“My name is Petrus Kristian. I am the oldest son of Pastor Ishak Kristian, who was burned to death a few months ago. It happened on October 10, 1996. At 11:30 a.m., about twenty people came and surrounded the church. My father, the pastor, tried calming those angry people, but they did not move away from the church. My father went into the house and prayed with six other people, including the rest of my family.
“Thirty minutes later, about 200 people came on foot bringing many kinds of tools. They started smashing the church building and parsonage. Six of the people in the house, including my father, ran and hid in a room at the back of the house. The other person hid upstairs where he was safe. Some of those angry people saw them and told them to get out of the room. Since they did not leave, the people started burning the building.
“One of those seven people, Didit (a church worker) ran through the fire and escaped. My father, mother, sister, cousin, and a church worked were trapped in the house and burned to death.
“During the fire, the local police did not take any action, probably because they were afraid of the mob. I hurried to the church at 1:30 p.m. but by that time, all were gone. The army, whose military base was four kilometers from town, were at military training elsewhere and were not available.
When they arrived at 5:00 p.m. to guard the area, everything was in ashes.
“The night before the funeral, a local government official apologized. He advised me not to take revenge. He also said that the incident might be my family’s fate. (This is Muslim teaching – the will of Allah.)
“At first, I was really disappointed because I lost all of my beloved people. But this made me realize that material things around me are not eternal or worth loving. After the fire, most of our congregation become stronger in faith.
“Because we have Jesus, it is not difficult to be a Christian, although there are many oppressions.”
Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us... Those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.
Paul the Apostle
Martyred in Rome, 65 AD
(2 Corinthians 5:14,15 NLT)
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