Caught in the Crosshairs

UPDATE (Oct. 16, 2015):  We are delighted to report that Yuda has now returned to preaching at his church in Indonesia! Praise God with us that Yuda seems to have no impairment of brain function or memory loss. He still experiences some neck spasms and pain and is scheduled for follow-up medical reviews. Donations toward Yuda’s health care expenses are still appreciated.

Discrimination and persecution against Christians wears many faces, and it has significant impact on the strategies and implementation of our overseas partners’ ministries. Sometimes it comes in the form of a large terrorist threat with faces under masks – such as the growing influence of the malevolent Islamic State in Pakistan; other times it comes in the form of the visible faces of neighbors – such as tribal leaders trying to banish Christians from their rural village in Bangladesh. In the case of Pastor Yuda from Indonesia, the assailants were up close and personal but previously unknown to him.

2015 crosshairs

Several of the FMI-supported pastors in Indonesian gather for worship at the start of an on-going training conference in the summer of 2015. A few weeks later, one of them was attacked by radical Muslims and beaten in the head with a hammer.

Pastor Yuda, who serves on the island of Kalimantan, was recently brutally attacked by radical Muslims with a metal hammer. Shortly after midnight on September 8, four unidentified men began throwing rocks at his church building to damage it. The noise woke up Yuda, and he went outside to see what was going on, and if he could identify the perpetrators. (The few rooms of pastor’s home are usually adjacent to the church building here.) The foursome started to run away, but Yuda quickly caught up with them to ask reason for their actions. From their responses, Yuda could determine that the men were militant Muslims from a particular tribe. One of them turned and suddenly produced a hammer and began to hit Yuda on the head with it. As Yuda lay in the street bleeding in the middle of the night, his assailants escaped.

Providentially, someone else was alerted to the incident and was able to make sure Yuda was taken to a hospital. He first went to a ‘local’ health care center (about an hour away from his very rural village amid palm oil groves), then on to a further hospital where doctors were able to stop the bleeding, stitch him, and provide antibiotics and painkillers. But this hospital had no imaging equipment to see what damage may have been caused to his skull and brain. Yuda was then transported to a larger medical facility about 4-5 hours away (on what often could best be described as “off-road” conditions), to determine the extent of his injuries.

We are grateful that Yuda survived the attack. Please pray for his swift recovery, and for his family and church’s courage and steadfastness in light of the attack. If you would like to share in meeting his medical expenses, please give to FMI’s Support for Overseas Partners account. If you would like to send him a message of encouragement, please use the email form on our site’s Contact Us page and we will forward it to him.