WHY PERSECUTION AND MARTYRDOM?
…in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. John 16:2     

Today we begin a two-part look at the testimony of a terrorist persecutor named Maulana who ultimately gave his life to Christ and became a Christian missionary:   

I was born in a Muslim family in a small town of Demak, central Java, Indonesia. My family was very strict in following Islamic Sharia laws. As a Muslim, I read a lot of the Koran, Hadits, the sayings of the prophet Mohammed, and all the other books that help me be a devoted Muslim.   

I started to learn about a famous international Muslim named Ayatollah Komeini from Iran. I welcome Ayatollah Khomeini’s ideas and his call to revolution to all Muslims because it will be very nice to have Islamic Sharia law applied in our society. That would arrange all ways of life in this country according to the truth of the Koran. I don’t like the West because their lifestyle has affected the Eastern lifestyle, young people dress like those in the West, which is so far from Islamic propriety. I hate that.    

And this has also caused me to hate tourists who come to Indonesia. They bring Western lifestyle and can’t be a role model for us in Islam. I see Christians as hindering Sharia teaching in Indonesia. Indonesia must be cleansed from the cross. It’s a must! Sharia must happen in civil society. The Christians worship Jesus, who is merely a man. For us this is sin, and we must stop this movement through churches.    

The Indonesian government is committed to freedom of religion, as stated in our national constitution. But for Muslims this is not good. It will not bring any good to the country’s future. Because we do not get support from the government, we take law into our own hands. We attack churches; we shoot pastors while they are preaching to cause fear. We do it because the government does not back us up, so we do it by ourselves. We do not fear death because we were encouraged by Ayatollah Khomeini to spill our blood to the last drop to make this happen.     

Remember the bombing in Bali? That was a combined expression of our frustration and our goal. Calling us terrorists is a big mistake, because we’re just Muslim God lovers.     

The government supports Eastern Indonesia and the islands to be Christian, and is actually hindering us from teaching or implementing Sharia law there. So we devised secret plans to bring about Sharia law in Eastern Indonesia. I was one of the first 5,000 soldiers sent from east Java on a ship to the island of Ambon. En route from Surabaya to Ambon, we hijacked the ship in Solo. We searched the ship and checked each passenger’s identity. Anyone with a Christian ID were either killed or thrown into the ocean. And together our group took over the ship and headed for Ambon Island to eliminate the church of Jesus Christ.    

Tomorrow the change that comes to Maulana’s life when he meets Jesus.   

RESPONSE: Today I understand that it is Jesus in me which prompts persecution and martyrdom.

PRAYER: Pray for Christians in conflict zones like Indonesia who risk their lives living for Jesus.

STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM (SSTS) -A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25

Right now millions of Christians face persecution because of their faith in Christ. Register to receive the Open Doors USA Weekly Prayer Alert email. Join alongside thousands of others praying for our brothers and sisters worldwide to stand strong in the midst of their struggles. Also learn more about countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe by visiting the Open Doors website today.