On November 13, 2016, a bombing in Samarinda, Indonesia, killed a toddler, Intan, and wounded three other children—Alvaro (4½ years old), Trinity (3), and Anita (2). A March update from Open Doors reported that “Trinity and Anita were finally able to go home after lengthy hospital stays, though Trinity must continue to visit the outpatient clinic for doctors to monitor the healing of the scars on her face and other parts of her body. Of the three children, Alvaro was the most severely injured; half of his head and right hand suffered severe burns. He has already undergone surgery 17 times, which included three major skin patch operations on his scalp, and multiple surgeries that often last an hour or two to clean the wounds under only general anesthesia.”
Young Trinity, her mother Sarinah, and three other family members came to Jakarta on June 14 as witnesses against the defendants, five bombing suspects linked to local terrorist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah. A week earlier, the families of Alvaro, Intan and Anita had been summoned to appear. Jakarta is a 2.5 hour flight from their hometown and the trip to the capital city reopened Alvaro’s burn wounds, according to his mother.
Like Alvaro’s mother, Sarinah cried as she described to the judge her child’s disfiguration right after the blasts. But after her turn on the witness stand, Sarinah walked toward the defendants and said, “I forgive you. Please repent; no more innocent children killed and wounded. Mine is enough.” Her voice trembled but she held herself together as she walked out of the court room.
The trial has been on-going for months now, away from media scrutiny for security reasons, so we do not know when the next hearing or the verdict will be. “Let the law enforcers do their job. The most important thing for me is for my child to recover,” said Sarinah moments before the police escorted her away. Continue to pray for the families—for complete healing, inside and out, for the children and their parents.
Open Doors field representatives were at the trial to support the families. “I can’t express my surprise, gratefulness to see your presence in the court and to have had you pray for us. Open Doors has never stopped paying attention to us since the incident. It means a lot to me. I pray that God blesses your ministry abundantly. You are truly His hands in this world,” said Sarinah Gultom through a phone call days later. Thank you for standing alongside our fellow Christians in places like Indonesia. Please keep praying for these families.
Father, we cannot begin to comprehend the pain and suffering of these families and are comforted only in knowing that You hear the cries of their hearts and are a ready help to bring them comfort. We pray Your comfort to surround the family of Intan, whose life was snuffed out at such a tender age. In their grief, draw them near. We pray healing for Alvaro, Trinity and Anita and for the patience to endure ongoing treatment and surgeries. And you know better than we do their inner suffering, so we call on You to heal the memories and fear. In the midst of continuing concerns of attack, give them all, children and parents alike, the faith to journey into each day with courage and hope that is anchored in Christ alone. In the name of Jesus, our anchor of hope in the storms of this world, Amen.