Seventeen More Christians Rescued in Indonesia

Wednesday, August 1, 2001

by John Lindner, Senior News Editor
August 1, 2001

Over this past weekend 17 more Christians were rescued from Islamic Jihad militants in Indonesia.

When jihad fighters attacked the Christian village of Cera last year, the men temporarily held off the attackers allowing the women and children a brief chance to flee. Outgunned and outnumbered, the men soon had to flee for their own lives.

Methu was one of those who escaped. His wife, Adel, had left at the beginning of the conflict with with her son, Aris, 8, daughter, Tien, 10, her mother and her mother-in-law. The old and the young could not flee quickly and were captured by the Muslim militants who promptly murdered Adel's mother, mother-in-law and son in the jungle.

Methu thought his entire family had died in the massacre, but when he learned that Adel and Tien were still alive, went to the village with an escort of three soldiers to reclaim his wife and daughter. When he arrived in the Jihad-controlled village, he was told that Adel had divorced him, had converted to Islam, had married a Muslim husband, and was already pregnant with his child. Adel, having been warned beforehand they would cut off her head-along with that of her daughter and husband--if she didn't give the politically correct answer, confessed it was true.

Later she was able to smuggle out a letter expressing her true feelings for Methu, begging his forgiveness, and asking if he could still rescue her. In the letter, Christian Aid's Indonesian contact described as "A Cry from Hell," she described the humiliating ordeal she went through. She said soon after capture she was stripped naked, cut on her arms and body with machetes, prodded in the groin with spears, and marched publicly through the village during the time of her menstruation. Her captors said they were going to roast her like a dry, salted fish.

However, one Muslim man said he would take her as his wife, which halted the harassment. She was forced to become a Muslim by being circumcised and by reciting the Muslim prayers. Later, when Methu came for her, she was already pregnant with the Muslim man's baby. In the providence of God, after giving birth to a son, her Muslim "husband" gave her permission to leave the village to visit relatives in Christian territory. To assure she would return, she had to leave her daughter, Tien, behind.

"Mum, you must go now," Tien said. "I know Jesus is looking after me, but you must escape while you have the chance, and then you can let Daddy know where I am so that I, too, can be rescued. Mum, you must be strong, for the Lord is with us."

So Adel was able to rejoin her husband the end of June, but longed for her daughter. That reclamation finally took place this last weekend. With funds supplied by Christian Aid and others, a rescue team, accompanied by a military unit, went to the Muslim-held village to effect the rescue. Twelve soldiers were assigned to personally accompany Tien while others rescued 16 additional Christians.

"They [Tien's captors] had starved her for a week, and she was very weak and skinny," the Indonesian contact said, "but as we talked with Methu, Adel and Tien yesterday in Manado, they were rejoicing at the goodness of the Lord. On days like this, it is an especially good day to praise the Lord!"

Many people have given to help rescue Christians captured and held hostage by jihad terrorists. The rescues continue at low profile, a few at a time, and involve great risk-but are bearing fruit as families are reunited and Christians are liberated to serve the living Savior. Altogether over 1400 Christians have been rescued since the first of this year.