Indonesia (MNN) — A failed
suicide bombing on Sunday highlighted growing ISIS activity, not in the
Middle East, but in Indonesia.
An Islamic State member tried to
detonate explosives in a Roman Catholic church during Sunday mass, but
his backpack bomb fizzled. He then pulled an ax and slashed at the
priest before being subdued. The priest sustained minor injuries.
Forgotten Missionaries International’s Bruce Allen says this Muslim-majority country is starting to see increasing flares of homegrown terrorism.
(Photo courtesy of 8thirty8)
“The Indonesian government has really
been trying to monitor Islamic State activity because they know some
Indonesians have gone to fight with Islamic State in other countries,
and they’re very leery about those people coming back onto home soil, so
to speak, and bringing that militant ideology with them.”
Allen was recently in Indonesia over the summer, and says
even during their trip, they heard rumblings of militant Islamic
“There was a suicide attack breaching
a police station near the center where we were having an ongoing
training conference for church planters. Even from that time to this
weekend’s attack, there have been other attacks against churches. Police
are ramping up security patrols around churches even in the middle of
the night, and it’s a disturbing, increasing frequency there in
We don’t often hear these types of
occurrences in countries like Indonesia because, for the most part,
Indonesia is a calmer and more stable country than others with an ISIS
“There are some guiding principles in
Indonesia. The government has tried to shape a culture that is very
tolerant, even though it is predominantly a Muslim culture. But they
constitutionally protect the rights of select religious minorities,
Christianity being one of them,” says Allen.
“But what our church-planting
partners in Indonesia are seeing is an increase in local militancy,
that even though Christians are constitutionally protected, a church’s
neighbors or a Christian family’s neighbors may not care about that, so
there still will be persecution.”
(Photo courtesy of FMI)
Instances of persecution can be anything from church vandalism to more hostile intimidation tactics, like the report we gave earlier this month of a meeting of Indonesian believers that was interrupted and threatened by Muslim extremists.
With over 6,000 inhabited islands in a
spread-out country like Indonesia, it can be difficult for the
government to keep track of oppression taking place at the local level.
“Between what the constitution says and what actually happens on various islands, it can be a world of difference.”
Christians only make-up seven percent
of the Indonesian population. While the Gospel is spreading, it can be
difficult to get the momentum of a church plant going with community
hostilities and lack of funds.
That’s why Forgotten
Missionaries International works with church planters in Indonesia to
support their ministry and to encourage making disciples. Many of these church planters graduate from seminaries, and from there, the work begins.
“Those graduates say, ‘We have a
heart to plant churches across our country. We have the education. We
just need the prayer support, the financial support of our brothers and
sisters around the world because we’re not getting that type of support
locally, because we are such a minority within our population.’”
FMI supports the pastors and their
families as they get a church plant going, and many indigenous
congregations in Indonesia have thrived through this support from the
worldwide Church and the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Training conference with FMI in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of FMI)
Allen invites you to get involved! Pray for the strength and encouragement of Indonesian church planters. You can also actually be an encouragement by writing a letter to them!
“If people would like to send words
of encouragement to their brothers and sisters overseas, they can do
that by going to the FMI website, forgottenmissionaries.org, and in the contact tab sending us an email. We’ll forward that to folks overseas to encourage them, to let them know they’re not alone.”
Click here to learn more about FMI and to support their ministry.
Source: Mission Network