29 March 2023

Unbearable pain from Palm Sunday bombing has brought Valeria closer to Jesus

Two years ago, on Palm Sunday, Valeria was among the many people wounded by a suicide bomb that was detonated outside Makassar Cathedral in Indonesia. She has suffered immense pain and trauma, but looking back, Valeria can see how her experiences have deepened her relationship with Jesus.

Open Doors local partners visit one of the victims in hospital

It was Good Friday and Valeria was laying in a hospital room with her arms outstretched, waiting for surgery. The pain was unbearable and her thoughts turned to Jesus. “Is this the kind of pain You suffered when You were crucified this Good Friday?”

Although Valeria knows that her pain could never compare to what Jesus experienced, the question reflects how a horrifying ordeal has brought Valeria nearer to God. 

Two years’ treatment for burns

Five days previously, on Sunday 28 March 2021, Valeria and two of her friends were preparing to leave Makassar Cathedral in Indonesia after attending a Palm Sunday service, when a suicide bomb detonated outside the building. “At the time, we believed that an electric substation nearby had exploded, but soon after, we began to feel the heat and pain in our bodies,” recalls Valeria, who lived in Makassar to study nursing. “We had no idea that a bomb had just gone off in front of our church.”

“I now have greater delight in living this life…”


Thankfully, none of the worshippers were killed in the blast, but many people were wounded – including Valeria, who suffered burns that have since required regular visits to the hospital, including multiple operations.

  • Open Doors local partners visits injured believers

Despite the ongoing treatment, Valeria has been able to continue her studies. “God has given me the ability to complete this nursing programme, despite the severe agony, which occasionally makes it difficult for me to study,” she says. “Now I’m a graduate. I made the decision to move back to my hometown, and a few weeks ago I began working as a nurse at the local clinic on a temporary contract.”

Delighting in God

This Easter, for the first time since the incident, Valeria will spend it with her parents and younger siblings in her hometown of Tual. “In church, my friends and I have been practising some of the songs we’ll be singing at the Easter service. I enjoy singing, and I am thankful that the bomb incident did not injure my vocal cords, allowing me to continue to serve God with my voice,” says Valeria, who, along with other victims, is receiving ongoing spiritual, physical and emotional support from Open Doors local partners.

Unbearable pain from Palm Sunday bombing has brought Valeria closer to Jesus

The pain felt by Valeria has given her a glimpse into the agony endured by Jesus as He died on the cross. This has helped her understand the depths in which God shares in our suffering, whilst deepening her empathy for others. “I am able to identify myself with their anguish, loneliness and the chill of the operating room,” continues Valeria. “This enables me to serve them better because I have experienced what they are experiencing.”

“I can now accept my condition and am thankful for the experiences God has given me,” she adds. “Even though there are still those who see me differently, I now have greater delight in living this life because God has made it possible for me to accept myself. I pray that nothing like what occurred to me will ever happen again, especially on this Easter Sunday.”

  • That Valeria will completely heal and that all medical bills will be met
  • That Valeria will soon move on to a permanent nursing contract, which will give her a better income and more stability
  • That all those affected by the bombing will heal from their trauma and continue to see reminders of God’s love for them.

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