They Cry in Silence Sep/Oct 2005
It is hard for those of us in freedom-loving countries to imagine being thrown in jail for teaching children the things of God and the love of Jesus. But this is precisely what is taking place in Indonesia and other parts of the world. The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) reports that three Indonesian Christian women face possible five-year prison terms for “attempting to convert Muslim children.”1
The women are incarcerated in a small cell at a police station in West Java. They held a picnic at a theme park and were joined by some Muslim children. The 12-year-old daughter of a prostitute was given a Bible and T-shirt at the child’s request.
VOMC said the picnic was part of a church-operated children’s program. The children were having a great time until a few parents began to complain. Consequently, the three women were arrested and charged with seeking to Christianize Muslim children.
Believers are asked to pray for these women and for others who suffer severe discrimination in Indonesia. Pray also that the children’s ministry will not be abandoned because of this incident. Ironically, many Christian organizations in the island country hoped to receive some appreciation from Muslims because of their unstinting work in joining humanitarian efforts to help tsunami victims following that terrible disaster in the region. Many Christians have given of themselves, often hazard-ing their own lives, to rescue and aid suffering Muslims.
Yet the persecution of true believers, who instinctively share the love and compassion of Christ, continues. Christians received neither appreciation nor understanding for the sacrifices they made.
Such reactions are difficult to understand unless you know the teachings of extreme Islamists. They see Christians as irredeemable unbelievers, second only to Israel as infidels, and fit only for consignment to jihad or second-class status.
The violence has become so problematic that both Christian and Muslim leaders are seeking to end it, particularly after recent bombings and attacks against Christians. Some Muslim leaders want to implement nationwide Muslim law (sharia), claiming it will stem the violence now rampant in the country. However, sharia law will be a nightmare for Christians and will assuredly lead to the restriction of freedom to worship in Indonesia.
do you ever get the feeling that things are getting worse where you live? Well, to some extent, that may be true. But consider the lot of our brothers and sisters in Christ in such countries as Indonesia. Would you ever, in your wildest dreams, believe that sharing your faith with young people in a Sunday school class, Bible club, or vacation Bible school could land you in jail for five years? In America, a country of freedom, such a thought never enters our minds.
But every day it is on the minds of fellow believers in other lands.
Do you care enough to pray?
- “Persecution Prayer Alert,” The Voice of the Martyrs, June 1, 2005 <www.persecution.net/pnparchive/arch4.htm>.