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News / Thoughts

Indonesia: Forgiveness not bombs

June 4, 2018

A few days after the recent Surabaya church bombings in Indonesia, when wounds and hearts have yet to heal, an Open Doors field worker visits a few members of the Surabaya Pentecostal Church (GPPS) that was impacted by the attack. Despite deep grief and loss, they decide to respond as Jesus would. This is a story of sacrificial courage and the power to forgive.

“We must not give in to fear. We must hold Sunday worship service as usual,” said Rev. Yonathan Budiarto exactly a week after the incident. This time, however, worshippers gathered under a tarp at the church parking lot. The church building was so damaged it was impossible to use. The debris had not been removed. Electricity was still off. Dried blood marks stained the floors, and a pungent, nauseating odor filled the air.

On the morning of the previous Sunday (May 13), a van forced its way into the church premises and exploded. It was one of the suicide bomb attacks carried out at three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city where attacks against minority groups are rarely heard of. The incident killed at least 15 people and injured over 30 others. Six of those who lost their lives (excluding two security guards) and at least seven who sustained injuries are GPPS church members.

“Revenge will not break the cycle of violence.”

Robby Pujianto (62) was thrown six meters toward the pulpit from where he was sitting when the bomb exploded. He rose immediately to look for his mother who previously sat beside him. Miraculously, she was still there, unscathed. They instantly went home to clean his face from blood and discovered the right side of his back wounded by shattered glass. “It hurts when I lay down. Then, as I remembered that Jesus was scourged, I suddenly felt like His arms were holding me and the pain began to ease,” he said.

Robby felt no anger or resentment toward the terrorists. “As Christians, we are taught to forgive. Revenge doesn’t get us anywhere; the cycle of violence will never be broken. The Bible says ‘do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,’” he said.

Robby, who runs a family business with his son, has workers who are all Muslims. “I have no hatred against them and they don’t feel any discomfort toward me. We are on good terms.”

On that Sunday worship service on the parking lot, Robby felt a little daunted when he first entered the church premises. “But as the service progressed, my fear went away,” he said.

How Open Doors has been helping

Open Doors extended financial aids to more than 10 victims, including to families of the deceased and those who were injured. Your endless prayers are needed to help these believers recover and remain Christ’s witnesses through their living message of courage, love and forgiveness.

Pray now…

  • Ask God to comfort those that have been affected by the bombings
  • Ask that churches involved will be able to rebuild and be places of peace and safety
  • Ask for an end to violence and that Christians and Muslims would work peacefully together
  • Pray for God to use stories of forgiveness like this to turn many to Him.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.