Local believers in Sumedang, West Java, are rejoicing after the release of Pastor Bernard Maukar on April 29, 2013. Shedding tears of joy, twenty-members of Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia (GPDI) were unable to contain their emotion as their 59-year-old pastor returned to church.
Incarcerated for operating the church without a permit, Pastor Bernard now says, “At first I felt sad during my first week in prison, because [I knew] I wouldn’t see my family for three months. But when I prayed, God continually reminded me that He loved me…I had more time to pray and read the Bible while I was in prison, and I grew stronger in my faith in the Lord [as a result].”
Being in jail didn’t stop Pastor Bernard from sharing his faith with others. On one occasion, two Muslim prisoners asked him to pray for their healing. A few hours later the men were healed – they have since promised to come to Pastor Bernard’s church once they are released.
During his time in prison, an Open Doors worker was able to visit Pastor Bernard and give him a One With Them wristband. It was a reminder to him that he was not alone and that Christians around the world were praying for him. “I was strengthened when I learned that many people, whom I never knew, were praying for me. I really like the wristband. It was unique and many people in prison asked me where I got it,” smiling, Pastor Bernard adds. “Thank you for being with me!”
Since his release from prison, Pastor Bernard and his congregation have again decided to pursue a church permit for the third time. Unless they secure a permit, the church will be vulnerable to attacks and threats from Islamic radical groups.
Please Pray for:
Pastor Bernard Maukar as he continues in his ministry
Local churches, including GPDI, who are struggling with securing permits; pray for the process to proceed without hindrances
For churches in West Java to respond with wisdom whenever they are threatened by radical groups and extreme local leaders.