Pastor defies threats from Muslim radicals in Indonesia: 'Our identity in Christ makes us more than conquerors'

Residents cry as they attend a Sunday mass prayer near a burned church at Suka Makmur Village in Aceh Singkil, Indonesia Aceh province, on Oct. 18, 2015.Reuters

A group of about 20 Muslim radicals recently broke up a gathering of Christians inside a home in Central Java, Indonesia, ordering them to disperse and never meet again or else face violent death.

For good measure, the intruders even took pictures of the believers who were being ministered by church planter Pastor Yudianto when they barged into the home of the Christian villager hosting the meeting, Mission Network News (MNN) reported.

When the police arrived to investigate the reported home invasion, boxes of weapons were found just outside the house, presumably belonging to the Muslim radicals, according to Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI), which is supporting Pastor Yudianto's ministry.

Despite the intimidation and threats they're facing, Christians in the Southeast Asian country are standing strong, Allen said.

After the home invasion, "Pastor Yudianto stayed a while longer with the family who had hosted the church meeting," Allen said. "They just shared their heart with him, wondering, 'How do we go on from here? We're nervous, we're scared, but what do we do next? We still want to be discipled by you.'"

Pastor Yudianto, who already has a well-established ministry in Central Java, was just starting his evangelism work in the village when the attack occurred.

Despite the death threats from Muslim radicals, Yudianto plans to return to the village later this month to continue his ministry.

"He'll hold a meeting with all those Christians again, several different families and parts of families represented in that new congregation, and really encourage them, saying, 'This is what we face as Christians in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim dominant country,'" Allen said.

"Even though Christians enjoy protection constitutionally, on a local level, practically, they may not enjoy that because of radical elements that like to go from village to village and hunt down Christians," he added.

Allen said FMI is giving Pastor Yudianto the training he needs to succeed in his evangelical mission despite the dangers he and his flock are facing.

"FMI's leadership is helping him think through those types of issues, and in fact, even during my visit to Indonesia this summer, part of our ongoing training conference was talking about how our identity in Christ makes us more than conquerors," Allen said.

"That whole concept is still what Paul says. We are like sheep led to the slaughter, but even in the middle of all these hardships and difficult circumstances, we can remain more than conquerors," Allen said. "We do not have to let these difficulties — tribulations, famine, persecution, things like that — they don't have to defeat us. We can have victory even in the middle of them."