22 August 2022

Christmas celebration in Indonesia unites and strengthens persecuted believers

Shared experiences – even the hardest ones – have a wonderful way of uniting people. This is exactly what happened at a Christmas celebration for some 120 Christians from Muslim backgrounds in Indonesia. The event – put on by Open Doors local partners – was also momentous for other reasons…

The celebration – which your support helped fund – reminded believers that they are not alone

For nearly a year, people kept telling Doya* from Indonesia about Jesus, but he refused to listen to them. He was a Muslim and against people trying to evangelise to him. “But God slowly softened my heart so that I finally opened my heart Jesus,” says Doya, who was baptised just a few weeks ago.

The decision went down badly with people he knew. “After becoming a Christian, I felt lonely,” he shares. “My neighbours shunned me, and so did my friends. But today I know that I am not alone. I used to think that I was the only believer and Christians were not united, but now that mindset has changed and I am impressed with this Christmas event.”

The event referred to here was a festive gathering of believers from Muslim backgrounds in a town in Central Java. Around 120 attended the simple celebration, many of whom – including Doya – experience opposition and persecution for their faith. Several of those in attendance were encouraged to discover that there are others with similar stories to theirs. It’s given them strength to know that they are not alone.

Several new believers hear the nativity story for the first time

Momentous celebration in more ways than one

The event was momentous for other reasons, too. It was the first ever Christmas celebration for around 20 of those present, and when the nativity story was shared from Matthew’s Gospel it was the first time several of them had even heard it. For Doya, whilst he has celebrated Christmas before, this is the first year he’ll do so as a Christian, making it extra special. 

There were also special activities for the 15 children who came along with their parents. They enjoyed these so much that they didn’t bother to disturb their parents who were attending the adult service!

Open Doors local partners were also able to use the event to distribute Christmas packages containing food and other necessities. And all of this was made possible thanks to the prayers and generosity of Open Doors supporters. Thank you for standing with our persecuted family in Indonesia!

*name changed for security reasons

  • For God’s protection over all those who attended the celebration and provision for their needs
  • That each one will grow in their faith, and have strength to stand firm despite pressure and persecution
  • That believers from Muslim backgrounds across Indonesia will have access to discipleship and fellowship.
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Another way you can stand with your church family in Indonesia is to invite your MP to the launch of the 2022 World Watch List launch on the 19 January. At the launch, they will hear first-hand accounts of persecution from around the world and be equipped to advocate for freedom of religion or belief on behalf of persecuted Christians.

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