Bali Bombing Brings Unity to Indonesian Churches

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Revival Meetings Attract Large Crowds
by David Freeman

LONDON (Compass) -- Following last October’s bombing of a Bali nightclub, Christians and churches have made an effort to unite in their response to the tragedy.

Attacks on churches by radical Muslims and the Bali bombing have disturbed the Bali community, reports the Rev. Annette Hammond of Abba Love Church, Jakarta.

“This has brought a spirit of shame over a large section of the Bali community, with a subsequent opening to the gospel,” Rev. Hammond said.

A memorial service is planned for October 2003. A choir of 5,000 Bali Christians will sing during the festival, and a united church service will be conducted in the Bali sports stadium on October 12.

“The authorities have realized that all their efforts to bring about a recovery in Bali have failed,” said Rev. Jeff Hammond, who was asked to meet with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to arrange the details of the services.

“Seventy percent of those affected by the bombing on Bali were Christian or of Christian background. Bali can only be healed in a Christian-led recovery.

“What an opportunity to demonstrate that Christians can indeed be a blessing to the nation, and to break the spirit of darkness and gloom over this island. This is how transformation comes about, when a united, praying, loving body of Christ does what is absolutely impossible for anyone else to do,” Jeff Hammond said.

Public revival meetings in May 2003 in Manado, North Sulawesi, attracted large crowds. A series of meetings that began with 15,000 attending on Sunday closed with 30,000 people packing the sports stadium on Wednesday night.

On the last evening, people brought samples of earth and sand for a symbolic prayer for the healing of their nation. They repented of many crimes such as corruption and theft, and many rededicated their lives to Christ.

Hammond says he has never known a time of such opportunity in Indonesia. At the meetings in North Sulawesi, government leaders were “lining up” to share their spiritual experiences and to request prayer.

In Batam, an island near to Singapore, 1,500 Christians recently gathered for a seminar on transformation. Different ethnic groups asked forgiveness of one another. One group confessed to the murder and cannibalism of the first missionary, a German Baptist who brought the gospel to the Batak people of North Sumatra.

“Half the population on Batam have now become Christian and the atmosphere there is electric. People are living in expectancy of God and the mighty work He is doing among them,” said Jeff Hammond.

In Bogor, the heartland of the Sundanese people in West Java, 300 intercessors gathered to hear Poate Mata, a guest speaker from Fiji, who called for unity, reconciliation and forgiveness so that their nation could be healed.

“There is fervency in prayer and a commitment to unity never seen before in the life of the church here,” Jeff Hammond said.