Islamic leaders, government authorities and community members in a village in East Java, Indonesia demanded that the Indonesia Victory of Faith Church (GKII) cease all worship activities to “maintain religious harmony” because two other churches were already operating in the village.
For almost 10 years, GKII has been holding worship activities at the house of its leader. “The neighbors had never objected to our presence,” said the surprised pastor. “In fact, we had had a good relationship with them.” The church currently has 14 adult members.
Despite the demands, GKII resolves to continue holding services and cell group meetings. The pastor shares that fear is still hovering in the air and that, “We now sit on the floor in a circle instead of on chairs. We pray and worship without music.” Every now and then, members of the congregation check the door or window to see if anyone is watching.
GKII church leaders have asked for our prayers, “Please pray for the Lord’s direction: should we stay or should we move? If He wants us here, please pray that He would touch the hearts of those who reject us. If He wants us to leave, pray that He’ll show us a new place.” Pray also for the Lord’s daily provision for the families and the church as many rural churches are hampered by poverty.
In a separate incident, on August 10, a group of Muslim rallied in front of the mayor’s office in West Java to protest against the construction of St. Clara Catholic Church in Bekasi, a town bordering the capital city, Jakarta. They accused the church of having manipulated the procedure in obtaining the building permit.
The allegation was denied by the town mayor, Rahmat Effendi. “I assure that the licensing process followed the due process,” he said to the local media. However, Mr. Effendi allowed the association to review the procedure, during which the church construction will stop temporarily. The Catholic Church had been trying to obtain the permit for 17 years and finally received one on July 14—only to be revoked the following month.
Father God, we come to You pleading on behalf of these believers at Indonesia Victory of Faith Church and the St. Clara Catholic Church. We do not pray in idle hope, but we pray earnestly to You, the One True and Living God. We pray in faith knowing that You bend Your ear to hear the cries of Your people. And so we pray for protection of these fellow Christians. And, we pray for wisdom because in Your Word we are promised that You will grant it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Make Your way clear to them. Father God, we pray confidently for them that even in their poverty You will continue provide sustenance. For You are their Father, our Father, and we turn to You because we are confident in Your compassion and sufficiency. With Solomon we declare about You, “He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his Sight.” (from Psalm 72) In the Name of Jesus, our Strong Deliverer, Amen.