagers, including village officials, came threatening them. "If you ever hold a service in this building," they warned, "we will burn it down!" The Christians knew that this was no idle threat, since they had just learned that another church planter had seen his building burned to the ground by an angry mob. The new building sits idle today, while the Christians worship in their old building with a dirt floor. And yet they keep on witnessing to their neighbors in spite of persecution.
In many of these small villages AMG has sought to present the love of Christ by opening small child-care centers to alleviate the suffering of poverty-stricken families. Their children can come three days a week to prepare for elementary school, hear Bible stories, and enjoy a hot nutritious meal. In this way, God is opening the door to the hearts of many Muslim families. When they see the love AMG's child-care workers show to their children, they are much more open to the gospel.
Through these centers, AMG has a marvelous window of opportunity. However, in order to sustain the centers already in operation and to begin three new centers, we need about $1,500 per month. If you would like to contribute toward this need, mark your gift for the Village Children's Fund. And please pray for the persecuted church of Indonesia. Pray that all these efforts of child care and the ministry of national workers will result in a great harvest of souls.