Five Difficult Situations to Pray for in Indonesia

Fr. Randy     Jun 1, 2016 7:00:00 PM

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1. Pray against the Indonesian Jihad on Christian Churches.

"We will not stop hunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah's enemies!"

Even though Indonesia is one of the most proportionally Muslim countries (90% Muslim), it has always been a great example for the rest of the world that a large Muslim majority can live peacefully beside their minority religions. That is, until recently. About 7.5 million Roman Catholics make up only 2.9% of the population, but problems are starting to escalate.

In 2006, Indonesia’s government passed a “religious harmony” law that prevented religious groups from building a place of worship unless they completed a nearly impossible task of getting 90 signatures from Muslim families.  

Since then, this law has given government officials the excuse to close more than 1000 Christian churches ,and even churches who have managed to secure the permit are unable to build.  Although the Indonesian Supreme Court has since overruled the decision, local authorities refuse to cooperate.

Even when Christians try to worship in an empty lot, they face violence and discrimination. On Christmas Day in 2012, as Christians gathered in an empty lot to celebrate the holiday, hundreds of Muslims threw rotten eggs, rocks, and plastic bags filled with urine and feces at the Christians worshipping.  The Christians hoped for help from police but realized the police wouldn’t provide support for their side of the conflict.  Their only hope was to worship in private.

In November 2015, a 700 person mob armed with machetes and torches started to burn down Sacred Heart Church in Pugeran, in the South of Yogyakarta, during the first morning Mass because the church did not have a “permit.”  The mob continued to try to burn down another church that did have a permit and one man was killed.  As the violence against Christians continues to escalate, 8,000 Christians have had to run away from home to neighboring provinces for safety.

2.  Pray for Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and NU (Nadlatul Ulama)

The new Indonesian President, Joki Widodo, claims that he is for diversity and declares that he is doing his best to calm the discrimination against Christians.  Please pray that President Widodo has the courage to take legislative action or military action to smother this discrimination against Christians.

Please also pray for people in Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, who are willing to work with various religious groups in upholding religious freedom.  One of these groups is Nadlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Islamic organization, which has long been a champion of religious pluralism in Indonesia.  In 2014, NU achieved its goal of helping to disseminate the message of tolerance to radical extremists or terrorists. Still, some members have fallen into a more fundamental form of faith.

3. Pray for Christian Converts and the 8,000 Christians who have had to leave their homes.

Christian Converts face severe discrimination if people find out they are starting to follow Christ.  They may be sent away to a strict boarding school or be subject to other forms of indoctrination.   

Pray also for the 8,000 Christians who were forced to flee to neighboring provinces.  They are in dire need of food, clothing, medicine and protection from the radical groups that have sworn to hunt them down and kill them.

Pray for courage, protection and perseverance for all Christians facing such persecution in Indonesia.

4. Pray for the Health/Support of the Indonesians

Even though poverty is gradually reducing in Indonesia, from 17 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2014, nearly 40 percent of the Indonesian population lives barely above the poverty line.  If problems suddenly arise with weather, food prices, or health, they can quickly fall into severe poverty.

Indonesia still suffers from inadequate access to food, education, safe water and sanitation – especially people living in disaster-prone areas.  Additionally, women are discriminated against in education, decision making, and salaries.  

Indonesia has come so far but still has very far to go in health, human rights, and safety issues.  Please pray they continue progressing in the right direction.

5. Pray for support for the Missionhurst Missionaries

Imagine how hard it must be to serve as a Missionhurst missionary in Indonesia.  How can you serve the poor Muslim population when anti-Christian sentiments are increasing?  Yet the Catholics in Indonesia are a vibrant community.  They participate actively in their parishes and spend a lot of time at church.  The converts, too, are truly filled with the Holy Spirit.  

This new wave of anti-Christian sentiment is making life difficult and dangerous for the Missionhurst missionaries.  Please pray for their wisdom, guidance, and protection as they strive to serve the Indonesian people and share with them the truths of the Catholic faith.

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Missionhurst Missionaries build Catholic communities in frontier situations: places where the gospel is not preached or lived. This blog is about their work in the four corners of the globe, and their holistic work in four areas of focus: relief and healthcare, socio-economic development, education, and pastoral work.

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