Day 66 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Help Replace Burned Bibles!

As I continue to write, How to Lead by the BOOK I occasionally come across a news story that reminds me how grateful I should be to live in a country where I can freely write about applying the Bible’s principles to business and life. This morning, two incidents came to my attention that I want to share with you. Sadly, these happenings are not unusual. It’s just that you rarely hear about persecuted Christians in the world. In comparison, the misguided pastor in Florida who had planned to conduct a Koran burning made worldwide news and fomented widespread outrage.

The first incident concerns Christians attacked in Indonesia on the way to worship in a field after their church was closed by the government. The second relates the burning of Bible’s in Laos and how you can help replace them. As you read about these realities faced by my fellow believers, you may want to consider at least two actions: praying for them and thanking God for your freedom to read the Bible and worship without this degree of abuse:

Christians Attacked in Indonesia:

BEKASI, Indonesia – Assailants stabbed a Christian worshipper in the stomach and pounded a minister in the head with a wooden plank as they headed to morning prayers Sunday outside Indonesia’s capital.

Neither of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks. But suspicion immediately fell on Islamic hard-liners who have repeatedly warned members of the Batak Christian Protestant Church against worshipping on a field housing their now-shuttered church.

In recent months, they have thrown shoes and water bottles at the church members, interrupted sermons with chants of “Infidels!” and “Leave Now!” and dumped piles of feces on the land.

Local police Chief Imam Sugianto said Asia Sihombing, a worshipper, was on his way to the field when assailants jumped off a motorcycle and stabbed him in the stomach.

The Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak was smashed in the head as she tried to come to his aid.

“I was trying to help get him onto a motorcycle so we could get him to a hospital,” she told reporters in the industrial city of Bekasi, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Jakarta.

She said the face of one of the assailants looked familiar.

Indonesia, a secular country of 237 million people, has more Muslims than any other in the world. Though it has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

Leading the charge against the Batak Christians has been the Islamic Defenders Front, which is pushing for the implementation of Islamic-based laws in Bekasi and other parts of the nation.

They are known for smashing bars, attacking transvestites and going after those considered blasphemous with bamboo clubs and stones. They also pressured the local government early this year to shutter the Batak church.

Perpetrators are rarely punished or even questioned by police.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who relies heavily on Islamic parties in parliament, has been widely criticized in the media for failing to crack down on hard-liners.

But he immediately called on authorities to investigate and to hold accountable those responsible for Sunday’s attack.

“We know who’s behind it,” said Maj. Gen. Timur Pradopo, the police chief in Jakarta, without elaborating. “But I don’t believe this is an inter-religous conflict.”

Bible Burning in Laos:

Somchi” is an outcast in her village in Laos. Even family members have turned against her. And when villagers found a Bible in her home, they proclaimed, “We need to destroy it!” They believed the Bible was causing her mother’s illness.

“My villagers still hate me and mock me, like they mocked Jesus on the cross,” Somchi told VOM. “It is the world’s right to hate us or to love us. But for me, I will follow Jesus.”

In restricted nations around the world, Bibles are burned, shredded or confiscated every day. Those opposed to the gospel can destroy Bibles, but they cannot destroy the faith of those like Somchi.

» Click here to learn more and help replace these Bibles through The Voice of the Martyrs Bibles to Captive Nations Fund.

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