Impact
05 June 2020

Indonesia: Your help is an answer to many Covid-19 prayers

Indonesian Christians are giving thanks to God for all who have supported them through this coronavirus crisis. Your help is an answer to their prayers. 


Indonesian Christians are giving thanks to God for all who have supported them through this coronavirus crisis. Your help is an answer to their prayers. 

The Christians hit hardest are believers from Muslim backgrounds who meet in house churches and discipleship groups. The members of these groups are highly dependent on one another, as families and communities often reject or abuse converts from Islam, leaving them unsupported and reliant on their new family in Christ. Through our partners, and thanks to your gifts, Open Doors has provided hundreds of believers with non-perishable food items, such as rice, sugar, oil, salt, tea, flour and instant noodles. 

"Your help is God’s answer to our prayers" Ayu*

Ayu* and her husband Sapto* are leaders of a group of believers from Muslim backgrounds, most of whom are poor, working as farmers, housemaids, construction workers, vegetables sellers and street food sellers. They earn their wages on a daily basis, and their income has been severely affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic. When our partner visited the group and told them that Open Doors wanted to deliver relief aid to the members, Ayu was moved. 

“Your help is God’s answer and confirmation to our prayers, especially for our members who have been in dire need of daily support for the last two weeks,” she said.

Indonesia coronavirus

Indonesian Christians received essential supplies

Christians left behind

According to the Indonesian Ministry of Labour, around 1.9 million workers have been laid off since April 2020, where the total number of infections has reached more than 25,000 (as of 29 May 2020). The government has implemented a relief aid programme to help Indonesians through these difficult times, although this hasn’t reached everyone.

Sri, a widow, says: “I used to work in a small food shop. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, the number of customers to the shop gradually decreased. Eventually the shop had to close. I was then laid off. I don’t have any job now to earn money, but I still have my five children to feed.” She stops, wiping tears from her face.

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In the early stages of the pandemic, Open Doors immediately contacted several of its partners. They shared that they were in the same predicament as Sri and did not receive any aid from the government. 

“It has been a common practice where believers or converts are usually left behind or forgotten during relief aid distribution in a crisis situation,” says an Open Doors’ partner, Pak Mat*. He shares that, in previous disasters, the Muslim majority have been given first priority while the Christian minority were forced to follow strict and difficult procedures in order to get aid. 

‘We try to be a light to our neighbours’

Despite such unfairness, the believers see it as a way to test their Christian values and become more faithful to God. Prabu*, who leads a group of believers from Muslim backgrounds, says, “We are still grateful, despite the unfair treatment from the government. Instead, we try to be light to our neighbours. When some people come and complain to us about their problems, we help them with whatever we have.”

Pak Mat says, “The members of this group have been teaching me much about faith. They understand Christ and his miracles in a very simple way. For them, God loves them and will provide for their needs accordingly. And it drives them to share their blessings generously to their Muslim neighbours who are financially affected, too.”

Treated like a criminal

Firman* is another partner who did not get any government aid – Pat Mak believes this is possibly because of evangelism in the past. The group’s activities as mission workers were exposed by Muslim clerics from the community who interrogated them and eventually forced them to move house.

Other believers have faced discrimination when seeking medical treatment during the pandemic. When Irna’s* husband, a doctor, and her mother-in-law were infected, she was taken to the nearest hospital for a medical test. “They brought me in like I was a criminal – two village officers guarded me at my right and left side. As we were walking through my housing complex’s street to the hospital, I heard people say, ‘That Christian!’ Some were looking at me in disgust. It was really a traumatising event for me,” she said.

Indonesia coronavirus

Vital food and aid distributed to vulnerable Indonesian Christians

A positive mindset

In the face of such an uncertain future, Open Doors is planning to continue to bring hope to persecuted believers. Believers like Sri, along with hundreds of members from various discipleship groups, have become the focus of our support in the past two months during which an initial distribution of relief aid was taken to 181 people (approximately 62 families).

“This relief aid gives joy to our members, knowing that the body of Christ from elsewhere are paying attention to their needs," says Ayu. "This helps to strengthen them to have a positive mindset and attitude."

Sri, also expressed her appreciation. “Thank you, Open Doors, for your help in providing our daily needs.” This time her eyes were filled with joy.

*Names changed for security reasons


Please pray
  • For God to supply the needs of all believers from Muslim backgrounds and help them to stay strong despite discrimination and uncertainty
  • That believers will have opportunities to bless their neighbours and share God’s love
  • That more Christians in the UK & Ireland will become aware of the situation facing believers from Muslim backgrounds and will be mobilised to support them.
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Every £56 could equip a Rapid Response team to courageously bring emergency aid to a family of persecuted believers.

 

 

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