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Four-year-old Alvaro has had 17 operations since the attack. -- Photo: World Watch Monitor
Four-year-old Alvaro has had
17 operations since the attack.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Just over four months ago, on November 13th, 2016, a bomb attack took place on the grounds of the Oikumene Church in Samarinda, the provincial capital of East Kalimantan. As a result of the attack, a young girl named Intan Olivia (2.5 years old) died the following morning after suffering burns on 75 percent of her body. Three other youngsters were also injured: Anita (2), Triniti (3) and Alvaro (4). A previous report on this incident is available here.

Thankfully, Anita and Triniti are now home, following hospital treatment, though Triniti continues to require regular checkups. Meanwhile, Alvaro -- the most severely injured of the surviving children -- feels "ashamed" because of his injuries and shies away from new people. Considering that he has undergone 17 different operations, his reaction to the trauma is understandable. Alvaro's mother, Novita, says he has at least stopped crying after each operation.

"I always try to encourage him by saying it is important to regain his health, and by praying with him before the operation," says Novita. "Seeing him happy is my source of strength and joy as well." The 40-year-old mother is a finance officer at the local police station, and often takes work with her during hospital visits. Alvaro's father, Hotdiman, is presently seeking new employment since his previous job took him too far from home.

Twenty-one people were arrested after the vicious attack, seven of whom had known links to ISIS. One of the perpetrators, 32-year-old Juhanda bin Muhammad Aceng, reportedly wore a black t-shirt with the message, "Jihad Way of Life," as he threw a Molotov cocktail from his passing motorbike. He was convicted of plotting a terrorist attack in 2011 and, according to police, had been under supervision since his release on parole in 2014. While no new information has been released about the status of his current trial, two of the other attackers (aged 16 and 17) were handed two-year prison terms in January.

We are thankful for the medical treatment these three young children have received, and the progress they are making. May complete healing take place both emotionally and physically, making it possible for them to live normal lives. Pray that as these children experience the Lord's tender loving care through the ministry of others, they will develop a meaningful relationship with Him. Also uphold all the families and church members who were affected by the attack -- including the family of little Intan who tragically lost her life -- that they will be greatly comforted and strengthened by the Comforter Himself. Additionally, pray for the provision of a new job for Hotdiman, enabling him to be close to his family during Alvaro's recovery.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
275,122,131 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Javanese (40.1), Sundanese (15.5), Malay (3.7), Balak (3.6), Madurese (3), Betawi (2.9), Minangkabau (2.7), Buginese (2.7), Bantenese (2), Other (23.8)

Religion (%)
Muslim (87.2), Christian (9.9), Hindu (1.7), Other (0.9), Unspecified (0.4)

Leader
President Joko Widodo (2014)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system based on the Roman-Dutch model and influenced by customary law

Sources: CIA World Factbook.

Pray for Indonesia

Pray for the continued growth of the church in Indonesia, despite the intense opposition and persecution that has taken place. May the destructive plans of the enemy to eradicate Christianity be frustrated and nullified.

Pray that whatever is intended for evil, God will turn around for good -- causing such hatred and violence to not only discredit extremism, but to also compel many to seek salvation in Christ... including the perpetrators of persecution.

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